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THERAPIST's VACATION THREAD


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My therapist told me last week that he will be going on a vacation in six weeks. He plans to sail the high seas for a time period of four weeks. Ouch!

pirateshipff.gif (they only had a pirate ship, but you get the picture)

He said he told me early so I could tell him everything that I feel in relation to him going (a brave man). Thus far my abandonment issues are arising, which means feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, depression, and anger. I realize these feelings are from the past, and am not holding my therapist accountable for my feelings. (YET - haha)crysmiley1.gif[/urlbeafraid.gifdontgosmiley.giftantrumsmiley.gifvoodoodoll.gif

So, I wanted to try to gather people who would be willing to take on the task of just listening to me, especially once his is gone. I wanted to tell you in advance so you could process this all before I need help.

overreactsmiley.gif

I see him on Wednesday, the fifth week until the Apocalypse. We talked about having another therapist in his office see me four times, but I don't like that idea too much. He said he could make it so I could have someone to call if I needed them. I don't know? Am I supposed to tell him what I need? Are these next five weeks supposed to be negotiations? A keep the peace treaty of sorts? Do I advocate for what I feel I need or is this one of those just deal with it type of things.

I guess I could ask if I can email him (I can't normally) four times (once each week)? I doubt he would respond or don't know if he would even consider it

I could ask if I could call, but he would say, no. So, I don't want to waste time on that one

I could ask him to take me with him, and I would only see him on the top deck on Wednesdays for fifty minutes where they serve drinks for my session. I would stay out of his way all the other times (see, I'm reasonable)martinismiley.gif

I could ask him to stop everything he is doing for the four Wednesdays for 50 minutes to honor our session time? He'd probably like that one (NOT).worship.gif

I could ask him if he could leave one week later and to come back three weeks earlier, that's only fair, right? This is my favorite:)

I'm just preparing myself right now for the inevitable departure and the ensuing, overwhelming pain. crysmiley2.gif

Four weeks is a long time, and I have difficulty with object permanence. How will I know who he is when he gets back, or will I?

A transition object, maybe? I want the boat he is sailing on, which means I will have to go to the transition object, I am willing to make that sacrifice.

I hope he is as flexible in the peace negotiations that I clearly am. Only time will tell

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Hi, Tsunami. Love all the smilies! :)

I have great difficulty too with separation from anyone I'm attached to. I also have some fears of abandonment. You are not alone.

I am here to listen.

Transitional objects help me a lot. I find that having something of the person I'm attached to to hold in my hand is comforting. (I still hold my former therapist's business card now and then to help ground myself) Writing and expressing my feelings helps a lot. Do you journal or blog at all? I blog daily here on the site and find it very helpful. Sitting with my feelings also helps. Though it can be challenging at first, it feels empowering and it seems to lessen my fears. I'm not sure what might help for you. What has helped you in the past?

I do think it's okay to listen to your needs and be gentle with yourself, if you can. You can listen to all of your parts (I have a younger tantruming self part too) and be there for you. We're here to support you through this, Tsunami. I don't have a lot of time this AM (work day) but I wanted to offer my support.

Take care.

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I'm very willing to be here and listen. :)

Do I advocate for what I feel I need

I think this is a great idea.

Four weeks is a long time, and I have difficulty with object permanence. How will I know who he is when he gets back, or will I?

Somehow I think you will know. You have a lot of self-awareness. You will also feel proud of yourself for making it through, with or without help, doesn't matter, you will still have made it.

A transition object, maybe?

I think this is also a great idea. When my first therapist went on 6 weeks of leave and I was in a fragile state, I picked a rose from his hedge (when he wasn't looking and there were plenty!), which I kept until he came back, (dried once it had wilted) and even drew pictures of before and after it died.

Sometimes now when I feel really fragile, I call my therapists cell at a time I know he will have turned it off and just listen to his message. (There, now I've admitted it!)

