So, last night’s session (minus the arrival of Frank).
T asked me how I had been and I said I had been alright. I told her that I had a bit of a…I wasn’t sure of the word, struggle? On Sunday/Monday because of some photos that I had seen on Facebook of my mother. I decided to show her the photos rather than explain them so she could see them herself and so I could see what she made of them.
T seemed pretty shocked by the first photo and said how inappropriate it was. I agreed. She commented on what a fake smile my mum always has in photos (which I’ve always said myself). I then showed her the other photos – the selfies with my younger sister and the ones of my mother surrounding herself with 20-year-old boys looking like that cat that got the cream.
T asked how the photos had made me feel and I explained what had happened, that I had actually seen the photos Saturday night shortly before I went to bed (although I hadn’t realised they had affected me at all) and that I had then woken up feeling very moody on Sunday, that I was in a bad mood and eventually cried over them.
T said “I can understand that, they do something to me too, I’m just trying to work out what”. She then said how there was something almost sinister about the photos with the young boys and that she was so inappropriately sexualised. I agreed, this wasn’t news – my mother’s sexuality is one of the huge hang-ups I’ve always had. Having to see and hear her having sex with hundreds of different men growing up is something I still feel huge anger about, as well as the fact that she sexualised me (or tried to) very early on and was always trying to encourage me to sleep with men in their 40s when I wasn’t even old enough to drink…. Anyway, sorry going off topic.
I told her that I felt really angry. That the initial reaction was anger. T asked me what exactly I was thinking when I felt the anger and I told her that it was mainly the fact that she was having a “great time” (true or not) and I was struggling and that I was struggling BECAUSE OF HER and that felt hugely unfair.
I told T that I had written a blog on Monday when I was still in the anger and she asked if I wanted to read it to her – so I did. I cringed a bit because it had a lot of swearing and child-part strops… but she said that was okay and so I carried on anyway.
The thing is, I read the entire blog with no real feeling – a very familiar problem. One that I haven’t experienced in a while now, but the only way I felt in therapy for about 2 years!!!
T asked me where the feelings were and I told her, I didn’t know! I said that I had wondered the same thing because Sunday and Monday felt so hard but that it had just dissipated somewhat since. T said that perhaps writing out the anger had helped and I agreed.
We spoke through the various things I said in my blog and she commented on different parts. I said that I knew it had a very childish “it’s not fair” theme, but that was how I was feeling. The feeling that everyone was so bloody rubbish. The feeling that everyone who should love me, rejected me. They were the feelings.
T repeated to me for probably the millionth time, that it wasn’t me – that it was them … but I kinda rolled my eyes and said yeah I know, this is the problem, I know all this stuff. I KNOW I shouldn’t let her get to me, I know she isn’t truly happy, I know that I am doing better than them and I know it is their stuff and not mine… that I shouldn’t get jealous about her and my sister because they aren’t healthily close, they are enmeshed and all that other intellectual stuff……….. BUT(!!) it wasn’t tallying up for some reason. T said that she understood the two things were feeling disconnected but that in time they would connect more. She also said that the “it isn’t fair” stuff was justified and that I absolutely was entitled to feeling that. She said “No, it isn’t fair” and I guess validated that anger.
We discussed my mum for a while and I said that she had text me (we laughed at the fact she seems to time this to perfection every time). I said she was asking when I was going to there next and I said I had responded to say “err…when you invite me” – this went backwards and forwards for a bit with her saying I don’t need an invite and me saying I did because she was always out at festivals and parties and clubs. I told T that seeing her was so hard now. T said she understood that the inability to connect with her was very tough – I agreed and said it is hard work. I said that I constantly feel I have to talk so that it isn’t awkward, I have to think of things to say or talk about to keep her happy and that it is not fun. I also said that knowing my boyfriend hates her and hates being there made me anxious too because I am always trying to check he’s okay as well as keep things okay with her and it was not fun.
T said that I shouldn’t worry too much about my boyfriend because he could look after himself and that he did well enough defending himself when she (verbally) attacked him before.. I agreed.
I told her that it was shit because I didn’t miss her or think about her but yet I still felt duty-bound to check-in with her now and again to keep her sweet – despite the fact that I could never keep her sweet. I said it was a huge effort and that whenever I had plans to see her, that whole day I would feel either moody or nervous. T said that she could imagine how I would be around my mother in that I had to hide myself away internally and put on this front of an adaptable, self-sufficient, tough-skinned, people-pleaser type. I agreed. She said she understood why that was hard for my boyfriend to see. I said it was and it affected me for a few days after seeing her. I said it was a chore, an effort and a pointless one at that.
T said that I didn’t HAVE to see her at all if I didn’t want to, which I know is true, but it doesn’t yet feel that way. It still feels somehow safer to just pop in there once every few months, make small-talk at my own expense and then leave.. suffer the shit feelings the disconnect triggers in me, feel the sadness and the anger and then start again. Writing that I am aware it sounds a bit like self-punishment… that must be hard for other people to understand. I think this time (Saturday night) will potentially be even more difficult because I will be “on a therapy break” by then and I will be comparing T and my mother continuously and mentally noting things I would repeat back to T. I wonder if anyone else does this around toxic family relatives?
