Teale becomes emotionally distrustful of Figs, sinking into hurt and numbness past the point where Figs can reach her with empathy alone. Listen as Figs and Teale share a session and discover that accessing pain in both directions was necessary to overcome the biggest chasm between them yet.
Teale becomes emotionally distrustful of Figs, sinking into hurt and numbness past the point where Figs can reach her with empathy alone. Listen as Figs and Teale share a session and discover that accessing pain in both directions was necessary to overcome the biggest chasm between them yet.
Teale: Hi there and welcome back to the podcast Come Here to Me with Teale and-
Figs: We usually start with my name but yeah, "Teale, Figs," I like "Teale, Figs."
Teale: You like it?
Figs: Yeah, Teal colored figs.
Teale: Oh, that sounds so yummy.
Teale: [Laughing]How did it sound when I said “come here to me” was it, kind of-
Figs: I liked it, you sound like a good Irish woman to me.
Teale: That’s like the biggest compliment in the whole world
Figs: I actually prefer listening to you say it, than me say it,
Figs: Like a little bit of a cliche when I say it, it feels like an unnatural time to say it like as the name of the podcast.
Figs: Versus just an everyday speech. So it is actually easier for me to hear you say “come here to me,” okay, like, you know, in this context, I like it,
Teale: Oh yeah.
Figs: We will have you introduce the show for now.
Teale: Ooh la la, Yeah, I don't know about that, because I like listening to you, too. So we can take turns darlin.
Figs: Thank you, but so we don't want to blab on too much before because we have a long clip of our latest therapy session.
Teale: That's true.
Figs: Right? We're going to actually share a 40 minute, almost the entire session. We just cut off the fluff at the beginning and the fluff at the end. Right. You know, how's your dad? All that stuff? You know.
Figs: How's your Uncle Bob? Oh, a small talk. So I do not have an Uncle Bob. Do you have an Uncle Bob?
Teale: [Laughing] I do, thanks for bringing it up.
Figs: Do you?
Teale: No, I don't! [Laughing]
Figs: I was just like wow. But yeah, so look, in this session, here's the main takeaway. I'm hoping you're going to get from this session, hopefully how it's valuable, is we start off in a fight.
Teale: We do.
Figs: Right, I hurt your feelings, and you'll hear all about it, you know, as usual.
Figs: I hurt Teale's feelings. But the great thing is, you know, we got stuck, you're really hurt. There was no way out of it. I tried to really listen and sorry, I love you. But what I love about this is it became very, very clear that what was really, really needed was my pain. And this is a key thing, you know, we're always trying to help clients with. It's not actually the best course of action just to work on trying to immediately make things better. Because actually, what makes things better is where both of you are hurting. Right?
Figs: And so what I love about this is it really demonstrates that I was getting pretty good at listening.
Teale: He was being so good, you'll see! You really were.
Figs: Right, well thank you. That wasn't enough to really get you out of the numbness, the hurt and the reactivity your in, what start at the flip is when I allow myself and you'll see me to feel just how bad I feel about myself that I'm this much of a disappointment and an untrustworthy person for your heart.
Teale: Absolutely. And I like to call that, in this moment, I needed a blood sacrifice.
Figs: Blood sacrifice, that’s funny.
Teale: No, but really, I mean, you guys, I felt numb, which is pretty rare for me, but I-
Teale: But it just hit this really deep place because Figs and I've been doing so good in part because of these incredible therapy sessions. And in part because of these podcasts.
Figs: Right, feeling comfortable.
Teale: Where we do this kind of extra process it's been really amazing for us until we were feeling so connected with this hard moment and then their Figs was trying to get back into connection and I was just like a desert, you couldn't touch me with your beautiful apologies and reflections back and I started to then you're, it hurt.
Figs: Then I got hurt.
Teale: And then it happened slowly over time. Yeah, and couldn't tell it's not like when I'm hurt as you guys will know I ugly cry. There I am crying. Now we don't hear that or see that from Figs. But one of the things I'm really gaining from these sessions is the subtlety. But the powerful ways that you express your, like devastation.
Teale: It is a blood sacrifice, you are hurting there, right?
Figs: Yeah, no, thank you. That's a really good point, right? I'm really struck by how you get when I'm in a lot of pain, feeling rejected, feeling not enough, and that I'm really devastated inside. And just like, it's hard for you to trust me if I'm hurting you. I hit a similar place, that like God, if you dislike me this much like I want to just go away, I don't want to trust myself with you. And so that's agony for me inside. But I love that when I actually allow myself to feel it fully and not by trying to be good, but actually go into that I'm really hurting. You actually really see it. And the thing that was really shocking for me, is when I look at myself if I didn't know how much pain I was having in the inside, of feeling rejected and I find it hard to trust that my heart is safe for you. If you dislike me so much-
Figs: It wouldn't be immediately obvious to me that I was in so much pain. So why do I share that now before you watch the clip. One of the main things I want you to look for and watch for is this difference between both of us which is very normal in couples that one member of the couple feels there are abandoned parts there. Hurt parts and they can express a lot of emotion like you-
Teale: Right, yes.
