Progress

Wow I haven’t really blogged much in a while. I’m not sure what happened, I just kinda got out of the habit I suppose which is weird after all these years. Still, in a way I take it as a sign that I have less on my mind these days that I am trying to process, so that’s quite reassuring.

My lack of blogging also seems to fit in quite well with my feeling of no longer needing my second session. When I look back, I used to be preoccupied by all things therapy/childhood/mother 24-7. Some days I spent hours googling things about narcissism or about trauma or about childhood neglect or abuse. Some days I blogged constantly just to try to rid my brain of some of the many, many thoughts and feelings I was having over things. That is no longer the case.

With regards to therapy, I have felt the shift for quite a while now. Therapy isn’t like it used to be anymore. There are rarely any tears. My mother only features briefly and our conversations tend to be about current day things – mainly non-important things like work or the new house or, recently, my marriage/husband.

I feel differently with T, too. I feel relaxed with her in a way I never used to. I am not planning sessions in advance. I don’t think much about therapy between sessions, if at all. I think about T sometimes, like the other day when I bought myself a new Mason Cash mixing bowl because I bought T one last Christmas. On the whole though, she doesn’t take up barely any of my mind other than a comforting presence in the background somehow if that makes sense.

I’m not sure when or why or how it happened but I don’t feel I have any strong feelings left whatsoever in relation to my mother. In fairness I haven’t seen her since July… so that could be a reason I suppose, but christmas is looming and I am not experiencing any anxiety with regards to telling her I won’t see her at Xmas (at this stage that’s obvious). I no longer worry about upsetting or angering her because we seem to have come to some sort of (non-verbalised) agreement that’s we only see each other once every few months for an hour in a public place. She hasn’t tried to get me to her house or to see her husband in a long time. She doesn’t ask any questions about my husband or the children and I’ve stopped caring about that.

It sounds cruel but basically the lack of contact between us has seriously reduced my constant preoccupation and anxiety. I feel I spent (literally) YEARS crying out the hurt and pain and guilt and everything else and now…. there’s just this lightness and it’s kind of gone.

T said the other day how sad it was that me and my mother don’t even see each other over Xmas or even seem to care about what gift we will get one another (she sends me a list!!) and I said to her that whilst I know it is sad, I just don’t feel that anymore like I used to. T said that’s because I’ve moved into acceptance and that’s exactly how I feel. It isn’t that none of it matters anymore but in a way, I feel like I’ve done the hurting over her and my past and now I’ve just sort of accepted it, grieved it and I’m moving on.

I spent many years thinking that the acceptance stage would be sudden and I also thought acceptance meant forgiveness. For me it doesn’t look like that. I feel in my soul that I’ve reached the acceptance stage and I don’t wish my mother harm – I just don’t really think much about her anymore at all. Looking back 5 years to when I first started seeing T, I couldn’t ever imagine saying that. God how fused I was with her.

I look back to sessions with T over the years when I cried over my jealousy towards her children or my thinking she has a partner. I remember writing pages about how I wished she was my mum, about wishing I could curl up on her sofa in her house and be looked after. I remember her buying me Frank as a transitional object. Me borrowing her books just to feel some closeness. Me reading up about therapy so I could try to be like her or at least impress her with my knowledge. I remember all of these things clearly, in a way I can remember the pain I felt at the time – but not in a way that hurts me anymore. The memories make me sad for the little girl in me, but the adult me has taken over and I no longer feel any of these things at all.

It feels like I went to T with the most gaping hole where a mother’s love should have been and T filled it as best she could to the point where nowadays I feel lightness and happiness in a way that I genuinely never, ever thought I would.

None of this is to say I’m suddenly done with therapy or that I don’t need T or I’m done or anything, I can’t actually imagine not seeing T ever – that would be so bloody sad, but, my dependence on her has certainly lessened. My dependence on therapy has lessened. These days my sessions are helpful and I kind of offload and chat to her and I enjoy seeing her, but there are no huge emotions to process, never any crying as I leave, I don’t miss her between sessions like I used to.

Last October I used to feel a really, deeply painful longing between sessions, now I genuinely can’t imagine that feeling. It’s really quite amazing.

I still have my triggers of course. In fact me and T “arguing” (my take, not her’s) on my quitting my second session is one of them. We discussed this only yesterday again now that I am calm enough to listen. There’s some transference going on in these discussions where what I hear/feel from T is “I know you better than you know yourself and you will regret this”. As soon as I told her this yesterday I realised I recognised those words… “I know you better than you know yourself”. Goodness me – she still gets in huh??

It was interesting and we spoke about this in some detail. T said I get so triggered by that fear and that I become very defensive and angry and she said she can feel that I feel attacked by her even though she isn’t actually attacking at all.

It’s amazing to see that play out and it’s true. I asked her yesterday, plainly “do you have any concerns over me dropping my second session?” And she said she did not, not at all and that she knew I would be perfectly fine. She just said she would have liked for me to have the luxury of the stability two sessions offered as long as possible but that she did understand and that we could always talk about how it feels when the time comes etc. She just said she didn’t want anything done in a hurry because she felt because of my childhood, I was good at being able to just sever things and walk away without many feelings and so she wanted to make sure this was handled differently. That makes sense and I agree. I told her (again) that I never meant that I wanted to drop my second session instantly, I do know that one of my issues/weaknesses is recklessness or perhaps more appropriately, impulsiveness.

Anyway, I do think it’s what I want to do and I genuinely feel it’s the right time. I worry that I will miss it but I think that’s just fear of the unknown – I know I don’t “need” it anymore.

It’s progress anyway, it feels like progress to me – all of this.

Fucked

I don’t even know where to begin in writing this. All I know is that everything feels completely fucked at the moment and I feel like I’m living in a constant state of stress and anger.

Being honest I haven’t felt properly happy for a few weeks. Maybe it’s even longer, I don’t know. All I know is that now it feels impossible to push away or ignore and now it feels huge.

Work has been extremely busy. We have 2 of the team away on a longish term basis, one on internal secondment and another has broken her arm. Then we have the usual team holidays and sicknesses so things have been busier than normal. I, personally, have been very busy because one of the partners I work for is very demanding and he likes to ensure that he dominates me so that my other partners don’t get a look in.

