Shake it off

Update: we did text her and asked if everything was okay because she’d not replied to our Friday email. She replied saying she thinks she told me she is only working 3 days a week now and that we could continue with the Friday email until the end of June. This is definitely not what she said, she said we would review it at the end of June and that she definitely wasn’t saying we wouldn’t be able to do it anymore. Why can’t people (therapists in particular!) remember what they’ve said? And how shit that she thinks we would just stop it after 4 years without even a conversation. Hello fucking unnecessary rupture and attachment pain!

Ugh, I have a ridiculous situation with my therapy of the kind that hasn’t happened for several years, in fact since I made the decision more than 3 years to stop texting between sessions because it had served its purpose and was now just triggering to wait for a reply, and I would feel ashamed for reaching out. Since then our outside contact has, for the most part, been clear and scheduled in, and there have been no ruptures over it.

Anyway, K and I have done a Friday check-in for 4 years, just a quick email, and she said at the end of May we would need to review it at the end of June as she doesn’t work Fridays at the moment and doesn’t want to because of her health. We were really triggered and upset and she said she wasn’t taking it away, but that we would review it. I remember she definitely said she wasn’t saying we couldn’t do it anymore. Anyway, we’ve not reviewed it and yesterday she didn’t reply for the first time ever. We are not completely triggered, but unsettled definitely and aware this could cause a rupture which is frustrating as it’s a pretty small thing in the scheme of things. I just can’t believe she wouldn’t reply because it’s July, without discussing it and when it was obvious I hadn’t realised. I voluntarily gave up the Tuesday and Thursday morning texts this week, which we’ve done since lockdown, and to be honest that was unsettling enough to suddenly have that space.

I want to text and ask if she’s okay, but don’t want the rejection of her saying in reply that we’re not emailing anymore. But if I don’t then I’ve basically lost the Friday email. I’m planning to drop my Wednesday half hour soon and just have my longer Monday session again, so I had hoped I could at least do an email on Wednesday if I do that, as it has been very holding to have that space. I’m always careful not to write too much, it’s really just a brief check-in, but it’s nice to know if something big happens there is space to share it or mention it. For young parts a week is still quite long and there is also a something about having written words and emojis – something tangible that speaks directly to young parts and can be taken in slowly with a few readings.

This whole thing is very frustrating. My mind obviously goes to the idea that something bad could have happened. I find it hard to believe she would choose not to reply if it was obvious I’d not realised Friday emails had stopped. Surely she’d reply as normal and we’d talk about it on Monday?

I hate the way that therapy brings stuff up so that such small things become so complicated. She has been so predictable though, she even told me to email on Fridays on Christmas week and when she moved house. Surely she would know that suddenly stopping it would be hard for me?

This feels such a trivial post in the midst of a global pandemic and when people have such difficult things and huge losses going on in their own therapy so I apologise even for writing it. It’s where I’m at though I guess.

44 thoughts on “Shake it off”

  1. First of all, please don’t apologise for writing this. Just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean life doesn’t go on around it, just like normal! Otherwise that could be extrapolated to saying nobody could possibly need to access the hospital because of a world wide pandemic, if you’ve broken your arm you still need to get an X-ray and stick it in plaster!
    And secondly, how you feel about getting no reply when you’ve always received a reply is completely normal and understandable. We need things to be predictable because predictable is safe (so long as it’s predictably good, rather than predictably harmful, of course!). It’s an agreement you’ve had between you both for a long time and suddenly appears to have changed.

    As I was reading about your idea of texting but being afraid to text because you don’t want to hear that emails are now forbidden, I wondered if you’d actually write that in the text? I’m not saying you should text – or that you shouldn’t, I genuinely don’t know what would be the best thing there – but it crossed my mind to just float that question as it came up while I read your blog.
    It sounds like there’s a lot going on; lots of little changes and I wonder if it’s even more unsettling to do then so closely like this?
    I really hope you get a great reply and it’s not what you (understandably) fear, because you need to feel safe and okay in all of this. I’m sorry your boat has been rocked a bit for now.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for understanding. I’m actually becoming really triggered about this. If I text I would say ‘Is everything okay? You’ve not replied to our Friday email and we are a bit worried.’

      It really does feel like a huge change. If we were stopping the Friday email after 4 years I would definitely expect a conversation around it and space to process it. And doing it the same week as stopping the Tuesday and Thursday texts wouldn’t have been something I suggested.

      I imagine there has been a misunderstanding and she wasn’t expecting to hear from us so hasn’t seen the email. I do doubt that she would choose not to respond. She must have forgotten that she said we’d review it and that she wasn’t saying we definitely couldn’t do it anymore (which I guess I’d remind her of if she replied saying we’ve stopped the Friday email – she trusts my memory of things she’s said so I think she would believe me).

