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.

Warmly,
Edward


Responses

  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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