Thank you to everyone that commented on my post last night ahead of going back to T’s, I really appreciated the thoughts, comments and birthday wishes. You are all lovely!
All went well last night. Obviously. I mean I knew it would because it always does and because T is lovely but yet there is always that trepidation nonetheless.
T opened the door, smiley and kind faced as always. I sat down and made small talk about the weather, how hot it is, she asked whether I had got my air-con re-gassed in my car yet and we laughed about the fact that I hadn’t (we’ve had this conversation SO many times). I told her about my holiday and we compared notes because T had been there in the past.
T asked me how I felt since our last session where I was very upset. She had my blog in front of her and asked if I was happy for us to go through it. I agreed. I told her that I felt absolutely fine during the break and my holiday and that actually, I felt okay only a few hours after I wrote the blog which I sent to her.
T said it was very courageous of me that I sent my writing to her because it really helped her to understand. She said that my writing was beautiful (eek!) and that the image I had chosen (from Google Images) was beautiful too. She pointed to a piece of artwork that she has on her wall and told me that it symbolised the same thing. I didn’t know that and so was surprised. I told her that I had often wondered what it was/represented but that I hadn’t known. She told me that perhaps my subconscious had known which was what had drawn me to the image I selected. .. maybe!
She asked me how it felt that I sent it and whether her response had helped. I told her that the one saving grace I have is that when I am “really in it” meaning really upset and feeling the feelings, that any embarrassment seems to go away for a short while and my neediness takes over. I needed to write that blog and get it all out and make some sense of things – and I needed her to read it too. The embarrassment and shame that I always feel follow shortly after.
T told me that I had absolutely nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of. She told me how absolutely normal these feelings were and that I really didn’t need to be embarrassed. She said that she hoped in time I would feel less embarrassment. I said that this had got better so hopefully it would continue to. For example, in the past, knowing I was going back after a break to discuss that blog would have filled me with dread all day and probably made me feel rather unwell where I would have been very nervous – whereas yesterday it didn’t feel half that bad. There is definite improvement.
T read some of my words back to me, pausing at certain parts to either look at me or for me to comment on. I told T at one part that when I was crying before I had written down any of my feelings, my stepdaughter came into my head – the fact that she had wanted a night at home with her mother before coming to us following a school trip. I said to T that all of a sudden I understood that. I FELT that, in my heart like a physical pain. As I said this, my voice broke and I cried a little. T looked at me as though she completely understood what I meant and she understood quite how painful that was. I said that the realisation had been very hard. T said that she needed a “top up of mum” before going back off to her Dad’s (and mine) for the weekend and I said that I understood that now, but I never had before. I said a little bit of me was angry with her for this (read: jealous) because she had something that I had never had. Obviously I don’t really feel that way, it was just a fleeting jealous thought.
T read some more of my words and told me that everything I had described about my wishes for things I could do with her such as drinking tea, putting my feet up, having a blanket: some of them could be met. She said I was welcome to put my feet up on the sofa, I was welcome to use the blanket which was on the back of the sofa, we could have a cup of tea if that was something I really wanted etc. I told her that in a way I knew I could use the blanket but it wasn’t quite the same. It wasn’t really what I meant. She seemed to know that already anyway but said that some of the things I missed out on, the things that I crave, could be met now if I wanted.
I told her that I was a bit confused because I had read such conflicting things online about how therapy works. I told her that I had read the whole point of this type of therapy was to re-parent me, make me stronger and more emotionally mature, then I would detach and become more complete and adult. More whole. Yet I had also read that T could not be a replacement for my mother because I am now an adult and that was impossible and it was unhealthy if I was allowed to think of her that way. T said that clearly she couldn’t say to me “I will be your mummy now” because that was not practical and was not fair. She said that would be harmful to me. She said that as hard as it was for me to hear, she couldn’t be my mother but that she could help me to internalise the things that I missed out on that would help me. For example, internalising her kind voice. Making me feel that I was special and important. Making me feel validated, feel that my feelings are important and okay – that anger and sadness were allowed and all of those very important things. She said that the therapy could help to re-parent me in some ways. I said that I understood that I just wasn’t really sure what I could hope for from her and what I couldn’t.
