Boundaries and Shit. Part 2


I didn’t answer her. Right now I didn’t want check ins, I wanted to be as far away from her as possible.

I pushed through all my anger and made one final attempt to recover this shitty session.

“ You always do this distancing thing when I’ve been angry about you not being there.”

Sienna said “ Is that what it feels like to you?” uhhh, yeah??!! I nodded.


I said “ You say all the things that I hate.”


I reeled them off “ I’m just one person and this is when an organisation would be better for you.”

Sienna said “ I’m not saying it would be better, I’m just making the point that it’s a trade-off.” (The trade-off being that I am with a single therapist who has limited energy and time and space and so might not always be there when you need me, as opposed to an organisation with a full team.)

I interrupted her “ I KNOW it’s a trade-off,” Sienna said over me “ I know you know.”

I continued “ Am I supposed to just not talk about it then, because it’s a trade-off?”

Sienna said “ That’s not what I’m saying, I get that… it’s one of the frustrations isn’t it that there is that trade-off that one person can’t always be there.”

I said “ But when I’m telling you how it’s affected me (when I can’t get her support) I’m not telling you for you to change it, for you to apologise to me and promise you’ll always be there 100% of the time. I’m not asking for any of that. But what else do you want me to do? Am I just supposed to not say how it affected me because that’s the trade-off that I’ve accepted with staying with a private therapist?”

Sienna said “ Well obviously I’m not responding to you in a way that helps you. Maybe I’m not acknowledging how hard it is at that moment. But I thought I was… I thought I did. I thought I did both actually- acknowledge how hard it is for you but also reality check that there isn’t anything more I can do about it. I absolutely agree that there isn’t an organisation that would suit your needs…”

I exploded “ AND that’s the only reason you’re keeping me? Because there’s no one else out there?”

Sienna said “ Is that what you think?

I said sullenly “ It sounds like it.”

Sienna replied “ I don’t think you believe that.”

I said “ I do. I do believe that.”

Sienna said “ I care, but I also have my limitations. And sometimes those limitations mean that you’re going to get let down and that doesn’t sit well with me either. But it’s a balance, sometimes your needs don’t get met but sometimes they don’t need to get met all the time because that’s the model of life.”

I agreed “ Yeah! And that’s the work. But I’m confused about what I’m supposed to do about it then because the feelings are still going to be there, that’s still going to happen (getting triggered by unmet needs) …”

Sienna spoke about how developmentally with time that will change and get easier. But that wasn’t what I was asking her… I was asking her how am I supposed to bring up my responses to her not being available so that I can sort them out if she then becomes defensive and talks about trade-offs and me being in some sort of crisis team and the therapeutic relationship being nothing more than that etc?

It’s like we were in two different dimensions. This was nuts.

She asked me if I had similar reactions to my husband when he can’t be there for me?

I spat out “ No, because I trust HIM.

Sienna said quietly “ Okay.”

And I meant that, but today I realise that occasionally there’s been times where I’ve reacted badly when he hasn’t been able to be fully him. Like when he’s been really drunk, which has literally only happened twice in 12 years. But I remember the feeling of him just not being present and his normal attentive self and it made me angry and scared and lonely. And also times when he’s been away on business or away staying with friends and if I’ve needed him and he’s not picked up, then I’ve got really angry.

So I do feel this way with people other than Sienna.

I was still crying and sniffing away and I said to Sienna, “ When you say, this is a therapeutic relationship and it’s got its limitations as such, that just feels like it devalues what the relationship means to me. And I don’t actually even think it’s about that it’s a professional working relationship. I think you’re saying it because….”

Sienna interrupted “ It’s that in as much as the boundaries or the amount of physical or mental energy that I can guarantee you at any one time. But on a different level, it’s much more than that. And just because I put the template around the relationship it doesn’t mean to say that I don’t care. I care very much.”

I said “ It’s like you’re putting me back in my place when you say it.”

Sienna said “ I don’t mean it to sound like that. But I certainly also have to put that boundary in around not allowing you to think – and I don’t think you do- that it’s an open ended relationship the way… well friends wouldn’t even have open-ended, partners might I don’t know… some mothers and children do others don’t.”

WTF was she even saying? I am assuming she means open ended in terms of open access all the time?

But why was I being told or having a boundary explicitly explained to me when I haven’t broken any boundaries? WTF??? What is this about?

I said sarcastically “ Well, thanks for the reminder.”

She said “ Well, I’m sorry it feels harsh or feels like getting put in your place, it’s not meant to be like that.”

I said, my voice dripping with controlled anger and total contempt for this bullshit.. “ Well What’s it meant to BE like then??

Sienna said “ The reality check, the check that, that it’s not an un-boundaried or limitless relationship and you know that, it’s not that you don’t know that, you also know that it’s not a clinical “here’s our session and there’s nothing outside of that.””

