The “Real” Her.

So.… it’s now 24 hours since my session with T.  I am feeling sick (literally) and crying again.  I am still feeling totally confused and disconnected and weirded out.

I also stupidly emailed T to tell her I was feeling shit about 5 hours ago and haven’t had a reply yet which has only added to the shit.

I think that last night I really realised or perhaps the word is accepted – that I am seeing T because I am in therapy.  That she is my therapist.  That she isn’t my mother or my family or my friend or anything else other than my therapist.  I don’t mean that in a “she doesn’t give a shit about me” way like I imagine she will assume I mean.  And I don’t mean that I suddenly don’t care about her either.  What I mean is, she genuinely and literally is my therapist.  Not my mother.

And this means I need to get on and do “the work” (fucking, fucking, fuck, fuckkk!!).

I need to stop “being good” and likeable and loveable and all the rest of the people-pleasing shit I clearly do to get T to adopt me.  I need to accept fully that I am there to do the job – get the therapy shit done.

Easier said than done.  My heart hurts even writing this.

She said I need to use her to get all the shitty feelings out.  Use her to rupture and repair with. Use her to get angry at and all of a sudden……..she changed.

All of a sudden she went from being fantasy T, to … a therapist.  A therapist who cares for me yes, but a therapist who I am paying to help me to heal.

It literally feels like she’s died.

Suddenly she is not “mine” anymore.

Suddenly this fantasy figure has vanished and in front of me last night was a real woman – THE real woman.  A woman who I care for, deeply, but not the fantasy anymore and shit, the pain is literally tearing my heart in two.

Is this meant to happen?

She spoke to me about splitting last night and how I had split her after our last session.  She spoke about the good mother and the bad mother and how, in my head, she was either completely and utterly attuned to me, or, not at all.  She said that I swing from one extreme to the other and couldn’t hold on to any middle ground.  I actually disagreed (in my head) because I had managed to stay okay all week despite this and I had managed to get myself there without crying or falling apart.  I had been okay I felt and I had been able to hang onto the fact that she’s helped me before and would help me again.  I didn’t feel I had “turned her bad” at all.

I don’t feel this is me splitting either.  I can very clearly see she is a kind, caring lady. I can clearly see that she is not all good or all bad.  I can hold the fact that she does care about me as a person.  I’m just saying that the illusion of her has fallen away and now I can see the real person.  Is that splitting? I don’t think it is, but hey, what do I know?

Who knows, perhaps it will speed my therapy up now.  Perhaps accepting that she isn’t going to adopt me and turn into my mother will help me to do the work quicker.  Perhaps that was holding me back.

Perhaps now I can see her for the real her, the therapist, I will be able to get angry at her.  Perhaps the fear of her leaving me won’t be quite so awful.  I mean… she’s dead anyway right? LOL.

Is this normal? Is this meant to happen? If no, then what the fuck is going on?

Am I angry at her for not being who I need and want her to be? No. Why should she be.  I just feel like a total fucking idiot really.

I think when this hit me last night I just checked out. I think I dissociated and then nothing made sense and nothing felt real.  I could see and hear her last night, but not how I normally do.  I literally had nothing to say and felt numb.  It all felt dead.  I think that happened when this reality hit me.  Maybe it was a bit like shock?

I question if this is transference somehow but I don’t really see how it could be.  I didn’t see who my mum *really* was until fairly recently so it can’t be a replay of being a child and realising my mother wasn’t who I needed her to be.

God I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a complete psychopath.

No wonder nothing she said helped last night.  What could she possibly say? No wonder her using words and phrases like “you need to be the client” and “therapist” and “therapy” hit me so goddamn hard! It is like finding out someone is dead and then having someone else shouting out DEAD! DIE! DEATH! as you are trying to take in the news.

She even LOOKED different.  She may as well have been sitting there with a clipboard or something.

I was frozen and devastated. I cried non-stop and yet I had no words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nothing is real

It isn’t very often that I feel the way I feel today. I can’t make head nor tail of what it is I’m feeling and thinking. It’s complete and utter chaos inside my head.

Last night was one of the weirdest sessions I’ve ever had with T but again, I can’t explain exactly why that is.

