Self Integration?

Yesterday I wrote a brief description of a dream that I had Monday night.  The dream left me with a very intense feeling of what I can only describe as maternal love.  Now I have not had any children yet although me and my (now) fiance were trying for about 17 months prior to getting engaged.  Now the wedding is booked we are putting that on hold until after the wedding, partly for practicalities but partly because I/we need the break from the emotions that trying unsuccessfully brought us.

Anyway, to the point – I have never felt a feeling like that before. It was like love on steroids and yet clearly it was only a dream.. yet it felt so important somehow.

A lovely blogger helped me to think about the dream in more detail earlier, we spoke about how the baby could symbolise the child/baby part of myself.. I agreed and then I went into my session and spoke to T about it a bit more.  Here is the dream again with a bit I left out the other day:

I had a baby girl. Her name was Kia. She was wrapped tightly in a blanket and I was either holding her over my shoulder or pushing her in her pram. At one point in the dream I stepped off of a bus and when I looked into her pram, it was empty and I panicked and turned around to see my mother holding her – I took her off of my mother and then my mother pushed the empty pram instead.  Later in the dream I gently rubbed the side of her face and she laughed and “spoke” to me in her baby language. I laughed and spoke back to her in baby language but the feeling it gave me (as I explained above) was just phenomenal.

I find it so weird that a dream can leave me with such a strong feeling when I’ve never felt that in real life – how is that even possible?

T said she also thought the dream was hugely symbolic. She agreed that the baby was probably symbolic of my child/baby self. I said that I felt it important that I “took the baby back from my mother” and that my mother was then “pushing an empty pram”.  T said that my mother may as well have been pushing an empty pram, I agreed.  I said that it didn’t feel like grief processing because there was no element of sadness whatsoever. T said that she felt it was actually a very transitional dream – a sign that perhaps I have fully accepted my child part into myself.

I can’t find the right words right now to really express what I want you to feel as you read this, I’m not sure that is possible but it just feels SO IMPORTANT. So, so important. Madness from a dream!!

Anyway, I read up about self-integration which made its way into my brain because I was re-reading an old blog of mine earlier (Winnicott’s fear of breakdown) and in the paper I referred to by Clare Winnicott, she speaks about how her client had a dream where she picked up her child self and Clare Winnicott thought this was hugely symbolic of her patient integrating – growing and healing and I can’t help but think my dream is a very similar thing. It FEELS like something in my body, my being… there has been some sort of shift or something.

I’m sure I sound a bit weird ha! But there we go.

I think I’ve changed a lot lately, I’ve had to go against everything I know with my ex friend at work (I really need to find a better name for her). Setting such firm boundaries, ending a friendship, not letting the fear, guilt, panic take over – putting myself first and standing strong despite perhaps not feeling it!! Surviving everything that came as a side effect to me doing this, such as the preoccupation with predicting what she would do and say when I saw her, dreaming about her, doubting myself, crying from the fear of it all… and so on and so on…  I am still here and I am okay. It is hard, its tough and I am currently witnessing her in the middle of a smear campaign trying to make herself look like a victim and me look like an evil bitch – its okay. It will be okay. I am okay. And that is huge.

As well as that I had a run in with my younger sister a few weeks ago because I wouldn’t cancel a therapy session which she wanted me to do. Because I wouldn’t do that, she decided I was selfish and her and my mother clearly had a lovely little bitch session about me which wound me up. But I didn’t bite. I WAS angry and yet again, I did doubt myself a lot .. perhaps I was being selfish? T helped me to see that my feelings were justified but not to be acted out.  Yet again, I just had to hold firm. I sat on Pintrest for hours looking at quotes of “boundaries” and reassured myself that I was doing the right thing. She was very angry with me and my mother even made a point of telling me how upset my sister was with me… I told her what I wish I could have told the pair of them really, that it doesn’t make me a bitch because I won’t do EXACTLY as she wants me to. I told her that my counselling (swear word to my mother – physically makes her wince!) was a very important commitment to me and one that I stuck to whatever else was happening. I told her I only get to miss two sessions a year otherwise I have to pay the entire £40 which I couldn’t afford to do and told her that I had offered all sorts of alternatives such as joining for a drink afterwards etc etc…. the very clear message was “I am not being selfish and I don’t care whether you or she thinks I am”.

I held my own. I owned it. And for that I am proud. [Side note: I put a picture of a quote about boundaries on FB today and my sister quoted sarcastically so clearly it hit a nerve].

Aside from all of that, there is the stuff I’ve written about lately regarding my soon to be stepdaughter and some of the struggles we have both been having. There is a hell of a lot of different things at play with this. There is clearly fear of being left behind, forgotten about or replaced by me from her side of things and from mine there is clearly some jealousy which probably comes from daddy issues of mine. I am very aware of all these different triggers and am speaking to T about them all a lot at the moment, I feel very proud of myself for being able to be objective and be able to self-reflect on the whole situation no matter how difficult it might be.

Its funny really, since the engagement I had worried that the excitement of getting married might overshadow my therapy and stall any progress… now it feels the opposite is true.

Sorry if this blog reads as really up myself, I very rarely big myself up but this does feel monumental and I want to document it to be able to look back on.

boundaries quote 2boundaries quoteselfish

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What is the word?

Okay I’ve been trying to remember the word for an hour now and it’s driving me mad!! 

What is the word that is basically the opposite to fragmented? 

A word/words that mean when our different parts (inner child etc) all finally merge into the one person, adult that we are now? 

I will know it instantly if anyone says it… god it’s infuriating! 

An update

Ahhh finally I am writing.. I’ve been desperate to write for what feels like an eternity but we’ve been away on holiday with the kids and I’m only back to work today (not that I’m typing this up at work…. Honest!).