Figs: And then the other person, you don't see a lot of emotion on their face, or you know, there's no tears. But that doesn't mean they're not just as devastated inside, I assure you, I am just as devastated inside as Teale during this session, right? How do we know, but I am devastated right?
Teale: You share it, you share it with your words.
Teale: It actually helps the therapist and I tune in.
Teale: To what you're saying. Because you know, you could apologize, you could feel deeply for my feelings, till you're blue in the face in this session, I don't think I would have been able to-
Teale: Get into a place of warmth, but you just shared, oh my gosh, like, it really hurts actually.
Teale: Because the way I share my hurt is not just I'm hurting, I mean, I'm gonna just own it right here, I'm going to just stake this out, there's violence in the way that I share it.
Figs: Well, I mean, we use that word violence in a much broader term than most of our listeners do, just the nicer-
Figs: You’re not hitting me-
Teale: Not physically-
Figs: But you are saying-
Teale: I’m hurt, it is critical, there is a kind of threat in it-
Figs: A threat-
Teale: Like I'm not a physical threat, but just like you did this, and you're so bad Figs. And now I feel this way, I can't trust you. And so, you know, we'll let the listener see.
Figs: Yeah you’re right.
Teale: What they gain from it. But it was a powerful demonstration of how incredible again, a disconnection can lead to a connection.
Teale: In a really well facilitated space and with you know, a lot of honesty and staying with the process
Teale: Between you and I so.
Figs: Exactly. So yeah, please, 40 minutes to session, just track and notice Teale hurt, I'm trying to be good. But being good doesn't do it. It's only when I actually consciously allow myself to go to the place and feel the pain of being rejected. And some of it's messy, I hit triggered places that you start to be able to come out of just your own pain and say, Oh, my God, my partner who loves me is really hurting when they feel rejected. And that's what creates the bridge. And we end up connected, that process, that's what we hope that you're going to be able to start doing with each other. So with no further ado, here's the clip.
Teale: Hell yeah!
Figs: We'll talk to you on the back end. Okay.
Teale: Let’s do it!
Teale: All of this was unsaid and Figs literally just like, called me up. And he's like, I don't know, what's up with you and the people that you're sending me and I'm just like-
Therapist: Like a general statement.
Teale: Yeah, it was general. And it was just like really aggressive. And he and I've had this great talk this morning. We've been meditating every morning with this great experience in like this, you know, presentation that we gave, I'm feeling really connected with Figs and like excited about this potential I'm disappointed too. [Crying] And like, then I get to be you know, dug into, and I really fucking hate, like, connecting and then disconnecting It feels really unfair to me.
Figs: Yeah I hear you, sorry.
Therapist: Just stay with that Teale, for a minute. You just felt really blindsided in a way or?
Teale: [Crying] Yeah, it's like this shit fucking happens with me and Figs. It's like, we're close and connected. And then something happens and like, I feel like my trust just goes out the door. I'm like, why am I being blamed for this? Why is it like, the people I send you, like, I don't know, I'm gonna do this. I'm fully learning how to like interview people and like- [Sniffles] Just to feel like I am such a disappointment about this was such a different situation than the first person like,I don't understand why it's so aggressive.
Figs: Mhm. No, it makes sense-
Teale: Like, you can be disappointed like, you can give me feedback about how to do this next time we can come up with a new plan, but like.
Both: [Take a breath]
Teale: I feel really like I really feel distrustful of you, right now. [Crying]
Therapist: Like it was one thing to just say, Hey, what happened here and this person wasn’t it, but the way it was delivered? Is that what you're saying?
Teale: Yeah, and just like coming from a place of so much connection to it is such disconnection. And it's I'm sorry, it's not that did not come from me. Like there were ways I could have set this up differently. But like, like, Where is this fucking aggression coming from? Why is it directed at me? Like get a fucking punching bag? [Crying]
Therapist: Yeah, yeah. You're in this really good attachment field. And then you feel like out of nowhere. It’s just disrupted as an answer.
Teale: It feels like a thing with trust. And there's this thing I say to myself inside like, I just can't let my guard down. I can't, like, be all happy, all my optimism and positivity as a partner.
