planned ignoring (how frustrating yet liberating)

something just hit me: with all her focus on coping skills and changing behavior, my frustration with not feeling heard about my inner dialogues feels like it may be planned ignoring. She’s not focusing on the self-destruction urges and depression because that has (historically) not really gotten me anywhere. She’s honing in on the coping and changing cognitive stuff because that has not yet been tried and failed (at least not outside of DBT. it has certainly failed me in DBT time and time again). But with De I have more of an opportunity to get into the gritty emotional stuff.
I am only guessing this is what she is doing, but I know I have used it with some of the kids I used to work with. We would focus their attention and treatment differently to try to get a different result. Indulging the self-harm thoughts/conversations and the negative thinking was rewarding in a way, so we would take the reward away by turning attention to the things that did make a difference to talk about (normalizing their feelings, dealing with teasing out the past from the present, hearing their stories that lead to the feelings of self-destruction without focus on the actual feelings aside of doing a quick risk assessment…). I recognize some of my reactions/feelings about therapy similar to what I saw with my kids. While it’s frustrating as hell to not be able to talk about the current feelings, having someone hear (and understand) where they are rooted is pretty freeing. Yes, my brain throws more intense emotions at me. Yes, I feel incredibly overwhelmed by not being able to talk about the thoughts flooding my mind. BUT it’s also incredibly validating to be able to talk about some of the things I have never really mentioned in such detail before… I know exactly why my kids raged against the process (the only way you have know how to get the help you need is suddenly failing you). It’s a very unsettling feeling. It at once feels like I’m being ignored (yup) but also indulged (again, yup). The rewards for more “balanced” ways of seeking help are pretty great, while the denial of old help-seeking habits (conscious or unconscious) is infuriating. Suddenly my brain is struggling to figure out how to work within this new constraint.
I will have to ask her if this is actually what she is doing, or if it’s just the best way my brain can put meaning to my frustration without turning out to hate her for not feeling heard… It may put a wrench in her plans if it is actually what she is doing, as I can see myself unintentionally rebelling against that strategy, but it may also just lead to some deeper conversations. Hmm… food for thought.

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2 responses to “planned ignoring (how frustrating yet liberating)

  • cbtwithalieshia

    Massive glimpse for me what it must be for clients (even though I’ve been in therapy myself) Thanks so much for this articulate description.

    • Samantha Jane

      yw. glad I could help. I know i didn’t really get it till it hit me that it may be what she is trying to do. it’s incredibly enlightening to go through some of the techniques from the other side… I’m hoping it will again help me with my clients at some point down the line.

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