I somehow plucked up the guts and told her that on my birthday I had hoped she would text me. I said that my boyfriend had told me that she wouldn’t and that she was not “my friend” and that it felt weird to me that we couldn’t consider one another friends because I feel so close to her (even though I obviously understand I am a patient in therapy really). T said that firstly if she had text me happy birthday that would not necessarily mean we were “friends” but that we did have a close connection and she understood why I would like to have had a birthday text. She asked me if I wished she had of text me and I said that although I do in a way, yes, perhaps it would have brought up other things so maybe it was best she didn’t. T said that it didn’t matter if it brought up anything – that we would talk about it and that I didn’t ever have to worry that things couldn’t be handled between us. That nothing would ruin anything and all thoughts and feelings were allowed here with her. That we would work with anything that came up. She then explained that the reason she hadn’t text me was because I had previously told her that her texting me might be hard for me because she might text on some occasions and not others – that I might feel misunderstood. Ultimately, that it could end up hurting me somehow. I said that although I did feel that way, I felt that my birthday was different. She said that she just had to be very careful not to hurt me in any way and that as we had previously agreed she would not contact me at any time, at least I knew where I stood – consistency. I said I understood that.
T said that much like my step-daughter needed “topping up” by her mother, I could “pop in” but just not in the physical sense. She said that is why she tries to encourage me to contact her if I need to. I guess that is why she has said to me before that I could “check in with her” if I needed to. That made more sense to me now. I used to wonder how that was beneficial to me.
She said that although I might think I would like to be able to pop in and see her whenever I wanted to, as often as I liked and at whatever time, that the reality would actually be very messy and not be what I thought it would. I am not sure I totally got this but I agreed anyhow.
She read the sentence about me only having her on “paid, restricted kinda borrowed time” and said that I really should try not to think of it this way because it was “horribly punitive”. She said that I pay for her to be there with me, doing that job but that all of her care and affection is completely free. She said those things couldn’t be brought: that it does not work that way. She said to try not to think of it like that but that she understood the pain of the restricted time – that sometimes it just doesn’t feel enough.
I got teary again at this point and told her (through tears and snot) that I think this feeling reminds me of the fact that my mother told me so often growing up that raising me was a chore, that she hated being a parent, that I was a horrible child, an even worse teenager, that she thought kids were disgusting – basically that she was only there because it was “her job” and that it is horrible to think at times like this, when regressed, that she is only there for me because it is her job too. That I just wanted someone to be there for me because they wanted to – not because it was their job. I had never said or written these words before, they just came out. They were really raw. Very deep feelings that hurt to say out loud. I was emotional and I really felt a need for her to properly “see” me and understand this in that moment.
T did seem to get what I was saying and repeated that her care was free and that she did truly care for me – that I was not a chore to her. She said that she missed me (actual words) whilst I was away, particularly at my normal session times. That she did think of me on my birthday and wondered whether I had a nice holiday. She looked at me and I half-smiled and she said “but you don’t believe that, do you?” and I laughed and said no. I told her it isn’t that I don’t believe her as such, but that it just doesn’t really feel true.
She asked what my fantasy was about what happens to me when I am not around and I said that although the adult part of me knows I don’t stop existing to her – to others when I am not around, the other part of me, perhaps the more childish part DID feel that way. That I would be forgotten. T explained that this was because unfortunately I did disappear to my mother when not around and that I wasn’t taught to feel that I was special. T also said that she wasn’t in it for the money. She told me that if something happened and I could no longer pay her, that she wouldn’t just stop me coming. That she would never do that.
T read these parts to me “It’s probably also a bit of the inner child in me mourning the loss of the mother I would have loved to have”
“I guess it is the sadness of knowing I won’t see her for a while mixed with the sadness that I can only have her on paid, restricted kinda borrowed time.. mixed with the slap in the face blatant comparison of her and my mother. Of what I could have… and what I do actually have.”