Teale: You know, you can't do that with Figs. Because you're just gonna get dinged.
Teale: [Crying] I’m really pissed, I don't want to be here with you right now.
Figs: Okay sweetie, I'm so sorry.
Teale: Fucking figure it out! Figure your shit out!
Therapist: Yeah. It's hurt. You really hurt, and you’re feeling angry too, understandably.
Teale: What, what do you want to say to me now?
Teale: I'm going to get a Kleenex.
Figs: Okay. So besides, maybe I could reflect back what I heard you say?-
Figs: You know, it's just that you know that your, this is new to you, this isn't something that you know how to do, you're doing the best you can about how to interview people or who's right who's wrong. And it's a completely different situation than the last time someone wasn't a good fit. And, like, if I had to come to you and just said, Hey, that wasn't a good fit, like, you know, you would have been, Oh, I'm sorry, wow, I'm really surprised. But because I was so aggressive with you and disappointed in you about it. It's really, really hurt you and-
It's left you feeling it's very hard for you to trust me that it's safe for you to be your joyful, optimistic self. And it was really, really hard to go from a place where we felt so connected to each other, to them very suddenly being disconnected. And you're really sad and upset, and you're also really angry with me. And you think that I need to just sort my shit out and get a punching bag and all of that kind of stuff.
Therapist: Teale, how did that feel to have him reflect that, do you feel like he's got it?
Teale: Yeah, I don't feel better.
Therapist: No, I know. I just want to know that you felt at least understood.
Therapist: In this. What you said.
Teale: Yeah, I just feel like now he’s mad at me.
Therapist: You feel like he's mad at you now? Still?
Teale: [Crying] I just don't know how to get back connected. And I really don't like this happened.
Therapist: Yeah. Do you want to ask him if he's mad at you? Still?
Teale: I don't want to look at him. [Crying]
Figs: [Laughing] I'm not mad at you sweetie. I know you're angry at me. But I'm really sorry. It makes sense that your feelings are hurt. I'm sorry. I'm not mad at you. I feel bad that I hurt you so much. But I'm not mad at you.
Teale: [Crying] I just feel like you know what, I just feel like you want like you might want this someone else. It's more functional and like, better, and.
Therapist: Oh my God Teale. [Laughing] Teale, come on sweetie. You're so functional? Really!
Teale: I know. But like, I just feel like all the things that I do wrong, is like, I just really feel like you see me as like, a failure like a dysfunctional person. [Crying]
Figs: Right. Well, that's, no I don't, but I hear that's how you feel and I can see how sad you are. Look, for what it's worth, like it's just a moment. I understand that it was a huge impact, I'm just trying to tell you what happened for me is I was a bit nervous about this morning because my schedule was kind of you know-
Figs: This is the thing I'm anxious when I've got lots of things scheduled and what's that going to be like to do, I did an interview on someone's podcast this morning, do interview, do couples therapy, I shouldn't get, i do i just that I get anxious that I have to do all three of those by by 9am right I just I'm anxious about it right?
Teale: I get it.
Figs: I'm so look I would did I did feel let down. I've done and it's you know emotional bonding perspective. I felt let down and, you know that you weren't there for me when I did that call with someone that wasn't a good fit. Uhm, I everything you said makes sense, I'm just telling you what it felt like in the moment-
Teale: I hear you it makes since-
Figs: But I felt let down by you. It felt like oh my god like this really good morning that I was anxious about how I'm gonna do everything. You know, what state will I be in for couples counseling, by the time we get there, you know, because doing the podcast interview was, takes a lot like I'm really overwhelmed, right because, you know, like we don't I get really scared that everything's not going well. And I'm really not doing a good job of articulating, explaining things. So, so it just is a huge emotional lift for me to present in ways again, I wish it wasn't. So I just, I felt really hurt than when this person that was your colleague was such a bad fit. And I was I was upset with you about it, I was really disappointed in you. And I let you know. And I think my energy was off, I would have been why would talk to her while walking and wanted to talk to you about it, immediately, my energy was off, I have way too much negative energy, reactive energy toward you, and it really hurts your feelings. And then of course I had then I was just upset that I, you know, but this story I had is I like it. Like there was not, I couldn't have just a moment of being upset about it. And you hear the feedback that it quickly became about how terrible a person I am. Like to be so upset with you. And so look, that's, that's about the extent of me being upset with you. And I, for me, these aren't universal, these are universal traits, these are individual moments where I felt let down and I shared it with you, and it hurt your feelings. Uhmm, I don't think of you like that. Like universally.
Teale: [Sniffles] I, I literally just don't know, if I'm strong enough of a person to like, let my guard down. And then to like, to like weather a hard moment, like, I just don't feel that strong.