I said to her angrily “ And you might want to look at why you feel compelled to remind me of that, to think that I need reminded of that. And it’s always around the times that you’ve not been able to meet a need of mine, rightly or wrongly.”

Sienna exclaimed “ Maybe you’re right! I will take that to supervision, that’s a good point.”

With a softer voice she asked “Does it feel like it’s always on my terms?!”

I nodded.

Sienna said “ Maybe that’s something I’ll look at.”

I thought to myself Please fucking do.

Sienna continued “ I suppose that’s where boundaries come in too isn’t it, because when I can give it, and I’m available and can do it that’s fine but when I’m not able to do it then it stops and that makes that potentially very inconsistent for you. I get that. I hear you, it is something to look at.”

No, Sienna clearly you’re not hearing it. I haven’t mentioned once about things feeling inconsistent for me. Is this woman smoking crack???

I said to her “ You’re approaching this from totally the wrong way, because I think it would be different if I’d come in saying to you, how dare you not have got in touch with me over the weekend when you knew it had been really hard for me, if I had this self-righteous thinking that you should be there for me all the time, then that might be the time for a gentle reminder about boundaries but that’s not what I’ve been saying. I’m allowed to come in here and tell you what I experienced and try and work out what’s happening! Because if I don’t talk about it then I can’t solve it.”

I was getting upset again.

Sienna said “ I agree.”

Uh what?

So I said to her “ But you respond to me telling you what that was like, by saying; “oh by the way, here’s the boundaries.. I’m not going to be there for you all the time, this is a therapeutic relationship, this is why you should be in an organisation”… and I only ever get that from you at these times!”

Sienna said “ I think I’m hearing that that completely overtakes the fact that I completely empathised with you when you first came in. I do understand how hard it is for you. But I do hear you and I do know from other times how difficult it is.”

Clearly you’re not hearing me Sienna cos this is like the fucking twilight zone in here.

I push on. “ Sometimes I feel that I come in here looking for you just to understand what the experience has been like or help me find a way to fix it but instead, I don’t know you just move away.. you just…” My voice trailed off as tears blinded me.

Sienna said softly “ and you’re still not getting your needs met.”

I didn’t reply.

Eventually I said “ You’re not asking me where I think the boundaries are or what they should be or… you’re just assuming that I’m overstepping yours.”

Sienna said “ Well I did ask you, when you asked if they should be changed, I asked you what you thought?”

I said raising my voice “ no, I’m asking YOU because you’re the one pulling rank.” Sienna didn’t reply.

I added “You’re obviously not comfortable with where they are or whatever.. So YOU say it…. What you want it to be like.”

Sienna spoke “ Wellll… ideally what the contract is your sessions and what we are contracted for over and above that which is every second Thursday to come in here and alternate Friday check ins. Now I understand that and that’s good boundaries and that’s what any other clients would sit around, but I understand that you need… that sometimes you need more than that. And I try and give that and I don’t know how I am open to suggestions, how we define that more.”

I said “ Does it need defined more?”

Sienna said “ Well I don’t think so cos generally, if you need more than that I try and provide that. But I don’t always have the space in my week or my head and I certainly could not have done a single thing this weekend while I was ill. And I can’t contract for anything more than that, because I don’t have space in the week to set time aside. But I do get that sometimes you need contact.”

I said exasperated “ This is what I don’t understand, I am not asking for anything else…”

Sienna said “ But sometimes I can’t give it.”

I blurted out “ But I’m not asking!!! What do you mean???”

Sienna said with equal exasperation “ Because if I don’t answer you, you come back and take that as a rupture, you take that as abandonment and sometimes it’s cos I don’t look at my phone all weekend ( LIE – who doesn’t look at their phone an entire weekend?) Sometimes it’s because I’m ill..”

I said confused “ But is that not the work?”

Sienna replied “ yes, and I’ve said that to you.”

Mate… I’m fucking lost!!! What is she going on about????

I said to her “ It’s too different things that are going on here.”

Sienna said “ tell me a little bit about that.” I resisted an eye roll and bit my tongue so as not to say something really sarcastic about that Shrink-y phrase…. So.fucking.cheesy.

I replied “ Because you’re responding  with “how to we avoid that happening again then” “

Sienna said “ No, it’s not about avoiding it, for sure.”

I continued “ All I’m doing is coming in and saying because of the issues I have and how I see things, this is how I felt. I’m not coming in and saying you have to change this Sienna, you have to be more available, I haven’t said that and I’m not asking for that. I’m telling you… this is just how it felt to me. And in an ideal world if things were different, you would be able to be available at all times, but that’s not realistic of any relationship and I know that. It wouldn’t matter if it was a mum and a daughter or a friend and a friend or a husband and wife… every relationship has limits in some way and people need downtime or they need.. whatever. I understand that. But what I’m bringing to you is whatever it is that makes me respond in a certain way.”

Sienna said quietly “ I know.”

She added “ And that’s what I tried to explain to you earlier that it’s part of that developmental part that’s just going to take time.”

