It has been difficult to write a post this past week. I feel all dried up and hollow inside. Childhood abuse has been top of the therapy agenda recently and this could be why I feel like a child with no voice, paranoid that no one really wants to listen.
My individual therapy with Paul last week was very positive. We spent considerable time discussing the horrible experience I underwent at the previous group session and how the Leader, Frankie, got right on my wick. I wrote about this in my last therapy post, “Do they Believe Me?”
Contrary to it being an incredibly difficult experience, it transpires as a pivotal moment in therapy because I’m finally starting to connect to feelings for the first time in decades.
The thing I love about Paul is that he always oozes empathy and never tries to sway any of my opinions, even if they are a little far-fetched sometimes. As we talked last week, I started to feel unprecedented trust for him.
We have been meeting each week for about eight months now and only recently, we were discussing the importance of the Client-Therapist relationship. I quickly realised that my inherent inability to trust must stand in the way of ever experiencing genuine connection. I told Paul it is difficult to envisage ever being able to trust or connect, but one way to learn is to work on our therapeutic relationship.
The day after my session with Paul, I was back in the group. It felt foolish to return to an undervalued situation when I was still feeling so vulnerable. Nevertheless, I’ve been running away from myself for too long and it’s now time to deal with those fears head on.
Unfortunately, our group therapist, Frankie, is not very receptive to anything that might sound critical, she does tend to take up a lot of time talking, and the more she talks, the more she orchestrates the entire session. Little did I know, at least one other group member was feeling the same.
In response to my own concerns, Frankie immediately launches into defence mode, going around in circles, trying hard to justify her leadership. I couldn’t even tell you what she was blabbing on about because my blood was simmering and the ears shut down long ago.
I said, “Sorry, Frankie, but you’re starting to get on my nerves. If we are encouraged to raise issues during the start of group ‘check-in’, then surely as group leader, it is your responsibility to keep on top and remember who needs the time.”
The rest of the group session went really well, but unfortunately, Frankie did it again with one of the other members. We had already reached the end of session before we realised that he didn’t get the chance to speak, while Frankie sporadically talked for 16mins in total, and yes, I did time her!
At the end of group ‘Check-out’, one of the other members said, “I am very sorry, Frankie, but this is not meant to sound like we’re all ganging up on you, but you talk far too much.”
I am ashamed to admit that I did openly scoff in agreement.
In the past, I have been guilty of what I call, ‘displaced anger’ and I think many of us are guilty of this to a greater or lesser degree. It is when we project anger from our own circumstances onto someone or something else. In recent weeks, I’ve stated that the trauma associated with my parents has somehow lessened, but I am slowly becoming aware that those traumatic memories are slowly evolving into anger… an intense, all-consuming, destructive rage and I really don’t want to go there.
I am terrified of anger and have never been able to express it without turning into a jabbering piece of jelly. It has always been a very self-destructive imploding emotion and I’ve no idea how I will manage to process it in the coming weeks.