Anyway, the point in that background is that work has been busy and so it’s only natural that I would feel stressed. However the stress I’ve been feeling doesn’t feel quite in line with the situation. I’ve found myself feeling like I might cry, I’ve felt extreme anger flushing over me. I’ve wanted to call in sick (I haven’t) and every evening when I leave, I feel thoroughly drained. But I didn’t pay that much attention to it to be honest because it is what it is…

However on Tuesday in my therapy session I ended up in another disagreement with T because I told her that I wanted to drop my second session. We’ve had the exact same conversation twice before and it never ends well. We don’t agree. She wants me to continue with twice a week therapy because she said it’s healing and that it changes the whole dynamic of my therapy even if I don’t feel like that. I argued that I don’t feel I need two a week anymore and that whilst I did; I don’t now. In truth my second session had felt like a friendly chat for quite some time but now it’s beginning to feel like a chore. I never thought I would say that but I find myself feeling like it’s another job to do in the week, much the same as going to work, doing the food shopping etc. I don’t know why that is, but there we go.

I left T’s Tuesday evening feeling angry and upset. I was beyond frustrated. I then came home and started to cook dinner but nothing was working. The hob wouldn’t light, the cutlery drawer would not close and the broken oven was, well, broken. I flew into a rage and started slamming the drawer. An hour or so later I cried and cried to my husband about my session and then he told me this…

He told me that I am not good at accepting that someone else may have a different opinion to me. He said that whenever someone does, I get really angry and very extreme in my reactions. He picked a recent example where me and him had disagreed on something (whether I should contact my sister or not) and he said that I started to say that if we didn’t agree then there was a really big problem in our marriage etc.

It hurt hearing him say that. A lot actually and it hurt to know that he held that view/opinion of me whilst I never knew. Obviously it’s not a nice thing to hear and I felt embarrassed and ashamed but also I felt wrongly judged.

Having had this work stress, then the therapy session stress and then come home to that, I felt pretty done in and the feeling inside was crap.

Then yesterday evening I came home and cooked dinner and watched some tele and when we went to bed, my husband rolled over and was silent. I have told him a few times in recent months that I would like it if he at least said goodnight and gave me a kiss. Whenever I’ve said that he quickly kisses me but it’s felt shit because it’s like he’s doing it to shut me up. It’s been something that’s been playing on my mind and last night when he did the same thing I felt the pain in my chest again and told him so. Where has the affection gone?

It didn’t go well. He huffed and puffed and got irritated. He kept moaning that it was late and that he was tired and snapped why did I always want to talk about these things so late at night. I ended up crying (again) and told him that I didn’t feel he loved me as much as he used to. I said that all the little affectionate things seem to have vanished and that it was worrying me and playing on my mind.

In truth it goes a little deeper than this. I wrote recently about our arguments about money and how T had voiced her concerns that this trait in my husband may end up coming between us because it really sucks the joy out of things. Since we moved into our house 2 weeks ago, nothing between us has felt the same. We bickered constantly at first and then the money arguments and now this… his reaction to me saying I didn’t feel very loved anymore didn’t help ease my mind at all. In fact, his irritation only added to the feeling of unease.

Perhaps it is dramatic but my mind started thinking that the love was seeping out of our marriage and that sooner or later we would both feel we were trapped in a loveless marriage and one of us may have an affair and we would end up divorced. He told me not to be so dramatic. He said he felt things were fine and said he felt the same as he always had.

I know I can’t possibly say how he feels, but so many things have changed and all of the insecurity I used to feel has come flooding back. For years now I’ve not felt like this. Surely there’s a reason for that?

He claims since we moved I have been highly strung and that since I’ve calmed down, we’ve been fine. That really didn’t help.

After this I couldn’t sleep and I tossed and turned so much (apparently) that he flew out of bed in a rage shouting that I was keeping him awake and he stormed out of the bedroom closing the door behind him. I don’t know what he did but he did come back soon and he started scratching his skin really hard and loudly (he has eczema) but I could tell it was in anger. Then I was too scared to move an inch and so I lay there wide awake feeling utterly shit all night.

I’m now on the train to work and my eyes hurt. My heart hurts too. I’m confused about so many things. Am I being stupid? Am I triggered and projecting onto him or something? Am I right to feel the way I do? Why don’t I feel his love the way I did? And why since moving has everything in my world felt like it’s going to be ruined at any moment?

I used to feel like I had one of the happiest and most loving marriages of anyone I knew. Now I am feeling like that is never coming back.

It feels like so many aspects of my life are hard to tolerate that I feel like I may combust at any moment. It’s a horrible feeling.

Feeling Fearful

My husband and I FINALLY completed on our house purchase just a little over a week ago. It was one hell of a long and stressful process, taking 7 months and including 2 breaks in the chain, having all our belongings in a storage unit and living with my husband’s parents for 3 months. It was HARD.

On completion day I felt such relief and such hope and pride and was so happy that when I received the call to say it was done, I burst into tears (in a coffee shop with my husband’s emotionally closed-off parents).

That evening when everyone finally went home, we popped open some bubbles and merrily unpacked a few bits and bobs and then a day later we begun decorating the living room. That was a long arse process and took SO much longer than I had ever imagined. Who knew how much was involved with painting a room??? Filling holes, sanding walls, cleaning walls, painting ceilings, painting skirting boards, undercoat, two/three more coats… Christ it was never ending. But it was mostly fun.

Lovely.

So imagine my disappointment in writing that actually this week has been pretty shitty because my husband and I have bickered almost constantly about money to the point where Tuesday night I sobbed twice. I’ve cried myself to sleep twice since being there.

Ugh.

It’s all about money…. bloody money.

Basically my husband and I are very different when it comes to money. It’s the only thing we argue about. He is (what I would call) tight. He’s all about budgets and money-saving websites and spreadsheets etc and he even works out how much he can spend PER DAY on a spreadsheet. Imagine what happens then when a lot of money needs to be spent or something happens that is not budgeted for?! HELL.

My husband would say that I am reckless and impulsive but that’s not actually true. What would be true is that I USED to be. I am not anymore and haven’t been for some years. I no longer buy OTT gifts for people trying to buy their love. I no longer take myself shopping when I am sad or angry or insecure. I no longer bulk buy things and then take them back. I’ve not used a credit card in over a year now and in the last few years I’ve been slowly paying off my debt whilst also saving for a wedding and a house. My money and spending habits have changed. I am more sensible now, but I’ll never be the way my husband is. I do not plan every penny out.

