This could be difficult to write about. C has, I think, worked out things that I didn’t want him to work out, and which is he is going to bring up at the next session [now already passed – I have been writing this bollocks on and off for 83 eons]. I hate this. I hate it. I don’t even know if I can write about it fully, but let’s see. I shall, as ever, attempt to compose this in a chronological fashion, insofar as my memory allows it.
This meeting took place on Tuesday 29th June (C had swapped his days from Thursday), but should have been on Thursday 24th. As stated and explained the other day, for the first time in our entire relationship, I cancelled the session on the 24th, so this was the first time I saw him in over a week.
Mutual agreement was that the session had ended up being a bit disjointed, but I think in some ways it was nevertheless useful – certainly much more so than the Thursday one would have been had I gone.
The conversation opened with a rant from me on how horrified I was that, straight after leaving C’s office, I would be forced to see Paedo, after my mother’s non-consultative decision to take me to Hotel California. It feels a little odd writing about this now, as I have been and gone on this delightful little sojourn, and in the end it went as OK as such things can. However, I was certainly not looking forward to it as I sat there with C, and must confess to being somewhat critical of my mother for some time.
I don’t remember exactly what was said, but there was one point at which he really annoyed me. He asked me if I was pissed off at having to see Paedo, or everybody else. I responded by telling him that both troubled me. He then went on to enquire as to whether there was “any value” in my mother encouraging me to see the non-Paedo members of the family.
I pointed out that I had nothing in common with them and could not see what benefit having some sort of relationship with any of them would have. “Of course,” I acknowledged, “whilst my view is that family is mere genetics, my mother’s is that blood is thicker than water.”
“I think that’s the point,” he said.
I’m sorry, but what the fuck? Even if there was value in the pursuit, even if there genuinely was, it’s fucking irrelevant because Paedo is there anyway.
I made some noise about not existing to keep my mother happy, and told him that the reality is that my mother is a hypocrite because she spends half her life slagging the McFauls off. I bitch about them here and to A, for example, but I generally avoid unsolicited criticism of them in front of my mother.
C responded by reminding me that my mother was also traumatised (due, of course, to her experiences of long-term domestic violence). So that makes it alright for her to force me to live through my traumas, or for her to be have hypocritically? How does that work?
To be fair to C, I’m paraphrasing considerably here because of my poor memory. I eventually conceded that although I fail to see the point of a relationship with most members of my family, I was willing to continue to have one of some description or another because it pleases my mother. “However,” I said, “I still don’t think it reasonable to have to face him.”
The stupid but inevitable question of whether I could see them without him was raised, but the answer is pretty definitively ‘no’.
I’m not sure what I had been looking for in discussing this with C. Was I looking for him to forbid me from going? So that the reinforcement of the earlier opinions that I should avoid Paedo due to the psychotic symptoms he has induced re-emphasised to me how dangerous it was.
Whatever the case, I also pointed out that this trip would see my first encounter with Sean, Marcus’ baby brother, who is named after Paedo. I told C that I was scared that I would react badly to the faultless child because he represents an honour bestowed upon Paedo. He, to my considerable irritation, proceeded to point out to me that I had not reacted badly to Marcus, despite my general dislike for children.
“Marcus isn’t named after the man who sexually abused me,” I seethed through gritted teeth.
“No, but you told me that the baby is known by a shortened form of your uncle’s name,” he pointed out [if Paedo is James, the baby is Jim]. “Isn’t that the case?”
This was correct, but I figured at the time that it would make no difference to my reaction. However, it turned out that C was pretty much right; I definitely saw the kid as being the diminutive of his name, rather than as his full, Paedo-related title. It’s funny how much difference a few little letters make, even if the symbolism is the same.
Anyhow, C enquired as to whether I would hold the kid. I told him that, if past experience was anything to go by, I’d have it pushed onto with or without my consent. I have to say this has always made me feel slightly uncomfortable, but it happens and you deal with it accordingly.
“So I’ll survive,” I shrugged.
He smiled wryly, and said, at which point I wanted to smash his face in, that I might enjoy holding the kid.
I told him that I did not share his apparent optimism, and decided that that angle of conversation needed to desist. I confessed to feeling guilty about slagging off my mother, and told him I had a little anecdote.
