Back in confession

So, another therapy session this week, and another hour in the confessional. I ‘fessed up to my therapist about the “connection” between my boss and me. You know, the “special” one I fessed up to here a few days ago?

She said she made a note about six months ago that she thought there was something more to my relationship with him, though she wasn’t sure what it was. Damnit if she isn’t spot on with this stuff… again.

I think it was partly just her intuition, but also, she said, the fact that I defend him. I’ll go and criticise him for being a pr!ck, but as soon as she weighs in, I defend him. I never knew I did that.

Like many of you, she agreed that his behaviour is crossing all sorts of boundaries. I guess I didn’t really realise it – not trooly rooly – until she asked me if I think it would be appropriate for me to ring or text a younger, married male colleague at all hours of the day and night. No. No, no no.

But how do I stop this? X is on a business trip this week and he’s still ringing me and texting me. I can leave the calls unanswered, but the text messages (from anyone) are like heroin to me. I can’t help myself. I’m addicted. I need help. I need an emergency intervention from CTA (Compulsive Texters Anonymous). LOL

But I digress.

Anyway, she said similar things to many of you (and I’m putting this up in lights in a bid to etch it into my brain):

I give him too much power over me. That too much of my emotional state and my sense of self rests on him. That my confidence gets lost each time he says something negative. She said, and I quote, that I need to say, “F*** him for a while.”

She didn’t mean this literally, obviously. Just that I need to be less concerned about what he thinks. She asked me why his opinion is so important? And whether it’s more important than anyone else’s? And why I seem to assume that just because he’s got an opinion, why does that mean he’s right?

She said that his inconsistency is appalling. That in any situation it’s running hot and cold like this that drives people crazy. Yes, it does.

She also said that I should challenge him sometimes, particularly when he sends me mixed messages or behaves badly. Her favourite phrase for men behaving badly is, “Go back into your cave.” I love that, though I’m not sure I’d have the courage to ever say it.

She said the he keeps hurting me and upsetting me, and I keep letting him. Yes, I do. I’m starting to see that this is continual pattern for me – not just with men, but also with some of my female friends. (Long term affects of childhood abuse, anyone???)

I hadn’t realised that I ascribed him so much power and so much importance. I guess I do. She’s certainly right about him shaking my confidence (the little bits I’ve managed to scrape together anyway.)

She reiterated that in this period of my emotional recovery I need someone who’s solid; who’ll be a rock for me at work. Someone who will instil confidence in me and help me to rebuild. At the very least someone who doesn’t run hot and cold all the time and send me so many mixed messages. She’s right there.

To bring this long ramble to a close, I’ll share a funny interlude from my session:

T: “I thought you were going to tell me you’d had wild sex with him or something.”

Me: “No. I’ve never had sex with him.”

T: “Oh.” With note of disappointment.

Me: “Well, you don’t have to sound so disappointed!” Laughing.

T: “Did I? Oh. No. I’m sorry.” Both of us laughing now.

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11 thoughts on “Back in confession

  1. Hi Kerro,

    Told ya so. She suspected before you shared. She’s a smart one. She’s seems to have some great ideas for starting to approach this. Men who want to keep someone tied to them go after their self-esteem and it sure seems that is a part of what your boss has been doing, hot and cold and all the mixed stuff are good for that too.

    Real early men were a part of egalitarian societies where women shared power and had rights. Caveman behavior beliefs are really not what early human males were like. The more complex a society the more male dominated they have become over time. Anyway.

    No great sex. Yeah I’m dissapointed too.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  2. @ Kate – I suspect you’re right about him chipping away at my self-esteem, though I have trouble accepting that. I still want to say things like, “oh no, he’s not like that” or “it’s not that bad”. Thanks for your comments. I know they’ll drip into my mind and one day I’ll be able to face the realities I don’t want to face.

    @ Paul – wonderful! Thank you!

  3. It’s annoying and yet comforting when therapists know stuff before you tell them. It’s not done in a negative way, but they get hints from our body language and words – their speciality. She’s given you some great coping strategies to help you deal with this guy.

    I think survivors sometimes derive a strange sense of comfort from being treated badly. I know I’m far more comfortable with being insulted than someone genuinely showing concern about me.

    Thanks for a laugh regarding the lack of wild sex with him…

    Take care,
    CG

  4. @ Castorgirl – yep, annoying and comforting. Disconcerting, too, to be reminded that my therapist probably knows me better than I know myself, and can see things that I can’t see.

    You’re right, I think, in that there is some perverse comfort in being treated badly – it’s familiar, we know how to deal with it. The genuine concern and caring is just plain freaky.

    Take care.

  5. Hi, Kerro –

    Whenever I become aware of an unhealthy relationship with a man (like the one you have with your boss), I struggle with admitting what’s really going on and I struggle with letting it go . . . because the relationship is giving me something I really want — attention from a man.

    It really sucks having to give up that little scrap of attention when it’s all the attention I’m getting. But, in the end, it is always for my benefit — it’s all part of the healing.

    – Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)
    http://mmaaggnnaa.wordpress.com/

  6. I’m so glad you brought this up — and also glad that your T already had a clue about it. Be prepared for retaliation when you try to set boundaries with him — this is a really tricky situation, because he does have power over you. I would strongly urge you to continue to look for another job … this one is toxic for a lot of reasons.

    I, for one, am glad you never crossed the sex line … although I’m sure it would have made for a great therapy session!

  7. @ Marie – I agree about the attention and the difficulty of giving it up. But I’m also starting to think that it feeds that part of my brain that thinks the only way I can get male attention is by allowing that male to be abusive or emotionally manipulative. Doesn’t sound like a healthy thing, though also a difficult one to get over.

    @ David – I fear the retaliation and I fear getting a new job. At the moment I’m having trouble seeing that I might have skills that could be used anywhere else. As for the sex, don’t worry, I won’t get icky and reveal anything too squeamy here. Besides, it’s been so long since my therapist heard me talk about anything related to sex, let alone something interesting and consensual. I would like to say I’ve given up hope, but I know that’s just a cover. Oh well….

  8. Oh, I wasn’t worried that we’d have to hear you talk about sex — just glad that it hadn’t happened because if it had, it would be even harder to set boundaries with the boss, and there’d be a whole ‘nother level of probable fallout.

  9. Sorry David, I must have misunderstood. Despite the fact that sex would be fun, just once more in my life at least, you’re right, I’m also glad this situation hasn’t got that added complication.

  10. Hi Kerro,

    “No great sex. Yeah I’m dissapointed too.”

    Okay maybe I didn’t make it clear here, I was kidding, being facetious. I’m glad you didn’t have sex with the scum. Just wanted to make that abundantly clear, sometimes humor doesn’t translate well online for me.

    Kate

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