Therapist: Teale, does that happen a fair amount of times that you feel this?
Teale: I don't think it happens that often. Just when it happens, it feels really devastating for me, I'm trying to I'm like… [Crying] Really torn up about shit with my dad and like, trying to just, I'm trying to like, I'm trying to follow inside, like where, you know, how I feel broken, how I feel hurt. And I just feel like, I just want you to protect me when I'm, and I want to listen. I am strong enough to hear that you're disappointed. Like I can make changes. And I don't always do things right, and I can, I can make shifts, like I'm ready to do that in the relationship and with who I am as a business person. And I don't know why it just, it just touches something like so deep for me. Like when you got so mad, it just really touched something for me.
Figs: Right, right, I'm sorry, it makes sense.
Therapist: I mean, I understand that in the sense that Figs has been so supportive of you and held you about you're struggling with your father and so on, and then he becomes that reparative person in your life. And then he has that, you know, uncontrolled action that feels hard to trust. It's a very, very delicate place for you.
Teale: Yeah, exactly.
Therapist: And I do hear you saying that you have room for Figs to be disappointed. It's just the sounds like the delivery is really everything. And I might add the lack of communication between the two of you about this person, ahead of time.
Teale: Yeah, that's a good point. I thought I even read back. [Clearing throat]
Teale: What I when I forward you her email to me. I said she was great six years ago, I don't know where she's at now.
Teale: Like, I don't know, but I should, I guess I should have done this differently. And, you know, I heard you just say like how you want to just a moment to be frustrated that you're acknowledging your energy was off and that you felt really overwhelmed by this morning- Which all of that totally makes sense. And it's okay, for energy to be off. I just it's hard for me when I'm the person at the other end of it.
Figs: I understand. I'm sorry. I wish I didn't, I wasn't as mad at you about it, In the moment. I mean, I wish I wasn't as mad about you at all. But like I get just the way I spoke to you in that moment. I understand that there was you know that that totally makes sense. It really hurt. I'm sorry.
Teale: Okay, thank you.
Figs: And yeah, I know everything's not okay. But I'm sorry.
Teale: It's okay.
Figs: Uhmm, if its okay, just a little bit of context, like, again, I'm not saying that this makes anything, right. It's just like to describe, you know, some in our working model in me for, for whatever reason. I, like, let me just to try and explain that. Like, I remember I was talking to a client recently, and they were telling me about, like, they need to feel like they understand everything, and they're included in everything, or else they don't feel safe, they can't trust their partner. And they couldn't imagine anyone being any different than that. And I'm like, Well, shit, I'm, I'm different than that. Like, I'm the opposite I, I have this deep longing that I notice happens, I'm just talking about an internal working model, you do stuff without me all the time, which doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. But I have some internal working model where like, I feel like I have to be involved in everything. And what makes me feel most loved and cared for is when someone does something I don't have to be involved in it. Like, if there's a project that needs to be done that, that could get done without my input without me having to talk it through without me having to check it. That for me is oh, my God, I feel so loved and taken care of.
Therapist: And do you feel that with Teal?
Figs: I do. But because I feel that with Teal. I also feel in the moments that it's not a you know, it's not again, it's not a fixed state. I have I feel that with Teale like, Oh my God, thank you so much for like going and doing the groceries like, thank you for making dinner. Like thank you so much for handling like for, like you're the primary person that talks to all the therapists or employees about everything other than practical stuff. Like thank like, I feel really grateful. But it also means that there are just moments where I feel the opposite, that I feel like oh my god, like, listen, I didn't read email, I'm just praying that I don't, I'm going to do a phone call and talk to this person, I'm just trying to do. I'm just constantly hoping I can rely on other people to do stuff, without me. Now, a lot of my work as a professional has been to undo some of that, like I was that teenager that was able to manipulate my friends into doing my laundry for me and do my ironing before we, they come to the house before we were going to go out. And they'd have to iron my shirt for me. Right. So in some ways-
Therapist: you're like the leader of the pack, right?
Figs: Well, I was certainly, you know, in my own mind, right, but, but I also would, if I had a chance to ask someone else to do something rather than do it myself, I would ask someone else to do something. Right. Don't get too into too much detail. So I just think I have this raw spot. I have this injury. When I feel like oh my god, I really thought you had this. And I, everything you said makes sense, especially with the last one about like, oh god, I get why you wouldn't you thought it's better that you don't ask too many questions. And let me just ask the question. But in the moment when I was hurt, it was because I was feeling like, I really thought you had this part of it. And then I just felt really like oh my god, like, you didn't, you weren't, there for me, like and so that's what I was. That's why I was hurting inside. When I was mad at you. Like I thought like, I totally get why it hurt you, I was just like, I can't believe you went there for me. I thought you had this, I trusted you to have it. Again, I'm not saying that matches what reality, I'm just saying that's the internal world I was in that moment that led to me being that disappointed in you. Right, because you know, anyway, that's I hope that helps.