The previous evening I had been in the shower at my mother’s house and had seen a lot of little shower gels and whatnot that she’s picked up from hotels. This reminded me that she had collected a bunch of these things for me a few weeks previously, but then had accidentally left a bag full of them in a coffee shop whilst out with her friend. Upon realisation of this, my mother phoned the shop in question, got them to hold the bag for her, and went and retrieved it for me.
I was disgusted that regaling this tale to C make my voice break because, as I said, “it’s the little things that count.” I was advised that just because my mother has not always been the most validating figure in my life, it does not mean that she does not love me very much.
Hmm. So he reads my mother’s mind now too, does he? She who he has never even met? Before he had cause to irritate me – or, more accurately, before I actually fucking cried – I changed the subject.
Don’t ask me how but I ended up telling him how laziness had dictated that I’d been taking a reduced dose of Seroquel for about a week, and had only the night before resumed taking my normal dose of 400mg. When I started to space out shortly after this, he seemed slightly concerned initially but I protested that it was probably a drug hangover.
“Is that normal with this medication?” he asked, and I confirmed that it was.
He looked dubious, then admitted if there wasn’t more to my daze.
“Maybe my mind has decided to dissociate this whole sorry day. I do hope so.”
This led to discussion of dissociation in general, though it was kind of brief and the content is consigned to history as I don’t remember it. What did happen was that the topic naturally progressed to a discussion of identity and a revision of the bollocks of the previous week about (a) a possible over identification with mentalism on my part (something that I continue to dispute) and (b) a fear of intimacy on my part (something that I am willing to acknowledge).
He banged on for a bit again about how much investment I have in engaging with other mentalists online. “They’re very real, don’t get me wrong,” he told me, “but as I’ve said previously, it’s almost like you’re looking to have relationships that exist only at arms’ length. Real and meaningful, yes – but different.”
This made me laugh a bit, which confused him. I clarified by saying that I was laughing as some sort of stupid response to sadness because “even online relationships have the power to hurt you very greatly.”
“Why?” he queried, seemingly slightly concerned. “Has something happened?”
I told him of the circumstances that led to this post, and advised on how I responded to it.
I was astonished when he started – gently, in fairness, but still infuriatingly – questioning if I had been behaving in a fashion that reasonably precipitated this fallout.
I denied this most vehemently. So someone who’s opinion I had otherwise respected decided they think I’m a shit writer who’s self-obsessed. That’s unfortunate, but other people’s opinions of me are only things that I can control within reason. If I was being a complete bitch, that’s obviously something for which I am responsible. If I was merely doing the same things that I have always been doing, as in this case, someone’s changed view of me is not something I caused or can change.
I told him so, but wouldn’t let the fuck up. He went back to all the wank with Mr Director-Person, my former colleagues, la la la. I wanted to rearrange his face. What’s especially galling is that C fucking encouraged my original correspondence with Mr D-P, and now he goes about accusing me of fucking aggression?
Of course, my attempts to defend myself were seen as evidence of my aggression. I find this circumstance grossly unfair. Are there times when I’m aggressive? Yes, of course there are. That, I am all but certain, applies to us all at times. Am I more so than others? Possibly, yes, but I really don’t get his fixation with the issue. It’s not that bad, and generally there is at least some (and usually more than just ‘some’) justification for such a reaction. But C seems obsessed with it, insofar as any psychotherapist is ever obsessed with anything that applies to their clients. I just don’t get it.
Rather than continue defending myself and apparently prove his point in doing so, I shut the fuck up. I glanced about me, at his desk, his bookcase, filing cabinet, yadda yadda. Eventually my eyes returned to his desk, where I was interested to note the presence of his iPhone. I noted with smug satisfaction that it was a 3G or 3GS, whereas I now have an iPhone 4.
Silence ensued for a minute or two, when he broke into my thoughts.
“What’s going through your mind?” he asked. “You’re staring into space there.”
“No I’m not,” I stated grandiosely. “I’m looking at your iPhone and thinking, ‘fuck you, I’ve got an iPhone 4 now’. Hahaha!”
His face developed into an enigmatic sort of expression. Jealousy? Yes, I think so, but also bafflement. It was vaguely amusing to observe.
Eventually, he asked if I had really been thinking that.
“Yes,” I confirmed, “why wouldn’t I have been?”
“So, you have a sense of triumphalism – again – about this.”