      I can see this heading to a horrible place though, and it is making me really anxious and triggered 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes I would expect a conversation around it too, to be honest I’d expect that after 4 weeks, much more so 4 years! And like you rightly said, definitely not the same week you stop Tuesday and Thursday texts! I wonder why both Tuesday and Thursday got stopped at the same time? It’s hardly surprising you’ve found that difficult. I wonder if dropping one of them at a time might be kinder for everyone? I’d be really stressed by that happening all at once, but I know we’re all individual and so someone else might find it’s fine.
        Great to hear she trusts your memory like that though. That must feel like a much stronger position to come at it from, especially if you can see it taking you to a horrible place.

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      2. It was me that chose to stop the Tuesday and Thursday texts – I asked for them right at the start as a way of keeping connection while we couldn’t meet, back when no one had any idea how long this would go on for! It obviously became apparent that we couldn’t do it for the rest of the year though, so in one of them I said I knew we’d need to stop them and the next week I said it would be the last one. I definitely wasn’t expecting the Friday emails to stop – I guess I thought as she’d not mentioned it her health had picked up a bit and things were easier around lockdown for her, so we could just carry on… And it’s never a conversation we want to broach is it? When the response might not be what we need to hear!

        I think I will text just after 10, so it’s not too early on a Saturday. This stuff is so stressful, it has been so nice not having situations like this for a long time, but we used to have ruptures over outside contact quite often 😬

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      3. No it definitely isn’t a conversation we want to broach! Can’t agree more. And you’d hope that these changes are tests rather than set in stone, so you can revert back a bit if you need to.
        So it sounds like you weren’t thinking about your needs as much as your therapist’s? That’s always a tricky one.
        I really hope you get the reply you need, I really do. And fast too! Waiting is the pits isn’t it? I’m still waiting for a text I send to Guy, which was only a FYI text but because it’s the first time I’ve written about disordered eating (I told him I didn’t want to type it out, back in the beginning, because it makes it feel too real if I put it in written word), and because I wasn’t sure of the content of what I’d written, no reply feels a bit worrisome. I mean I had said no need to go into it now and I meant that, but I suppose I’d have hoped for a ‘thanks for the text and I see what you’re saying, and we can talked about it Monday if you like’ rather than not so much as a whisker! So I hope you’re not kept waiting all weekend.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I’ve just text her. Eeeeek. Hopefully she’ll reply and it won’t be too enigmatic. I think because it’s related to her health (her thyroid thing) it’s tricky not to think about her needs as well. I find it hard to believe she thinks I’d give up the Friday email without even a conversation! I hope Guy replies to acknowledge your text. It’s really shit waiting and it’s like the time passes differently than it does the rest of the time! It’s why the Friday emails (and recently the texts on Tuesdays and Thursdays) have been so nice, because her responding was so predictable and there was no shame or fear in sending them.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Yeah I can well imagine. Even when I do have permission to send anything, I feel bad for doing so, like I’m being an unwanted pest! Fingers crossed you’ll get a reply today.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Ugh, she replied and said she’d told me she was only doing it till the end of June because she now only works 3 days a week. This is definitely not what she said!!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Oh bollocks. That is NOT what we wanted to hear. Does that mean you can switch to emailing on those three days then?

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      8. Well at the moment I have a 90 minute session on Monday and 30 mins on Wednesdays. I’m going to drop the Wednesday as it’s right in the middle of my work day and not very settling, so I guess I could ask to email that day instead. But it’s not really the point, it’s more that she saw my email and chose not to respond because it was July 3rd, even though it was pretty obvious I hadn’t realised we’d stopped emailing. Who does that? Wouldn’t you just reply and then say on Monday in session that it was meant to have stopped? I’ve text her and said that she hadn’t said it would definitely stop, only that we would review it, but she won’t reply now.

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      9. Yeah that does seem a bit rubbish, I agree. Sometimes, for all their training and great communication skills, they’re not hitting the mark, are they?

        Liked by 2 people

      10. Ha, no they’re not! And not even managing to act in a normal and human way sometimes either. I would have thought she would realise ignoring my email would make me feel like shit, and the last time we spoke I was in such a bad place over parenting as well. It feels a very cold thing to do.

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      11. Usually when I’m out of sorts with Guy for not replying like I feel a normal human encounter should take place, it’s rectified when we next meet up or have communication. I’m really hoping this is the case for you when you next connect. But it’s horrible until that time comes isn’t it.

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      12. Definitely. And I’m not sure it will be resolved straightaway on Monday because the outcome will still be no between session contact which is a hard place to unexpectedly be in. Anyway, thanks for replying and sorry for going on so long about it!

