So I’ve been in therapy for – what – 14 years? For most of this time, I’ve done cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with emotional healing work. That’s cathartic release with bonding and it’s a way to clear out old emotional imprints in the limbic system. Essentially it’s work to rewire the brain. Anyway, I never thought I’d be in therapy as long as I have, and now I think it’s high time to pause and take stock.
Right now I’m only doing the CBT twice a month and I’m having some difficulties working with my therapist. I suppose these challenges have been going on for over a year now.
My therapist told me (in an email no less) that she thinks I’m “casting her as my mother.” I replied that I would open myself to noticing this possibility, going forward. The thing is, I’m seeing it all over the place in our relationship now, going back over at least a year, maybe more.
I don’t know how I’m going to be able to do much effective growth work with these triggers operating, but I’m going to see what kind of insights I get from blogging about this situation.
Here are all the ways my therapist triggers me into my mom:
- She’s the authority. She’s right – always, even when she’s not.
- What she says goes.
- Her tough love approach is really just a mask for her meanness.
- She invalidates me and my perspectives and my experiences and intuition. I’ve learned how to take care of myself. I really don’t need her to tell me what to do.
- I am not allowed to resist her. I’m supposed to shut up and swallow all of her assertions, even when my intuition is pointing me in a different direction. I’m supposed to become a fucking clone of her, I guess.
- I’m not allowed to leave. I honestly don’t know when I’ll ever get out of therapy. I have said I want fewer sessions and breaks from therapy to pursue other inner work, and she recommends against these ideas, always.
- I feel that as I get independent and move away from her, she sows doubts in me and reels me back into our relationship, where I am dependent on her (which she likes).
- I’m afraid to sever ties. I’m afraid it will hurt her feelings, that she’ll feel rejected and abandoned when I tell her I want to leave. I fear she’ll get irrationally angry, and never allow me a future session if I need it. I fear leaving on a negative note.
- I’m afraid if I do this, she’ll bad mouth me to all my former comrades in group therapy, which was led by her.
- By the way, I’m not allowed to go to group right now, even though I had planned a break to test my wings without this type of work in my life. I’ve been without that particular brand of support – my second family, if you will – for seven months, and I’m really starting to see some big triggers (like this one) and she has denied me access.
- We are not equals. Consequently, I feel disempowered in this relationship. She is the one with the power and control, even though I am the client.
So, why am I even in therapy?
Why am I doing this to myself?
Well, seeing all of this stuff – all this mirroring to my relationship with my mother, and the time of my life when I was getting independent of her and ready to launch myself and move out of her house – is really pretty amazing. My relationship with my therapist is mirroring this PERFECTLY. It IS my own bit of personal history repeating itself.
So what to I do with it? Run from it and her (my therapist, that is)? Stay with it, tell her about it and see where it leads? Inquire further into the experience with my spiritual teachers?
No, and yes, yes, yes and yes.
This is showing up for a reason. It’s extremely uncomfortable, but it’s here. It’s my work. I have no idea where it will lead, but moving away from the discomfort will only increase the possibility of this showing up for me some other time and with some other mother-figure in my life. It’s here and up so I’ll look at it. So I’ll take notice and hopefully heal.
Universe, please help me stay with this experience. Please grant me ease and grace as I move through it, and please – please, lead me into healing.