Avoiding by choosing something else I’d avoid or just avoiding?

Charbella

Confident
I had a pretty successful EMDR session last week and I’d like to continue the momentum, however my T always the pot stirrer made me question my motives.

Last week I comforted the teen and though her sadness overwhelmed I gave her comfort for a bit before leaving the memory. As I’ve said in a previous post my T asked me if I wanted to take her into my safe space, something I’ve done with other versions of younger me, though one she surprised and was there (ah the reason I chose not to end with safe space), I told him no because her sadness was overwhelming. Feelings are not my forte so the fact that I sat with her at all is a small miracle. Over the weekend I thought about moving to a memory that I was dead set against revisiting 6 months ago and my T said for how long did I want to avoid it because it seemed significant that we not. I told him I had no idea and I’d let him know when I was ready. He kept bringing it up so I told him I wanted 6 weeks without mention. That’s been 3 or so months ago but he hasn’t brought it up because we moved to different memories.

The reason I didn’t want to go over that memory is because the teen was very angry at me and nothing I could do was helping. I told my T I shouldn’t have to put up with that from anyone but especially, me.

The feelings are the same, sorry not sure how to explain that as they clearly aren’t but with the other three memories that I’ve successfully comforted mini me I could sense what she was feeling like you would someone else you were trying to comfort but with the these two memories it’s like I’m marinating in them, they’re contagious and heavy, too heavy.

having had success with the teen I kind of want to see if I can replicate it in the angry memory. My T asked if I only wanted to change to avoid the feelings from Friday’s experience. Honestly I know that is part of the motivation, I’m not sure how much but also if all I was doing was avoiding I have dozens of memories and all but about 8 are easier than this one so if my only motivation was avoidance wouldn’t I just pick one of those?

My question is how do I know if I’m avoiding by picking the other memory versus feeling the need to go back to unfinished business? I kind of feel like I’m ready to stop avoiding the other memory, also going back to last weeks memory and just sitting in her sadness, holds zero allure. My T says it’s up to me but to complicate matters after Thursday when I would do whichever of these I choose he‘ll be out of town for a week so if the angry teen blows up in my face I won’t have an appointment for a bit.

So how would you know? Any suggestions? Questions that might help me make the decision? Something else I’m not seeing?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
You're both 'right'?

Similar thing with me, I had a memory pop up last year. Destabilised me bad. (the one that is back currently). We spoke about it and parked it. I then wanted to bring it up again just before her Christmas break. She questioned the timing of me bringing it up and "advised" me not to talk about it then and to hold it until after the Christmas break. First time she ever advised me. I was put out, but agreed. And then realised it was sensible.

Sharing that as if there is a break coming up and this memory is a heavy one, maybe holding onto it a bit longer until you know the safety net of T is back in the usual routine isn't a bad thing? Delaying to explore that memory when it's a better time isn't avoiding , it's acknowledging and planning.

And maybe there is an element of wanting to park the recent memory in the last session to focus on this. Maybe that is or isn't avoiding, is putting something to one side for a while avoiding or dealing with other pressing things?

Either way, you get to decide what memory you want to explore.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
Feelings are not my forte so the fact that I sat with her at all is a small miracle.

gentle empathy on this score. i consider myself an engineer by nature and those emotions are so-o-o-o messy and disorganized. does i really have to have them, at all? i have MUCH more sensible use for all that space and processing power they use up. when god promotes me to master of the universe, i plan to do away with that messy design flaw, post haste. resistance is futile. . . you will be assimilated. . .

sigh. . . getting back to my humble place in the grand scheme. . . in my own case, it is a given that i'm ALWAYS avoiding. the only reason i work my recovery program is to avoid the toxic psycho snot knots that keep spurting all over my work when i repress them. i hate picking poisons, but? ? ? here i am, logical or knot.

as i read your post, i found myself revisiting the extreme difficulty i had in confronting my own teen capacity for anger. my own anger frightens me far worse than other people's anger. it is far easier to escape other people's anger than my own. anger is even less logical than all those other messy, illogical emotions stacked together.

EMDR wasn't an established therapy when i did my most intensive therapy work, but i worked the inner child theories to the max. when it came time to sit with my angry teen phases, i taught her about anger channeling. we channeled our anger into demolishing furniture and appliances which had been dumped in local watersheds. those unofficial dump sites were far more common back in the late 20th century. we were quite proud of the clean space our channeling left behind. it might have been the first thing in her life angry teen me had to be proud of. she came by her anger honestly.
 
P

Paula

One needs to sit with being uncomfortable sometimes in order to get into the reason behind your reluctance to deal with difficulties. EMDR starts in the Therapist office,and then the real work begins at home,by yourself alone. You will deal with issues you when they surface. Go with that... Keep seeking the inward journey of feelings within.
 

