Apprehension for tomorrow’s session 

Tomorrow is Tuesday.. Tuesday night is T night.. Tomorrow and Tuesday equal the first session since telling T I felt so angry with her for her misattunement. Aggghhhhh.

There is something about Sundays that make me feel I’ve “got through the worst” in terms of nearly being back in the room with T again. I don’t actually know why considering I still have the rest of Sunday and then the whole of Monday and Tuesday… but there we go and yesterday as I had this thought I felt some nerves. Time to face the music and sit and speak to her about it all. This is a scary thought. Not only am I scared about the anger but I’m scared I will feel that horrendous sadness again. I half expect I will when I talk her through it or maybe when I leave again. 

I read the most beautiful blog yesterday about how much someone loves their T and  all the reasons why. They listed out all of the many ways their T showed up for them time and time again, the things they had done above and beyond their “job” and various other lovely things. The post made me emotional for two reasons.

1) Because it was so lovely to read in such detail someone having such a wonderful bond with their T, and

2) Because it made me realise how wonderful my T is, how much I love her, how thankful I am for everything that she does and how I can’t imagine life without her in it.

And then came the guilt..

Then I felt bad. How have I actually had the cheek to feel so angry with T yet alone actually tell her about it! I couldn’t even wait to tell her when I next saw her, it was eating me alive and I had to get rid of it and give it to her…. Eek.

So then I found myself thinking oh shit, why did I do that? Why did I tell her? This was made even worse by the fact that almost instantly after telling T that I felt these things, I didn’t feel them any more……. Because I understand I had given them to her to hold.

And that feels horrible now.

And then comes the confusion..

Because I do understand that in psychotherapy we are meant to access our anger. We are meant to learn that it isn’t destructive and we are meant to learn that it can be survived. I understand that there is a lot of transference at play and that we are meant to now deal with painful feelings we weren’t safe enough to express back in our childhoods – that this is a huge part of the healing in therapy.  I guess that knowledge was what enabled me to tell her with the adult knowledge that it was okay and that it wouldn’t kill her.

But I am starting to feel the apprehension of actually having to SEE her and talk to her about it all because now I feel unreasonable and guilty.

I also read something on WordPress where someone said how horribly upset and scared they were about the harsh fact that their T could just leave. Their T could literally decide one day she wanted a new job or that she was done with that client and that reminded me of how awfully painful it is for me when I think about how much I need T and how she doesn’t “need” me at all. Not one bit… and that hurts so much.

So she could quit and I would be utterly powerless over that decision… She would be fine and I would fall apart… God when I think about the effect it would have on me if she terminated me I can’t bare it and then that reminds me of quite how weak I am compared to her. Of how needy and helpless I am compared to her and I don’t like that dynamic because it makes me feel pathetic.

Those thoughts lead to other thoughts about how confident she is. She is so knowledgeable and comfortable in her skin it just oozes off of her in the way that she holds herself, the way she stands, the way she talks – everything – and she shows me repeatedly how intelligent she is and I admire her for it …

yet it makes me feel a little unsafe at the same time because knowledge is power and all that, right?

I then wonder does she ever think she can be wrong? I worry that when I sent her my anger email that there is absolutely not one single tiny morsel in her body that even contemplates that SHE could have done something wrong or that she could be wrong or that she was misattuned – I worry she just laughs to herself that its just me being me… being silly.. being needy and stroppy and childish…. I panic that she just humours me and thinks to herself “aww bless her, let her shout and scream, she will soon realise”.. or something like that.

Has anyone else ever had thoughts like this about sending/showing their anger to their T? Is it just me?

My mother did not allow me to be angry with or at her and if and when I did, it didn’t end well. My mother is also completely incapable of acknowledging any mistakes or saying sorry and so I guess there is a bit of transference at play in that I assume T will be the same (despite adult knowledge that T isn’t likely to respond that way)…

So let’s say for arguments sake that T isn’t defensive tomorrow and she acknowledges my pain and handles it well then I will probably feel so much guilt.. and if she doesn’t do that I will feel like she thinks she is too mighty and powerful and clever to take my anger seriously so there isn’t really a winning situation is there?

LOL wow this is everywhere…. Sorry for the verbal diarrhoea.. it just floods out when I start typing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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She’s upped the ante

Oh Wow.

So I got to work this morning and things were manic. I’ve been covering our coordinator for the last week as I always do when she is on holiday or unwell and that means I am the person that allocates cover for staff that are unwell or on holiday and means I am the go to person for the support staff and sort out capacity and answer any queries etc. I was rushing around helping one of our lawyers with some urgent work and I saw work friend in my peripheral vision. As I said yesterday I am trying to just stay out of her way at the moment as I have no intention of trying to be the one to fix this latest spat again. So I kept my head down and looked at the piece of paper I was holding.

She then (very loudly) tutted, sighed and made a comment along the lines of “Oh for Christ’s sake” and I just ignored it and carried on with my work.

An hour later she “Replied To All” to an email I had sent to the entire department. This included lawyers and support staff. She replied to all to ask something which she thought I had not dealt with and in my eyes, tried to make me look bad again. She could have emailed only me (or phoned me, or asked me face to face).  I was furious and so I replied only to her and told her nothing was needed because it had been dealt with. I wanted to tell her never to do that to me again, but thought better of it. Trying to keep our spat separate from work – unlike her.

I then went to lunch an hour ago with two of my other friends and we were sitting at a table eating our lunch when she appeared in the canteen. Obviously this made me feel very awkward and tense (nervous if truth be told!) because I didn’t want to ask her to join me because we are not talking and I am keen to actually resolve our issues and not just do the usual sweep it under the rug thing… she then proceeded to slam her food tray down on the table right next to us and pull out her chair loudly to make a point. She then sat there on her own and began to eat her lunch.

