I woke up yesterday morning and realised it was T day. That made me happy and I felt much more motivated to get out of bed and get ready for work, I noticed how much knowing I would be going to Ts changed my spirit and thought that it was a nice way to feel.
I was looking forward to telling T all about my new mind-set. My new revelations. I hoped she would be as excited as me but I had this feeling that she wouldn’t. A couple of times in the past, I’ve gone to T and told her about something which has got me really excitedly empowered and have come away feeling a bit “brought back to earth”. An example of this was when I thought I had reached acceptance about my mother’s bad behaviour. I went in excited and came out a little deflated again. I think that made me a bit angry at the time but clearly in hindsight she was right because since then I am angry with my mother so it wasn’t real acceptance after all.
Yesterday was much the same unfortunately. I went to T and told her I was feeling good and that I was feeling like a new person. She smiled and asked what realisations have you had? And I told her how I was feeling in that both of my parents are emotionally immature, that I really have understood that it was/is them and not me and that what I said out loud to her in my last session about neither of them being able to handle my feelings felt like a big deal.
T asked how it felt that I had come to this realisation that neither of them could handle my feelings and I told her that I felt empowered by it not to let them carry on. She seemed a bit surprised and said that it was a hugely painful thing to understand (clearly she expected me to be upset) and I said, before she did, that perhaps my feelings of sadness will follow but that for the time being, just having understood this was helping me to feel more in charge. T said something about anger and I told her that I was feeling some anger about it, she suggested that perhaps at the moment the anger was fuelling the feeling of empowerment. I agreed.
We spoke a lot the rest of the session about my mother. About the fear she provokes in me (indisputable unfortunately) – I will go into details later . I told T what I had learnt in my book (adult children of emotionally immature parents) about the “rescue fantasy” and about the “role-self” – being that children with parents like mine create this fantasy that one day things will be different, that their parent will become all that they need and everything will be fixed. It is what keeps us going throughout the shit childhood. And the role-self being the self that you mould around what your parent needs you to be. I.e. not you real self which you repress because basically it won’t be accepted by them or could get you in more trouble/cause you to get access to even less love or whatever.
I told T that both applied 100% to me and that it was remarkable. She said that perhaps reading this book was helping me to feel less alone in this situation and perhaps it was validating something. I said it was, but she said (god I hate this) that I was intellectualizing again. I really bloody hate it when she tells me this – not because she is wrong, because she isn’t! but because so what?!– Here I am feeling all feisty and empowered and now this makes me feel rubbish again. I don’t want to focus on my lack of “feelings”, I want to celebrate my new knowledge! *I realise this is the child part of me kicking off and do understand as an adult that of course she would point this out – it is her job as my therapist etc* .
Today I started another book, one I read about 2.5 years ago which is called “You’re not crazy, it’s your mother!” which was good the first time around but incredible this time around. I think because I have accepted that it is true more now than then and so it’s still giving me those “Omg” moments when I can relate something in the book to her. I have started writing some notes on the things that apply to me which I might post in a day or two in case it helps anyone else and also as a reminder to myself in the future.
I was talking about how the weekend went when I saw both my parents separately – I told her how I felt about it which was pretty much that I just held my head up high and went to both the party and then my mother’s house and felt fine. T said that I go there and shut half of myself away so that I can survive. I said maybe. I don’t know. I told T that my Dad said at the party that he was scared my mother would ruin my future wedding and that he would walk me down the aisle (if I wanted him to) but that he wouldn’t do a speech. T said it was a shame that he couldn’t put his nervousness aside for that small amount of time for his daughter – I agreed.
This lead me to tell T that my mother has always said that either her or my stepdad would want to do a speech. I used to love this thought. A special speech all about me and admitted that I had the “rescue fantasy” that my Dad would give some speech admitting his crapness and I would shed a tear or two and we would hug and it would all be lovely… I had the fantasy that my mother would do a speech but I never really imagined what she would say. I said that now, I didn’t want my mother or stepdad giving a speech because my mother would just make it all about her and my stepdad would be doing it to get one over on my Dad in a kind of “Dad-Off”. T said that I didn’t have to have either of them give a speech. I was like.. mmmmmmmm. (this meant me thinking mother would kill me).
