Last night’s session.
Work had a bit of a weird atmosphere yesterday. It was very quiet and lots of people had taken the extra day off to make a longer long weekend. Mood wise I felt okay you know, not particularly happy but not very down either. Just so.
On the way home from the station last night I found myself with a bit of road rage 😡 and then when I got home found myself snapping at my boyfriend and feeling irritated. I drove to my session and noticed that I felt in a bad mood, nothing felt right. No song was right, I felt annoyed and thought that it was probably due to therapy somehow.
When I got there T asked me how I was and I said I was good and that I hadn’t thought about anything therapy related at all since my last session which wasn’t like me at all. T said perhaps something had been released and it had enabled me to have a bit of a break and “leave it” there with her. I agreed. I told T that although I had been feeling okay all weekend, since I got home from work tonight I felt a bit miserable. T asked if I was upset and I said, no, sorry I mean snappy, irritable – I clearly use the word “miserable” out of context when describing my own mood. T said perhaps because I had therapy tonight and I said that I thought the same although it wasn’t because I didn’t want to come, because I did. I said I didn’t want to cancel and I would have been very disappointed if she had cancelled, but perhaps the mood was because I knew I would have to think about and deal with this stuff again. She said that most people who get road rage are people who have passive anger.
We spoke about how the weekend had been and I showed T a photograph of my mother which she had put on Facebook of her and her latest group of BFFs at a festival. My mother was wearing a top which she had tied up to be a short crop-top and looked just ridiculous. T looked at the photo for quite a while and said how age inappropriate she looked and how fake her smile was. I agreed. T asked how it made me feel and I said it hadn’t bothered me, but I had laughed and thought how pathetic it was. T said that somewhere it would have affected me and said that my mother had no regard for the fact her daughters wouldn’t like to see their mother acting like that.
I mentioned my upcoming holiday in two week’s time and T said that she knows this is really hard, but perhaps now was the right time for her to give me her summer holiday dates (Bleugh). I said that was fine and got my phone out to put them in my diary. She said she was doing things differently this year and was going to take one week in the middle of July and then 2 weeks in September. I noted the dates and said that was all fine. T asked how it felt and I said it was fine and probably wouldn’t have much impact on me until just before. T said that she felt as I struggled to show her any needs, I probably felt I had to keep it in and that perhaps I didn’t let my true feelings about this out to her. I said maybe, it was hard to say because at the moment it felt okay but we would see.
T said she had been sitting there before I came in thinking about quite how hard I find it to show her I have a need/needs. I said yes. She said that she was thinking how my mum liked me to be vulnerable and as we had discussed before, was quite voyeuristic about it and so she wondered if I was up against that with her because she was encouraging my vulnerability?
This wasn’t something I had ever thought about before so I wasn’t really sure what to say or think. T said that she knows how thankful I always had to be to my mother for bringing me up or simply being my mother and she wondered if I felt I had to be the same towards her? Did I have to be thankful and “blow her ego up”… I was thinking, no obvious thoughts came to mind.
T said she wondered if sending emails to her with my gratitude kept me safer. Whether I was less likely to be attacked that way? She said that in her last break I had text her a text to show my gratitude towards her and our relationship and that maybe that was the safest way to do it but that deep down I may have felt angry with her.
T said again that at some point I may well start feeling angry and irritated by her. That I will make her what she needs to become for me to really deal with my anger and rage. She said that she didn’t tell this to scare me but wanted me to understand it so that I understood when it happened. I said it did scare me a bit because coming here was my safe haven and I didn’t want that to change. T said it would and could still be my safe haven, we would work through it.
T said that emailing on its own was showing a need but the content was hard for me to express. She asked me where in my body I felt it? I thought and I wasn’t sure. I said probably my head because I often get a headache if I’m down and said I have what I call “head cloud” which is where everything feels heavy and miserable sometimes. I said sometimes I just wake up like that. T asked if it’s after I’ve had dreams and I said yes sometimes. She said that sometimes our mood could be because of things that are unconscious to us at the moment and I agreed.
T said it was worth thinking about because some people might notice for instance that they get a stomach ache before they cry or something like that. I said I have noticed things before like I sometimes get heartburn before therapy and I’ve had it enough now to be able to explain it to myself “ah, it’s because I’m nervous about therapy tonight”. T nodded. She asked if perhaps I saw a colour or a picture or a shape? I said no… I said I don’t really understand but that I didn’t think so.
T asked how I feel when I am miserable or angry, where do I feel it in my body? I said I don’t know… this was hard because I felt a bit stupid not knowing the answer – t said it is okay and that it’s still a new concept for me but it’s worth thinking about.
I told her that I had a memory the other day that when I was young and my mother was getting ready to go out, which she did a lot, she would pout in the mirror and ask me how she looked. I would say “lovely” and she would always say “JUST lovely?” So I would say “beautiful” and she would say “just beautiful??”. I told T it became a joke that me and my sister would tease her with and before she asked we would reel off as many positive words as possible and that it was annoying. I said it was only now I realised how narcissistic that was – she was literally asking me and my sister to tell her how wonderful she was.