The Holiday and the stepkids
So first of all, the holiday with the kids was a success. I was worrying needlessly about my stepdaughter and all the issues that arose the last few weeks and it seems the excitement of the holiday took over any other issues and she was good as gold with me the whole trip. I think it may have done us the world of good to be around each other for those 4 days, day and night and perhaps it reassured her that I wasn’t suddenly going to change – that her Dad wasn’t going to change and that life was very much carrying on as normal.  So I am really relieved about that.

There was a slight downer when my fiancé was leaving to take the kids back to their mother’s house when she ran straight out and got into the car without saying goodbye to me (this also happened last weekend)… I always find this difficult. My fiancé said to me “did she say goodbye to you?” and I said no. He told me to go and open her car door and say goodbye but I said no – why should I chase her like that? It is just uncomfortable and awkward then.  He told me I was cutting my nose off to spite my face but I disagreed.  As they drove off down the road, I waved as usual and heard him say “you could at least wave couldn’t you?” and so I closed the door and burst into tears.

I was crying because of the shit way the holiday had ended. For me the lack of her saying goodbye and the lack of any of them saying they had a good time (maybe even a thank you?) was upsetting and disappointing. I felt like I had put so much effort into making the holiday fun for everyone, not to mention being a general maid, chef, photo-taker and all the rest of it and it felt upsetting that it didn’t end with a nice hug goodbye and a thank you/I enjoyed it…

Mid-cry I thought to myself perhaps that isn’t the only reason I’m crying.. what else could it be? Could it be because I would miss them? Is it something else? I’m still working on this but me and T touched on it last night in therapy and she thinks that there is a trigger somewhere because this often happens to me at the door. There is something in them all driving off and “leaving me behind” that I struggle with and I also often cry when I leave myself, for instance I’ve cried when I’ve left therapy a few times now and I’ve also cried when leaving my Dad’s and my Nan’s in the past few years (as well as my Dad leaving my house).

Me and T also discussed the fact that it could be that the reason she doesn’t say goodbye to me is because she finds it hard to say goodbye because it’s difficult for her leaving. I hadn’t ever thought of this before because she always seems to rush off but T told me to remember how I felt when I had to go home after being at my Nan’s for a weekend and I thought about that and found it quite a surprising thought.  She said that sometimes kids/people have to turn something bad or ruin something in order to make it easier to leave it… she said it was worth thinking about.  T also said that she wondered if when I cried, I was carrying something not only for myself but for them/her too.

I told T that the youngest boy had said to me that afternoon that he couldn’t wait to see his mum. I admitted to T that it hurt when he said that and that I felt stupid for feeling that way – of course the kid missed his mother. T said that it is hard for me because I take on that mum role when I’m with the kids and particularly after 4 days and nights of being “mum” I told her I knew it was silly for me to take it personally and said I had to remind myself of how I feel when T has been away and I can’t wait to see her again – she nodded and said that was a good way to think about it.

Thinking about it now, perhaps it was also some sort of jealousy that his homecoming would be nice and welcoming and homely and mine never was? Its possible.

Work and my ex-friend
In other news, I sent the email as per my post a few weeks ago now. I didn’t and have not received a response which I am actually very grateful for BUT it hasn’t been smooth sailing unfortunately.  The Monday after I sent the email (on the Friday night), she began walking by me staring at me for ages (like holding my gaze with dirty looks for 5-10 seconds at a time, not just a quick look) – she would shake her head when she passed me at work and would tut and turn her nose up at me if I was in her eye line… I was struggling with this but didn’t react at all as per T’s advice (and all of that on the internet).  I wasn’t sure this was going to stop and so I made a note in my work book of every time she did something, when and who was there and I coincidentally had my appraisal at work and so I did tell my supervisor what was going on.  She told me to monitor it and said she would be happy to speak to her for me if it was becoming difficult. I said I was going away for nearly a week and so I hoped the time apart would help – it’s my first day back today and I haven’t seen her yet so we will see.  HOWEVER..

However, she decided to email our mutual friend who is currently off on maternity leave about the whole situation and needless to say, it isn’t an accurate or truthful description of what happened but her “side” of it which is full of inaccuracies… In the email to our friend she says that she waited weeks for my huff to “blow over” and that eventually she sent me her email to find out what was going on. She claims that when I got engaged, she came into work and congratulated me, said my ring was beautiful and said how happy she was for me (the only truth in that is that she did say the word congratulations – but with a very straight-face and she walked off instantly).  She then said that THAT evening I blocked her on Facebook (not true – I had blocked her a week previous).  She said to our friend that she is very hurt by my words, that she would never treat someone like that and that I said I “don’t need her anymore” (I didn’t say that).

She later went on to say to our friend that when she returned to work from mat leave, she would need to draw up a rota for the days our friend would lunch with me and the days she would have lunch with her!!! Firstly that is a stupid thing to say but secondly it made me laugh because it just shows you the whole point of our row – the woman is obsessed with lunch breaks and who will be with her. She then made a comment of “if she is still here then because she had signed up to an agency a few weeks ago”.. which was a pretty shady thing for her to 1) tell our friend as it was private but 2) write from her work email address particularly considering redundancies are rumoured.

Anyway, my friend has told her she doesn’t want to say too much and doesn’t want to get involved which is good of her and I’ve told my friend that she should tell her she doesn’t want to hear any more if she carries on because it isn’t fair on her. Our poor friend isn’t even back until May next year!

That aside, she has been going to lunch with various other women here at work (all funnily enough people she’s disliked previously) and one of them are no longer acknowledging me – probably I assume, because she believes her victim story. It really is no skin off of my nose but I will admit the whole thing is very exhausting.

Dream – Baby
And as a non-important side note, I had a dream on Monday night that I had a baby girl. She was wrapped up warm in a blanket and I absolutely adored her. Her name was Kia and in the dream this seemed to relate to chicken kiev somehow! haha don’t ask me why although I had eaten garlic bread that night!

