I was writing this as though addressing AH. I began responding to his email. Which turned into a ramble. Which I’d love thoughts on, but I doubt this post will be read by anyone.
AH emailed me asking ‘how are you’. This was a response to his previous email telling me that he thought we should keep therapy to email – he said ‘this should be the form of therapy’. Go backwards.
I texted AH the morning we were going to speak. I wanted him to keep the session safe as the previous one I had put down as it was a waste of time and was tuning out. So I messaged him beforehand asking him how he planned on keeping it safe and whether he planned on addressing what his views on therapy were. I wanted to discuss with him when we spoke what he considered the purpose and what I considered the purpose. To align the two. Make sure we were in tandem. He responded that I had to decided if I wanted to continue. Huh? Although I understood why he could misunderstand what I wrote. I replied that it wasn’t a matter of me deciding whether to continue, I hadn’t planned on ending it. I would like to tell him what purpose I see in therapy. But before I could tell him that I need him to do his part to keep it safe. And if he can’t do his part to keep therapy safe then he’d be right, there wouldn’t be a point in continuing, as it’d just be a greater and greater lack of safety. And I was finding it unsafe that he wasn’t telling me what he understood of anything I sent to him. I’d been sending him what I wrote. And his comments when we spoke were telling me that he hadn’t understood it. And some of the things I wrote really did need to be understood (like what I wrote for him explaining that I wanted to throw away the nearing 1k painkillers I have but unsure if it’s the right thing to do, and why). So I wrote him a letter telling him that I was frustrated that he wasn’t telling me what he understood. He told me we’d discuss it. He didn’t. I tried to bring it up when we spoke (he didn’t understand what I was asking). And then it came to this. Me messaging him that I need him to tell me what he understands for otherwise I don’t feel safe. There were a bunch of messages and he told me he didn’t think there was a point in speaking that evening. I emailed him a couple of emails and wrote a lot about what I wanted on a forum. I sent him all that I wrote. He left me a voice message with 8 points. 3 didn’t concern me although I would have discussed it. 3 I had addressed. The primary 3. It was all I had answered. And he was asking 3 questions which meant he hadn’t understood what I’d said. And 2 were extremely relevant. One of those 2 was, to quote him ‘maybe you need a different therapist. I’m not questioning that’. Um, what are you trying to say? He also said that maybe I’m right and I’m too much for him. I didn’t respond to his message other than to reply ‘please can you tell me what you understood from all that I sent to you’ and why I needed it. He told me he would. He didn’t. I asked him to again. He didn’t. I asked him to a 3rd time – he told me to tell him what I wanted his thoughts on. So I quoted the message I had sent him before. He didn’t reply. A few days later he emailed me telling me he needed the break, maybe I did too. I was impressed with his email. Telling me how he saw it. That I was asking him to make it safe and he didn’t know how to make it safe. There was just such a, I can’t think of the word, lack with that. His email was impressive. The way he worded what he thought. That he doesn’t know what to do. However it wasn’t addressing all I’d said. Which would have actually answered some of what he’d said. Which could have been summed up in 3 lines: When I share something and I don’t know what is understood – referring to this relationship specifically – it creates a gap between what I have shared, and what has been understood which creates a vulnerability which isn’t safe. I need that gap to be bridged by AH telling me what he understands of what I share. That was the be it, end all of 3 pages and a lot of text in emails I’d sent to him. All the unnecessary text. And, he was caring about some aspects of safety that I wasn’t. That didn’t bother me. The fact that he didn’t know how to handle it when I was silent – which was often, I was okay with. He didn’t need to know what to do. He’d ask me. He’d be silent or not for too long. He was allowed to not know. That was actually the plan I’d drawn up that he hadn’t seen. In order to deal with it. He didn’t see it because he’d asked me about ending it, rather than addressing what I wanted for safety.
I responded to his email telling him that if he’d asked me prior to this I wouldn’t have known what I wanted. Now, I knew I wanted to make it work, although I wasn’t sure how to. I added that I had drawn up a plan to deal with the technical aspects of safety. He replied saying he thinks I’ll always be disappointed and we should keep it to ‘this’. I’m presuming ‘this’ meant emails. There was nothing to say to that. He’d disregarded all I’d said. He emailed a few days later ‘how are you’. And followed that up with a few days later that he’s presuming from my lack of response that I was terminating therapy, maybe it’s for the best, we can always pick up in the future. I saw those emails today after not being online for a week. I responded saying that I was actually not online for a week. He replied ‘well……’. That’s what I began responding to but ended up with a long ramble instead. For there isn’t really anything that I know what to reply to. The fact he thinks it’s good to end it now? The fact he thinks it’s for the best? That he thinks I’m terminating something when I was trying to make it safe and trying to tell him where I wanted to go on from here (I’d told him that via email too, when he didn’t understand it whilst we were speaking. I told him how my single sentences may not have been understandable but had been referring to a – needing him to understand, b – living in the real world, c – asking him to help me make a safety plan. I don’t know what I’m meant to reply to his ‘well….’. I rambled instead.