Throughout my session I felt utterly confused. I wasn’t able to tell T what I was feeling, where or why. I wasn’t able to maintain eye contact hardly at all. I cried pretty much continuously. I watched the time slip away.

I was painfully aware that I wasn’t “feeling better” in the way I had hoped (and assumed) that I would.

I didn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed, I felt kind of lonely.

There were a lot of silences in my session last night and that’s unheard of. The silences were uncomfortable. T asked me several times what I was feeling and I kept saying that I didn’t know, that I had no words, that I was confused. She said “try please” which made me feel worse because I seriously didn’t know.

I felt kind of in a daze. Nothing was really real and nothing made any sense to me. She seemed far away and her usual warmth and words didn’t seem to be able to penetrate me. I was in this weird, lonely, lost place.

Unfortunately T was trying to explain the way that therapy helps us by explaining why it’s important to rupture and repair and why it’s imperative that I access my anger and aim it at her etc. She meant well, I can absolutely see that, she was trying to ground me and reassure me so that I wasn’t afraid. However unfortunately she made reference several times to “therapy” and “you need to be the client” and “rupture and repair” and “do it with me”…… unfortunately in the state I was in, she may as well have been shouting “YOU ARE A CLIENT IN THERAPY – I AM NOT REAL – I AM NOT YOUR MUM”.

A few times as she said those words my heart physically hurt (a sensation I experience a lot when in deep pain usually regarding the mother – or lack of).

She pushed numerous times about the anger I need to tap into and work through with her and how I didn’t get the chance to do that when I was a baby. As she spoke I felt like a volcano was brewing inside of me, rage at how unfair this was – not anger at HER, but maybe at her. I don’t know – sorry I’m so confused still. I told her this wasn’t fair. I don’t want to do this. I shouldn’t have to do this.

I told her that in “real” life I wouldn’t aim a load of anger at someone close to me and she interrupted me to say this isn’t real life, it’s therapy. It’s what you are here for.

Again, I know she meant well but it was like she was shaking me and screaming “I’M YOUR THERAPIST – NOT REAL – NOT YOUR MUM” again.

Again I felt my insides bubble and burn and felt sick.

Ahh stop telling me that I’m in therapy! I don’t want to be in fucking therapy and not because it’s hard like you think, but because you keep reminding me that you aren’t my mum or even my family! YOU keep reminding me this is work and a job and a task to complete. I don’t want to hear that – I don’t want to have to feel that!!!

She told me that the thought of being angry with her petrifies me. I agreed, yes it does.

I nearly told her. I nearly said “I don’t want to accept that I can and should do that with you because it makes it real that you’re not who I want you to be”.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t because it didn’t feel we were connected enough. I didn’t because it truly felt she would respond with the facts – the logic – I didn’t want it need that.

I’m not saying this to slag off my T, so please don’t comment to correct me, I just need to write this. I felt a bit stuck last night that when I told her the feelings, she would correct me with the facts – and then when I said the facts, she would push for the feeling underneath. It was confusing the shit out of me. What did she want? Un-edited feelings or grown up logic?

Again, I know she meant well in both cases, she was probably trying to ground me but I felt like it was best not to speak.

The silences felt awful because they felt charged with my confusion but her’s too. She didn’t understand what was happening for me (hence why she was pushing me to tell her) and I didn’t know how I felt enough to explain. That was an awful feeling.

The session felt horrible to be honest. I could see her there, I could hear her trying to help me, but she wasn’t helping actually and that’s hard to say.

With about ten minutes left of my session she asked “what is it that you’re not telling me? I’m just conscious that we have an entire week before you are back here” (aaggghhhhh!!!). That hurt actually. It hurt because I wasn’t not, not telling her anything. It hurt because those are the EXACT words my mother used when I told her about the sexual abuse and she asked “what else aren’t you telling me?” as she couldn’t understand why I was crying so much, so hard and for so long.

What else??? Fuck! WHAT ELLLSSEEE?????

I told her there was nothing that I was holding back or not telling her.

More silence.

I cried so much. It hurt so much and it was the most confusing thing ever.

