Trying to Break a Negative Pattern


I freak out when my T leaves town. We have a routine about it, she tells me as soon as she knows the schedule will change, we talk about my feelings, she gives me a hand written card before she goes. I busy myself while she is gone. I deal with horrible feelings, she returns and acts like nothing happened and I get angry at her, but don’t say anything. This time, I asked myself why this hasn’t gotten better over time? I decided that I need to break this pattern and see if there will be any change. So, I sent her an email that we need a better return because when she acts “business as usual” I feel angry and hurt. (She had no clue). So today, before she left, we talked about these feelings. I feel different. I’m also exhausted. She recognized our missed meeting being especially hard and she suggested I hold a fake session with myself. I knew about that technique already, but it seems different since she suggested I try it. And she told me that I know how she would respond. (Maybe I should send her the bill, 🙃). We also tied this into my childhood abandonment experiences in new ways. It got too painful, so we did some flash emdr and ended with a guided meditation where I recorded her.

I’m hoping that this will work. That I changed the pattern enough that we won’t have to have a mini rupture when she returns. Have you successfully changed a negative pattern in your therapy?


It's really great you brought that up. I hope your return with her works better.

I think I've had little changes in therapy. I.e. if I know I am upset in the session, I've learnt to bring that up straight away rather than hide it and hold on to it for the week. Holding it makes me turn it into something huge, when it's usually something tiny.

But I do need to work on recognising that I am upset in the session, as I sometimes only realise that after.

But I hear you about breaks. My T is having another (!) one next week. I need time to digest the break, and plan for it, and work out how to manage it. But usually the return is me not expressing what I need.

It's all so complex isn't it?!

Sounds like the way to change it is the way you are doing it: recognising it, expressing it, and coming up with a plan with T to make it better. And now she knows, she can check in with you about how it is going.


Yes absence or ending of anything or with anyone is something I struggle with not naturally abandoning.

I think for me changing a negative pattern requires some structure, info, willingness to surrender/ trust, despite past experiences/ messages, practice, and distress tolerance of myself when trying to do that (trust). It is very difficult with exhaustion, as is thinking and stress management. The work is all on me, but some things make it easier or harder. I suppose I find it hard to even communicate what is helpful or makes it more difficult- that most often just doesn't occur to me. It is more natural for me to make my decisions in my own head, it is an effort to communicate them or what I'm thinking or feeling.

I think saying how you feel is important.

You sound like you are making good progress! 🙂
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My brain is still processing the emdr stuff that we did before she left. I had never realized the mother abandonment that happened during something when I was 13 played such a huge part in this until our last session. I always thought it was the dad thing from age 6-7. (Which is also part of this). I’m still lingering in these painful feelings, but it’s easier knowing that T isn’t causing them. My suds had been a 9 on Tuesday. It was a 6 after the flash emdr. I’d say it’s still lingering there. Luckily, these feelings aren’t constant. It comes and goes and I’m able to function in my life. It helps that my T and my horse sit with me in my favorite calm down spot buy the ocean in my recorded meditation with her guiding me. It’s like I can feel her when she’s not here.