Tuesday 27th June 2017
As I expected, I had to read my “Fairytale Ending” blog out loud to T Tuesday night and it was bloody tough.
I told T that I didn’t want to read it out loud but she encouraged me to give it a go. She told me to take my time and to remember to breathe. I felt so nervous about reading some of it to T, mainly the bits about her, but I also knew that I would cry my way through it as usual and I guess I was scared about that too.
Anyway, I did read it and it was very, very painful. I cried pretty much the whole time, sobbed actually, the full works: nose-blowing, make-up running, noise producing sobbing.
But, I DID do it and I am really glad I did.
I couldn’t look at T for pretty much the entire thing because I felt so vulnerable and scared. So exposed. T was reassuring and comforting as always. She kept saying “it’s okay, I am here“. She said some other things too but if I am honest, they just felt like words to make me feel better rather than the truth. Things like “I can see how intelligent the child was – is, she is very clever. She works things out, she understands things” – I just brushed that comment off because I don’t feel that is true at all. I am not saying that to fish for compliments, I genuinely do not believe I am, or have ever been, intelligent.
The first sentence to make me cry was “Someone who would listen to all of the pain and have genuine compassion…” – that surprised me because I didn’t think that was a particularly weighty sentence, but when reading it to her it suddenly became rather poignant and was the first sentence to make my voice crack.
The second was reading ” I think I am scared sometimes by the depth of feelings I have for her and how painful the loss would be if she went away“. I broke down in tears at this and T told me that the reason I was finding this so hard to say was that by telling her how strong my feelings are for her, I gave her the ability to hurt me. I agree that is probably the fear. Letting someone really know how much you need them, want them and love them does open you up to the possibility of a lot of pain doesn’t it. I’ve never thought of myself as someone who has been guarded with her heart or someone who takes a long time to open up, but with T it seems that is how I am and I can only assume it is because it is so important with her.
In relationships in the past I think I always subconsciously knew that I could find another boyfriend (talking younger years here, not serious relationships) whereas with T, it feels like a vital opportunity that I absolutely cannot fuck up. T said that perhaps I was worried that not only would she abuse my love and trust in her but that she would enjoy the power she had like my mother did. That she might lord it over me. I agreed with her. My mother played on and enjoyed the control and power she had over me, particularly when I was vulnerable or crying and needy and so that was most definitely a fear here.
When I read the part about how I think the reason I write here, read and comment on other people’s blogs and read therapy-related books is to try to keep some sort of connection to T, she suggested that I was using them transitionally. The same purpose that someone would use a transitional object. She said that actually it was very clever.
[I reached the end of the first page at this point and T asked me if I wanted to stop or carry on. She told me I was doing really well and said “see, nothing bad has happened, you are still here, nothing has exploded or anything“. She told me that it felt so unnatural and scary to me because I haven’t ever been allowed to have feelings and so I had to fight past that. I wasn’t sure and didn’t say anything. I was thinking.. half of me wanted to maintain the courage and keep reading, to fight against everything telling me to stop – the other half was aware that T may be suggesting it for a reason. She has suggested before that I may “purge” a bit and almost punish myself and push myself too far. I told her I would carry on for now.]
I read the part about having “verbal diarrhoea” and T said “awww” which sounded weird to me because I think I only really associate that word with sarcasm but she wasn’t being sarcastic. I cried as I read “I have so much to say, so much to share, so much to be soothed and so little time”.
We discussed what I said about the difference between Tuesday and Thursday sessions and how I feel so different in them. That it feels that on Tuesdays the child is there, whereas Thursdays it is the adult. T said that the psyche is very clever and it is trying to protect me. She said it is because the gap is longer and it knows I need to get through Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday before I can see her again and so it does what it can to keep me safe. I told her that I understood that but that the child part of me feels it misses out on a Thursday and that it is frustrating. T said she completely understood this but said I shouldn’t worry about it for now because she believes that in time I will be able to bring the child part into my Thursday sessions more and more. She said she thinks starting the second session is what enabled me to bring her my child part in the first place and that without the second session I may not have been able to bring it to her (which makes total sense to me because I was not aware of the child part at all for the first two years when I only had one session a week). She told me to trust in my process. That actually really helped.