Plus, you have your sense of humour. Goes a long way. :)

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I'm very willing to be here and listen. :)

Do I advocate for what I feel I need

I think this is a great idea.

Four weeks is a long time, and I have difficulty with object permanence. How will I know who he is when he gets back, or will I?

Somehow I think you will know. You have a lot of self-awareness. You will also feel proud of yourself for making it through, with or without help, doesn't matter, you will still have made it.

A transition object, maybe?

I think this is also a great idea. When my first therapist went on 6 weeks of leave and I was in a fragile state, I picked a rose from his hedge (when he wasn't looking and there were plenty!), which I kept until he came back, (dried once it had wilted) and even drew pictures of before and after it died.

Sometimes now when I feel really fragile, I call my therapists cell at a time I know he will have turned it off and just listen to his message. (There, now I've admitted it!)

Plus, you have your sense of humour. Goes a long way. :)

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I'm also here to listen, Tsunami :).

I like your humor and imagination! :D (You even wouldn't need the funny smilies - the text is apposite enough ;).)

But I'd prefer to focus on what's the main point behind this all - your fear. Yes, we can name our issues (as "abandonment fears"), we can say they are related to something in the past (-> "transference"), ... and it's all useful and important, but, as you feel, still not healing. You asked if this period before his vacation is supposed to be for negotiations. Well, I think that there's not much to negotiate - the only thing he can change for you is giving you the contact to the other therapist for a case of need. (And you can ask him for an "appropriate" object (I love the story about the rose Luna described, btw!) - a business card seem good as it's something he's normally supposed to give his patients, so nothing "too special" (btw; I asked mine for it, too - and I still like to have it with me... but when he was on vacation (and also between regular sessions), I mainly "used" his photo I had found on the web - do you have one?).) ... But the reality is that there's nothing changeable about you not seeing him for those four weeks. So the time before he leaves is meant mainly for finding a way to accept it. As others already "implicitly mentioned", that doesn't mean trying to ignore your feelings, to stop them just by saying "it's irrational". But there are "things" that could be done with the feelings to begin to feel at least a bit better; I believe so.

To me, the main question here is: What precisely do you fear and why? What is so frightening about this experience? Could you list all the ideas and identify which is/are the most important, the most fear-provoking? Can you, during the therapy session, re-experience some (at least one) of the situations when you felt similarly as a child?

And then, can you imagine (also talking to him) "the worst things you think might happen to you due to his absence"? I think that discussing those, including the options for coping with them, would be a good idea.

Then you might also relate this fear to the feeling you have about your former T terminating your previous therapy: Are there some links between the two situations?

One thing is sure: This experience has a very high potential to make you stronger, to teach you that you're able to cope with abandonment better than you think (/ than you have been so far), ... but it won't happen "just by itself"; you need to "work" (as you've already begun ;)), it won't be easy; you can't learn without experiencing all these strong and firstly also confusing feelings.

I wish you big courage and good luck on these important, "pre-vacation" sessions!

(Whith so many friends who have experiences with similar situations, it won't be "that bad" after all ;)!)

Edited by LaLa3
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I thought your sense of humor came through very clearly in your first post (though the pirate smileys made me a bit seasick ...) ;-)

Maybe a daily journal, or a weekly therapy letter to your therapist, could be a component of your strategy? Who knows, maybe you could have the basis for a decent book, by the time he comes back.

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Hi, Tsunami. Love all the smilies! :)

I have great difficulty too with separation from anyone I'm attached to. I also have some fears of abandonment. You are not alone.

I am here to listen.

Transitional objects help me a lot. I find that having something of the person I'm attached to to hold in my hand is comforting. (I still hold my former therapist's business card now and then to help ground myself) Writing and expressing my feelings helps a lot. Do you journal or blog at all? I blog daily here on the site and find it very helpful. Sitting with my feelings also helps. Though it can be challenging at first, it feels empowering and it seems to lessen my fears. I'm not sure what might help for you. What has helped you in the past?