I feel disappointed that this is happening. It’s really sucked the joy out of what should have been a happy and exciting time. I’m way, waaaayyyy more secure in myself and my relationships than I’ve ever been, but admittedly it’s begun to make me feel some stirrings of fear that the happy, loving marriage I had, has suddenly gone.

I know that’s probably silly, and realistically I suppose I know that it’s just a blip and it’s just something that happens but I’m a little worried because the longer it’s going on, the further away “he” feels. We were SO happy, like stupid happy maybe. I went to sleep every night happy (well, maybe not EVERY night but you know what I mean). Suddenly I go to bed and feel stressed, disappointment and fear. And it’s shit.

For the past 7 months we’ve been planning to replace the windows at the new place, buy a new sofa and have a small section of roof recovered. We have saved hard. We have some savings left to cover some works and we were planning to get the windows on finance. We’ve since had 2 window companies out to give us (ridiculous) quotes.

Suddenly on Tuesday night my husband has decided we should not be getting windows on finance (or at all as we don’t have a spare £5k). We can’t get a new sofa on finance or at all (not enough savings after everything else) and we should be buying nothing at all and should only be concentrating on paying off his debt.

He started to say that in two years when our fixed mortgage term runs out, we will need to remortgage and that we will struggle if we add window debt to existing debt, especially if I have gone part time by then due to any (miracle) baby.

Erm panic stations.

We argued and I cried and I spent the next day worrying that I have finally got myself some security only to now feel it may not last long at all. That triggered me.

I’m not stupid, I see these things are important. I see there’s truth here BUT what gets me is my husband’s ability to convince himself and me that we are destitute. This happens sooooo often you would not believe.

After talking about this with T yesterday o realised it’s the same thing that happens when we talk about holidays, weddings, Christmas etc. It’s the same thing that happened when we begun our fertility tests (expensive). When we need (or want) to spend some money, he goes off into this place where he becomes extreme and over the top and we argue. I become frustrated and disappointed and resentful.

I start to feel resentful that despite working full time in a decently paid job, looking after him and the kids (at weekends), doing all the general house stuff like the washing and ironing and buying and cooking the food etc- suddenly I’m told that we cannot in fact afford anything.

The other thing that really pisses me off is that I feel (using “i words here”, I feel that he becomes a bit controlling and a bit of a dictator. Suddenly all our money decisions are HIS decisions. Suddenly he gets the final say in everything. Suddenly I am not an equal part of this marriage/house/life…… and that pisses me off big time because 1) control And 2) feeling dictated to – big no, no’s.

He has children. He pays for them – rightly so. I knew that when I met him and I’ve known that for the last 6 years that we’ve been married. We also pay 50/50 for the bills regardless of the face he earns £10k more than me. He may say that after his CSA payments, we earn about the same but actually, truthfully, is his CSA my issue?

We pay 50/50 for a house big enough that his children have bedrooms and we have done for the 6 years that we’ve lived together. Is that fair? Who knows.

He has money issues. He wouldn’t hear that said, he wouldn’t agree, but he does. He’s so extreme that he must do. T is worried that this may end up causing a real issue in our marriage because it will chip away at things. I didn’t agree at first but I am starting to.

It feels like when he may need to let go of some money (or let go emotionally? Psychologically) he holds on tighter. We need to spend some money, so he makes it that we cannot spend a single thing!!! It must be about control somewhere in there, he certainly makes me feel *controlled* when he does this.

Next time this happens I think I’ll prevent myself from taking on his projection and feeling the fear for him. I think it must be some unconscious fear…. but that’s not to say I won’t find it bloody stressful and annoying.

We have a wedding to go to in Italy next summer. The arguments that caused you wouldn’t believe!! I booked and paid for the flights, he hasn’t had to pay a single penny. I sorted out our passports as much as I could but then he decided he didn’t want to do his yet (stalling things). I found and booked the cheapest hotel I could AND I’ve even started doing overtime one evening a week at work in order to put the money aside especially for this trip. He still does not want to go. He gets annoyed when it’s mentioned. Goes on about how much it will cost. The thing is, we haven’t been abroad in 3.5 years!!! Not even for our honeymoon, I keep telling him we need and deserve a mini break away. It’s only a few nights, not even a week but he does not agree.

Looking back it’s always been the same. I guess because I did need to be better with money, I didn’t see it but now I would say I am healthier than him in a way because at least it doesn’t rule my life and take over my mood and ruin good and happy times.

T thinks it’s all to do with his dad and about money and love. His dad is a wealthy man. T also said I should remind him next time he does this, that he is treating me like his dad night his mum. She has never worked and he has always been in charge of money. That’s how he makes me feel but the difference is, I am not his mother and I do work and I work bloody hard as well as running the home like his mum did. I do not expect to be treated like the little woman at home.

I’m upset and disappointed about all of this. I am nervous and fearful that it could end up becoming a real issue. I do think it’s something he needs to do some work on – i actually think couples counselling could help…. but he will not go for that (not to mention the money!!!!).

It’s just a blip I’m sure. He did this when we had to spend money on fertility stuff, we argued then. We got over it. I’m sure we will find our way back to each other soon.

I hope so.

Until then, I’m going to try to detach from it and not discuss money with him. I’ve told myself windows and sofas can wait until next year. For now we should just forget about them and try to enjoy decorating our house.

Time for a bubble bath and a glass of wine for me.

X

T coming to my house

Last week on the phone to T I told her how I wished she could come and see my new house. Imagine my total shock when she responded to say that we could arrange that!!!!

That was last Thursday and between then, and Sunday, somehow – don’t ask me how, I had totally forgotten. Perhaps I blocked it out or something? On Sunday my husband asked me to tell him about that conversation and asked me how I felt. I told him that it felt really weird and that I just couldn’t believe it.

I said it would be really weird to see T anywhere other than in her therapy room. This may sound strange, but I said even just seeing her drive or knock on my door would be weird. Would she have a handbag with her? Would she be dressed differently?

I said I would feel nervous about how to be around her, it would feel like the tables were turned and I had to somehow take the lead… I would offer her a cup of tea… would she sit on my sofas? She would get such a clearer image of who I was by seeing my home.

I said it would be like seeing your teacher at the pub (that happened to me when I was 18 and I found it strange!). It’s hard to place someone you’ve only ever seen in one scenario in another. Suddenly they become “real people”.