Jesus fucking Christ. I mean, JESUS CHRIST!!!!! Is there anything, anything at all, that does not have an ulterior psychological motive?! What the fuck?! Everyone who has got a fucking iPhone 4 is a smug, self-satisfied twat. Why am I such a fucking guinea pig-like example to him of supposedly flawed psychology, when the reality is that in some ways I am just as fucking ordinary as anybody fucking else?
I responded to his insult with a redacted and calmer version of the preceding paragraph.
“Again, were you really thinking that?” he pressed on. “During that pause you looked upset, not pleased or smug or anything like that.”
I shrugged and proceeded to ignore him, instigating yet another silence.
Eventually, I cautiously began to tell him that it seemed obvious to me from his continual harping on my alleged aggression that he thought I was a belligerent bitch of Satan and that he hated me. This was perhaps exacerbated by a newly acquired submissive, almost child-like stance on my part. Plus some evident upset at these possibilities. Just a little of that. Yeah. Right.
His reaction was extremely interesting to me. He seemed taken aback by my assertion that I believed that he hated me – though I am certain I have postulated the idea to him in the past – and he took a few minutes to think about it. Thanks for boosting my confidence there, C.
Eventually he entered into a rather epic soliloquy about the issue. He talked for quite a while, but the long and the short of it was that I have many, many different facets to me, of which assertiveness (as he had now renamed it) was only one. “If you were always like that, well yes – it would be very hard to like you. But you’re not, so…[here he clearly realised he was teetering on a dangerous line]…so, well, again – you have many more sides to you than just that. I don’t think that defines you by any means.”
“OK,” I responded, meekly and unconvinced.
He sat looking at me intently, his chin in his right hand, his index finger crossing his mouth at a diagonal angle. He always does this when he is considering something intensely. I wonder if he is even aware of this behaviour.
I avoided his gaze and stared at my shoes, but his eyes bored into me, and eventually he spoke.
He said, very slowly and very definitely, “there’s more to this, isn’t there?”
Such a simple statement, but so laden with deep connotations that someone outside the therapeutic dyad would surely struggle to understand.
I pretended to think about it, the operative word there being ‘pretended’. Of course there’s more to it, and really it surprises me that he’s only worked out the magnitude of it.
“Maybe,” I admitted, quietly.
And so the immortal line of, “we’re going to have to leave it there,” came to pass – but there was a second part to the quotation this time. “We’re going to have to look into this in much more detail. You know that, don’t you?”
I nodded and left, perhaps ostentatiously hurriedly. I sat in Disraeli, my car, for a long time, hugging the steering wheel. Thinking, contemplating, ruminating, musing.
This all sounds very cryptic, but of course there was an unspoken understanding between C and me. In essence, he’s worked out that issues of transference in our relationship are not just confined to attachment. It runs very much deeper than that. I’ve been fairly open on this blog on the issue in the past and I don’t want to repeat myself because it fucking hurts like hell to do so. I don’t want to face it either myself or with him. I want it TO GO AWAY.
It’s difficult because, despite some of the twatty things he says and my anger at same, overall I am glad to report that I have a good therapeutic relationship, and one that I think is effective. I also recognise transference as an inevitable side effect of that, demonstrative of the fact that the therapy is actually working to some extent. The difficulty in this case is that I am in the throes of this transferential obsession and being discharged, before we will ever be able to properly address the issue. Perhaps I am at fault because I never brought up the matter in terms of its intensity before, though the word ‘transference’ is bandied about quite a lot in our sessions. But, as any of you who’ve been there will appreciate, facing it head-on is a matter of profound difficulty.
On the issue of the end of therapy, and because I want to avoid discussing this even more, Mr Director-Person has still failed to respond to my most recent correspondence. I have therefore taken the liberty of writing back to him, a copy of the previous letter enclosed, asking for his response as a matter of urgency, though I was quite nice about it. I did, however, hear from his Assistant Director, as regards the personality disorder steering group that the Trust is developing. The letter was official but pleasant and stated that, whilst the development of their PD services are in their infancy at present, they would be glad to have my input and will be in touch again as things progress. If C thinks he’s seen my aggression, he can think again 😉 They don’t know what they’ve let themselves in for!
NB. Please forgive the probably-multifarious amount of spelling, syntax, formatting and grammar errors in this post. I’ve been writing it for about 40 years and am sick looking at it, so am just going to publish it without adequate – indeed, any – proof-reading. Sorries.