I felt SO uncomfortable because not only was she sitting on her own which made me feel guilty, she was so close she could hear everything I was saying which is just awkward and made me feel as though I couldn’t relax even at lunch. Like it isn’t bad enough getting things shouted out at me when I am walking to the bathroom at work! Anyway I decided to try and ignore my feelings and so just carried on eating and talking to the others.

A few minutes later she jumped up from her chair, causing the chair to shriek across the floor, slammed her food on a tray and stormed over to my table where he stared at me in a way only your mother could – a total look of disapproval and anger and shouted (literally shouted) “REALLY??? REALLY?????????” then stormed off.

The “Really?” was clearly her way of voicing her disapproval and anger at me not inviting her to join our table. She is now back in victim mentality and knowing her as well as I do, she will probably now cry and tell anyone at work that I am ignoring her for no reason and excluding her, forcing her to sit alone at lunch time. I will be made to look like the bad guy as always.

I am so sick of this. I try so hard to fight against my feelings of just smoothing things over for the sake of keeping the peace, but I don’t want to be emotionally blackmailed like this anymore and so I am trying to stay true to myself and stick to my feelings that if she wants to join me for lunch, we clearly need to resolve our differences first and have an adult discussion – not at work and not in front of other people.

She needs to stop making me feel obligated and guilty if I don’t see her and playing on the fear that she knows I feel not knowing when she will ignore me or huff and puff or verbally shout at me.

She needs to separate our friendship from work and stop with the emails and she needs to respect the role I am in when I am covering this coordinator and respect that as everyone else does (i.e. when she decided she was unwell the other day and couldn’t come into the office, she should have told me, but she didn’t because she feels she is older and therefore has no obligation to tell me – despite the fact that she DOES tell the actual coordinator when she is here and she is younger anyway!!).

It isn’t much to ask is it?

So now what do I do? I am now feeling even more tense and nervous and awkward – the atmosphere is awful as you can imagine. All of this is intolerable, I do not want to be in this position and I do not want to feel I have to sort things out just to avoid feeing bullied at work. She is 53 for goodness sake.

Get Out Of Jail Free Card: Toxic Friendships/Relationships

I don’t know if anyone remembers me talking about my work friend a while ago, the lady who is in her mid-fifties that gets very angry and sulks if I don’t go to lunch with her? Well, earlier this week before things went to shit with T, she did it again. The story itself is pretty long and boring so I won’t bother to go into that, but she is currently doing her usual sulking and ignoring me thing which is seriously pathetic! Anyway, me and my boyfriend have just been out to lunch together and we were talking about it and it just made me realise a few things very clearly.

I am suddenly so aware of the amount of friendships and relationships I have had over the years with toxic people or people who are dysfunctional to me somehow. I realise that I attracted these people because it was a familiar dynamic to me. For example I was used to being put down and taken the piss out of by my mother and so I attracted a narcissist as a best friend for 8 years right up until she gave me the perfect get out of jail free card last August. One down.

I then started to realise that work friend is also unhealthy and I realised a while ago that she was also attracted to me for similar reasons. She isn’t out-rightly abusive like the other friend was.  She wouldn’t call me names or tell me I looked ugly BUT she does demand my constant attention and if I choose to do something other than see her, I do get punished. Emotional blackmail.

I found myself saying to my boyfriend today that I was secretly quite enjoying the fact she hasn’t spoken to me since the beginning of the week because I felt relaxed and able to do what I wanted to with my lunch hours at work without feeling guilty or without having to be the subject of her aggression when I walked past her desk (she has previously shouted things out to me as childish as “OH BYE THEN!!!” if I walked past her desk in front of other colleagues which is just pure cringe.

I told him that I was enjoying the silent treatment she was giving me this time and he asked “how long can she carry that on for though?” and I said I didn’t know but she is extremelly stubborn and has never apologised before. She usually blames it something that maks it impossble to argue with (usually that it was the anniversary of someone’s death) and so it gets swept under the rug. He then asked “how long can you carry that on for?” and I said I would quite like to carry it on indefinitely – if only that was possible.  I told him I had thought about how nice it would be if I were to get a new job and be free of her and also said that I’ve imagined what it would be like if she were to leave herself.  I have no doubt that I would feel so much happier every day at work (I know this makes me sound like a cow).

My boyfriend made a comment about how many people like this I have in my life and how he found it rather amazing and I explained that, actually, it isn’t a surprise at all – that was my normal and these two friends of mine were, at the time, exactly what I wanted and needed. People who kept me down, kept me in my place, kept my self-esteem non-existent and kept me dependant on their approval.  I was programmed this way! All things I was used to with my mother. I attracted two more women, both in their fifties (like my mother) who acted in very similarly abusive ways – one just more subtle than the other.

We chatted about this for a while and he made a jokey comment about “who was next” meaning who was next to get “cut” from my life. I think he was joking although I do wonder if there is a little bit of worry about it being him one day in the back of his head. It will never be him because he is so genuinely kind and loving to me. I’ve never felt love and acceptance like it in my entire life. Still, it must make you worry a little when your girlfriend is in therapy for years and you see her change and make adjustments to what she will and will not put up with – and when that includes actual people – it must be a bit scary, right?

scissors

The thing is that I am linked to the two that are left: bitchface (mother) and work friend in ways that make escape very difficult.

With bitchface there are all sorts of difficulties there, family ties, taboo and possibly (although I find this hard to even write at the moment), POSSIBLY a tiny bit of hope that hasn’t quite gone awayyet that she will suddenly get better (I know, I know..).

With work friend, I have to see her EVERY DAY. I have to walk past her desk constantly every day to get to the bathroom and to get to the kitchen – to leave the office – everything. We also have to communicate about actual work now and again but that is easy because we have email and so that helps.