Equally part of me would love to show T my house – particularly because I don’t have a mum to do that with. I would love to know she had been there and it felt nice, but I admit, mainly scary.

Then in my phone session with her this afternoon, she mentioned it again and asked me how it felt and said a few things. I was convinced she was going to take her offer back and felt my stomach jump.

She asked me how it felt and I told her that it would be weird, I told her the teacher analogy but said it would also be nice. I admitted I would feel nervous but excited. She started to say that it can be dangerous to see your therapist outside of “the room” and that it can cause problems with the framework and then she said “it can cause all sorts of fantasies like that we would become friends”.

Oh my. That comment, meant so innocently and said in such a Nonchalant way, hurt so much. It hurt instantly like before I even consciously tried to process what she had said. Ouch.

We are not friends.

From a practice point of view I guess I understand that but it really did feel like a punch to the stomach. It felt like she was rejecting me I suppose.

She told me it would not be a therapy session but that she hoped it would be therapeutic. She said she wouldn’t offer this with everyone, that so many factors would determine if it was suitable and she admitted that she would never have suggested this to me 2 or 3 years ago.

She really encouraged me to be honest with her and tell her the total truth about any feelings I had over the coming weeks. She said a few times that I did not have to go along with it and that it would not ruin or change anything at all. She said that as long as I promised to be completely honest with her about anything that came up for me, we would be okay. She said it may trigger some painful transference or other types of painful feelings. I ummed and ahhed along and then our session was over.

So now I’m sat in my car trying to process this. I have a really strange and unsettling feeling inside. It doesn’t feel all roses and butterflies which surprises me because doe 5 years, I would have prayed for a chance like this. Now I’m questioning myself, is it that I want to become friends? Is it part of me secretly hoping it’s the start of something else like her next meeting my husband or me being invited to her house (knowing that won’t happen). Or am I lost being silly and overthinking it?

Will it make me feel the difference between how much she knows about me and how much I know about her even more? Will that feel unfair or unbalanced?

What does it really matter that she sees my house? Why am I scared about being with her in my house instead of her therapy room? What difference does it really make?

Trying to stay steady

I’ve just finished my phone session with T in the park again. I’m sat on a bench right now overlooking the big pond and watching squirrels climb up the trees and jump between them. There are birds flying around and ducks being fed by children. It’s very autumnal here today, red and orange leaves are scattered all over the floor and it’s chilly enough that I’m wearing a proper coat. My favourite season for sure. I love it.

However inside my mood is sad. I’ve felt very sad this week about my lack of contact with my sister. In the last few days she’s blocked me completely on social media and most recently, Sunday I think, she removed my stepson’s access to her family music account.

On Monday I was so angry about that. I was furious. It took everything I had not to message her and tell her she’s a stupid little girl (despite being 24), but I was told by my husband and later by T, not to rise to her as she was acting out.

By Tuesday night however when I spoke to T, I cried a fair bit. It all feels so bloody sad that we’ve just stopped speaking – why?? I cried to T and she kept telling me to hold steady because it’s important that I am not always the one to fix things between us when she’s caused an argument. She explained to me how my sister “splits” and sometimes I’m seen to be “all good” and other times, “all bad”. T said she has clearly made up a narrative that I’m horrible and that I should leave her to it because there’s no point in wasting my energy trying to convince her that I’m not “all bad”. Just human.

But then last night I was laying in bed and I decided to re-read all our old messages. I read about a year’s worth and some of the messages made me smile and laugh – there were countless “ugly” selfies and voice clips of us doing stupid voices or singing parts of songs. There were messages between us where I gave her advice and there were more general every-day messages. Soon I found myself sobbing again. I really realised how much I miss her. I didn’t really realise but having her around feels like having a really good friend. It’s like I’ve lost a good friend.

I do realise that that sounds like a rather Rose-tinted view and that obviously we wound each other up and had rows and stuff – it wasn’t ever perfect BUT still, I miss her.

I told T this in our call this afternoon and I also told her that the last two sets of messages were actually okay. They weren’t arguments. We had “the”argument and then there was a message she sent about something random and then a message she sent wishing me happy birthday.

Then nothing…..

I said to T that I had genuinely forgotten these extra messages and that I had thought all this time that we were still not speaking because of the argument. I said I was worried she thought she had made the effort and had text me several times, and I had not bothered. I kinda understood her point of view.

T said that just because she had initiated two text conversations didn’t mean that she should give up and never speak to me anymore and it didn’t mean she should then block me on socials and remove my stepson’s access to the music thing…. I agreed. I told her that my husband said the same thing and also said that he hasn’t messaged his sister for weeks and that she’s often the one to initiate the messages between them but that didn’t mean she would suddenly stop speaking to him or block him on social media. He said I was trying to make excuses for her.

T ended up saying that it was up to me and that if I really wanted to contact her, that I should do but that she was worried my sister was clearly acting out very passively and that she was concerned I would receive an ear-bashing. I agreed and said I could almost guarantee I would. My sister loves an argument and has almost certainly painted herself as a victim in this. I wasn’t sure there was a way to try and talk without having some huge argument and I really don’t want that.

T suggested contacting her now may send the wrong message because she has just done all the acting out this week. It may look like her acting out and bad behaviour has worked – by getting my attention. I agreed and said I didn’t want to do that, but I’m worried more and more time is passing and more and more damage is being done to our relationship.

T told me to hold tight. She said I had a lot going on with the house move right now and that she thinks I should wait a while and wait until I’ve moved and got settled before making any contact. She suggested I just sent something like “we haven’t spoken for ages, it’s a shame and I miss you” or said even maybe just send a funny gif or something.

She’s probably right. There’s a huge part of me who is feeling the discomfort of the sadness and true missing and the fear of the damage this is doing that makes me want to fix it right now – literally right now… but I know she’s probably right and I know she doesn’t want me to end up hurt which I think I very easily could.

So I suppose I have to hang tight.

My sister has never been the one to try and fix an argument with me after a period of silence like this. It’s always, always me and I don’t want that pattern to continue but I do really miss her. Me and T have spoken a lot about my sister and T thinks she had borderline PD. I think so too, and that makes it harder for me in many ways because I understand that the things she does like the splitting and the irritability and inability to ever be wrong or take ownership all stems from a really hurt part of her created by my bloody mother. It all comes from the insecure attachment and insecurity and that just makes me want to look after her more – not less! It makes me want to show her she is loved, really loved – by me!! But that’s very hard to do when she acts out like this and when she’s living with my mother and has convinced herself my mother is “all good” and has changed etc….

