Feeling Disconnected from therapist

LeiaFlower

Confident
Or alternatively (since we can't ever control the other person) 'to develop the way I'm interpreting the way people communicate with me so that it doesn't hit my self confidence so hard'...?

For me, if I'd been in that situation, I'd probably be a bit mindful that what I was saying was not only uncomfortable for me me, but also potentially for my T. Because unlike most of the stuff we talk about, it related to her personally, and not in a great way!

What I do know is people start at their fingernails very often as an emotional-regulation behaviour. It's very often not disinterest, but rather a subconscious emotional regulation habit. Anxiety? Pick at the fingernails. Discomfort? Pick at the fingernails. Fear? Pick at the fingernails. Not for everyone, but at the same time, still very common.

So, if she could adjust that behaviour to make you more comfortable? Awesome. But also, if you could have more self confidence when interpreting body language in others, so it doesn't throw you - that would also be a great outcome!
Thank you for giving me more perspective on the issue and seeing things from her side. Even though it was happening to me I forgot how uncomfortable it must’ve been for her, for someone to be that scared of them. During session it was hard to sit in the couch due to it feeling I was too close. I kept scouting further and further from her, and making eye contact was even more frightening due to it being a trigger in my nightmare. Where she forced me to look at her as she hurt me. I flinched in session when she reached out to give me something to write with and only allowed her to place it away from me. I know I should still have empathy for myself and what I went through; however, after reading what you wrote it brought back the empathy for her. She doesn’t do the nail thing all the time only remember her doing it one other time when I was talking about the abuse with my cousins. Of course we as clients will never know what our therapist past was, though I guess me talking about sexual abuse could cause her anxiety. With this I’ll try to be more mindful when I do ask her about it.
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
I think you may have identified something here:


Sounds like you wanted a more empathic response from her. I wonder what that might look like for you?
I wish I knew, but it might be displacement from seeing her as a mother figure. I felt like her numbness could be a defense like what the other person said. I won’t know until we discuss it on Thursday
 
Hi @LeiaFlower . Idk if this is at all helpful, but I'll just put it out there anyway, and you can ignore it if not.

I too first felt awful for you, and still do, though as the others have said:

She may feel she's doing something good for you, but you're interpreting it differently than she expects.
and
I had similar thoughts to @Eagle3 when I first read your OP. That perhaps she is deliberately avoiding looking at you while you are feeling vulnerable and doing a difficult thing (reading out from your journal) as being watched could increase the intensity. Though, personally, I think there are less obtrusive ways of doing that than doing her nails.
And that:
That said, whatever her intention, these things haven’t landed well for you. So, they are worth a conversation with her, I’d think.

Or alternatively (since we can't ever control the other person) 'to develop the way I'm interpreting the way people communicate with me so that it doesn't hit my self confidence so hard'...?

For me, if I'd been in that situation, I'd probably be a bit mindful that what I was saying was not only uncomfortable for me me, but also potentially for my T. Because unlike most of the stuff we talk about, it related to her personally, and not in a great way!
And I think it sounds like you've come around to also wondering if perhaps her intentions were good, or perhaps motivated by the best intention is a better way to put it. Though you still feel disconnected.

But I am just wondering, if you think of what a negative bent most of us are prone to leading towards, and also if you remember these were nightmares- not something your T actually did or vice versa, maybe that could put it in a bit different perspective? Because dreams can reveal fears etc, but they are not reality. And therefore it requiring all this time to bring up speaks more perhaps to those fears, and they may color also how you expect her to react, and what she will say. And if it's a fear it's unlikely you would expect a positive reaction. Yet in another way, dreams can be weird, and I'm not sure how much weight in and of themselves they should be given. I am not meaning to invalidate how you feel, but just wondering if the negative feelings from the dreams are influencing what you expect to see, hear, or even the conclusions you draw? Because I'm not sure if that disconnection is only required to be repaired from her part; at some point you also have to decide if you are 'in' or 'out' in terms of working together. if you take the step to be 'in', you are in essence also saying you trust she has positive regard for you and vice versa, and that would include her empathizing with what you have gone through and are going through. Trusting she does. Versus the connection (or grounds for it) being ''proven' by her to you, because you also have to chose if you will connect to her, if you feel you have grounds given your past work together and who or how she is.
though I guess me talking about sexual abuse could cause her anxiety. With this I’ll try to be more mindful when I do ask her about it.
just as an aside I wouldn't mind read ^^. As a human being she may or may not have gone through a lot of things, but feeling disconnected (especially if you yourself are pulling away) can be influenced by thoughts, which may or may not be reality. How you feel you should be able to say. But do remember your nightmares aren't actually real, it's the contents and your past that disturbs you so greatly.

Best wishes to you, and good luck.
 
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LeiaFlower

Confident
Because I'm not sure if that disconnection is only required to be repaired from her part; at some point you also have to decide if you are 'in' or 'out' in terms of working together.
@CoolBreezeonahotday It must seem like I’m flipping back and forth with my emotions. Trusting her one moment and fearing the worst from her the next. Not even seems like, it is the case. I struggle a lot with disorganized attachments. The “I hate you/don’t trust you then I love you/I trust you” attachment style. Generally speaking it is very hard for me to trust people. I’ve been working with my therapist for over a year and it was only recently that I finally felt she wouldn’t hurt me emotionally. However, due to the lack of trust for people the first such I get to run I usually take it. My first response is to assume the worst and hope for the best later. I don’t want to sound over apologetic for a disorder out of my control. However, I should’ve mentioned that at first so everyone can have a better understanding. Overall I do trust her and I want to continue working with her. It’s just whenever I get a sniff of possible danger I run. I’ve been hurt by too many people who gained my trust which led to this attachment style.