The point I am trying to make is, I feel kinda stuck with this unhealthy “friendship” and as awful as I feel saying this, if I didn’t work with this woman, I would absolutely not consider her a friend. I would not meet up with her and I imagine the polite texts that would no doubt be exchanged if one of us left our current job, would pretty quickly stop… until we no longer spoke at all. I feel equally as mean saying that I live in hope that something like that happens to free me from it.

Now I imagine reading that you are probably thinking that I have a massive victim mentality but I don’t mean it like that, I don’t mean it as a “poor me, what can I do” just I feel I am limited in what to do about it without causing great difficulties and heaps of guilt and awkwardness at work. Does that make sense?

I’ve written previously about my weird fantasy that my mother would do something so awful that I could cut contact with her and walk away without guilt – without having to try to get my family or family friends to understand. I know this isn’t going to happen because the abuse my mum put me through is over now (well in that I am an adult and in therapy)  – that all the undeniably bad things she did have already happened and nobody did “see” that ….  but it doesn’t stop the get out of jail free card fantasy that I have about it.

I know it is so cowardly but I wish they were all as easy as removing my ex narc friend from my life. I say easy now but obviously it wasn’t easy at the time at all. I went through lots of grieving for the friendship and felt heaps of guilt and sadness and doubt – but now I see very clearly that it was a very big step for me in terms of healing and removing one of the abusive people from my life.

What makes it so hard with the two that are left is that you can’t talk sense into these people.  They do not think they are doing anything wrong – who am I to moan having put up with it for so long? There are no “you did X and it made me feel like Y” chats to have with them.  One I am trapped into seeing because of taboo and family and the other because I have to see and work with her every day.

So what happens next then?

I guess the only “escape” is to strengthen my personal boundaries (hate that word) and start to make it more clear what I will and will not accept.  I guess that in time, they have to accept that I have these new boundaries or perhaps I will lose my appeal – either way I guess I am a winner LOL. I’m just wishing there was an easier way out – I guess its my own feelings I am trying to hide from, wishing there was a way not to have to feel the fear, the guilt, the sadness and everything else – fast-tracking to the end. If only things were that simple eh?

With work friend, I’ve got better at sticking to my guns. When I tell her I am not having lunch with her and she gets angry or sulks, I’ve stopped responding to her – I used to apologise or defend myself and enter into conversations about it which I no longer do. I state what I am doing and that is it, BUT unfortunately it does still get to me and as much as I hate to admit it, I do still feel the fear. I feel intimidated and nervous when I will then see her or walk past her desk not knowing if I will be ignored or shouted at…… I know it is abusive and childish behaviour but it doesn’t stop me feeling that internal panic – fast beating heart etc.  It’s a proper body reaction. So with that in mind you can imagine what subconscious fear I have in going against bitchface!!!

I guess I just have to find a way to sit and feel the fear, the anger, the sadness, the guilt and not take the easy way out. I guess I need to get brave.

I put on a good front that I am brave and confident but I am not and she/they both know that. They both play on that. I am desperately trying to get stronger and healthier and they are both desperately clinging onto my legs trying to pull me back down.

keep you down

Sometimes when I realise the impact having a narcissistic mother has had on me it still shocks me.

I can only just allow myself to think and write these thoughts without fear of being punished or judged because I understand that I am not a bad person, I am allowed to think “nasty” or “bad” things because we all have these thoughts. I am no different and nobody is perfectly nice and good all of the time. Yet I still find myself saying “I feel bad but.”, “I know it sounds horrible but…” which I guess is still me saying “please don’t tell me I am bad for this.. but“……….

the saga continues…

brave

 

Related posts for background: Life without the narcissist friend, outgrowing roles, emotional blackmail 

Where does it go? 

As I was sat in the hairdressers this morning I reflected back on the events that unfolded since my session Thursday. I thought about the initial upset, then the anger, the missatunement, the confusion, more anger and then yesterday’s decision to tell T how I was feeling. 

LUCKILY for me, T responded quickly and said she heard I was angry with her (I bet she nearly fell off her chair!) and she asked me if I was able to come for another session that same day – only two hours later actually! 

Unfortunately I couldn’t go, as much as I would have loved to, because I was at work but I really love that she offered. 

I told her I couldn’t, but would have really loved to and she replied to say that as that wasn’t going to work she was “here” and thinking of me, that she understood the anger and confusion and acknowledged that her missatunement (is that an agreement?) had got me in touch with my anger and pain. 

She suggested that I kept writing and told me she would not retaliate and told me to “hang in there“. 

I felt instantly better. Like within moments and that hasn’t changed since. In fact today I feel happy and have been singing along to my tunes in the car. 

I dreamt of “her” last night. I say “her” like that because it was meant to be her but I’m not sure her face was right – I don’t actually recall a face but I knew it was T if that makes sense. [side question: does anyone struggle to call up an image of their T? I can’t picture her when I’m not in fromt of her at all. I would struggle to draw a picture of her or describe her to someone]

Anyway, the dream was that I was at her family home with her dream husband and daughter. Me and her daughter were playing together and I stayed over and had dinner the next day. We went outside to her garden which was absolutely beautiful and huge. It even had pink blossom trees and a stream! We sat and played games and it was heavenly. 

I remember in the dream that they had some suitcases out in a room on the floor and had started to pack for a skiing trip. I think I was sad about that but trying to push that out of my mind. 

My sister was with me too, she was very young in the dream and lost a tooth which I looked after for her. 

When we were leaving T gave me a melon, some yogurts and an open can of baked beans (how odd!!) I loved that she gave me those things and didn’t want to leave. I left and drove me and my little sister home. 

I woke up and shortly after I fell back to sleep, this time I dreamt of what I can only describe as a giant heart shape made of grass and hedges and I was pushing the centre of the heart desperately trying to get inside. 

