Here I am, trying to settle my head down to writing about the second MBT Therapy Assessment. There is an acute awareness of the avoidance tactics deployed by spending most of my PC time reading and writing on other people’s blogs.
Avoidance – procrastination – fear – are some of the words that are at the forefront of my mind. It is a year, almost to the day, when I first started writing on the net. I only visited one particular Forum and spent most of my time reaching out to others. I became an Administrator and this further reinforced my reasons for attending to other members, rather than my own issues.
The first assessment, which I wrote about in “The Therapist that Bugged Me”, was still swirling round in my head. I was tired, grumpy and very paranoid. Travelling there, I was struggling against entering into a full-blown “Splitting” mode. Something about this kind of therapist unsettles me. There are a few moments of panicked desire to abort the whole idea and look for peace elsewhere. Thankfully, I’m mature enough to recognise the cop out. I’ve been here before. If I want to get better, I need to start somewhere.
I arrive almost 15 minutes late – which is usually for this kind of appointment – she greets me with not only the identical persona, but also dressed in exactly the same floral twin set skirt and jacket. This time I notice the material looks nylon and rather worn. Walking behind her to the therapy room, again she is wearing 6-inch cream high heels, her very thin legs wobbling with each step. We go in silence.
Sitting looking at each other, once again, she looks bored before we even start. There is no friendliness or warmth. It almost feels like I’ve been dragged back in time to the first assessment. I am almost ready to ‘have a go’ for her silence contributing towards my discomfort.
Her bland face asks me a question, which immediately puts the paranoia at ease, “So, have you had any thoughts from our last meeting”?
I’ve had loads of thoughts. Some I have posted, others swirling around in my head, but I cannot recall any, except…
“Every time I go into a therapeutic setting, childhood trauma is what drowns out everything else”
Surprisingly, she speaks again, “What is it about this kind of setting that triggers those memories”?
If I had the slightest inclination of how she would react, I might have chosen my words more carefully, but I said, “I don’t know”.
This was the catalyst for what feels like a heated and very uncomfortable discussion. At one point I am wondering who’s issues were being triggered. It has always been an assumption that the vivid memories of childhood trauma were simply just there. Nothing in particular can trigger flashbacks. Entering into any therapy room is like kicking up dust from the past, but she evidently disagrees.
“Perhaps the trigger is the relationship/interaction you have with the therapist. You expect to be rescued – that the Therapist will help you feel more at ease”. I get a sudden pang of paranoia, wondering if she’s read “The Therapist that bugged me” post. She adds, “Perhaps, the fact that the Therapists don’t rescue you, conjures memories of your parents not rescuing their little boy”.
She allows a minutes silence for this to sink in, but the paranoia is stuffing cotton wool in my brain. I still cannot fully grasp what she is trying to say, or trying to get me to say. However, something is ringing true, so I decide to stick with it
“The fact you also construe me as cold and irritable is probably what triggers memories of your parents being as annoyed and distant when all you wanted was to be rescued”
We pause for a few eternal seconds, she stares, and my paranoia continues to overwhelm any coherent thought process. She is evidently ‘on a roll’.
“To say ‘you don’t know’ why these memories are so prominent is like throwing up barriers; maybe you don’t want to know”. She stares with an inquisitive expression, eyes boring a hole in the side of my head
My head was reeling. Initially, I thought she was talking rubbish, but my subconscious is pushing me forward, trying so hard to understand. It feels like my brain is in a knot. If it wasn’t true, why am I ready for throwing a drama and walking out? I understand that by saying “I don’t know” IS pushing people away, but she appears particularly irritated by it.
I start to convince my warped thinking that this is more about her. At the same point, I am worried it is going against me. I desperately want the MBT therapy course; it’s specifically designed for people living with Borderline Personality Disorder. I need to work towards change and could really do with the guidance and support. But, am I ready to let them in?
This week she has a lot to say (but she still looks bored and miserable), “Do you think that perhaps this childhood trauma – the stuff you’re not prepared to talk about – is actually an avoidance tactic for dealing with the here and now”?
I get more defensive, “It’s not that I don’t WANT to talk about it. Saying ‘I don’t know’ is more like a reaction. We have no relationship and neither do I feel particularly comfortable, so you could say it is an avoidance statement for this present situation”
Her hair reminds me a bit like – sorry for spelling – Worzel Gumich’s, Aunt Sally, bleached so much it’s dry and fluffy like straggly straw. I don’t like her much but I feel – in that moment – she is reading into something that isn’t there. She then says something about my fear of her abandoning me (classic BPD trait) Huh, I feel like saying, “Don’t flatter yourself darling”, but worry it might be going too far and flushing my chances down the drain
She glances behind me to the clock on the wall, “We have two minutes left”. She looks keen to get me out of there and, once again, my paranoia strangles any further thought process.
I am relieved to discover that they are accepting me onto the course, anyway. There is an educational session for 10 weeks, where we not only learn about MBT and Mentalization, but also assess whether or not the further 18 months therapy course is suitable. I have the feeling she is doubtful, and was not for rescuing me, so I left in the same cold manner as I arrived.
In retrospect…. Well, I’m still struggling with any retrospect…. I’m still trying to untie the knot in my brain and grasp the enormity of her very plausible conclusion. It’s something I need to work on. Hearing what others might think would help…