I’m not sure what the ‘well’ is meant to mean.
I never created the distance. You did. I understand why you misinterpreted some of the words (when I said I want to discuss where to go from here, I understand that you could have thought I meant I wanted to end it. Which was not my intention. As I’ve already mentioned). I don’t understand a lot of other things. I don’t understand why you haven’t told me what you understood about what I wanted from you. I don’t understand why you didn’t understand something I said 10 times over which everyone else is able to understand. I don’t understand what is so hard to understand that I have a need to know what you understand as otherwise it creates a gap between what I have shared and what you know. I don’t understand you. I don’t understand what you’re thinking. I don’t understand or know where you are coming from. Yes, I would like to.
Am I terminating this? I never did. I had never considered it before you mentioned it.
Honestly, I don’t know what the right thing is.
I don’t know if you’re acted normally – just obtuse, or if you’ve been completely unprofessional.
The reason I’m unsure about continuing has nothing to do with me. But everything to do with you. Everything to do with the fact that when I asked you how you planned on keeping it safe when we speak and whether you planned on discussing with me what the purpose you see in therapy is you told me that I should decide about continuing. I may not have been clear about what I was asking. I was asking whether we could work out the purpose from where we were at.
However, your reactions since then were surprising.
That you told me a week after that – 2 weeks after I spoke to you – that you didn’t understand what I had emailed you whilst we were speaking. Why hadn’t you told me that then. Whilst we were skyping? Whilst I was waiting for a response to what I asked?
That you emailed me that you find it hard to hear me on skype. That you don’t understand my accent. Why is this the first time I’m hearing that? If you add that to the mix. Where speaking ain’t the safest for me. The catch 22 you wrote about. Talk therapy with someone whom talking can be unsafe for.
That you still keep on proving that you don’t read every word I write.
That you didn’t tell me what you understood when I sent you a link to all that I wrote on forum telling you what I wanted, and copied what I wrote elsewhere explaining the confusion it brought up with boundaries. And asked you 3 times to please tell me what you understood of it. Which you never did.
Maybe none of it is surprising.
Maybe the first time you told me that you weren’t going to apologize when you knew I was hurt should have been a signal. You hadn’t done anything wrong. You had taken some words I said, the words could have had a dual meaning. You had responded to what you had understood. Which with the meaning I had meant was the biggest ‘shut the door in your face’ possible. You understood that. That wasn’t wrong. Your reaction to your mistake was wrong. You understood what you’d said, and how much and why I would have been hurt. And told me it was interesting. And told me you weren’t going to apologize. When I hadn’t asked you for an apology. And ended the skype session early when I told you that you were putting your foot in your mouth. Supposedly for my sake. And told me the next time that I was making you sound like a jerk. I was? I just quoted you back to yourself. You were.
Maybe I should have realized it when you told me that you had spoken to my dad before you ever spoke to me. When you ignored the words I said to you. When you disregarded the fact that I told you the relationship couldn’t handle anything. When you didn’t take into account what I was able to hear. When you broke the non-existent trust by not having told me before we started and let me decide whether to speak to you or not.
Maybe there were other signals. Like when I would tell you I want to convey xyz. And give you the story. And tell you it conveys xyz. And instead of trying to understand what I was trying to say you would ask me about the details of the story. Without trying to understand x or y or z.
Maybe I should have known the first time I believed I was wrong that you were wrong. When I believed I was wrong for not having asked you what your ‘ok’ meant. When I messaged you and told you that I might be free to see you the next day. And you responded ‘ok’ and I thought to myself that I should ask you what part of the message ‘ok’ was responding to. When I decided to instead trust you. Trust that you had actually read my message before replying ‘ok’. Instead when I mentioned tomorrow to you again, you reacted in surprise, that you would never be available tomorrow and where does tomorrow come in. I believed I was wrong. For not having asked you what you had been responding to. I hadn’t been wrong. I had mentioned tomorrow. You hadn’t read the words you replied to. I was right to trust in you. That you hadn’t was your fault. And no, I never mentioned it to you. For I just believed that I was wrong.
So, I don’t know if your reactions are surprising or not. I don’t know what is or isn’t normal.
