A New Ending To The Letter

I don’t know whether this is any better – it might come off as equally ambivalent and not really add anything helpful. Maybe it’s even more confrontational. I like having you guys in there, and it feels more authentic to share the actual process, instead of just editing the original version, but maybe it sounds like I’m trying to gang up on her. I don’t know. I’m not sure if I even know my own name any more.

I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for her quitting, to picture myself walking out on Tuesday knowing that I’ll never see her again. But I don’t think I’ve actually accepted it as a realistic possibility, and if she actually does, it’s going to come as a horrible shock.

*continued – see previous post*

That was supposed to be the end of the letter. I posted it online, and I asked my friends for their feedback – too harsh? Too blame-y? Too ultimatum-y? As always, they were protective, and affirming, and insightful. DV talked about good therapist repairs, and said “I think that what’s underneath it is the therapist’s own confidence and inner strength – their belief in themselves that they are good enough and they’ll find a way through, and that it doesn’t diminish them in any way to recognise their misattunement and to apologise for not meeting their client’s needs at any given time.”

I really like that – I agree. I don’t think it diminishes you at all, to say you’re sorry. Probably the opposite, actually.

Some of them think the letter is perfect the way it is. Others think there’s something missing.

I worry that you are almost inviting her to quit,” Q says. “She might even read it as though you want her to because you are dissatisfied but don’t want to make that decision. I wonder if you could instead invite her to work with you to create something that can be mutually acceptable.”

Meh. I don’t really want to do that…at least, I don’t want to do it more explicitly than I already have. It feels like too much of a risk. I really can’t predict how you’re going to respond to this, and if I invite you to work with me and you do decide that I would be better off seeing someone else, I’m going to feel a whole lot more stupid and naïve and ashamed.

We’ve put too much blood and sweat and tears into this to terminate over a misunderstanding, though. I know you can and have responded in a helpful way, like this time:

Thank you so much for sending this. I know it’s really hard for you to communicate difficult stuff like this. I want to reassure you that I understand you are trying REALLY hard to communicate in sessions and I get that you have come a long way from the early days of Aisha.

So, to be clear: I am not inviting you to quit. I’m inviting you to let go of the need to defend and to be ‘right’, and of the urge to explain to me why it was so crucial for you to explain. I’m inviting you to recognise and internalise that you did really hurt me, even though you didn’t mean to, and to tell me that you’re sorry. At the end of the day, though, really the only thing that makes sense is to invite you to be authentic, whether that leads us to termination or continuation.

*end*

I didn’t realise how hard I’d been crying, writing this, until I stroked Lily and my hand came away wet.

I went and got in the shower, and before long, I was sitting in the bottom, water streaming over me, sobbing. Something weird happened, though. I felt…real. I was actually inside my body. I wrapped my arms around myself, palms resting against my ribs, and I could feel that they were my arms, that they belonged to me, and having them around me felt comforting. I was crying hard, and shaking, and feeling intense grief, but I didn’t have any urges to harm myself, and the emotion felt safe.

It didn’t last that long – maybe a couple of minutes. I feel like you guys are probably the only people in the world who’ll understand this, but I felt excited. I want to do that again, I thought. Is that how emotions feel, for normal people?

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A New Ending To The Letter

8 thoughts on “A New Ending To The Letter

  1. YES! That is how emotion feels! It hurts and it gut-wrenching and feels impossible, but it feels REAL and thus those urges to harm or escape it aren’t present in the same way.
    So proud of you Rea, for working through all of this. I wanted to reply yesterday to your post but I didn’t have my internet set up in my place.
    Really impressed and inspired with how you are diligently working through your feelings around this, NOT just throwing in the towel (though I know parts of you want to, understandably), but sitting with the discomfort, etc.
    Love to you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love what you’ve done with the letter in sharing your thought processes with Nikki, and I think the way you’ve used your discussion is good, it doesn’t come across at all that you’ve used us to gang up on her, merely to help bounce ideas off and clarify your own thoughts. And your being able to feel a strong emotion and have it feel real and safe is awesome!

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  3. This is a great addition – I love Q’s suggestion. And yes, to the emotion-feeling – I’ve only had a few of those moments, but my goodness, they are exciting. And as we put in more work, maybe they will happen more often. Lots of love. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That cry in the shower sounds like a sad but healthy reaction to your experiences. I’m happy (which sounds weird, given that you were sobbing) that you could allow yourself to feel your feelings, without turning them away or harming yourself to avoid them.

    I’m also sitting here, concerned and loving and curious to know what you did about the letter and how Nikki reacted. I hope you have received a good response from her, but no matter what has happened, know that we’re all here for you. We’re all over the place, and you don’t know all our faces, but we are every bit as real as Nikki. Our care is genuine, because you are amazing. Many many hugs, Q.

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    1. I gave her the letter at the end of the session – which wasn’t the way I wanted to do it, but I didn’t realise the session was almost over, and there was no way I was walking out still holding it. I just realised I should have asked her to hold onto it but not read it til next session – damn it. I see psychiatrist #12 for the first time this afternoon and then go straight to Nikki to find out whether we’re terminating or not and I am past my capacity. The psychiatrist was really confrontational on the phone yesterday when I made the appointment, and the “I wish I was dead” thoughts started coming back within a couple of hours. (The thoughts about hurting myself, of course, came immediately.).

      Thank you for your love and care, Q.

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      1. Why why why are psychiatrists anything but warm and supportive?!? Do they ever think they might be dealing with sensitive people? Or with people who have had less than stellar past experiences with psychiatry? Aren’t they supposed to be helping? Argh!!!

        Meanwhile, holding a safe and loving place for you that does not change no matter what Nikki says or the psychiatrist or anyone else says ot does. Because your valuable self remains unchanged by anything they say or do.

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  5. rea, you are doing great. that letter was wonderful. I hope Nikki will apologise and be authentic. You can move forward then in the relationship. you did all you could do. You are brave and you are strong! And I am not sure how it feels to feel emotions, I have a hard time with that, but I hope you get to do it again if it felt good! xxx

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