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Email fallout with T - need advice please

Other news is i finally got the courage to write back to T. Told him I'd been struggling which is why I hadn't answered so long, not because (as he wrote) it was my way of ending the relationship. Told him I thought it best to have a session to work through the issues. Told him I was scared about doing this (and why e.g dissociation) and suggested we organise the session the week after next...

Pretty nervous for his reply
 
Other news is i finally got the courage to write back to T. Told him I'd been struggling which is why I hadn't answered so long, not because (as he wrote) it was my way of ending the relationship. Told him I thought it best to have a session to work through the issues. Told him I was scared about doing this (and why e.g dissociation) and suggested we organise the session the week after next...

Pretty nervous for his reply
Well done. Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new is daunting and scary.
 
Other news is i finally got the courage to write back to T. Told him I'd been struggling which is why I hadn't answered so long, not because (as he wrote) it was my way of ending the relationship. Told him I thought it best to have a session to work through the issues. Told him I was scared about doing this (and why e.g dissociation) and suggested we organise the session the week after next...

Pretty nervous for his reply
3 cheers.

Email was NOT working well, for you.
 
This is quite a read!!
Right...? Pete Walker is such a helpful resource for me... He's both a trauma therapist and has C-PTSD himself from growing up in an abusive family, so he just knows it all inside out, the way (IMO) you only can if you've experienced the crazy ride yourself, day for day, 24/7, over decades...

His "outer critic" concept is blowing my mind too... I've worked on the inner critic stuff for decades via trauma therapy too (tho I think his version - which is the C-PTSD version of the inner critic) is even more helpful for me). But yeah... the outer critic... yikes... Basically to me, the inner critic is the internalised abusive, toxic "you can't do anything right!" stuff that growing up with abuse taught us... that hyper-critical stuff. Where, if we do one thing "wrong" then we suck, we're useless, we're invalidated as human beings... It's such a high standard, that it's impossible to meet. Total no-win situation.

And realising that we also turn that *outward* and set unrealistically high standards for others too - they misstep, they say one unkind/ impolite/ unhelpful thing and we're like "That's it - I'm outta here!" is the same unreasonable standard as with the inner critic - any single thing that someone else does is enough to break trust, rupture the relationship, make us question the person, etc etc.

Pete Walker focusses a lot on the concept of "good enough". Am I a good enough human being? Is someone a good enough friend? Is my boss a good enough boss? Am I a good enough employee? I think that's such a helpful standard.

So maybe cutting yourself some slack and deciding that you're a good enough client (even if you don't do everything right) and deciding that your therapist is a good enough therapist (even if he doesn't do everything right) and asking both the inner critic and the outer critic to shut up in this particular case, might be a kind and compassionate thing to do and might yield more useful results compared to the "one strike and you're out" mentality of both the inner and outer critic.

Even then, you can still decide (calmly, thinking through your needs and your best interests) whether to continue working with this therapist or not. He can be a "good enough therapist" and you can still make a huge variety of choices of how to move forward.

But maybe it's a healing thing to move away from the ideas of "I'm a horrible client" and "he's a horrible therapist" that the inner and outer critic will let us spiral to on bad days/ in situations of overwhelm.

Being okay with us ALL being IMPERFECT but that we can still be "good enough" is a huge shift in thinking, IMO, compared to the toxic standards that many of us were raised with in abusive families.

And sure, any given person may be imperfect and NOT good enough - if a boss is an a**hole or a work environment is toxic or a partner is abusive, then no, they're not "good enough".

But I think the point is that a lot of thoroughly imperfect people are "good enough" and learning to move away from the toxic outer critic may be just as important as learning to move away from the toxic inner critic...?

Edit to add: Pete Walker's also got a quote somewhere about the outer critic being the detective+lawyer+judge used to find someone guilty... That's something I can definitely relate to - the detective pouring over their actions and their words, the lawyer reasoning how bad those things are and the judge condemning them as terrible... Ah yup... And that kind of ties into Rick Hanson's idea of "prosecuting a case" against someone in your head...
 