In the dream I touched her face gently and she started to “talk” in baby language and laugh, it melted my heart and I felt happiness and love like I never have before. I was so proud to be her mum and I had so much love for her. I woke up remembering this dream VERY vividly (still do actually) and had wanted to talk to T about it last night but ran out of time. I wonder why I am dreaming of having a baby and feeling those feelings so intensely – I am wondering what that symbolises but have a feeling its to do with the kids and holiday stuff somehow. How can I feel something so strongly from a dream that I’ve never felt in real life? It is so strong!!

Stepdaughter/Stepmother Jealousy

Okay so this is a bit of a taboo blog. I appreciate that I may be feeling some things right now which aren’t very adult or mature and that has been putting me off writing about them, but I need the release and so I would really appreciate it if readers didn’t leave any comments to tell me to to grow up because I already know I need to! ha!

For background my fiance has 3 children. We have been together 3 and a half years and I get on pretty well with the kids. I get on with the two boys very well – its very easy with them but things with me and his daughter its been a bit trickier.  On the whole we get on well – sometimes very well in fact but if there has been any hard times, its been with me and her.  She is nearly 12.

Fast-forward to now and our engagement and I am really struggling.

Last weekend she turned up with a face like thunder and was refusing to look at me or was staring at me blanked faced when she did (this happens randomly).  I HATE it when this happens and it makes me feel very awkward in my own house. Within ten minutes she asked my fiance for “a private chat” and they went upstairs for about an hour.

When they came down, it was clear she had been crying and they spent the rest of the evening cuddling on the sofa, I was in the dark about what had been said (and still getting the frosty treatment from her) so I wasn’t feeling particularly great.  Eventually when the kids were all in bed he told me what she had said which was basically that on the wedding day, she wants to be with him and she doesn’t want to have to leave his side.  She wants to be our bridesmaid but doesn’t want to be with me and my other bridesmaids in the morning (she wants to be with him and his best man and ushers) and that she was worried we would break up and he would be sad again like he was when he broke up with her mother.

So those are the facts.

This is where I am struggling – despite knowing I am being childish and unreasonable, this is bringing up some huge jealousy issues for me and I don’t know how to deal with it.  Her wanting to be with him on our day is making me angry.  She is bad enough on a normal weekend – god forbid she doesn’t get to sit next to him at the dinner table or something.  I feel so stupid but I have so much anger and jealousy at the fact that she seems to pull his strings and then he bends over backwards to keep her happy (I know, she is a child). It is irrational.

So why can’t I handle this? Why do I feel so angry with her? Why isn’t the knowledge that she is clearly struggling herself with our engagement enough to help me have sympathy and compassion for her? Why am I feeling quite so angry and resentful and childish over a little girl?

She is jealous of me taking her daddy away and I am jealous of her taking my fiance away!!  It’s horrible.

I think there is some of my own “dad stuff” in this. I think there is a lot to it for me and I really want to hash it out with T tomorrow if I can. I shouldn’t feel threatened by a child and her father – I do not want to be like that.  Is it as simple as me seeing him give her what I was never given is so painful for me that I am getting angry instead of sad????

I also don’t want to be like my mother who pushes her child aside for a man and I don’t want to be cold-hearted towards a little girl who is clearly worried.  I really, really don’t want to feel like this – but I do.

I am struggling that she spent the weekend laying all over him – sitting next to him constantly, laying her legs over him, holding his hand – generally keeping him away from me and marking her territory. I’ve even tried to reassure her by being nice to her despite how I am feeling and I’ve told my fiance things to say to her such as that nothing will change when we are married and that she has nothing to worry about….

My fiance said that he thinks we are both jealous of each-other but naturally he has more understanding and compassion for a child than a fully grown adult.

I just want one day.. one day where it is just about me and him and not the kids  – not her. I just want one day where I can kiss him and dance with him and hold his hand and smile in photos but the reality isn’t like that. Even the seating plans have been dictated by the fact that she has to be sat next to him at the top table “because he would like that” (read: he better or she will strop)… I even picture her pulling at my dress when we try to have our first dance (I know, dramatic much). When we went on holiday last year in a caravan she suggested that “me and daddy sleep in the double bed and you on the sofa”…

Is it because I didn’t have this relationship with my Dad? Is it that I am scared she will take him away because surely I am old enough to know better?

Help!!

Oh and to make matters worse, we are heading to another caravan holiday Friday for 4 days. Right now I am absolutely dreading it. I don’t know how I’m going to cope.

To o

Post 2: Sister struggles

Moving on to the struggle i am having with my sister..

My sister is a feisty character. She’s 22 and lives with my narc mother. She is very argumentative and is very easily provoked.  We do not see each other very often mainly because we are both busy with our own lives but also because the dysfunctional dynamic between my mother, my sister and I means that only 2 people are able to get along at once – so someone is always the scapegoat. Usually me because I do not live there and I have boundaries and obviously boundaries make me bad, wrong, selfish etc etc….

As I said earlier, 9 days ago I got engaged which was HUGE news for me. I really hoped my sister would celebrate and enjoy it with me but she has pretty much gone silent. She sent few whatsapps about it the following day and said she was about to phone some wedding dress shops to make an appointment for me but I asked her to hold off doing that because I would like to find places myself and I would like to make the calls myself too.  She didn’t like that. Perhaps that was childish of me or immature but I’ve waited for this day to come my entire life  and I want to enjoy all these little things. She will get her day.

Then, the other day she text me to tell me that it is her father’s (HER father’s not mine) 60th birthday next Tuesday and said she was planning a surprise meal for him. She asked me to come and I told her that I couldn’t as Tuesday evenings I have counselling (as she knows).  To fast-forward a long and boring story, she told me that I should cancel my session, in her eyes it is “only a session” and she doesn’t “see the big deal”.  I made lots of compromises, I suggested they ate dinner and I would join for a drink or afters.. I suggested they go and have starters and I would join them for the main course and I asked if she changed the day to the day before or after, I could be there at any time.  None of that was good enough.