I said “ But you also feel the need to….”

Sienna said over me “ Well would it be better if I don’t… drop that B-word, I don’t need to remind you about boundaries or contracts or anything like that?”

I said angrily “ NO! Because I’m not a fucking retard!!!” (sorry guys, not a nice word)

Why would she need to remind me about boundaries that I’ve clearly observed and not overstepped? She isn’t making sense.

And while we were laying out the law, I said to her“ And I don’t need to keep talking about my illness either. I don’t want to talk about it.”

Sienna started to speak “ but that might be a really significant –“

I interjected “ NO it’s not!”

Sienna said “ It’s part of your life..”

I said “ People with similar histories to me don’t have Lupus and they are responding the exact same way I’m responding.”

Sienna said “ Yeah I know, but sometimes people have complex medical/psychological interactions..”

I interject “ I DON’T CARE! It DOESN’T MATTER, it literally doesn’t matter. Cos what if this Lupus is affecting my psychological responses? Do we work differently?” That was a rhetorical question cos the answer is no, we wouldn’t work any differently.

But Sienna said “ I don’t know, we’d need to investigate that.”

I laugh cynically “ Pfft, So you can get rid of me more like.”

Sienna said “ Nope it’s not about getting rid of you, it’s about maybe acknowledging that there might be a medical thing to be discussed on the medical side that might help.”

Yeah, so now you’re going to force me to go see a brain dr I don’t want to or take pills I don’t want too, like last time? Fuck that. Why is she making everything so much more complicated? She needs to stay in her own lane. I will worry about my Lupus and she’ll be informed if there’s anything I think she needs to know. IS this all an attempt to shake me off ethically as a client? That she feels stuck with me because she made a promise to me, to not leave and not she wants rid? And proving I have some sort of complex neuro-psychological issue would take me out her realm of care.

I shook my head in irritation “ You’re making me really angry.”

I burst into tears. I felt completely defeated. I felt like she’d pushed me away continuously and created barriers. And all I’d wanted coming into this session was to feel reassured and to find some reconnection and a way to stay in it when all Sofia wants to do is leave.

I said “I don’t know how to do this anymore.”

Sienna said “ You just keep doing what you’ve been doing.”

I felt bereft “ It’s hurting me though.” I broke down.

Sienna said “ I know it hurts. But slowly but surely things will improve.”

I whispered “ I can’t do it..”

Sienna responded “ You CAN do it, you ARE doing it.

Me: “ noooooo.”

I sobbed “ I just want to go back to being numb and just being on my own.”

Sienna said firmly “ No you don’t.”

“ Yes, I do.”

She repeated “ No you don’t. This is going to pass Sirena. And it’s going to be okay. You’ve been here before and it passed. And it’s shit but you’re doing it, and God how brave are you to keep coming back?”

I sobbed, feeling completely exhausted and like I had nothing left to give to this therapy thing “ I can’t do it, I can’t do it.”

Sienna said “ You can.”

I just sat and sobbed hard.

“ I’m just lost.” I literally had no sense of how to make this thing work. How to tolerate a minute more of this relationship.

Sienna gave me tissues. “ Wipe your face. You are going to do this. You are going to beat this. And it is going to get easier.”

Sienna touched my arm and looked at me “This is going to be okay, it is going to be alright. I know it’s hard.”

The session was ending and as I left, Sienna gave me a side hug. I left with a red face and tear streaked make-up, it was super attractive. I cried all the way home, I couldn’t stop. And considering all of last week I felt like crying and couldn’t, that’s no mean feat!

But this time I wasn’t crying out of need for Sienna, there wasn’t a grasping need for her to make anything better. There was just this new sense of being in this relationship was utterly intolerable and I wanted with all my heart to leave it. I had literally nothing else to give to it. I was sick of all this fear and sorrow and pain and trying to work her out and ugh… all of it, I just wanted out. Yet I knew I couldn’t do that so I felt trapped.

I yearned to go back to feeling number, highly dissociated and alone. With no one to fear losing, no one to cause me pain. Everything felt impossible.

I ended up letting Sofia write what she was feeling and sent in in email to Sienna, I put in the subject line that there was no reply needed. and went to bed.

When I woke up I did have a reply from Sienna. And predictably it was intellectualising and distancing. And I felt so angry. I wished she’d taken heed of my subject line.

I text Sienna and asked for a check in and we spoke later in the evening. I will probably write about that but nothing is resolved. And it feels shit. Yet I’m coping.
























50 thoughts on “Boundaries and Shit. Part 2

  1. twinkletoes2017 says:

    Holey. Actual. Moley.

    I honestly feel for you so much right now. This is just awful. You poor thing, you went in there so brave, ready to be honest and open and vulnerable and tell S that you had found it hard – NOT that you were blaming her or even wanted any apology or for anything to change. You just wanted her to say that she heard you, that she understood how tough that must have been – for you both to discuss what it triggers and why, and ways to manage that better next time possibly………. what you got was complete misattunement and what sounds to me like defensiveness and resistance from her… very fucking painful. VERY.