I told T that I don’t want it to be therapy and she told me not to turn it negative and decide that means she doesn’t care. She told me she cares about her job a lot otherwise she would “just work at Asda”. I told her I knew she cares about “her job” (that’s the fucking problem though isn’t it! It’s HER GODDAMN JOB!!).

As the session came to an end she asked me if I would be okay to drive, I said yes. She asked if I needed to take more tissues, she told me not to rush off and to cry it out a bit and I cried even harder then but as anyone in therapy will know, when your time is up, it’s hard to stay longer. I near enough run out. It was a few minutes after my time and I grabbed my keys and phone and stood up.

I sobbed when I left and got into my car. I felt wiped out and weird when I got home.

Today, I feel deflated and drained. I feel a real sadness and a real loss.

It’s not a nice feeling. I wish I could make some more sense of it.

Did that session actually happen? It all feels like a dream.

The worst thing about therapy…

So, the worst thing about therapy is….

That it is exactly that.

Therapy. Work. A job to do. A task.

Whatever you want to call it, it is therapy and therapy is not your mum.

It doesn’t matter how hard you cry or how much you hurt.

You are a client in therapy with a therapist…. and that’s that.

Cringe & vulnerability soup

Oh Christ, it’s therapy day again. *GULP*.

You see, it’s all well and good being brave and telling your therapist the truth about weird and embarrassing things whilst hiding behind an email, but then you have to go and sit in front of them and say stuff to their face. I’m not such a fan of that bit.

Maybe I could hide under a blanket whilst I speak to her tonight? Or maybe we could have the session by phone so she can’t see my face? … Ooh or maybe I could just not go?

I’m scared. I’m scared because I feel stupid and ashamed of what I’ve told her, about how I felt and well basically the whole thing is a ginormous bowl of cringe soup isn’t it?

It’s weird because it doesn’t make any logical sense to me and it’s weird because although it hurt a week ago, I don’t feel that way today (which I predicted would be the case).

I am holding on to the fact that T will say “this is the work”, that she will be kind and that she won’t shame or punish me for my feelings. I know she won’t and that helps a lot .. but… but still, it’s weird and cringe and uncomfortable.

Im holding on to previous experiences where I’ve gone to her feeling like this over weird or embarrassing things and remembering how she made me feel relaxed and how I left feeling so much better. I know that her sitting with me whilst I process any feelings is good for me – and her demonstrating that there’s another way to have my feelings responded to other than shame and punishment is what I need.

And I trust her. I trust her to help me and I trust her to be gentle and kind. I trust that she will help make me feel better. I trust that this time tomorrow, I’ll be writing out how relieved I am.

And she’s still held good. I haven’t turned her bad. I don’t want to leave her. I don’t want to quit therapy, not at all.

I just don’t want to feel the vulnerability that I will feel I suppose. I’m not used to being the vulnerable one in the adult/child relationship with my mum which is mirrored with T. It feels wrong and I guess dangerous and scary.

And yet I have this real need inside me to let it all pour out. To have her help contain me in it all – all the mess and the pain and the fear and the grief.

I want to projectile vomit the whole lot up and let her help me. I don’t want to have to clean the vomit up myself like I (literally) had to do as a child.

Being vulnerable is scary but I know it’s what I need.

Healing tears and stored emotions

I felt rather sad when I finished writing my blog earlier this evening. I decided to go and do some yoga in the hope I would occupy myself or, more truthfully, to distract myself from the fact I wanted to go upstairs, lock myself in the bathroom and cry about what I was feeling.

I did some yoga but started to get angry because I wasn’t good enough.  In the end I knew I was flogging a dead horse and so I gave up and put my mat away.

I moped around a bit and then went and laid my head on my husband’s chest (who was watching the F1).  He let me lay there for about fifteen minutes as I cried and he just stroked my hair.  He asked me what was wrong and I started to say that it was silly… but then I corrected myself and said that actually, it wasn’t silly at all  but it was a bit random.