To break through the heart. Symbolic much? 

Dreams aside, I’m just wondering, why I feel so much better just because T knows? I wonder psychologically speaking why that helps so much? How has it completely removed the anger? Why do I feel so adult and content today when I felt so desperate then? 

Not that I’m complaining of course, I just wonder why it’s made such a huge difference. 

Anger, Sadness, Confusion and Misattunement

I can’t cuddle Frank right now. Actually I can’t even look at him so I threw him off the side of the bed last night. My boyfriend said, “ooh is someone angry with T?” Yes. Yes I am. He asked why but I felt far too vulnerable to tell him. Poor innocent little Frank though.

I am feeling angry but I’m also feeling hurt and misunderstood and rejected although I’m not actually sure why I feel rejected! On top of that I feel some guilt because (and as a reader pointed out earlier) I have a suspicion in the back of my mind that my anger may be disproportionate and misdirected.

Here’s what happened from my perspective:

I left T yesterday and felt instantly uneasy. I felt a mixture of sadness and anger. I later managed to write and realised the feelings (which were quite young) were that I felt I hadn’t “had enough” of T yet before I had to leave her again and be without her for another 5 days.  I cried quite a lot and was really in touch with the sad feelings.

I then decided to reach out and email T to tell her this was how I was feeling. I felt vulnerable doing this because there was a risk that she may think I was being over the top and extreme – it is, after all, only a few days. But I did it anyway and I really hoped she was going to reply and say she understood that it felt it wasn’t enough, that I didn’t want to leave, that I would miss her and that I would soon be back…or in my fantasy that she would tell me to come back on Saturday or something and that she missed me too (obvs I know that wouldn’t happen but a girl can dream!)

BUT

But what happened was that she replied nicely, very kindly – but in my eyes, to me, about the wrong thing. It felt she got it wrong and the anger that brought up in me was pretty scary. I was so angry that she hadn’t “got it”.

It wasn’t about the child bit not having been tended to in session (as she said) it wasn’t that! It was just that I didn’t want to leave her again. I didn’t want to have to go away from her. I suspect there is some transference going on here – perhaps I am feeling something from my past or whatever, perhaps its an emotional flashback.  It feels to me that it is about the break and about missing her and being left alone again already or something. Perhaps I am scared she will be gone too long – I don’t know but what I do know is that it isn’t that the child bit didn’t feel it got what it needed – it wasn’t that. It’s just that I will miss her.

I got so angry because I felt so unseen and T has never made me feel like that before. I felt so much anger that she missed the point – that she had read my writing and was being so misattuned to me – that was so painful. She’s meant to be perfect – she’s meant to be a mind-reader AND she’s meant to just get it and make it feel better but she didn’t and that felt horrific. She made it worse and now I hated her for that. I felt so disappointed.

I shouted “no!!! no!!!!” out loud through my sobs to myself – no, please don’t get it wrong, please don’t make me feel worse, please don’t be imperfect, don’t let me be angry with you. Because she is the only person that I’m NEVER angry with you know? She is the safe person, the safe place. She is the good mother and I don’t want to turn her bad.

 

T has said to me in the past that sometimes in therapy our psyche can distort things to get us to where we need to be. So with that in mind, perhaps I have “made” some anger at T as I need an excuse to direct my anger somewhere? But obviously if that is the case it is unconscious and so it doesn’t FEEL like that.

It could be misdirected and actually be about anger I have towards my mother (I will call her bitchface from now on I think).. but that hasn’t been my style before, so why now?

OR it could be that being angry with T is easier than having to feel that horrible, painful longing for her that I was feeling before she “got it wrong”. I don’t miss her now I’m angry although I am desperate for this to be resolved.

Who knows.

That now leaves me here and wondering what to do for the best. Half of me wants to contact her again, take another risk (although that feels very scary). I half want to tell her that I’ve felt angry since she replied yesterday because it feels she didn’t “get it”. To tell her that it triggered a strong reaction in me of anger and that I’ve felt uncomfortable about it since. To tell her that my response was typed very bluntly (but I wasn’t sure she had picked up on that or not) and as she then hadn’t replied it felt even worse (hello, why aren’t you a mind-reader??).  Oh and that kind regards, best wishes and all other sign-offs were pissing me off too because they felt cold and clinical and that her name and a kiss would feel much warmer (LOL).

Or do I just sit with it and wait until I see her next Tuesday night?

That is potentially safer in that there can be no more misattunement – no more understandings and therefore no more potential anger or sadness to have to deal with BUT the likelihood is that I will push it all down and away and come Tuesday I will feel as though I am “over it” although I probably won’t be and I won’t tell her because I won’t feel it necessary and then and even if I did, the feelings would be removed and it would all feel rather unimportant and small. That doesn’t feel particularly healthy or productive.

What is best, not risking more misattunement and not getting anything resolved or risking more misattunement and more anger but getting some reassurance?

I hate it when these things crop up at the end of the week and then you have to go into your Friday and weekend feeling confused and hurt and upset and rejected. I don’t want to have to carry that all weekend and i don’t seem to be much good right now at “holding” it (if I ever have been).

T has said to me in the past that when my anger comes I may find her emails set me off and that we can’t deal with the anger via email because it can make it worse – she said it almost becomes a case of damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t in regards to responding to a client in that situation and that she may have to reply to say we would speak about it in session – to “bring the anger into the room” – and can you imagine if she did that? IF best wishes set me off, what would that do?

Is there a chance that T IS right? am I misunderstanding my own feelings? Because if I am, then clearly I do not want to be telling her all of this and then look like a total tit! My gut is telling me that she isn’t right but I am now so confused by everything I am doubting myself.