When I read the part to T about wanting her to think of me as a competent “normal” adult just sometimes she said “you are worrying about my feelings” and said that this was because I had to look after my mother in all of her needs and feelings growing up and so naturally I was now worrying about her and how she felt and that I was probably worried I was being too much for her. I told her that I did worry I was too much, but equally it wasn’t so much that I was worried about how T felt, but that I didn’t want her to think of me as pathetic. T told me that she did not think I was pathetic and that I really need to learn to trust that she can look after herself as well as me. I note that in my head I thought “but that’s too much for you to do!” and it is only really today that I realise how sad that thought is because I guess a parent should be able to do that for themselves and their child but my mother couldn’t/didn’t which is why it seems such a foreign idea to me. T said that she saw all sides/parts of me and that if I only brought her the competent adult, then we would be rather stuck. We laughed.
We spoke about therapy breaks. I haven’t ever shown T any anger about the breaks. I have cried about them to her once I think, but this time I read her the words about how it feels so cruel and how it feels like I am almost tricked into trusting her not to leave – for her to then leave. T told me that she agreed, that the breaks are bloody unfair. She told me that she understood that right now it felt the breaks were purely for her benefit and not for mine, but that in time that will change. She said that she really did understand and asked me if perhaps I felt angry with her? I said no, I wasn’t angry at HER but just at the whole idea in therapy that you have to get so bloody needy and vulnerable and depend on someone so much for them to then disappear and leave you alone. She said that perhaps the anger towards her was still too scary at the moment, but that in time it would come and that it would feel “liberating”. I thought to myself that seemed like a strong word and I assume that the reason it would feel liberating would be that it would be a transferencial (is that a word?) reaction perhaps – what I couldn’t do or say to my mother? I don’t know. She also said that her next break was now 2 weeks away and that may be why this was on my mind. Eugh 2 weeks… that isn’t long.
We discussed the adult/child conflict and I told her how I did understand it all in adult terms but that the child didn’t.
Moving on, I read “Adult me knows that I am an adult now and that I cannot now get all that I missed and long for. That it is too late” and T interjected quickly and said “but all is NOT lost – you can still get something, there are things I can give you” I didn’t look at her when she said this and kind of carried on reading immediately, not pausing to talk to her about what she said. I continued “I have a hole in my heart that is exposed to the elements and it feels like no amount of plasters or stitches or even filler can make it better” I broke down again here. T said “No, plasters and stitches won’t help, I know” and I said to her that I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful to her and what she does give me, she said I didn’t sound ungrateful at all…I said that it all feels a bit artificial. Like filler. Like I have to accept that the hole in my heart will have to be stuffed with “stuff”, like cotton wool or something but it isn’t “stuff” that I want it to be filled with. It felt like the cracks would still be there – I am not sure if this makes much sense?
Now for the cringiest bit…
I read T the section about how it hurts knowing she is a mum and that her children get her in a way that I don’t – and never will. I read that when she said “my children” it hurts and how I tried to keep a poker-face. T told me that I absolutely didn’t need to hold it in or keep a poker-face, she said I didn’t need to do that to protect her from my feelings that it was okay for me to tell her and show her how it made me feel. I kept my head down and ignored this too… I definitely did not want to look at her. I continued:
“I can’t ask her things that I want to know and so it isn’t really the same is it? Because what I “love” is the feeling I get because you can’t love someone you don’t even know”
T said it is interesting how I assume I can’t ask her the things that I want to know and that she has never told me that – that I have made this boundary myself. I laughed this off and said “I knew you would say that” she said that of course I know her. She said that I knew where she lived, what car she drove, that “others lived here“, what her personality was like.. I nodded in agreement but it wasn’t what I meant. I think she probably knew that and was just trying to make me feel better. She said that as much as I thought I wanted to know lots of other things about her, that I wouldn’t be able to handle it and that it would be too much for me. She said “me even saying “my children” is too much” and I thought to myself agghhh this is why I didn’t want to tell you – now you won’t tell me anything at all!! So I said to her “I don’t want to feel like that!!” and felt a bit angry with myself. She said she knew that and that it wouldn’t always be that way. I kind of regret having told her that but she said it was very important for her to “protect me” in this.
