Therapy is such a process.
There have been times when I have wondered: Is it time to be done?
The reality? I still have a long way to go.
I had been doing a lot better. I had been having much longer spaces between therapy sessions…from weekly, to twice a month, to once every three weeks, to, almost, once a month.
But then, another setback.
Today, I sat on my therapist’s couch again. A mere three days after my last appointment. Figuratively battered and bruised from the week I had had, but also slowly ready to mend.
It was a normal appointment. No EMDR. Just talk.
But…there was progress.
My therapist and I have a pretty comfortable rapport nowadays. I’ve seen her pretty regularly for the last year and a half. She is amazing and so invaluable to me.
Today, I realized…she knows me better than I know myself…at least, parts of myself.
As we talked about (and, let’s be real, I cried about) the things I had been recently struggling with, I truly felt too exhausted to hold back. I was just pretty honest about everything.
And, you know what? I feel like my therapist very succinctly re-stated one of my core problems.
…I’ve written plenty of times about believing, deep down in my core, that I am unlovable.
Cognitively, I fight this belief…and I fight it hard. But emotionally…I never quite convince myself wholeheartedly.
I crave connection with other people. I like to imagine being cared for and about. I struggle, at times with personal boundaries. Someone shows some interest in my life? Okay! Here is my life story!!
The problem is…not everyone needs my life story. Not everyone is deserving of it. Slowly, as time goes on, I am learning how to rely on the people that I trust, and learning to protect myself in safe ways from people who I don’t.
Trust is a difficult subject for me. And here, I think, lies my real problem.
I don’t trust myself not to screw up a relationship.
I don’t trust that a relationship can stay happy and safe.
Historically, the floor always drops out.
When I start to trust a person, and the relationship I have with them (and I’m talking friendships, for the most part), I often feel super happy and super mentally healthy. I am connecting and connection is what I have so longed for my ENTIRE LIFE.
I am, I like to think, a pretty normal person. I can be funny. I am smart-ish. I am a super loyal friend. I will always help you.
But, when the insecurity rises, for whatever reason, I begin to get super hypersensitive.
And that is when it starts.
I start to imagine losing that connection. Suddenly, my mind thinks only in all or nothing terms. The friendship can stay as it is, or it can’t exist. There is no happy medium.
Logically, that dichotomy makes no real sense. But my mind has trouble seeing that.
So, in ways I never even intend, I seek reassurance. I need to know where the relationship stands.
Is it going to end? Because so many of them do. And if it does, I need to know NOW. I need to know so I can protect my heart from further damage.
More often than not, the reassurance is that all is well. And, in the moment, I take that at face value. I feel relief.
But then. Then I go home. And I think.
I begin to project my fears onto the other person. I imagine that the person is sitting somewhere, thinking about how much work I am. Thinking that I was a nice person until my crazy came out and showed its face.
After all, who likes someone who constantly needs reassurance?
Not a lot of people.
My fear takes a hold of me. With a pair of vice grips on my heart, I reach out again…this time clinging even more tightly, requiring even more reassurance.
Wanting to beg…please don’t leave me!
This fear…this pattern? I am pretty sure it has driven a lot of people away from me.
People can only handle so much insecurity.
I won’t even go into the shame I feel at admitting this pattern in writing. That might need to be another post. For now, just now…I hate that I am needy. I hate NEEDING other people and being desperate for connection.
The funny thing is…I never even realized this pattern existed until this spring, when I started to do it with my therapist. After admitting that I wished we could be friends, and feeling mortified by this confession, since I knew it crossed boundaries, I needed lots of reassurance.
I was sure I would be asked to not come back to therapy, despite many statements to the contrary.
My fear took over. I clung. I pushed, just to see how much I could push.
She was the first person who showed me that she wouldn’t leave.
(Yes, tears are rolling down my face as I say that.)
That stability? It changed something in me.
It has made me seek relationships that are safer. It has made me value the few strong relationships I have…and helped me guard myself better for those that aren’t so strong or safe.
It is only looking back, now, that I see this pattern. (After the T pointed it out, of course.)
I am still doing it.
I never quite believe that I am good enough as I am. I never quite believe that a strong, safe relationship will stay that way.
And why? Because it has the determining factor: ME.
I want that to change. I want to be able to trust—REALLY TRUST–safe and healthy relationships. I want to believe that people can love me just as I am, even when I feel down or insecure.
I don’t want to feel like a charity case that people get tired of.
I don’t want to always feel like it is all too good to be true. Too good to last.
I want to just accept it. Believe it. Feel secure in it.
And, more than anything, I want to learn to change the pattern. To change my thinking. I want to feel security in myself, the majority of the time…not just when other people make me feel more secure.
I want my own value. Not a value set by others.
And, I want to be loved…just as I am. Just for me.
Just because I am enough.