Abandonment

Prompting event for my emotion:

Two different nights as I was lying in bed waiting to fall asleep, a thought about my new therapist jolted me awake.

Emotion names:

Anxiety
Hopelessness
Pointlessness
Dismay
Fear

Interpretations (beliefs, assumptions):

I am beyond help. I cannot be helped by just anyone, but require hard to find and hard to pay for help. I am so difficult that I eventually repulse people who think they want to help me. I cause people to abandon me.

Physical sensations:

Awake, hot, jittery, restless

Body language:

Eyes open, tense

Urges:

To panic, to get up, to give up hope, to despair

Actions:

I continued to lie there, talked myself through my thoughts and feelings, prayed, used my “counting to 5000” distraction / relaxation technique.

After effect:

I relaxed and fell asleep eventually, but still had some lingering wariness and concern.

Challenge to the interpretations:

This therapist seems more professional, capable, and respectful than the two guys I saw in NY. She also works in a reputable office, whereas those guys were on their own, working out of home offices. Even though she has interrupted me a little, made suggestions and asked questions that I have resisted, and failed to completely understand a difficult theological issue, she has also listened, and tried to understand. I think she wants to understand and is willing to work at it.

Also, we have only had two sessions, and the first of course was basically an interview. I can’t expect to be able to pick up where I left off with Joe. Perhaps I can expect her to be able to work with and help me even without having all that past history and information already. I can also expect to be able to tell her about my concerns and reactions and fears and resistances, and if she’s any good she can handle it.

I am aware that I have a fear of abandonment and a suspicion that I cause it, and that I do not need to believe everything this fear and suspicion tells me, especially at night when I’m trying to sleep.

Worst case scenario is that it doesn’t work out with her. If we really need to, I think we could make it possible for me to return to Joe. I have some concerns about that idea, too, but I could talk to him about them. I could also try someone else in the same office, or another office. I am not in the crisis I was in in NY, and so I have the time and reasonable stability to therapist-shop if need be.

Ultimately I trust God to deliver me — I am never beyond his help, and even if I must go through terrible things, he will bring me safely through them.

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2 thoughts on “Abandonment

  1. I find it helpful. The categories / headings are nice and distinct — particularly writing the interpretations (what I believe about myself because of the event and the emotions) and the challenges (what I know to be true instead) separately is very helpful. Writing down the interpretations that starkly, it shows how clearly they are wrong, how clearly influenced by the past and my defenses.

    The point of the middle parts, the body language, physical sensations, urges, actions, is that over time you start to recognize emotions by what your body tells you. And you can start to realize when a panic attack or something is starting, and take action to head it off.

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