Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Looks Like I Made It (not)

Well my T is back and I saw him last Monday. Tuesday, I cratered and took out the whole frustrating 2 weeks he'd been gone - on him and my daughter. Oh how stupid can that be? Anyway...

Mr.S sometimes tries to minimize differences of feelings and behavior between DIDs and "normal" people by telling me, "That's not so far off of how other people feel." Or, "That's how most people feel about that, it's a normal way to feel." The first time he said it, it pissed me off and he explained that sometimes he can de-escalate my rising or uncontrolled panic by using that as a way for me to compare. I can see that.

So he uses it from time to time. I've learned to stop (sometimes) and check the severity of how I feel and how I should feel, by whether I think other people might feel like ripping the paint off the walls, or total helplessness over petty confrontations. Sometimes it works. Monday afternoon, tho, he told me that along with, "Well, it looks like you made it."

I dont' know what I expected him to say. I'd been in a horrible mood for days (which isn't really me, most of the time), and I'd just survived the confrontation with my brother. I felt as if I'd survived WWIII. I think he minimized it too much, I don't know. Really, he didn't say anything that should have or would have upset me, but I left there feeling like I'd been ambushed and blasted.

Realize here that sometimes this happens to me and it's not T, but some issue that I can't get to the surface to talk about or something I'm not aware about that doesn't get discussed and I leave upset without knowing why.

Tuesday, I argued with my daughter over the phone. It was petty and totally, well, just stupid. Then sometime Tuesday night, I cratered completely. I didn't sleep well and sometime during the early night, I got up and blasted them both with an email that makes no sense, just blasts back at them. Darn.

So I spent yesterday trying to find a way to apologize and hoping my daughter would answer if I called. I was miserable.

I was somewhat redeamed by T when he sent me an email back. He tried to assume some responsibility for my bad behavior. He said he thinks maybe a Little was triggered by something and they don't always come to discuss it but make the whole system agitated and angry. Maybe. Anyway, he was very understanding (as usual) and promised we were take care of things next Monday. I feel vindicated - somewhat. I called and left an apology on his phone anyway.

Later after work, my daughter didn't answer the phone but called me back within 5 minutes (thank you God) and we ended up having a great conversation. I apologized to her, as well - many times.

But, I guess I don't get it - the whole thing. I took things out on them that weren't their fault, or their problem, really. I apologized, they (and I) think it was a blip-vert or a brain fart on my part of DID and they think it's now all okay. Why am I left always feeling like I've just been patronized, or patted on the head? I'm not angry with them and the whole thing at least defused some of the angry frustration I have been experiencing, but I feel as if I've been patronized.

Next post, I'll try to explain the reason for the email. As usual, I was trying to get a point across and I failed miserably at it. It's one that I have tried over and over to explain and they don't get it. I'm hoping my blogger friends will understand what I'm trying to say and maybe even help me say it in a way that T and my daughter will understand.



Kate said...

Hi Ivory,

I can tell you how I feel when someone says or comes across this way. I think no, they are wrong. My experience is entirely different. I have the same emotions others have but I don't need to be mollycoddled, I need the truth, I can take it, I need to be honored and validated rather than diminished and invalidated. I hate that kind of stuff and it makes me feel like a small speck of dirt, disrespected and not understood.

It is okay for me for another survivor to say they understand, to say a wide range of things. But for someone who has no idea what it is like to say it is, in any way,like what non-survivors experience is total bullshit. Just my approach to the subject.

After a t is away I don't want to hear how I survived. I need them to get down to the hard work of helping me process all that has happened since they have been away rather than act like because I survived I must be fine. Which I'm not.

Good and healing thoughts to you.


Ivory said...

Oh this makes me feel better! I know how much my T has done for me and how much research he has done on my behalf - and I know he really cares that I heal. But...

I was feeling like a Judas for being upset that he said I was fine. I never know how to act or how to feel.

Thank you so much!

Paul from Mind Parts said...


I think this is a very important point you raise about how your therapist tries to handle your symptoms.

My psychiatrist who I've known for about 20 years, not therapist, is a DID expert and publishes on the subject, etc. I only mention that because I see that he uses this technique ALL THE TIME. He doesn't do it in a way to minimize my symptoms. But rather to de-escalate me. It does, in a way, help me think of myself as more normal. I call what he does "normalizing". But some of me really doesn't like it and reacts strongly to this technique.

Today something happened, a close to SI event, and I had to page him. I was in a panic and he recognized that. He totally did the normalizing, saying: "It's not that big a deal, Paul". Now, it just so happens that I called someone else too (former therapist, long story) and he was saying things like "I'm sorry." "It's okay." "You are okay". Totally different approach. You would think that the validating approach would work better. But it didn't.

The panic didn't end with the validating approach, so that's why I called the psychiatrist next who did the normalizing.

Go figure!


Ivory said...

I see what you mean. A lot of times, tho, the normalizing doesn't work for me. Those are the times that I'm desperate and I don't really care if my feelings are like other people, or (my bad) that other people have it worse than me. All I want at that moment is to feel better and have someone validate that my life at that moment sucks. Which T usually does, but the other day, I really think it wouldn't have mattered what he said, I would have not liked it.

Here's the thing: If how I feel and that I feel a certain way because of specific things are as normal as anyone feels, then, why am I in therapy?

Just writing about it confuses me!! Aarrrggg!

Paul from Mind Parts said...

I guess both approaches are important. The normalizing is like a kick in the pants. Sometimes I need validation. But sometimes I need a coach to say "pick yourself up and keep going." There's no perfect answer to this. As I said, I'm conflicted about both approaches. When therapists only validate, half of me feels good and half of me feels bad because I don't see a way out. When they normalize, it's sort of tough love and the different halves of me switch sides. Yes, it's confusing! Paul

Ivory said...

You know, I think you have hit on it: both approaches ARE important and I bet because of the system conflicts that are usually involved, both approaches are needed because one size rarely fits all.

I feel better now. This was one thing that was bothering me. I have never asked him why he sometime consoles and other times, he uses the "tough love". Makes sense, now. Thanks so much!! I love it when someone will stick with it, with me, till I understand.

Paul from Mind Parts said...

Yeah, I'm stubborn like that! :)

VICKI IN AZ said...

Just a thought,
I am so glad I read this because i am really struggling knowing that my T and I are going to be doing so hard serious work again since I have started to have memories again.
I really appreciate how you have put into words things that trigger strong reactions for me too. I also really appreciate what Paul said too.
So here is my thought... In the past when I have had discussions with T about things like this he has explained that being the human that he is sonmetimes he just plain old makes a mistake! Go figure, that was a revelation for me!

Ivory said...

T told me right from the beginning he was only human and he would make mistakes. He's made a few whoppers, one that cost me dearly - but, I know that if I expect perfection from anyone, I'll be disappointed. I also know he has my best interest at heart and he never fails to own up to anything that is his. Interesting thing (in line w/what Paul said), T also makes me own my stuff!

I hope you have a great T, like I do. They can be priceless when you are struggling with memories. I'm not finished yet, either. Good luck with what ever comes your way, new memories are tough.