Charbella

Confident
gentle empathy on this score. i consider myself an engineer by nature and those emotions are so-o-o-o messy and disorganized. does i really have to have them, at all? i have MUCH more sensible use for all that space and processing power they use up. when god promotes me to master of the universe, i plan to do away with that messy design flaw, post haste. resistance is futile. . . you will be assimilated. . .
^^^This, OMG this. I totally agree they are messy and seem unnecessary. Plus I struggle to have them, name them, and acknowledge they exist. Pretty sure it’s why teen me is sending them so intensely. 😒

Anger in general frightens me but other peoples anger does seem more easily handled. Maybe because I’m used to it so my instincts kick in. Teen mes anger is intense and she is not kind to me though she has no problem being kind. Before I found myself in fawn mode, but I was unable to make her happy which was distressing to say the least. The more I remember her intensity the more I want to avoid that memory, at least sadness does feel as dangerous.

@arfie your way of dealing with anger seems like a great way! Personally I want nothing to do with channeling it, but I guess if I’m going to attack that memory maybe I should. I tried taking her to safe space, I have all 4 of my dogs there in puppy age, I even let her have my extreme cuddler, but she just sat there angrily petting him, not acknowledging I was giving her a “treat”. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Guess it’s time I decided how I’d like to handle anger.
 
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Charbella

Confident
@Movingforward10
Wait, a four letter word I hate. I like to push my way into and past things, my T knows this which is why it shocked me when I wanted to shelf the memory 6 months ago and he kept pushing to not. Destabilize, definitely what happened but I tend to internalize stuff and just say nothing when I’m struggling so he didn’t know. I finally wrote how bad it was which is when he backed off. I don’t know if T was considering he was going to be out of town.

Another factor at play is my increasing SI as school grows nearer and I feel forced to make a decision on if I can make it another year, if I can deal with all the changes in the coming school year in addition to therapy. I think I’m wanting to see if I can handle angry teen me because somehow it will say whether I’ll be able to handle the school year or if it’s time to throw in the towel. But see if I say that he’ll be even less likely to want me to try the angry memory. School starts the 8th for me but I have a meeting the 1st too, which is when he gets back. I don’t want to wait that long to know.
 
Well just to say, it's not a guilt trip just from someone with (dead) parents/ family, your parents survived what they did when you were in the orphanage at 6 but they would never get over your suicide. I'm in health care. No one does. Not ever that I've met yet, and there are many. Just a thought, but it wouldn't feel right to not say it because they feel about you what you feel about your school kids. Except it doesn't matter your age, you're always their 'kid'.

Thanks for letting me say it. I hope you don't find it offensive. I have struggled with SI for many years. Turning off (our) feelings doesn't turn off their's.

Best wishes to you.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
I totally agree they are messy and seem unnecessary.

i'm not sure i agree with teeny me or even middle aged me on this score. somewhere in middle age i started listening to my emotions instead of judging, fighting and/or repressing them. since that almost unnoticed transition, old war horse engineer me started wondering if our emotions are the most sensitive monitoring system ever designed. my emotions don't convey many facts, but they alert me to unusual circumstances. mother nature is often millions of years ahead of human science in the engineering department. now if she could work on her tech manuals a bit. . . WTF is THAT error message all about?

Personally I want nothing to do with channeling it

i want nothing to do with having anger in the first place, but, again, as i work with nature instead of fighting her, the channeling often leads me to unexpected solutions. the old gal really is smarter than i am. imagine that. . . sometimes anger is even a valid, highly intelligent response. action, not reaction, needed.
 

Charbella

Confident
@CoolBreezeonahotday
You’re right and I know this. My bio dad and my favorite uncle committed suicide so I know how it effects those left behind, some times that’s enough to stop me and sometimes it isn’t.

@arfie
My T has said much the same thing, that it’s the most sophisticated system we have, in my case it is a seriously malfunctioning system. My T had me read Permission to Feel, good read but it’s not permission I need it’s that owners manual you speak of. My T used to start every session with how are you feeling? answers: tired, fine, I don’t know. He finally stopped asking because 90% of the time I don’t know. I can identify what anyone else is feeling, but I remain a mystery. I even downloaded an app to try to help but so far success has been slow.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I think I’m wanting to see if I can handle angry teen me because somehow it will say whether I’ll be able to handle the school year or if it’s time to throw in the towel. But see if I say that he’ll be even less likely to want me to try the angry memory.
So I wonder if there is a safer way to decide to keep living? And what you can manage and deal with, and why? This sounds a very dicey way to explore that, and I really really hope you feel able to explore this with your T.
 
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