T asked if she would tell me nice things when I was going out and I said no. Never. She did the opposite. She always pointed out things that weren’t good enough, in front of my friends and that again it’s only now I realise how cruel that was. I said that I always tell my stepdaughter how lovely she looks and said that only the other day she had done her hair and I told her it looked nice but she said she was worried her ears looked big. I said they absolutely didn’t and then told my boyfriend on the quiet to tell her how nice she looked. I said even if she did have “big ears” or something, I would never, ever point it out to her.
T said a mother should tell her daughter she looks pretty. (Automatic thought was lucky T’s daughter probably got that growing up) – I know, jealous much.
I said, I hate the impact she’s…. then got choked and started crying but managed to stop myself quickly. T told me not to swallow it. I took a few deep breaths and said I know we’ve touched on this before, but… and T interrupted and said we will have to revisit it many times… I said the impact she’s had on my view of my body and looks makes me feel so angry.
I thought very briefly about telling T the extent of this but she said something and I decided not to. Part of me really wants her to understand the ways she has affected how I view myself physically but at the same time I am scared to point my flaws out to T because I don’t want her to look for them when they’ve been pointed out to her and become more obvious.
I said the last time we spoke about this, I had left her’s very upset and found the next day or two really very difficult. T said that’s because it came up at the end of the session and that when this happens it may well get me in touch with my anger. I said I think it did a bit last time because I felt angry that I had to go. T agreed and said you would have liked to stay. I said yes. This made me upset again. (For background when this happened I cried a lot when I got to the car and all the way home and again a lot at home. I kept hoping T would text or email me to see how I was because I left in so much pain but she didn’t and that felt cold).
T said I was angry with my mother even if I didn’t feel it and I said oh I know I am, I am not trying to pretend otherwise. I am very aware of my anger at her. I said this is why I am steering clear of her at the moment because I wouldn’t be able to stop myself if she said something.
T asked what sort of thing and I said if she made a comment on my weight or clothes etc I think I would lose it. T asked what I would like to say? I said I didn’t have a clue but that perhaps I would tell her she looked like a geriatric Barbie doll. T burst into laughter but stopped herself quickly.
She suggested that I wrote a letter to her and dispelled some of my anger. I said I had written letters before that I had read to T and she said I had, but they were much more “in the head” and this might help with the anger. I said I wouldn’t know where to start. She said not to worry about sentences or spelling and just to write words or scribbles or whatever I felt I needed to do. I said maybe.
I’ve since thought about this and note that I feel some reluctance which surprises me because I’ve always wanted T to “give me homework” or some sort of project to do and yet I don’t see myself doing this at the moment. Maybe I’m scared of my anger or something, I don’t know.
I said to T that it is really hard that she doesn’t even know I am so angry with her. I said that usually when you are upset with someone, they know about it and it is hard to be so angry and yet have to act as though everything is normal when I speak to her. For example she text me Sunday inviting me to a festival that she was at (don’t ask!). T asked what it would mean to have replied and said “I am upset/angry with you at the moment”? I told her that then she would ask why and I can’t tell her and even if I did it would be completely useless because she can’t accept any criticism or blame for anything and it wouldn’t get me anywhere. T said that neither of my parents were able to take any blame at all for anything. I agreed.
I said that I genuinely do not want an apology off of her – I have given up hope that things may ever be different: that she might change one day into what I want her to be – I said that if she did apologise now, it wouldn’t help, it would be too little too late so it isn’t that…
T said you just wish she was a normal mother? I said yes. I told T that my anger and sadness were very mixed up and it was hard to say which I felt because I wasn’t sure. With that I got teary again and as I tried to push back the tears, they came out quite hard and forcefully and I let the tears come for a bit. I think T said “oh Twinkletoes” and that seemed to make it worse but in a kinda nice way… I wasn’t entirely sure what I was crying about.
I think we spoke about some more stuff but nothing is jumping out right now. I left T’s feeling okay-ish although I had to sit in the car for 5 minutes before driving off and I cried again and felt so very sad. When I got home I was very quiet which is very unlike me, I didn’t have anything to say and I didn’t really have any conscious thoughts, I just laid on the sofa until bed time. Eventually my boyfriend came over and asked if it was a hard session which I said yes it was… and cried again as he gave me a cuddle. He later asked me if something had happened and I said no, it hadn’t.
I wish I could explain to both him and to myself what I am crying about specifically but I can’t. I think it is just the sadness about the whole situation really. I wish it wasn’t reality but it is and it sucks.
T hit the nail on the head when she said that I was having to re-write my history and figure out what is and isn’t true and realise the damage that has been done. I just feel like I am in the middle of it all at the moment and it does feel overwhelming at times…
The tears could be about the body image stuff and the anger and shame that brings up in me… it could be the breaks coming up.. it could be the neediness and the fear that brings.. I don’t know, but when I got in the car last night I thought how quickly my session had gone and how it just didn’t seem long enough.