Yup, you guessed it. Another post pretty much entirely about therapy.
And, as I was composing this post in my head, a light bulb went off! But, no spoilers, we’ll get there.
So, I had two appointments with Sid this week. My usual Monday session, and the “extra” appointment two days before. It was a rare opportunity, the planets aligned or something, he had an opening, and I was available. That is, I had a few hours in between Family Step Study and movie plans with a new single parent friend (a single mom)… so, naturally, it made sense to cram another therapy session in.
Anywho. I usually go in with a list. There were other things on the list (I think) but there was one big one at the top. The pedestal.
So, of course, I got all anxious and awkward, like I do when it comes to discussing interpersonal relationships… or at least discussing ours… with him.
I stalled and squirmed and worked up the nerve to broach the subject. Side note: good lord that man has the patience of a saint. Or maybe he just knows me well enough by now, that he knows he doesn’t have to push me and I’ll work up to it in my own time.
So I bring it up, that I’m afraid I put him on a pedestal.
“What’s the threat?”
Damn it, Sid, I hate that question.
People eventually fall.
SLAA Characteristic #12: We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.
I don’t know that we came to much resolution over that, but I did come away from the session feeling better.
But next up… I offered to let him read the non-romantic love letter post I wrote. I told him that he’s a grown up, and I’ll leave the decision up to him, whether he would like to read it now, later, or not at all. I also warned him that he’d need to have his therapist face on, because when I let him read the letter I sent Premera on his behalf, it cracked the (blank) screen a bit.
He motioned for me to hand it to him. I did. I’m assuming he got as far as the title, stopped, and then warned me that if he was going to read it, he was going to do so aloud.
Fuck. Out loud? He didn’t read the Premera letter out loud!!
I cringed and squirmed some more, braced myself, and then told him to go ahead.
Wow that was uncomfortable. Pretty sure I actually cried at some point.
But, my assumption was correct, he did sound like he got a little choked up at some point. Not for more than two or three words, but enough for me to notice. (Apparently I’m observant or something)
When he finished he wanted to know what I was feeling.
1. For having feelings, and 2. for actually expressing them. What??
I said nice things. They were entirely within the realm of propriety. And yet: shame.
Didn’t really figure out why, beyond 1 and 2. Didn’t really get much further on that yesterday when I said I was still feeling a little shame. “You’ve expressed feelings in here before.” I said that if I had to guess it was because they were directed at him. Eh, still not really new ground.
Anyway. My plan was to talk about the love letter Saturday, and Monday would be to talk about something that had been on the list for a little while. EMDR. We started down that road once, very early on… but it requires visualizing a calming place, and I couldn’t really come up with one. (That alone speaks volumes, I think)
Also, I was too afraid to say I was uncomfortable with him moving closer, and sitting on the coffee table right in front of me to do it… even though he asked if it was ok. (What’s the threat? Intimacy.)
I have a safe place to visualize now, and I’m not afraid of him sitting on the coffee table in front of me. So I want to give it another go. I want to work on my birth trauma.
We talked about that for most of the session. Touched on a few other things, briefly.
And then, it happened. I felt like I’d run out of things to talk about. I know that’s in part because I had two sessions so close together. But still.
I also left on the note that I might, possibly, maybe, be able to consider thinking about spacing out appointments to less often than once a week.
Whoa, that’s huge.
So, my light bulb moment.
Why in the world would I be hesitant to give someone a compliment? Why would I be afraid to say something nice about someone to that person?
I’ve had this weird notion that if I tell him how good I think he is, it’ll just inflate his ego. Which always seemed strange, and logically I knew it wasn’t true… But it’s taken me this long to put 2 + 2 together.
Any time I’m afraid to give someone a compliment, it’s because I’m afraid it’ll turn them into a narcissist, like my mom. Or maybe prove that they are already like my mom. So, withholding the compliment is an attempt at control, and wanting to keep my head in the sand.
And, uh, it might be a little narcissistic (of me) to think that a compliment from me carries that much weight, and would have that much of an effect on someone.
Anyway, I’m figuring shit out.
This is why I feel like I’ll be good at this!