I explained to him that I had the dream Friday night and that I had blogged about it and it had reminded me of the feeling in the dream and more importantly, it had shown me the feeling I used to have.  I told him that I had only been telling T on Tuesday that I used to go to places where people were kind to me, like my grandparents’ or to my sister’s dad’s and that they would be nice and I would be happy there but that then I would have to go home and I hated it.  My voice broke as I told him this and I cried again.

I realised as I cried about this memory that when we first got together and when I first started to open up to my husband about my childhood, he used to find it shocking (and disturbing) that I could reel off stories with absolutely no emotion whatsoever and he would be left feeling depressed and I wouldn’t.  For a long time this is how it was.

Tonight I realised that now, for maybe the first time, I am able to recall old memories or old feelings and then actually FEEL the sadness.  That must be progress.

After I cried I felt better. I felt like the tears released something that was inside me.  I felt quite pleased that I had been able to join together a memory and an emotion and it showed me how far I have come since the days in therapy where I sat totally disconnected from myself.  It is also something that happened on Tuesday night in therapy when I tried to describe to T how awful the pain could be – within a nano second I had a body reaction and tears fell down my cheeks. I was shocked then and she commented that I had spoken of a memory or a feeling and been able to connect to it – this is the second time this week that has happened.

Anyway. The tears felt different to usual, they didn’t make me feel broken or ashamed in fact they made me feel self-compassion and sadness for my inner child.

These kind of tears feel like they are healing, like they were stored and waiting to be released and lastly I think dreams are so clever, that dream literally made me experience that old feeling again and feeling that again has helped me to piece it together and express some stored sadness so thank you dream, that was very helpful even if it was painful.

 

Diary, Dreams & CEN

Ah, it’s Sunday again.  Today has flown by because we’ve pretty much done nothing which is nice in a way but also feels like the day is going to fast at the same time.

I’ve had a nice weekend though.  Yesterday I woke up early, about 5am and decided to cancel my gym class and turn my alarm off which was set for 7am.  It was a shame because I actually love that class but also I haven’t had the chance to just wake up naturally with my husband for weeks and I decided I had done enough exercise for the week as it was.  Off it went and back to sleep for me.  Lovely.

When we got up, we went downstairs closely followed by my stepdaughter and we started to make omelettes and tea.  Nice start to the day, I felt relaxed.

After breakfast I decided to do a quick 20 minute yoga video on YouTube, it wasn’t quite as relaxing as usual as I had my husband, stepdaughter and youngest stepson all watching and laughing, but I felt good for having stretched out a bit and got my stepdaughter involved which she seemed to enjoy!

After I had showered I decided to make a Quorn shepherd’s pie to freeze for dinners in the week as that seemed to work well last time and gave us a quick and easy option during the week when I don’t want to cook or I get in too late.

Later we went to a country par for a walk and it was freezing but lovely.  The kids enjoyed it, as did we and then we went for dinner afterwards before taking the children back to their mum’s house.  Me and my husband then went to the cinema to see “First Man” which is a new film about Neil Armstrong.  I have mixed opinions on the film to be honest but a lot of my criticisms are unfair because it is based on a real life story and real life situations/events.  I didn’t really know anything about Neil Armstrong but he was quite an emotionally cold and detached man and the lack of affection between him and his wife and children was hard to watch (for me personally).

On the subject of emotional warmth, I had a dream on Friday night which was quite strange. I woke up and typed some quick notes about the dream and I later sent my dream to T again asking her not to reply.  My notes read:

At T’s – I had some kind of breakdown where I cried and ran about and hid under a bush like a child might.  I was scared and shocked at the way I had acted and how much pain I must have inside me.  My mum was waiting outside to pick me up she was acting weird because she knew I was there having therapy and she hated it.  She put on a fake smile when T opened the door and said “Okay? Let’s go”.  I looked back at T and she called me back then kissed me on the cheek and told me to take care.  There was something about the way she called me back and the way she said goodbye that was warm and comforting and felt like she was telling me that it was okay that even though my mum was cold, that she was warm and that she understood and would be there for me.  I didn’t want to leave her.”

