I didn’t want to come back. But I rallied a bit, didn’t let myself float away too much.
Sienna spoke “ It feels… your reaction makes me feel as if even discussing this feels like catastrophic or huge or whatever and I want to know what that is.”
I replied irritatedly “ It’s not catastrophic or huge, I am asking you to just tell me how it is and we’ll go with that.”
Sofia was back.
Sienna replied “ But you’re angry.”
I said “ SO??”
Sienna said “ So I want to know what that’s about.”
I interjected angrily “ You KNOW! What it’s about! Just leave me…..” I let out a frustrated “arghhh”.
Sienna said “ So what is so hard about having to change stuff.”
I said “ Who CAREs???”
I wasn’t having this conversation.
Sienna said with conviction “ Well, I care. And it’s important you put words to it.
I whispered “ stop saying it.”
Sienna continued to speak “ it’s important you put words to it. It’s important that you…
I spoke over her again “ I HAVE words. I always have words, words get me into trouble, so….”
I didn’t finish my sentence.
Sienna asked why words get me into trouble.
I refused to answer.
Sienna said “ Is it because they’re loud and you fight and then people fight with you? Or is it something else.”
I didn’t answer.
I don’t know what I was doing but I hear Sienna say “ Have you gone? Don’t dissociate, Stay here.”
Sienna asks “ Is it Sofia who’s raging or is it everybody?”
I nod to indicate it’s everybody.
I say quietly “ Just tell me how it’s to be.”
Sienna said, “ I can tell you what I want to try and then I want your input.”
I felt dread because I knew what was coming.
Sienna said “ Look at me. Why are you covering your face?”
I said quietly “ Because it’s comfortable.”
Sienna asks “ Is it easier not have you seen or to anybody?”
Sienna said “ you do so well to come to therapy, Sirena. Never lose sight of that. We do some really good work in here and we still will.”
I don’t say anything.
Sienna says “ Tell me what the narrative is in your head. Tell me what you’re thinking?”
Not a chance, lady.
I say to her angrily “ You can take away what you like, but you disconnect in sessions as well. That’s what you did on Monday in here, so taking away texting, that’s not going to stop you from doing that.”
And Sienna said “ and yet I don’t think I did –“
I interrupted “ Yes, you DID.”
Sienna replied “ Well if I disconnected it was because I can’t… sometimes… You dissociate too and I can’t reach you at that point and when we are sitting in silence….”
I shouted “ I didn’t dissociate on Monday and we never sat in silence. I told you. Do you want the recording of that session?”
She wasn’t going to baffle me with bullshit. I have the recording, I know what happened.
Sienna said “ Well I am saying… What I am trying to say is… it’s a two way street and sometimes when I am trying to sit with you in silence and pick up what you’re feeling, there’s nothing. And I’m not blaming you, I’m just saying… I’m just adding that into the mix. I am not saying I don’t disconnect, and I’m not quite sure why that happens, but I’m working on my bit, I can assure you of that. And I am so pleased that you can tell me that and flag it up to me, because you ARE very sensitive to it. And with the best will in the world, as a human being sometimes I will disconnect. And it’s good when you can tell me that you feel it.”
I said nothing.
Eventually I said “ I mean, you’re good at taking things away and you’re good at…. Ugh I don’t know. You take things away and then…”
Sienna interjected “ I put them IN in the first place.”
I continued “ and you get to say OH I’m really sorry, yeah that was my mistake and that’s it for you but it impacts me, it’s me that’s impacted.”
Sienna said immediately “ So you don’t think it impacts me either?”
I said “ No, no, I don’t.”
Sienna said “ well, that’s your prerogative to think that way.”
I said “ yup.”
I then said “ you tell me to come here and tell you how I feel about things and tell you about the anger and I bring it and then it results in; “ oh you know, we’re going to be taking stuff away because I spoke to my supervisor and that’s what we’re going to try now.” So I’m fucked if I do and fucked if I don’t, so why try? Just tell me what it is you want (with boundaries) and we’ll go with it.”
