This was originally posted to my blog November 12, 2012.
Note that all posts from 2011-2017 are no longer public.
I thought I would pull this one out of retirement, because it’s still such a great musing.
I’m taking a break from writing personal blog entries again. This is not usually a good sign. My blog is the least difficult thing I write. Journaling is more difficult for me because it can involve switching and stir things up internally (That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen online, but it is less likely as we are looking at uniform typed font). So — not a good sign, because it means I’m isolating and avoiding.
I really do want to make this blog post, but it is more important for my healing to also post what is going on with our therapist, K. and the trauma anniversary. I’m promising myself right now that my next post will focus more on my own healing.
That being said, here’s the question that has been bouncing around in my head: Do our parts REALLY need to talk to our therapist?
Is it necessary that each one of them build a relationship with her? Does each one need to process their emotions and experiences related to the traumas?
I’ve been thinking about this because the trauma anniversary involves a set of child parts who I have zero communication with, and who K. has never met. I started wondering if it was a typical part of the therapy process that they go through what we’ve been through with parts like Alex, M., and MD.
K. has commented before that this is how this type of therapy works. That in the therapeutic relationship, the parts get to know her, build some level of trust, and talk about what they need to talk about. All the while, K. supports internal communication and cooperation with the rest of the System, including me. She does this by encouraging parts to help one another. She may ask Alex how she can help M. She may encourage M. to share her thoughts in our journal so I can get to know her better.
Now, I need to give you a little back story as to why this question popped up. The specific trauma anniversary we are living through involves M., our angry, teen protector, and her age regression around what she calls her “birthday” (which I discussed last year around this time).
M. was forward in our last therapy session, because K. was asking questions that were stirring up some child parts.
“Who are you protecting?” K. asked.
“Wouldn’t you like to know.” M. scowled. “I ain’t tellin’ you. I ain’t sayin’ nothin.’ I know how this game works. You ain’t talkin’ to nobody.”
“I don’t have to.” K responded, calmly. “You can talk to them. You can help them. You’re trying to help them right now, that’s why you’re here.”
There have been times when K. has commented that based on my facial expression or posture, that I’m about to switch. She tries to get me to recognize this and communicate internally by myself.
Once, I was extremely dissociated (foggy state, zoning constantly, unable to be present), and I softly drawled out, “I don’t want to switch…this is my therapy…I don’t want…to miss it.”
K. supported me and helped me ground. But she didn’t forget to help me ask internally who wanted to talk and what did they want to say. I had lost it by then, and I became frustrated.
“It’s okay.” K. reassured us. “You don’t have to switch if you don’t want to. We can work on you building the internal communication yourself. But – and this goes out to anyone listening – I want everyone to know that just because we grounded you to the present doesn’t mean we are ignoring you. You can write, draw, or paint how you are feeling. It is safe to do that today.”
I’m not really sure how to answer my own question. K. has answered it both ways. On one occasion, she explained that severe dissociation is normally handled with each part building that therapeutic alliance. On the other hand, she has supported me, or my parts, when they have not wanted to switch.
I feel like it is very important for those parts, especially with attachment issues, to build a positive relationship with an external adult female. Is it necessary, though? That’s where I get stuck. I do have internal adult females, like MD, who are helpers and are very willing to role model that positive relationship.
There is something different. Something unpredictable and risky about these parts reaching out to K. We could just tell her that. But is it enough?