Tag Archives: Anger

A Daunting Prospect

guiltyI was only just writing in my last post about the significant improvement in mood and then I woke two days later, with a severe dose of the blues.

While I’m struggling to understand the therapeutic process – or fully believe in the healing – positive changes are undoubtedly underway. The sudden turnaround in mood wasn’t immediately obvious until I reread my therapy journal from the night before. The words were bold and clear, adorned with question marks, “My attempted murder.”

When Wednesday came along, I really didn’t want to go to my session with Paul. I wasn’t consciously avoiding any connection with the memories of my attack, but I did feel suffocating apathy. I know from experience that something very powerful takes place whenever we choose to a sit with the feelings in therapy, even if they are only resentments for being there.

Paul sensed my unease, “It looks as though you’re finding it difficult to be here today.”

This took me by surprise. He’s one of the most passive Therapists I’ve ever met and not usually forthright with his own observations. We talked for a while about trivialities and then I eventually told him about my journal entry and the change of mood.

“It’s the only issue I haven’t yet focussed on in therapy, but I don’t know how to even begin talking about such a traumatic event. I can easily run through the details, but they always feel more like describing a movie, completely absent of any personal connection. I’ve never even thought about the impact it had on my life, never mind the feelings.”

“This reminds me of the issue you had during the initial months of therapy when you were experiencing dissociation from feeling anything in the moment.”

“I know this is a form of dissociation but awareness does not seem to help, it only adds to the frustration. Whenever I go in search of the feelings, there is only an empty space… nothing. If there are no emotions, what is there to talk about?”

“Do you feel anything right now?”

With great relief, I noticed the clock was approaching the end of our time, “The only thing I feel right now is intense fear, as though a black hole is opening at my feet… and I am slowly backtracking.”

Two days later, it was time for the weekly group therapy and once again, I desperately didn’t want to go. I can see how this was purely avoidance, but my mind was playing tricks at the time. I scrambled to find every possible reason not to go, even sabotaging the journey to keep me late.

I shared with the group how confusing it felt not to be able to talk about the feelings. One of the other members said something so simple that I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it myself.

“Sometimes it’s easier to identify the feelings, but quite another to feel them.”

That statement’s so true. I can identify the terror and helplessness, the fear and anger, the violation and intense hurt, or I can tell you about how it was the final straw to a lifetime of violence and injustice. The missing ingredient, crucial to healing, is the ability to feel any one of those emotions.

At the start of therapy, I had this general plan of the things I needed to talk about and, morebottling importantly, the emotions I should feel. I couldn’t bear to think about certain childhood memories and the thought of willingly analysing them in therapy was a daunting prospect, but I knew exactly what to expect.

The experience of almost losing my life to a psychotic murderer feels entirely different. Even though I lived with the aftermath all these years, the depth of emotion is completely new territory and any thought of digging up the trauma is terrifying. But, I will be disappointed if I reach the end of this therapy programme in January without a reasonable attempt to connect with the feelings.

Group Therapy Dynamics, the effects of narcissism

The update on our hot-headed beer delivery driver from my last post concludes that he will not be representing the company again, oh shit! This news tinges any satisfaction with regret. I’ve always felt responsible for other people’s feelings and their misfortunes, which raises one of the biggest challenges I’m about to face in group therapy tomorrow…urgh.

I was the only member to show face at last Friday’s group session. I understand why some of the others find commitment a challenge, but their absence can affect everyone else’s therapy. It was a rather odd experience, although I was equally pleased to speak to the two group Therapists alone.

While I am careful what I write about group, I do feel it’s acceptable to discuss an issue from the perspective of how it affects my own therapy.

I perceive one of the group members as extremely vulnerable and I’m always fearful ofth74HYDPIJ tipping him over the edge into deeper depression or suicidal feelings. Since the beginning of this programme, he has irritated me on a number of occasions by talking for large amounts of time during the session. It doesn’t seem to matter who is talking, everything will eventually revolve back to his plight and he will think nothing of interrupting with similar tales of woe.

While I was talking to the Therapists on Friday, I realised this group member represents my own mother. Everything had to revolve back to her and I bore the brunt of those temperamental moods, while accepting blame for many misfortunes too. If I had the audacity to speak my mind or show any kind of negative emotion, it would ultimately lead to disapproval with some form of rejection thrown in for good measure.

Whenever this group member talks incessantly, I seem to experience a weird fear response and rather than exert my own contribution, I withdraw and start to shut down. The adrenaline soars through my veins in seconds and it feels as though I am trembling from head to toe. My heart pounds so hard against my chest, I will come close to losing my voice completely.

