Lashing Out

Dear Therapist

I lashed out at you when you were three minutes late for our session. I know it’s not an excuse, but I wasn’t in a very good place, so those three minutes felt a lot longer. Thank you for validating that it’s a big deal for me, and for your apology. I know you’re only human, and these things happen. You’ve been consistent since the very beginning, so I feel a little embarrassed for being so upset today. I’m so sorry.

I remember what you told me. That whenever I apologize the way I did today (over and over again), that you feel as though I regress to a younger age, expecting that I’m going to be in trouble. I didn’t realize until now how big that statement actually is.

When you said that I’m lashing out at you, and I thought that you were getting upset, I panicked. I panicked because I was so afraid that I would lose you. I backtrack so quickly, and apologize as soon as I suspect that you’re getting mad. Because I feel myself flinching on the inside. Like a child who knows what’s coming. Who feels like she’s about to get hit. But I know that’s what happened in the past. That it’s not what’s happening today. I only realized after our session that this is what happens to me in these moments.

There are two reasons that I usually apologize. The first is that I genuinely don’t want to upset you, because I care so much for you. The other is due to fear of abandonment. I get so mad at myself, because you’ve proven time and time again that you won’t abandon me. And I feel that I should stop worrying about that. Yet it still happens from time to time.

Sometimes I feel that I need to act out to a safe person, because I can’t do it with anyone else, so I bottle up those intense feelings, that rage I may be experiencing. And it just sits there. Or I take it out on myself.

I don’t do it on purpose, or to upset you and cause a conflict. In my mind, I’m not lashing out at you, but rather to you. I feel a little upset now. Therapy is supposed to be a safe space, but I feel I have to contain myself in sessions as well. I’m not sure who I’m mad at. You or myself? Or both of us? I also feel that I don’t have the right to be feeling mad about this. It doesn’t serve any purpose.

Thank you for being here for me yesterday. I really appreciate you, and everything you do. I value this special relationship.


19 responses to “Lashing Out”

  1. I can totally relate to this feeling of having to contain yourself … always having to remind yourself that you are supposed to share everything in that space. But it’s hard when you don’t do it anywhere else 💛

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I relate to this so deeply, Rayne. Anger and fear of abandonment go hand and hand for me. I fear that relationships wont survive any expression of anger. It takes some time to learn how to express it in words in a less hostile way and not a massive over reaction.. I came across a wonderful book in the library this week on the Emotionally Sensitive Person it explained how and why we over react then react to our reaction and our deeply feared response from others that triggers deeper abandonment fears. You are gaining awareness and that’s a good thing. Hugs ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This really resonated. I love your letter, by the way, I feel like it’s articulate and really gives voice to the struggle that is letting go of our emotions. A told me from day one as long as I don’t hurt her, myself, or her things, everything else is a go. Is that why when I am so angry I want to smash things in her office? Because I was told not to? It’s so fascinating and such a unique relationships in a unique space. you’re doing really well, you’re gaining awareness, you’re articulating yourself, you’ve got this. Hugs if they’re okay xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks PD. 🙂 When you’re angry and want to smash things in her office, it sounds like the rebellious, angry teen ’emerging’. She said not to do it, so you want to do it even more. That’s just my guess though. It really is such a unique and special relationship, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Hugs are always okay. 🙂 Sending you one as well. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. One question that arises in these situations for the therapist is whether this is partially or entirely a transference issue. A good therapist will ask himself the extent to which he made a mistake and need to apologize. Even if the therapist made a mistake, the transference issue is not necessarily foreclosed. That is, the bottled up rage might still date back to early parental relationships and explain the degree of anger. Then the therapist must consider whether the client will come to this conclusion on his own, is ready to hear a transferential interpretation, and if so when and how.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so afraid of abandonment also, and the time issue is the same with me. My therapist and I terminated therapy on a positive note, then months later I wanted to see her again and felt I had to sell myself with my reasons so she would take me back. Meanwhile I’m paying her. I was raised by a narcissistic mother who could give two shits if I existed, where there was no love, no empathy and no validation. It was difficult to unattach myself from the therapist also. It’s just the neediness in us, and it’s not our fault. This should have been provided when we were kids.

    Liked by 1 person

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