And then there is the other side of the coin.
Like when you offered to cut the sessions in half and speak twice a week instead. Which didn’t ever happen. But the offer showed that you were thinking of what I could handle. That you saw that I wasn’t handling a 50 minute span of time.
Like the way you were okay with me putting down early when it was too long for me.
Like the way you responded when I told you I trusted you. You didn’t believe me. You somehow realized that I believed what I was saying. That as far as I was concerned I did trust people. And didn’t tell me that what I said wasn’t true. Although when you told me you believed I was acting in a certain way and I told you that it wasn’t true, you didn’t believe me. And when you told me you thought I didn’t speak to you in order to control, and I told you it wasn’t true, you didn’t believe me. I know that you now do believe me. I know that you now understand all I’ve said enough to know that I’m right. Yet, it’s too late. You never acknowledged how much it hurt me that you could so misunderstand me, and that it hurt that you could think the way you did about me. I never needed an apology. I needed you to acknowledge what your mistakes meant.
The other side of the coin could be seen in how you handled it when I freaked out on you. I still don’t know if you realized how much I freaked out. If you realized how proud I was and should be that I stayed present with it. If you realized that I don’t recall the last time I freaked out to that extent. Or how much it drained me. Yet, you handled it. You dealt with it. You did what I needed even if you weren’t sure about it. You did what I needed because you knew I needed it. You actually built a really lot with that.
There was that other side when you dealt with me. When you didn’t find the fact that I don’t feel safe too much for you to handle. Which is my sense of what’s going on now. That you can’t handle my lack of safety. Is that so? I wouldn’t know. I told you what you could do. I would have given you a plan of action for what else you could do. But you never responded to it. You never replied to what I told you I need for safety. To what I told you had been creating too much vulnerability for me to handle. Yet, you dealt with me. There aren’t many people who would be able to deal with me in silence mode. Who would know how to handle it without freaking out themselves. I know you never felt like you knew how to handle it. But there was no way to. There were no rights or wrongs. So long as you were trying it was okay if you put your foot in your mouth. You did handle it.
The other side was seen when you stuck through it when I did my level best to push you away. I did my best to push you away. I did all I could to get you to give up on me. To say that you couldn’t handle me. I wanted you to say that it was too much and to end it. You knew it. I think you also knew that it wasn’t intentional. That if I would do all that I’d thought of and was aware of, you probably would have given up. I think you knew at the time that I was trying not to. You stuck through it. It’s ironic that now, when I was actually trying to bridge the gap that you’d created, you find it too much. It’s ironic when I don’t want you to be another person to prove I’m too much, when I don’t want to prove all those beliefs I have about turning to people correct, that you’re doing so. It’s ironic that it’s now, and not then. Then, I wanted it. Then, I was trying to push you away. Then I wanted to prove all the beliefs correct for it was way too confusing to live life contrary to what I knew. Now, I wasn’t. Now I was trying to bridge the gap. I wanted to prove them all to be false. You were and are somehow still relating to the then. Not to the now.
I think that’s a lot of what is going on. You’re living with the then. You haven’t moved on with me. I never used to be able to express what I wanted or needed. I never would have thought it safe too. I still don’t believe that I’m allowed to have my own ‘wants’ in a relationship with anyone. I still feel guilty when I don’t go along with what someone else wants, when I instead do what I want and don’t listen to them. Yet, I’m able to state what I want. I’m doing that occasionally. Or, on occasion is more accurate. Asking for what I want. And being extremely surprised when I actually get it. So, I asked you for what I want. I tried to tell you what I needed. I told you that the reason I was able to handle the fact that you didn’t keep to your word – you told me you’d be in touch during a period of time and weren’t – was because you had acknowledged what it would have been like for me. You had acknowledged what I said. Which made it safe enough to go past it. I wrote it to you. I wrote you a letter telling you that I was frustrated that you weren’t acknowledging anything I sent to you which meant I didn’t know what you understood. You said that you would discuss it. And finally I wrote to you over and over that I need you to tell me what you understand. I had asked what you were going to do to make it safe. And told you that what I needed was for you to tell me what you understand. I’ve been telling you what I need. You’ve not acknowledged it. I find it humorous that you haven’t acknowledged that I need you to acknowledge. You didn’t move on with me. When I told you I wanted to talk about the purpose of therapy, this was why. I wanted you to move on with me. It couldn’t be only about the relationship. Until now that is what it had been about. You were trying to discuss things when if it were about the relationship, anything else wasn’t relevant. It wasn’t anymore for me. It wasn’t only about the relationship. Which is why I needed you to tell me what you understood. Which