On eyes and cake and failure to set boundaries

I saw my therapist yesterday. It helped – sort of. I still feel like a mess, and have been in tears for much of this week.  My therapist says it’s better to let the tears out. I guess, but it’s hard now that my mother has helped me bottle them up again.

I told my therapist the good news about seeing something positive in my toes and my eyes. She looked like she thought I was a bit weird. At least until she asked me what was wrong with my eyes before? When I told her, she just looked at me with such sadness and said, “Oh, Kerro.” So now I feel bad for upsetting her. Doh.

I came away from the session craving junk food. This sometimes happens, and more often happens when I’m at work and things turn stressful. I don’t always give in, but I did yesterday, albeit unconsciously. I ate…and I ate…and I ate…and then I ate cream cake until I was sick. Binge binge binge. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. And of course this is more heroin for the inner critic. (Yes, I am deliberately glossing over this.)

This Food Thing and the endless tears lead me to think that something’s not quite right. I’m perhaps not ready to face it, but I am sick of this pain and the dark clouds that are following me about. Perhaps, to use David’s analogy, I’m trying to walk again before the latest round of toxic infection has been dealt with? My therapist says I need to cut myself some slack after the time away with my mother. I guess.

In other news, I had another Pilates session today. And again I received a barrage of PTSD related information and tips from the Instructor. I came away stressed and upset – mostly upset with myself for not telling this woman to shut up. She’s one of those people who could talk under water, and it’s downright annoying. Not to mention that I generally don’t want to hear what she’s saying. Yak yak yak. Incessant banter about her own traumas and her own experiences with PTSD and all the varied things that have and haven’t helped her and all the people she’s met who have PTSD and who she’s rescued helped. That’s all fine, but I can’t deal with all that as well as my own mess. I did a better job this week of letting her yakking just float off into the ether but it still affected me.

David was right when he said that she needs to “stay in her own space”. I don’t need this. I see that now. Yes I experienced trauma and yes, I have PTSD, but I need to heal in my own way. I know that my healing needs to include something for my body as well as my mind – and Pilates will help with that – but I don’t want to have breakfast with her. I don’t want to write a book with her. And I don’t want to go to her retreat in Bali. The best thing she can do for me is focus on Pilates. Pilates will be good, but only if it doesn’t come with all this mess. I feel mean saying that, but I really need to set this boundary or she’ll do me in.


12 thoughts on “On eyes and cake and failure to set boundaries

  1. Mmm, I think you and David hit on something with that, from what you’ve described she is TOTALLY not respecting your boundaries. I hope that you are able to make that clear and get her off your back.

    Is it possible to get a different instructor?

  2. I would think that doing Pilates would be a time for quiet reflection where you can get into your body and find your own way to healing, not listen to someone project their struggles onto you. It sounds like you know what you need from this…it’s just a matter of setting that boundary. I agree with fromthesamesky in asking whether another instructor is available. I worry that even if you do set the boundary, if things won’t seep through, or you’ll always be worried that it will start again…

  3. I’m wondering if you have told your pilates instructor how much it gets in your way with the pilates to talk about PTSD while doing it?

    If it were me (your mileage will of course vary) I’d say “thanks for your concern, but I get overwhelmed when you talk about the PSTD with me. It’d be a big favour to me if you would avoid talking about PTSD and making suggestions to me about it, so I can focus on the pilates. ” Sounds like she’s a relatively safe person to practice setting a boundary with, since she might actually get it, and if she doesn’t get it or is offended, you can just find another instructor.