It infuriates me that my mother’s treatment of us both has ruined our ability to have a healthy relationship too. It’s yet another causality to come from her. The fact I’ve always been like a surrogate mother to my sister makes this even harder because I automatically want to be “the adult” who says “come on now, let’s play nicely” but she’s an adult too and for her sake as much as my own, I can’t do that. Can I?

I only stopped contacting her because I was angry with her aggression over me not attending that flipping family event and her shitty comment about my therapy – oh and her passive aggressive Twitter and Instagram comments. All that got to me and I realised I didn’t like it and didn’t want to be making contact with someone and ignoring all of that. Perhaps I should have handled that better and told her that outright. Maybe in effect I’ve given her the silent treatment without meaning to? That’s a passive aggressive action too, so doesn’t make me any better.

It’s a thin line between setting boundaries and reacting passively isn’t it??

Today: 27 September

Last night I had a dream that I was at my nan’s house early in the morning (I think I had stayed there and had not long been awake) when the doorbell went. In my gut I knew I wasn’t going to like who was at the door and I was right, it was my mother. As soon as I heard her voice I felt dread. She walked in and looked at me and I didn’t attempt to look happy to see her. I was not at all happy that she was there and felt as though she had planned this on purpose because she knew it was the only way for her to see me. I also knew that my time with my nan was now ruined. I don’t remember how old I was, but I think I was young because I felt like I had no control over this situation.

It happens to be my mother’s birthday today so I guess it’s no massive surprise that I dreamt of her last night but also I think there’s more to it because the house I am moving to soon is very near to my grandparents’ house and I was telling T the other day that I was a bit anxious that this would mean I would have to see my mother and her husband driving past my new house regularly on their way to my grandparents’, or that I would be reversing out of my drive and be let out by someone, only to find out its them. I told her it probably sounded silly but that I worry about that kind of thing because I don’t even want to SEE them when I don’t intend to (or him ever). T also pointed out that there would be a chance that I would be at my grandparents’ house and they turn up whilst I am there. She told me that if that happened I would be okay and I could simply say “hello” and then leave. Likewise she said if I was in the car I could simply put my hand up to acknowledge then or even wave (not enthusiastically obvs) and then drive off. I suppose it’s no real wonder I had that dream, that is a real-life anxiety at the moment. 

Today 3 years ago I passed my driving test (later in life than most people) and annoyingly that brings mixed emotions too. I did not book my driving test on my mother’s birthday on purpose, it was the date my instructor had offered and so I accepted. At the time I rarely saw my mother and I hadn’t told her that my test was booked for fear of failing and just to avoid the pressure I suppose. My mother had spent years and years telling me that I would never drive and that I would not be “a natural driver” like her and my sister. Her comments annoyingly put me off even trying for many years until I started to separate from her and book my secret lessons and test in. 3 years ago today, on her birthday, I took my first driving test and I passed. I passed with only 3 minors. I was so shocked that I had done it because I genuinely did not think I would have a chance. 

After I told my husband who was over the moon for me and who had been a huge source of encouragement, I told my mother. Initially she shrieked and seemed really happy for me but when I visited her later that evening for her birthday she said the following: “They probably passed you because you work in the City and wouldn’t actually drive that often”. 

That comment stung SO bad. It played on my mind for ages and ages. In fact, even today, 3 years later that comment hurts. That is my mother all over, she can put a dampener on the happiest of events or days. She always knew how to make me doubt myself or feel insecure. It was always the same. 

Today, 3 years since that day I am sitting at work and thinking how proud I still am of that day and to be honest how I still can’t believe I did it. I also thought that since that day, I have got married and in the next week or two, I will be completing on my house purchase with my husband. In some ways I can see that I have done well and achieved quite a lot since I distanced myself from my mother, though I know that sounds big-headed and I hate big-headedness.. but it does also make me a little bit sad that I’ve had to celebrate these huge events without a supportive and proud mother standing at the side-lines. I imagine people who have supportive mothers don’t even really recognise or register how nice that is (and rightly so, it should be something you take for granted), but for me today that feels a bit rubbish. 

My mother is currently on a two week holiday abroad and as harsh as it may sound, I am very glad for that. I am glad I don’t have to see her and I am glad that I haven’t had to decline another invitation from her which we both know I will not attend but that leaves me feel guilty regardless of knowing my reasons are valid. I keep hoping that my house does finally complete before she is home but I don’t really know why, because even if she were home from her holiday it isn’t like she would be offering to help me or popping over with sandwiches!! She never has. It just feels safer somehow if she is further away… somehow it feels like something could be ruined and that I would feel more anxious if she were around. Sounds mean doesn’t it? 

Just to put the icing on the cake, it happens to be my mother-in-law’s birthday on Sunday and we are going out for lunch to celebrate. We have a card, present and will sort a cake out etc. My mother-in-law is a kind lady and she deserves to have some fuss made out of her just like she does on Mothering Sunday, but it is a reminder of how different things could have been for me and my mother. 

One nice feeling at the moment though (to counteract the above!!) is that despite the sadness that occasionally creeps into my dream world or my conscious thoughts, the heart-breaking, life-altering pain has gone. Acceptance is well and truly here. The situation is sad but it is what it is and it is not and has never been, my fault. I no longer spend days occupied by thoughts of her or reading everything there is to read on Google about narcissists or narcissistic mothers. I don’t watch countless videos on YouTube about dysfunctional families or toxic parents etc. I know I am literally thinking and writing about her now, but on the whole she doesn’t take up much space anymore and that is a real relief. 

I feel pretty at peace with the fact we have very low contact and I do not feel burning anger over the situation. I don’t daydream about it being “fixed” like I used to. I don’t hope to hear from her either. I don’t feel that my low contact with her is some kind of punishment or revenge like it once was, I just feel safer with the distance between us. 

Obviously that’s not to say that I’ll never have moments of weakness again or never cry at how sad it is or at the “could have been’s”, but they are less and less frequent these days and even when they come, I do not act on them OR even want to act on them which shows a lot of growth and strength I think. 

