Break Downs and Thought Records: Week 3 of Therapy

In preparation for my third session, I took time to look over my journal from the last week. I made the mistake of doing that while riding the Metro. Also my iPod betrayed me by landing on Daniel Bedingfield's "If You're Not the One" in the middle of my despairing (please don't ask how the song got there in the first place, ok? I'm hurting!). I started freaking out, "Oh my God, I'm going to start crying on the fucking subway." I somehow kept my shit together, but I knew once I got to C's office, I'd be just barely hanging on, kind of like last week when I had to pee so badly after a kickball drinking fest that when I found the nearest women's room was locked, I busted into the men's room.

Yes, my need to cry was very much like having to pee real bad. That's right.

So of course when C asks how I've been, the blubbering ensues for about the next twenty minutes. It's not so horrible though. Fortunately crying dos not freak her out. I guess they get some kind of special training in therapy school for this.

Since I'm a little bit of a processor, she led me through a structured journaling exercise called a thought record that I found really helpful and have already tried once since. So, here we go.

Step 1: Name a situation about which you had some ambivalence in a nutshell, just the what, when, where, etc.
On Thursday SCL briefly got into bed next to me without asking.

Step 2: Name your feelings and emotions, and rate each on a scale of 1-100, 1 being hardly feeling it at all and 100 being feeling it the most you possibly could.

Step 3: Name your automatic thoughts in the situation.
-What is he doing?
-Why is he doing this?
-This is what I miss about being with him.
-I'm never going to have this again.
-This is how I felt the day he broke up with me.
-I want him to stay
-This is a physical reminder of what I don't have anymore.

Step 4: Highlight the main or "hot" thought from Step 3.
-What is he doing?
-Why is he doing this?
-This is what I miss about being with him.
-I'm never going to have this again.
-This is how I felt the day he broke up with me.
-I want him to stay
-This is a physical reminder of what I don't have anymore.

Step 5: Identify the source of this thought.

Physical reminder of what I don't have anymore -->

Desire for companionship and partnership that I want to be met-->

I fear not having a partner-->

I may not have another partner.

Step 6: Identify the validations and contradictions, external and internal, for this statement.

-I don't think that men want women like me (independent, ambitious, seeking an egalitarian relationship, well-educated, high expectations).
- The future is uncertain.
- The culture tells me certain things about what men want, and they don't want feminists and they really don't want religious feminists.

- My friends say I have everything a man is looking for.
-Most people end up getting married at some point. Our culture values partnering up.
- I want to believe that God will fulfill that desire.
-I've had other relationships before.
- I want to believe that there are some men who want something similar in a relationship.

I'm still working through a lot of it, but it's a great tool for unpacking those layers of thoughts, emotions, and feelings. I recommend it to anyone in a fucked up situation such as a break-up. And if that doesn't work, there's always beer.


  1. Seriously. Every time I read your blog it makes me think of my break up with my biggest heartbreak. Kills me. We had the messiest breakup ever - as in we were together for YEARS after the actual breakup. For me, it was a way of keeping him even though I didn't really have him. For him it was easier than finding someone else. SO SICK!

    At least you're doing the healthy thing and working through it. And from what I can tell, you're doing an amazing job.

  2. I decided to swing by and see how you were holding up. I am super happy to hear you are working through your feelings and getting out into the world - and maybe even dancing on bars.

  3. Krysten, can you help convince me that this will get better and no, I haven't blown my one chance at love?

    FL girl, I'm heading your way tomorrow. Disney World with the fam. Yay! I am holding up...most of the time. This morning not being one of those times. But yes, I do plan more dancing on bars in the future. Great therapy.

  4. Hey girl! Just checking in on you... how the hell are you? Holding up ok? I know, I know, it depends on the day, and sometimes the hour but you ok today?

    Glad to see you're going to counseling. Glad to see that you're having more luck with it than I did too. I actually just recently stopped going. I felt like every session all I was doing was updating him on my life. His responses were always "hmmm", "ok", "tell me more", "how did you fell about that" etc. etc. Honestly, I was getting more from talking to my friends than talking to him (and paying $75 each time)! But they always say you have to find the right dr. to go to. Maybe i just didn't have the right dr.

    Anyways, just check in Dear....

  5. Jen, my love! Hello to you, too. Thanks for checking in. I am a fucking mess today. Blog tomorrow will say more, but let's just say it involves Sharpies and matches. He he.

    Ew, that counselor is so not doing his job. All of those cliche questions? Holy hell, I could do that myself and charge you zilch! Sounds like you need a new person. If you find it helpful, feel free to shop around for someone better, maybe a woman.

    Also, feel free to email me: thenonstudent (at) gmail (dot) com if you want to have a more extensive convo. :-) Later tater.

  6. Hey Dear. Oh, I hear ya about my counselor... can you say useless?? But the more that I've been thinking the more I don't think I'm going to go to one anymore. I figure the more I talk about this stuff with people, the more I'm going to dwell and fixate on it. I have to keep busy and get my damn mind off of the ex and the relationship. I need to fill my mind with other things. Because girl, your mind and your thoughts can kill you! Did you ever see that quote on my site...
    "the only reason it's a part of your life is because you think about it". How true and how powerful is that statement? To know that you get rid of anything or anyone by just not thinking about it/them anymore is pretty crazy. Actually, very crazy!

  7. This is such a good step for you though. The fact that you can pin point everything and know how you feel is great. I'm a big believer in journals!

    But seriously what was he thinking coming into your bed!! You need him to stop messing with you, he needs to let you let go. That's the real problem!

    I hope things progress and if I were in Washington I definitely take you out for a few beers! :)

  8. Thanks, L. And you're right, WTF was he thinking? I started crying and convulsing almost immediately, and he got out pretty quickly.

    I think slowly I'm coming around to the reality that while he does seem to still care for me, he fucking broke up with me. That isn't cool! So, I need to carry on without him. It's just hard to let hope die.