Recently I have been working with E on a number of issues dealing with my parents, as you do when you are in therapy. The joys of psychotherapists is that they do force you to deal with all sorts of things that you really don't want to deal with and this manifests with you not liking to go to see them even though you now it will help you. I have found that through out the years that I have been working with E, both of these things have happened. E tells me my avoidance of the issues has come out through me being late for appointments, rescheduling, missing (only happened twice) and having migraines on the days when we are supposed to meet.
Now let me be clear, I agree that I do not like facing issues head on, I hate it. I hate confrontation. I hate the fact that I know in my head that my parents did some things that were so wrong when I was growing up that has seriously affected me and who I am, but in my heart I know that they did it because they thought it was best for me and came from a place of love. This, as I have recently come to accept does not excuse the behaviour and I have to learn to get angry at them for this to start to heal.
It is not ok Mother and Father, that I believe that I will never be loved and am not deserving of love by anyone, and that I will never be good enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, or smart enough because I am FAT, no matter how skinny I am. No one could ever love me, because of who I am. I should just accept that I am the daughter that is excellent with children, but will never have any, the one that will have many friends, but never anyone to truly love her and marry her, the one that can do all the volunteer work and excel at her "own work", but just remember that it is never as good or as valued as the work of the other sisters, and please continue to do the sports that we don't do, swim, walk, be creative, but let us remember that there is fault in the fact that you are not competitive and do not want to be number 1, that you cannot hit a baseball, do not want to run a marathon, do not want to kick a soccer ball and do not want to throw yourself down a hill on a bike in a race all makes you less than the rest of us and not worthy of praise or value. And please remember that I am the one that is the disappointment for you and that my flaws for you are not things that you can hide. I am not an alcoholic that you can ship to Betty Ford for an "extended vacay" and i would be fixed, but rather you have to look at me, your friends have to see the failure that is your eldest, fat, single, unwed, daughter. For all these things I should be angry with you and I am trying.
One of the interesting things that happens with therapy is transference of emotion. I found myself last after our last session getting very very angry with E. I really like E and want to have an excellent relationship with E. I have had such a rough time with my migraines over the last few months and was so angry that E kept dismissing them as a reason that I was avoiding coming to see E. E was acting like I had control over them and that I could tell my body and my head when and where to attack. That I had control over this evil beast. I do not. For anyone that suffers from migraines or a chronic condition such as IBS, Crones, Colitis etc. they know that although stress can trigger an attack, it cannot cause a chronic condition. I do believe that they can help contribute to more migraines and more intense attacks, but I do not believe that i have it within me to decide when and where my migraines come on.
When we met on Thursday last week, I was irate by the time I got there. I had let myself get into such a state. I was near tears. Here was an individual that I trusted and was working with, who dismissed my health in such a way that was so disrespectful and plain mean. I let it all out. I told her how I felt. I let it all out. Some of the main points that I made were:
- explained that these migraines were a huge part of my existence and I needed E to be on the same page as me, so that we could continue our work together
- told E that I felt devalued in my health and as a human when she dismissed them as a "reason" not to see her
- expressed that I was so angry that she did not treat them as a real illness, and if I'd come in with a visible illness I'd have gotten more respect
- told E that I only wish that I had the control that she thinks that I have over the control of my migraines
By this time of course I was in tears, and very worked up. I already had a migraine (shocking, I know) and was exhausted, so I was just happy to get it out. I was also happy to take the opportunity to educate her a bit on how I felt. I don't know if she really understands, but I know that she will be speaking to her therapist and others about chronic illness affecting her patients.
I also felt like our relationship went to the next level. I trusted her to have this conversation and she is still there and not abandoning me. I think that one a deeper level this was a good learning as I start to explore being angry with others in my life and what that is like. As one who is very controlled and hates confrontation, this is a big step. I don't remember the last time I was angry like this.
To anyone that's made me angry, be forewarned.....