Therapist: Do you want a reflection on that or do you think that that got across okay?
Figs: Well- [Laughing] I don't know if it came I don't know whether even if she was able to reflect it if it came across it doesn't matter.
Therapist: Okay. But you said something Figs, that there's something you've been working back from about this. What is that?
Figs: Well, you know, when you say working background, I actually am trying to believe in myself more and do things more myself. Not actually be, can someone else do this for me?
Therapist: So the other piece that I was thinking about was a part of letting go of things not going the way you anticipate them to go if you're going to have other people work with you, I don't know. Yeah, well look, absolutely, well, well, what I would like to be able to do is feel the hurt and not have the reactivity. And I think it's a little harder with Teal, look It's hard for me in general, but it's, it's much harder, because you're the most important person in my life. You're the person I'm most, I'm hoping, like, you could do stuff without me, because that's just the flavor of love. That's important to me. And so I get the most hurt or feel the most like, just heavy letdown like just aloneness inside myself when I thought you had something and I just discovered you didn't. So I'd like to just be able to feel the hurt part and explain it-
Figs: To you, versus, like be mad at you about but I you know, shit. I know. I don't know, I'd like to get better. You know.
Therapist: Is there a specific piece from your past that really resonates with this right now, this hurt?
Figs: Uhmm, well, I kind of, it's a mix. It's a hodgepodge. Like, you know, I think some of where, you know, when I, when I think about where this comes from inside me, one of the first things I always think about is my dad wasn't around. I did so I didn't have a dad to mirror me or see me do things, right. And in fact, one of my biggest injuries when my dad is a grown up, is being at a dance workshop and asking him to see me like, would you watch me dance, right, he couldn't do it, a seven day dance workshop, he couldn't do it. But, but one of, I think the outcomes of my dad not being around and not seeing me and reflecting me is I didn't believe I could do things. Like I really didn't believe I could do things. And I was like, the image that always epitomizes this for me is when I played rugby, I started playing rugby at like 14 and I was the kicker on the team, like I kicked the field of the equivalent of American football field goals. And I didn't believe I could make the little mound out of the dirt for the ball to sit in. And my best friend would come over run across the field and make the mound, and place the ball for me and then I would kick it, right? So I have this like, this deep deep pain when I feel someone's not there for me when I feel like there's this thing that I had to do but I really wanted someone else to do it for me like there’s no one there for me, I'm all alone in this I feel like so the way I make sense of it, it's a consequence of not getting that belief in myself that I rely on other people and then I get really really hurt when those people aren't there for me.
Therapist: Even though over the years you've been extremely accomplished and know that you can do a lot of things it's still this hurt of someone it's a relational thing.
Figs: Exactly the hurt still remains, but again I consciously went I am going to start a bigger business in order to reparent myself I'm gonna learn how to do things myself even though I still to this day I'm always looking for I still have that part that I'm looking for the perfect marketing person or the perfect, and getting disappointed, you know, so it's still in there but but that I think that is, look just in a moment where you know everything kind of collapses in on this one all that emotional baggage collapses in on this one moment or your on the phone with someone I really thought you'd already qualified this person for me to talk to them I really relied on you and I feel so let down at so hurt, I'm so alone, and it touches this really deep sadness inside me. And then I think I'm explaining to Teale like you know, like I can't believe that that's what happened and of course my energy is off and I'm really angry and I've really hurt her feelings and now goes I feel terrible about I'm not mad at you I just feel really bad about myself. Anyway, I don't want to spend too much longer talking to myself. But that's, that's the kind of the way I understand where and why my energy or I would seem so angry in that moment.
Figs: Wait, what?
Teale: [Laughing] That's so much honey you put in your tea.
Figs: Well, no, I probably didn't stir it properly. That's just the end. Yeah, I always have it always is just, like-
Teale: That's literally like half the cup of tea [giggles] that is like pure honey.
Figs: That's why the end is it's too much.
Teale: That’s not the end. That's half a cup of tea. [Laughing]
Figs: Okay, umm, I’m worried about your eyesight.
Therapist: Okay, I think what you're saying is that if you can stay in touch with the hurt and the deep hurt, then you can maybe be conscious enough not to have that delivery, that energy.
