Monday, September 14, 2009

My “Expectations” changed THAT drastically in 7 days?

I spent all morning wondering, “Why does it always come back to this...”“THIS” being my anger at DT for the new “boundaries” she implemented over a year ago regarding email communication. For 2 years, I would email DT and she would respond, DAILY! It was helpful for the 5 year old to have this ‘connection’ and slowly, our trust grew…unfortunately, so did our ‘dependence’.

Then (PAUSE) DT’s life “changed”….

On June 29th, DT emailed me and told me that she would be away from her computer for the rest of the day, but if I needed her, I could call, or text her.
I responded and asked her if the email was getting on her nerves. And she replied:

June 29th
DT: Nope, the emailing is definitely not getting on my nerves. I just want you to know that there are times when I don't have access due to my spending time with someone now and then who does not have internet access at his home. As archaic as this may sound. So, i am sorry about this and so if I don't respond for a day or two, that is why.. I always read everything you send, thought I obviously don't reply to everything. I have to set a limit there and I hope that you understand this limit. Remember Grace, that I am straight up with things, so if I was needing you to cease or decrease, I would say so. I acknowledge emailing has been and I assume still is one way of staying connected to some extent with me and/or to share your thoughts out of sessions, and I want you to have this if it serves a good purpose for you. Course, the safety agreements needs to still stand. You can also always text or call to check in or leave a message.


July 5th
DT: I have always known how important the emailing was for you, but you developed some unrealistic expectations that were unfair to you and me and that because of the inherent inconsistencies and disappointments in this communication, it created serious repercussions for our working relationship. I recognize that one hour a week feels unmanagable, so let us talk further about what we can work out.

All this time I’ve thought all of this was my fault. I became to dependent on her, expected too much, held unrealistic expectations... Drained her energy and now she just “can’t” do it anymore. (Keeping in mind that she DID email daily for nearly 2 years! – A few times as late as 1:30am).

Soon after her telling me that my expectations had become ‘unrealistic’ and I was being ‘unfair’ to her, she begin the DBT preaching. And the new “policy” became this: If Grace needed to talk to DT, outside of session, Grace had to call, and not email. And if I called, DT would put on the DBT mantra of “phone coaching” which was SSSOOOOOO NOT helpful! But Grace is a good girl, and complied. Signed up for DBT, went to a PDOC to drug up.... ALL of the things DT "strongly suggested". None of it worked! The anger at DT for her "perceived abandonment" (as she called it) - and her "new boundaries and limitations" never went away. And at the same time, Grace felt guilty for not being "gracious" and being mean to DT for being unfair and unrealistic.

At the same time, DT stated that the “phone contact” was limited to times she was not working at the hospital (which is 4 nights a week!) and the limit would be 10:00pm. After 10, too bad, Grace! Since most of the “crazy” doesn’t begin until after 10, this didn’t’ feel too helpful (nor has it been).

After further temper tantrums, cussing out, going borderline, enrolling in DBT classes (reluctantly) and repeatedly canceling sessions, DT and I negotiated that she would email 2x per week, Monday and Friday, and the phone “contact” still remained in place – and she would SEND ‘an’ email on Monday and Friday, but there would be NO back and forth communication (as there was prior) just the 2 emails per week.

For a few weeks, we “dealt” with it…but then it wasn’t enough (Grace’s unrealistic expectations…Grace’s fault – she is unfair and unreasonable to DT…bad Grace) – so DT graciously added Wednesday to email list. DT would email Grace on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

All this time – I have been beating myself up because my expectations are ‘unfair’ and ‘unrealistic’ and why can’t I be satisfied with what she can offer me! And look how great she has been ‘negociating’ with me with respect to out of office communication. I am such a bitch for not being able to accept that. (Grace is BAD!)

And today, I went back and read her emails, 1 week apart…and to me the *message* is quite different, and quite drastic! It went from “Email is not getting on my nerves, and I’m sorry if I can’t respond for a couple of days”…too “Grace is unrealistic and unfair to DT.” IN 7 DAYS!

In 7 days, Grace went from “good” to “unfair – to DT???? After 2 years of “validation” – “I’m here for you.” “What do you need” “How can I help you”...and actually CHECKING in on me if I didn't email for her a couple of days! All that changed in 7 days!?

SHE made this MY fault! This wasn’t MY FAULT! Of course the 5 year old grew to “depend” on her – because she WAS THERE! And you can’t go from being there every night to telling a 5 year old that she is being unfair and unrealistic.

That wasn’t fair, DT, to tell her that! That was mean and selfish of you to throw all of that onto a 5 year old! And all this time she believed it was HER fault and that she was mean and unfair to you! She wasn't being "unfair" - she was being 5! You were the “unfair” one!

And now she’s really screwed up! Because she NEEDS you to be there and feels bad about it because you told her she was “unfair” to you and “expected too much” from you.”

**Thank you, EH, for making me 'pause' to think about this**