Being me, and whatever personality type that is, I seem to start new projects/experiences/relationships at great speed and with great excitement which is only every maintained temporarily. After an initial period of direct correspondence between the effort put in and the results, the effort remains the same but the results start to diminish or even stop.
In weight-loss this is known as hitting a “plateau”. The body adjusts and develops a tolerance of the exercise/diet regime, and the weight no longer seems to shift. The phase in relationships is likened to “after the honeymoon is over”, when the object of your adoration whether a friend or partner is no longer so special, and everything about that person starts to irritate and annoy. I have experienced these plateaus in relationships, during weight-loss, starting a hobby, or studying something new.
It seems that after 12 weeks of sessions – I have arrived at that point with my psychologist. I was getting lots of really useful insights, lots of feedback and helpful concepts and I felt like rapid adjustment of my mental models and thought processes was occurring. While it was a rather wild ride, it brought results and I felt heard which always makes me happy.
This week he made a suggestion about my attitude to some thought processes with which I really struggled to agree. Initially I found the suggestion insulting and felt provoked to anger – wanting to shout “not fair”.Then I knew I would have to consider it but I was so angry at having to deal with this issue that I may have rather obviously closed down at that point. In any case, I really didn’t want to keep discuss it anymore, I got the point, and it wasn’t going to get resolved or sorted at that time, it’s something I’ll need some time to review. I’m pretty sure I still won’t end up agreeing with his suggestion, but I need to do him the courtesy, and myself the respect of at least considering the reality of it.
I knew I had closed down, and removed the “energy” if you will, as he actually said, “So what do you want to talk about now? I honestly have no idea what to do next”. I’m sort of not surprised we got to that point – I’m such a difficult person! I have felt terribly vulnerable in this relationship lately – understandably – and wanting to regain some balance I suggested he talk about one of his experiences he had previously mentioned, to which we both relate. This was actually good, and ended up giving me some hope in an unexpected kind of way – no idea what he thought of that or even if he’ll mention it next week. One of my “bug-bears” is the rather haphazard structure of our sessions, how one of my throw-away comments becomes the focus of the session when I had really wanted to address something else.
So perhaps it was subconsciously deliberate – the suggestion he made didn’t feel safe and maybe tipped the vulnerability scales – so I had to find a way to redress it. It reminded me of that Seinfield episode, where Jerry and George discuss the gaining or loss of “hand” in a relationship. “I have no hand Jerry, no hand!”