In her usual style, she erupted and sent me some spiteful messages and said in one “are you actually ever going to stop going” and “you go twice a week – why can’t you just miss one”. I told her that I was only able to miss 2 a year and that I would be charged £40 if I didn’t go (this is probably not true because I NEVER miss sessions) but she didn’t see the issue.  Eventually I told her that my mental health is extremely important to me and said that I was no longer going to discuss this with her. I would be there after my session or they could go without me.

She is now not talking to me.

On top of this, and it probably sounds a bit childish (especially to all social media haters), but she hasn’t “liked” or commented on anything to do with my engagement whatsoever, hasn’t sent me a card – nothing. It’s like it isn’t happening. I added her to a whatsapp group called “bridesmaids” and her only comment so far has been that the group chat is annoying her and that she was going to have to silence it!

I am finding this really hard and particularly the stuff about my counselling. I do not WANT to miss a session, that is MY BOUNDARY and because I am sticking to my boundary and not giving her exactly what she wants, I am the bad guy. I mean for god’s sake, this is clearly a big pattern in my life huh?

I spoke to T about this yesterday and she said that it is very painful when we start to see the dysfunction playing out when we’ve been blind to it previously. I agreed.  She told me that I should say to my sister next time or another time, something like “I will not allow you to attack my therapy, please stop” and I will do that if I need to. What hurts is that I know her and my mother will be sitting there together slagging me and my therapy off because neither of them understand why I go or how it is useful. They see it as some weird addiction that I have and think I am throwing money away. They both tell me to “get over” the past and move on like they have (LOL!!)….

It just hurts. I’ve pretty much brought my sister up thanks to my mother’s behaviour and I really had hoped this would be a special time for us. If it were her getting married I would be so happy for her and so proud of her. It is such a shame.

Still climbing the mountain

Hi everyone!

I haven’t been on WP for a few weeks because I had something wonderful happen…… my boyfriend proposed to me on Wednesday 9th August and I’ve been in a bit of a bubble of happiness ever since and all things rings, engagement and wedding related have taken over my brain! I hope everyone is okay and will play catch-up with your posts as soon as I can.

In the meantime I wanted to write today about the struggles I am having despite this glorious news with (ex)work friend and with my younger sister (I’ll write about my sister in a separate post as this is long).

You know the background regarding ex work friend already but its been another couple of weeks so here is the latest: On the day I came into work following my engagement, lots of colleagues gathered around my desk lots of them screaming and hugging me with excitement (it was so lovely!), she walked over without me having seen her coming and said with a very neutral face “congratulations”.  She then immediately turned around and walked off cue awkward silence from the people at my desk!

It was a mature thing to do in the circumstances I guess, but awkward nonetheless. That was our only communication since the day we fell out until Tuesday lunch time when I received an email from her. I’ll paste it in here only removing any names:

“Okay, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re done and I’m okay with that, but I am quite curious to know what it is exactly that you’re pissed off with me about.  I understood that you were pissed off because of the email I forwarded to [colleague] – I understand that and apologise.  To be honest, I didn’t really read your email properly and it was a genuine mistake, which is why I didn’t understand what you meant when you emailed me saying “Why did you send that?”  I literally had to check what I had sent to understand what you meant.  Anyway, it was a genuine mistake and you know that I wouldn’t do something like that on purpose – not to you or anyone else for that matter.  I would’ve thought that you knew that, being my ‘friend’. 

Anyway, I knew you were pissed off with me by the fact that you’ve given me the cold shoulder, the silent treatment and have even taking to walking the long way round to go to the kitchen/loo/lift to avoid passing my desk.  There has been no communication from you whatsoever (apart from the odd work-based contact).  To top it all off, you’ve blocked me on Facebook but not only me but my daughter and [her best friend] as well (that hurt by the way –  why [daughter] and [her friend] have been brought into whatever this is I don’t know, but it didn’t go down too well, as I’m sure you can imagine).

To be honest I thought it would all blow over because you’ve done this before (the silent treatment/cold shoulder act because I’ve said or done something to piss you off) but as the days – and weeks –  have passed I’ve come to the conclusion that there may be more to this than an erroneously sent email because surely you can’t be that pissed off about an email to warrant this treatment?  So I’ve waited for you to let me know, to no avail. 

So, could you please show me the courtesy of telling me what it is I’ve supposed to have done (apart from the email)?   I would have thought that our ‘friendship’ would at least have meant that you would’ve approached me and told me why you were so pissed off, and maybe even go so far as to give me the benefit of the doubt.  Instead I’ve had nothing from you whatsoever – just avoidance. 

You don’t get to treat me like this and think it’s okay.  Because it’s not.  I deserve better.  At least have the balls to tell me why you’re behaving this way. I don’t want anything out of this – I just want to get things cleared up and to move on.  If it means we’re done, then that’s fine – I’m okay with that (in fact I’d prefer it), but we can still be civil and grown up.”  

I wasn’t expecting that email AT ALL and so it did throw me – the familiar body feelings came back instantly and with the same intensity as always. The feeling is like nerves, it makes my entire body tingle and my heart beat fast – its definitely fear. I hate that she can have that effect on me but I understand thanks to T that its got a lot of “mum stuff” in it – going against authority and not just doing what the other person wants immediately scares me. I try to have compassion with myself in these moments. I read her email several times and thought about my reply, I bashed a response out within minutes which was quite angry and defensive but I didn’t plan to send it. I then went out for a walk to get a sandwich and to try to calm myself down a bit.

Later I sent her email to T for her advice and when I spoke to T that night, she told me to take my time with a response. I was surprised that she thought I should respond at all but she said she felt not responding would give her more ammunition to make me out to be the BBITW (biggest bitch in the world)…. She gave me some pointers such as saying “I agree with you that”.. to a few things she said such as I agree with you that you deserve to hear my side of things…. I agree with you that our friendship has run its course and I agree with you that we should remain civil in work.

