I wonder when I turned into the kind of person that found sneaking off to a coffee shop on my own for an hour, a treat. I wonder when it was that I swapped my absolute fear of being alone in public, of being looked at or judged, for sitting at a table with a snack and a cup of tea and finding it the most relaxing way to spend an hour. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I crave it!
So here I am, I’ve just been watching something on Netflix on my phone but I also had a craving to write so I thought I would quickly write here. It’s not quite satisfying the craving because in the perfect world I would be in a coffee shop nowhere near work and I would have my laptop and some comfort clothes on – but hey, I’ll take what I can and so my phone and my work clothes will have to do.
I’m feeling pretty good today. Work was stressing me out this morning but that’s just work stuff, not emotions or people or anything, literally paperwork. Russian visas to be precise. Ball. Ache.
I had therapy last night and told T some of the new things I had been thinking. I told her that I knew it didn’t sound like much out loud, but that my new thoughts felt huge.
I told her that I realised that my mother’s upset at my lack of attention/interest/love etc and that I realised that’s exactly how I felt all of my life growing up with her.
I explained that in a bit more detail and said I know it sounds like I’m being spiteful, but I’m not, I didn’t mean it like that – it’s not meant as punishment or anything. She said it absolutely did not sound like that at all.
She said “you’ve given the projection back”.
I didn’t really focus on that last night but it has been on my mind today because I clearly remember her saying a while ago that I needed to “give the projection back” when I was feeling desperately guilty. I had no idea what she meant to be honest. Hearing her say that last night felt good. Had I given it back?
I plan to speak to her about that in more detail in tomorrow’s session but I guess what she means is it isn’t me that should feel guilty, it’s her and so I’m refusing to carry that weight and I’m “giving it back” to her. Not that she would accept it … I guess that’s not the point.
I told T how clearly I can see her lack of empathy all of a sudden. I said the few examples I could think of immediately being 1) when I told her about the sexual abuse by her then boyfriend, 2) my operation when I was scared I had cancer, 3) when I confronted her about how I felt growing up. T already knows these stories and she knows all the details of what happened so she agreed with me. I said it was like all of a sudden I could really understand how awful her reactions were. I said I just keep trying to put myself in her position and imagining my stepdaughter telling me those things and how I just realised how shocking it all was in a way that I hadn’t before.
T agreed with me. Clearly she’s been thinking this way the whole time but I’ve taken a while (5 years!) to catch up.
I asked T is she had heard of the term “love bombing” in relation to narcissists and she hasn’t. I told her what I had been reading about it and what it meant and she seemed very interested. I told her that mostly everything I had read about love bombing was in relation to romantic relationships with a narcissist, but that I had put it into my context, with my mother and it had made sense. I explained that the inviting us to “forget it all and move on”, the invite to go to her house, the money she put into my bank account, the messages saying how much she loved me, how much she missed me, how I was her “daughter” etc were all part of this love-bombing. The idea being to confuse and guilt the receiving party into thinking the manipulator is actually lovely, to doubt your perception of them, to feel bad, feel guilty.
T understood straight away and agreed with what I was saying about my mother and her “love-bombing” and we both said how what usually follows is devaluation and then discard. Perhaps not discard with my mother, but devaluation for sure.
I said reading what I had really helped because it stopped me thinking that perhaps I was wrong and also I told T that I couldn’t help but feel I was being a horrible person thinking her “generous” gifts could be somehow “bad”.
Anyway, I have to go back to work now unfortunately so this is shorter than I would like it to be. Hopefully it made some sense anyway.