Process 5: Planning
Thinking about this conversation brought several more revelations to the forefront. The therapist in me (because I am actually therapeutically trained) was warning quite clearly that I am stalking around this sleeping bear which is my grief and not engaging with it. But also, I have no idea when this bear is going to wake or when this issue is going to present itself and the fact that it would be inappropriate if it did present itself in this group setting. It warned me about vicarious trauma and the impact on the group.
Another thought that arose is that this isn’t just about the loss of my father and that I was experiencing my grief on multiple levels. There is the loss of my father as my father, my protector with me having been cared for as, thought of as and experiencing myself as “daddy’s little girl”. There is the loss of my confidant where my dad is the only person with whom I could truly be vulnerable. He was the only one I’d cry with. He was the only one who would hold it and contain it without taking it personally or subsequently looking at me or treating me as though I were fragile and in need of supervision and that was really important to me. We would have long conversations where I would move between rationality and emotionality and he would ride that rollercoaster with me every time as long as it took for me to get back to a place where I felt I could move on from whatever we were talking about.
There was the loss of my spiritual guide, which he’s been my whole life, but as of recently there has been a transition in that relationship where he had started to see me as an individual spiritual being having my own experiences, with my own gifts and talents. This thrilled me because for the first time we were, not equals, but equal contributors to this element of our relationship. I loved it. It was an exchange. It wasn’t just me calling him asking for advice, asking for guidance. It was also him calling me and asking my view or input on things he was experiencing or going through in the church. We were also going to be doing some of the generational work and working through those things that may be following us. We were going to have this conversation about what was going on around the time of my birth just to start weeding out some of the generational limitations or karma. But that is never going to happen.
I recognised in thinking this through that in this process I am experiencing myself in multiple ways. The therapist is warning against vicarious trauma and is worried about the other members of the group, my peers and colleagues. The therapist is worried about the fact that I have yet to start this work of grief and dealing with the loss of my dad. She recognises the learning opportunity for myself and others in this. My academic self is very, very thrilled about being on this course and thrilled about learning I am experiencing in all this just on my own. The academic feels like pushing through this and forcing myself to deal with this in the group setting because it would be such a learning experience for the group as whole on multiple levels. It would be learning in terms of having to work with resistance and how to engage a client in work when there is a big issue they are not wanting to deal with. There is learning in a moment of emotional upheaval should I have a minor, or major breakdown, in the group in terms of what to do should this happen with a client. Then there is my inner child.
The therapist in me and the academic in me kind of represent the woman I am and the woman I am becoming and will always be becoming as we only truly become once we return to the divine. But this woman is facing off with my inner child who is not interested in any of this. She is not interested in being a learning tool. She is not interested in being exposed so publicly. The fear behind it is I have no idea when this child is going to say enough is enough, being talked around and not dealt with and not acknowledged, and decide to act out. Honestly I don’t feel it would be appropriate to acknowledge her in the group setting because this is a learning situation and not my personal therapy session.
These complexities are what arose for me in trying to figure out how to approach the facilitator about my absence from the weekend sessions. Further exacerbating all of the above is this feeling of letting the group down and the accompanying guilt and embarrassment, especially if I am staying on the course and having to see them later. I don’t want to feel isolated or ostracised because I am no longer part of the group. In the end I called and said wouldn’t be in. The receptionist replied “oh you’re out ill then?” I just said yes. I never had to have the conversation but still felt like I wanted to talk to the facilitator.
In processing all of this and thinking things through something that came out very loudly for me was that this process needs to be shared. It came to me as I was coming to conclusions about it all.