I’m not sure how I felt about the dream but I was in a happy mood when I woke up and I think that maybe I took some comfort from experiencing T as warm and loving in the midst of the weird feelings I’ve had since Tuesday.  I guess on the flip side I also dreamt of my mother being fake and detached AND I dreamt of myself screaming and crying and running around like a maniac because of the pain I was in.  However that didn’t really seem to impact my mood – perhaps it was more of my brain showing me what is already happening, that I go to T’s and show her my inner feelings, my anger, my sadness, my fears and that my mother is still fake and detached.  Considering the current situation it was reassuring experiencing T as safe and also hard having to leave her.  I think I must have been a child in the dream, 1 because of how I was acting and 2 because of the fact my mother had come to pick me up.

As I write now about the feeling of leaving T and going off with my mother, that hurts a bit.  That was a real event in my life when I was younger, repeatedly leaving people who treated me with more kindness and warmth and then having to go back to my mum.  It was always very hard, I always felt very, very alone and right now I can tap into that feeling. As I write this, my eyes are prickling with tears and my heart feels heavy.  It’s one of the feelings I am most glad I don’t have to experience as an adult, apart from maybe sometimes when I leave T, but it’s not as bad because I don’t dread going home to my husband in the way I used to dread going home to my mother.  Back to her rages and her emotional and physical neglect. Back to the dangerous men.  Back to being invisible and unimportant. Unwanted.

I feel very sad for that little girl.  Feeling so unloved and unseen in her own house – by her own mother.  Her mother so utterly self-involved, so uninterested and so emotionally detached from her child that was desperate to be held, soothed, cuddled, reassured, played with, read to, bathed, spoken to, approved of………seen.

I am sat here as a 30-year-old woman and the memory of that pain can still make me cry, that is how deep it goes.  I still find that shocking.  I wonder how nice it feels for my stepchildren to feel loved at their mother’s and at our’s and not to dread going home.

I actually wonder if THAT right there is the worst part of this whole thing.  Potentially.

On a totally related note, T suggested that I buy myself a punch bag to keep in the garage for using to release my energy when I am feeling angry, overwhelmed or stressed. I would quite like that now.  Agh I feel like I could cry but I don’t want my husband to see me upset today.. I think I might go and do some yoga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processing this thing…

I’ve just got on the train, it’s 7.30am and a very cold morning here in England. I have a coat, scarf and gloves on today and it’s still cold. It’s also still quite dark out as I leave for work now so it feels like winter.

I’ve posted my email to T yesterday and now her reply. I’m still processing this whole thing, it’s a weird one and I didn’t see it coming.

I spoke to my husband about it last night and he helped to validate my feelings by saying that I created my “fantasy” of her having had a similar background to me in order to allow myself to feel safe enough to attach to her and to be able to relax with her and trust her with my story and my feelings. I asked him “but what now? Now it’s all fucked” and he said “now it’s too late, you’ve already attached”.

Interesting theory… is that how it works? Is it like when you are in a relationship with someone and you start to learn things about them and your image of them alters slightly but you still love them, you remain with them? Is it like that? The alternative I guess is that I suddenly withdraw my love and trust from her and run away but even I can see it’s not that simple. I can see that I need her so running away is no longer an option like it once was.

One thing that is bothering me about this whole thing is that narcissists and my mother particularly need everyone to be just like them – else they see them as wrong. My mother needs me to be an extension of her and so my hobbies and likes and dislikes have to be the same as her’s. She can’t allow room for our differences and I assume the reason for that is that the differences feel dangerous to her. If that’s the case, then how I am feeling about mine and T’s mothers/childhoods being different is actually really narcissistic and I obviously HATE that. I don’t want to feel like that. And yet I look around at my colleagues, friends, other family members and see that I have many relationships with people who have had entirely different life experiences to me and I’m fine with that – and I can appreciate the many differences between us. Take my friend Jo for example, she loves her two cats, is fiercely independent and strong, she never exercises and she loves macaroni cheese. I don’t have cats, I exercise a lot and I’m not fiercely independent and strong. Silly examples but you get my point right?

My husband said that he thinks one of the reasons me and a good friend who I met on here get along so well is because we understand each other – because we both had narcissistic mothers and some similar life experiences. He said that he thinks I feel very lonely in my feelings and my history BECAUSE I am surrounded by people who had very different upbringings.

