Well, therapy this week continued right where we left off last Tuesday.
It was like I never left …
Last week I ended with- “Well, now I feel like I can’t bring anger into the room, which makes me angry.” And this week I began with- “I’m angry.”
I explained to Mr. J., my therapist, that I felt hurt because he didn’t listen to me last week. In our previous session, he made me angry because he changed the subject while I was in the middle of dealing with some difficult feelings, and he concluded that anger arose because the session was difficult for me–because I was trying to avoid something, in other words. I tried to explain that my anger was just anger but he didn’t listen.
He immediately apologized for not listening (which seemed sincere). I felt a lot better, and we moved on.
It’s interesting (and ironic, I guess) that I started going to therapy to get help with my relationships, and yet in the beginning of our session yesterday, we had to work on our relationship. A part of me thinks that was just a waste of time, but another part thinks that it’s great those feelings came up because my relationship with my therapist is a microcosm of how I view the world.
Once I become content with myself in therapy, and with our relationship, those feelings should extend to all my relationships.
Afterward, I told J. about my weekend (see the camping post, if interested), and we chose to look deeper at what’s behind my desire to keep my girlfriend away from my friends.
I’m very uncomfortable with my girlfriend connecting (or cathecting, as J. put it) with my friends, because in a past relationship my girlfriend “stole” one of my friends after we broke up–that is, for whatever reason, my friend stopped being friends with me (who I was friends with first) but kept hanging out with my ex. So I’m afraid this will happen again, and so my solution is to keep my girlfriend away from my friends, which is hard for me to do because she’s my “safe” person, so she ends up hanging out with most of my friends, and because she’s fun and outgoing and interesting (and I’m not) this makes me very uncomfortable (did I say that already?).
Why would so and so want to be friends with me when they can be friends with her–someone infinitely more interesting?
What’s more, I don’t have very many friends, and so I’m very protective of the ones I have, and I keep them at a distance because I’m afraid if they get too close, they’ll see the real me and then run the other way. Because of this I don’t have true relationships with them, and the relationships are very fragile.
“I don’t understand this behavior,” I told J. “I really want real friendships; I don’t like having to cling to my girlfriend all the time, but I just can’t seem to let my guard down. What can I do?”
“It’s simple,” he said. “Develop a relationship with yourself. Relationships come and go; the only constant is your relationship with yourself.”
If I can develop an inner relationships (sounds easy, right?) I will have stability in life no matter what comes my way, and the real me will open up. My friends will see this and will connect more with me.
Okay, sounds great. How do I do that?
“You’re doing it right now,” J. said. “We’re doing it together, you and I. I give you the space to be yourself–the real you, whatever that may be in the moment–in here, while you slowly open up to yourself. It’s a lifetime of work, but it’s necessary because you can’t have happiness and joy in your life if you don’t have affinity for yourself.”
“That’s too abstract,” I said. “It has no practical meaning for me now, in
the present. I don’t know what to do”
“You’re doing it.”
We sat in silence for some time.
“I know that you feel vulnerable and exposed in here,” he said breaking the silence, “but all I really see is a man trying to develop a relationship with himself. That’s all.”
“I feel like I’m twelve years old,” I said.
“You feel like you need someone to look up to and to take care of you?”
Yes. And I didn’t have anybody there–emotionally speaking–when I was twelve, but I do now–I have myself.