Ending relationships

We’ve just realised we have NO idea how to end relationships of any kind – but in particular any professional relationship.  Whenever we’ve resigned from a job, stopped seeing a doctor and so on – we panic.  The first time this was abundantly obvious was when we left the garden centre job we had after finishing our undergraduate degree.  There were probably more earlier than this, but I have no awareness of it.  All we had to do was hand in our resignation letter, but we put it off for over a week and jeopardised our notice period.  We had a good excuse for leaving – we were going back to university.  I have a sneaking suspicion it was just an excuse and not the real reason for moving on.

This is potentially part of the reason why we kept within the relationship with the husband so long – but it would have been level pegging with us being a “typical battered wife” (don’t you just love that label).

But what is odd is that we find it harder to end the professional relationships than we do the personal relationships.  I wonder if it’s to do with the fierce sense some of us have to be working in order to be invisible?  We were unemployed while we studied via distance learning when we started our undergraduate degree and we had to go through job placement interviews with government agencies as part of their attempt to get the unemployed back into work.  We found that incredibly stressful.  This is also possibly part of the reason why we have resisted going onto any form of disability which we qualify for with room to spare.  Anything to stay invisible.

We’ve never stayed in one job for any length of time, up until the marriage when part of us realised we needed more stability in one aspect of our life.

All of this leads in a rather convoluted way to why we’re finding it hard to stop seeing the clinical psychologist and move on.  We had therapy today and told her that while integration is potentially an end goal, there need to be smaller goals that lead up to it – like developing more communication internally to reduce the time loss.  It looked like it was all going well with her understanding and agreeing with us.  Then I’m not sure if we were misinterpreting her, but it appeared like she was playing word games again by saying things about staying the same was safer and that we knew so many coping strategies as it was that there seemed little use in developing more.  We asked how it was safe to continue living as we were considering that being sectioned wasn’t all that safe, neither was the suicidal ideation.

We’re not sure if she’s playing games, we’re being too sensitive or whether we just need to bug outta there.  Cos you know, life living with dissociation just ain’t hard enough by itself, we thought we’d throw in some other complications as well just for fun.

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4 thoughts on “Ending relationships

  1. Maybe you’ll be able to feel more clear about it once you talk to the potential new therapist?

    I’ve had the same issue with ending professional relationships … and when I can, I do it via email or over the phone, rather than in person.

    In my own case, I know the basis of the problem, which is a long childhood history of being shamed, berated, and blamed by authority figures; I’m always afraid that if the person I’m dealing with argues with me or even asks why I’m leaving, I won’t be able to handle it.

    My opinion is that it’s OK to make it as easy on yourself as possible, to help you do what you need to do. I do think your current therapist is playing word games … increasing internal communication is not a coping strategy; it’s a therapeutic strategy. She doesn’t seem to see the difference.

  2. Yes, I think you’re right about it being a power issue. Some of the threats given to keep us silent involved authority figures, and some authority figures witnessed our abuse and did nothing to stop it. We know we have huge issues with authority – especially employment and medical authority. We’ve had quite a few medical problems growing up and became very much used to fearing and blindly believing the authority of the medical profession.

    Part of our fear is exactly as you mention, that there will be some form of argument or conflict about the decision and we’ll crumble. In the case of the clinical psychologist, there is the additional fear that she will write to ACC and tell them that we don’t want to change, so they should stop funding our therapy. She has stated that she will do this “if you want” – again I think she was testing us to see what our reaction would be. I’m at the point where even if she isn’t meaning to play word games, because we are taking so much of what she says as a word game, we’re never going to get anywhere with her.

  3. I have a harder time ending professional relationships as well. Actually, I’m not very good at ending any kind of relationship, but the personal ones I can (and do) just walk away from (so nobody can argue with me and I never have to face the scenes) whereas the professional ones — I guess I could do the same, but… it just doesn’t seem “professional”. Professional leavetakings require letters and notice and discussions and so on. Unfortunately… the slightest thing that doesn’t match what has been so obsessively planned in my head and I usually end up with kind of unprofessional results anyway.

  4. It made me smile when you said that you just walk away from relationships, we do the same. We’ve been known to just “disappear”. Sometimes we don’t mean to, but quite often we just can’t handle the situation for one reason or another so just walk away. Other times, the old habits of being stuck in an abusive dynamic kick in and it’s sort of like a deer being caught in the headlights – just frozen and on auto-pilot.

    We do the obsessive planning with any major talk or event that is going to happen – but it usually goes out the window when the other person asks a question we haven’t prepared for. I just thought, that’s why we don’t get sectioned under our Mental Health Act anymore – we know the format for the questions now so are prepared for them 🙂 Not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but it means that we know what to expect and can dissociate to the state needed to get through it…

    Take care…

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