    Obviously she is only human and so will make mistakes, but I guess that only helps you/us if they acknowledge they were misattuned or whatever and then apologise… then you “rupture and repair”…….. but she doesn’t seem to be seeing this the same way as you (or me).

    No wonder you feel like banging your head against a brick wall. No wonder you got angry, no wonder you cried rivers of tears! Feeling unseen, unheard and feeling misunderstood are amongst the most painful things in the world. PARTICULARLY when there is maternal transference involved and it’s almost a repeat of childhood misattunement and rejection etc.

    I am sending you so much love. x

      • Sirena says:

        I feel quite vulnerable and insecure but I’m containing it pretty well, it’s not engulfing me.

      • twinkletoes2017 says:

        I think you’re doing incredibly. Seriously I really do, I think I would have fallen apart. Perhaps it helps that you know it’s her issue and not your’s? Perhaps that’s helping you to contain it a little? X

      • Sirena says:

        I think what’s helping is we’ve been here before and we get through these things. And I’ve built some inner resources over the last 2 years with her and some parts trust her. So it doesn’t feel quite as overwhelming terrifying as it used to. I used to fall apart, believe me.
        I do have moments of real fear and I’ve sporadically text her to get reassurance. I’m glad I have my session tomorrow.

      • twinkletoes2017 says:

        Yes, I’m sure that’s helped you to maintain the trust in her and your relationship. I think that’s such a positive sign in your emotional resilience honestly. It’s wonderful you can have your more adult/rational head on knowing that even if she has made a mistake, it’s hurt you – you acknowledge that and don’t repress or deny it, but you also have faith in your ability to recover from it adequately. That’s so lovely to see….

        I hope I can get to that place one day, at the moment I think any rupture would make me run away and clearly that’s not mature or healthy or helpful to anyone.

        I’m proud of my therapy friend!

      • Sirena says:

        Aww thank you so much T.T 😀
        You will get to that place too one day. You really will. If you look back to the beginning of this blog you’ll see just how little I coped with breaks and little I could hold during ruptures. I’ve come a huge way and so have you recently and you’ll continue to.

  2. all the little parts says:

    Oh hunny, I’m so sorry. Does sound like she’s being inconsistent. Snowglobes from holiday and hugs one minute then pulling rank the next… it sounds to me like she WANTS to meet your needs and be everything your little parts need and feels guilty that she can’t sometimes so says stuff like that to alleviate her guilt. Sort of like ‘I’m going to hide behind boundaries because I feel guilty’ Angry is sad’s bodyguard so maybe for therapist, boundaries are guilt’s bodyguard?

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I don’t know if you’ve already clearly and directly said this to her but maybe say ‘All your talk of boundaries when I haven’t broken any is really painful. I am expressing how I feel because you asked. Feelings are OK, behaviours are not but my behaviour is fine. I need you to stop talking about boundaries unless I actually BEHAVE in a way which violates them THEN you are within your rights to bring it up. But till then I feel it is unnecessary’

    Because at the end of the day, you are right… feelings are perfectly valid. If you were to act on them and break the boundary, no that’s not OK.

    I had the transference conversation with Claire yesterday. She asked me who I was to her. I thought ‘oh fuck, here we go, if I answer honestly she’s going to give me the ‘you know I’m not?’ speech’ so I hesitated for a long time, made some ‘oh god this embarrassing and awful’ noises but I did. I told her ‘you’re a sister figure’ and she just said ‘ah that makes sense since from what you’ve said you behave and feel differently with me than you did with Janet (mum figure)’ I sat there thinking ‘where’s the boundary talk?’ Then I realised she’s not doing it because she knows I know that she’s not. She trusts that I understand that she isn’t. The reason I bring this up is it’s an example of how I think you want Sienna to respond to your transference and pain, correct? Acknowledgement and acceptance with the trust that you already know she’s not your mum so she doesn’t need to bring it up and hurt you? Because it’s not the fact that she ISN’T your mum that hurts you, it’s the fact that she puts up the defences against those feelings, which makes you feel invalidated and stifled, right? (Tell me if I’m getting this all wrong)

    When you talked of Sofia slipping away… that’s how I feel too. Claire seems to encourage my logical, calm, together adult parts… but inside I am thinking ‘the younger parts aren’t gone… they are stifled, shoved away because I’m such a fucking people-pleaser I would do anything you asked even if it went against what I was feeling. I would behave how you wanted because I cannot bear ‘firm and challenging Claire’ I will empathise my anger away repeatedly so you don’t get mad at me for being mad at you. I will not cry or freeze. I will put my logical head on, because that’s what you want… that’s what you think is healthy… but I have done this all my life and I feel emotionally stifled by it. I want to learn how to express before you teach me how to control. You’ve jumped 30,000 steps ahead’ Is that how you feel? Like Sofia is being missed and pushed aside when she needs to be heard?

