I was absolutely dreading seeing C last week, after the disaster of the previous week. Although the rawness of my hurt and anger had abated somewhat, I still felt fucked over and undermined, and obviously had no idea what he was thinking. In fact, I’d arrived at a position of relative indifference towards him, something I’ve never really felt during the whole time we’ve known each other.
My initial thinking was that, from a psychodynamic perspective, this was a very bad thing. You can’t just switch transference off, not well before the relationship has fulfilled its duties anyway (which as you can tell, ours as yet has not). I mean, one is surely supposed to feel strongly – or at least not ambivalently – about the therapist in the course of this type of psychotherapy. But perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
As I walked behind him from the waiting room to his office, I couldn’t help but observe how much his bald spot has grown since I first met him back in February. He has lovely fluffy hair, like a man about 40 years his senior (old people always have lovely fluffy hair, don’t they?). But now it is falling out. By odd coincidence, I noticed my first grew hair on the evening of the disaster session that this meeting followed. I must not allow myself to be deluded into thinking that I am encouraging or in some way perpetuating C’s hair loss. That would be fucking stupid.
I sat down, and immediately cast my eyes downwards, so as to avoid his gaze when he sat down. I don’t recall what he said at first – maybe he offered some salutation or asked where I wished to begin, but in any case he paused for a few minutes (during which I sat in a fiddly silence) and then told me that I “seem[ed] very agitated.”
Well, look at Dr fucking Insight. Your powers of perception astound me, C! Well, actually, they do at times – but I think on this occasion the observations could have been made by a dead giraffe with its neck twisted in a strait jacket.
I elected to ignore him beyond a mere shrug. ‘They’ were laughing spitefully at the back of my head and getting on my tits, though I don’t think they influenced my behaviour around C particularly. He hadn’t mentioned the previous week, and I hadn’t the balls to bring it up unsolicited, so what did I have to say to him?
Eventually, of course, he broke the silent deadlock with that perennially irritating question, “what’s going through your head as we sit here?”
As I recall, I told him that very little was going through my head. Apart from the grammatically- and personality-challenged ‘They’, not much really was happening in my head. It felt as if I existed in a thought vacuum. I didn’t feel good by an stretch of the imagination, but I didn’t exactly have anything tangible to exemplify that at that particular point.
This impasse continued for a few minutes, as ‘They’ assessed C. Perhaps unsurprisingly, their conclusion was not especially positive.
Eventually, after having ‘They’ berate C for a few minutes I took a deep breath and told him that I was seriously considering voluntary admission due to the danger posed by ‘They’. I went ahead and explained about ‘They’ in detail.
“I don’t want to go, C, I don’t want to go,” I told him, anxiously. “But I’m concerned that I’m in dangerous position and that I ergo have no choice.” It’s funny; it’s the the first time I recall using his name when addressing him directly. Not that it matters really – but it seems more personal or something.
He talked for a while about the procedure one has to follow to seek admission to an NHS psychiatric ward. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that it is as simple as it used to be. You have to meet your GP or psychiatrist, but rather than them referring you directly, they then send you to one of those fuckwit Crisis Teams who decide how mental you are. Based on my experience, you’d need admitted after meeting them, not that they’d realise that, because apparently a cup of tea and some meditating will cure all mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Yep. That’s why people in my position are considerably more likely to end up topping themselves than the general population, you pathetic cunts.
Anyhow, I was actually reasonably impressed with C’s non-judgmental take on on both ‘They’ and my hospitalisation proposal. It is often his wont to tell me that I can be in control of stuff like this, which to my mind is (mostly) horseshit. Although we later discussed the possibility of exploring non-medical ways of dealing with ‘They’, certainly at this juncture, his tone was accepting, as was the content of what he said. That was encouraging.
After the discussion around hospitalisation, I admitted to him that ‘They’ didn’t like him.
This enraged ‘They’. “That is not what we said,” ‘They ‘ shrieked at me. “We said he was a cunt. Tell him. Tell him…TELL HIM!”
For the first time, in utter frustration, I actually spoke aloud to them – or rather, I shouted at them.
“Alright, for fuck’s sake, I know!” I yelled. I had actually been in the middle of a sentence directed at C at the time, and he must surely have been taken aback by this random outburst – but he managed not to bat an eyelid.
I don’t remember how the discussion of my anger at the previous week’s annoyances arose, but eventually arise it did. I do remember that he said that I hadn’t commented on that, and my responding that he hadn’t asked.
Rather than express my raw hurt, I simply said, “let’s put it this way; I wasn’t in the best of moods last Thursday.”
His response surprised me slightly, though I think I hid it well. He said, self-referentially, “what a bastard, right?”
“Um…well. Am I allowed to say ‘yes’ to that?”
“You’re allowed to say whatever you like.”
“Then yes, exactly.”
He nodded, apparently unoffended (not that he should be given his job), then we discussed the issue in a fairly forthright and adult manner. There’s little point in going over it, as most of my annoyances were discussed in the letter – though I didn’t give it to him as I said I would in the comments of that post. I did tell him about it, though, and admitted to having a printed copy in my bag.
C actively encouraged me to read it to him, but I refused. I don’t know why; I’m annoyed with myself for chickening out, but it just didn’t feel ‘right’ at the time. I told him I would think about it, and indeed I have the letter ready to take again tomorrow.
I had made the point that I had taken an awful lot of time to prepare the stuff I’d taken to him the week before, and told him that I’d found it horribly invalidating when that work was “thrown back in my face because [he] couldn’t be arsed to read it.”
He didn’t bother to defend himself in anyway. Instead, he went to what seemed to me to be great pains to tell me that he really did understand my upset.
“And maybe you felt rejected?” he later queried.
Rather than duck out of this, as I would normally have done, I went ahead and confirmed his suspicion.
I wasn’t overly emotional throughout this discussion (though had been a bit during the discussion of ‘They’), but I had been out the day before wearing eye make-up (and hadn’t been arsed to wash it off – I know, I know, how disgusting), and my reluctance to express myself in this fashion in front of C had more to do with the possibility of having big black mascara-streaks down my face rather than my usual ‘must-fight-against-it-it-is-evil-and-weak’ stance. For the first time I began to get a sense that I could and should talk openly to C about things I’d deliberately avoided, and that I could maybe start to demonstrate exactly how I might feel – and if that includes crying, or ranting or kicking things, then so be it.
There was nothing clear in the discussion that led to this, but for whatever reason, I felt the dynamic had subtly changed for the better – not that it’s generally been a bad one, of course, but perhaps it took an argument for me to fully trust him not to abandon me; ie. that if he was still there, still very much part of my life – and if anything more supportive – after a major disagreement, that just maybe he could be trusted with a range of unpleasantries. Not that I ever consciously doubted that, but I don’t know – the subconscious is a funny thing I suppose, and I’ve always been firmly of the view that one should trust no one until they have definitively proven themselves trustworthy. And even then, the trust should be cautiously administered.
Whatever subtleties took place last week, I hope they can sustain the future of the therapy. Far from wanting to seek an alternative therapist, as I did the day I wrote the letter, I am quietly encouraged by things with C as they stand.
But it could all change tomorrow…