Annoyingly I now feel like I am starting a similar process with my sister and honestly the bad thing about having “been there before” is knowing how painful it is and what a long, long process it is too. I suppose there having done it before at least allows me to have hope that it does get better – because it has done once before and at times, I never believed it could. 

I have been lucky enough to have not lost many close relatives in my life so far but I wonder if the feeling is similar. After the stages of grief and anger and denial and bargaining have been tired out, you reach a level of acceptance and understanding. It doesn’t mean that you are glad that person has gone (emotionally or figuratively in my case), but you are able to move on with your life in a way that isn’t so debilitating as it once was. Just a thought. 

I’ve been starting to think about how getting to this place re my mother is a sign that therapy really has worked – and in so many ways. The processing of the blocked grief, fear and anger but also of the kind of re-parenting I’ve had from T. I do notice how steady I feel these days and how much more secure I feel in relation to my relationships. T has just returned this week from a two-week break and in all honesty as much as I was looking forward to seeing her, I felt fine. I didn’t feel like I was desperate to see her or feel like I was counting down the days. I could have easily done another week. It felt this time more of a wish to see her because I care for her and less of an urgent need to see her to help me if that makes sense. That is also a nice feeling and one that makes me feel a little stronger about my sense of self. It has taken 5 entire years though and that feels like a lifetime! 5 YEARS of therapy….wow.

Pondering the above has made me feel that I don’t think I am going to need to continue having two sessions for much longer. I know that T has said before that even if I don’tneed two sessions a week, that I should let myself have them just to enjoy the holding and the conversations and all the lovely good stuff that therapy brings. I am also conscious that I am only just back after a break and as much as I currently feel this is a genuine feeling, perhaps this is my subconscious kicking out or something. Who knows, stranger things have happened and this does tend to be a similar theme when breaks are around so I am not intending to do anything about this just now… I am going to just sit and wait for a while. Hold still as T would say and “sit with it” for a while to see what comes up. I’m also aware that T would say I am pre-occupied with my house at the moment and so probably not properly “in it”. We shall see…. Obviously seeing T twice a week is not a chore or anything, it is nice but also there’s a part of me that would like to reach a stage where I am less reliant on her and not spending £320 a month on therapy LOL. T would literally hate it if she read that last sentence.. it would doubtless start a whole conversation about my health and wellbeing being more important than money etc which of course, it is. But let’s be honest, nobody wants to have to have therapy forever – especially twice a week. Yesterday me and T spent about 45 minutes discussing keeping chickens, guinea pigs, domestic hedgehogs and how she has a dog-pram (this still makes me crack-up!). The point being, whilst potentially therapeutic… not really actually therapy.. but I had nothing pressing to talk about. As ever, I totally believe that I still need to be seeing her once a week so I don’t think I am ready to be without her in the world. My dependency just feels.. lighter than it once did. Sometimes I look back on old blogs about my teddy bear (Frank) and about being jealous about her daughters or her talking about her mother or something else and I can’t even believe that was me!! It’s so weird.

Anyway, I am going to the gym to try and burn a few calories and stop writing every thought that comes into my head!

Have nice weekends everyone. X

Scapegoat: Anger & Sadness

I need some blog-writing therapy today.  I am so tired that I can’t actually be arsed to write, but I really need to, so I am hoping this helps.

Last night I was playing on my phone as me and my husband drove back from a wedding quite far away. I was flicking through social media and not paying much attention until I clicked onto my sister’s Instragram page to see if she had put anything up and saw that apparently we were no longer “following” each other… I knew immediately that she had removed me/blocked me/whatever it is called but just to be sure I asked someone else if they could still see her stuff and, obviously, they could.

I was shocked and hurt.  Why had she done this and why now?

I haven’t heard from my sister in months, I blogged about what happened previously but in short she is angry with me for not attending a family bbq in the summer that my mother and stepfather arranged for my grandparents and extended family.  I also blogged back then about my reasons for not going (mainly my stepfather but also not wanting to be around the toxicity of them all being drunk and having to attend without my husband because my mother and stepfather hate him and he hates them).

I would like to say at this point that it was not an easy decision not to go, but in all honesty, it was.  I went camping with my husband and stepchildren instead and I was pleased with the decision I made. I was relieved and glad and, I’ll be honest, I was proud of myself for doing what I needed to do for me for once and for not being guilt-tripped into attending something for the sake of keeping the peace or avoiding conflict.  That may sound selfish but I am very low contact with my mother and completely no contact with her husband for a reason (many actually) and do not feel safe going to an event like that, particularly without my support system (husband).

My sister however… well, she thinks I am the worst person in the entire world for not attending and she can only see this through her own eyes.  I am selfish because my grandparents would have loved us ALL to be there and my personal favourite “they are going to die soon” and we won’t have the chance to do that for them again.  In other words, I have ruined their “dream” and now they will die unhappy because of me.  Powerful aren’t I?? *rolls eyes*. By the way, this whole me and death thing is a theme in my family.  My mother told me when I was younger that if I told my nan about the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother’s then boyfriend, she would have a heart attack and die.  My therapist often tells me “you are not that powerful Twink” and I have to repeat that to myself when the guilt over this kicks in now and again.

When my sister aired her disappointment at me, I told her that I did what was right for me and that whilst she had every right to be annoyed or upset about that, it was HER issue and not mine and I did say (in anger) that she had no right to contact me and say everything she was saying.

Months have passed since that happened and suddenly yesterday she has unfollowed/blocked me on social media.  WHY?

Anyway, I have felt very sad today. Very down and its made me reflect on and (over)think about so many things re her, mainly her, but also my mother, my entire family really and I guess in many ways I’ve felt a bit sorry for myself but the general feeling today has been how UNFAIR it all is.  I said to my husband earlier that I know I sound immature and childish saying that, “unfair” feels like a young word to me, but that I just can’t help it.. that is the feeling and I can’t change how I feel just because it isn’t mature enough.  I’ve learnt enough in therapy to know that denying your feelings really doesn’t get you anywhere.

The main thing eating away at me today is that I just want to have a nice, normal relationship with my sister. I would love to have the closeness that many sisters have and that I just do not understand why that is not possible.

With the risk of sounding like a narcissist myself, I have looked after my sister for her entire life.  I have cared for her since I was a child myself, literally. I have supported her through her spells of depression. I’ve rescued her from my mother’s rages – helped her when she has been suicidal and been there as an older sister for her to talk to, cook for and all the other stuff.  Then after literally years of that care, I don’t attend a flipping bbq and I’m cast as the worst person in the world and ignored for months and now, apparently I am so awful that she doesn’t even want me to see her Instagram photos!!! WHY?