    I did notice something else too… I don’t know if it was a flippant comment… but right at the end you said ‘I’m coping’ Well done. You are doing it, she’s right in that. Not knowing what it was like for you at the start with her, perhaps she was just using self-harm as a (bad) tangible example that could be measured, as a sign of progress?

    Please don’t run away from her. It’s encouraging that she will take it to supervision, that’s an acknowledgement that maybe she is getting something wrong. Maybe she is missing something. She’s not arrogant, she’s willing to acknowledge and work on her mistakes. I wish more therapists were like that!! I’ve had plenty who just wouldn’t acknowledge that they were missing something – one laughed at me, told me all my issues were that of a normal teenage girl. BULLSHIT! Yes, I hadn’t given him all the facts but 13yr old girls do not bring the fact that they feel promiscuous to therapy everyday. BIG RED FUCKING FLAG THAT HE FUCKING MISSED!! (sorry, angry me came out there… back to you…)

    From what I’ve read you do have a lovely relationship with Sienna and one I am frankly envious of. You don’t know how much I have read of your blog and cried because I am so jealous of the art and the hugs and the little gifts I will never have from Claire. Please don’t give up on her or on your relationship with her, you owe it to yourself. Imagine being alone with your pain. Yikes, I can’t imagine life without therapy at the moment, it hurts too much.

    I’m sorry my response turned into an essay! Didn’t mean it to – I have a habit of doing that (sorry, will try harder). I just wanted you to see that I understand (I think I do, tell me if I’ve shot wide of the mark) and I really felt your pain and want you to know it’s all valid. As an outsider though I am also blessed with distance and can maybe see things in what you’ve written from both sides (yours and Sienna’s) that you miss? Even though I don’t know you, I don’t want you to give up on Sienna and I don’t think she means to give the impression she’s trying to give up on you. I think she’s just missing things and is prepared to take that to supervision.

    Sending you safe hugs hun, you will get through this and it won’t always feel this shit.

    Me xx

    • Sirena says:

      I love the essay, it’s good to read. You’re totally right, I think it’s guilt or worry or something that she hadn’t met my need and it’s caused me pain so then she switches to some weird defensive place. It’s happened before. I’m not giving up on her, for sure. But it’s just excruciating at times to stay in this place.

  3. behindapaintedsmile30 says:

    Woah this is awful.
    Yes she’s right, she can’t be your mother. Sorry if that’s harsh. But you were explaining how you felt and she seems to take it as criticism. The deflection is so obvious too. She should be preparing you for breaks not pushing you away. She should be in therapy herself because it looks like counter transference which is not a good thing in therapy. She’s basically retraumatising you. It probably comes from guilt that she feels but she needs to get a handle on that.
    “You have been here before.” Yes you have because Sienna keeps bringing you back there!
    I’m sorry if this is critical of Sienna but I can see the damage that it does to you.
    Thinking of you x

    • Sirena says:

      She is in therapy and has lots of supervision. I’m happy on that score.
      I know she can’t or isn’t my mother. That’s super obvious to me. I never forget that fact yet I suppose in many ways she does some of that mothering so there’s a duel role almost. I think she pushes me away in preparation for the break. To prepare us both for the distance… not consciously but unconsciously and this is how it shows up.
      The one good thing is how well I’m containing this, it’s still hard and I have moments of panic but I’m not breaking under it which might be a good sign of emotional resilience building up.

  4. dangerousvoyager says:

    It seems like you need to “feel” her acknowledging that she wasn’t there for you because of being sick, and how much that hurts you, and she is sorry about that, and then to just hold all of that “with” you without saying or doing anything more. Is that about right?

    It obviously makes her uncomfortable to sit with the knowledge that there needs to be boundaries and *not say it*, as if she believes that risks your creating a fantasy that you *can* have more and more. I just wonder what would happen if she *was* able to sit with it, whether it would give the space for you to grieve the fact that she can’t give you all that you want, on your own terms and at your own pace, and then you might even be able to bring that back to her as something you own and not something externally imposed. It’s something that involves *her* being the one taking a risk and pushing out of *her* comfort zone – do you think she would be willing to try that? Maybe for a set period of time and then see if it makes things better or worse for you?

    I’m not sure if that’s making sense. It just reminds me a bit of the way that a man often wants to jump in and fix something or offer solutions to a problem when a woman just wants to talk about it and have it acknowledged, and all the advice columns always say for that man to learn how to do this. Like Sienna is doing the man thing and she needs to chill and see that the world won’t end if she holds back.

    • Sirena says:

      No I didn’t go into that session needing her to acknowledge how it made me feel because I know she knows exactly how I feel, and I didn’t want an apology from her either because she did nothing wrong. She was right to take time to try and recover. I just wanted to look at my responses and processes from a meta perspective and try get to the route of why it upsets me so much.
      I definitely think there’s some strong counter transference playing out that makes her do this. And it’s almost always when she’s tired or rundown or needing a holiday.

