There is a certain reticence to go to K tomorrow and say that we are all in agreement that taking next year as a break and going back to her in 2020 is the best way forward. On paper it all sounds perfect, and I am feeling strong enough in myself to undertake the challenge of self-care and self-soothing for a whole year, and have already taken some exciting steps to find practitioners I can do bodywork with, but there is a hesitancy around making this a definite plan.
There is the obvious shame around admitting how much she means to me and how much I don’t want to lose her – or rather ‘us’ and what we are together – but to be honest this is not at the forefront as it so often is, because she agreed with so much of what I said about our therapeutic alliance last week, and I know she thinks it is worth holding on to longer term. There is also fear over what would happen if something huge and real happened next year, or I just couldn’t cope with parenting and dissociation and life struggles without her or a replacement therapist, but I met with A (the other potential new therapist) last week and I think she would be there if that materialised next year. So there is something else to this hesitancy which I have been quietly pondering this week, with curiosity and non-judgment, as I have let things settle around me after our very intense session last Monday, and I realised last night that a lot of this reticence is because taking a break, rather than making December a forever ending, feels like an enormous leap of faith. It would involve putting more trust in K than I ever thought possible, more trust in her than I ever have so far, and I’ve trusted and depended on her more than I’ve ever trusted or depended on anyone (consciously at least).
Taking next year as a break means trusting, for a whole year, that she is going to come back when she said she would. Not preparing myself and all the parts for a forever goodbye is opening myself, all of us, up to the risk of huge amounts of hurt, rejection and betrayal if she decides not to return to work in the area we live in, or decides not to work with trauma clients, or just doesn’t want to work with us again. It means allowing ourselves, for a whole year, to hope and trust and depend upon her – however much we focus on other things, she will continue to be in the background of our lives, an abstract possibility, and a secure base. And I can see that her then holding true to her word and coming back to us would be hugely healing (and already this being her intention is healing because it means her decision to take a break is not because of us or because we wore her out, and she is not using her sabbatical as a chance to ‘get rid of us’, which she easily could because she could say she doesn’t think taking it as a break is in my best interests) but it is so much to risk, so much to lose.
So it is this, I think, that makes me lean towards the simplicity of a forever ending, even though it would be deeply painful to end by choice a relationship so strong and good and true. And in writing this I see how shaped by loss my life choices are and always have been. I have chosen over and over to let people go before they hurt me, before they have a chance to leave me and not come back, before I am proved right that no one stays with me if they are given the choice. For me, space means loss, and what could be a bigger space between K and I than not seeing her and no contact for a whole year. And so even though there is a chance to gain something incredibly healing, to test my abilities and grow and integrate the work I’ve done, and test the strength of my (semi-)secure attachment, my mind latches on to the inevitable loss that would occur if K doesn’t come back. I will share this with K tomorrow, and she will remind me of her intention to return, and that her intention is not, and never has been, to hurt me. And I will have to decide, over the coming months, if I am going to take this leap of faith.
I know what my heart wants. My heart wants to be allowed to love and trust and grow through taking the biggest leap of faith imaginable. Young parts trust K implicitly now, after 3 years of her always being there, always being the same, always doing what she has said she will do. And some of the older parts trust her too, because she has never, ever shamed any of us for needing her and depending on her. They know she will understand just how scary it is to trust for a whole year that she is coming back and won’t change her mind. They know she wouldn’t have said what she said last week if she had doubts, but still there is so much fear that what we are hoping for will be taken away, without us even knowing it is happening.
It has always felt like serendipity or synchronicity that I found K when I did. It has been something I’ve used when I’ve needed reminding that the Universe is on my side. A year and a half ago when I was stuck in the most intolerable disorganised attachment pain I’ve experienced, I remember thinking ‘what if I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to do all the therapeutic work they need with one therapist?’ (I’ve seen lots of other therapists and counsellors, but never attached to them like I did with K). ‘What if I do get to keep her for as long as I need her, but I spend the whole time this terrified she’ll go away that she might as well not be here?’ It didn’t shift things at the time, but it is helpful to reflect on this time now and to remember how hard it was to trust her but that I did it anyway and have grown and gained so much as a result of this blind faith I placed in her. I chose to stick with the process then, even though running away felt easier and safer a lot of the time.
And this time I would like to choose to keep her, and to open to the possibility that this break is a necessary part of my healing journey, something that will benefit me and help me grow while at the same time still being held in some ways by her, and still being connected to her. I would like to choose this, rather than severing our connection myself because it is easier, because it fits with what I ‘know’ about how the world works. Trusting her that this really will be a ‘break’ and won’t result in a sudden, devastating, heart-breaking ending via email is utterly terrifying, but I want to choose again to step into uncharted territories and learn that my life doesn’t forever have to involve choosing the option which means I have less to lose. I really hope I can find the words to share this with her tomorrow and the strength to make the choice that could reap such rich rewards in my healing journey, if I can only allow it to be a possibility.