feeling raw & needy

The relief from yesterday’s session is now accompanied by feeling emotionally raw. I want to cry my eyes out (and I’m sure it would help), but I can’t seem to do it. It feels like tears should be flowing freely but they are just not there. Really glad I see TL again on Saturday, though I am not sure how to express all of this to her. I don’t want to not process this stuff, but I also don’t want to have to hold it alone for another week if we do more on Saturday. I wish I knew how to hold on to some of that sense of support throughout the week. I suppose I could call and leave a voice mail (or just listen to the greeting). There’s hesitancy around that though. I fear becoming too needy and annoying. I fear relying on it too much. I fear hitting her “point of frustration” with it. She didn’t offer it again this week. The worried/anxious part of me interprets that to mean that she is rescinding the offer. Intellectually, I think she may just not want to be over-stating the permission, but I think I need that over-statement on an emotional level. I need to know it’s ok to be “bothersome” (by my definition). I need to know it’s ok to need. When I get stuck in this raw, little kid space, I have a hard time being ok with being either.

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9 responses to “feeling raw & needy

  • manyofus1980

    Glad you had a good session. Perhaps you could talk to your t about how to feel connected to her during the times your not seeing her? I talked to mine about it. Usually good therapists are open to that sorta stuff. XX

    • Samantha Jane

      thanks. The calling and leaving her vm between sessions was to help address that connection problem. I think I need to get reassurance from her that it is still ok though, so I should bring it up again next session.

  • andreabehindglass

    I am curious: You seem to be doing better with her now, and you know, intellectually, that you can leave her a voicemail message. Do you think that if you felt more comfortable doing it and, hence, did so more often, it would help you more, or that it would actually increase your dependency in a way that doesn’t offer you a greater long-term benefit? This question comes across as biased/criticial, but really I mean it as a reflection that I have on my own situation (and permission to email a therapist etc). The situation with therapists seems to be along the lines of, “I am there if you are in crisis and need me, but I am enforcing boundaries that restrict communication in general.” It is an odd situation that I am trying to understand the benefits of. I hope this comment is not entirely pointless or unhelpful.

    • Samantha Jane

      I think that’s part of my struggle. I’m not 100% sure leaving her a message would not lead to feeling way more needy and make it more difficult to get through the week (though in the past it has had the opposite effect now that I think about it).
      I also know she will not likely call back unless it’s scheduling, so I am not sure how telling her I am really struggling with feeling raw would help. I’m not sure what she could offer me at this point if I did call her. I guess I would want some reassurance that I can get through this and that it’s normal (because even if I know that intellectaully, my emotional self needs to hear that she is still around and she believes I will be fine), but it’s not something she is open to offering (I don’t think)…
      The offering of support in crisis is a confusing one… I think it also greatly depends on the individual therapist and the particular client. Some therapists are open to contact in general, and have more casual boundaries. Some only have casual boundaries with specific clients, some have really strict boundaries with everyone. I’ve found trauma T’s tend to have more casual boundaries, but others will often hold more strict boundaries… I get the need for them, but it becomes incredibly confusing (especially for me when I switch therapists so frequently and they all have different expectations)…

    • Samantha Jane

      I think there’s an aspect of learned helplessness they try to avoid. I had mentioned it to my T in relation simply giving up fighting back against abusive situations because the past has taught me that it was safer to simply give in. I wonder if the stricter boundaries around certain things are an effort to teach us self-reliance…
      I know I fear getting to a point of being too reliant on my T to help me through difficult situations. I don’t know if I actually get that way often, but I fear it a lot, so I try not to rely too heavily on anyone. But at the same time, I have had T’s tell me that I need to reach out before the breaking point; that I am relying on myself *too much* and that I need to let others help me. They usually tell me this after they get to know me (usually because I have held something to myself too long and gone from being “fine” to totally non-functioning in a matter of hours without warning)…
      Have you found a way to balance that reaching-out vs being self-reliant?

      • andreabehindglass

        Thank you so much for taking the time to write so explicatively about your own experiences and views on this. It is a great help to me. I think I need boundaries to be justified to me: not because I am unwilling to accept them, but because I need them to seem non-arbitrary. I completely agree that I benefit greatly from depending on myself, for several reasons: I develop better coping strategies and learn to face up to my own problems; I recognise my own abilities and strength more; I develop trust in my friends and allow myself to be more vulnerable in friendships and to ask people for things. But I also face the trust issue that I feel rejected as a person by my therapist’s boundaries and find it hard to maintain my trust in him. I guess I feel like that relates to your need for TL to reassure you.

        On the level of raw emotion, and perhaps expressing too blunt a level of honesty, I hate depending on my therapist, because it feels like a bought relationship, in which I am a burden, and, more importantly, allow myself to be. I feel like I am letting myself be duped by the all-forgiving, “caring” role of a therapist, and his power to “save” me from my “illness”. I find my attitude to therapy invalidating, so I try to push my therapist away. But I also gain comfort from that reassuring therapist-patient relationship and depend on it to feel better about myself. On an intellectual level, it has helped me to work through a lot of difficulties, but I also think that some of the work comes from my own processing of those things above and beyond what therapy can offer, and taking independent responsibility for them. Anyway, this is an entirely tangential rant, so I hope you can forgive me for it!

      • Samantha Jane

        No worries about tangents. I’m a big proponent of them, lol. You bring up good points though. Therapy is a contrived relationship in many respects:we are paying for care that we should be able to get elsewhere for free… but it’s also more “safe” because of it. There’s no real obligation to care outside of that paid time. We are also paying them to respond more consistently and in a more healthy and helpful way than we can expect of real world relationships. I think I like that safety aspect (when it’s there) because it’s *not* guaranteed elsewhere and I have yet to find it consistently outside of therapy (actually even in therapy)…
        Wow, speaking of tangents…
        I agree, I like to know boundaries are not completely arbitrary. I’m a fan of individualized therapy, and modifying it to the needs of the client. I can understand having more close boundaries to stay with and then opening them up as needed (or tightening as needed) with each client, but I like to know why things are done. I think I understand the general theories behind many of them just from work experience, but I think that also makes me hyper-aware of them, and all the judgements I place on myself because of them… looking back on my work experiences, I’ve found I worked with some very judgemental people. They cared, and we’re genuine in their care, but they were people none the less. Despite training, they still got frazzled at times and allowed that overwhelmed feeling to guide them… I wish I didn’t latch on to that. I know *so many* clinicians that are truly caring people. They don’t see their clients simply as a job, but as people who need help… why is it so much easier to latch on to the negative aspects?

      • andreabehindglass

        Thank you for giving me some insight into the other side of the picture, and for understanding me. Therapy requires a lot of seemingly-one-sided trust, and I think that naturally makes it difficult. I don’t know.

      • andreabehindglass

        I’d just like to add that I can be very cynical when it comes to evaluating relationships with others, e.g. my therapist, and that therapists do in general care about their patients. I hope what I wrote was not offensive in that I wrote it from the point of view of my irrational self.

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