  5. Individual medley says:

    Oh God, painful just reading that! I think there is definitely something there about the repeated timing of her misattunements.
    I know it was truly awful for you and it doesn’t feel like anything was going right in that session, but I am pretty sure that a year, or even six months ago, you wouldn’t have had the courage/trust/self-belief(?) to have pushed through and been able to tell Sienna what you were actually feeling right then. To work so hard to try to get her to understand why she was getting it wrong and why it was hurting you. and maybe she still isn’t getting it, but the important thing is that you are standing up for your feelings. I’m no expert but it seems to me that you are doing all the right things, it’s just shit that it hurts so much ☹️. Xxx

    • Sirena says:

      You know, that’s right. I have shown so much growth in being able to stick with it and not just dissociate. There is a win in that. There definitely is something about the timing of the misattunement and it’s something in her not me. We are both aware of the timing issue and it’s something she’s taking to supervision.

  6. Lauren says:


    “And sometimes those limitations mean that you’re going to get let down and that doesn’t sit well with me either”

    👆👆👆👆I think this is the goldmine. The way I read it seemed like it might have snuck in as a passing comment, but I think this is the source of her issue, that she clearly does need to discuss with her supervisor.

    My heart was breaking reading how much distress this was causing you. You know I think Sienna is awesome, but girl this just really really REALLY does not sound like your problem, but she was still working on her own misunderstanding that it is and so telling you you’ll get through it etc. No, nuh uh. You used the word compelled which excellently describes her behaviour, it’s her need to remind of the boundaries, and it does sound like she’s putting you in your place when you hadn’t even sniffed a boundary because she was scared you might.

    But oh my gosh I want you to see how good this is! You’ve known this is an issue Sienna has brought in, and how you’ve held it all throughout has been amazing, even when she’s projected it back at you, you were still able to see clearly, despite the distress it was causing you. You just need to own this now, insist this is taken to supervision (she sounded certain on that initially, but then maybe just would consider it?). I think you’ve come away from this session carrying a huge burden that was never yours. Sienna wouldn’t do that knowingly of course, but that’s what it sounds like nonetheless and so it needs sorting, for both of you.

    How are you feeling?


    • Sirena says:

      That is the goldmine! You’re completely en-pointe.
      This is her issue not mine. But it’s something I need to work with her around to bring the un-conscious, into consciousness. Because until that happen she’ll continue to do it in times of stress.
      She has supervision before I see her tomorrow. She’s definitely going to bring it up.
      We had a phone call yesterday about it all and I told her in no uncertain terms that this was her stuff.
      I feel okay. I get moments of fear and uncertainty and insecurity but I’m able to hold it and that helps a lot.

      • Lauren says:

        #minifistpumptome 😁

        I love that you can work with her on it, but that you’re aware and knowledgeable enough to see all of this and know what needs to happen.

        Excellent so hopefully you can make some progress tomorrow, it’s out in the open now which is half (most of?!) the battle

        I think you’re doing bloody awesome, and this sounds like new ground you’ve taken on your recovery journey. Ground you’ve had to fight hard to take, but you’ve taken it. Awesome

      • Sirena says:

        I pray we make progress. I feel like understanding her feelings/countertransference would really help me understand what’s going on. But like I said before she only tells me so much and won’t delve too deeply with me since I’m a client. #boundaries
        Thanks I think I’m doing okay.

      • Sirena says:

        😲 I’m scared for tomorrow. I just know she’s going to be changing some things after speaking to her supervisor and then shit will go down.

      • Lauren says:

        Yeah that’s understandably scary, you don’t want her to take anything away. Hopefully it will just be enough to make things consistent and for her to work through her fear. And you can always negotiate 😊, if she suggests stopping or reducing certain contact then could that have a review period to look at whether it would be feasible to reintroduce it in a controlled way to make sure its consistent and helpful? I think it will be important for you to have some say in this, I imagine it would be helpful if she can have an open conversation with you about what changes she’s discussed and discuss them with you, not just inform you, because this is your therapy and you didn’t set this situation up. As an example, I created a lot of bad habits around food with my 2.5 yr old (like eating in front of the ipad #dontjudgeme), once I worked through why I felt I had to do that blah blah I all of a sudden felt like I could just make a change, but I didn’t think that was fair to spring that on him when I created the issue in the first place. I appreciate it may not be as simple as that in your case, but I do think it’s totally reasonable for you to ask for support in adjusting to any changes, so that you’re not left fighting them x

      • Lauren says:

        As long as you don’t walk away, you’re winning, you’re doing it. This is a tough step but it’s just a step, don’t let it be the finish line. You got this 💪

  7. anonymous says:

    It really does feel like lines drawn in sand…what a great way to put it. I wish they would own this, that its really guided by their subjective state more often than by some sort of “science.” To go from hold it yourself, to daily check-ins, to a break….all very confusing.