I do think it's okay to listen to your needs and be gentle with yourself, if you can. You can listen to all of your parts (I have a younger tantruming self part too) and be there for you. We're here to support you through this, Tsunami. I don't have a lot of time this AM (work day) but I wanted to offer my support.

Take care.

IJ--

Thanks so much, I appreciate you volunteering:) Yes, the child part has been flooding me emotionally, and it has really been difficult already. I see my therapist tomorrow, but I am really dreading the upcoming weeks if this is how things are to be. Take care.

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Would it hurt to have that back up person to call only if you needed to? It would be someone your therapist would recommend...

Your smilies sure have me chuckling :D I know these waters are tricky, though. We're here, Tsunami! :)

No, it wouldn't hurt, I think I will take him up on that offer. I have decided to ask about email, if I could at least email him twice. (please don't say no, please don't say no, please don't say no. . .) I am glad you like my smilies:) I find them amusing. Take care, Finding:)

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I'm very willing to be here and listen. :)

I think this is a great idea.

Somehow I think you will know. You have a lot of self-awareness. You will also feel proud of yourself for making it through, with or without help, doesn't matter, you will still have made it.

I think this is also a great idea. When my first therapist went on 6 weeks of leave and I was in a fragile state, I picked a rose from his hedge (when he wasn't looking and there were plenty!), which I kept until he came back, (dried once it had wilted) and even drew pictures of before and after it died.

Sometimes now when I feel really fragile, I call my therapists cell at a time I know he will have turned it off and just listen to his message. (There, now I've admitted it!)

Plus, you have your sense of humour. Goes a long way. :)

Thanks, Luna. I may be a difficult patient, but my therapist has a difficult answering machine. It's one where you have to wait forever to hear the choices of therapists, then you press your person's number. However, I do have a few good phone messages saved on my phone from my current therapist. I also have quite a few messages from my xT dating back to 2010, although I haven't listened to them in forever and don't want to at this point, I don't want to get rid of them either.

. . .Admitted what? :)

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I'm also here to listen, Tsunami :).

I like your humor and imagination! :D (You even wouldn't need the funny smilies - the text is apposite enough ;).)

But I'd prefer to focus on what's the main point behind this all - your fear. Yes, we can name our issues (as "abandonment fears"), we can say they are related to something in the past (-> "transference"), ... and it's all useful and important, but, as you feel, still not healing. You asked if this period before his vacation is supposed to be for negotiations. Well, I think that there's not much to negotiate - the only thing he can change for you is giving you the contact to the other therapist for a case of need. (And you can ask him for an "appropriate" object (I love the story about the rose Luna described, btw!) - a business card seem good as it's something he's normally supposed to give his patients, so nothing "too special" (btw; I asked mine for it, too - and I still like to have it with me... but when he was on vacation (and also between regular sessions), I mainly "used" his photo I had found on the web - do you have one?).) ... But the reality is that there's nothing changeable about you not seeing him for those four weeks. So the time before he leaves is meant mainly for finding a way to accept it. As others already "implicitly mentioned", that doesn't mean trying to ignore your feelings, to stop them just by saying "it's irrational". But there are "things" that could be done with the feelings to begin to feel at least a bit better; I believe so.

To me, the main question here is: What precisely do you fear and why? What is so frightening about this experience? Could you list all the ideas and identify which is/are the most important, the most fear-provoking? Can you, during the therapy session, re-experience some (at least one) of the situations when you felt similarly as a child?

And then, can you imagine (also talking to him) "the worst things you think might happen to you due to his absence"? I think that discussing those, including the options for coping with them, would be a good idea.

Then you might also relate this fear to the feeling you have about your former T terminating your previous therapy: Are there some links between the two situations?

One thing is sure: This experience has a very high potential to make you stronger, to teach you that you're able to cope with abandonment better than you think (/ than you have been so far), ... but it won't happen "just by itself"; you need to "work" (as you've already begun ;)), it won't be easy; you can't learn without experiencing all these strong and firstly also confusing feelings.

