Obviously this week’s therapy session was about my mother and my reaction to how things went. For those of you who may have missed my comments on the last post, we told my parents that we were busy and the response was literally two words: “Ok thanks.”
I don’t know what that means and I have to say that we’re waiting for some kind of evil, angry email at some point. So things don’t feel settled.
Strangely enough I find myself slightly pissed at my therapist. I noticed it during the session but several things kept me from speaking up. First I should setup what we were talking about.
I debated on whether I should tell her that in engaged in SI. I knew that her response would be all the reasons why I shouldn’t and how bad that is, blah, blah, blah. But I also felt like, “Well, she’s my therapist and I should be able to talk to her about anything”.
Of course her response was textbook but here’s where I started getting pissed off. She’s very big on not judging things. She says it ALL THE TIME. Everything I do, no matter how I feel about it, should have no judgement. I’m supposed to learn and stay present and yada, yada, yada. Ok…so why doesn’t that count when it comes to self-injury? Where’s the “No Judgement” rule? Instead, her face turned all serious and I could almost feel the disapproval pouring off of her.
I tried explaining how SI works for me in the sense of what I see in my head and the drive I have to accomplish certain things. I will not talk about it in detail here for the benefit if all of all of you. I felt like I was trying to help her understand why I feel the need to do certain things and I was hoping for some understanding. It never came. Everything she said about it was about the severe “psychological damage” that I was doing to myself and how SI is never the right thing to do and how I’m letting my mother win and saying that I’m powerless and reinforcing that idea every time I do it.
I didn’t need this speech. Ok, I appreciated some of what she said on a rational level but I’d already told myself that I was letting my mother influence me. My therapist compared SI to being a heroin addict and I could not agree with her because the damage drugs do to your body are very different than SI. She disagreed, blah, blah, blah.
I made it very clear that there were absolutely zero suicidal intentions going on just so she’d know. She insisted on writing a list of things I could do instead of harming myself. It felt so Psych 101 and I was irritated by the whole process.
I guess I feel like she didn’t try to hear me. She jumped straight to Therapist’s Textbook page 187: Ten Things You Must Say To Your Client If They Self-Harm and stubbornly stayed there instead of really listening. It made me mad and frustrated.
Another factor as to why I didn’t tell her that I felt this way is that, as I felt that disapproval coming from her, I began to fear that she would get angry with me if I didn’t acquiesce. It made me hesitate when something angry or sarcastic came to my lips. Instead, I watched her face and posture for signs that she was getting mad at me and a fear that she would stop seeing me planted itself. I don’t believe this fear is baseless because if I remember correctly, many, many, years ago when I first started self-harming, she said something to the effect of ‘I can’t help you if you don’t…something, something, something’ which in my memory was basically, “If you don’t stop harming yourself, I won’t see you anymore.” Maybe I misunderstood her or maybe she did imply that but her methods have changed since then. I don’t feel like she’d say that today at all. But the fact my memory thinks she said it once before is enough.
By the end I had agreed to put one instrument of harm back where I got it and I had also agreed that blogging about it when I’m having trouble was a decent idea. She also told me that she would be my cheerleader and to feel free to email her.
Now, I wonder how much of that I did to appease her? She’s so focused on how to handle addictions that I don’t feel like she heard what I really said about the compulsion.
Can a therapist even stop and listen to a client when they express themselves about SI? Or is their training so entrenched that their only goal is to stop it from happening by giving the speech?
So, now I sit here slightly pissed and I’ve noticed an increase in depression. Well, if I didn’t feel pissed and depressed it wouldn’t be a normal week for me would it?