Posted by: Marie | April 22, 2009

(52) Unreasonable expectations?

Post #52
[Journal entry written to my therapist on Friday, July 18, 2008]

Hi, Mark –

Here it is, in the middle of the night, and I woke up to an angry mind once again.  I am at a crossroads.  I really like working with you and I want to continue with you.  However, I am not sure I can.

I hate to write this because it feels offensive and critical – I would prefer to suffer in silence than to be offensive or unnecessarily critical.  Yet, I have to get this cleared up before I can move forward with you.

More and more often in our sessions I have found myself feeling like we are starting nearly from scratch with each session.  I’ll bring up something we have worked on – major stuff, not little stuff – and you will have no memory of it.  I feel like it is falling on my shoulders to figure out what in my life is relevant to the current discussion and re-deliver the information to you.

I feel like it has been up to me to see the patterns in my behavior because I believe you only remember about 10-20% of the material from earlier sessions.  However, I often am not able to effectively stand outside myself and look for those patterns – I need you to do that for me sometimes (often).  If you forgetting the majority of what I present to you, how can you do that?

For example, in about our third or fourth session, you asked me if my dad was still alive.  I was shocked because, in an earlier session, we had spent about 20 minutes talking about his death – that is when I started thinking that you might not remember key information.

Then, about two or three months into our work, I referred to the tumultuous relationship I had with my dad.  We had discussed it at length several times in our sessions and I had written several pages about it in my weekly submissions.  So, again, I was shocked when you said you hadn’t realized how tumultuous that relationship had been – I don’t know how I could have better called your attention to it.

Finally, you give me homework to do and you emphasize how important it is that I do it so we can use it in our next session – then we never use it.  You tell me that we are going to do a certain exercise in the next session, so I prepare for it (bring stuff, prepare mentally, etc.) and then we never do it.  I feel like a lot of that work is for naught.  For example, I really needed to do something “violent” like smash bricks, but we never did that.  We talked about it, but we never did it.

I’m trying very hard to not be controlling and not demand that we make use of what I have done – I’m trying to just go with the flow and follow your lead (a new experience for me).  But, I’m left feeling that you don’t remember where we left off in the last session when the next session rolls around – that I shouldn’t even bother doing the homework or preparing for the exercises because we won’t incorporate them anyway.

These are examples that quickly come to mind – there have been several other similar times.  When I look at these examples, I can’t help but believe that I am being reasonable to expect you to remember that kind of significant information.

I have been struggling with this most of our time together.  I keep trying to tell myself that it is because you shoot from the hip, which is a very different style from mine – that it is a good style, nevertheless.  I have made a point of embracing it.  I have made a point of doing my best to work with it and change my way of processing to accommodate it – I keep telling myself it may be exactly what I need in order to see things in a different light.

I keep trying to tell myself that it is because the volume of information I deliver is too great – that it is unreasonable for a therapist to absorb all that information – that it must be my fault.  So, I have tried to make it easier for you by taking responsibility for your remembering.  I have been editing my written musings so their message is delivered in the fewest words possible.  I have regularly summarized, in my weekly submissions, the content of our sessions so that you could better remember what we discussed – since I don’t see you taking notes, I assume those might be the only notes you have – my taking/delivering notes on your behalf seems to be a small price to pay for the gentleness, acceptance and wisdom you bring to the sessions.

However, despite my best efforts, you still don’t seem to remember the major stuff.  It is my failure to successfully facilitate your remembering that is driving my recent angry reactions – I have run out of ideas on how to help you remember.

I am having trouble believing that all of this is just about you testing your theory of what trips my trigger.  I keep trying to believe it because you said it is true.  I want to believe you despite the evidence to the contrary.

You emphasized that I am sensitive about not being heard – and that is true – but that is not the greatest source of my frustration in this situation.  I know you are hearing me – I am clear about that – you are an awesome listener.  I am not clear that you are carrying the key information forward into subsequent sessions.  If that is not happening and we have to basically start from scratch every 2-3 sessions, how can we be effective?

I am trying very hard to have an open mind here.  I am trying very hard to see what lessons I can learn from this.  I am trying very hard to see the part I have played in this.  I do recognize that I have not handled this well – I should have addressed it much earlier, before I got this pissed off about it.  I can see how this situation mirrors my dating relationships – I suffer in silence until I get pissed, then I leave.  And, I take responsibility for things that are not my responsibility.  So, I can see an opportunity to learn from this – and I need your help for that.

I really value what we have and I really want to continue.  You are gifted and God does incredible work through you.  I have never been seen by a man like I am seen by you – that opens up miraculous opportunities for healing and growth.  Please help me work through this with you so we can continue.

– Marie

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