The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing

7/10/17

6:20AM

Authenticity

I got back from running yesterday and felt filled with emotion—too much. I felt that there was business I needed to take care of, sooner rather than later, though I was still not perfectly clear on what exactly that business was.  

As I ran I remembered back to hitting this note in my therapy with Eileen; where I knew with clarity that I needed to stop using her abusive behavior to try and find deeper meaning.

 

4/10/15

7:04AM

Authenticity

 

Hey A, can you help?

 A

Absolutely. How can I serve? How can I help you to figure out where you have been, where you are right now and where you would like to go? How can I reach deep inside you and figure out what has hurt, what is hurting and what to do about it? How can I make this dialogue with you about you—about you feeling better, getting wise, getting stronger, becoming more confident? How can I step away from all that is me, jump into your shoes and feel everything that you are feeling? How can I be wise and compassionate and true? How can I be your ally in every sense of the word?

 S

Thanks, A. 

 A

This, S, is the attitude that everyone’s therapist should have. Instead…

 E

Fuck you, S. Fuck you. It’s not an emergency so fuck the fuck off. 

 A

Defensiveness every once in a while maybe…maybe you could handle it. But to expect now when you go into therapy an argument, defensiveness. even a therapist who lashes out at you—says you are hostile—accuses you of being abusive for how you contain your anger at her in your Sandbox…how could you not feel unsafe? Your therapist cannot handle your anger and sadness at the enactments in your therapy and because she cannot handle them—or you—properly—you do not heal properly from them. This is called an impasse. And you’ve been suffering inside of one for a long time. If you were to begin to analyze your therapy from the perspective of an impasse, my guess is that we would see it has remained quite stuck since the Flood and if not the Flood, most certainly, Notice. 

 E

FUCK you. 

 A

You keep saying, week after week and now, S, we are going on a year, that you do not feel reached for. This, S, is because Eileen does not deeply, to the bones, understand you. And, S, you are not that hard to understand.

 E

FUCK you. 

 A

She does not understand you because she is…who she is. 

 MLG

Limited. 

 A

This is where we simply lack information but it could be many things that make you feel that you are not working with a strong, competent, healed adult. You are working with someone insecure, varying in her ability to help you at best. You feel that she is lonely, not well physically, not all that well mentally at times, angry at you, defensive, not 100% for you but rather, battling against you. She is expecting you to forget her unprofessionalism and negativity in January and February but all the work you do here in your Sandbox is about not forgetting—in fact it’s about remembering. 

 B

Here here. Park Bench Park. We stand—and sit—for never forgetting. 

 S

I feel like I am supposed to forget about Eileen’s negativity and unprofessionalism and simply use these “gifts” as a means to look at things from my deeper past. But I think I am over using pain in my therapy as a “gift” for ignoring this pain flies against all the pain endured to learn the lesson to not forget, to incorporate it all.  

 A

Well said. 

 S

She puts up these boundaries around email—like it happens over the course of a few days. 

 A

It’s because when she does email you, which isn’t the worse thing in the world, she more often than not fails to say the right thing. It’s because, S, she is…a douche bag. 

 E

FUCK you. 

 A

Every once in a while she can muster something compassionate and right on. But mostly her emails are…

 MLG

About her. 

 A

Whether what you are doing spikes her and makes her angry and defensive—like giving her a heads up that you went to see a specialist (no response.) Or you are reviewing the Flood and understanding it better (best wishes for your journey.) She is immature, defensive, unwise, uncaring and, S, just not on your side. Your muse, S, has run her course with you. Gala poisoned Dali in her old age and this poison took away his power to paint. Beware. 

 S

I woke yesterday morning, my mind insistent on telling me it will write a fairytale and that Monkey would do it. 

 A

It is our mind’s way of handling a great blow…it is the way of the Sandbox. 

 MLG

After great pain

A fairy nightmare comes

 A

Your therapist has lost her way…and she is not going to be finding her way back any time soon. You have been hoping for her to help you to find insights, wisdom, healing. But rather, what she has done has helped you to realize that you need a different kind of guidance and that you can, indeed, survive a therapist who turns ugly on you. The gains in having this woman hurt you have come to an end. 

 S

Really? Is this it?

 E

I thought we were done after the Flood. Oh—and FUCK you. 

 MLG

Really? Is this it?

 S

A?

 A

S?

 S

I’m breathing. But I’m not crying. 

A

You’ve done your crying and grieving, S. You have reeled from a great deal of crappy therapy from this woman who loves you and also hates you or, rather, let’s say, reacts to you in ways that are inappropriate. You are too much for her, too complicated, requiring too much energy. You have become a challenge to her she cannot meet, a mountain she cannot climb and you cannot but help feel her anger and resentment at you for somehow failing her, for not giving her the success that she wants. 

 S

Back in February, on the phone, I am in so much pain around this relationship and she begs of me—can’t we just have the warm relationship that we have had in the past—something like this—and I see she is not well, so not present in seeing that begging for this is like asking me to deny all the pain that I am in and how I got there—that she is asking me to forget how she lashes out at me, how inappropriate and unsafe she feels to me? She begs for me to deny my feelings. 

 A

S, you have done a heroic job of trying to use all these insensitivities and fuck-ups to your advantage to learn. But the lesson you learn now is that this type of therapy is over. 