@Ecdysis the amount of incredibly useful, poignant, interesting, helpful information you're sharing here is quite something.... I feel like I don't have enough time to digest everything you're putting down because you're hitting on such important material (for my story)...

I'm very grateful thank you. And feel like this whole thread everyone's feed back is helping me learn so much about myself. It's almost therapy itself (don't worry mods I know this isn't a substitute for therapy!)... but I also feel its so much to bring to T... he and I arekind of back there in the heart of the rupture still... but at some point i'm going to try to bring alot of this to him (about dealing with disagreements, about dealing with inner and outer critic)...

I will come back to what you've written @Ecdysis as it's so useful... but I will have to let it absorb a bit more
 
Heh, so I've come across those links randomly from what I've been reading/ listening to the last few days, so I guess good on me for surrounding myself with helpful resources?
Other than that, I think it's just 2 things: a) I've struggled with these issues in the past/ still continue to struggle with them and b) it's a welcome distraction from my own woes, which seem so much more triggering and miserable and unsolveable to me, because, well they're my triggers and issues and demons... Sigh... 🙄😅
 
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Latest email from T ... I'll paste it here then comment in the next post...

"Sorry for the delay in responding. I'm really sorry to hear you've been overwhelmed and I agree that email is extremely ineffective at communicating such nuance. It's not really a safe space for a few reasons.

If you do feel able to continue, there are a couple of threads it might be worth working through:
1. what it might mean to "heal" when there are parts that might have a vested interest in keeping things as they were
2. conflict resolution - humans do have misunderstandings and we can use that material

It's not quite right for me to prompt you to come to more sessions, it must be your decision. But I'm ready to book a session if you tell me the date you'd like to come.

I do have constraints with the practice: I must pay my bills whether my clients come to sessions or not and this can sometimes sit in tension with what the client feels ready for. The default term is weekly unless there is a cancellation. We went down to fortnightly, to meet your needs, with me absorbing the cost of the intervening sessions, but then that extended to ad hoc. I do have to place a firm boundary there as it is not viable for me to run the practice that way.

I could see you Monday 11 or the following week, let me know what you'd prefer."
 
I feel reassured by the email. He's showing compassion towards me and transparency about where he stands. I can see he cares and I appreciate the time he's taken to explain his perspective. It's a far cry from his first emails in tone. And this latest email has helped alot. I hope that my email explained my position in it as much as I could - it seems to with his response being softer, and neutral- not loaded. I do feel going back is more possible now and I'm more confident to give it a go.

There are somethings that I'm not sure how I feel about as I'm not sure what is meant by them.

I'm not sure what he means by this.

If you do feel able to continue, there are a couple of threads it might be worth working through:
1. what it might mean to "heal" when there are parts that might have a vested interest in keeping things as they were

I mean, i know what he's getting at. A part of me is pulling me back to a place of mistrust. And obviously this is partly where my work lies. I'm very aware that this is part of my problem. But I haven't learnt how to have agency over it - and that's because my parts can be dissociated from each other. So the part that is writing this is different to the part who initiated this conversation. And I'm thinking 'How on earth do I manage a part with a vested interest to keep things as they are when I don't have access to them?" ... And I'm not sure what his suggestion would be. The paranoid part of me feels he's saying subtlety that i need to drop the crap by stop having a vested interest in keeping things as they are, but I can't because it's not me. And I don't know how to stop that. How does anyone stop a deep mistrust of everyone or anyone just from talking about it? I don't get it. Guess I can address that with him in sesh.


