Another brick in the wall…nuked!


How do I even begin? What happened tonight in my therapy session was a little thing, objectively speaking, really a very little thing. But to me it was a huge, HUGE deal, maybe even a breakthrough of some sort.

I refuse to write a separate post about this, but when I got home from work, my mother called. She had gotten my phone number through my son and I took the call because it was coming from a New York phone and my mother lives in Illinois so I had no idea who it was. Normally I don’t take phone calls if I can’t tell who’s calling but for some reason I took it this time. When I heard her voice, it was like being transported back to being a five year old again. All my mindfulness skills and everything I know about narcissism and No Contact went flying out the window.  I won’t go into detail because nothing of any consequence was said. She told me she just wanted to hear my voice and proceeded to ask a bunch of personal questions. I felt like she was checking up on me for her own benefit, which is probably the case. I put on my fake-nice act and answered her questions as politely as I could, telling her nothing too personal, and finally made an excuse about having a sore throat (which is actually true because I’m still sick) and had to get off the phone.

I brought up the phone call in therapy. I asked my therapist (rhetorically) why I can’t just tell her to bug off. Rationally I know nothing would happen if I did that. I know she’s read my blog so surely she knows how I feel about her. Sure, she might get mad, but really why should I care? What could she do to me? Nothing! He suggested (correctly) that I was programmed from an early age to always respond to her in a certain manner, and that programming is hard to break, and that’s what’s making it so hard for me. I started laughing about the idea of myself being a computer that could be programmed. I looked at him and told him to debug me. He laughed at that, but really it wasn’t funny. I felt a little hysterical.

I’m always a little more emotionally labile when I’m ill, and so this illness he gave me last week acted as a kind of emotional lubricant–or maybe I was just ready and what I’m about to describe was going to happen anyway.

I said I was tired of talking about my mother and I wanted to talk about my transference feelings instead. It’s what I’d been planning to talk about but my mother, even in my therapy sessions, always has a way of drawing all the attention to herself and I wasn’t going to let that happen tonight.   Recently we have been meeting twice a week instead of once a week, but I won’t be able to afford to do that for too much longer, or at least for the next few weeks. I explained hard it is for me to only be able to meet him once a week because of my strong feelings of attachment. He wanted me to elaborate on this and describe how it felt. I had to think about that for awhile. The closest I could come was that it’s a little bit like limerence but without the sexual and obsessive aspects and has a more infantile quality. (There’s also a kind of mindfulness to it that’s impossible to explain but that keeps it from getting out of control.) It’s the way I imagine a baby feels about their primary caregiver. That I’m this little baby and he’s the only person who ever mirrored me or accepted me unconditionally for me. Because of that I feel extra vulnerable with him, too close to my raw core and fearing rejection while at the same time being able to let my guard down in a way I normally can’t. When I was asked to elaborate on the vulnerable feelings I had to think about it for a long time.

Finally I began to explain (in what I felt was a very childlike manner) and to my surprise I started to cry. I’ve come close to crying a couple of times recently, but this time my eyes actually filled up and a couple of tears spilled over (which I wiped away quickly). Sure, I didn’t sob and there weren’t many tears and it all ended quickly, but it happened. For just a minute, I shed real tears in front of another human being! Even more astounding to me than that, I felt no shame doing so. In fact, I was very proud of myself and even while I cried, I knew exactly what was happening and felt really, really good about it. So my tears turned to laughter and he laughed along with me. It was a real, bona fide emotional connection. How can that be? I don’t have those! I don’t connect with people! This was surreal.

“How did you do that?” I asked, sort of gobsmacked.
“I did nothing,” he said. “You did that yourself.” He was smiling.
“Then I guess you’re just the facilitator!”
“Well, I do have a degree!” he said jokingly.
We laughed again. Then the tears almost started again.
“You’re getting emotional,” he observed. “What’s going on?”
“I DON’T KNOW!” I wailed like a three year old. And I didn’t. I didn’t know why I was so emotional, but I felt happy that I was. “I just feel fragile, that’s all.” My lower lip was trembling like a toddler’s.
“I want you to know I think you’re very strong.” His eyes were shining.

So, another brick in that f*cking wall crumbled tonight.
I put my shoes back on (lately I’ve been taking them off and putting my feet on the couch–it seems to help somehow).
As I was leaving, he said our session moved him. I wanted to hug him so much right then but of course I didn’t.

15 thoughts on “Another brick in the wall…nuked!

  1. My mom has ways of “checking up on me for her own benefit” also.

    There are ALOT of times where i have “put on my fake-nice act and answered her questions as politely as I could, telling her nothing too personal, and finally made an excuse”

    I 2 have been “programmed from an early age to always respond to her in a certain manner” in my case when it says her here it means my mom not urs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness. When I read about your mother’s phone call, I got super tense all over just imagining what that would feel like. Whew.

    Like Tiger said, I think it’s super awesome that you were able to turn right around and not let your therapy session be about her!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic! This is exactly why therapy is so important. If you have a therapist you can really connect with, he can help you bring these things out and you won’t even realize it’s happening till it does. I’m very happy for you. These breakthroughs are the whole point and you got one! Wonderful!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so hard to find a good therapist. I’ve heard so many horror stories. There are so many bad therapists out there, including narcissitic abusers posing as therapists. I think God was looking out for me when I found this one — I did spend some time in prayer while looking. There are good ones out there! But you have to be careful.


      • I, too, am very fortunate. But you are right, there are so many people out there who have therapist who marginalize how they are feeling. It’s terrible.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. congratulations must feel great!! that almost happened for me in therapy and I thought about how GOOD that would feel later when I got home.. but my therapist,if I got close.. said it was unnatural for me to laugh and cry/cry laugh at same time/back to back..and that shut me down.. cuz I already KNEW id do both!! that’s me! when its so hard and rare,both will come!
    she said if this is so upsetting why are you laughing? ( I knew out of nervous habit/guardedness) then I started crying.. just cuz she asked that question of why are you laughing if this isn’t a laughing matter…so tough! I just wanted her to let me do it! happy for you, you did it! :)!
    after that I just…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It doesn’t sound to me like a very good therapist, who would judge you that way. All kinds of emotions come up in therapy, some all at once! I think crying/laughing at the same time is probably pretty normal. I’m sorry you had such a judgmental therapist. Fortunately there are some who aren’t like that. Don’t give up on all therapists based on one bad one. Remember, some are narcissists too. They are drawn to this profession. I was very lucky to get one who is not like that.


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