I said it would be a shame to not have any speeches if I’ve already had to give up on my parents giving speeches and T said that other people could do one if I wanted them to, perhaps my boyfriend’s Dad, my boyfriend etc… this thought filled me with horror. I couldn’t do that I said!! T asked why not? I said what would I say to my mother when she asked why I didn’t want her or my stepdad giving a speech?? T said that I don’t have to justify myself to her. I can simply say “I don’t want you giving a speech and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to come” – I rolled my eyes and said the backlash to that would be awful. T said “what is the worst that could happen?” – I told T I ask myself this all the time and didn’t know what the answer was, I said I know it sounded stupid.
T said it isn’t stupid but that it is very obvious to her that I can fall back into the trap of the “fear factor” with regards to my mum. I agreed with her and said I know, I know I do.
I told T that my boyfriend woke up feeling a little miserable on Sunday and T said that it was like he had an “emotional hangover” – I looked shocked because those were the exact words my boyfriend had used himself and T laughed. I told her the things that he had said about how he felt about being there. That he felt trapped and that he was constantly on edge, waiting to see if he was going to be attacked again like before. He also said that he struggled seeing me act like “all was forgiven” when I was there.
T said it must be hard for him but that he needs to know if she does it again, he can look her in the eye and tell her that he will not tolerate her behaving like that to him and that he will not put up with it. That he can walk out and that he can tell her “I know what you are doing, but if you want a relationship with your daughter and I then you cannot treat me this way” or words to that effect.. I said I agreed but I felt he worried I wouldn’t stick up for him.
T said he probably had a shock when she attacked him last time because saw how I changed (basically totally dissociated and stared into space feeling all weird). I agreed that was probably hard for him.
T then told me a story about how she once went with a friend of her’s to visit her narcissistic mother after they had been separated for 15 years. Apparently this narcissistic mother attacked my T (not her daughter) and T said that the reason she was telling me this story was that my mother and this narcissistic woman were very similar. That this woman attacked my T instead of her daughter and that my mother was doing the same via my boyfriend. I said to T that I know my mother is furious with me, I can see it in her eyes. T said she will be furious because you are not being her narcissistic supply anymore and that is what she wants.
I thought to myself last night/today that the “role-self” I came up with developed in my teens because I realised that being my true self, which my mum called “Saffy” (after the daughter in Ab Fab) wasn’t going to win her approval and eventually I guess I succumbed into being more like her. I started to drink, to smoke, to flirt around me, to go to clubs with her (yes, I know)…I went out with men – actual men, not boys my age that I didn’t even like.. I even slept with someone because she told me I should. This train of thought reminded me of a memory that I am ashamed of but have decided to write here because I think it is important on this journey of mine.
I once went to the pub with some friends and drank a lot of wine. One of the boys then invited everyone back to his flat for more drinks which I went to happily. They all started doing drugs and I decided that I would try it. I have no idea why because I had always been dead set against drugs! I even ended a relationship with a long-term ex because he started to do them… anyway I tried it and I did it various more times during that evening (the evening finished at 6am the following day!). I eventually got into a taxi home and when I got into bed, I didn’t feel very good and I just couldn’t believe I had done drugs, I had surprised myself. Then I had this thought…. Maybe I should text my mother (who was asleep in the other room) and tell her what I had been doing, I had this feeling that she would be proud of me. That it would really prove I wasn’t boring. That I wasn’t “saffy” after all. But the fear that I might be wrong and she might actually hate me for it stopped me telling her.
Isn’t that story just horrific? Isn’t it sick? I haven’t been able to admit this to anyone at all ever before and I’m not sure I will.. but I think it proves my point.
My boyfriend said to me “try to really think about what it is that you are scared of when you know your mum won’t like something. Like really think about it, I think the answer will be important” and I thought about it and said, well, I guess it all boils down to her abandoning me, leaving forever and there we have it.
The very basic point of it all is that I am petrified of upsetting or angering my mother in case she abandons me.