Anyways thanks for the support and the advice. I wish the best to you as well ok your journey :)
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I can totally understand how you feel.

@CoolBreezeonahotday It must seem like I’m flipping back and forth with my emotions. Trusting her one moment and fearing the worst from her the next. Not even seems like, it is the case. I struggle a lot with disorganized attachments. The “I hate you/don’t trust you then I love you/I trust you” attachment style. Generally speaking it is very hard for me to trust people. I’ve been working with my therapist for over a year and it was only recently that I finally felt she wouldn’t hurt me emotionally. However, due to the lack of trust for people the first such I get to run I usually take it. My first response is to assume the worst and hope for the best later. I don’t want to sound over apologetic for a disorder out of my control. However, I should’ve mentioned that at first so everyone can have a better understanding. Overall I do trust her and I want to continue working with her. It’s just whenever I get a sniff of possible danger I run. I’ve been hurt by too many people who gained my trust which led to this attachment style.

Anyways thanks for the support and the advice. I wish the best to you as well ok your journey :)
All the advice and suggestions you’ve been given here, I’ve been given too. My diary is littered with these sorts of things with my T. Me interpreting things when triggered, either triggered from an attachment place or another trauma place, from that time. Rather than the perspective of what is happening in the moment. It’s all very painful to go through. So I feel for you going through it. But, it does get better.
have you looked up reenactment? As that could be what’s happening. You expecting a response similar to the past, and being hyper vigilant for any tiny small sign of that. Which you found with her nail thing and the words she said in response. But, allowing for a little space to see those acts and words differently, can really help. Not in trying to read her mind (I do this all the time and my diary is also full of people reminding me I am mind reading again!), but in examining your responses and your feelings, and the projection and reenactment from the past. Healing from that relational trauma that is from the past.

as painful as these things are, everyone says this is where a lot of healing can come from. The latest one with my T, in May, I actually can hold on to the healing that came from it.
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
I can totally understand how you feel.


All the advice and suggestions you’ve been given here, I’ve been given too. My diary is littered with these sorts of things with my T. Me interpreting things when triggered, either triggered from an attachment place or another trauma place
have you looked up reenactment? As that could be what’s happening. You expecting a response similar to the past, and being hyper vigilant for any tiny small sign of that. Which you found with her nail thing and the words she said in response. But, allowing for a little space to see those acts and words differently, can really help. Not in trying to read her mind (I do this all the time and my diary is also full of people reminding me I am mind reading again!), but in examining your responses and your feelings, and the projection and reenactment from the past. Healing from that relational trauma that is from the past.
as painful as these things are, everyone says this is where a lot of healing can come from. The latest one with my T, in May, I actually can hold on to the healing that came from it.
I haven’t heard of reenactment it sounds a little like negative transference which I thought was the cause of my nightmares; however, reenactment sounds more like what I was going through. Do you have any articles about it and how to help with it?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I don't know if these help, but I had booked marked these in one of the ruptures/reenactments with my T:




And I think negative transference is linked? Or the same? Idk!
 
Hi @LeiaFlower don't worry at all, most of us are familiar to one degree or another (or intimately) with the same or similar attachment style (fearful vs dismissive avoidant, and most people are a combination of any of the 4. And even each one has sub-categories, apparently) and also fight/flight/fawn/freeze.

It must seem like I’m flipping back and forth with my emotions. Trusting her one moment and fearing the worst from her the next. Not even seems like, it is the case
^^ Again, that's a big fear for many of us.
. My first response is to assume the worst and hope for the best later. I don’t want to sound over apologetic for a disorder out of my control. However, I should’ve mentioned that at first so everyone can have a better understanding
Just to say attachment styles can vary between people, but please take heart- the big thing is they are malleable. They are also not 'wrong' nor a disorder, they are just considered more secure or insecure. However, with work they can change. Which is why just for me, (though in truth it's also not fair to others if they deserve otherwise) I have to make a conscious effort to park my doubts and stop thinking, over-thinking especially. I suppose it's a commitment to trying to do differently despite fear and perceived risk.

I did not read @Movingforward10 's posted articles yet, I'm sure they are great. ,For me, a trauma re-enactment is repeating the trauma while trying to get a different ending, and I do not see the person in front of me for who they are, and not in the present. And of course there's projection possible- projecting (positively or negatively) or attributing someone else's qualities and what have you, or one's own thoughts, on to others (just how I think of it, not a technical definition so I may not be using it correctly). Too bad I can't recall what researcher who said it, but they said something like over 80% of the time in interactions between people they aren't seeing the 'other' but actually responding to someone from the past. (That's for all people, and includes securely attached ones. And could be as simple as at the grocery store, or at work). Of course, being aware of it, and mindfulness, and desire and practice and risk to change will help change it.

But for me, because we don't know what anyone else thinks, we can only ask and hope they'll answer honestly. And as @Freddyt always says here, keep getting clarification. And that ptsd lies. (Hope that's ok to mention @Freddyt , you can word it better).

I hope you can get some resolve and not feel badly about it. 🫂

PS, ETA I know it's very difficult and only say any suggestion humbly. And perhaps you will hit gold with @Movingforward10 's suggestions. As long as it's helpful that is a good thing! Please be gentle with yourself.
 
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