Battleground

I wasn’t sure whether to post this picture. It feels like such a betrayal of K. But honestly it contextualises all of the crazy that is going on right now with R and how utterly shit I feel, and she has betrayed me too so why am I protecting her? I can’t move past these words:

Last night and this morning I was stuck in disorganised attachment hell. I feel so in need (pandemic and isolation is really not helping this) and so scared I’ll make R go away and then obviously this triggers my attachment system to seek connection and safety because there is so much fear and so then I want to reach out but I’m scared reaching out will make him go away. I am so afraid he will change, pull back, become overwhelmed with my insatiable needs. And that makes my need even greater because I am distressed and want him to soothe me. And that makes my fear even greater.

And so it continues.

On and on.

Fear without resolution.

It is agonising. It doesn’t matter what he says, I can’t believe him, trust him, take it in when I am like this. I believe his voice note in that moment and then I don’t know if things will be the same even a few minutes later (I know – this is my mum). And then I want more connection to feel safe but that triggers me into a place of fear and unsafety again. And so it goes on. Both biological drives playing out at once. Always braced for rejection, abandonment, abuse, anger from the people who love me and the terror of getting that in response makes me even more desperate for connection with them so that I feel safe.

I know this is my early patterning playing out. But what the fuck has K done also? How could she break the news to me that our 5 years of depth attachment work is basically over with a few harsh, cold sentences like that? I really don’t understand it. I never will.

Her email had two other paragraphs. Both impersonal. The first was about the sunshine and what an extraordinarily difficult time this has been globally. The last was basically saying how far I’ve come on this healing journey and that perhaps it is time for a new way forward with someone who can work face to face with me (body work, she wasn’t suggesting a new psychotherapist). Nothing about us, our work, our time together. Nothing about this being sad or difficult (for either of us) or that she hopes we will be able to pick up again some day. If I’d not followed up and asked about remote work in the autumn she would have left it like that- hanging, open, broken.

Is it any wonder I am absolutely losing my shit, playing out this crazy dance with R, trying to cut him off and push him away whilst also wanting to reach out constantly to know he is still here and nothing has changed? He sent me a voice note this morning and said he understands that I am so in need of connection with him but that this is terrifying for me because of disorganised attachment. He knows how scared I am I’ll make him angry or overwhelmed or that he will just disappear, and how this makes me need him even more and act out behaviours that I then worry even more will make him go away. He knows this is about K and about my depth process. He thinks it will settle and I hope he is right but… how long till he does what K has done? Because I honestly don’t understand how she could do this and why she has done it but the reality is she has. Why didn’t she want to be kind to me? What did she think would happen if she offered some softness, some empathy, some reassurance?

Why has she done this and left me in this dark place where I am in danger of losing R because of what she has triggered in me? It is like she wanted to prove that she can set boundaries and communicate things with no explanation or justification. Where is the humanity? Did she have to fight the desire to be kind to me or is this actually just who she really is?

How could those 3 sentences be how she chose to tell me that everything we had has gone?

24 thoughts on “Battleground”

  1. What was she like normally? I mean, was she ever warm towards you?
    The message you’ve posted here is not just a bit cold, it’s from the Arctic. I’m so sorry because you deserve much more than that. It’s hard to tell if this is just how she is as a person, or whether she’s having some sort of a breakdown and acting completely out of character, only you can tell that, I guess, based on your relationship before Covid.
    I get how devastating this must feel for you, really really sorry for this. It’s absolutely no surprise at all you’re questioning R as well. Of course you are. I would be too.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yeah, it’s a fucking horrendous email. I am still splitting, so I can’t FEEL that she was warm before, but I KNOW she was – she worked with all my parts and had a special relationship with most of them (not ones she rarely, if ever, met) and she was warm and gentle and kind and loving. She sent texts and emojis and took our soft toy on holiday with her 3 times and took photos of her in different places. She sent photos and gave us gifts and offered endless reassurances and held all this pain and mess inside me so tenderly. She also had a cold, firm side – not very often, but occasionally I would see it. She’d suddenly put a firm boundary in place or send an overly professional, perfunctory email or text that felt like a gut punch. But it wasn’t often and it wasn’t like that fucking email!! So I knew it was likely she would send an email and be quite matter of fact about not going back to face to face work, and I thought it would hurt, but I wasn’t prepared for this extreme of coldness. Arctic as you say. And weirdly not very professional, actually because that is not how a psychotherapist should write to a long-term client with an extreme trauma history.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. It seems really out of character doesn’t it? I wonder what’s going on for her? Not that it’s your responsibility to figure out and understand, of course. But I wonder what would happen if you reminded her of the photos she took and how she paid such close attention to details in an open, gentle and kind way, and you’re not feeling that in her messages which feels a bit of a shock, considering your history and the nature of attachment/trauma therapy?
        I am guessing you’re afraid to push her away just that little bit too much that she says she is withdrawing completely then…? What an unforgivingly cruel place for you to be in.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Yeah, it’s sort of out of character but not entirely if that makes sense. I’ve seen this side of her, but fleetingly and at times when it’s maybe been appropriate to be firm and/or brief. In this context it is totally inappropriate, in my view, although I was prepared for a slightly clinical and unsatisfactory email (not on this scale though). I think what she is pointing out to me/herself is that we are not in therapy now, that our close relationship has ceased/paused, and that things have changed for her. Almost like she is trying to make it very clear (probably to herself) that I’m not her responsibility now and also that she has every right to make big decisions that affect other people without considering them – drawing a boundary around herself. I don’t know if this makes sense, but it does sometimes feel like she is proving she can draw clear boundaries. She would not respond well if I contacted her again – she wouldn’t reply and also it might damage the likelihood of going back in the autumn if I choose (and can face!) that.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. You have such an amazing ability to see things so clearly CB, and to objectively hold yourself back from
        making contact like that is an almighty feat. Painful though. Really sorry you’re having to somehow tolerate this.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Thanks LS. It never actually occurred to me to ask for more from her but actually a year or so ago I don’t think I could have NOT contacted her, even if it would just leave me with more to hold and less uncertainty afterwards.