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      13. Stop apologising! I share your angst, I really do. And you’re in good company because I’m pretty sure there’s more of us out there feeling exactly the same sort of thing about the whole contact issue. It’s a shame it ever has to be an issue in the first place, why can’t all therapists be full time and automatically expect contact between sessions? That sounded facetious but it’s not, I really wish for it. But of course a reasonable part of me realises they have lives and illnesses and their own shit because they’re human too, and I know you know that too, but it still is painful and you never need apologise for your refreshing honesty about that.

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      14. Thank you ❤️ I really do think that after 5 years and around £22,000 from me (eeeeek, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve spent that much on therapy) she could give up 10 mins on a Friday to respond to an email from me. I’ve been such a reliable income source too as my attachment needs mean I’ve not even taken my own holidays as breaks. I completely get the need to have time when you’re switched off from work, but it’s not like I’m messaging all the time or at evenings and weekends. And I’m sooo annoyed that even in her text this morning she said I *think* I said we could do Friday check ins till the end of June- if she only *thinks* then surely it was obvious I hadn’t realised and that it hadn’t been communicated in that way??! I honestly want to email and ask for a break!

        Liked by 3 people

      15. I can really see what you’re saying and I agree with every word. You’re being very reasonable, and you’ve stood the test of time for not messaging all the time. After all these years it’s not like you’re going to suddenly start that, is it? You’re a known quantity that way. It makes me wonder if she’s just not coping with life at the moment.

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      16. Yeah I think things are difficult for her. And she really misses in-person work, she said on Monday she’s not used to it and still really sad about not seeing me – although I feel it’s her decision to wait till next year, I guess it’s not actually a freely made decision but one she feels compelled to make due to her son and own health. She did reply, which I wasn’t expecting, and said text definitely isn’t the best medium and that all is well and she looks forward to speaking to me on Monday. I mean, all isn’t really well for me, but the message has helped the anger to subside at least and I just feel sad now. I feel better that she at least knows we’d all be freaking out over this!

        Liked by 2 people

      17. Okay that’s good you’ve got at least partial relief from her second message. Sounds like hard times for all concerned. It’s nice that she’s missing face to face though. Maybe in the same way missing face to face won’t last forever, her health might also improve so she can pick things up again. Not much use to you now, of course… sigh.

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      18. Yeah, it was definitely nice to hear she’s missing face-to-face. Otherwise there’s always the worry that they’ll want to work like this forever. It’s been long enough already 😦

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      19. Oh yeah, that would be so much worse if they all loved lockdown and want to keep it going even when we don’t have to anymore!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not trivial and I can empathise after my therapist telling me that she wouldn’t reply if I emailed her a few weeks ago as I was on my way out of the door after a session. K should have discussed it in your session on Monday so that it was clear and you could say how you feel about it. I don’t know what they are thinking sometimes. Their ability to communicate seems to desert them at times. It’s so hard and anxiety inducing 😔

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    1. I was actually thinking of you when I was writing, because I know you know this worry. And I never think you’re over-reacting so it helped me see it was ok to be feeling that way! It is strange how they sometimes do things like this isn’t it, without seeming to realise how it will affect us, because the rest of the time both our Ts seem very attuned. It also just seems so dumb not to reply when we’ve ended up with a difficult text exchange on a Saturday instead. And yep – didn’t she think the fact no one mentioned it and no young parts were freaking out about it must mean we hadn’t realised?? As if young parts would give that up without a fight!

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      1. I’m glad I was able to reduce the shame for you and have a reference to validate your feelings. It’s nice to know. 🙂
        Yes it is strange. It’s like a lapse in judgement. I assumed that she just didn’t think at the time. It probably would have been better to just reply to you and then discuss in the next session that it will stop.
        I didn’t actually pursue it with my therapist as I was relieved when she replied and agreed to the extra sessions! I think that they forget that they have to communicate with us clearly as they would with children. K should be particularly aware of that. I wonder if they are a bit out of practice. My therapists client list has decreased during lockdown so I wonder if their heads are also in a strange place. It’s difficult that they are not faultless as we need them to be.

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      2. Yeah, these are such good points. I think they are also in a strange head space. My thoughts are that if K has less work because of the pandemic then an email from me each week would be easier to manage, though I do understand the need for work to be contained. It’s like she temporarily forgot how hard even small changes are for my system to manage. Like maybe not seeing us in-person makes her forget. I don’t know. It just seems to shitty not to reply yesterday – as you say, wouldn’t she reply and then bring it up on Monday and say there must have been some confusion and that she’d replied because I clearly hadn’t realised and she didn’t want to cause issues before the weekend? The whole thing really is tricky and I don’t want a rupture over this when she’s been so supportive since lockdown in particular, but I also feel so angry because it’s a pretty big thing to take away without discussion or checking how I am about it.