There have been many times over these past months that I’ve wanted to contact her and try to sort this mess out, to fix it but T has advised me many times that my sister is used to treating me badly, being abusive or nasty and then not speaking to me for a while before I contact her and let it all go and repeat… she told me that I have always taken the role of mother and she’s been able to act badly with no repercussions and that now I needed to let her know very clearly, I will not tolerate her bad behaviour anymore and that I will not just let it all go without any kind of discussion or apology.  She advised me to let her come to me.  I told her then, that she wouldn’t. That she is the most stubborn person I know but she told me to wait it out.

I can’t decide if I am more hurt or angry today. I feel both things so strongly.  I could cry right now so there’s definitely sadness but I am also enraged at the unfairness of it.  It triggers an old wound in me of not being loved and of not being good enough and it triggers a current wound in me of being the flipping scapegoat despite not having done anything wrong.

She cannot see things from my point of view because she is different to me.  She had a difficult childhood too, in different ways to me. We had different issues to deal with.  She is too young to remember some of the worst things, she didn’t get sexually abused and not to sound braggy, but she had me protecting her and caring for her which I did not have.  BUT she was clearly affected by my mother’s lack of interest and love and it led to my sister’s depression.  Me being my mother’s project and golden child for a few years also stuck the knife in and made her feel rejected and left out and so, we both have our own insecurities and difficulties.  Sadly my sister is very strongly against therapy and so she has managed to convince herself that my mother is wonderful (and changed!) and that my mother’s husband is an amazing man and that altogether, the family is very lovely and very happy and that it is only me ruining things for them all.

My poor mother is so upset and hurt by me.. SHE is so upset and hurt by me and oh, did I mention that I’ve so upset and hurt my grandparents by not going to the bbq.  Ugh.

I am the scapegoat. I am the one with the problem. I am the one who holds a grudge and doesn’t “move on”.  I am the one who has been brainwashed by a therapist, a therapist who I “still” see when I should not.  I have forgotten about my own family and now only care about my husband and his.  I have been selfish and cruel and my sister just cannot stand a person like me, one with no morals.  My mother said recently that me and my sister have “very different priorities”.  What she meant by that was that my sister priorities her and my stepfather and my grandparents etc – …. and that I do not.

That’s true.. and there are many, many reasons for that.  Did my mother prioritise me when I was a child? No, she did not.  But that sentence would be seen as further evidence of me not “getting over things”, holding a grudge, not moving on blah blah and they would say things like “what is that therapist telling her because she clearly isn’t helping her to get over her anger at these perceived wrongs.  She’s brainwashed”.

I’m angry about how unfair this all is. I grew up feeling alone, unsafe and unloved. I was literally not safe.  My mother was selfish and only interested in men, she did not enjoy me, I was literally just a burden.  My entire childhood was a lonely, scary, awful time and now that I am finally an adult myself, trying to recover from all of those years… I am being scapegoated and hated because of my distance from my mother.  HOW IS THAT FAIR?

I know that everyone thinks they are innocent in arguments with other people but this feels so totally unjust that I want to scream.  I not only made it through my awful childhood but I acted as a bloody substitute mother for my sister for years and years and now she’s living with my mother and step-father playing happy families whilst they all talk about how awful a person I am.

My mother clearly is never going to be able to admit she was a shit mother.  She does not think she did a single thing wrong. Nothing that I felt growing up is valid, nothing.  I am deluded and made it all up. I need my “head testing” (literally her words).  That’s fine. I genuinely think I have made peace with that.  I no longer need her to be able to validate my pain because I have had it validated from T over the last 5 years of therapy and, more importantly I suppose, I validate my own pain now.  I remember how I felt and that is all that matters.  Whether she can ever acknowledge her mistakes and apologise no longer matters.  I have worked VERY hard to get to this point but my sister…. clearly I am not “there” yet because this has seriously stirred me up today.  She has a VERY short memory.. or she has an extremely good defence mechanism.

My husband said earlier that my sister is only “nice” to me if I do exactly what she wants me to do.  The second I say “no” to her, this happens. She says a load of nasty and unfair things to me and then disappears off……….. and eventually I chase after her because I miss her, because I want us to be sisters and possibly because I am still trying to “look after her” like she is my child because for so many years, she may as well have been.

I will never be able to do what my sister wants me to do which is to play happy families again.  My sister would like me to make up with my mother and stepfather, start going to my mother’s house again regularly, attend every family party and event and just do the things that she thinks I should be doing.  Instead I am difficult and selfish.

I will never be able to win. I will never be able to do what she wants me to do.  I don’t keep my distance to hurt or punish my mother – I just keep myself safe.  I do what is best for me and if that is selfish, well then I am selfish, but all in honesty I think I am just healthy.  For years I was a people-pleaser and a codependent, but now I am not and I am glad of that. My mother (and my sister) would like me to sweep everything under the rug and smile and get along with everyone but why should I? I can’t understand how my sister can remember our childhood and put it all aside like it doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe that is what I would have done had I not had therapy after all, until I had therapy I didn’t realise even half of the ways my mother had hurt me.  This is why my family think therapy is so awful.  Why uncover and validate all of your pain when you can just squash it down and drink yourself stupid every weekend instead?

Why fix dysfunctional patterns when you could just continue to repeat and pass on the hurt to another generation?  WHY take a look at yourself when there is always someone else to blame? Me being the problem in the family enables them to look squeaky clean because they are all fine – it is only me with the issue.  It definitely serves my mother to have my sister on her “side”.

The conflict remains. I miss my sister and I wish we could have a close bond but I cannot do what she wants me to do and I am so hurt and angry with her for treating me like a monster from simply protecting myself.  I wish she could understand that my mother refusing to validate, accept or apologise for anything in my childhood has caused me unbearable pain and appreciate my need to keep my distance.  I wish she could just respect my decision and love me anyway – without strings.  But she cannot.

Being the family scapegoat is horrible. It is lonely and feels grossly unfair. There is nothing I can do about it.  Challenging the family system is clearly an act punishable by rejection and isolation and that is very painful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams

Friday night I dreamt of T. It was a strange dream and it wasn’t until I was out for a run Saturday morning that the dream suddenly came back to me. I actually stopped running suddenly as it flashed in my memory and I opened my phone to write a quick (illegible) note before it went away to the place that forgotten dreams go.

