What is alive in us right now is fear and shame and hope. Fear that the relationship with Therapists is broken or that we won’t heal it. That we will focus on the clouds instead of the silver linings. It is so easy for us to find the fault lines and use them as excuses to sever the relationships.
Since we know we do this, maybe we have a way to prevent it. We know that we are seizing on the 2% of therapy sessions this week that were anything but supportive of us, loving of us, caring for us. We can light up that 2% like the day the fucking world ends. Do you do this, too? Distorted thinking: confirmation bias.
Shame is because we blame ourselves for everything that involves pain and suffering and us. According to one of our Therapists, it was the Therapist’s job to uphold the boundaries much earlier, and that didn’t happen. Therapist is taking accountability.
This means nothing to us.
Why does it not matter to us?
Something unpleasant happened, there is a hubbub and change and collaborations between Therapists, and the result is new boundaries for us. Of course we blame ourselves! We blamed ourself for 40 fucking years for everything done to us.
It’s a pretty short trip between “something unpleasant happened,” and “it’s obviously because we were involved.”
The Therapist insisted on apologizing, which we tried to stop and do not want. Therapist insisted on describing own behavior as “wrong,” which we do not want.
If there is wrongness and us, we will blame us.
It doesn’t have to be “wrong.” It doesn’t have to be, “I am sorry to you.”
It could be, “I, your Therapist, am a human being. This means I act in ways that are not always how I prefer. What was alive in me when I allowed X was Y. Now, I see that X may be harmful to you instead of helpful. I invite us both to see Z as the healthy behavior option.” (Z is no-contact between sessions.)
Therapist actually did say most of this after the “wrong” and “apology.” And all we can focus on are the parts we didn’t want.
The other Therapist, who coached the apologetic Therapist, adamantly disagreed with us today about apologies. Therapist says apologies are necessary teaching. Essential for taking accountability. We didn’t have accountability from those who violated our boundaries in our childhood, so we must accept them now. Are you serious?
We said no.
Just no to forcing apologies on those who don’t want them. Even if they think we deserve them. They mean well and, just, no.
An apology from our abusers would mean nothing. It would have no value to us. We would see it as violence by the abusers.
Accountability and apology are not the same thing.
We want to know what was alive in the abusers when they abused. Was it their own past? Were they abused? What needs of theirs were fulfilled in abusing us? What is alive in them now in regard to those past actions? What needs are yet unfilled?
This, to us, would be part of healing. Ours, for sure, and maybe theirs, too. Can we ever fully heal from interpersonal trauma by ourselves? We might hope so, and wethinks it would be best for us to heal together. Funny, that doesn’t sound scary to us.
“I’m sorry for how I hurt you,” is not part of our unmet needs. Not even a little.
Please understand this of us, kind Readers: It is acceptable for you to think apologies are necessary and essential. We respect you. Yet, neither Therapist seems willing to try to understand our stance on apologies. Neither will “try on” our thinking. Neither knows NVC and its stance on apologies.
We know us. We take this fault line, and we frack it until it the Earth rips apart.
Two of our friends have written about cognitive distortions lately.
We are catastrophizing. We are taking these challenges and turning them into relationship-ending scenarios. Are they? They don’t have to be. Therapists said they are here to help us heal. They care. We are still connected. This will take some time to adjust. Evidence says they are right. This is not the first boundary reset. This is not the first challenge in Therapist-Client relationship.
Also, if the relationships did end, we would seek new relationships. We would try to learn from these teachers and these experiences. We could survive. We have survived. We do survive.
We are fortune telling. We think we know what will happen because we are connecting dots from very, very long ago and very, very far away to now. This is not a dot-to-dot puzzle. We are making fictions.
We can instead choose to dwell in the Present, practice distress tolerance skills, keep processing as we are right now, and let life unfold. Or just cease fortune telling (a third option in the middle, Ash).
We are minimizing the positives. We have loving relationships with Children and Spouse. These Therapists care. We have friend relationships that we enjoy. We have heat on a dangerously cold day. These boundary meetings are essentially over. We can choose to glide into next week focused on healing Trauma and OCD and fostering cooperation among our me’s.
These relationships do not have to be all-or-none: perfect or fatal. We can go with the flow and work to our capability.
Thanks to Sadie (https://blushyginger.com/2020/01/24/bloodthirsty-jaws-of-inescapable-death-akacognitive-distortions-if-you-dont-share-my-flair-for-the-melodramatic/) and Caz (https://mentalhealthfromtheotherside.com/2020/01/21/10-thinking-errors-of-depression-that-could-be-ruining-your-life/) for the help with Cognitive Distortions. Thanks to Ash (mentalhealthathome.org) for ideas for third options in the middle.
The Hope alive in us now is for relationship with Younger Child. We replied to Younger Child’s letter asking for us to, essentially, be nicer. We used Nonviolent Communication steps for healing important relationships in writing the letter. The letter was well-received, if mostly silently received. We are relieved to report that Younger Child thanked us multiple times this week for our attentive caregiving while Younger Child was home sick from school for two days.
We do not feel the difference in us, and Younger Child perceived difference. We will let that stand as Hope and not distort it!!!!!!