My therapist has been seeing Mr. B and me together once a week, in addition to my regular appointment. He’s attempting to help us improve our relationship, devoid of much communication and lots of frustration on my part.
We haven’t been happy for a long time and there’s a lot of distance. He works constantly and my depression keeps me completely unmotivated to want to do much to improve anything either. But then I’ve been feeling like I’m not being met half way for a long time.
Anyway, this post isn’t about the rusty relationship of me and Mr. B. (Don’t worry I know that’s incorrect grammar.)
At the end of the last appointment Mr. B and me had together, I asked my therapist if he’d gotten a message I’d left him, asking him if he’d received my records from my past therapists yet. We’d filled out and I’d signed forms at least a month ago. On Monday, when I’d called and left that message, I was thinking it would be a good idea to find out the status on my current therapist’s end and if he hadn’t received them yet, I would call them myself and find out what the hold up is.
My therapist’s reply to me last night was, “Yes, I got your message, but I’ve been really busy.” And then said, “I’ve only got one set of records from one therapist.”
Upon his initial response of being too busy, I was disappointed. I really didn’t know how to respond to that, at least not on the spot. I mean, I can’t control whether he follows up or not. But I’m really frustrated with the way he’s dropped the ball here.
I know I’m not his only client, but this happened before after we’d talked about his helping me with preparing for a disability case for me. He brought up filling out release forms and my signing them, but then it got dropped. In my depression and constant expectations of disappointment, I resisted bringing it up.
In addition, I also wanted to have therapy. Not just logistically figure out my disability case in every single session.
So I see where I’ve dropped the ball myself and the forms eventually got filled out after I expressed my disappointment, frustration and even anger. But it seems that to get something I want or a need met, I have to make a stink. What is this about me that attracts people (even therapists), who drop the ball and don’t follow up on shit they agree to?
Even my mom pushed agreements to the side when it wasn’t convenient for her to stick to them.
So back to my disappointment in my therapist who was too busy to make a five minute or less call back to me.
I know I looked disappointed. But once he answered me, I appeared to accept the answer and let it go. But this penetrated. And it felt all too familiar. I woke up thinking about it.
It feels like if I continue in therapy with this therapist, it will be more disappointment and my acceptance of crumbs.
In just about every single relationship I’ve ever had, even in friendships, I was the one to reach out, make phone calls, make plans, follow through in showing up. I don’t remember the last time my phone rang with a friend on the other end inviting me to do something.
Not that I want that from my therapist. I understand the boundaries of therapists and their clients. But to eat crumbs, even from therapists, has become unacceptable.
It was something I thought I had to do before. After all, I’m not the only client. Eh, their busy. Sure, it’s ok that you’re late and that my appointment gets cut short.
My attitude has been to accept someone’s busy life. Pretty much an-across-the-board attitude in any relationship. I mean the world doesn’t revolve around me and everyone is busy needing to take care of their own lives.
And if I leave, then what will I do instead?
Will I even find someone who is just as good or better?
Do I even deserve that?
Apparently the fact that I’ve stuck around (generally speaking about all relationships now) accepting this illustration of how unimportant I am and have been to many people I’ve chosen to spend my time with and invest my time in, indicates that I don’t think “better” is available to me.
I used to wait around for the man in my life, from the time I was 13. (That’s another story in itself) But yeah, I was that young. I hadn’t had sex with him, but I was emotionally involved and got stood up frequently. He was telling me with his actions how unimportant I was to him as a person.
That was a pattern and I tended to date guys who weren’t emotionally available in one way or another. My first age appropriate boyfriend was a gypsy, Tom. He wasn’t supposed to date American women. But he was a bit different from the rest of his family and not only dated American women, but he had a whole circle of friends who were American.
As you’ve probably guessed, I couldn’t meet his parents. So me calling him was pretty impossible. I used to have to wait for him to call me and that was usually from a pay phone. This was long before cell phones, in case you haven’t guessed. He also used to just show up at my door, which I was usually thoroughly excited about.
I remember sitting in my room on weekend nights from time to time playing solitaire, not going out with friends because I wanted to be home in case Tom called. So many nights I’d play solitaire for hours never getting a phone call.
When I saw him again, much of the time his reply to me asking where he’d been and why didn’t he call was, “I fell asleep.”
I believed this because the work he did was hard labor and it was quite likely. I accepted the answer without much of a fight and was just grateful to be hearing from him at that point.
He moved fairly early on in our relationship and I had such a hard time emotionally with this. I talked to him when I could, saw him when I could and couldn’t wait to get a car so I could drive to see him.
But I started dating other people not long after, although we were still supposedly an item. I would waver back on forth in feeling love and attachment toward him and irritated by him. He would get on my nerves and he would say stuff that would piss me off about other people. Usually putting people down, many of them he didn’t know, but would just see while we were out and about.
I remember specifically one morning we’d pulled up to a convenience store and watched from his truck, as a man and two boys walked into the store. They looked unkempt, like they’d just rolled out of bed really and Tom made some sort of crack calling them the dirt family.
I didn’t say anything but I thought, “How rude.” And then thought, “Look who’s talking.”
This guy would show up at my door sometimes straight after a job with tar all over his shoes, shirt and pants. Hair looking greasy and he’d be sweaty from a full day on a roof. He had no idea what this family had just come from but he felt he had the right to judge them anyway, despite how dirty he could get in a day.
Years later while Tom and I were at a festival, with a girlfriend of mine, in the town we were all from, my girlfriend and I slipped away from him. I was the one to suggest this and I don’t remember why or how we got the chance. No doubt he was getting on my nerves and I just needed to get away from him.
We succeeded and walked back to my girlfriend’s house. We had settled down to a game of “Spit”…a card game we were both addicted to and had been playing together for a few years, when the phone rang.
It was Tom, and he laid into me so hard for just taking off on him. He’d yelled so loud, my friend sitting across from me, heard every word. I had to hold the phone away from my ear.
All this time later, I don’t remember the words, but I remember the seething anger. I felt shame and I felt selfish. I didn’t say anything in my own defense during his rage because I didn’t feel there was any. I didn’t feel I’d be able to get much in edgewise. I just waited for him to stop screaming. I waited for him to hang up and when he did, I handed the phone back to my friend.
(Jesus, editing this on Friday 9/8/17 and seeing this pattern in me. This shit was the same way I behaved when it came to my sister berating me on the phone.)
When I think about this now, the first thing I think is, “Double standard.” I know there is way more to analyze about it than this, but this was a running theme for me in my relationships. Expected to be thoughtful, considerate, loyal, but when he didn’t show up I was supposed to just accept it and carry on as though everything was A-OK.
Consciously it was never about revenge for his neglect or distance or unavailability for me to take off that way that day. I believed he loved me. I think it was an act to take care of myself, in taking off that way.But also an act of self-centeredness and avoidance. To be healthy, it would’ve been better to say, “Look Tom. I need a bit of space and just want to spend some time with A.”
But I was afraid to tell him for fear he’d think I never wanted to see him again or that he’d give me a hard time or that it would give me too much time to feel guilty, perhaps he’d serve up a guilt trip. I didn’t want to deal with any of that. I just wanted to ditch him that day. And then while he was screaming through the phone, I just wanted it to be over so I could move along with my day without him.
(Edit 9/8/17: I was dissociating there on the phone with him. By letting him yell and anticipating its end, I numbed and disconnected myself from any of the emotions I was feeling.)
Maybe I was also sick of the crumbs and wanted to leave a trail of my own for once.