I wanted to try to explain something to you and can’t quite bring myself to say it to your face for fear of what I might see in your reaction. I’m really scared that this will damage our relationship at this early stage and very much hope that’s not the case.
The preamble to this confession-of-sorts is that when I tried to figure out how I felt about working with Linda I would often end up tied in knots trying to express myself and many times left the session feeling more confused and unsure of things. So for the final two sessions I recorded the conversation without asking her permission. I know that was wrong. It was only ever to help me decide on the right path to take. To be able to revisit the recordings when less activated in the hope that it would help me have a clearer idea of what I wanted to do and what was going on between us. Which it did. I then deleted the recordings.
So that’s the preamble, here comes the main purpose of this email. I have to confess that I also recorded our first meeting and I’m really sorry for doing that without asking you first. My reasoning for taking the recording is that when I’m very anxious or stressed I find it so hard to trust myself, trust my judgement, trust my memory and especially because of my inability to always stay present a lot of the time, it’s hard to trust that I won’t lose chunks of the session in the abyss of dissociation. My intention was to use the recording to help me decide if I wanted to work with you and then delete it and never do it again. It did help me decide without a shadow of doubt that I wanted to work with you, but more than that, an unexpected aspect of replaying that conversation back when less activated was that it felt lovely to be able to listen back to your kindness and care. I was able to take it in.
I’m not sure how to explain this but basically listening back to that conversation helped ground me in our connection and because ‘feeling connected’ is usually such a slippery and illusive thing, I’ve ended up recording all of our sessions so far. When I reflect on this, it feels very wrong and like a boundary violation because I haven’t asked your permission or let you know about it. It’s not something I ever did with Anna or Paul. I’m not a dishonest or devious person by nature and having experienced parents who lied and manipulated and were dishonest, I would never ever want to be like that with anyone. Now that I’m a couple of weeks in to this, it feels like I’ve gone down a rabbit hole that I can’t get out of without ‘outting’ myself like this.
To be honest, another really painful aspect of this is my need to have something to hold on to. I’m actually deeply regretful that I never recorded any of my sessions with Anna. I would give anything to be able to listen to her voice again and to replay some of the very soothing and connecting sessions we had. I can’t remember what her voice sounds like anymore though I’ve memorised so many of the things she said to me.
Anyway… it feels of absolute importance that I tell you this. I value openness and honesty so much and it doesn’t feel right that I have recorded our sessions without you knowing.
I want you to know that the recordings are encrypted and can’t be accessed by anyone else apart from me. I will only ever use them to help me revisit the session, process what we’ve covered or remind myself of the connection that we’re slowly forging. And therefore, I would like to ask you two things. Firstly, please forgive me for not initially asking for your permission to record our sessions. I really am sorry that I did it without your knowing or consent. If you were to ask me to delete them, I would. And secondly, please will you consider how you feel about allowing me to continue recording our sessions? Ever since I started therapy over 7 years ago I have written lengthy journal notes after each session as this really helps me process the work. Having recordings of our sessions has helped me make much deeper notes and be able to connect to my feelings and notice patterns or gaps. It feels like such a useful and important tool.
I’ve got to be honest with you, my fear of abandonment has made it very tempting to not tell you about any of this because I am so afraid that you’ll decide to stop working with me once you know. But if I was to continue and not tell you it would always be lingering in the space between us. It’s imperative that I’m completely transparent with you.
I just want to add, as a side note, that I’m actually feeling a lot of shame and disgust with myself for how quickly I’m feeling attached to you and how much I already feel like I ‘need’ you. So much has come up for me this weekend and I’m not comfortable with these feelings at all. For example I have found myself feeling very anxious about your 6 week review rule… I don’t want you to tell me at the end of October that you don’t want to continue working with me. I really want to do this work with you and I’m so scared I’m going to fuck it up somehow and lose you. I’ve been trying to put the feelings into words and can’t which makes me think it’s preverbal stuff. It feels massive like life or death, like I can’t live without you. Which my rational brain knows is ludicrous. But if I attempt to be compassionate I can see that all of this stuff was behind a door that I had to close the day Anna left.
It feels like I’m taking a huge risk in sending this and I really hope that you can see past my ill informed decision and accept my apology. I really hope we can talk about it tomorrow. I’m finding myself tempted to sign off every email with ‘please don’t leave me’… bloody hell this is such painful and difficult work.
Speak to you soon,