T reminded me that if my mother started on me, I should just get up and leave. That I should just say “I am not going to listen to this” and walk out. I told her I knew I should do that, but I struggle because there was so much that I want to say to her! As I said that, and now writing it, I can feel that heat rise in me… it is very suppressed 99% of the time, but the image of her verbally going for me again now, makes me feel on fire, ready to go… just waiting to explode. I told T I was feeling some of that anger again. T asked me what I would like to do or say to her? and I said well, it would entirely depend on the situation and what she was saying or blaming or accusing me of but that there were so many things I would like to say – like perhaps the fact I don’t see her through choice, that I only do it to shut her up, that her “poor me’s” in relation to seeing me rarely were her own doing and that I feel no connection with her AT ALL – that she was hollow…. stuff like that.
T said that she understood all of that and that it was important that we spoke about it and that I had my fantasies and could write it out and release the anger (in healthy ways) but I said I knew that and it just wasn’t the same. That just wouldn’t give me the same kick that screaming it at her face would, you know? T said that it was completely pointless to say any of it to her face. That it would be a giant waste of time – that my mother couldn’t and would never “get it”. Never. I knew that and I nodded and said so but the temptation is very strong nonetheless. How I would love to say to my mother “I haven’t “changed” because my boyfriend is controlling OR manipulative – they are your traits, not his. I have changed because I’ve been in therapy for the last 3 years and have realised what a fuck-up you were as a mother and I am trying to recover from all the ways you hurt and still hurt me! THAT IS WHY you absolute douchebag” (yeah I’know, classy!).
We spoke about my Dad and the fact he’s on holiday with “his” family now, the birthday card sign-off with his name instead of Dad etc. I said that it would have helped if he at least acknowledged he knew I would be gutted to be missing out, that even if he said he wished I was going or something… would have hurt a little less. T said “even if he said that it was a shame you couldn’t go, but you could all meet for a meal when they were back or something?” and I said “exactly!! anything!”. T said that he couldn’t possibly “go near” those feelings because if he did, he would have to face up to all of his repressed guilt about how shit he’s been to me all of my life and he couldn’t handle that. I agreed but snapped very quickly (and angrily) that I didn’t care if he was a “head in the sand kinda guy” anymore. That has always been his excuse but it wasn’t good enough. No, no excuses, he is just shit with me. T agreed and said it certainly was not an excuse. She said how it was very hard to have such a strong feeling of wanting to get through to someone who just couldn’t “hear” me… yep.
We spoke about my sister and even something my nan had done that I haven’t bothered to write about (long story short, I popped in to surprise her with a plant and she was not pleased to see me and acted pretty put out). The only thing she asked me was whether I “kept in touch with mummy” (note: the word “mummy” makes me want to heave).
I told T that I knew this anger was kinda pulling stuff in from all angles and that everyone was “copping it”. I said that it just felt like I was being rejected from every single angle – mum, dad, nan, sister..
T then said “therapy break” and I nodded and laughed.. yes, and that. She said that perhaps it felt very unfair that all of this was going on and then she would disappear for a break. I said that when I was struggling with this stuff, her being gone too was hard because I really did feel very alone in the world but if I was okay with this kinda stuff, it wasn’t quite so hard. I recognise that I am not truly “alone in the world” now, but I guess they are old feelings that resurface when rejected and abandoned.
T said that this was big stuff. That it was important I could speak/write out my feelings and that we discussed it. She said I had to go through the feelings and I pulled my BLEUGH face.
We spoke again about my lack of feelings… and T suggested that my lack of feelings were because the break was coming up and said that perhaps I had “put them away”. I said that I wasn’t doing that on purpose, but that it is quite possible I guess. T said “we do still have another session” and I said “yeah I know” but I was thinking to myself… ah yes, we may have one more session, but it’s a Thursday session where I don’t connect to my feelings anyway AND it’s the last one for ages so it’s not a proper session, it’s a “oh fuck please don’t end, how am I going to cope in the break” session….
It will be 11 full days without T and I will see her in the evening of the 12th day….. God that feels like forever. I really will miss seeing her.. speaking to her… connecting.. everything really. Like writing this sentence is making me well-up, it is that strong. But I must be strong, I know and obviously I have Frank.
The problem is that things have ramped up for us (me?) lately – we had the whole Google issue… the fears and everything that triggered for me. The fixation stuff. The session after where she didn’t punish or shame me, where she understood me, where she completely understood everything and that amazing sense of being “seen” enveloped me. We then had the session where I got brave and asked for a teddy as a T.O. and she said yes(!!)… that felt incredible too…. And then last night she obviously gave me the teddy…………….
So everything is so wonderful and now she has to leave and that feels so much scarier and harder than before. Yet on the other hand, perhaps it will make it easier somehow because I have more “stuff” to hold on to, more proof of our connection and bond or something? I don’t really know. The fear is still there.
We will see.