Figs: Yeah, I mean, if I could piece all that, together that that's what happened, I felt like, look, I just have this deeper wound feeling like I really hope that someone else is there for me, I can rely on other people. And I felt like this was something I had a story that I, I this I was living inside a story without even realizing it that I was relying on you to do this work for me. And now I just discovered it wasn't done, and I'm really upset with you, you let me down. Right? And that's a lot of energy directed at Teale, when it doesn't, in and out of itself, like the issue itself is like, it's not that big a deal.
Therapist: Right, right, it mean, it's a lot to Teale specifically because of Teales background as well
Figs: Exactly, no exactly. Exactly.
Therapist: And so, some way that you can have a code word for yourself that says this is one of those moments.
Therapist: Hurt is here.
Figs: Yeah, I mean, look, look, I'm very fast. And I'm, I'm hot blooded. Like, you know, I am very, you know, again, as we talked about before, for, for sometimes better, sometimes-
Figs: Worse. I'm, you know, just for want of a better expression. I'm hot blooded. I'm not that conf-, aye look, I'm always going to work on being better. But I'm not that confident I'm going to catch my reactivity before it launches… Like I, you know, Now, again, that also means I'll stand up for people, whether, whether it serves me or not?... you know?
Teale: I guess just knowing though, like that, that, that that, you know, I think hot blooded is one thing I think, like that can be seen as a really positive thing. And like, I hear you, it makes total sense that you just really want to be able to rely on me for things and that you felt, you know, really alone. And… I just, I literally don't know what to do. Like, I don't know what to do. Because I just, it really, really traumatizes me, I feel really distruful, and I just, I really just say like, I think I need to set myself up in this relationship in a different way that I'm doing it that I can't be this vulnerable and open hearted if there's going to be moments where I can feel so hurt.
Teale: It’s that what I start to, like problem solve in my head.
Therapist: Is there a way that you can access another part of you that can take care of yourself in the wake of that, like, please don't talk to me like this, please. Let's think about how you're talking to me right now. Some part of you that could say that?
Teale: I mean, I just don't think Figs is gonna, he's not, I am saying things like that. He's not, there's nothing that I can say to like, have him stop and slow down. And you know, I think it's, I just feel both of our traumas. And it's I just notice how locked in, in those moments that you can't, you know, there's no way for you to slow down that angry burst of you're not here for me, and there's no way for me to like, you know, I mean, I guess we work on the repair right now, but I guess I'm just trying to say like, There's something inside that feels really damaged.
Teale: In this moment, I feel really numb, I feel like.
Therapist: Right. Yeah.
Teale: Yeah, I just, and I heard you apologize, and it does touch me, it helps me. Umm. I just, I don't know what to do right now. And I'm-
Teale: I just, I feel really tired and-
Therapist: You don't really want to look at him or you don't want to hold his hand or do anything right now.
Teale: [Crying] I'm just really in my own shit you guys, like I'm in a really dark place.
Therapist: Yeah… yeah…
Figs: I’m sorry sweetie…
Teale: I just have my own shit to work on I think, and I just have to get stronger…
Therapist: Would it help for us to hear more about the pain right now describing it and?
Teale: I… I don't know. I don't even know. I don't want to talk right now.
Therapist: Okay. Okay.
Figs: Is there anything I can do for you? Right now?
Teale: I think maybe I just need some touch. Like I need you to help get me out of this place, help me.
Figs: Come here, yeah
Therapist: Yeah, that's what I want there. Yeah, that's so good.
[A moment of comfort]
Therapist: See, if you can feel yourself, let go a little bit.
Teale: [Sighs] What?
Figs: [Laughing] I’m just looking at you… like hopefully, like, open heartedly, what do you mean what?
Teale: What do you mean open heart?
Figs: Well, I was just trying to look at you like I'm like here.
Figs: I’m here. I’m not mad at you. I love you. I'm sorry.
Therapist: What's happening Teale?
Teale: I don't know. I don't know if I can get out of this place guys, to be honest. Like, I think maybe we should just move on.
Teale: Let's talk about something else.
Figs: Well, okay, maybe, look, again, this might make you more mad or it could help. Like, it totally makes sense that you're really sad and you're really upset. And when you talk about it, and you feel like you're describing yourself, like, part of me obviously hears and I feel a lot of love and empathy for you. And I want to be there for you. But there's another part I hear it is just a huge rejection. Right? Like, It just sounds like, I can't be with someone like you. You're such a terrible husband and partner Figs. Like, it's just like, I have to fight. Like, letting those words be what I sink into. And then how I would respond to that, right? And I would respond to that is like, okay, well, that's fine. I'll go I'll go away. Like, if I'm such a terrible person, I won't come towards you and try to hug you. I'll go away. Like, like, you're you're right. I'm terrible. And damage I'll just pull away. So.