Yeserday in session T said how there will be a part of me that is still hoping my mother will change and I said no there isn’t. She said there will be even if I am not consciously aware of it and I said again, no there isn’t. Not any more. I felt a bit of resistance in me. A little tiny bit of anger I guess – NO I DON’T!!! but I imagine that could be because she is right and I am wrong. Is this the same? I don’t think so, but???

WWWWWAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

 

Ps, bitchface text me about ten minutes after T’s response – can you believe that?

 

 

 

FFS

Read previous blog first or this won’t make any sense

I’ve never felt anger towards my T before. Never. Not consciously anyway.

Until just now.

I emailed her to tell her how upset I am and why. I even put in quotes the sentence about wishing I could sit on her lap for longer etc.

She replied just now, it’s a very kind and gentle reply but she didn’t understand. She said how tough it is for me that my child part didn’t get tended to today because I only ever take my adult self on a Thursday. But that isn’t the problem!

I know this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to people but I felt so hurt and upset and disappointed and (I can’t believe it but..) angry!

I burst into tears and said out loud “no, no!!!”.

Now I wish I hadn’t told her! Now it’s worse.

I replied quite bluntly (another first!) and said it wasn’t about that. It was the break stuff. I don’t think she will reply because I kinda closed the convo down but maybe if she picked up on some anger somehow that would help? But why would she pick up on anger – I didn’t tell her I was angry. Clearly she’s not a mind-reader!

Oh also. What’s with fucking kind wishes or best wishes or whatever – why does that feel so horribly cold and professional?!

AGGHHHHHH!!

I Haven’t Sat On Her Lap For Long Enough Yet.

When I left my session this afternoon I walked to my car and felt like I had a heavy weight inside my chest. It was heavy and strong. I knew that meant  that I was upset, that I needed to cry.   I got in the car, started the engine and put my seatbelt on and then I just sat there for a moment to see what was going on.

My eyes filled up with tears but it didn’t feel like I could get in touch with these feelings sat outside T’s house and so I drove off.  A few more tears rolled down my face a few minutes later. I tried to figure out what the tears were about  and a fleeting ‘voice’ in my head said it was because I was driving away from T’s. I quickly rejected that thought, nah, it couldn’t be that.

I drove to the gym despite the fact I really couldn’t be bothered to go. I thought that perhaps I could run it out. Usually it helps to release some tension but it didn’t because I couldn’t catch a thought long enough to use it fuel me.

I left the gym and drove home. On the way home my road rage found its way out again, I found myself screaming “fucking go then!!!!! IDIOT!!” and could feel how wound up and tense I was.  I questioned myself – am I angry?

That didn’t feel right either (although the road rage clearly is an anger release). I WAS angry but I was also other things. Anger was too simple.

I got home and went and had a shower and then I sat on the bed and burst into tears. Ah thank God. That release was sooo needed. I remembered to be nice to myself and I tried to talk to my inner child (in my head) asking what was upsetting her , asking what she needed?

Some fleeting thoughts came and went and they seem to be a mixture of  a reaction of the material I spoke about in therapy and leaving therapy today.

Why am I upset about leaving my session though? I haven’t worked this through properly in my head yet but the thoughts unfiltered are something like this: She only just came back and now I have to leave her again. I want her to stay for longer. I wish I could have stayed for longer. I haven’t had enough yet, it doesn’t feel like I should have to go away again yet …… [insert floods of tears here – hang on….].

Okay.. that got me.

I shouldn’t have to go away again yet/already – SHE shouldn’t be gone away again/already….

I know logically of course that she is now back from her break. That we are back to normal sessions but something about leaving my session has set me off. I don’t know why.

If I try to liken the situation to a real-life past event I can think that my mother regularly went away on holiday and then when she came back I would see her for a day or two before being shipped back off to someone else as she went out clubbing etc. Is that what I am remembering/feeling? Perhaps somewhere inside it feels as though I’ve seen her a little bit (but not enough) and now I am going to be away from her for another 5 days. 5 days feeling like forever right now when in fact it isn’t a long time and factually speaking it’s 4 days as I see her on the evening of the 5th…

I just feel I haven’t had enough yet. I don’t feel like I’ve made the most of her – I haven’t absorbed her enough yet. Her face and voice feel a bit faded at the moment.  It isn’t quite strong enough yet. She doesn’t seem “here” enough yet.

I haven’t sat on her lap for long enought yet to be able to go off and play happily. I still want to sit there and I want to cuddle her and smell her perfume and take her in for a bit longer before I have to leave her again. (Metaphorically speaking.)

I’ve had tears running down my face the whole time I’ve been typing this – they haven’t eased off yet.

I feel I have not had enough yet. I shouldn’t be back on my own again yet. It isn’t fair. She is too far away already and again and it hurts right now. It really, really hurts like hell.

Taking Stock

Hello gentle readers!

I have just written the following and realised as I went to publish it that it is one of the only positive posts I’ve put on for a long while. I wanted to apologise for the doom and gloom in my posts lately but it has been a very hard time for me. Today I feel very empowered. I wrote this because I finally get to see T tonight after 12 days and I wanted to figure out before seeing her exactly where I was. I needed to stand still for a while and take it all in and I am really glad I did.  My brain feels like it’s had a bit of a tidy-up.

According to an article I read this morning, these are the phases in recovering from parental narc abuse:

  • Developing self-compassion
  • Eliminate inner critic and toxic shame
  • Build self-trust
  • Exercise self-care

I was mentally going over the list and seeing where I was in this process and I had the following thoughts.

