What did I do?

Week five of group last night. So far we’ve covered topics on disclosure, loss (of multiple things), trust (of self and of others) and, this week: relationships (family, friends, colleagues, partners).

I confessed to Back Up Therapist that I was pretty non-plussed about the relationship discussion, meaning I thought I could handle it.

Back Up Therapist said: “You know, that’s fantastic. When you first talked about the Group you were terrified of it. Now you’re saying you can deal with what will probably be a pretty tough topic. That’s great!”

Me: “Yea, I guess.”

Back Up Therapist: “No, it is great. And you’ve got something positive out of every session.”

Me: “Yea, I have. It’s been good. It’s a good group.”

Back Up Therapist: “You know, you have to take some credit for it being good. You’re helping make it good.”

Me: Staring blankly, not knowing what to say.

Back Up Therapist: “You have. You have helped made it a good space – for you and for the others. It’s not just because of the group leaders, or the other people, it’s also because of you.”

Me: Still staring blankly, still confused.

Anyway, that isn’t the point of this post. I guess I’ll think about that one coz I’m still confused.

Anyway, this week we talked about relationships – what makes a relationship “unhealthy” and what makes it “healthy”. We all seemed to know a lot about unhealthy relationships… much less about healthy ones, at least from our own experiences.

In the course of the Group it came to light that the Pregnant One and I have both worked for a certain child welfare organisation here.

This sent the Unstable One into a panic: “I can’t believe I didn’t know this. I’ve been sitting in this room with you two for weeks and didn’t know. I can’t do this anymore.”

And out she went, clearly very distressed, glaring at the Pregnant One and me like we were the devil incarnate. One of the group leaders went off to talk to her, leaving us to talk amongst ourselves for a while (the other group leader was already out talking to the Creative One who’d had some bad stuff happen during the day and was clearly upset about it.) Good start.

This created a lot of tension. The Pregnant One and I both felt like evil-doers (even though my rational brain knows we’re not). For a while I even thought that I should leave. The Unstable One eventually came back into the room, but for the rest of the night she wouldn’t talk to either of us; wouldn’t even look at us. When I said “good night” to her she just glared at me.

I’m still puzzled and confused. I’m swinging between feeling guilty that my work history, my former employer is so upsetting for her… and knowing that this really has nothing to do with me. I’m not sure what to do about it, if anything, or if there’s any way to resolve it. I don’t want the tensions to mess up the rest of our time in the Group.

Anyway, I just realised this is fairly boring blog post. Sorry about that, I just needed to clear my head of what happened last night.


6 thoughts on “What did I do?

  1. It’s not boring, and I don’t think you did anything wrong. It’s all her. Other people have issues, and sometimes we take responsibility for things that aren’t our responsibility. Hopefully at the next session this can all be talked through and worked out.

  2. I had the same thing happen to me while in college. A young woman found out I worked for a therapist and she freaked out. If she hadn’t said anything, no one, even me, would not have known she was in therapy. So, I agree with Harriet, it’s not your issue, it’s Unstable One’s problem, let her keep it.

  3. That’s tough. Do you know why it would set her off? I assume you would probably know because it would have come up in Group.

    Me thinks it will probably be a good challenge for you. The group is a type of relationship right? Discussing what makes it difficult to keep a relationship going could be a pointer to touch on. Could let the Unstable one voice their concerns in a safe atmosphere.

    Either way, you didn’t do anything wrong. There is always going to be someone who does like what we do. It’s inevitable – in and out of group.

  4. Thanks Harriet, Ivory and Sanity – I know you’re right. This is her problem and I would like her to keep it. I just don’t like being treated like I am the evil one, when I have no reason to feel that way.

    Part of me hopes we will deal with it next time around, but part of me hopes we don’t. The Unstable One can be quite quick to react and run out of the room, which is ok, but when it’s because of others, I don’t know. It creates trouble and I grew up knowing not to be a trouble maker. I am thinking of ringing one of the group facilitators before the next session so I can at least feel ok with it before the group, and not stress myself for days about what might happen.

    Thanks again for your input.

  5. Good idea to call the facilitator ahead of time… let them know that the incident did effect you.

    It sounds like it’s a case of a person not being able to separate an institution/organisation from the people working in it. As an example, at work we all bag the IT department, but a couple of people from IT are my friends… they also don’t like the way IT is run. Some people can’t tell the difference between the beast or the organisation, and the people who work within it.

    So you didn’t do anything… a big indicator that it was a problem she couldn’t work through was because she didn’t wait to ask you about your involvement in the organisation… maybe you were an advocate working for whatever aspect of the organisation she was interacting with?? It’s pretty classic black and white thinking… I’m sorry you got caught up in it…

    Take care,

  6. @ CG – you’re right. I talked to the Back Up Therapist about this tonight and we agreed that this has absolutely nothing to do with me. BUT (lmao – new acronym for Back Up Therapist!!) says I’ve spent far too long taking on other people’s stuff, and treating every problem in the world like it’s my fault and my responsbility to fix… so this is a great chance to practice my new skills at saying, “you know what? This ain’t my problem, you keep it,” just as Ivory suggested. 🙂

    I’m not going to mention this tomorrow. As Back Up Therapist said, “why waste my group time on her stuff?” 🙂

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