 S

When I get back from Spain I feel clear. And I send her a very positive transcript from that time and she says she feels like such a happy therapist. And I do not understand why but this really hurts me. 

 A

It’s a very complicated thing going on. You feel that she is somehow taking credit for the work when, in fact, the work you are doing is surviving some very, very rough therapy—working to survive her. 

 S

I guess. I don’t quite understand it. And deep down inside I feel like she does not understand the journey all that well by what she says. 

A

That’s an understatement. You are worlds more empathetic and sensitive than this woman you hand your heart over to. If you were to get a peak into her lack of understanding and true compassion for your journey you would be very pained, S. Someday you will read back on this—all of it—and see how poorly you were managed by this woman, how she most likely has been using your case to prop up her own self in her personal and professional life—how everything you are, every beat of your heart and every ounce of blood you have poured into this work are really more to her about her than you. This Sandbox and this therapy you have been through S, are about survival. Surviving a well meaning but limited—both in experience, energy and emotional capacity—therapist. And surviving a past wiped out too. We pause now, S, in moving forward in our deep therapy for we realize that using shitty therapy as a means to access pain in the past is no longer our path. We are…done. 

***

I think back to these moments where I knew I was done with this therapy with Eileen. And I feel the same feelings…that I’m done with therapy again. 

But I know too that things are different. Very different. 

I cannot deny that I’ve been helped, that things have not gone off the rails. 

But the piece that is similar is the feeling of doneness, that I’ve wrung every last drop I think I can out of the therapeutic dynamic. 

As I sat cooling off from my run I remembered Teresa had said to me a few months ago, when I got really triggered, when she was pushing me to come in and talk with her versus gutting it out on my own, that smart people take care of problems quickly. So I took her advice, talked with her and felt world’s better. 

Those words of wisdom came back to me yesterday when I decided to reach out to Teresa and to ask to see her sooner versus later. 

My instinct was that I shouldn’t let whatever was festering inside of me fester. I acknowledged inside that I think therapy is so wrong in this way; you can get extremely upset by something happening in a session and you’re forced to sit and stew until the next appointment. It’s unnatural and mostly unhealthy. 

I suppose it’s one of the billion things I hate and resent about therapy. My Not Gods my list is long. 

Still I emailed Teresa. Then Pete and I went to the city to take in a museum. As we had a late lunch I casually said to Pete that I’d made a decision to terminate therapy. That the only productive thing left to do was to leave it. 

Pete said that this sounded not like a huge deal which, to him, meant that I was ready for it, that this is what termination should feel like.

And after we got back in the evening I checked my emails and there was a message from Teresa, suggesting today at two. Or Tuesday at ten. 

As I read her email, which was really nothing, just a suggestion of some times and dates, my heart grew really sad. It took a lousy appointment on Thursday and a lot of scrambling inside to arrive at the right place with all this which is that I think I’m done with therapy, and that I’ll miss Teresa and that I feel scared. 

I don’t have a vision for more work to do in therapy. Other than to leave it. 

I don’t want to sit around picking at old wounds—my deep past, my previous therapy or my current therapy. I don’t want to sit on the mini-couch because I’ve nothing better to do. 

I know I have some business to attend to; I need to get clear and to get strong about the complaint and where Teresa sits around it. I admit that I’m scared and unknowing as to what Teresa will say but generally I do feel she has my back. 

I am though scared that my lashing out and anger around therapy and therapists, that the lousy therapy, all the sessions, all the pain, has made a monster of me at times. But I know too that this is work I need to do, to rid myself of this image inside and to walk away balanced and grounded. 

It wasn’t my fault what happened to me. I can’t get over my PTSD around it over night if ever.  Maybe I’m a little bit better but I’m not perfect. I get very angry at things that remind me of how tortured I felt in therapy for so long. 

I do see that remaining in therapy puts me at risk for this happening time and time again. 

At some point I think it becomes counter-productive. 

At some point I’m not really learning new lessons. 

That the only new territory I found last Thursday was that there wasn’t any. 

And this, I feel, is a very powerful place to land and to acknowledge. 

Today’s appointment will be about this, about ending, about talking about everything I need to do so that I can step away feeling perhaps sad which is natural but also resolved and clear. 

This feeling inside, my choice to leave, a painful choice for me, feels familiar, it is a version of me, a small child, taking that deep breath, it is me, to a degree still frozen, it is me, Linger, in that living room where I grew up, taking that deep breath, saying to myself that in order to live I must leave this world of feelings, that in order to live I must leave what I love most where I feel most secure.

I’m not yet ready but I take the leap anyway. It is shortly after I have been spooned in bed by my father. It is this forced moment, the saddest in my life to date, that I make the decision to leave. 

***

I was in the living room and a decision was made to never return to our parents’ bed. It was our favorite place in our life, but it was time to grow up. There, in that living room, I took the biggest breath of my life. I inhaled all of the world and … I’m gone. 

Linger?

No. 

Who is this?

I am Shard, born in a field full of broken glass. I am sharp. And hard. I take over to make sure we no longer feel a thing. It was time to grow up and, in a blink of an eye, I make sure we do. My sneakers smell like rain and sweat, and I will take care of business like nobody’s business. My hair comes in knots just like my shoelaces. 

I fight back. I do not let our mom hit us anymore. 

I do not let our heart hurt for missing the bed we loved.

Linger inhales all the world in that living room. But it is me, Shard, who freezes the heart solid, who exhales. 

Who lives.