Rose, Thank you for your response. Yes it was painful and emotionally traumatic. I am aware that these experiences have left me feeling more carful about self-revealing. You imagined responses even now feel caring and open. I wish I could have had that experience. Perhaps it will help to explain the room set up. There were two chairs with a small end table between them, imagine a clock face with chairs at 10:00 and 6:00 and the table at 8:00. Looking straight ahead, I saw the corner of the room. I find it is often difficult for me to place a name on an emotion. I know I feel things, but naming them takesa bit of work. It is as if my emotional vocabulary is not easily accessible. I find that when asked what are you feeling, especially if it happens to be a troubling feeling, I approach the answer first through my head, not my heart. I recognize this as being emotionally cut off and guarded. But it was the process I went through at the time. So looking straight ahead, into the neutral corner was wee my eyes would go as I “figured out” my inner stuff. The counselor saw this as consructing a false narrative and being disingenuous.
My ministry in that place was affirmed by many in the congregation, but there were also several individual who remained asource of conflict. I was not able to get to a a different place in my relationship with them.
I have learned that there will be times when I can do my best in the moment, or over a span of time and I will be able to imrpove, learn and grow, but I will likely not be able to have the kind of connection with everyone in a congregation I would like to have. I am reconciled to this even if I am not reconciled in every challenging relationship.