Therapist: So, the shame blocks you
Figs: Yeah, well, it just really hurts. It's like fine, like, wow, if I'm that horrible, you're totally right. You shouldn't be with someone like me or me, particularly. And, so it just, it really hurts. Right? When you're hurt and you're in your, this is what's happened to me. And this is what you did to me. And you're so terrible. I can't trust you. Like I get it, why you would get the pain you’re in. But it also, it lands as really, really harsh. It lands as quite a damning, like indictment of me as a person that, you know,
Teale: I think, you know, that's that. That's that cycle that we're in, right is that I, you know, in somehow in the moment where I feel so connected and suddenly feel like we're not connected, right? I feel abandoned in that moment.
Teale: You were here. And now you're gone.
Teale: Not only are you gone, but you're angry at me.
Teale: And then it like touches such a deep place for me that I don't know if you've heard me, but I said, “oh, I need to go do my own work.” I'm like, just feeling how destabilized I am right now.
Teale: And that comes out. Like, I can't be like, with someone like you.
Teale: And you're just not a safe person. It totally makes sense that you start to feel really hurt and rejected.
Teale: And that, how that can come across in more escalated part of a fight. I think we actually talked about this last session is like, you know, final go or go. I mean, obviously, it's more aggressive when we're like, in a more escalated part.
Teale: That That really hurts you
Teale: And you know, that's the only thing that it starts to feel like, it like, you know, touches, touches the place that can feel so numb as I see that I'm being that's my reactivity.
Teale: and that my reactivity really hurts you
Teale: And that you start to have, you know, feel like-
Teale: I'm gonna walk away from you. And I can see you're in it right now, as I'm looking at you.
Figs: Yeah, like it doesn't… I don't feel a huge amount of trust for you. Like, I mean, here's the story I can have. And I understand we're both hurting right now. Right? That-
Figs: That like, look, I was, and I'm just saying this is the story. Again, I'm saying it's true. I could be hurt and re-reacted with you for a few seconds. I can say sorry, and be ready to repair but then I now I'm going to have to live in for a prolonged period of time. That I'm just this terrible, awful person. You have been wronged and hurt and I'm a terrible person. Like for… for just a long time. And, and I have to go along with that.
Teale: Mhm. Well, how long has this been?
Figs: What's that?
Teale: I mean, you're saying it's, I think, I think-
Figs: Well it's from the moment, from the moment I was disappointed in you, whatever that was, an hour ago-
Teale: that it was defensive, that it felt-
Teale: Now it just feels like, I can't get out of it. And so you're just, you kind of have to go along with you being this terrible person.
Teale: I'm like, gonna reject you.
Figs: But my, my reactivity, and this is I notice isn't the fair way to think of it. But this is one of the things my reactivity is seconds. And you're, you're like, it's seconds of me being mad. And then I see you're upset. And I'm like, I for fuck sake, I messed up. And you but you're not there's no way back now, because you're the wrong one to hurt one. And I'm a horrible, terrible person that is untrustworthy. For the ratio. It's just like, it's 100 times longer.
Teale: Yeah. I mean, I think what I'm hearing, you know, I'm trying not to pick up on the reactivity and feel my own shit come up. But what I'm hearing is that it feels really excruciating, and that it feels like it's a long time. And the voice in your head is, you know, and what you've heard from my voice is, like, really threatening, and that it feels like an eternity.
Figs: Yeah, yeah. It feels it does feel very, very threatening. Right?
Therapist: The repair's not coming?
Figs: Well, again, we know the repair's not coming. I think if it's just me being there for you, then yeah, we can I think we could repair. But when we really take in, we really take in the like, no look when you when I've hurt you. And now you feel like I'm this terrible untrustworthy person.
Teale: This is the exact second part of our cycle, because then you start to feel like oh, my God, this is forever. And see, I can even see like how your face is now talking as you're starting to like, collapse into like your aloneness and you're rejected.
Teale: And I can start to feel like, wait, come back.
Teale: And so this is where I can start to like, kind of feel like-
Teale: I want to jump out of my own body and kind of be like, hold on, you know?
Teale: Because I think, and I guess it's the only thing that can take me out of feeling my hurt is to see how hurt you are.
Figs: Right, yeah, no, absolutely. And I get it all. And yeah, just like you're saying, I get us, right? And just like, you're saying it's very hard for you to get over like I was mad at you. And I was disappointed in you, in a very aggressive energy. When you tell me I'm a terrible person. And look, and I know, I know, this is the work. I just, it's very hard for me to recover from like, it's not-
Figs: It's a place you know, it's just a place that, it's not a place that I willingly want to recover from, I don't even want to recover. From a place like that.
