It is not easy to describe today’s session as I do not want to talk about the other people in my group or violate their privacy. Among other things, this session required us to confront another individual in our group. We sat in pairs, one person opposite the person we chose to confront, and each participant selected someone to support their “hearing” or reception of what was said.
Initially, I was chosen as a support to someone who was being confronted and I soon failed to hear what was being said because my mind was so busy thinking about my own responses to him. When he got “lost” I was unable to repeat what was said to him because I had not “been present.” I had been surprised at being selected as his support person, because I had wanted to select him myself and confront him with his own role in the troubles he described to our group.
I can only say that the reason I chose to confront this man was because, growing up, I constantly received mixed messages from my father. I found that he would respond to me in almost schizophrenic ways, like saying that he was proud of me while he was closing the door in my face.
Over time, I learned that when my father did this, he genuinely did not realise he was doing it; it was subconscious. He suppressed his true feelings and gave responses that he felt he “ought” to give me, but his suppressed feelings – of which he was not conscious – would express themselves anyway in an uncontrolled and sometimes destructive way. As his gut reactions were usually in direct conflict with his “proper” responses, this left me terribly confused.
In this group session, I felt that I failed to get my point across. I was disappointed in myself, both for my earlier “absence” when I should have been listening, and that I offended the person I chose to confront. I left feeling concerned that I had alienated a group member who had relied on me for support. I felt guilty and was concerned that I might have been too intense. It was another challenging and very intense experience.