I hate that feeling of being abandoned. I don’t think I deal well when people leave me.
After the shocking news that my therapist is leaving, I had mixed emotions. I was angry, confused about what to do next, shocked because it was sudden and then sad because I actually like her. Then there’s that feeling like someone just punched me in the chest and I couldn’t breathe because I won’t see her anymore. No termination session. Nothing.
Some people say, three sessions isn’t therapy (which I think is pure BS. What do you call 3 sessions then?) but the fact that my therapist reminded me so much of X, it is like dejavu when X just disappeared from my life. That feeling when someone walks out of your life is all too familiar for me. Her mannerisms, the way she carries herself, the way she spoke and that when I was speaking, she had that smile on her face as though encouraging me to talk – these characteristics of my therapist are very much like X. I think that’s why I opened up to her faster than I think I would with other therapists.
That night I couldn’t sleep because I can’t stop thinking whether my therapist is telling the truth or does the problem lie with me? Was I annoying, maybe too angry.. or was my negativity in session too contagious for her? I cried because it hurts but I slept on it albeit just a few hours.. woke up and decided that I should see this in a different perspective.
When X disappeared, it was hardest for me to accept her departure especially when I did not get any closure as to why she chose to not contact me. It was killing me inside but then I said, maybe she’s going through a rough time at the moment which then explains why she didn’t contact me. I was making up 101 reasons why she wasn’t able to contact me so that I felt better.. but that doesn’t change the fact that I still haven’t address my abandonment issues.
So with my therapist leaving, I know it’s crazy to say I’ll miss her especially when I don’t know anything about her to start with. I hate already having that connection with her especially when I don’t open up to people easily, and then she goes off. But then my bestie told me that when she was going through a breakup, she had to take a month’s leave from work. I remember telling her when she said she was worried about her patients, that how can she be there for them if she is not feeling okay herself. It was me who kept encouraging her to take the leave because I knew how fragile she was at that time.
In the case of my therapist, I’m starting to see it this way as well. That perhaps she’s going through a difficult time although she said ‘change in work schedules’ and I shouldn’t blame her AND myself. I asked her why because I needed to get some closure although I’m sure she didn’t want to elaborate much and she replied me. I was going to send an angry reply about how ‘I hope that she doesn’t do this same thing to her future patients because it hurts’, when I stopped. I was angry so I told myself that perhaps sleeping on it will make me more rational and logical about things.
The next day, I recalled what I read in Brene’s book about responding shame with shame. The initial emails from my therapist sounded like shame because it felt like she was telling me ‘I already told you that this infrequent therapies will not work especially when you travel often‘. I was starting to get angry because I don’t get why she can’t understand my situation. The next day, after much thought and reflection, I decided to be kind in my reply. I thanked her for clarifying and also that I am grateful for the additional time she has given me for each sessions which I didn’t get to thank her personally for. I told her that I hope things work out well on her end ..whatever that ‘thing’ is, I didn’t need to know but wished her all the best for it.
I think I feel a bit better knowing that I didn’t respond to shame with cruelty. And that at least we leave things on a positive note. So I’m getting a new therapist when I’m back there and boy do I hate starting fresh.
*Hoping for the best!*