A letter to my therapist from the top of disappointment mountain.


I was disappointed that you couldn’t make our regular session tonight. And then my heart dropped when you said you couldn’t see me tomorrow morning instead, especially because I was so excited to have some time off from work, which never happens. I had felt quite enterprising to come up with that solution. I needed to see you because of what I was feeling on Father’s Day.

I’ve reached the point in disappointment mountain…

My aunt and I had planned this whole lunch in honour of my dad, my grandad and her boyfriend, who is a dad. The day before the lunch, my dad’s wife (my step-mom) got awful news that her elderly dad had finally passed away. My dad apologised and said he would not be able to make lunch because he had to be there for her. I was trying to deal with the mixed feelings of not seeing my dad and also feeling my step-mom’s pain at losing her father. I completely understood that my dad needed to be there for her and I said as much to him. I guess I felt though that this was not the first time he had been there for other people and not me. Obviously, it was not just about my dad not making this one thing. It brought up a lot of times in the past when he had not shown up when he needed to. When I was left disappointed by his actions. The times I felt achingly alone and like he didn’t care that he was leaving me in that state. I realise I am sitting on a mountain of disappointment that’s collected over the years and I don’t quite know how to get off it. This mountain is high and its magnitude is dizzying. Disappointment sits thick in the base of my throat and stomach. It threatens to choke and engulf me from the inside. I remain vigilant, waiting for other people to do the same. I even half expected you not to answer my e-mail before tomorrow, but you did.

Where’s the pause button in my brain?…

It was when I was sitting with these emotions, trying my best to deal with them, that I got your message. I was happy that you had taken the time to respond to me. But then I found out that you wouldn’t be able to meet me at an alternative time because you were sick. So much ran through my mind and I tried to slow it down. I tried to think about things logically. But I couldn’t deny what I was feeling. The disappointment was rising through my torso, slowly. My body felt tight, clenching. Scared to relax in case I drowned. My chest also felt tight. Was that my heart closing off? No.

It felt like a scratch on an open wound I guess. And you didn’t cause the wound. It felt like a scratch because I had expected so much from you. I shouldn’t have done that. I should have just waited for your response before imagining our session and the relief at being able to let go of what I was feeling. The relief of being in your consistent, accepting and calming presence. There is no relief now.

Let’s all just acknowledge that sick has ick in it…

Within this maelstrom is sickening worry. This is the second time you have taken sick leave in a few weeks. I am so concerned for you. Are you sick with a heavy cold because of the weather and long working hours? Did you come down with flu because you are burnt out from us and your body needs rest? Or is it something far more serious?

I try to take a deep breath and think of the safe place in my head I shared with you recently. In the field you stand in your sturdy green tweed jacket among the verdant winter bushes. The misty mountains act as a backdrop and a light drizzle leaves a film of crystals on your clothes. You smile gently and I pray this reassurance washes away the disappointment.

I can’t afford to lose another person who means so much. You are like family to me. Please don’t leave me.

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8 thoughts on “A letter to my therapist from the top of disappointment mountain.

  1. velvetmp says:

    Tell him next session your scared. Important.

    • Jay says:

      Thank you for the tip Velvetmp. I agree it’s important to explore ruptures and hurt feelings in the therapeutic relationship. Even if it does bring up awkwardness or pain.

      • velvetmp says:

        Well as you know, your relationship with your therapist is a tool for you to negotiate through not only your prior parental conflicts, but also how you will forge in other important relationships. I know it’s scary but you will grow tremendously from it ( I know that sounds so corny, but I’m a big believer of pushing beyond ones comfort zone) and your welcome.

  2. I’m so sorry you are feeling so alone and without a safe place for your heavy heart to land. It is hard when our therapists are unable to be there for us. I try to go back to reparenting myself when I am feeling low, to envision myself giving my wounded child the hugs, caresses and reassurance she needs, to spoil her with guilty pleasures and lift her up with things that replenish her, like writing, reading or running. I hope you are able to find something to fill the void or even just a little escape from your sadness while you wait for your next session.

    • Jay says:

      Your kindness and concern is appreciated spacefreedomlove! I think your advice about reparenting makes a lot of sense, especially with the concrete suggestions you’ve given here. It’s so easy for that critical voice to overtake and tell me to “suck it up”. Trying my best to tap into compassion for myself. Xx

      • Yeah! Definitely don’t suck it up! Don’t bury it under the rug to fester and rot! Acknowledge it and give yourself what you need and deserve – SELF LOVE. It’s actually quite fun.

  3. ptero9 says:

    Hi Jay,
    Thanks for visiting and following my blog. Years ago, when I was seeing a therapist, I remember reaching a point where I felt very insecure about the possibility of him either moving away, or dying. None of those things came to pass of course. In looking back, I see my feelings were so strong because the therapy meant so much to me at the time.

    I did talk to him about these feelings back then, and I agree that it’s a good idea to be as open as possible with your therapist.


    • Jay says:

      I missed this comment until now. Thank you for sharing your journey with me! I think you hit the nail on the head there with regards to the strong feelings. While I appreciate the person that DS is, I actually know so little about him. The feelings are definitely more to do with everything therapy has given to me!

      Peace to you too 🙂

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