T and I spoke, this afternoon.
She was walking the dog. I love it when she walks the dog and talks to me at the same time – I love the sound of her, the rhythm of her, the humanness of her.
I had linked T to my last post, and we had emailed a few times since then. This morning, I woke to quite a blunt email, detailing all the dates that she is going to be away, can’t change sessions etc. It really hurt me when I read it this morning – it was so cold – but it actually helped, because we didn’t need to fight it out over specific details.
We started by talking about the R situation. I explained, more calmly and clearly, why I had put R into our session time. T explained, also more calmly and clearly, that she had been shocked and taken aback and maybe a little frustrated, because we spend so long working on coping with her being away, and then I announced I wanted to change that session. It felt healing to hear her acknowledge that she perhaps reacted based on her feelings in the moment – and that she didn’t feel I had done anything wrong. We discussed next steps with this, and that felt okay.
There was a pause, and I took a deep breath to make myself brave. You have felt so far away. T and I talked about this. She said she had been thinking about it, and that she felt that perhaps subconsciously, she has been trying to encourage me to ask more for what I need. She said she hadn’t planned to, but had had the sense recently that I was becoming more able to take control whereas previously she had ‘rescued me’ more. This makes sense to me, but we talked a little about how I spend my whole life rescuing myself, so in the hour I have with T, it sometimes feels necessary for her to do the rescuing. She said that she thought perhaps she had been stepping back to encourage me to ask for what I need more, but she understood it felt to me like a distant between us.
She told me of a therapist she used to have, that hugged her at the end of every session. It felt like it became more about her than me, at the end, and it felt stifling. I never want to do that to anyone, T said. I understand this, but I talked about how choices felt safer for me, and that when I am really in crisis, when the world is spinning, I’m not yet in a place to have words to ask. She acknowledged that, so we’ll see where we go next session.
It was really triggering for me to be so distressed, to be falling apart, and for you to be sat there watching. It felt like Before, I said. T went quite quiet then, and reassured me that by the way she was looking at me, and talking to me, she was trying to show me she cared. That it wasn’t the same as not loving me or caring for me. We talked about how much I really needed that physical reassurance, and how for the last few weeks I had felt very boundaried and constricted – she said that if she was being truly boundaried, she wouldn’t even sit on the floor with me, let alone cuddle me or read me stories or choose me stories… and I know she’s right. I just really need a cuddle, I said. Can you imagine me cuddling you right now? T asked. I sat quietly, thinking of us cuddled together on her sofa, my head on her chest and her heartbeat pulsing through me. You’ll be back, won’t you? I could hear her smile as she promised me she would.
The world feels so unsafe when we’re not close, I said. Everything I do depends on our relationship, every risk I take, every new connection I make… it’s been a horrible world without us being close. We talked for a while about this, how I see the importance of these connections in the young children I work with… it helped.
There was a natural silence, where I listened to her breathing and her rhythm and just soaked her in. She’s going away for two weeks now, so it felt nice just to have that time with her.
I asked her if she was packed, and she told me she was. I carefully asked if I could ask when she was flying… and she told me. She also told me, without prompting, when she was flying back. I said that that hugely reduced my anxiety, and she said she didn’t understand – so I tried to explain.
It places you in a time and a space. Tonight you are here, tomorrow you will be on a plane… it makes you real, and if you’re real, then all my connections to you are real, too. It’s stupid that knowing things like the time differences help me – but they do. They make you real, and then that makes everything around and about me real, too.
We finished by her talking about repair in relationships. The beauty is in the repair, I said, quoting a comment from someone on my last post. I think it’s more than that, T said. The beauty is in the connections we make with each other, the care and the love, as well as in the repair. I am imperfect, but I meet imperfect people everyday, everyone is imperfect, there is huge beauty in that. Because you are beautifully [me], and I am beautifully [T]. She giggled, then, and I knew she was back. Beautiful me, beautiful her, beautiful us.
As we began to say our goodbyes, she reminded me that she would be coming back, and that she cares. No matter what? I said. Of course no matter what, she replied. Symmetrical. I believe you… I said. And I do. I really do.
Have fun, T. Rest. Enjoy. And know that we love you. No matter what.