    • Sirena says:

      Very confusing. Siennas has said herself that I often pick up on her detaching process or unconscious stuff before she does because I’m super attuned to that stuff and that she’s learning to trust if I bring it up then something probably is happening that she hasn’t detected yet.

  8. anonymous says:

    I do love how willing she is to look at things you’ve brought up and detected. Mine will not. But I agree, it is so hard to just stay in these relationships. Currently in the middle of a rupture myself. My T told me remembering my birthday and expecting a greeting like “happy birthday” on my actual birthday is not a realistic expectation when I was so disappointed that she didn’t say it, text it, or acknowledge it in some way. What the hell? That’s so arbitrary. She just gets mad at me and is not willing to own her own shit, but I feel so dependent I can’t let go. She reminds me constantly that she is not my mother but there are ways I just can’t not look to her for that. I find it infuriating that they are relying on the ideas of some ancient white men like Freud to guide their behavior.

    • Sirena says:

      I love her willingness to delve deeply in the murky waters of transference and countertransference too. I need that level of engagement.
      Not saying happy birthday is such absolute bullshit. Those kind of ridiculous boundaries give me so much rage.
      It sounds like you want to let go of her but can’t?

  9. Blooming Lily says:

    Okay, so I felt okay enough to read this today and all I can say is….
    holy shit and what the actual fuck!! You handled the weekend so well and essentially wanted to debrief what happened for you internally and delve in to exploring the nuances, causes, etc – and she just dug in her heels!!! It sounds like she thought you were a lot more angry / pushy / whatever than you actually were. Maybe she’s over sensitive after being ill (not your fault and not to excuse her!!) or maybe she just feels bad that she couldn’t be there for you for whatever reason or else she just has a really thick head this week. She shouldn’t have let any of that (her issues) seep into your session. what mattered was how she responded to and attuned to you and your needs WITHIN this session and she didn’t, she missed the mark completely. I could painfully relate to a lot of this; I’ve had those sort of circling, boundary-based conversations with T and they’re the actual worst. Recently, with vacation: I was telling her how bad it felt inside and wanting to explore why it felt so bad, and she just kept saying “I know you know why I need to take a vacation – everyone needs them – maybe I want to go see things I haven’t seen and spend time away and blah blah blah” and I was like “I DO know and I SAID that and it still hurts and I’m NOT accusing you, I just want to TALK about it!” And she just didn’t get it. And then starts explaining that we have a “different” sort of relationship and making the time and space boundaries clear and it HURTS because I didn’t tell her not to go on vacation! !!! !!! I wasn’t angry about it! Just sad and I just wanted to talk about it hurting! – not to make it about me but is that sort of what you’re going through? It sounds sort of like it and I’m so so so so sorry.
    The defensiveness is shit, and it’s not your fault. Obviously sienna needs to work through some things. And I’m sorry that in a way, that had to be taken out on you. So, so painful. I am sending all my love. 💜

  10. Blooming Lily says:

    (and as far as saying more angry and pushy than you actually were… I meant that you weren’t. Not saying that you were and she just thought it even was worse. I hope that makes sense!)
    And yes you did well over the weekend but she didn’t seem even open to hearing that even though you did well, it didn’t feel good – it felt dissociated and sad and distant etc. I am so sorry, she missed so many opportunities here. 😓

  11. manyofus1980 says:

    oh man sirena this is baaaad and makes me angry on your behalf! she was sooo misattuned! at least she’s willing to look at her own part in all this though, she badly needs to do that. xx

  12. Vera Douglas says:

    I read this whole thing! Part one and part two.
    I can empathize with certain parts of what happened as I had something similar happen to me a few months ago.
    What I wanted to say however was this:
    If you go back to part one where all your rupture/misattunement started, I believe she tells you there’s parts of you that don’t understand that I cannot be there 24/7, even on weekend etc. (Sorry I don’t remember all the wording).
    At this point it seems that you feel criticized and say “I don’t expect that”
    I think when you are working with parts, you and Sienna both have to acknowledge that while you grown up adult Sirena understands the ‘boundaries” of the relationship, there are other parts that just don’t understand that.
    In some way she is probably right that there’s “parts” of you that don’t understand that. They are little and hurt and don’t understand that. They are not grown up yet.
    On the other hand because you adult Sirena are in the room you take this as “but I know about the boundaries” and rightly so.
    I think there was some miscommunication about who and which part is the one that doesn’t understand this. Maybe if you were to look inside you could see how you can help these parts understand.
    I think what follows is continuous misunderstanding and pain.
    You feel rejected. You feel like you are a burden yet again. Because previous therapists have told you were too much you think that Sirena also thinks that etc etc.
    On the other hand Sirena loses her focus. All of a sudden she is arguing with you defensively and doesn’t even know why. She clearly feels guilty for not being there for you, but I think she just lost control of situation and everything snowballed.
    If you go back to this particular part in part one, you might realize that that’s where you both missed each other.
    While I think Sienna needs to work on this “guilt” she has and how that’s her to own and not yours, I think you might consider the situation under : a) are there parts of you that actually don’t understand the boundaries? b) why when Sienna said this sentence to you, your first instinct was that she was attacking you/rejecting you. Some sort of trust is still missing there and I think you are still looking for signs of rejection as you don’t trust that she’ll be there/has your best interest at heart.
    And lastly, the pattern that I often notice from reading your posts is whenever you and Sienna are having a good time, good bond etc, all of a sudden a terrible rupture happens. I think you might have some fear of this closeness (I am the same).
    Forgive me if I am completely our of line here, but I tried to read these posts in very detached mode and see what I might see happening here. I find myself often in similar situations and it can be hard when you’re on the inside of it.