She told me to take my time and remember I had no urgency to send my response. This is something I’ve really come to notice, that when I get some sort of communication from someone, my mother, her, whoever I do feel like I HAVE to respond quickly.  T asked me why and I said I wasn’t sure but with her it is the worry of what she will do if I do not respond quickly enough.  T asked me “what is the worst that can happen” and I laughed and said that made me feel a bit pathetic – I know logically she can’t really “do” anything but that the feeling was in me.  T said of course it was, that I have been against this stuff all of my life. She said she didn’t say that to try to underplay how I felt, but that she hoped it would help to ground me a little when I felt scared or nervous.

T advised me not to bother defending myself too much but to simply give my reason and then set my boundaries being that the friendship was over and that I would not respond to any further emails. She said to put that in because although it wouldn’t stop her from sending anything, it gave her notice that whatever she sends will be ignored.  I liked this advice because I really do not want to have to send more replies – this one is hard enough!

Here is what I plan to send:

“Thanks for your email. I agree that you deserve to hear my side of things and so here it is:

My feelings are that when we became friends about 8 years ago I was a very different person. The dynamic of our friendship was in-keeping with who I was then – and I feel I have changed and grown and that I am no longer able to manage certain behaviours from you because of this.  The main areas of contention for me are what I view as your possessiveness over me (particularly regarding lunch times), your guilt-tripping if I do not do what you want me to do and being made to feel as though I owe you something for having been a friend to me.

This has been something that has, over time, become more and more difficult to manage and tolerate and I think that because of this, it began to grow as a resentment and I began to feel obligated to do things that you wanted, despite my own feelings, due to how you would react/respond if I did not. It began to feel like emotional blackmail if I am honest, and that isn’t something I wish to deal with any longer.

I feel if I do not keep you happy I am “punished” either by you not speaking to me, sulking, making comments that I am  rude or selfish or along those lines (sometimes disguised as “jokes”), leaving our chat conversations immediately, saying to other people that you would expect more from me “after all you have done for me” etc.  It has grated on me for a very long time until I have now reached the point where I just cannot take it anymore, it has taken the joy out of our friendship.

I feel that those things are not okay in a friendship between two adults and this is another problem – I do not feel you treat me as your equal, but as a child – and a child that deserves to be told off or punished for what you view as “bad behaviour” even down to me looking at my mobile phone during my lunch hour.  I think in hindsight, I used to allow all of this treatment because I knew no different and thought it was normal, but I no longer want to accept people making me feel bad – regardless of who they are.

I have no wish to become enthralled in tit-for-tat or exchanging cruel words. You have said your piece, and now I have said mine and so I am letting you know that I will not be responding to any other messages.

I agree with you that our friendship has run its course and I also agree with you that we should be civil and professional.”

T thinks that my reply is good in that it gives her the closure she has asked and that I take ownership by saying that it is ME that has changed – she said it is truthful but not cruel. I hope that is true because it feels nasty even though I am not saying anything that is not true – I try to remember that my feelings cannot be wrong, they just are.

I’ve decided to send it after work hours tonight, and from my personal email account to her personal email account to keep it away from work. I also hope that the weekend will give her time to digest what I say and try to prevent any instant (abusive) reaction in the workplace! T has also said that this will help me in future if things really get tricky with her and I end up having to get help from management at work – I can demonstrate that I’ve tried to keep this out of work as much as possible.

So… now I’ll have to wait and see how she responds. I am nervous I won’t lie. I worry she will respond very aggressively and I predict that she will be absolutely outraged at what I’ve said. She has a lot of information about me and knows my weak spots and I think she will say some very painful things. I imagine they will consist of how selfish I am, how I have changed – not for the better.. how I am cold and ruthless and various other things.

I told T that I am not very good at being able to separate my truth from an allegation and so people’s words do hurt me. She said that is because I’ve been hurt this way and said that growing up, I was always the scapegoat for people’s shit and that as a child I was unable to know what was and wasn’t true about me – that my mother projected stuff onto me and this stuff taps into that. Being selfish is always something I’ve found particularly painful and I am convinced that is what she will call me. She called me selfish and rude enough when we were friends!

I am trying to tell myself that setting boundaries and not doing 100% of what someone else wants DOES NOT make me selfish, but it is a fight still. I hope that one day I have the ability that so many other people seem to have of just letting these things roll off me.

T has also warned me that she may do a total 360 to what I expect and apologise and that I need to think about how I would deal with that. That totally threw me – I can’t imagine it, but it’s an easy way of getting me back on side isn’t it and an easy way of making me look bad because if I then don’t accept her apology, she can tell everyone that too…………. I just need to remember that it is possible to accept and thank someone for an apology without that meaning normal service has to resume.

I feel like I’m climbing a huge mountain and I’m right near the top but that the worst is yet to come.

I don’t want to adult today 

I’ve woken up today feeling down.  I have a thumping headache. I’ve cried. I needed a cuddle but couldn’t ask. 

I’m not sure exactly what’s making me feel like this, it feels like the week has emotionally drained me and it’s caught up with me today which is weird because last night I felt pretty good and strong. 

It feels it’s very up and down at the moment. Some days I feel empowered and strong and ready to fight and others I feel weak and sad like I’m incapable to defend myself anymore. 

I wonder if that’s normal? What will tomorrow bring? 

There’s also a selfish bit of me that’s feeling a bit jealous that the kids are coming in an hour and will be here until Monday night. That’s a long time as they usually only stay one or two nights. It’s nothing personal about them of course, but I guess when I’m feeling in this place I’m kinda regressed emotionally to a child myself and so looking after children is hard work and can bring up feelings of resentment that I try to swallow because I know that’s not nice. 
I think it triggers the child part of me into feeling angry for having to look after my sister all those years when I was a child myself. 

When they are here I have to be adult. I don’t have any time for myself and I can’t sit down to write or read in peace when my thoughts need tidying up to reset me a bit. 

