Therapy, Help, Shame

I find myself not wanting to write about therapy today.  I don’t even want to remember it.  So much shame–though on some level I know I don’t deserve the shame.

On Tuesdays, my appointment is at 1:30.  I left home a little after 8:00.  It was cold and rainy, and I haven’t yet dug my umbrella out of whatever box it got put in.  I put on a coat and a hand-knit hat and hoped that would do it.  It’s a two-mile walk to town, and a mile and a half of that doesn’t have a sidewalk.  You either walk in the deep mud between the river and the road, or you walk along the railroad tracks on the other side.  I opted for the railroad tracks.  I was walking across uneven gravel and railroad ties, fighting bushes and trees that look like they haven’t been cut back since the Civil War, hoping no train came because then I’d have to jump down into a ravine to avoid getting run over.  I was already in pain before I even got to town, and then I had to take two buses (with an hour and a half layover in between and nowhere warm to wait) and walk half a mile up a steep hill to get to A’s office.

When I finally saw  A, I just fell apart, crying about how I couldn’t manage my life anymore because everything is just too hard.  Her sweet dog laid her head in my lap for almost the whole time so I could pet her.  (I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but A brings her dog, Zelda, to work.  She’s this sweet, laid-back golden retriever who loves to be petted, and we quickly became good friends since I love to pet dogs.)  I was wet and cold and in pain, and I just couldn’t hold it together anymore.  A kept trying to help with practical things–she got me a blanket and a cup of tea–but it was hard for me to let her.

See, I have these rigid, role-defined boundaries: this is what a therapist does, and no more than that.  It’s the only way that I can feel safe allowing someone to help with the emotional stuff.  If they offer anything beyond that, I feel guilty.  I feel like I manipulated them into taking care of me.  That’s my mother’s legacy–when I asked for things like food, money for school field trips, new clothes, etc., she accused me of manipulating her.  If anyone else was kind to me, particularly if they gave me material things she didn’t think I deserved, she accused me of manipulating them into giving them to me, too.  So now I’m always afraid when someone is kind to me–afraid they’ll realize I manipulated them, conned them into giving me things I didn’t deserve, and then they’ll hate me.

At the end of the session, it was raining hard.  A asked if I’d let her take me home.  I had to fight the voices screaming at me that it’s against the rules, but eventually I nodded.  That was hard enough.  But then her car wouldn’t start.  I said I could take the bus home, but she called me a cab and gave me money to pay for it.  That’s what I feel the most ashamed about.  I feel like that was completely wrong of me.  I should never have let her give me money.  I feel like I’m evil for letting her do that.  Part of me was relieved, and that makes me feel even worse.  The introjects are using that as proof that it was wrong and I’m bad.  They’re telling me I can never go back to therapy because now A will now how manipulative and terrible I am, and she’ll hate me now.

I feel like my abusers sabotaged my mind.  Everything is a trap, and no matter what I do, I’m going to get hurt.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Therapy, Help, Shame

  1. I think that’s a wonderful thing that she did for you, and an acknowledgement of the difficulties you have been having in getting to therapy. It’s not manipulative on your part at all.
    A couple of years ago I had two sessions with a therapist (sorry I keep referring back to my own experiences in comments, I’m ridiculously self-absorbed) and in the second I talked about feeling like a failure. And rather than discuss my academic or career achievements (because he recognised that I didn’t care about or value those in that moment) he simply pointed out that on that day I had got up, showered, dressed and walked through the rain to make the appointment – and that not everyone could manage that. It seems like there was a similar acknowledgement with your therapist here. You put all that effort in to getting yourself there – no easy feat even for someone with 100% perfect health – and she recognised that.
    On a side note, having a dog in therapy sounds like the most awesome idea ever.

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