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      3. I think that my therapist is in a different head space and I think the lack of sessions may have changed some things.
        I do agree that it’s shit that she didn’t reply especially seeing your reply to SG which gives the impression that she didn’t formally say that the Friday email had come to an end, never mind reminding you! It seems like a lapse in judgment and I think they can be so attuned and assume that we can read their minds.
        It is tricky but I do think it’s possible to avoid a huge rupture by being honest about your anger and confusion. I also think a verbal apology may be less easily misinterpreted too, but that depends on the recipient. I’m lucky that my therapist will always apologise and admit her errors which is healing because my family don’t do that. Unfortunately we have to be open because they can’t read our minds and need a reminder occasionally if they have made assumptions which lead to misunderstandings like this.
        Sorry that it is happening. It’s the last thing you need in already uncertain times.

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      4. I replied to her last text earlier and said I really didn’t want a rupture over this as we’ve not had anything like this for so long. And I said I honestly didn’t know she wasn’t expecting us to email yesterday because she had said we would review it. I think we’ll be okay but it’s really rubbish in the meantime.

        And yeah – it wasn’t just that she didn’t remind me, but that it wasn’t even a thing as far as I knew – I assumed as she’d not mentioned it again that maybe she was feeling a bit better and my process had settled so was easier for her to hold, and so it was fine to keep going. I definitely wouldn’t have emailed yesterday if I’d known, and I would have talked about how we were feeling about having that support stopped many times if I’d known it was happening.

        I think you’re right about a verbal apology being easier, once we’ve untangled what exactly has happened here. She has apologised quite a few times, maybe more than that, but has also usually pointed out how triggered I get over something ‘relatively small.’ I know what you mean – neither of my parents ever apologised for anything and so it is nice to have that. We’ve not had anything like this for a couple of years now, so it’s very strange territory to be back in.

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    1. Definitely. It was a very difficult session when she raised it back in May in a phone session. Young parts were screaming and howling. So I guess it’s possible she thought it was a clearly communicated thing when it wasn’t. Still weird not to reply yesterday though, as I’d obviously not realised!

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      1. Agreed. Though my sessions are so full with parts and other stuff so I can see why it didn’t get mentioned. It’s the not replying that really gets to me 😕

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      2. It’s possible she assumed you knew the boundary and you were testing it. Or she didn’t check her email at all.

        Do you feel worried she’s having health problems?

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      3. She may not have seen it if she wasn’t working yesterday. Or not registered it. I know this happens to me with emails from students sometimes – I notice them, but don’t really take them in and then realise a few days later the student was upset and I didn’t reply. I don’t think she’d have thought I knew and was testing the boundary, I think she knows me well enough by now to know that if she’s told me something clearly I wouldn’t push it (and would bring up how hard it is in session beforehand, if there was a change).

        Yeah, I do feel a bit worried about her health. There seem to have been a lot of Ts lately stopping work or with changed capacity for health reasons, and it’s kind of scary. But she’s only 51 and she talks about us working together for a long time (till my daughter is past her difficult teenage days at least!) and looking back on these tough days of remote work together, so I’m not too worried. But it’s definitely there.

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  3. UGH. Rupture-territory during a pandemic is THE WORST. I am glad you texted and got an answer, even if it was all poorly handled. She could have reminded you earlier in the week that Fri was off. Sometimes our Ts just really muck up.. it’s one reason I wanted to stay away from mine(not the main one, but a small one), managing a rupture or even pinging attachment wounds on top of pandemic stress. Love to you, CB.. this is super rough and I hope you can still manage a nice weekend with N (i know it would be hard for me).

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    1. Thanks SG. Yeah, weekend is disintegrating tbh. I’m just about to drop Nina at her friends for a few hours so that might help… Rupture and pandemic and remote work are just too much at the moment!! I think she just handled it badly, which I do get whilst things are so strange but it was all so unavoidable really, and of course no apology for her misunderstanding via text!

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      1. What’s up with Ts and apologizing, eh? Why can’t they ever just seem to say sorry? I feel like so often I am afraid that even wanting an apology will be pathologized and turned around on me. It’s not authoritative to never be wrong – real authenticity comes admitting you messed up and being accountable. 😦 anyway, hope you can Salvage some peace this weekend.

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      2. Yep, it’s always about me having some big reaction due to things from the past. Sigh. K has apologised a few times, but literally this morning she could have just said sorry it wasn’t communicated clearly. We had such a huge meltdown when she said we probably couldn’t even email on Fridays going forward, which is why she said we’d review it in a month and that she wasn’t saying we definitely couldn’t do it, so how she thought all those big feelings had disappeared I don’t know… It’s just such a painful reminder of what we are to them as well 😢

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