Developing self-compassion
I’ve actually surprised myself with this one. I think I do alright in the self-compassion stakes these days. I could certainly give myself much more of a hard time than I presently do. I’ve noticed that I understand WHY I have done things in the past where previously I would have beaten myself up for it.  I am surprised that I haven’t turned on myself which is apparently very common. I do wonder how I’ve managed to develop self-compassion given that it was never modelled to me. Perhaps having a very kind and gentle boyfriend has helped with this? I do think that between him and T, they have helped to show me what it is to be empathetic to your `self`, and not just to others. T particularly has repeated certain things over and over to me which have started to stick in my brain. I can hear her words sometimes which can only be a good thing!

Eliminate inner critic and toxic shame
I guess this goes hand in hand with developing self-compassion really doesn’t it. You can’t really be compassionate towards yourself if you still have a vicious inner critic, can you? I am aware of my inner critic these days. I can listen to the things she says. I personally view my inner critic as my mother. I tell myself that the words are her words – not mine and that helps me to want to disagree with them – to go against them or to prove them wrong.

Toxic shame
I think I still struggle with shame but at least I am more aware of it than I’ve ever been before. I can identify and acknowledge when I feel shame whereas before it was just part of who I was – not an emotion. I can also identify WHY I feel the shame and as before, I know it isn’t mine to own. Shame feels awful and when I am very caught up in it, it is definitely a child-state for me, I rarely feel shame when I am in my adult brain. Shame for me tends to be brought on by feelings of rejection, mainly from my mother and my father but I am starting to try to go against this pattern now. Slowly but surely there is progress.

Build self-trust
Do I trust myself? That’s a weird question and not one I’ve ever thought about before. In terms of the inner child and learning to comfort her, I am certainly on my way to doing this well. Recently in light of new feelings towards my parents I’ve had a very strong image of little me – my inner child. That image makes me upset because the child looks so lonely and sad and vulnerable. To think that people could hurt her makes me very protective and angry. I am learning when I am upset or lonely or crying or triggered to talk to my inner child and try to comfort her. I try to understand and validate her rather than criticise or reject her (reject myself I suppose). So this is also a work in progress.

Exercise self-care
I whole-heartedly agree with the article that being a child of a narc means you are so focussed on meeting their needs and keeping them happy that what you want seems to fall by the wayside. I realised a year or so ago that I didn’t even know myself. I didn’t know what I did and didn’t want or what I did and didn’t like. I had no real opinion – I guess that was always given to me! BUT I am gradually starting to build up a sense of self. I am trying new things and dipping my toe in the water so to speak with various aspects of my life. It is sad sometimes to realise quite how much I’ve been held back. I often wonder what I could have done and could have been, but I am lucky that I am young enough to spend the rest of my life differently.

Yesterday that book I mentioned was delivered the “inner self listography”. I haven’t had chance to do it yet but I am looking forward to it. Getting to know yourself, starting again – changing the internal message.

Another article I read sets out the stages of grief in recovery from narc parents as below:

  • Acceptance: We have to accept first that the parent has limited love and empathy to give, or we cannot allow ourselves out of the denial and learn how to feel our feelings. Acceptance is the first step in recovery, after you realize the problem.

  • Denial: As children, we had to deny that our parents were incapable of love and empathy so we could survive. A child yearns for love above all else, and we needed the denial to keep growing and surviving.

  • Bargaining: We have been bargaining our whole life with the narcissistic parent, both internally and with them. We have been wishing and hoping that they will change, that they will be different the next time we need them. We have tried many things over the years to win their love and approval.

  • Anger: We feel intense anger and sometimes rage when we realize that our emotional needs were not met and that this neglect has affected our lives in severe, adverse ways. We feel angry with the parent and ourselves for allowing patterns to develop and for being stuck.

  • Depression: We feel intense sadness that we have to let go of the hope for and the vision of the kind of parent we wanted. We realize that they will never be as loving as we want them to be. We feel like orphans or un-parented children. We let go of all expectations. We grieve the loss of the vision of these expectations.

I was stuck in denial my entire life. I was still in denial for a large part of my therapy. Even after intellectually understanding the fact she was a narc. It took a very long time for the denial to lessen and eventually (now) pass.  Bargaining was something that I did my entire life (as it correctly identifies).  I think* I have finally given up that hope. Right now at least, I genuinely accept that she will never be what I want her to be. I accept that she is damaged and limited in ways it is hard to comprehend. I do not forgive her yet. I am nowhere remotely close to forgiveness, BUT the hope of her having an epiphany has gone. That has to be a big step, right?

For me personally I was in the “depression” phase as it is called here for a lot of the last…. Well, since about October last year I think. On and off. The sad feelings and enormity of them would hit now and again, like a tidal wave and floor me completely. Then I would recover a bit before the next wave. I have no doubt that this will continue. I think right now I am bouncing around in the anger and acceptance phase. Seeing the abuse clearly – seeing her clearly is a huge step in this recovery.  The anger is new for me but has ramped up steadily over the last few weeks. I think I finally understand why T has said anger is healthy for so many years (anger that I had repressed and was not in touch with). I now understand that the reason it is healthy is because you can only really feel in touch with the anger when you love and respect yourself enough to care about what has happened to you. How could we not feel angry? I am currently caught somewhere between scared of – and embracing my anger. As another article says (and hits the nail on the head for me!) “Whatever glorified image a person had of their narcissistic parent is now completely shattered”.

I said this in my “letter” to my mother yesterday and I meant it – I must be resilient and I must be strong regardless of the false messages my mother gave me (does anyone else struggle to use the words mum or mummy when dealing with this stuff? I may have to think of a new word). I feel strong today and ready and capable and just very, very pleased (proud?) that I am learning the truth and that I will one day look back on all of this and it will be in the past. That I am turning my life around and that I’m doing it all for ME and not for someone else – not for her.

I feel empowered. I wish that would last!!

 

 

Articles referred to:

http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/how-to-heal-from-narcissistic-abuse-of-parent-1116165

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201205/it-s-all-about-me-recovery-adult-children-narcissist

Escape

How has it taken me 29 years to see you for what you are?

