Saturday, September 15, 2007

Staying Stuck

During my time in group therapy I met a lot of people who were stuck. Most probably didn't realize they were stuck but they were. I was fortunate that it didn't take me long to learn about being stuck and how to prevent it. That also meant I got to be pretty good at identifying when someone else was stuck.

I can remember one young woman that was in my intimacy group. Week after week she came in, wanted time in group to work through her issues but proceeded to go over the same complaints.

After group each week many of the participants would meet together at the closest coffee shop and visit for a while. For a number of weeks, the discussion seemed to always go back to this young woman taking up so much group time and accomplishing nothing. It was obvious to everyone in the group that she was stuck except her.

After a few weeks of this behavior, one of the therapists asked her to come to group the following week with a suitcase packed with all of her excess baggage. While I was never assigned one of those symbolic assignments, I had seen many of them work very impressively. I thought this could really be helpful for this young woman.

Well, the next week came along and there she was ready to take up at least half of the group's time as usual, but she did not have her suitcase with her excess baggage. When asked about it, she provided some lame excuse and then went off on her usual rant about her job, her boss, her parents, her life. Every suggestion of how to deal with her issues, she had a reason why she "just couldn't do that!"

The next week and the next it was the same thing. She would come to group, want time to work but didn't have her assignment. By the fourth week no one was even asking her about her assignment anymore but the looks would fly around the room as she went off on her hour to hour and a half rant about her life.

I'm not the bravest person in the world when it comes to groups. I can talk one on one with people just fine but put me in a group and I tend to shutdown in the corner. I'm a watcher!! I take it all in and process it later. I can speak up and say I need to work and do my thing but confront someone in a group. It's not my style. Too many years of public humiliation, I'm terrified.

Well, by the next week, even I had had it! I had something I'd wanted to work on and there was no way there was going to be time if she got going first. And, as usual, she got going first. I had been thinking about this for weeks rehearsing it over and over in my mind. If I could get up the courage, I would confront her.

Now, you know I've got a couple of hundred kids in there that are absolutely dying over this. You want to talk about a revolution the internal fight was on. There was crying and screaming and you name it, my internal kids did NOT want any part of us to be confronting anyone. As far as they were concerned that was suicide.

By now, I really understood their fear. My programming had been so complete that any form of mistake or embarrassment throughout my entire life had triggered reliving extreme physical abuse coupled with equally extreme emotional pain. My system had always been able to trap that pain but now that we were in therapy, things were changing. It was entirely possible that that pain would all come spilling out.

To be continued..............

1 comment:

keepers said...

ok we are hooked, waiting for the continuation....this is good writing, did you ever work for a 1930's serial movie company??