My bf’s attention obviously (and rightly so) is on them continuously and I kinda fade into the background. I guess this triggers me because of my childhood of fading into the background behind my mother’s men and her friends. 

Some days it’s just hard to be a capable adult and today feels like one of those days. 

I wonder what happens in my head when I go to sleep. How does this change happen? How is it that one day you can wake up and feel positive, happy and adult and the very next feel the opposite? What sparks that change? 

Right now I need to go and get ready, paint on a smile and fake being a competent adult for the kids’ sake when actually I would much rather stay in my pjs and watch tele with tea and sleep. 

It’s a craving to be looked after and not doing the looking after and I guess I know where that wish comes from. 

Laughing At My Anger

Last night I had a dream about a lady at work. In the dream I was shouting and screaming at her, really going for it and I was clearly extremely angry and upset.  She however, was smirking the entire time, looking down on me as though it was amusing her to see me loosing my shit.  Eventually after a lot more screaming I totally lost it and I slapped her across the arm really hard.  

She looked almost pleased that I had lost it to such an extent and just looked at her arm and then me and walked away.  I fell to the floor in a heap of exhaustion and distress and sobbed as though I was dying. A few minutes later the police turned up and took me away, all the while this lady just smiled in a kind of psychopathic way. 

I told T about this dream at this afternoon’s session and we spoke about it at some length.  T said that she felt this was more of a memory.  Elements of that dream really did happen in my childhood and actually more recently than that.

In the dream the lady did not attempt to soothe me. She didn’t try to calm me down or help me in any way.  In fact what she did was humiliate me in my pain, laugh at the agony I was so clearly in and purposely provoke me in my anger until I did something “bad” or undeniable that I could then be punished for.

When I tried to explain the part of the dream where I was absolutely distraught and on the floor in a crying mess, I said to T that the way I was crying and the way I was feeling in the dream was exactly how I feel when I experience the regressed emotional flashbacks or attachment pain stuff. Stuff like last week when I didn’t want to leave and I had such a deep longing for her – or more accurately, for “the mother”.

I said for what could easily be the gazillionth time that I can’t find the words to explain this pain to her because any word I use feels minimising of my pain, but that even the image is accurate.  Every time I write about really feeling the full force of pain inside me in those moments, I often write that I would fall on the floor in a heap and almost die from the agony I’m feeling and that is exactly how it was in the dream only I was watching from a third person’s perspective – hence it feels like a flashback of sorts.

I told T a memory that when I was a young child, maybe 5 or 6, I was very, very angry.  I was told to shut up over and over again but I would not let it go. I guess the fact that I wasn’t being acknowledged, helped, soothed or even the fact that my mother (and another guy) were not trying to help me at all and the fact that they laughed at how exasperated I was getting just made me want to explode and so they locked me in a room and I bashed the door with a hairbrush over and over and over again. They just totally ignored me until I had cried myself into a sleepy pile on the floor.  Eventually they let me out and I was told off.  I remember that story from that perspective but I’ve also been reminded of this “funny story” by the man that was there at the time many times in my life. He often says how much of a brat I was and that he had never seen someone so young, so very angry.  He laughs as he tells people (usually new boyfriends) that they locked me in a room and I bashed the door repeatedly with the hairbrush. I used to laugh along and cringe a bit, but now the story makes me feel sick and hurts my heart. That was no way to handle an upset and angry child. I was probably angry and crying out to be noticed because my mother could only see the men in her life, not her daughter.

I wonder now if that was the day I locked my anger away and if that was the day I realised there was no point in getting angry because it would never help me get my mother’s attention.  Or perhaps anyone’s.

More currently, in November 2014, about a month after T taught me about narcissism and told me she thought my mother was severely narcissistic or suffered from full blown NPD, I was at my mother’s house and was a little bit tipsy.  I had found out that evening that the murderers that killed a colleague of mine had been sentenced and so was possibly emotional (that is my mother’s excuse for my behaviour anyway).  Anyway, some family members were there and one of them started talking about my boyfriend and saying some negative things about him that had clearly been said by my mother and I snapped at him that it sounded like something he had been told. He denied it but it was no use, the conversation gradually heated up and then I burst into tears and said how fed up I was of my mother badmouthing my boyfriend (story of my life) and from that point on, it/I erupted.  My mother and I ended up in the bathroom where I spat a whole lifetime of questions of why she was the way she was – why she never told me she loved me, why she always put men first, why she never acknowledged the csa and various other things. Needless to say, she wasn’t accountable for anything at all and gaslighted and invalidated me in true narcissistic style.  I was, like in the dream and like in the hairbrush story, totally raging (from a very hurt place) and not being listened to or helped in any way.  My mother then went into victim mode and cried her poor me’s and the family all rallied around her.  A cousin and my step dad began telling me how awful I was and how amazing my mother was and I screamed back at them that they were blind and that it was nothing to do with them, it was between me and her.  My cousin then stepped in and said I was lucky to have a mother like her and then my cousin and aunty cuddled my mum.  So I left. I just walked (stormed) out (in a furious and crying mess) and walked to my flat where I lived alone and I fell on the floor in desperation and loneliness and cried my heart out on my own – as usual.

Me and my mother didn’t speak after that night for about two weeks until one morning I was playing on my phone on the toilet, and she text. I opened the message hoping for an apology but it just said something along the lines of “Hi darling, I hope you are well? Would be nice to see you soon!“…

WTF??

Mindfucking.  I wasn’t far enough into my recovery to understand all of this in the way that I am writing about it now, but the point is – anger and my mother only serves to make you the bad guy. Like in the dream.

I told T that in past relationships, that tended to be rather volatile and up and down (because I was an insecurely attached girl dating avoidant men – durr!!) if we were arguing and someone laughed at me, that was it – I saw red and totally lost the plot. Luckily for me, me and my boyfriend do not argue like that and so that horrible side of e hasn’t come out for a long time. But it’s there – laughing at my pain is a no-go area.