I read her my dream and she said that her take on it was “sneaking up behind you” or “creeping up your behind”… she said that she thought perhaps I was scared about what was yet to come and I said yes straight away. I most definitely was scared about what was yet to be felt, experienced, remembered… how could I not be. She said “what you haven’t yet remembered perhaps?” and I agreed. Bleugh what a horrible thought.
“My adult wants to make it all better for the child. To cuddle and love her better and yet the child is saying “No! not you!! – someone else!!””
T said that it was actually really good that the adult in me wanted to look after and protect the child because it would be really easy for me to be vicious and angry to the child part and shame it. I told her that although there was that part, I was so angry about the fact that I should have to do that because I didn’t want to. I wanted it to be someone else that fills that for me, I don’t feel like I can do that, like I WANT to do it and so whilst I can be kind to the child part at times, I can’t and won’t be its mum. T said that I couldn’t do this yet, that this is why I needed her. I needed to get some of my unmet needs met first by her, but that eventually I would be able to do this. T said that it was awfully unfair that I should have to do this at all of course and that she understood my anger. That I was completely entitled to my anger. I feel angrier today than yesterday. Today I am very grumpy.
I had finally finished reading it. Thank God. I felt emotionally exhausted. I had cried so much and when I looked at the time (for the hundredth time), it was 8.20pm so I only had ten minutes left which felt scary because I had just read all of the painful stuff and I guess I was hoping we could sit and chat and I would get time to calm down for longer than that before leaving.
T asked me what bits I felt I would most like to re-visit or discuss. I skimmed through it and said to her that none of it felt very important now…. we both laughed at the ridiculousness of that statement! I said that it felt it had lost its power and importance all of a sudden and she said that having read it out loud, having shared it with her, having been able to access the emotions and cry through it would have been cathartic and that is why it no longer felt so scary, but that there was a lot to it and it was all very big stuff.
I said the dream didn’t seem important and neither did the breaks right now.
She said that I was clearly very in touch with both the child and adult parts of me now and I asked her what exactly IS the child part? What does that even mean? I said that I’ve never been so aware of it before but that clearly it isn’t an actual child in me, so what is it? T said it is the feeling part. That the adult part of me is the rational part and the child carries the feelings and all of the historic stuff, the pain, the fears, the worries etc. It is more unfiltered.
I told T that I know it sounds weird but I have this image/memory of me about 6 years old in the place I lived in at the time, I am in my nightie and I am walking up the long corridor which went from the front door to the back of the house and I am all alone and scared. T asked me why it was that I felt I was 6, she said I often say 6 years old and she wondered if there was a reason I thought this? I said no, it just feels that I am about 6 and I look about that age. I said that perhaps it isn’t even a memory, perhaps I’ve made it all up or something. T said she felt this stuff went right back to birth, to when I was a baby but perhaps the reason for “feeling 6” is that it is the rough age when you start to remember things and have explicit memories.
T said that she was certainly not the perfect mother but that is my fantasy because it is what I need right now. I looked at her when she said this for probably only the second time in the entire hour. She looked quite serious and sincere when she said that, but I still don’t believe it ha!
T said “when we haven’t been given what we need from a good enough mother as little one’s, all we have to go by is our fantasy of what it would look like to have that. For it to feel safe it becomes an idealised “perfect” fantasy of a mother who can meet all of our needs in a perfectly attuned way. A golden fantasy that feels safe because a perfect mother cannot hurt us. So it’s perfectly normal and to be expected that you hold the fantasy of Miss Honey close to your heart – that is what she represents for you.”
She also told me to remember that I do still have a competent adult part and that is a good thing. She said in the breaks I need that adult. That I still need to be able to go to work, cook for myself, wash etc and that I shouldn’t forget that I have both the child AND the adult otherwise it can feel far too scary and overwhelming.
End of session
Tuesday night’s dream
I had been on a rollercoaster. I sat on the ride facing someone else. I closed my eyes tight and thought to myself that I just had to survive it. That I wouldn’t die, but I might feel very sick and that I might hate every second of it. I did it and although it wasn’t pleasurable to me at all, I did survive and I even debated going on a second time and opening my eyes that time.
I think that is a very symbolic dream given the session.