My other thing I'm finding slightly awkward is this:

I do have constraints with the practice: I must pay my bills whether my clients come to sessions or not and this can sometimes sit in tension with what the client feels ready for. The default term is weekly unless there is a cancellation. We went down to fortnightly, to meet your needs, with me absorbing the cost of the intervening sessions, but then that extended to ad hoc. I do have to place a firm boundary there as it is not viable for me to run the practice that way.
I agree with him totally. It's absolutely fair he shouldn't have to absorb the costs of sessions i don't do. But once again, I've never asked him to do this, I've always gone with what HE has said is OK for him. And for the last x months it's not been weekly. I feel grateful he's made that clinical sacrifice for me but I didn't know he was doing it (it's not for me to question how his practice works). And again this is a very sudden change from 'That's fine come every 2 weeks or when you want' to 'You have to pay for every week's. I completely understand and agree from his perspective why he needs to do that. But this is new and its a sudden change - apparently as a result of this email exchange. I don't have bad feelings about it. But I think this is the second time he's been very unclear with his boundaries by suddenly changing them. At least I know where I stand now. The only problem is can't afford every week. So I guess this therapeutic relationship is now finite
 
I feel reassured by the email.
So glad his email has helped make you feel better. That must be a relief.
How on earth do I manage a part with a vested interest to keep things as they are when I don't have access to them?" ...
This is a really great question to explore with him. Because it is so hard.
My T had said similar things to me (in the session, not via email - and this is why T's don't want to do therapy by email as it leaves you wondering). And it was about trying to 'repurpose' that part. Thank you for it's work. And give it a new role or retire it. Reassure it somehow. Hard work.. and I say that as someone without DID so likely it would be different?
The paranoid part of me feels he's saying subtlety that i need to drop the crap by stop having a vested interest in keeping things as they are, but I can't because it's not me.
He isn't saying that. Be good to take him at his word. He is bringing something into your awareness to work on. And it is jarring with that part that doesn't want to hear it, is offended by him saying that part is not helping. Makes sense that part would feel that. We all would if someone tells us that we're holding someone back. And in this case this part, for all it's good reasons in the past, is holding you back now.
Not cutting the crap. But healing from trauma.
But once again, I've never asked him
You didn't. And he didn't say you did.
feel grateful
I would too. But also: you don't need to. These relationships with T's are so odd to navigate. It can be immensely beautiful and equally as painful because ...
. So I guess this therapeutic relationship is now finite
...essentially this is always the case. As much care, compassion, intimacy as there is: the relationship is finite. It doesn't stop the depth of the relationship. But it's one where there is always a boundary.
And sometimes those boundaries hurt. And sometimes they feel safe.
It's all a rocky road.


But I'm so glad you have a door open here and you feel better.

Do you know which session you will book?
 
this is a very sudden change from 'That's fine come every 2 weeks or when you want' to 'You have to pay for every week's.
I think what he's saying is that HE has to pay his rent every week. Sounds like he was ok with seeing you every other week but can't afford to have unfilled openings if a client comes more randomly than that. (Seems like he might be able to schedule another every other week person the weeks you aren't there, but the scheduling is his problem.) It wouldn't surprise me at all if something else, totally unrelated to you, happened that kind of suddenly made "scheduling" seem to him to be something he needs to get a better handle on. I've had that happen in my own business. Appointments take WAY longer than they should because people aren't ready or their horses don't behave. I try to be nice about it, we all have bad days, etc. Sometimes there comes a point where "enough is enough". If I spend all day and only trim 2 horses........ But, usually, when I hit that wall it's because something else made me aware of the fact that I haven't been managing my time very efficiently and it's actually a problem. Just guessing here, but I think this is something that's not going to turn out to be a big problem, he just hasn't communicated things very well yet.
How on earth do I manage a part with a vested interest to keep things as they are when I don't have access to them?"
I kind of think @Movingforward10 is right about this. Also speaking as someone who doesn't have DID though. My T used to say that "parts" exist for a reason. They have/had a "job" and you can't just make them go away. You can, however, find them another job that's more useful in the present.
And I'm not sure what his suggestion would be.
It might be interesting to ask him, huh?

Sounds like you're making progress working things out!
 
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