I have been thinking about writing for several days now. Yesterday morning I told myself that I would write when I got home from work as it was my half-day and that I would use my usual therapy session time to write but instead I binged episodes of Line of Duty. I have been really aware that recently I am either watching an episode of something addictive: Luther, then Cold Feet, then Killing Eve and now Call of Duty, or I am addicted to a book or audiobook. Again in the last few weeks I have read Normal People by Sally Rooney, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and now, Conversations With Friends also by Sally Rooney. I’ve been completely sucked inside this fantasy world every free waking moment. That includes walking to and from the station and/or office, on the train journey to work and back, whilst cooking dinner, whilst showering etc. I’m not sure that on the whole there is anything particularly unhealthy about this but I have a sneaking suspicion that it could be an attempt at blocking out thoughts and feelings; a need to escape reality.
Regardless of the above, as it is now Friday evening the therapy break is nearly over. On Tuesday evening I will be back in therapy with T and as usual (guess what I’m going to say here?) I don’t really feel like I want to go back.
I have to laugh now because this is such a familiar feeling. It is SO weird because as I start the break and I tell myself that soon enough I will be thinking this, I dismiss myself – it seems so unlikely. Stupid even. But yet, here I am again.
It seems that I am not alone in these feelings and I recently read another blogger write so clearly what I feel. During the breaks, I’m not sure how far in but I would guess approaching a week perhaps? I start to feel as though I am coping well and feeling good and then I start to question why on earth I put myself through the twice-weekly torture that is digging around in my emotions/my childhood trauma. Why do I do that when I am sitting down to type this having not done so for near on 3 weeks and I feel fine (okay excluding the potentially unhealthy reality escaping above; but that could be a coincidence, right?).
It is really strange to me because I felt shitty about the break and the fact that T had given me some of her chicken’s eggs felt so wonderful. It was most certainly a transitional object of sorts and there I was in the kitchen with my husband and stepchildren a couple of days later snapping pictures of us making fried and scrambled eggs and omelettes and I sent them to T thanking her. It felt comforting in a strange way that only other therapy-goers could possibly understand.
Then there was the dream that I wrote about recently. The one where T and my mother had the same curtains, wall pictures and wallpaper and I didn’t want to tell T in case she was offended. I can clearly see the symbolism in that dream and do not deny it is probably trying to grab my attention and make me aware of what is going on deep in my subconscious mind. But yet.. here we are.
Being honest I have barely thought about T this week and I will go so far as to say that yesterday when I left work at lunch time, I was rather excited to have a whole afternoon off work to myself where I didn’t have to rush home, drive anywhere or poke around in old pains. Nope, I could come home, eat lunch on the sofa and watch tele. After a few hours of tele I decided I should do some exercise so I wasn’t a total couch potato.. only mostly.
Anyway perhaps I am feeling this way because my defences are up and I am unwilling to feel anything to the contrary.. maybe T is right and I have always learnt to become very self-sufficient but wouldn’t it be nice if actually it just meant I was a whole lot stronger and more able than I realise I am?
As I write this I ask myself “am I looking forward to seeing T?” and I can’t quite settle on an answer. Saying no feels horrible. I’m not NOT looking forward to seeing her and yet I don’t feel a real pressing need to or a craving to either. “Did I miss her?” – again, my instant feeling is to write ‘no’ but again, that sounds nasty and I don’t mean it to. Could I survive another week or so? Yes I feel I could, easily but perhaps that is only because I know the break is nearly over and so it is easy to sit here and think that. Perhaps I would be writing something very different if I was only, say, half-way through a longer break.
I sometimes worry that I am a fickle and shallow person because I can see that in my life I sometimes have this disturbing ability to just cut people out as though they meant nothing to me. I am aware how narcissistic that sounds and yes, it does worry me sometimes. For example, my very narcissistic friend that I fell out with about 2 years ago now. When me and her finally came to blows and our friendship ended I was upset and confused for a while but looking back I got over her very quickly in the scheme of things. The second friend, my old narcissistic work colleague who I used to call “work mum” (shudder). I fell out with her one day and never looked back. Genuinely I never even got a craving to send her a single message. I felt nothing but relief and freedom when we went our separate ways. After so many years of.. well.. friendship? that concerns me. I would however like to point out here that in both of these situations I was being emotionally abused by narcissists and at the point of the breakdown of these friendships I was completely and utterly done in. Exhausted.
But I can say the same about romantic relationships and even partly family. My mother and her husband (it pains me to call him my stepdad these days). They were both, in their own ways, bullies and abusive yes, but I have literally removed myself from them and the life we all shared together – that ‘family’ unit. How many people can do that I wonder? I admit that is only a very small part of the very large picture and as anyone that reads these posts will know, I have also spent years of therapy and crying and writing to keep that distance and not run back towards the dysfunction. BUT my point is, sometimes I worry that my ability to just flick a switch of “don’t need you/care for you/love you” is just a bit too easy.
The relevance of T and the above is that I feel like I left my last session feeling sad that I would miss T, mopping for her for a couple of days and then *flick switched* – no more sadness etc. It’s weird!!
If I was reading another person saying the above I might secretly think to myself that said person just cannot tolerate feelings of loss or abandonment and I might be right, however, I clearly deal with the biggest loss of them all in therapy don’t I? The loss of a childhood. The loss of a ‘good enough mother’. The loss of growing up feeling safe and loved and precious and feeling like you are good enough and that you should expect to be treated fairly and with appropriate levels of respect.
Perhaps my capacity to feel any further loss is limited. Who knows.
Another thing I find funny is that when I watch therapy on tele or I read about it in books, I can see how it is such a great opportunity to just say stuff – whatever you think of, whatever comes to mind, anything no matter how creepy for example when I was recently (binge) watching the series ‘You’ she told her male therapist that she fantasised about having sex with him. She had no embarrassment about that whatsoever – just came right out and said it and when I’m watching that kind of thing I genuinely think that’s great! that is EXACTLY the point in therapy. But what I notice is that is because I am not thinking about, or perhaps feeling the relationship between the therapist and client. So in my mind I think wouldn’t it be great to go to my session on Tuesday evening and just be blunt and hit T with
“So I felt sad about the break at first and I loved the eggs but after several days you basically became non-existent and I didn’t give you a second thought. I don’t NOT want to be here but I feel like I could take it or leave it. Sorry”..
And I know that T would take that. She possibly (probably??) wouldn’t care one iota. BUT I absolutely couldn’t and wouldn’t do that because I care what she feels and thinks and I don’t want her to think that I don’t. Also, if I am brutally honest with myself I think I worry that then she would think about me a certain way and then when my neediness, attachment and insecurity all kicks back in (inevitably) she might not understand or she might have forgotten since having ‘moved’ me from one box in her head – to another. A less “needy” person box. A box for clients she doesn’t have to care for as much. Love as much, perhaps?
I’m freewriting here so this may not make any sense at all.
But the question in my mind right now is: what is the healthy balance? What is the middle-ground? What is ‘right’?
I imagine that I should be able to feel the good attachment with T and miss her whilst also feeling strong and able and I do to some extent I suppose… I haven’t turned her bad but I guess I kind of lose the warmth and comfort of the good stuff in a way that is hard to explain. It’s like for me I am either totally besotted with T and realise how crucial her existence is to my entire life OR I am just not bothered. It doesn’t go so far as anger or hatred for me but I lose the lovely feelings of dependency too.
Interesting and confusing thoughts.