Teale: I get it, I can see, and can hear what I've seen so many times before, and that I get really concerned about it, and I started to feel really scared.
Teale: And so there's a choice point for me at this point in our cycle where I can either dig in and say, well, hold on there, I actually didn't get that much time, once you said that you're sorry, to feel my feelings of how much that hurt and where that touches my trauma.
Teale: And, and yet, it's so much even more terrifying for me now to feel like you're going down and you're not going to come back. So this is the choice. And the choice point for me is where I really want, I just walk away from that first option. And I walk towards this option.
Teale: And I just, I see. Like it comes from a very, very complicated place, to a very simple place.
Figs: Yeah, but there's another possibility, right?
Teale: Can I just tell you-
Figs: Yeah, go on.
Teale: The thing that is coming up inside of me right now, and like I don't have to do it, but the thing that comes up for me is just like someone that I love is hurting.
Teale: And I feel like I'm responsible.
Teale: And so I want to reach towards you and make it better and I can see like a lot of trauma coming up for you right now. And I think that it’s impossible to just be like, Oh, you know what, I'm gonna go work on my own trauma right now.
Therapist: But you do kind of abandon yourself in that moment Teale, a little bit.
Teale: I don't know if it's abandonment, or I don't know, if I'm gonna get you know, if when he comes back.
Teale: It feels like a healing. So I don’t think that this is some maladaptive thing, like it might have some intelligence in it.
Figs: Well, well, this is just where, like, you know, if I try and really put into practice, try and help what other people do, is that the way back is not necessarily you being there for me or me being there for you, is just us recognizing, look, I really hurt you, and it makes sense you're hurt. And then when you were hurt the way you responded, right? Neither, not that your response was good or bad. But it did just touch a really, really vulnerable hurt place in me. And so we don't, you don't have to, like leave yourself. I don't have to leave myself as like, we're both, we both are really, really hurt. I hurt you first. And then when you were hurt, I, you know, I ended up getting dragged along, in the really deep, painful place for me. And that's so we could, before we're taking turns being there for either of us, like we could just meet each other there as a safer place.
Teale: All right. Well, that was a journey, huh?
Figs: Yeah, that was, that was a trip to watch ourselves. Ah Again.
Teale: [Laughing] I'm glad that we both feel that way.
Figs: It's a lot.
Teale: It is.
Figs: It's pretty overwhelming. And you know, again, eye opening, I learned so much about myself. And you, and us.
Teale: Absolutely. And I'm just wondering, you know, just as our listeners, can you see yourselves in any one of these positions? Can you identify with myself or with figs?
Figs: And then of course, the third perspective, can you see the, oh, wow, this is what we do together.
Figs: Because, you know, this is one of the greatest skills you can develop as a couple as you harness and grow your ability to see the system perspective, not just seeing things as just yourself or not just seeing things as, “oh, look at what my partner is feeling and doing.” It's like, “wow, look what we are doing.” So yeah, could you see wow, this is what we do-
Figs: Are there places you get stuck? Was it inspiring? Or was it like, “wow, what are they doing? Figs and Teale, talking about their feelings this way?” Just let us know. Like, drop us a line.
Teale: Yeah, I’m curious.
Figs: Write us an email, drop us a line. And we'd love to hear from you.
Teale: I'd love to hear from you. And kind of what's that like? Because we don't know.
Figs: Yeah, what's it like to see his process and move through from fight, to starting to try and make things better but we couldn't quite break through to develop better. To then have this like “God, it was like figs hurting, not just being good at listening to Teale hurting. It was Fig’s pain, and being part of the process that actually opened the bridge, where we ended up then feeling more connected, because we could actually see and love each other as vulnerable little points.
Teale: Aww, yeah.
Figs: Okay, I cannot emphasize enough, that's more important to be able to do that as a couple than you've just being nice to each other all the time.
Teale: It really works. And it's really deep. I was rewatching and looking at the way that I was looking at you and the way that we hugged and I'm just like, oh my gosh, like that felt like a developmental leap for us.
Figs: Yeah, yeah, so yeah, it's amazing the difference in our faces, like you know, at the end, you know, just how much softer and more connected we felt to each other.
Teale: I'm kind of feeling that way with you right now. Just thinking about it. [Laughing]
Figs: I can tell, I can tell, I'm starting to get a little rub…
Figs: I’m not quite sure where this is gonna go…
Figs: We better end this episode.
Teale: Ohhh. [Laughing]
Figs: See ya, see ya.
Teale: Ohh okay.
Figs: See ya next time.
Teale: Bye guys.