I’ve only ever experienced this kind of response in the group. I can be as mouthy as the next person can, but I go to great lengths to project a calm and confident persona and this ‘fear response’ blows my cover completely, which feels humiliating.

The last session I attended with this “talkative” group member, I started to lose patience. I was so terrified of imposing on his vulnerabilities, I quickly became overwhelmed with fear of stepping on his toes. When someone noticed I was quiet, the only words I could squeeze from my voice box were, “I can’t contribute… it wouldn’t be very nice.”

Apparently, my fellow-groupy is very upset because my response suggests I am annoyed with him and his topic of discussion. Of course, I only perceive his response as ‘poor me’, which almost expects some kind of explanation at our next session. Once again, everything needs to revolve back to him.

Children of narcissistic parents grow up believing in their own selfishness. We quickly learn that the parent’s needs and feelings come first. If the child shows anything resembling a free will, the narcissist will tarnish the ‘ungrateful little brat’ as rude and ungrateful. Punishments can easily escalate from verbal abuse through to physical assault, or the silent treatment might hang in the air for days. Both responses carry the ultimate message of disapproval and rejection if we dare speak out against them.

thCRZ1VW5DGroup therapy represents our mini world and that includes certain family dynamics, which is why it can be such an uncomfortable and painful experience. It’s one thing to identify the cause and effects of a problem, but overcoming the most challenging aspects often depend on action. No one is asking me to confront these fears by speaking out, although the very nature of therapy invites us to act upon whatever pulls on our conscience the most.

I need to face my fear of rejection whenever I am unwilling to please another person. I have no other choice but to tell this man how I feel at tomorrow’s group, but I am not looking forward to it. This is something I need to do for myself. After all, this is my therapy too.

Mediocre Therapy

Following my last post Stuck in Therapy & Resistance,” this week’s individual session and the group were rather neutral in comparison. My intention was to try to connect to supressed feelings, but it didn’t quite go to plan.

It all started Wednesday when I arrived home for lunch prior to my session with Paul and found an inconsiderate moron parked in my bay. I parked on the adjacent road, a wide-open space with plenty of room for vehicles to pass… that’s until the beer delivery truck arrived at the pub opposite and abandoned his lorry adjacent to my car.

It wasn’t long before passing cars were struggling to ease between my legally parkedthJE8SJ9RN car and the illegally parked lorry and a few curse words were hanging in the air. I was rushing to dress while watching from the window and as soon as the men finished offloading the beer, the driver calmly placed a note on my windscreen. My heart sank, imaging all sorts of damage to my pride and joy.

I got outside just as the lorry was leaving the street and curiously lifted the note from my windscreen and this is what it said,

“Great place to park, you cunt!

the next time I see your shit car I will smash you up.”

“Shit car?” cheeky git, it only has 3,000 miles on the clock. I would love to see what kind of wreck he drives. When I got over the initial man-insult, I saw red.

I detest people who place abusive notes on cars; their cowardly deeds never leave a reply address or a phone number. He had no idea who owned that vehicle. How would an older person feel to see such an aggressive and abusive note? I was furious, but had to put it on the backburner until after my session with Paul.

Oddly enough, when I was with Paul, it didn’t cross my mind to talk about what had just happened, even though I was sizzling underneath. I couldn’t work out whether the incident was distracting, or if it was Paul.

I was trying to tell him about the anniversary of my attack last Sunday, which wrote about here. I am in the process of finding a way of retelling the story that might help connect to the feelings, but this is no easy task.

I would say a few sentences and then fall silent, choosing my words carefully while searching for emotion. I have never wished for silence in therapy so much in my life, but Paul kept talking and talking and bloody talking at every opportunity.

th773T42SQMy biggest dread at the start of therapy was the silence and Paul was always mindful of this. His “reflections” are always about me, but repeating everything I say and continually checking out his interpretation is starting to grate on my nerves. I left the session feeling irritated with Paul and still reeling from the abusive note on my car.

The donut made a few mistakes that day (not Paul, the delivery driver) If he didn’t consider someone might be watching, he failed to notice there were workers erecting and testing CCTV just above my car.

While his handwriting and punctuation were impressive, it must have eluded his intelligence that he was actually writing the criminally offensive note on the back end of an official document from his company and the telephone number of Head Quarters is included for my benefit.

The last mistake he made is picking on someone who is sick of bullies assuming they can intimidate the rest of us into submission. I’ve had enough of saying it is okay, when clearly it’s not.

What would you do?

And now I’ve ran out of time to write about Friday’s group session, which was a rather bizarre end to the week.