Sienna said “ Is that what life feels like? No matter what you do, you’re fucked anyway.”
I said “Yup,”
Sienna said “Does that happen a lot?”
Fuck sake Sienna. I’m not going down this road again. Don’t give me your therapy bullshit. I didn’t answer her.
Sienna said “Tell me what that’s like?”
I said huffily “Use your imagination.”
She said “No, I want to hear it from you.”
Well that’s tough luck.
Sienna asked “ What’s it like to never get your way?
I am not playing this game. Why does any of this matter? Just tell me the frigging boundaries. I refused to speak to her.
After some silence Sienna says “ Tell me what your options are, if I’m not available.”
I thought to myself, why does it matter what my option are? Don’t abandon me and then pretend you give a shit what I do when distressed and you’re refusing to be there.
I said abruptly “ Why?”
Sienna said “ So that I know you’re thinking for yourself.”
I said indignantly “ I do think for myself thanks.”
Sienna nodded “ Yeah, I think you do.”
I said “ and what I do about… when you’re not there is not really any of your business.”
Sienna said “ That sounds really angry.”
I said “ Well you don’t get to know, it’s none of your business. You don’t want to know what I do or how I feel or what’s happening for me outside of here, so….”
Sienna said “That’s not what I was asking. I was asking that when you are distressed and I’m not available, who else do you turn to?”
I spat out “ Why’s it relevant? Who would you like me to turn to?”
Sienna said over me “ Because I care.”
I paused and then said “ Right, that’s a shit answer. Why is it relevant?”
Sienna said “ Caring does not mean being there 24/7.”
Ugh this again.
I said “ I HAVE NOT ASKED YOU TO BE THERE 24/7. So STOP saying it!!!”
Sienna said “ Caring isn’t even about being available to text me. Caring is about making sure that you’ve got enough resources…”
I interrupted quietly and firmly “ It’s not up to you, it doesn’t matter, that’s my problem.”
I knew I was pushing her buttons.
Sienna said, “ So why are you angry about it then?”
I said “ Because you are taking away something I want and need. Why would I not be angry about that? All the blame is on me, for this.”
Sienna interjected “ No, there is no blame.”
I said sarcastically “ Oh, I think there is.”
Sienna said “ Sirena, there isn’t any blame.”
I said “ So WHY am I the only one in this that’s coming out of it worse off?”
Sienna said “ Well that’s a perception, so I want you to tell me about that.”
FFS… Is she going for the Guiness book of records for most obvious and therapisty things said in an hour?
I didn’t answer her.
Sienna asked “ Why do you think no having me at the end of a text is going to make it worse for you?”
Seriously? Does she not know the answer to this?
I said petulantly “ It won’t.”
Sienna said “ Who or what else can you use for that?”
Is she genuinely this stupid? Does she genuinely not get what this feels like to me?
The sheer frustration and rage and grief at losing my support person was overtaking me again.
I said “ I just don’t know how you and your process somehow impacts me, this has been about you this week, not me.”
This all started with her process of disconnecting from me before her breaks, yet here I am being told I am losing her support the rest of the year round, how is this fair?
Sienna replied “ Exactly. Absolutely. You’re absolutely 100% right. And if you like this is something to try in order to protect both of us so that our therapy continues …..”
I interrupted her “ Why do you need protected from me? What have I done that you need protected from?
I could feel angry tears building again.
Sienna explained “ human nature says..
I laughed slightly with mirth. Sienna stopped what she was saying clearly a bit annoyedand said “ Oh, I’m not human? Is that it? Is that what you feel? How dare I be human, I’m a therapist? Do you not think we are human?”
I shrugged nonchalantly “ It’s hard to tell.”
Sienna said “ oh, I nearly smiled there. I think you nearly did too.”
Despite my anger I laughed. Because I knew I’d annoyed her and I felt proud of my effort.
I said “ You talk about human you, but then there’s other times that you say that I don’t get to know human you, that I am only allowed to know therapist you, that that’s all you should be to me. But then when it suits I’ve to take into account human you?”