is why I needed it to be safer in the way of knowing what you understand. So, I told you. That I wanted to discuss the point. Asked you if you would discuss the purpose. Told you I need to know what you understand. So that we could move on together. None of it happened. I’m not even sure what’s gone on for you. None of it can make any sense to me. You’ve asked me too many times, told me too many times, that I’m terminating it, when it hadn’t been on my mind until you raised it, that, I don’t know if there is any way forward. You’ve also mentioned a few times that you think I need something different. What is the something different you thought I need? You never told me. You didn’t move forward with me. You still haven’t. I don’t think there is a way forward from here. The reason it’s disappointing is only because of all the beliefs you’re proving correct. Is because there had been a sorta working relationship. Which, you know just how major that is for me to have succeeded with creating. But, if you compare the relationship to a tightrope – which you’ve often done – you took a knife and cut into the rope at all ends. We’ve stitched that rope together numerous times. Actually, I’d compare it to a wall, for it’s the analogy I’ve used before that describes it best. I think I drew a picture of it for you when I was explaining it to you. If you take a wall, and break the wall. You have 2 pieces of rocks. You can put some pieces of metal between the rocks that hold it together. The crack always remains. It’s held together despite that crack. The crack isn’t gone. The crack doesn’t ruin the path though. For it’s held together with those rods. We – and yes, there was a we – made numerous cracks, and built numerous melds to hold the pieces in place. You’ve cracked the rock in so many places now – and this time it is you – that I don’t know if there is a way to put it together anymore. It is you and not me this time. I know that I have a part. There are always 2 sides. I don’t know what my part is. I wish I would know where my part in this crack lies. It would really help me to understand what I did now to break it. I don’t know. Is it in asking you in my words to make it safe and to discuss where to go from here? That I’m often unclear is long understood. I know it. You know it. It’s actually more than understood. It’s to be expected. I think you even know just how frustrating it is for me. You read what I sent to you, describing what it’s like living in a world where I’m so often talking a different language to the rest of the universe. To try and say what I want to yet to find it impossible to express what I mean, despite how clear it is to me. To have all the words written in my head, there.I don’t think there was a my part here. I know there has to have been. I’m just not sure what my part was or is. You’ve created the distance now. I’m sure I’ve contributed to it, I just don’t know how. And now you’re telling me that ‘you understand from my nonresponse that I have decided to terminate….’ That I decided to terminate? There was no me.
You wrote this to me after you didn’t respond when I asked you to tell me what you understood.
I wish I knew how to connect with you meaningfully but if in the process you only get frightened I, sadly, may be the wrong person for the job. I replied with a long ramble that said that if you’d asked me beforehand I wouldn’t have known if I wanted to continue, but being that you’re asking me now, I know that I want to make it work. You replied in essence that you think you’ll always disappoint me, and think this (emailing? I’m not sure what the this was replying to) should be the form of therapy. You followed that up with ‘how are you’ a few days later. There was no way for me to respond. Thankfully being that I wasn’t online for a week it wasn’t relevant. And then that you understand from my nonresponse that I’m deciding to end this. You’re sorry it’s come to this, you say. You’re sorry? Come again? You ended it. Not me. You’re not surprised and it might be for the best? It may be for the best. I agree with that. Because you do keep on disappointing me. I was ready to put up with that. I understood that to be a normal part of any relationship. For some reason you weren’t. Although I may scoff at this, one day we may resume working together????? You’re more than willing to do so????? Come again??????? I never ended this. How can we ‘resume’ working together when you ended a relationship that I didn’t end? How can we resume when you’ve gone and proven to me that you will end it. I told you often that I knew you were going to end up ending the relationship. I told you often that I was scared of it. I told you that I didn’t know how I’d be able to handle it. You once left me a voice message which I listened to often. I’m not listening to it now as it’ll bring me to tears. In the message you said that however hard I push you away ‘wittingly or unwittingly’ you’ll do your best to stay with this. That you wouldn’t end it. I actually kinda believed you. Take away the kinda. You will, I think, know how much that message meant to me. That you’ll stick through it. You left me that message at a time I was still doing my level best to push you away. Even if I did push you away now – which I don’t think I did – I don’t see there being any way to ‘resume’. There’s no way I’d ever reach out to you. When you’ve proven everything to be true. When I actually wrote this to you beforehand. Explained that the reason I didn’t want to end it was because I didn’t want to be proving anything true. Because I know that I don’t have the wherewithal to try again.
I’m not sure what to do with this….
I’m unsure what I think about posting a 4,500 word post, but I just am. Without thinking.