I had all good intentions of continuing my August Moon blog series this week, but if I am going to be honest, it has been a very trying week (and it's only Wednesday).
On Monday, I made a phone call to my therapist. And she absolutely fanged me.
I spent the rest of the afternoon crying and crawled into bed early with a blistering headache. I woke at 1am and spent the rest of the night going over and over what she'd said, her screeching voice stuck in my head on an endless loop.
I eventually decided to go to our scheduled session yesterday. I was really angry and more than a bit afraid. I was planning to tell her that I was done and that she had no right to speak to me the way she did.
But I was also open to see how she'd respond to the incident. Previous experiences of "tough love" have been followed up with a gentle and open discussion (and an apology) which had been really useful.
Unfortunately, she chose not to take this approach. Instead, she lectured me for twenty minutes on how inappropriate it had been for me to call her and how uncommitted I had been to the therapeutic process of late and how little respect I had shown for her professionalism. Then she demanded I apologise to her.
I have to admit, I was in shock.
Apparently, she believes that my calling her outside of our appointment time to mention that I was questioning whether or not to come (something I thought relevant to recent discussions) plus my flagrant disregard of the 48 hour minimum cancellation policy (or payment required: something I was genuinely unaware of and she never thought to mention in three years) were symptomatic of deeper issues in my personality.
In short, she believes that I am self-absorbed, immature and unprepared to face the consequences of my actions. I am in denial about what is really going on for me and I "clearly have more going on" than I think I do.
After twenty minutes of just listening and letting her words wash over me (it was too much to absorb but experience tells me never to interrupt an "expert") I tried to defend myself, saying I was genuinely unaware of her cancellation policy and that her manner had really hurt me. Her response was that I was a "big baby".
But then she told me that I owed it to myself to continue the process and that if I didn't, I'd "put a hex" on all the work we'd done so far. She said that she was committed to repairing the relationship.
I stood up and said that I needed time to think about it, that there had been a lot to absorb and there had evidently been a number of things I hadn't considered. I put my money on her mantle, plus an envelope containing cash withdrawn from my savings, an estimate of all the times I'd jipped her over the past three years (along with a terse note that said I never owe anyone... something I'm sure, would have made her furious, because it was "not about the money"). Then I apologised for a second time and walked out.
I am pretty bruised today and still trying to unravel it all. My husband has been fantastic, as has my best friend and two other dear trusted friends.
I've made an appointment to see a counsellor at work tomorrow to help me put it work out what is going on. What I really want to understand is whether those character flaws she flung at me have any truth to them. I have to confess, they are needling me. All I can think of is the times that I have been vague, selfish and passive aggressive in my life. Could it be that these things really are going on for me under the surface and I am not aware of them or in denial?
Or is it my [now-former] therapist's attempt to deflect onto me her unprofessional behaviour? I mean, really: I've been punctual, cooperative, communicative and totally committed to the work over the past three years. One ill-concecived and badly-timed phone call and I'm suddenly on the shit list? It kinda doesn't compute.
One thing I know for sure.
I am never going back.
If there are things going on for me, I had kinda hoped she'd be the one to help me work with them. Together, we've done an excellent job... until now. I just don't think I can go back and be shouted at and told what a terrible person I am. I don't think it's true and I don't think it's helpful.
I also don't believe in hexes. It's an unfortunate end to a valuable relationship. But the work we've done is strong and true and deeply embedded now.
I'm not the one who burnt the bridge.
She does not deserve to know what happens next.