        Liked by 4 people

      5. Yeah. Whatever happens, you can never have this incredibly life-changing shift in you taken away; it did happen. You have grown. And you’re much stronger now then ever before, though It’s be filling understandable if some days you still question the truth of that!

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Thanks for your anger on my behalf SG. I think I was so shocked to get this and then so relieved when she said it wasn’t an end and then so heartbroken that this is happening that the anger is only just hitting me. It’s been hard to admit just how bad this email was! I’m not sure I actually want to repair this via Zoom in 6 or 7 months’ time. I think I might need to process our work with someone else and move on.

        Liked by 3 people

      7. I’ve emailed the T I saw for two sessions when K was taking her break (but then didn’t) back in 2018. I am in need of crisis support before I work out what to do longer term so I’m hoping she has some spaces for a couple of one-off sessions to stabilise things.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. If that was an indicator of the direction the world is heading, it would mean there was another ice age coming on. It sounds like something is going on on her end, and rather than owning her shit, she’s slamming doors, which is not fair to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m absolutely shocked by that level of coldness, I’m so sorry. I agree with the others that surely this must be due to her personal stuff, if she wants to close the door with you there are ways of going about it and you certainly didn’t deserve to have it slammed in your face.
    You are being beautifully objective about this, proof of how far you have come – I don’t think I could handle it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, yeah I just can’t get my head round it. I don’t feel I’m handling it well at all, but I guess I’ve not sent angry or distressed emails or texts to her which is a sign of progress!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Crikey! It reads like a proforma bit of an email that you’d send to a stranger querying about your services, not to a long-term client asking where things are at following a break! When you wrote about it the other day I felt my blood drain to my feet, and this does the same, and it’s not even to/about me! No wonder you are feeling hurt and all over the place.

    You’d expect more of a “Sorry, I know you wanted to return to face-to-face work post Covid, but at the moment I have no plans to do so, could we maybe….???” Indeed every line needs a re-write 😉 “I am sorry I have no space at the moment, but should have x free in x weeks…” And what happened to offering a proper ending if she felt she couldn’t work with you again sometime? Glad that she’s open to seeing you (on Zoom?) in the Autumn and hope that gives you some answers and some closure on the work you have done, and helps you have a way forward with her, or otherwise. Soooo tough having some time to wait though. Was there better clarification in the email that followed?

    This, plus the time she took to reply at all, does suggest she’s in an overwhelmed space, but that’s not yours to think or worry about. Plus, doesn’t really forgive her writing to you in this way. Hopefully, as she and others around her get fully vaccinated and the world starts to re-open, she’ll realise how harsh her words were and apologise and work through it with you. Absolutely no wonder at all that you “can’t get [your] head around it” – I can’t and she’s not my T! Sucks when things like this happen that you can’t just talk it through human to human etc.
    Just feeling for you, and glad you have R to help some, even though difficulties are being brought up there because of this from K. Hope you can feel his care and support, and get to an okay place with it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this kind and thoughtful comment. I really appreciate your support. Yes, exactly – it’s like a proforma! It’s such a heartless, inhuman, almost cruel, way to break that kind of news to a long term dissociative client and I agree – every line needs a rewrite!!

      I replied and asked if this was the end or if I could go back in autumn to online therapy and she replied saying she thought my idea of the possibility of doing this was a good one and to let her know over the coming months. It was fairly non-committal though and there was zero warmth or connection. She just said ‘I hope you can be as well as possible’ or some generic shit. I sent a warm, relieved email which I really regret as she didn’t reply even though I told her we’d managed to keep hold of our connection which she would remember was our biggest fear about the break and showed my progress. R just can’t understand how she wouldn’t WANT to send something kind and warm to me after all this time. I am so lucky to have him and just hope I can stop things spiralling so I don’t drive him away!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It does seem heartless. It would take so little to be kind about it. She could do her formal thing if she feels a need for that, or if she sees that as her way of being clear and straight with you; but within that she could still remember you and your work together, and that you were on a break only and had not had an ending. The lack of face-to-face interactions these days, just in a general sense, means that everyone is more aware of the need for “warmth” and “connection”, and share it in the means they can – eg through emails. So just on a basic level in the middle of a pandemic, you would think she’d be kinder? With your history and work on top (that’s got to mean something), well it’s super confusing and obviously hurtful. Fingers crossed your email asking for a session gets a positive response. It does seem like it would be better to know what’s what now, rather than having it twisting up your insides for another six months? This summer needs to be as nice a time as possible for everyone really, doesn’t it?! Thinking of you, with hope.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I really agree with all of this. It would have been so easy for her to be formal and firm, if that’s what she thought was appropriate, but kind and empathic. And her email wasn’t even professional. It was just shit. It’s so bizarre that she might be thinking that it would help me for her to be like that so that I focus on ME, instead of the two of us. It makes me feel she doesn’t know me at all. I’m not sure I’m going to email – I have such an intense 3 weeks at work and just don’t want to get more destabilised. And I’m not sure she’ll reply or respond well or agree to a session. And if she does I don’t know if she’ll give me what I need. It feels too risky to be honest! But I’ll see how it goes maybe…

        Liked by 1 person

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