29 years I have had a distorted image of you. I’ve managed to protect you all the while hurting myself. That is the story of my life you know, you coming first. You did it to me and then I took over where you left off and continued to put you before me, too.

No more.

It’s like I’ve had blurred vision my entire life. How on earth did I ever look at you and think you beautiful? Why the hell did I look to you for guidance? Why did I come to you when I was crying just to be made to feel ashamed? Why did I do things to please you when that was an unachievable task? I killed off who I really was for you and even that fake version of me wasn’t good enough.

The answer to that is that I did all those things because I had to. Because feeling the pain of the truth is horrific. Having to see, understand and accept – to FEEL in your soul that your mother is a selfish bitch is actually pretty soul-destroying.

It’s weird though, you would think now that I understand it isn’t me I would feel happier, relieved, but actually what I feel is anger. Pure anger. I have so much anger inside me at the moment it is giving me a physical headache. Your face keeps popping up in my head and I hate it. Go away!

I suddenly see the ways in which you not only didn’t protect me – you actively put me in danger – repeatedly and why? For your gain. Always for your gain. Do you even understand that mothers are meant to protect their children? Do you even understand that is what was expected from you when you decided to become a mother? I genuinely am not sure whether you think people have children for their own gain or whether you just sucked at being a parent. I’m not sure which is worse, which I’d rather?

I have had some random memories come back the last few days, seemingly out of nowhere and it’s like someone is showing me things which I cannot deny. Things I had previously forgotten about, repressed, pushed away because I was protecting myself from feeling what I feel today.

You sicken me. You are literally disgusting.

How could you?

I want to hold you and shake you and scream at you and ask you WHY????? But what is the point? There is no answer that would make sense, no answer that would make me feel any better and no answer that would undo everything you have done.

What is wrong with you? It’s like you were born missing some crucial parts – like, maybe a heart? A brain? I’d say you were sick but that feels unfair to people who are unwell.

Children are innocent. Children need love, acceptance, understanding they need protection. All you did was treat me like a handy little mate to accompany you in your quests to meet men or to go to the shop and buy you mixers for your drinks. The rest of the time I was purely an inconvenience. But I didn’t ask to be born!!!!

I don’t get it, why would you want me there? Why would you want me to have to do things with men your age when I was so young? I can’t see how that benefited you in any way? Please don’t tell me it was a some sort of protection. God that makes me feel sick.

It’s sick. It’s like you wanted me to be abused and I can’t wrap my head around this. Jesus my head hurts. Why would you want your daughter to go through those things?

I knew that narcissists are selfish but selfish doesn’t even come close, does it? Selfish seems far too nice. You are evil.

I can’t bear to look at you. When you text me and your name flashes up on my phone, I HATE It. It makes me angry. When you turned up at the pub the other night, you ruined my entire evening. You ruin my moment, my day. WHAT DO YOU WANT????????????????? I want you to leave me alone. I want you to leave me alone forever. I want you to never contact me again. I never want to have to pacify you again. I am so fed up with putting on some front that makes it possible to get through another pointless and empty encounter with you. Why do I do it? For who’s benefit? It sure as hell isn’t for mine. It’s for YOURS again. Everything always for you.

How do you do this? You get everyone to do things for you, you make everyone think you are beautiful, fun, caring, kind, gentle and you are none of those things. None. You might be able to fool some of your “friends” because they see you in limited amounts but who has spent the most time with you out of everyone in your entire life – me. That’s who. Because men haven’t stuck around and neither have friends. I, unfortunately had no bloody choice did I? I was trapped with you and even I ran away from you, even I went to stay with other people and even I moved out as early as I could afford to.

Yet you have the cheek to tell people who you can’t understand why “TT never comes round” why “TT never phones”. Awww, poor you. That must be horrible. It must really hurt you to feel so unloved by someone who is “meant” to love you. How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel like you are missing something? Like there is a hole in your heart? Like you are faulty, broken – no of course it doesn’t because it is NEVER your fault is it. You have no ability whatsoever to put yourself in anyone else’s shoes, no ability to take any blame to look at a situation with open eyes and see if perhaps you could have done/do something differently. To apologise. Ha! The thought of you apologising is so unbelievable that it’s almost funny! You are perfection in your eyes and that amazes me today because you see perfection and beauty and I see the devil.

I don’t know how I am going to be able to tolerate seeing you now. I don’t know if I can ever look at you again.

I want to move away, run away, I want to have an excuse to never see or speak to you again but even more, I don’t want to have to hear about you from anyone. That isn’t possible unfortunately and so I still feel trapped. How do you do this to me? I can’t move because I have commitments here but I want to. Some physical distance would be lovely. I had a bit of physical distance once but you managed to convince me to come back to you and my sister – I jumped at the idea you missed me and wanted me closer to you. What a fool. No actually, not a fool, I was just still caught up in hoping to somehow win your love and who could blame me for that. It took a long time to give up that hope.

Having said that, running away from you isn’t the answer – though it is a fantasy. Running away won’t change anything really but it feels good in my head. I’d move to Australia, you wouldn’t come and visit and that would take all blame and guilt away from me. How lovely. But realistically, you don’t come and visit now anyway so that wouldn’t solve anything. I just hate the fact that you could be around. You could be in the shop or the restaurant or you could be at a pub…. Keeping me on my toes, constantly living in fear. I don’t like that and living somewhere else (like the other side of the world) would stop that apprehension I guess.

You are a monster. An evil, bitter, twisted, psychotic monster. An ugly, red-eyed, wrinkly faced, nasty, cold arsehole of a monster and you have the cheek to call yourself my mother. Anyone’s mother actually.