And more currently still, there is work (ex) friend.  I can see the parallels in her and my mother now and I can see the parallels in the dream and what is going on with her at the moment too.  In true narcissistic style, she is smear campaigning all over the workplace She is telling people that I am ignoring her and she has no idea why, that she is devastated blah, blah, blah and clearly that can evoke some anger.  I think anyone would feel some frustration when someone who has been emotionally hurting them manages to make themselves look the victim.  When they lie, gossip, twist truths and try to ruin what people think of you it is incredibly unfair and anger tends to be born from the feeling of unfair does it not?  The smear campaign is a deliberate attempt at damage control in their favour – it is to try and cover up or prevent any attempt you might have made, or try to make, of exposing them for what they truly are and what they have done.  At this stage they start to play the victim and that will bring them some new sources of supply as people fall for the lies and they then use that new supply to make you jealous. To show you what you are missing.

Next up I will be on the receiving end of her rage and given how volatile she is anyway, I don’t doubt that will be ugly.  T warned me that I will be made to look like the biggest bitch that walks the earth and that I just need to ensure I do not take the bait. Do not react to anything AT ALL no matter how grossly unfair.  She said it won’t stop me wanting to “put a few F’s into her” but to do that in session with her.

The persecutor wants to wind me up until I do something undeniable just like in my dream when I eventually slap the woman who is smirking at my pain.

Fu**ing narcs.

 

Baby In Arms Stuff….

I need to write about last night’s session (post –misattunement episode) but my mind is so full up and preoccupied with all this drama at work that it’s hard to think about it properly so I apologise in advance for how disjointed this blog is. 

Needless to say she was wonderful. I walked in holding Frank in front of my face in a playful way and she burst out laughing and said “he’s still alive then?” and we laughed. That was really helpful and reassuring because I was feeling really nervous about seeing her and that removed a bit of the seriousness and tension. 

I sat down and she said how I had really used Frank as a transitional object and how helpful that was. I agreed and said that I had suddenly understood why I defaced my troll teddy as a child much more clearly. I had understood previously that it was done in anger, but now I understood on a deeper level.  We spoke through what happened briefly and she said that she had been missattuned to me. She said that word herself and owned it. I said that I felt silly now that I was no longer “in it” and that I had got so angry.  I said the fact she hadn’t got it right wasn’t really a big deal and so I felt embarrassed by my reaction and bad that I had taken it out on her and misdirected it.

T said that it is a big deal because it tapped straight into the feelings I had my entire life growing up and that it was a big deal when you are feeling it in that way. I told her that I had been so upset and when she replied in the wrong way, I was instantly so furious.  She said she had sensed I was angry  at the time, but felt she shouldn’t respond further because she didn’t want to either push me into more anger, or remove the anger copmletely because she knew it was actually helpful.  I was shocked and said “Did you? How did you know? I didn’t think you noticed!”. T said that she had a really good sense for things and that she could just feel it.  I felt a bit disappointed that she had known but hadn’t replied and so I told her that her not replying had made it worse.  She said she just had to trust in me and my process and said she did also feel it might be a good opportunity for me to get in touch with some anger.  She said that she knew when I said I had dropped Frank off the side of the bed that I had lost connection with her and that when this happened, I couldn’t remember/feel anything good about her at all  – she went all bad. I agreed and she said this would improve with time.   

She said very clearly that she would never trick me into anger but that if she sensed anger from me, she wouldn’t try to stop it straight away. She said she had to trust in my “ego strength” that I would come back to her if I was struggling and needed her to help and told me that sometimes the anger will be so very painful that I will really have to dig very, very deep to get the strength to go to her and trust that she won’t let me down or hurt me. 

I said that it was very a scary decision to try again on Friday because I was petrified that she would get it wrong again and that it felt absolutely petrifying.  She said she really did understand the terrain and seemed to really empthaise this point. [I wondered again if she was trying to tell me she has experienced this herself without saying it].  I said I wasn’t sure how I would have coped if she had.  She told me whatever I did, I must not EVER hurt myself. I told her I hadn’t thought about hurting myself and she said I may do one day though, and that I needed to know very clearly that was not to be done. I agreed.

T explained the reason she had got it wrong was because she is very aware that on Thursdays I am very adult and that I’ve previously got upset when I’ve left because it’s like the child part kicks off and wants to know why it wasn’t allowed out during session. I told her she is very right and said that I had written that to her before so I wasn’t disagreeing that does happen and has happened BUT it wasn’t right for that particular time.  I said I had summarised my writing when I contacted her rather than sending my entire blog and she asked why I did that?  I said that I wasn’t really sure but I felt I didn’t need to give her the full blog when I could summarise for her (clearly I did!). She said perhaps it felt scary to send her a lengthy blog to read straight after session and said in future, please send the full thing. We laughed and I agreed that I would.

I told her that her offering me that session last Friday on the back of my anger email had removed my anger nearly instantly. She asked why I thought that was and I said that I guess it was because she would still see me – she wasn’t sending me away. She repeated back that I wasn’t being punished for being angry and I agreed.  She said that unfortunately she wouldn’t always be able to do that and I said I knew that, but that I had really appreciated it.  She asked if it was hard that she had offered me a session I couldn’t accept and I said whilst I would have loved to have gone, I was surprised at how okay I felt. It was as though just the offer was enough.  She smiled.

I then read T the blog post about the sadness I was feeling after leaving Thursday. Needless to say, I cried the whole way through. It was really quite awful to be honest. It brought back a lot of the feelings and my stomach was in knots, my chest was hurting and I sobbed and sobbed. At one point I was literally covering my face and making noises crying (so cringe). T was great, as always and sat with me in my pain.  She made a comment about how my mother had done all of this to me and how it was horrific. That really helped – she’s never said something quite as blunt as that before.  She said lots of supportive things as I cried but I can’t really remember what, things along the lines of understanding how bloody awful the pain was as I agreed through my sobs and snot. 

