Theory 1: I’m too ashamed and scared –
I simply cannot envision myself pressing that same buzzer; pushing open that same door; walking up those same steps; and entering that same therapy room, after all the messy and shameful email-exchanges which have occurred between myself and my therapist during the time between our last session, and now. I don’t know how I am ever going to be able to look her in the eye again. I have so much shame surrounding my attachment-related struggles and what is going on in our relationship right now.
I would rather avoid than confront. I would rather hide than expose myself to the infinite pit of shame I have inside of me. I am not strong enough to revisit it face-to-face. Skipping therapy = running away emotionally. I am a wimp.
Theory 2: Causing concern –
I need (want) her to worry about me. I need (want) her to feel the same sense of urgency and chaos which I am experiencing internally – and to the same extent. If the only way to express my current struggles to her is to simply NOT express ANYTHING to her, then so be it. I don’t usually miss sessions and so it is a double-bluff of sorts: through saying nothing and not turning up, perhaps she will worry more about me because this is a behaviour I haven’t resorted to with her previously; perhaps she will assume the worst and think about me as much as I think about her and the complexities of our relationship; perhaps she will contact me and I won’t have to be the one to initiate an interaction.
Theory 3: I want to be in control for a change –
I feel so out of control within this relationship. Emotionally I am being flung around from pillar to post and back again, without any form of buffer or grounding. The smallest interaction can throw me off kilter in a flash, and I take pretty much anything – which isn’t outwardly attentive and validating – as a rejection. If I don’t turn up to therapy; if I don’t respond to messages; if I start to take control; then perhaps the roles will reverse, and for once I will have the (illusion of an) “upper hand”. If I can control the relationship then surely my emotions won’t be influenced by our interactions to the same degree… right?
Theory 4: Playing ‘hard to get’ –
If I don’t initiate contact, perhaps it will evoke concern (Theory 2). If I play this game and ‘win’, perhaps I will be the one in control (Theory 3).
Theory 5: A metaphorical “fuck you” –
I’m angry with her. F*ck it – I’m angry in general.
I just need some validation and affection. I cannot deal with any more of the “What is the function of this message?”, “Is feeling A B C justified given the situation?”, “Can you try and check the facts around X Y Z?”, “Is this behaviour in line with your long-term goals?”, etc.
When I am experiencing the issues which are presenting currently, intellectualising does NOT change anything. Sometimes I feel like I am getting an influx of textbook-DBT questions and phrases thrown at me in a way that becomes ineffective.
I keep trying to evoke and receive the responses my therapist would have given me in the ‘early days’. And I continue to end up feeling let down and exceedingly frustrated within this process. I’ve tortured myself reading back on past messages, and there is a clear difference compared to more recent texts and emails. I know this perpetuates the pain. It’s just that I need proof it is not all in my head. I know that I need nurture and validation, not theory. I prefer the way it used to be.
[I JUST WANT HER TO TELL ME THAT SHE SEES MY PAIN AND IS SORRY I AM STRUGGLING SO MUCH
AND THAT SHE LOVES ME AND WILL TAKE CARE OF ME REGARDLESS.]
Theory 6: I was exhausted and vulnerable –
An 8am therapy session may not be conducive to my life right now considering I have to wake up early and then go straight to work – where it is of vital importance that I am functional and can be responsible for and present with the kids. Agreeing to this time may have been wishful thinking. (It may also have been an act of desperation; clinging onto my two sessions per week, instead of having to reduce to one.)
Part of me genuinely thought “I can’t be dealing with therapy right now, I’ve had barely any sleep after a stupidly late night and long 14-hour working day yesterday. Skipping therapy is therefore going to be more effective on this occasion. Two to three hours more of sleep is totally necessary right now”.
(Note to self: do not agree to babysit on Monday nights or you will not be able to make therapy on Tuesday mornings!)
Theory 7: PMS –
It is rarely a good time of the month for me, when I am due my period. Whatever is going on is felt more deeply and with more complexity during this time, and my paranoia and relational dilemmas increase significantly. My self-efficacy goes out the window and all pain is accentuated even further. Ineffective behaviours increase and my rationale totally disintegrates; I become evermore irrational.
(My other psychiatric-related PMS symptoms are outlined here)
Theory 8: Paranoia –
She hates me. She can’t deal with me. I’m going to drive her nuts, if it isn’t too late already. She must regret having ever taken me on in the first place. I should do her a favour and remove myself from the equation. She can’t cope with me. How could she? How can anyone? My friends tell me I am acting interpersonally challenging enough to push them away; this is probably the case with my therapist as well. She must be at her wits end; beyond frustrated, hurt, disappointed, let down, and shamed, all because of me. I can’t deal with the negative emotions I evoke in others, and the consequent shame, guilt and self-hatred I experience. I will be sparing myself further pain by withdrawing whilst I still can, before I’m in too deep. Before she realises the depth of my insanity and things get even more out of control or other people have to be involved. This is an act of self-preservation…
Theory 9: For her –
…I will be saving her from the chaos I bring with me, too. She shouldn’t have to deal with any more shit from me. I must be the-worst-client-ever-in-the-history-of-clients. She deserves a break. Simple as.
Theory 10: Perfectionism –
I haven’t done my homework: I haven’t completed my Diary Card since before I left to go to Mallorca; I haven’t written out my food plan or taken note of my intake either; I haven’t been the sucky-uppy A++ student I tell myself I need to be.
I am a perfectionist (sometimes). If I can’t (don’t) do something the ‘right’ way, I may as well not do it at all. [Hello again, familiar black-or-white thoughts.]
Theory 11: I’ve been on a break –
I’m ‘out of touch’ with therapy. Having been abroad for a week and missing two of my Saturday DBT Skills Groups, I haven’t seen her for almost two weeks now. I usually see her twice a week for individual sessions and once during the DBT Skills Group.
I therefore usually have about 3-4 days worth of pent up shame and anxiety upon walking in to our sessions; I now have a few weeks worth. The longer the interpersonal struggles go on without us addressing them face to face for what they are – and potentially resolving or allaying my fears – the harder it is to force myself to go back into the ‘therapeutic arena’.
Theory 12: Punishing myself –
I have always relied heavily on my therapists and my individual sessions. By denying myself of this – what for me is a fundamental need – I am taking away the potentially healing process of therapy and personal growth. Part of me believes that I deserve to feel the pain I am feeling and maybe that part of me is comfortable in it because it is so bloody familiar too.
Theory 13: Sabotage –
As in Theory 12, this sort of pain is familiar and something I have known for as long as I can remember…
I come back from a relaxing and enjoyable week abroad – I could potentially be rejuvenated and refreshed making the most of the positivity I accumulated in Mallorca. But NO – suddenly things feels on top of me instead, and I am not exactly helping myself by simply skipping therapy. Without confronting this shit head on, I remain stuck within it, and my recovery (especially attachment-related struggles) does not shift. If anything, it is perpetuated and worsened. Am I doing this to myself? Is this what I want? Or need?
Theory 13: I’m a lazy fu*ker –
I am not a morning person and I won’t lie; I struggled to motivate myself to get out of bed this morning for my 8am session.
Theory 14: A combination –
Ultimately it’s all just communication without words. Non-verbal, behavioural, ineffective communication of a pain which cannot be expressed in mere words.