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!“…
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.