I told her that the comparison was just suddenly so obvious, so intense and painful. That it felt so hugely unfair. She seemed to get this immediately and said that she understood how painful this was. I told her that the things I said I would have liked to do with her like drink tea and chat on unlimited time sounded silly but that they were small examples of the things I would like. T said they didn’t sound silly at all because it was more about what those things represented such as nurturing, warmth, understanding, comfort, home, safety. I was teary and said yes. She said that I wrote the words “emotionally fed” and she hoped she could help to offer me that feeling to a degree. I said she did, that I always left feeling happier and better. I said that although clearly I can’t remember being a baby and being held to my mother’s breast and fed – I just know it didn’t happen how it should have. That I can just FEEL it in my whole body. That wasn’t there, it was missing, the love and attachment was absent. T seemed to know exactly what I meant and she said of course I did. She said you don’t have to remember a time and date of an event to remember something and that she knew exactly what I meant.
I said where I had written the words “It just hit me like a steam train” that it really did feel that way. Sudden and brutal.
T said that she wanted me to know that she truly really respected the attachment that I have towards her and that she would never do anything to intentionally hurt me. She said she knew how scary it was for me to feel this way – which it sure is.
I told T what I had written in my blog “Transference” and she agreed with me that it was some sort of repeat – that it had triggered off some old feelings and said well done for being able to see that.
T then read the last few sentences about my angry song and said she was very pleased there was a bit of anger there. She asked how it would be possible for me to NOT feel angry. That there was so very much to be angry about. All of the things I should have had that I didn’t, the fact that I was now having to spend so much time, effort and money in therapy to fix something that shouldn’t have needed fixing.
I asked her if she had listened to the song and she said she had not because she thought we should listen to it together. I warned her the song wasn’t particularly “nice” and she said that “nice and angry don’t tend to go together”. We played it – I felt a little awkward and didn’t know where to look as it played but at the end she said she could totally understand why I related to it so much and that she thought the song was powerful and the words very deep too. I told her that I played it very loudly when driving and it always made me feel better. I said the line “with her hand in my head” was very relevant to me because that is how it always felt with my mother – she controlled me so much. She may as well of had her hand in my head physically as well pulling at my thoughts.
We spoke a little about music and the power of expressing yourself with music. I told T that when I was young I spent all of my time in my room playing music and so I often felt very strongly for certain songs and could almost always link a song to a place or a time or a memory. T asked me if I knew a particular song, I didn’t so she played it and we sat together and listened to it. The song was about someone accepting every part of you and not leaving. Someone who saw the “dark” side of you as well as the light and loved you just as much. The song made me emotional and I did get teary. T said she thought I would like it and I liked it even more just knowing that she knew me enough to know what I may like.. does that make sense? If anyone is interested the song is “Everything” by Alanis Morissette –
I did mention the whole step-kids not mentioning my birthday thing to her and said that I had noted how it had annoyed me and that I did know that I probably shouldn’t feel that way: but that I did. I said that perhaps it was because of the way my mother made me look after her feelings and the way I was always forced to make a big deal out of her and her boyfriends’ birthdays (the things I wrote in my blog yesterday basically) and she did agree. She said that it wouldn’t have been personal. That yes, that could be encouraged along but that also the kids may have felt a little left out that they weren’t around for my birthday (or indeed for our holiday).
T said she was conscious that we only had a few minutes left and said that she wanted to see how I thought I was going to feel when I left. I told her that I thought I would feel fine, good, better but that sometimes I surprised myself. I told her that knowing I couldn’t/wouldn’t see her for a week or something was somehow instantly hard for me but I knew I would be back on Thursday and that the time went by so quickly so I thought I would be okay.
And I am, Other than having a chest infection and cold today I feel okay. No therapy hangover or left over sadness. Perhaps I am just glad that I am back there with T and feeling as though someone completely “gets” me.