    • Sirena says:

      Thanks for this Vera. It’s really good to see what others can pick out from this that I might not be seeing.
      I felt defensive about her bringing up boundaries because I haven’t crossed any. Our out of contact arrangements are sort of open, if she can be available when I need it, she will be. But sometimes, like last week she couldn’t and that’s the payoff to having those open contact boundaries. If it was more important to me to avoid these times and potential ruptures then I’d help make a contract that was more firm, like no outside contact or something.
      I think you have a point about whether the young parts understand the boundaries and I don’t know if they do or not. I feel like they do because none of them have ever overstepped them. But that doesn’t mean they’re okay with it. They struggle with too much space from Sienna.
      I felt rejected rather than attacked. Because her language felt distancing.
      Yes I have fear of the closeness that’s true. I worry it will be taken away from me.

      • Vera Douglas says:

        You are right that you haven’t overstepped any boundaries. I totally agree with you! My question is what she was trying to get at in the beginning. I don’t think this is what she was trying to say. I think the discussion could have gone about understanding if the parts understand what boundaries are.
        But out of that sentence you heard “I didn’t overstep boundaries”.
        I think where she failed you is in coming down this whole thing with you and not realizing where she lost you. In those moments it became about her and he defensiveness rather than what the initial conversation was about.
        She could have totally come back to the original conversation, but instead she came down this rabbit whole with you. You are the one in therapy here so you are going to quickly hear what you are used to hear because of you life, but she should be able to come back and not feed the miscommunication.
        Hugs. I hope you resolve this soon! Keep us posted!

      • Sirena says:

        I’ll need to read back or relisten to the audio. You might be right. It’s all too complicated when there’s parts.

      • Vera Douglas says:

        Good luck! It’s just a theory. I noticed you mentioned your husband for instance. I am the same with my husband. Whatever he says, it doesn’t matter because I know him and I trust him instinctively. We have been together 12 years so no matter what he says, my brain is not in fight or flight mode. It’s not trying to see what he is trying to say. How is he going to fail or get me. But I am like this in therapy. In therapy, I am often on the edge. Subconsciously, I am sitting there, ready to be attacked. Ready to defend myself. Even though I think I trust my therapist after 2 years. Eventually with more trust perhaps you will be able to fully trust Sienna and the fight/flight mode will be deactivated. I am not sure how you can further work on that.

  13. Vera Douglas says:

    ps. and about the parts getting the boundaries. I think you, the adult part, end up being in control in the end and don’t contact Sienna when you “shouldn’t”, but that doesn’t mean that the little parts are not overstepping the boundaries. They are overstepping them inside of you I think. They are torturing you and making you feel awful. They are fighting you, because that’s what they want and need. One day hopefully you’ll be enough to them and they won’t need Sienna as much. ❤

    • Sirena says:

      Overstepping them how?? I am so confused. And there isn’t a time I shouldn’t contact her that isn’t our contract.

  14. Vera Douglas says:

    They are not overstepping in the true sense of the boundary. But they wish they could. And because they can’t, they punish you. They just don’t understand. Sorry for the confusion. I didn’t express myself well there. I guess I am trying to say what you wanted to discuss is “why do you suffer so much when you know the boundaries make sense”? Perhaps they just don’t make sense to some parts.

      • Vera Douglas says:

        I don’t know. Maybe ask the parts. Maybe discuss with Sienna- which is what you were trying to do in the beginning! Maybe they sabotaged this whole thing. To punish both you and Sienna.

      • Sirena says:

        I do think Sofia turned up. I heard her in the Audio recording and I didn’t even know at the time.

  15. Vera Douglas says:

    I see. I am sure it happened! This is a very complicated situation. Maybe try writing a letter to Sofia. “Dear Sofia…what upsets you so much about Sienna being sick and unavailable? ”
    It’s so hard! I just quit therapy a few months ago for a month and now I am back. I still don’t really know what happened there!
    But I think part work is difficult, because part of you knows and part doesn’t, part gets and part doesn’t. And so it gets confusing.

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