T picked out the bit where I had written about wanting to smell her perfume (metaphorically) and asked me if it could be an idea for her to spray some on Frank? I felt a bit embarrassed about this suggestion. She enquired whether I was aware of her perfume and I said I wasn’t, no.  T said that perhaps I was and that I just hadn’t realised I was and said that before she gave me Frank, she had rubbed him around her neck.  I smiled at that, that felt really caring. 

I told T that the perfume bit was intended metaphorically and she said that perhaps it was at the time but that perhaps we could just “go with it” and see if it was comforting or helped. I have my suspicions that nothing would have helped other than just being with her, but I guess it’s an idea.

I told her that the bit at the end where I said it “really hurt like hell” didn’t feel half as strong as I wanted it to. She said that she fully understood the pain sometimes was impossible to articulate and I agreed. She said she felt this pain went right back to “baby in arms” which was why I was so very upset about leaving and she said that she thought my mother would have picked me up and then put me back down far too quickly and that I really didn’t get chance to “take in her face, her smell” etc for long enough and that was what the pain was about. I wasn’t steadied for long enough. She explained how important eyes and face are for a baby in that the mum’s mirroring was vital and she felt I didn’t get a lot/enough of this.  I agreed.

I told T that I find it odd that when I am not in front of her, I can’t remember her properly. I said I would struggle to explain her or draw a picture of her and that I found that odd. I admitted sometimes when I am there I try to really look at her and remember things but then she’s just gone in my memory so fast. T said that perhaps I didn’t need to remember her face and that she found this interesting because she often thinks of my mother as being “a faceless mother” (in terms of the lack of affection and love in her eyes, the lack of kind smile etc). I agreed and told her that I had dreamt of her the other night and had mentioned in my notes that either it wasn’t really her or that her face wasn’t right or she didn’t have one.  T laughed and nodded as if to say “exactly”. 

I said how I found it quite remarkable that I can spend so many days upset, angry or preoccupied and yet so quickly feel regulated in sessions with her. I looked at the clock (for the millionth time already) and thought it had only been 30 minutes. I remarked that in the session after I had Googled her, it had only taken about the same amount of time and that it was such a surprise to me. She said that I just needed to have here there able to handle it – to stay and to sit with me. She then asked if I found myself Googling her during all of this and I said no, absolutely not – the thought hadn’t crossed my mind and that I would never do that again. She told me not to punish myself.

 

Work Friend

I had ten minutes left of my session and so took the opportunity to tell T about the latest with work friend. She advised me very sternly not to give or send her a letter. She listed off some of the dangers of doing that such as her sending it to people, copying it, putting it on the internet, taking it to management and claiming bullying and all sorts of other things. She said that there really was only one way and that was to very clearly say I no longer wanted any friendship other than to be professional at work.  I told her that seemed so harsh but that was actually what I wanted to happen. I told her all the stories I’ve written about already and she wasn’t surprised. She said that the woman has no boundaries whatsoever. I told T that I felt rather invaded and that her pushing herself on me at lunch times despite the fact I was with other people (and we aren’t talking!) didn’t seem to matter to her.  She shook her head and said I had to make sure I didn’t engage in anything she did. 

I told her about the stupid quote she had put on Facebook about how she only wanted good people in her life and T rolled her eyes and said how passive she was (remember T has had 3 years of examples).  She reminded me that I could just delete her and I said that felt scary. She told me to take my time and reassured me that there was no rush.

When I got home I felt like I’d been run over. I actually think most of the tiredness and emotional exhaustion was about work friend and re-reading the sadness email. The anger barely came into it – the anger stuff wasn’t an issue or a big deal AT ALL shockingly. I cried A LOT and took myself to bed feeling totally wiped out (not before bitchface (mother) had text to invite me to her birthday weekend in September…. wahhhhh).

Today I woke up and the first thing I did when I opened my eyes was delete work friend from FB. I just did it. I woke up and thought fuck it. I need to stop worrying about how it looks to people or how she will feel. I need to remind myself that it doesn’t matter whether she realises how manipulative and blackmailing she has been or not – the fact is that she has and she has worn me down over the years and now I’ve decided I no longer want that friendship and I have the right and entitlement to make that decision for myself.  So I deleted her to avoid seeing her shitty posts and statuses and to take another step into removing her from my life. I know deleting people on FB sounds rather childish and petty, but for me it’s actually quite a big deal.  Usually I keep people for months before deleting them after a serious fall-out because I always worry about what they might do or say if we made up. So hey, there we go. I did it and I am glad I did.

Today at work she hasn’t shouted at me when I’ve walked past which is lovely and I even managed to have lunch with some other friends in peace. She sat nearby with some colleagues she’s never had lunch with before but hey, I’m glad – I don’t want her to be punished or lonely, I just don’t want to have to be the one sitting there with her either.

BUT she did then tell our Team Coordinator that I was ignoring her and she had no idea why (which isn’t true – clearly) and that is annoying.  I’ve read enough about this stuff to know she is just trying to play the victim and make me look bad and have people feel sorry for her. Surely if she didn’t know why, she would ask – and has she? No. Of course she hasn’t.

Mate I need a glass of wine and a bubble bath. Oh and a new job ha!

The End of the Narcissistic Friendship

Grace for my Heart

It’s Narcissist Friday!

 

You are probably exhausted.  Perhaps a little confused.  Balancing between conflicting emotions.  On one hand you are glad that person is finally out of your life.  On the other you feel guilty for not doing something you feel you should have done better.  On yet another you feel used and abused.  And you are angry.

Yes, I know that’s more hands than you have, but when the narcissistic friend finally leaves you behind, your world is likely in such a mess that you feel like you could have three or four hands.  Or heads.  In fact, did she leave you behind or did you leave her?  It was her decision, but you were to blame—or something like that.  Narcissistic friendships are confusing.

I have suggested that narcissistic friendships are among the most difficult of narcissistic relationships because they lack the normal bonds narcissists use to keep…

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