Posted by: Marie | June 22, 2012

(654) Men providing shelter – Part 5 of 5

Post #654
[Private journal entry written on Friday, July 8, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Edward: Are you okay with the two of us exploring together to discover some additional information about the waves of grief you’ve been experiences during the last several weeks?

Me: Yes . . . but I don’t know how to do that. (Using my adult voice) Would you be willing to ask me questions that would help me know what information to share with you? Right now, I have no idea what information I might have stored inside my brain that would be beneficial to this process.

The Island by Martin Chen

Edward: Absolutely! In fact, that is my job – to lead us through that process. You aren’t supposed to know how to do that.

Me: (With a slight grin) Okay . . . thank you.

Edward: (After a thoughtful pause) In general, under what circumstances do you find yourself becoming emotional?

Me: Whenever I have quiet time – like when I’m driving or when I’m trying to fall asleep – I’ll be going along, doing my normal “thing” and all the sudden a huge wave of intense sadness comes over me. Often, I’m moved to tears. But, it’s not like I have any particular image in my head . . . no particular person or situation comes with the emotion. So, I’m not really sure that it is grief – or, if it is grief, I’m not sure what I’m grieving.

Edward: How long does that sense of intense sadness stay with you?

Me: Do you mean, like, how many minutes?

Edward: Yes.

Me: Um . . . like maybe fifteen minutes and then it passes – I get distracted by something else and return to my “normal” routine.

Edward: When you are hit with the emotion, how do you respond? What do you do?

Me: I cry . . . sometimes I crawl under the covers and get into a fetal position – and hide my head under the covers.

Edward: When you stop crying, how do you feel?

Me: I feel relief . . . like another layer of the grief has been peeled off.

Edward: So, the experience is healing and helpful?

Me: Yes.

Edward: (After a respectful pause) Let me check in with you . . . what are your feelings in response to this last series of questions I’ve been asking?

Me: (Long sigh) Um . . . comfortable, actually . . . surprisingly so. I don’t feel triggered at all.

Edward: Are these questions helping to clarify things for you?

Me: Yeah . . . and having that clarity is helpful . . . it’s helping me to put some of the pieces of the puzzle in place.

(Pause) Thank you for leading me through that and helping me find some answers.

Edward: You’re welcome!


With that, we wrapped up the therapeutic part of the session. We took a few minutes to figure out our schedule for the upcoming school year. Then, we said our good-byes and I headed home.

After I got home, I sent off an email to Caleb and Nell. During the week, I had been able to secure their email address. So, I copied the text from the Facebook message I sent a few days before and resent it in an email. I figured the email might have a better chance of getting through to them than the Facebook message would.

Then, I entered the new therapy session dates in my calendar. That’s when I realized that the schedule we put together would cause a session to occur on December 28th. I would be available, but I wondered if Edward would be taking off the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. So, I shot off an email to him, asking how he would like to handle it.

He suggested we keep it scheduled for December 28th until we get closer to the date – he didn’t know his Christmas plans yet – then we could adjust it then, if needed. In my response to his suggestion, I also included some thoughts that had been brewing in my head since the session . . .


Hey, Edward –

Your proposed plan for the December 28th lesson sounds like a good one . . . I’ll plan that way.

On a therapeutic topic – I’ve been pondering something . . .

I appreciate your working with me to figure out what is happening when I get triggered by not knowing “the answers” to your questions. That seems to be a very effective approach to helping me learn a better way. I was wondering what you think about adding another step midway through the process . . .

When I start getting frustrated/angry in response to your questions, your response has usually been to immediately back off the questioning and then to walk me through the process of defusing my frustration/anger. I’m noticing that, when I become frustrated/angry and then you help me defuse it so quickly, I feel disappointed to some extent. In those moments, I really don’t want my frustration/anger to be defused – not immediately, anyway.

I’m noticing that I would prefer to escalate the tension until I’m able to “explode” and release the emotion. When I don’t get that explosive release, I feel like I’m pushing the tension back down into my gut – I don’t really get the release I desire (and have gotten historically via shouting matches with boyfriends).

Since I’m having trouble getting in touch with that explosive anger during racquet-and-pillow exercises, maybe we could take advantage of the anger when it comes up organically. I think it would mean that you not back off the questions as quickly . . . that you gently keep the pressure on to facilitate the escalation of my emotions to the point that I feel “justified” in expressing them. Then, after that pressure has been released, we can return to the usual process of working through what happened.

Does that sound like a healthy approach . . . or not . . . ?? We can talk about it at the next session.

Thank you!

– Marie


Dear Marie,

Thank you for the creative idea.

It sounds like one we can explore together in session.

I look forward to supporting you in having the sort of emotional release that feels liberating and empowering.



  1. I’ll be interested to hear how that idea of expressing anger goes – if you two get around to doing it.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Isn’t it noteworthy that I have trouble allowing myself to express anger unless I have strong “justification” for being angry? . . . and that being abused as a child does not seem good enough justification for being angry about it now, as an adult?

      There is some very strong programming there!

      – Marie

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