Life in a Bind – BPD and me

Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and my therapy journey. Listed in Top Ten Resources for BPD in 2016 by goodtherapy.org. I write for welldoing.org under the name Clara Bridges.

Why the Christmas therapy break can be particularly hard

12 Comments

I’ve just entered another therapy break – twenty-six days this time. Though the summer therapy break is longer, the Christmas break is more challenging in other ways. My latest post for the therapy website welldoing.org is an open letter to my therapist, explaining why it feels difficult, and how she has helped:

https://www.welldoing.org/article/letter-to-my-therapist-christmas

 

[This article was inspired by a post I wrote at a similar time last year; that post was prompted by an intense set of emotions that arose after I caught a glimpse of my therapist’s daughter, who had come home for Christmas. Families – both the ones that we are part of, and the ones that we are not – can lead to such strong emotions at this time of year….]

 

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12 thoughts on “Why the Christmas therapy break can be particularly hard

  1. The one thing that stood out to me as you imagine your therapist’s time away has to do with her relationship with her daughters. I’m assuming here she is a good mom, but I’m also assuming she is not a “Superhero Mom,” whose every moment is tender or intense (as necessary), entirely focused on her children, without a selfish or distracted moment, requiring no sleep, and never even a potty break. You are a mom. You know that routine is part of the routine. What I’m leading to here is the possibility that she might be on top of a pedestal on top of a pedestal — far too high up. For every millimeter up you (IMHO) get lost on the downside, not even within hailing distance. I’m willing to bet she does go to the potty (alone, by the way). πŸ˜‰

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    • Thank you for your comment! It’s interesting, because I guess I’m still giving the impression that I idealise her, and I’m convinced that I do. Or at least, not in the way that I idealised Jane! I don’t think she’s perfect – as a person or as mum – I definitely believe she is a ‘good enough’ mum, okay, probably more than ‘good enough’ πŸ™‚ but we’ve had very tricky times in the past, times when we’ve both got things wrong, misunderstood, not reacted quite right in a situation, hurt each other etc. So in that sense, I hope I don’t have ‘illusions’ and if anything, I think one of the things I’ve learned and one of the ways in which I’ve hopefully grown through this process, is accepting and understanding that these sorts of events don’t destroy (or even dent) the relationship and how we think about each other, and that they certainly don’t mean we don’t care or care any less. I’ve never had an adult role model; there were teachers I really liked, but there was no one I could ever have pointed to to say I aspired to be like them, or had huge respect for them (not that disrespect anyone, but that’s different to having huge respect and admiration for someone). She is certainly, then, what I never had – a ‘role model’, someone with values, qualities, attributes that, as far as I know them (and her), I admire, respect, value and like. I would like to be the kind of person she is; she is someone that were I still a little girl, I could aspire to be. Does any of that mean she’s on top on top of a pedestal? I don’t know……and it’s certainly possible you see more than I acknowledge, but I do really think I’ve grown in acceptance of the ‘imperfect’ – even if only in relation to her!! πŸ™‚

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      • I’m in no position to say anything with certainty re: the pedestal. Perhaps, however, part of having a good relationship with anyone is magnifying their good qualities and setting aside at least some of those that don’t fit well with what we’d like the person to be. By that standard I imagine you have nothing to worry about. Happy New Year!

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  2. A very emotional read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This made me cry like the abandoned baby I feel like at this time of year. Beautiful letter – so, so true. X

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  4. Yes, I’m on day four of what feels like an eternity of the Break. Even calling it the ‘break’ seems weirdly descriptive when you think about it… the violence of it. This is the first one I really truly can’t wait to be over. The relationship finally is deep enough, my defences dismantled enough… So far I feel buoyed up by the ‘holding in the mind’ as she calls it. Till the last moment I was hoping she’d offer something extra to help me through the holidays but she didn’t. She believes in firm boundaries and no contact outside of sessions. Some young part of me is very frustrated with that and wonders enviously what it would be like to exchange a message… But she must believe I can make it without that. And so far I want to trust that.
    Much strength to you and fellow readers waiting for January.

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    • Thank you so much for your brave and honest comment. I think I know exactly what you mean – I remember the point at which breaks actually started getting harder than easier, precisely because, as you describe, the connection and security and vulnerability had deepened, and I allowed myself to really miss and feel the loss, as opposed to feeling aggrieved or abandoned (though I know I did a bit of that too!). My therapist calls it ‘holding in the mind’ as well, and she frequently reminds me of it. I also know what you mean about hoping something will be offered – and it was hard for me to not do that, and to realise I was setting myself up for disappointment but also, more importantly, not giving her room to give and receive as she chose, and not giving myself room to receive freely and joyfully, without expectation. And on the occasions when she has offered something, it’s a beautiful surprise, received for what she intended it to be, and not what I might have been expecting. Sorry, I didn’t mean that to sound lecture-y! I’m just hoping it might help – and being held in mind is a wonderful gift. The young part of me gets frustrated with these things too, and others, like not receiving touch in therapy. But I think your interpretation is almost certainly the right one i.e. that she thinks you can make it through, and that the experience of trying to do so, will be valuable material for therapy, come January….thinking of you and sending you the very best wishes until you see her again, take care….

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  5. I’ve written a post about why xmas can be hard sometimes! Please do check out – I would appreciate any feedback πŸ™‚

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  6. Pingback: Easter therapy break – Part 1 | Life in a Bind - BPD and me

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