Sienna said, “ I don’t think it’s that black and white”
I rolled my eyes and mimicked her “ black and white, black and white..”
Sienna said “ yep, it’s not black and white, there’s shades of grey in that.”
We sat in silence.
Sienna eventually said “ I know it sounds and feels hard, I get it. But the bit that I didn’t realise, or appreciate fully, was how I…. I sit wondering when the next text is going to come in and you sit waiting on an answer that either doesn’t come or is the wrong thing.”
I angrily “ I think that’s a little bit of an over-dramatization, that you sit and wait for the next text coming in. If that was the case you’d be quicker at answering them.”
BOOM! Drop the Mic.
But seriously, don’t lie to me. Don’t make like you’re some put upon therapist who’s being worked into the ground by the big bad persecuting client.
She never replied to that.
I felt so angry and so… demonised.
I said to her, holding back angry tears “ I like how you and your supervisor can sit and intellectualise about MY life and make decisions on my behalf when it doesn’t affect either of you.”
Sienna said softly. “ But it is affecting me. And if it affects me, then it starts to affect you. And I am so, so proud and blown over by your clarity around the need for supervision and how important it is and I’ve sat here and on the phone with you trying to work it out, acknowledging that I can’t work this out, that I needed a second pair of eyes on it.
When you wanted your second session every fortnight, I wasn’t sure about that, but I went with it and it’s proved really useful.”
I didn’t say anything. I felt hurt that she said she hadn’t been sure about doing the second session, it felt like rejection. Like she didn’t want to see me more than once per week. It felt like this session was just dropping bombs all the time.
Sienna continued “ I get the feeling that any change for you feels like something is getting taken away…”
“Well it’s never in my benefit.” I spat.
Sienna said “ Well you don’t know this, Sirena, until we try it”
I said “ I DO know this, because we have tried it before.”
She didn’t say anything.
I said brusquely “ Just do what you want. Just tell me what it is to be from now on, what are we doing?”
Sienna said “ I would like you to agree to just do our 6 sessions a month.”
That sounded so pitiful. I felt like the earth had just rolled away from me. And the whooshing of rejection and abandonment filled up the room until I couldn’t breathe. I felt pushed away. Minimised. And she was basically not only taking away texting now but it sounded like any option of even a call if I needed it. And I hadn’t done anything wrong! It wasn’t fair. I felt completely dropped. Dumped like trash.
I said “ Well, I’m not agreeing to it.”
Sienna said after a pause. “ What do you want – instead?”
I said “ Nothing.”
It felt impossible. I felt betrayed and abandoned and I feel so alone.
I said with so much anger “ I am DONE here. I am done. I am fucking so done. “
Sienna asked “ And is that a usual reaction? Because that’s a really angry reaction to suddenly pull the plug on something because of a change.”
I raised my voice “ Because that doesn’t work for me, so if it doesn’t work and this doesn’t work for you…”
Sienna said “ you don’t know that yet (that is won’t work for you.)”
I said “ no, I DO know, I ABSOLUTELY know because I know myself better than you do. So I’m not doing it.”
Sienna said “ I think you underestimate yourself.”
I interrupted “ Oh no, I absolutely don’t underestimate myself, I am perfectly capable of knowing what I can do and what I can’t or won’t do. So….”
I trailed off. What else is there to say? We are at an impasse.
Sienna said “ Taking away contact from me in between sessions, is an adjustment. It’s not something that is needs to be the end of the road for us. It’s about then looking for other resources…”
I spoke over her “ It’s about trust. What else down the road gets changed? What else gets taken away from me that I don’t want..”
Sienna said “ I don’t have a crystal ball!”
I said sarcastically “ Good! Good for you.”
Sienna continued “ I don’t have a crystal ball.”
I said “ that’s a convenient excuse isn’t it?”
Sienna said “ That’s life actually. None us have that.”
I felt patronised. “ I don’t need to be told about life.”
Sienna said “ I’m not telling you anything about life, I’m just telling you that actually, nobody knows what’s down the road.”
