When I still hadn’t heard from T at 3pm, I texted her. It would be good if we were able to reconnect by phone today. I am free from now, if there is a time that suits.
She rang me a few hours later, on her way home from work. The first thing that felt different was that she was totally focussed on me. Quite often for our phone calls, she’s walking the dog or driving home, and I know she is listening but I also know she isn’t 100% focussed. Sometimes that’s nice because it means she’s more open and relaxed and human with me than she can be in session… but tonight it felt nice that she was dedicating time to listening to me.
She started by saying that she didn’t feel she had been that negative about GP. She said that she felt, listening to me, that I was worrying about looking after him, and she was feeling protective of me. She referred a few times to a throwaway comment I had made, about his phone pinging at all hours and annoying his wife and that I worried she would hate me. She says she didn’t want me to get hurt and she is worried for me that I worry about him. She kept saying that she didn’t feel she had been otherwise negative… so I kept repeating that I it did all feel extremely negative and I did take everything she said about him as a telling off. Eventually she apologised, said she hadn’t meant to make me feel that way. “I just don’t want you to be hurt,” she said.
She said that she felt I had raised concerns about him and she felt she wanted to reflect them. I said that I felt she had misunderstood. I worry for him, because I care hugely about him and he is so giving and caring and I don’t want him to burn out. I feel like I know how dangerous I am and I don’t want to break him… so I do worry that I will hurt him. I am not worried about him, I’m not worried that he will ever harm me (just that I might harm him). I know that if he ever burned out, he would talk to me, he would hopefully look after himself, but he wouldn’t blame me. I wouldn’t struggle with his need to look after him, and even if I found the distance difficult I trust that he would never intentionally harm me. She said she felt maybe she had misunderstood my worry.
I said that it felt awful that she questioned his intentions with me, like he can only be badly intentioned because nobody can actually love me enough to care like he does. Like I’m too damaged for that care. She immediately said she doesn’t doubt his intentions at all, that she knows it is purely because he cares about me. I felt that she had done that in our session, but she sounded very sure on the phone that she trusted he wasn’t ‘dangerous’, which felt soothing.
She said she doesn’t want me to be stuck in the middle between them all fighting. That part of the reason for her wanting to talk was so that there isn’t any ill feeling between them. She said sorry for making me feel like I had to choose him, defend him.
She said sometimes she feels like I’m idolising him and wanting her to be someone she cannot be. I said that wasn’t what I meant, but that yes, at the moment there is too little other support in place and he is often the only person holding my head above the choppy water. I said that it is very difficult to leave her and head into the other 167 hours in a week without her when things still feel horrendous and that he is supporting through that time at the moment. I said that I don’t expect her to ring me at 11pm, she’s laid down her boundaries loud and clear, but equally I find it very unfair that she should be chastising me for reaching out to someone who will help when things are unbearably low.
I said it feels almost impossible to know who she is sometimes. I know how I would describe her to someone else – kind, warm, caring, supportive etc – but then sometimes she just switches into this ice cold, stone walled person who I cannot get to… and that terrifies me. It terrifies me that I’m never 100% sure which is the real her… with GP I feel like I get a good sense of who he is – him as an actual person. With T I feel like she gives so little of herself away and that feels very disconcerting. I said that it felt totally horrendous that she let me leave on Thursday, so so upset, and didn’t check in. Without taking a breath I said I understood why she didn’t but it still sucks and makes it almost impossible to find our relationship within that. She said that she knows me and she knows that I will reach out… but that yeah, she would have just waited to see if I turned up to this week’s session. That made me cry. It is so very cold and it is impossible to find the woman who cuddles me, reads me stories and tucks my hair behind my ear, in the therapist who was happy to wait a week for contact even though I had left in floods. I want to feel like I know who she is but her email and the way she let me leave the session feel like too much of a barrier to overcome right now.
We needed to end then but I was crying and she said she didn’t want to say goodbye whilst I was upset. We stayed on the phone for a few minutes whilst she asked me inane questions about my sofa to get me to come down from the emotion. She sounded like the T I feel I know today.
As we ended she said that it’s not going to be a big, bad thing, but she wants to talk about how we work together on Thursday. She mentioned endings – that at the moment she tells me when it’s time and I get upset, that maybe it would be better if she gave me a 10minute warning? She also mentioned that I will often email things which I won’t then be able to talk about in our sessions. She said we’d talk more then.
Then we said goodbye. It was good to hear her voice but it still feels like we have a really, really long way to go. xx