The comments I received following my post “The absent Therapist” were amazing. I hung onto every single word, as they helped process the disappointment of Paul’s absence, and then reach a nice philosophical conclusion – that the good of our relationship far outweighs the bad and I will be able to talk this through and take something positive from it.
Through the course of today, my views have changed a little, maybe quite radically, and right now, I feel that familiar self-destructive anger surging through my veins. Let me explain…
I was once in an abusive relationship. As anyone who has ever been in this position will testify, we think we love that person with all our heart and want the relationship to work so, so badly, we make allowances and excuses for unacceptable, often humiliating, behaviour. Following an abusive episode, you convince yourself, ‘I’ll forgive him. The next time it happens, you assure yourself again, ‘Och, maybe this will be the last time’ and so it continues, but there never is a “last time.”
I have been doing a lot of work in therapy in recent months and it feels as though I am consistently moving forward, on a roll. Even the therapeutic relationship with Paul is beginning to show early signs of trust and connection. However, whenever he cancels our sessions every 3-4 weeks, I screech to a rubber-burning halt. Each time he returns, we rekindle the relationship and I pacify myself by saying, ‘Och, maybe this will be the last time’… sound familiar?
Yes, perhaps I am overplaying the title a little, it’s not exactly an abusive relationship, I get that, but if I am giving my 100% to this programme, I need a Therapist who will return that commitment. I can be as understanding and sympathetic to Paul’s plight as I like, and I can make a thousand wishes that maybe ‘this will be the last time’, but I cannot allow this type of scenario to play out in my therapy.
As I’ve said a number of times on this blog, one of the most important aspects of therapy is the relationship between client & Therapist. The way we relate to our therapists is often how we relate to other people. As our relationship changes and grows with the Therapist, so do our relationships with the rest of the world. That is the general theory.
Maybe this is a pivotal moment playing out in the client-Therapist relationship. As I refuse to accept anything less from Paul, perhaps I will begin to expect more from my relationships with other abusive people in my life.