    For me, anyhow, body stuff is triggering enough, without actually having to deal with anything else at the same time. People start at healing from wherever is safest for them, the body, or the mind or the emotions or the spirit or whatever, and then gradually move toward healing the other bits. Kinesthetic/body centred people think it is the true right and only way sometimes, because that’s their reality, but people like me (firmly in the head) need to take body stuff in micro-doses to avoid getting overwhelmed.

    good and healing thoughts to you,

  4. Hi Kerro,

    No it is not mean to set a boundary. It is normal and healthy to set a boundary. This is not healing you. Your life is not about her life, her other clients. If she talks like this she will talk about anything you share with anyone. No, that is not good. That is boundarilessness and that does not ever bring healing. It is okay to set the boundary and it is okay to not ever go back. You do not owe her, you pay her. You do not owe her yourself or any part of yourself. I see you know that. The part that is owed is coming from her side and she is not honoring that by being professional. It is okay to be upset, to be going through all this, it would be a pretty normal response to be experiencing right now after recent events. Your therapist is right, give yourself some slack, a break, some tenderness. You deserve it. You are doing an incredible job of healing and no it might not be feeling that way, but you are. Good and healing thoughts to you.


  5. I’m with your therapist – tears are better let out than bottled up… It may feel stink and overwhelming to be crying, but it’s better than stamping it all down.

    I don’t think you upset your therapist by explaining how you felt about how you look, I think she was probably showing empathy and sadness that you can’t see yourself how others see you. That isn’t upsetting, it sometimes causes sadness and regret, but your therapist can maintain and worry about their own feelings, don’t for one minute think that you have to modify what you say in order to protect her.

    As for the pilates instructor… well, she sounds an awful like my sister-in-law. They’re good only in small doses as they think they can solve the worlds problems and save you in the process. I agree with the others, depending on how strong you feel about it, try stating your boundaries or simply move onto another instructor.

    Take care,

  6. I agree with the others about changing instructor. Although it’s easy to write about setting boundaries (and I totally agree with what everyone else has said on that subject) I know from personal experience that I’d be terrible at doing it. I’d say what I needed to say and then start worrying I’d upset the person and that would stress me out. Can you change instructor and at least on this one thing do what’s best for you?

    As for all the stress you’re experiencing and the after-effects, try and go gently with yourself and take of you – however that it and whatever that looks like.

    Are you still enjoying the new house?????

  7. Please don’t be upset with yourself for not telling Ms. Pilates to can the chatter. You are very new to the idea of drawing boundaries and asserting your right to personal comfort and safety, and confronting people (even gently) takes practice and tiny steps to get comfortable with.

    You don’t have to confront her in order to draw a boundary. Just find a different instructor, and stop going to that particular studio. That is a perfectly OK way to take care of yourself when you’re still learning that taking care of yourself is important. It’s not being avoidant — it’s being realistic about what you’re able to do. It’s far more important to do the work you need to do, in a safe and comfortable space, than to verbally draw boundaries with your instructor. Would it do both of you some good if you had the talk with her? Maybe, maybe not. But the important part is for you to know it’s OK to just dump the situation and find a better one. You’re paying for it, it’s your work, and it’s your choice. You get to leave if you want to. 🙂

  8. Hi Kerro,

    I agree with David. You don’t have to go back. You don’t have to explain and ask or anything. People say no in lots of ways, and not going back is a good no.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  9. Hey K…kuddos for recognizing the effect she is having on you! Like David said…whatever you need to do to make the situation all you want it to be, is the right direction. Just don’t stop and retreat…cause you recognize the benefit its having! Surround yourself with good positive stuff…believe me its too easy to have the opposite creap in to help offset it! (((K)))

  10. Thanks all for your input. This is new territory for me, though an area I clearly need to get stronger in. At risk of sounding like a nay-sayer, I can’t not go back or find another instructor as this one’s at my gym and is basically “free” as part of my membership. I’m planning to try to talk to her this week (though I planned that last week as well). Something simple like, “thank you, I appreciate your help. I need to just focus on Pilates today – take a break from the other stuff, you know?”

    Who knows if this will impact, but I’ll let you know. Thanks again for your input, I do appreciate it.

    Hugs and healing thoughts to you all.

  11. Pingback: Control – I lost it « Kerro’s Korner

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