Saturday, 15 August 2009

To Trust or Not To Trust... THAT is the issue

You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink”
Terry Pratchett

I'm struggling to write about a lot of my therapy sessions, which is ludicrous given that I started this blog so I would have a place to air some of the things I was finding confusing or difficult.
I guess the thing I am finding most difficult at the moment is my fear of giving myself an inch... Of allowing myself the luxury of being heard an understood.
I'm caught between denial and the desire to deny myself. It's a hard place to be stuck and there's not a lot of space to manouevre.

OK. So. Who doesn't have an issue with trust? I mean, it's a hard thing to trust someone. Especially a therapist.
And that's the problem.

I don't trust her. I don't think I even WANT to trust her.

I explained to her that I was utterly ashamed at the me who she saw. It's not the 'me' that everyone else sees. It's a miserable and introspective, selfish and hopeless me.

I was DREADING going to therapy on Friday because it feels like such a RISK to be seen like this.
I explained it to her saying that I saw it as me having two options.
I either go and present myself to her as honestly as I am trying to... and in doing so, I am laid wide open to the horrible fear that she will be disgusted with me for my negativity, disgusted by my weakness, just disgusted by ME. OR I go and chat about lighthearted things and give her my 'outside' part, pragmatic, logical, competent, cynical and humourous. However, in doing this, I leave her room in a state of inner agony because I have sat close enough to relief to touch it but in keeping with denying myself anything good, I have chosen to walk away with desperation.

She said that put her in a double bind.
I said that put ME in a double bind.

I have bound both of us.

She said that she knew she couldn't soothe me at the moment.
Then she tried anyway and started saying that therapy has been around for so long because it works and that we could make the suffering go and ... and then she said other stuff and my mind went far away and I saw those bloody grey patches if I looked up. (I need to explain the mind thing, but that is another post).
I gripped the cushion and concentrated on the bones in knuckles,imagining them going through her glass window. ( I realise I sound a little crazy here but...)
In my whole body all I could hear was me screaming, "You're going to hurt me. You are going to hurt me".

I can't get past this. She is going to hurt me. She is going to get sick and tired of me. She is going to get horribly impatient and tell me to get over it. To get a grip. Tell me that I have to grow up. Tell me that I am being pathetic.
I want to leave her before she does that.

If I let her kindness touch me then I am just weakening my defences, and if I allow that for a second, BANG! She'll sock it to me and it will finish me off.

I am so stupidly afraid of her.

I explained some of this and she talked about transference.
I am uncertain and my mind is unclear.

I can't trust her not to destroy me. How can this ever work? (Answers on a postcard to...)


  1. Wow, there is a lot here. But if I may I would like to point out two things:

    1) Introspection is a positive not a negative. I get the feeling that you think that being introspective is somehow self-serving and therefore selfish. And to this I would ask how we might ever change, grow, overcome without a good measure of introspection? We can't and so perhaps recognizing that introspection is the one and only tool that we have in our arsenal to lead us to growth might be well worth contemplating.

    2) Trust does not come overnight. Walls do not blow apart in an instant. A wall that has taken years to build will take years to deconstruct. Trust that has been violated for years will take years to rebuild. There is no other way and it is a fact of life.

    You are very hard on yourself. For the record changing that will also take a lot of time.
    If you cannot yet trust your therapist then don't and try to accept it for now. It's ok that you don't trust your therapist. I would rather suggest that at this point if you simply like her you're at a good starting place. It is her job the build the trust, not yours. That's why she's the therapist and you're the client. Hand the task of trust-building over to her. Are there any guarantees? No. But just as certainly as she might violate your trust she might also EARN your trust. Have you considered that?

  2. jss.
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I am a little taken aback by the way you have listened so carefully...
    You have understood the struggle very well. Thank you for summarising it so succinctly.

    1. Introspection - Yes. you are so spot on with your observation that it almost hurts.
    Im not sure why exactly, but my belief is that introspection of the kind I am guiltily allowing here and in therapy, is just so wrong. It feels so selfish and I am overwhelmed by the fear that I am 'pandering' to something quite pathetic in me.
    I take your point about growth, but I am also very afraid.
    I hope that makes some sense.

    2. Trust. You are right. I have thought a lot about it recently. Thank you so much for saying what you have about not trusting my therapist. I do like her. She is very kind... but I'm also very frightened about the whole thing. Could she earn my trust? I'm not sure... I am waiting for her to hurt me and no matter how much I tell myself to stop being absurd, I am constantly bracing myself for the blow.
    I suppose that I am hoping I will learn trust... Not sure if that is realistic or not.
    And being hard on myself?
    I am disgusted with myself most of the time. I often feel the need to deny or punish myself and live in guilt if I don't.

    Thanks jss.
    It's a rambly reply but... I was so touched by your reponse.

  3. I would call being disgusted with yourself being hard on yourself.

    Trust comes at about the rate of 1/200th of a teaspoon a week with your therapist and one day you'll wake up and realize that you are in fact starting to trust her. Undoubtedly it will take longer than you hoped and you'll continue to beat yourself up over it but it will happen. Hang on to the fact that you like her and see what transpires from there.

    I can speak to these things because I know of these things.

  4. "I can speak to these things because I know of these things".

    Yes. I understand that the place you speak from can only come from your own experiece. I hear that kind of 'lived out wisdom' in your words and I find it kind of comforting.
    Your words make sense. I am holding on to them and hoping that what transpires doesn't hurt me.

    I could go on but I won't!

    Thank you again for your listening and the kindness in your responses.
    I expect to be told to get over it. Your care says that it's ok to feel like I do.