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Old 03-21-2019, 03:48 PM #1
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Default The tough stuff

T said sheíd like to see more of us becoming comfortable about talking about things that are difficult. This is because I find it really hard to be emotionally vulnerable - Iím uncomfortable with both how I feel, and sharing how I feel. This will involve poking into some deeper stuff, emotions and sitting with the discomfort I feel. She said we will take it slow, focussing on a little at a time and understands how tough this will be.

I know many of you have experienced doing this in therapy, and so Iím interested to know if, and how, this has been useful?

T mentioned itís about me being ok with some of the things that make me feel really uncomfortable, as thereís a need for me to express myself, but thereís still a resistance. So will these experiences of discomfort in therapy be to process difficult things and/or learn to be more emotionally vulnerable with others? What am I going to get out of it? (Iím thinking, certain discussions with a T is different to talking about those things with other humans. Sitting with emotions/discomfort in therapy wonít necessary mean I can do it outside of therapy with other people?)
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Old 03-21-2019, 05:22 PM #2
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Default Re: The tough stuff

T and I accidentally had one of these feel the emotions/experience being vulnerable session last session. We were doing inner child work and he discovered I was not held, cuddled or touched as an infant. I have known this forever, it is no secret in my family. I never thought much about it. Between 1. My not experiencing touch and 2. Not understanding the big deal T was pretty shaken about it. So he was telling me how it was normal and giving all kinds of examples. I stayed focused on him and trying to remember to breathe but it was really upsetting to me to hear and think about all I missed out on. I know I was crying (first time crying with a T other than out of frustration about the T). I will be honest I am still not sure what all of the emotion was but it was strong and uncomfortable. Then in my brain it clicked that he just had a new grand baby at the beginning of the year and that he was comparing my experience with his grandkids (along with research and stuff)... then I started to see him doing all the things he was saying a baby needed and were right, healthy and normal to a baby and I started to trigger and get scared. When T saw scared creeping in he very gently asked if he needed to stop talking about touch. I didnít have words anymore so I nodded yes and he stopped. When the scared left T reached out (spontaneously) and held my hand and I felt totally overwhelmed by emotion like a huge ocean wave coming over me and drowning... but then I noticed I could still breathe so I must not be drowning. I made eye contact with T and said thank you but he didnít say anything for a bit. When we did start talking I shared how badly I wanted to push him away in that moment (while still having a death grip on his hand). He said that resistance was a good thing, that meant that we were where we needed to be.
Social skills are not my strength but I donít see where it would be appropriate outside of therapy to go that deeply into anything from my past with someone. I wouldnít really expect someone to be able to handle that kind of emotion except maybe a spouse but even then I am not sure. Now, this week T has been out of town all week and I think he is visiting one of the grandkids. When I think about him playing with the baby I still trigger. But this week I have been able to put some pieces of the puzzle together. Knowing why I do not expect my needs to be met, why I allow people to totally discount my needs, why I donít like to be seen, why I donít know how to self soothe... it is a really long list... and all of it feeds into unhealthy relationships as an adult, something T would like to see change. Everything coming up is really good stuff to work on with T... but I had (ok, I suspect this isnít over and we will be diving back in...) to feel the emotions and sit with the discomfort to start to understand how it impacts adult me, my self perceptions and the things I need to change if I want to have healthy relationships. Knowing in my head that I tend to attract the wrong people, knowing that I am needy, knowing that I have an attachment disorder doesnít allow me to change it... dealing with the feelings allows the change to happen.

Now... shhhh... donít tell my T that I was listening/paying attention/agreeing...
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Old 03-21-2019, 05:26 PM #3
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Default Re: The tough stuff

Oh, and why when I saw my great grandson born and my granddaughters boyfriend feeding the baby all detached I totally lost it... I was so sad and angry and almost took the boyfriend out... thankfully my granddaughter smartened up and booted him shortly after the baby came home.
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Old 03-21-2019, 05:33 PM #4
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Default Re: The tough stuff

I have a lot of thoughts about this, but my words aren't working well at the moment. OP, please could you poke me about this in a few days? @darkside8
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Old 03-21-2019, 05:45 PM #5
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Default Re: The tough stuff

It seems to me like the less I am cut off from myself, including the parts of myself I don't like or feel ashamed about, the more I am able to connect with others. This doesn't mean I'm vulnerable with everybody all the time, just that I'm not already holding something back, I don't have to be as cautious. Especially since the things I don't like and try not to think about, usually don't look quite so bad when I actually take a look at them.
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Old 03-21-2019, 09:02 PM #6
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Default Re: The tough stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkside8 View Post
Sitting with emotions/discomfort in therapy wonít necessary mean I can do it outside of therapy with other people?)
It's a core fallacy of therapy in my opinion. It's a contrived relationship. It takes place in a controlled environment. The other person is there because they are paid, and their responses are motivated by this as well as by training and ideological conditioning. Logically this arrangement is bound to translate poorly to real life.
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:02 AM #7
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Default Re: The tough stuff

For me the benefit of therapy has been seen in my interpersonal relationships, because accessing those parts of me once lost and understanding myself better has improved my relationships as a side benefit. And there have been times in therapy when I've been able to examine interactions more closely, and been able to see how I might be engaging in something that is not conducive to the kind of relationships I want.

Because I was so avoidant for so long, it wasn't easy to reveal myself in therapy. I can't really say how or when that happened. But being able to just talk about and learn about myself more deeply has given me the sense of being a warrior in my own life-- it feels powerful-- rather than a scaredy cat who can't look at things.
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:18 PM #8
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Default Re: The tough stuff

I did not find that therapy helped with self knowledge or that it was courageous or productive to experience difficult emotions in therapy.

Mostly it was training me to rely on an external supply of insight and reassurance. And if that supply was cut off, I would be screwed.

I see it as a wolf in sheep's clothing.... come to therapy, it'll heal your wounds, they say, but many people in long term therapy seem tormented by the process.
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:22 PM #9
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Default Re: The tough stuff

Quote:
Originally Posted by LostOnTheTrail View Post
I have a lot of thoughts about this, but my words aren't working well at the moment. OP, please could you poke me about this in a few days? @darkside8
A better time now?
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Old 03-25-2019, 05:16 AM #10
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Default Re: The tough stuff

I agree with your T - getting comfortable with the tough stuff doesn't happen overnight. I have only really been able to go there in the past few months.

What helped me feel safe going there was setting up a clear idea of how R would respond if I expressed emotion in session (read: cried)

Once we had that in place, it gave me a sense of security, even though it took me a while to actually get there.



I can't deny that issues with previous providers have absolutely hampered me this time around. In fact, I intend to spit some of that stuff out tomorrow.



I treat therapy as my space for emotional vulnerability, so that I can be as open as necessary, without laying myself bare to others.
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