I need to write this down where I’ll remember this later.
I just woke up from a dream. I must remember this one so I can tell my therapist. Right now I’m still rising up from the fog of sleep and my memory of the dream is still fresh but will fade away soon so I can’t delay in writing it.
I am waiting to see my therapist. But my therapist isn’t my therapist. He is my old therapist (the one I had when I was 22, the one who I fell madly in love with and had to leave because my emotions were too painful). But he is still my current therapist. (I know, but it made sense in the dream.)
Someone is talking to me and I’m crying. It’s not a bad cry or a painful cry. I think I’m crying in empathy. I don’t know what I’ve been told or what emotion I’m feeling, but my head is thrown back and tears are streaming from the sides of my eyes and down into my hair. My lashes stick together. I’m wearing non waterproof mascara; I’m vaguely aware the black tear tracks will be visible to my therapist even after they’ve dried. I leave them there, almost proudly, intending for him to see. We’ve been working on getting me to cry in session. I need for him to see the evidence of my tears.
His office is in some kind of art complex. Outside, patrons are walking around looking at and purchasing art. My handsome therapist comes out, as he always does in real life, to ask me kindly to give him another five minutes. But this time, his face worries me. He looks worried or concerned. He tells me there is something he needs to tell me. I feel the blood drain from my face and my heart curls up into a tight ball as if to protect itself from whatever’s coming.
“It might disturb you, but don’t worry,” he says. And then he walks away.
Of course I worry. In fact, I panic. I go back out into the art complex and walk around, pretending to look at the art. There seems to be a party going on. People are dressing in costumes. I think about what my therapist has to tell me. Is he sick? Going to dump me? Leaving town? Is he going to die? Dread and my old friend, Fear of Abandonment, holds me fast. I can’t escape. My breathing quickens and becomes shallow. My tears have dried and I can’t make anymore even as I will them to come.
Soon I see my therapist laughing with a woman, a beautiful woman. I wonder if that’s his wife.
My therapist turns, approaches me. I freeze in place, almost drop the raku vase I’m holding.
I start to cry when our eyes meet.
But pride takes over.
“You’re an asshole,” I say, rubbing my eyes with my fists like a spoiled child. I no longer want him to see me cry. I don’t want him to have the satisfaction.
He looks angry.
“I’m not going to see you when you talk to me that way,” he says. I look at him dumbly, stunned into silence.
“But what about–?”
“I’ll see you next time,” he says, and turns on his heel and walks away.
He might as well have just stabbed me in the stomach. I feel as if I could collapse onto the floor. I want to disappear. The shame and anger is overwhelming. And I have to wait to find out whatever horrible news he has to tell me. I think he’s trying to torture me.
I’m still in the art complex and people are walking around as if the world didn’t just end. All the therapists in the office are milling around too, drinking out of cocktail glasses with ridiculous little plastic umbrellas and other doodads sticking out of them. Someone has set up a cash bar at the far end. My therapist is over there, laughing with the other therapists. I feel like I don’t exist.
One of the therapists gets up on a podium and says we are having an animal costume contest. We will be dancing to “Old McDonald Had a Farm” in our animal suits. I don’t want to be there, but I feel obligated to participate. A huge box is pulled out from somewhere and everyone rushes over and starts pulling out costumes. All I can find is a chicken head and a silly cowprint suit. Somehow it seems familiar to me, as if someone in my past had worn this same costume before. I put it on and feel like I can be invisible in it. I just want to die.
I woke up and was overcome with relief when I realized it was only a dream and knew I had to post it right away. I haven’t worked out what it all means yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m skirting around the edges of the yawning black hole at my center, where my abandonment and early attachment issues live. I’m about to dive in there, I guess. It’s interesting that even though I trust my therapist more than anyone I’ve ever known, and he has given me NO reason to think he would ever abandon me, this fear I have of him abandoning me seems to be a recurring theme in our sessions. Obviously my transference toward him has been successful and I’m replaying some kind of abandonment/rejection trauma I experienced when I was a child.
Seems pretty powerful. Dreams are fascinating. Are you considering telling your therapist the dream? I’ve discovered that my therapist is pretty good at analyzing my dreams and he helps me to analyze them too, with specific questions, etc.
I have the abandonment issue myself. My therapist is older. Probably old enough to be my father and when he mentioned doc appointments one day, for the reason of changing our appt. day and time, I was like, “Oh great, I finally find a decent therapist and now he might die.”
A jump I know but given his age and this reminding me of when my father was emailing me about doctor appointments while making plans to move and give me his books, it got me worrying. Those doc appointments of my father’s led to a dx of pancreatic cancer and 10 weeks later he was gone.
Anyway, sorry, your posts bring up a lot for me. I know I should be writing this stuff on my space.
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That’s perfectly okay if you share here. I’m sorry about your dad’s illness and death.
I definitely am telling my therapist about this dream whih is why I immediately posted it before I was fully awake yet. You know the way dreams sometimes are so vivid when you awake and then fade away so you can barely remember them later! I feel like this one is important and might lead to a breakthrough. I even emailed it to him and asked him to print it out because I don’t have a printer.
I’m sorry but I giggled a little when you said, “Oh great, I finally find a decent therapist and now he might die.” I’m not laughing at you, I sympathize with that feeling. I’m sure though he’s older you have a good long time with him. It’s so hard to find a good therapist, isn’t it?
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Lol, no problem on the laughing. I understand. I laugh at stuff I relate to also in that same way.
Thanks about my dad. He died April 1 2013…so it’s been a while, but the date was rather ironic…given he was very abusive.
And yes, it’s very difficult to find a good therapist. I think he’s the first truly good one I’ve ever worked with and I’ve seen a lot.
Good luck with the dream.
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He died on April Fools Day. Oh, the irony is right!
And, thank you. I feel so fortunate to have found as good a therapist as I did. I feel like I’m making great progress, but DBT and blogging beforhand (and self therapy) helped a LOT. (I intend to write a post about that later today).
Oh my gosh… four years ago I found the perfect therapist for me. I had never known anyone like her. She was so empathetic and intuitive, it was almost like she could read my mind. We had, I think, four sessions. The last session she helped me remember something very important, that I had been trying to remember ever since I was twelve. Specifically, she helped me remember what it was I heard that caused me to go deaf temporarily.
Before we could do any more work together, she died. But I have a stone she gave me during our last session to remember her by.
She was in her seventies. She had survived the holocaust as a very young girl. She remembered being three years old, playing outside in the yard, and bombs falling. She lost her home, her family, her country, and her native language, as a result of that evil war. She became a therapist to help others work through trauma the way she had worked through her own trauma and hatred.
She was the perfect therapist to help me with my momster issues. I was heartbroken when she died. But today I am thankful for the little time I had with her, it was very valuable.
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Oh my gosh. How devastating. I would have definitely been devastated even after such a short period of time, if I felt that connected to someone. So sorry for your loss. That’s so weird though that she gave you a stone on your last session.
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I think she knew it was going to be our last session.
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O’mgosh, Linda, I teared up reading this post! How awful. How did she die?