I said “ I don’t care. I don’t care.”
Sienna said “ Well, I think you do care. Because you sound really angry.”
I said “ YES I’m angry.”
I added “ If I could keep the traditional boundaries that are expected I would have been seeing someone in my hometown and not making the journey here once or twice a week. Why do you think I’m doing that? If I was capable of those type of boundaries then therapy would have worked years ago with the first therapist I was with. If those boundaries worked for me I’d be somewhere else, I wouldn’t even have landed here.”
Sienna said “ Well, maybe it’s time to try other boundaries and try other changes.”
My voice now wavering “ No, I’m not going to.”
Sienna continued “ Because like anything in life until we try it, you don’t know…”
I raised my voice “ We HAVE tried it, we did do it. Do you not remember September last year (massive rupture)?Do you not remember the rupture? Do you not remember what happened after that? No?”
Sienna nodded that she did remember.
So if she remembers, then why is she putting forward something that didn’t work before?
Sienna said “ I think you can do this.”
In that moment I thought I might explode or literally start throwing shit. I jumped forward in my seat and leaned in to her and stared her straight in the face…
“ Do you realise that I have done it my entire- fucking- life, ALL by myself?” My voice was breaking with sheer heartbreak and devastation. Tears ran down my face.
“ and I’ve kept it in all by myself. I CAN DO IT!! I can do it until the cows come home. I don’t WANT to do it. I don’t want to do it that way.”
I sat back again. Folded in on myself.
Sienna said “ Tell me what’s hard about doing it that way?”
I was sobbing by now “ Just leave me. Just…”
Sienna said firmly “ Sirena, tell me what’s hard about doing it that way?”
I was lost in my grief. “ no. No. Leave me.”
Sienna moved over in her seat towards me. “ tell me what’s hard, because you’re not going to be on your own. You’ve done it all your life, on your own, keeping it in to yourself. But this is not about you being on your own. This is about making a change to ensure that we can still work together. And that we are BOTH okay in it. This is not about leaving you.”
I interjected “ It IS, it IS!!”
How can she not see this. Why doesn’t she see what this is doing to me? How can she not see how impacted I will be. How can she know the pain I hold and knowingly make me experience it alone?
Sienna said “ No, it’s not!”
I looked up, face flushed and dripping in tears and etched with pain and said “ Well who do you suggest I phone when I have my nightmares and things like that? Will I phone my mum? “ Mum, guess what? I had a nightmare about my Dad fucking me last night, what do you think about that? Can I have some support?”
We both sat for a moment, me shocked by what I’d just said. I’d meant to shock her. I’d meant to reveal the exact explicit nature of my dreams in a way I’d only alluded to before. I’d meant to shock her into the reality that the things I’m dealing with, I can’t turn to other people about. Who else can I tell? If not her, then who?
I certainly shocked her. But I shocked both of us. I’ve never used words like that and I’ve never told her the disgusting details.
I sat still, suddenly regretting saying it. The ugliness of those words.
I folded in on myself, put my head in my hands. Shame.
Sienna spoke softly. “ Is that what happened?”
I cried “ noooooo!”
Sienna came over and sat beside me. I sat back in the sofa, to get distance from her and in pure defeat. Tears blinding me.
She sat back too and tried to cuddle me. I leaned away. “ Leave me…”
Sienna said firmly as I half pushed her and fought her off to leave me alone “ NO! No.” She drew me into her. And I sat there, still, hands covering my face, feeling like I was breaking open.
Sienna spoke quietly to me. Rocking me and smoothing my hair. I cried “ It didn’t happen. It was just a dream.”
Sienna just kept repeating “ I’m here. You’re not alone. I’m here.”
At one point I think she tells me I’m safe and I lose it. I sound so traumatised in the tape and so young.
“ I’m not safe, I’m not safe, I’ll never be safe. I’m never going to be safe…!!!”
Sheer terror. And devastation.
Sienna says “ Yes you are. Yes.You.ARE.”
I just cry and cry.