I wish you big courage and good luck on these important, "pre-vacation" sessions!

(Whith so many friends who have experiences with similar situations, it won't be "that bad" after all ;)!)

Thank you, La La:) I meant negotiations as far as emailing really, and whatever else I can convince him to do. I think you ask good questions, but I have been having emotional flashbacks, and I will definitely think about the questions when I am in a better place and will post them:) People have asked, and I do like writing I usually do it online. That is one of my strategies. But seriously, right now I am just trying to make it through the day. These emotions suck and are excruciating, and it is difficult because they just hit me whenever. Take care and see you soon:)

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I thought your sense of humor came through very clearly in your first post (though the pirate smileys made me a bit seasick ...) ;-)

Maybe a daily journal, or a weekly therapy letter to your therapist, could be a component of your strategy? Who knows, maybe you could have the basis for a decent book, by the time he comes back.

I think we are talking about a War and Peace novel, as much as I am experiencing thus far:) We shall see.

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You could always break it into a series, call yourself Tsu N.N. Ami, give each book a snappy title like "Throne of Porcelain" or "Crown of Smileys", and sell the whole lot to cable to make a hit show out of. {Also, refrain from spoonerizing "hit show".}

Gotta think big in this world. :-)

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You could always break it into a series, call yourself Tsu N.N. Ami, give each book a snappy title like "Throne of Porcelain" or "Crown of Smileys", and sell the whole lot to cable to make a hit show out of. {Also, refrain from spoonerizing "hit show".}

Gotta think big in this world. :-)

Good point! Sounds like a good idea:)

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Week Five Session -- Oh, The Agony

It was rough session, we talked about the past, he is trying to help me put the clues together. It was difficult leaving. I read this first post to him, and I'm not sure that he saw the humor in it. I went out to my car and called him right after session and told him I wanted to quit. He said, "I'm sure you do." Silence. I said, "I am in so much pain, I don't know how to do this." He said that he couldn't help me with my emotions over the phone, that there was nothing he could do. I asked him for an extra session each week until he leaves. He said there is nothing tomorrow available (ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh), but that he would put me down next week. Oh, and I then asked about contact when he is gone, he said he would be far, far away. I said, can't I email, I'm not talking about every hour of every day? He agreed to this, and said we would discuss it. I do feel better now. It took me a lot of agony just to ask that question. It was hard because I was afraid a 'no', would send me down into panic. I don't want to be intrusive, I told him that, and he said, I know you don't. Therapy is hard work. I have such a good therapist, I am really appreciative of him, even when I am not showing it.

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It's great that your therapist is supportive, Tsunami.

Is it typically painful to separate from him after a session or do you think that it is more difficult now because you're aware he will be leaving for vacation soon? What hurts? What is the need?

The vulnerability of attachment itself can feel overwhelming at times. It feels almost like openly wearing your vulnerability on your sleeve. Plus you are delving into very deep stuff in therapy too. It is hard work.

How are you feeling now?

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Sounds like you've done a good job, and he too! :)

I'm sure there will be time to tell him that you're really appreciative of him ;). And I hope there will also be time when you'll be appreciative of yourself ;)!

(I know; so many smilies and only positive comments here - and such a difficult session and painful emotions - that might sound strange. But I believe that you know that I'm not overlooking or diminishing your unpleasant feelings!!!)

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It's great that your therapist is supportive, Tsunami.

Is it typically painful to separate from him after a session or do you think that it is more difficult now because you're aware he will be leaving for vacation soon? What hurts? What is the need?

The vulnerability of attachment itself can feel overwhelming at times. It feels almost like openly wearing your vulnerability on your sleeve. Plus you are delving into very deep stuff in therapy too. It is hard work.

How are you feeling now?