A mother is everything you are not. I haven’t ever had a mother and I sure as hell don’t have one now. I don’t want to call you that. I haven’t been able to call you that for a while but right now the word makes me want to vomit. I didn’t have a mother and I didn’t have a “home” either. The idea that home is where the heart is, is where you are most relaxed was foreign to me growing up. It is only now with [boyfriend] that I am starting to understand that feeling. No wonder I used to cry when I came home from weekends with Nan. Leaving a “homely” environment and returning to hell with you. How could you make an innocent little girl feel so lonely and so unwanted? How didn’t you see the sadness in her eyes and just want to hold her?

Last night I was watching a programme where the contestant’s parents arrived and they all cried and hugged each-other and told their adult kids how proud they were of them and I cried. I cried because I have never had that and I wanted it so badly. You have never done that and neither has Dad. The loss was so obvious. I took my stepson out shopping yesterday and when I walked into the shopping centre, had a sudden memory of you and Nan putting me in that indoor child-care/play centre place for hours whilst you two shopped, child-free. I hated it there. I cried the whole time and you didn’t care. I felt that pain in my chest yesterday and it nearly floored me. How could you? I could suddenly remember sitting on the floor with my knees pulled into my chest crying and crying and knowing I had hours left until you would come back to pick me up. I felt so alone.

You ripped away from me the chance to grow up feeling safe. Safe, loved, warm, accepted.. and plenty more where that came from. How dare you. How could you?

You are hollow. You are a shell of a woman with nothing inside but greed, envy and venom. I don’t feel related to you at all. I don’t feel like we are alike in any way. I am so pleased that I didn’t morph into what you wanted me to. I thank my lucky stars that I didn’t turn into you. I am twice the woman you will ever be because I’ve survived your abuse for all of my life and somehow I still managed to hold onto my kindness. I must be resilient despite what you call me. I must have strength despite what you say.

So now I am 29 years old and I don’t have to please you anymore what do I do about this? I don’t even know where to start and the worst thing about it all, is that you are so totally clueless. Although in a way that is a blessing too. It’s like I get to plan my safe escape and you can’t do anything about it. I get to work out what I want for a change and all the while, you are totally unaware. The power is mine for once.

It’s all very hard to comprehend and right now I am struggling to contain all the feelings I’m having. It’s weirdly hypocritical that I have so much anger towards you, so much desire to get away from you and yet I have absolutely no desire to speak to you about it, to try to make you see, I have no desire to try and make this right. None whatsoever….. it’s like I’m just done with you and that is a very strange way to feel about your mother.

For now I plan to just sit with these feelings and see how they develop. I’m not acting out or trying to get your attention by being loud or naughty. I am waiting to decide what is best FOR ME.

Flashback & Anger 

Possible trigger warning: flashback (not CSA). 
Last night me and my boyfriend were driving home from the pub and we went on a bit of a detour as we were enjoying singing along to the radio. We went down some country lanes and all of a sudden I had this flashback/memory, whatever you want to call it. 

It was really random and out of the blue. The memory was about one evening many years ago where me and my mum ended up in a taxi going to some guy’s house. There were two men there and me and her. We all got into a hot tub and we’re drinking and chatting. The men were her age and I was in my late teens. I remember feeling awkward but trying to act grown up (as ever). 

It became clear very quickly that the idea was for her to get with one of the men and that seemed to somehow imply that I was to get with the other. Perhaps to keep me out of the way? 

My mother started to get, let’s say rather heated, with one of the men in the hot tub and I felt uncomfortable and so I got out. I went into a room to get changed and the other man barged in. He made it clear he wanted something to happen. I did not. Anyway long story short, I had to more or less scream and beg my mother to leave (who managed to find time to have sex in a bedroom beforehand) leaving me with the other creep. 

I was furious when we left. 

That memory has not entered my head in YEARS. Like at least 9/10 years. I know the memory could have been much worse and that memory is actually nothing compared to some other memories, but something about it made my stomach turn. It scared me that I had forgotten this and yet now remembered it so clearly. I believe that the memory hit me when it did because of the lane we were driving down, perhaps it was the same lane? Maybe the song that was playing or maybe it was a complete coincidence. 

I’ve thought about this a lot today. It’s really made me feel weird. 

Then earlier this afternoon we were in the car and a van pulled out on us, we narrowly missed it and I shouted in the car what an idiot the driver was – with more expletives… my boyfriend seemed almost annoyed and said he didn’t understand why I got such bad road rage and that I was so impatient. He then proceeded to drive REALLY slowly down our road (on purpose) which was irritating me badly. I could feel my entire body filling with so much anger! I was trying hard not to scream because I knew my reaction wasn’t about the van or the slow driving. 

I then suffered with an awful headache all afternoon. I took pain killers and it wouldn’t go. 

A few hours ago, I needed to get my hamster out and into his ball and asked my bf to help open the cage but he couldn’t do it and wow… the anger… or perhaps more accurately the rage that came over me!!! It was so extreme!! I suddenly felt absolutely boiling hot, I shouted at him, I swore at him and it was all a bit mad…. I went upstairs and burst into tears. I felt so guilty but also so, so angry and so hot and just…. euuuggghhhhh. 

I apologised to my bf the second I came downstairs and he gave me a hug and said how out of character it was for me and he understood it was nothing to do with him. I’ve cried a couple of times since, just subtle tears and I now feel emotionally drained. 

I know the anger is about my mother. It’s about the memory in part but more specifically the fact that suddenly everything is making me so sick and so angry and just wow…. I don’t know. It’s all so… shit! 

Clearly I’m in touch with some anger … and that old memory coming back has made me so angry. 

How could she do that? How could she take me there and happily leave me with that man? Why would she want me to sleep with him just so she could get some? Man it’s so fucked up !!!!!!!!!! 

Everything’s becoming so obvious and I don’t like it.