Restarting Therapy

The last seven days have been very difficult.

I was triggered on Friday by having a discussion with my boyfriend, Ludwig, about my concern with the amount of processed food he consumes.

After losing my aunt to a poor diet, which led to cancer, and having my own battle with food for ten years, I was feeling a mix of physical reactions.

I felt invisible and dismissed when he didn’t want to listen to the podcasts that I’ve sent my friends and him.

Why do I feel this way? Why do I feel that I’ve lost him? Why do I feel like he doesn’t care about what I have to say? I shut down. I was confused. I turned inwards. I didn’t feel safe and at home like I usually do with him anymore.

We talked more. We tried to find a common ground.

Then two days later, I was triggered again. He made a reference to how people who give personalities to objects are linked to having a mental illness after I made a comment on how cute this red Mini Cooper was. I love Minis. I love my Mini. My second Mini, Charlie. My first Mini, my friends named him Coop Coop. The second Mini, I named it myself – Charlie.

I was stunned. We walked about another 30 seconds before I stopped him to see if we could talk. Before then, I have not disclosed the past trauma that I’m left with growing up, listening to a constant belittling.

On one hand, I didn’t tell him earlier because I didn’t want him to judge me based on my past. On the other hand, I was too embarrassed to tell him about my past. After all, it has taken me until my late 20’s to come to terms with what happened. Also, oftentimes, I have trouble putting the physical sensations into words. The knots in my stomach. The tightness in my throat. The urge to puke. The lightheadedness. Those are physical reactions that I cannot put labels on.

I told him why I have to set my boundaries. I told him why I have zero tolerance for any type of belittling. Not from anyone, especially not from someone who is supposed to be the closest to me. I think it registered with him.

We talked a lot more during lunch.

Ludwig then brought up three things that he wasn’t happy with. That we spend too much time on the phone (I was relieved as I hate talking on the phone). That I should split the bills or take turns on paying (I was a bit stunned as so far, I’ve put in more financially into the relationship than he has). Also that I tend to leave a mess after starting a project at home (this I know I do).

This again took me another 24 hours to process. His second point really bothered me. My heart sank to my stomach, but I didn’t have words for them. I had a mix of physical reactions. That includes tightness in my chest, feeling my heart drained of blood and turn cold, and an influx of sadness through my body.

The mixed emotions got me thinking in the 24 hours after. I didn’t feel that it was fair. I didn’t think it was fair. I have always expressed my gratitude and appreciation by taking the time and money to buy things that are missing in his home. Or buying things he asked for, or getting things for his family. I didn’t expect to be paid back.

Also, I felt hurt as I felt like he doesn’t even think I am worth being taken out. After all, we’ve only gone out a handful of times to a restaurant. Yes I know it is the pandemic and all, but I have gone out more alone and with my friends than we have together.

I felt like the things I do for him, I happily volunteer to do them. The things he does for me come with terms and conditions. “I will take the time to go out with you if you split the bill with me.”

I am not sure how to process those feelings. I sought help from the Adult Chair support group on Facebook. They offered some valuable insight, including an amazing book – The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. I also signed up for BetterHelp. I have my first therapy tomorrow October 23, at 2 PM, exactly 24 hours from the time of writing.

I am not sure how it will go, but I am nervous. All the therapy sessions I’ve had left me extremely shaken up.

Since the weekend, we’ve had more deep conversations. I’ve disclosed more of my past and my trauma, my triggers, and my boundaries.

I do feel like our relationship has actually gotten stronger over the weekend discussion.

But I need to know. Am I setting boundaries? Or am I self-sabotaging? Or am I controlling? Or am I projecting? Or am I settling for less than my worth? I really do not know and I want answers.

Anyways, I am nervous and anxious about the therapy. I hope it goes well.

But I need to know. Am I setting boundaries? Or am I self-sabotaging? Or am I controlling? Or am I projecting? Or am I settling for less than my worth? I really do not know and I want answers.

Categories

Quotes

Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.” 

– Erik Erikson

Once you start making the effort to “wake yourself up” – that is, be more mindful of your daily activities – you suddenly start appreciating your life more.” 

– Robert Biswas-Diener

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.

– Carl Rogers

Challenge

Does going to therapy makes you anxious? How do I stop being anxious about it? How do you disclose your boundaries?

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