There are times when I definitely don't want to leave, and time when I am fine. I suspect now until his vacation, it will be really difficult. Yes, exactly, I feel so vulnerable, and I feel like he is angry with me. I guess it shouldn't matter. I don't want to be like this, and him leaving is triggering this, and I am forced to feel this, and I am telling him this. It is so hard to have the one who is such a safe base be the source of such enormous pain. I 'get it', but emotionally, I'm a wreck. All I can do is push through each day, and why would I want to do that forever? This is so depressing. I feel like I'm dying a slow death. (Sorry for being so dramatic)

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Tsu, you are dying a slow death; so are we all. What matters is what we do 'til then.

Is your therapist really the source of this pain? He's the one leaving, but he isn't the one who's making it so hard. That's coming from some part of you, so it's doubly significant when you say "It is so hard to have the one who is such a safe base be the source of such enormous pain." Because that someone is really you.

{A little drama never hurt anyone. It's the basis of all great romance novels, after all. <------ teasing. }

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I'm sorry things are difficult and painful for you, Tsunami. :( It's always okay to express yourself openly and honestly.

What does your vulnerable part feel when the attachment figure is not available? What are her needs? Is there another part of you who can comfort and take care of your vulnerable self during these times?

Edited by IrmaJean
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Tsu, you are dying a slow death; so are we all. What matters is what we do 'til then.

Is your therapist really the source of this pain? He's the one leaving, but he isn't the one who's making it so hard. That's coming from some part of you, so it's doubly significant when you say "It is so hard to have the one who is such a safe base be the source of such enormous pain." Because that someone is really you.

So true! I can relate to it so much myself!

I hope, Tsunami, that you won't be "triggered" by this - because it can be sometimes very unpleasant to realize this kind of truth. For me, mostly because it makes me feel more helpless and clueless: "I know the problem is in me, but I don't know how to solve it. If the problem was in him, then I could at least hope that he's able to solve it and he'll do it for me. But what can I do about myself and how?"

Yeah; that's my pessimistic and passive approach. Fortunately, I'm not always in such a "passive setting"...

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Tsu, you are dying a slow death; so are we all. This wasn't literal, lol:)

What matters is what we do 'til then.

Is your therapist really the source of this pain? He's the one leaving, but he isn't the one who's making it so hard. That's coming from some part of you, so it's doubly significant when you say "It is so hard to have the one who is such a safe base be the source of such enormous pain." Because that someone is really you.

Here's the thing, Malign, I understand all of this intellectually, that it isn't my Therapist's fault, but that doesn't change my emotions. I still have emotional flashbacks and this has triggered them and I am having them daily. This is hard to process majorly. Some are just uncomfortable, and some range to the near intolerable. I hear what you are saying above, but going the intellectual route hasn't worked for me, because I get projection, transference, and reenactments. Yet I still get triggered. Until I can work on my triggers and get them to the point where they may be scaring me, but aren't scarring me, then I am going to continue to struggle with this issue.

I could put in all controls on my emotions, but that wouldn't get me anywhere. So for now, irrational emotions are the two words for the month. I need to validate how I feel, even if it has nothing to do with my therapist. Take care.

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I'm sorry things are difficult and painful for you, Tsunami. :( It's always okay to express yourself openly and honestly.

What does your vulnerable part feel when the attachment figure is not available? What are her needs? Is there another part of you who can comfort and take care of your vulnerable self during these times?

Thanks, IJ. My child part feels afraid, terrified, and a weird feeling. She wants my therapist because she doesn't like me comforting her. I am working on this, but when this part of me is kicking and screaming, I feel like kicking her to the curb. She is my emotional flashback. I don't understand everything about me yet. I am angry because I have some close to intolerable feelings and I have to deal with them own my own. Yes, this is from the past, but that is how I feel. I am so ungodly frustrated at all of this. I am hating myself more each day because I want someone to help me with this and I feel selfish as hell. I feel ungrateful. Ugh. Oh well.

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