He’s right, it does feel lonely. Sometimes painfully so. It’s probably one of the reasons I write on here so much, knowing many people that will read it can understand some elements of it at least. I don’t tell any of these thoughts or feelings to my friends or colleagues or even my family members apart from my husband.

Rationally I can see that T is a professional. That she’s trained to help all sorts of people with all sorts of problems. I know she helps people with bereavement and addictions and things because I’ve looked on her website but it’s like I’ve painted this picture that she only sees me and she specialises in narcissistic mothers and attachment trauma because she experienced it herself. I imagine I am her only client and the youngest and the one she relates to most. I imagine her mother is just like mine and that she has had to grieve the same things as me about the fantasy mother and about changing her mother, about one day things being better. I imagined that she has also sat on the floor hysterical as the old feelings made their way up and made her feel like she couldn’t breathe. I imagined she needed her therapist in the way I need her – for my very survival sometimes.

And now…. well, now I don’t and that sucks.

She said in her email that she hasn’t changed – but the safe fantasy has and that’s true but in my head… that’s the same thing.

It feels impossible now that I feel she doesn’t understand.

I really feel that unless you’ve had a narcissistic mother and suffered attachment trauma and felt rejected and bad and then been engulfed your whole life, you cannot even begin to understand how I feel. Suddenly T’s empathy feels … empty and fake. Anyone can sit there and say “that must be hard” but I thought she KNEW. I thought she felt it herself once and could remember.

T said to me on Tuesday before this happened that she didn’t think I had accepted “the gravity” of my story yet. I told her the gravity of it hits me randomly and then goes again and the “gravity” of it makes me feel like I will die. As I said that, my entire body prickled and went hot and tears formed in my eyes. She noticed instantly and said “it’s okay…try not to be scared” and I was scared. I’m always scared by how quickly I can go from feeling one emotion to another. It freaks me the fuck out.

I just think there’s only so far you can go to understanding someone else’s pain when you can’t relate. We can all sympathise with someone but to really get it we surely need some experience ourselves don’t we?

I know the key to empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagining how they feel ….and I know empathy is a huge part of what our therapists do, so I guess that’s why they don’t need to have “been there” personally in order to help us …. but that’s the logic and the younger feeling part of me doesn’t care about that. She wants her special T to *really* get it.

Sometimes it feels (and I know this isn’t true, obviously) but sometimes it FEELS like I’m the only one in the entire world who has grown up feeling how I do. Like I’m the only one in the entire world to feel such a deep loss and sadness, such a deep longing for a mum i never had. Just sometimes it feels like nobody will ever, ever, ever understand that and that is what this has triggered: that I’m alone in it and always will be. That nobody will ever be able to truly relate to me, that nobody will ever be able to hold my hand and sit with me and help me to get better and fix it all.

And lastly, in all of this is the fact that as a child my mother treated me as the adult and exposed me to things way beyond my years. She told me things that a parent shouldn’t and used me as an agony aunt and a shoulder to cry on. She told me about her boyfriends and her sex life and money troubles, she once cried to me saying she was going to be “left on the shelf” and alone forever…. I never felt at the time that it was inappropriate or too much – but clearly it was. I enjoyed being treated like a grown up. And now I feel similar feelings with T, I want to feel like the grown up – I want her to tell me things and yet here I am having this huge reaction to the fact that my T has a mother.

Therapy really is confusing.

T’s reply

I hear you and am sorry that my words have knocked your internal world so badly – that certainly wasn’t my intention.

It is very hard when we rely on a fantasy to feel safe and then something happens that alters it. Don’t panic – I haven’t changed but the fantasy has. It’s incredibly important that we can talk about the fantasies as they help us to better understand you. It’s absolutely ok to do that. The way therapy is set up means that we can react to things in a way we wouldn’t normally do; therapy amplifies feelings, just as you have described. Its painful I know, but also allows us to get hold of, and work with them. We will do that together.

I’m very glad you have been able to tell me how you feel. Because the safe fantasy has been knocked, doesn’t mean I don’t understand what you have been through/are going through – try to hold onto that.

I am still here and am thinking of you.