In the dream I was having a session with T but my husband was also in the room, though he was completely relaxed and just reading a newspaper with his legs stretched out. T told me that she used to do another job and said that she was so rich that she had more money than she could have ever spent. I was like 😲 wow!  I then picked up a glass of orange juice which was in front of me and drank it and just as I swallowed the very last mouthful, I realised that it was T’s juice and I was horrified and said to her “OMG I am sooooo sorry, I thought that was mine!” she didn’t seem too bothered and just said “So I see”.  I was mortified that I had done that, it was like I was just on autopilot and wasn’t thinking about what I was doing.

Looking around T had drawing stuff and sewing stuff everywhere. The room was messy and I remember thinking she was arty and had numerous hobbies. She went upstairs for something but didn’t come back for a very long time. Meanwhile I remember thinking how glad I was that T was able to see how I was around my husband in that I didn’t change and that I was completely myself.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Then, last night I had another dream. This time about my mother. This one felt SO real. In it I had arranged to go shopping with my mother and when I met her she was with my Nan and my sister. She hasn’t said they were coming and I was a little bit annoyed because I felt a bit overpowered by them all (due to the fact they are all close and I’m almost estranged).

I remember walking around a shop feeling a bit nervous and then my mother said “right, you need to snap out of this now! Get your husband and come to my house Monday after work” – what she meant was that I had to start talking to her husband again and my husband also had to come along and make up with them both”.

I felt angry and said that I didn’t want to and that I did not miss going to her house or seeing her husband and said I was happy with the way things are. She was furious and shouted “Ohhh well as long as YOU are happy, that’s all that matters isn’t it?!” – being sarcastic. My nan and sister were standing behind her looking disapprovingly at me.  I snapped “see, this is what I mean. We can’t spend time together without something like this happening. I’m going, bye“. And off I went.

I then had an internal panic about how I would find my way home from where I was to my in-laws where I’m currently living and then I realised I had my car in a car park and was nervous about the drive. I remember thinking I should call my husband but thinking he was at work so I shouldn’t bother him and that I was an adult and should be able to work it out on my own.

In the dream I was shaking with anger and fear but I felt pleased I had been able to say what I needed and walk away.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

I felt fine, happy even, both yesterday and today and so the dreams didn’t seem to impact my mood like they sometimes do. I was grateful for that as I hate the feeling they can leave me with some days.

I assume I am dreaming about T because she is on a two week break and I actually quite like the dream because my husband was there and totally relaxed which I like to think is symbolic of how comfortable he is with me having therapy and also perhaps something to do with the fact that my husband would love to meet T and to be a fly on the wall and equally, I would like T to meet him.

I am not sure what the relevance was of me drinking her orange juice, but the feeling in the dream was that I had been SO relaxed and comfortable that I had done it without thinking and maybe that’s a nice sign of how relaxed I am now feeling with her compared to over the years.  Her telling me how rich she used to be was strange and I was so shocked but I wonder if this could be symbolic of how little I really know about her life.  For example not knowing what she is doing in her break and not really knowing anything about her past.

The dream about my mother on the other hand, well, that one isn’t so surprising or strange although the timing feels a bit odd as I haven’t thought about her consciously so it seemed a surprise in that sense.

The content of the dream however is so close to reality that it doesn’t surprise me whatsoever.  That dream could very easily play out and in actual fact, in recent months I’ve been so nervous about her blatantly asking (telling) me to pack it in and do what she wants – go to her house, see her husband, get my husband to suck up to them etc.  However as I have written recently, I have suddenly made peace with that fear in me and I now really know that I don’t want to do those things and so the panic I used to feel is no longer in me.

Perhaps the dream was my subconscious’ way of playing out the scene.  Trying it out for size.. preparing me for the real deal perhaps? Also the last time I saw her we went into a clothes shop and I felt the same nerves about her.  My psyche is clearly working some things through.

T would say that it demonstrated that I could stand up to her and walk away and survive it and that I would be okay. The world wouldn’t end etc.  But honestly, I don’t feel that worry and panic or fear at the moment anyway.  Still, it was quite helpful to have that dream because perhaps in the future a similar scenario will play out for me and I will have that memory to use for reassurance.

In real life, my mother text me earlier this week asking me how the house was progressing and said again how much she just cannot wait for me to move back closer to her and how she can’t wait to see me so much more.  This really is weird, I’ve said this before but I just do not understand her logic here.  I have lived ten minutes away from her for years now and now that I am temporarily further away its like she’s convinced herself that this is the only reason we don’t see each other more often. Like whhhatttt??? It’s so weird!!!

Last time she did this T said “that fucks with your head” which is true but when I asked T WHY she would think that or say that, T said she wouldn’t be surprised if she was just saying something for the sake of saying something or even saying what she thinks she should say.  It baffles me nevertheless, it isn’t like she would even come to my new house because she never does and never has and she wouldn’t now because of my husband.  Surely she isn’t going to expect an invitation for her and her husband to come and see our new place by way of offering an olive branch? God I hope not because that simply is not going to happen.  Perhaps she really does think that just because we will be living a new, exciting phase in our lives (having purchased our first home) that all the past will magically be wiped away and we will all play happy families again.  Oh dear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life

I called in sick from work today due to a tummy bug and so right now I am sat on the sofa at my in-law’s house and I am home alone for the first time in 7 weeks!!! 7 weeks of being with at least one other person, usually at least 3 other people and on the hardest days, 11 other people. It is like heaven.  The silence is amazing!

I slept on and off until about 9am and then lazed around in bed watching my favourite programme. I’ve been up, put a wash on and hung it out to dry and now I am sitting here writing this.  I couldn’t be happier (aside from the tummy bug but that seems to be getting better).

Our house purchase finally seems to be picking up some pace.  I spoke with the agent a few days ago and he said that we should be able to exchange contracts at the end of September with completion as soon as possible after that. I have everything crossed that this finally happens, it has been one hell of a wait that’s for sure.  I have been told my whole life that I have no patience.  My grandmother used to tell me, as did my mother and now my husband says it too but I like to think considering how stressful it has been having to move out of our home and into the in-laws whilst still having a full time job, the kids staying every weekend and all the fertility stuff going on, that I’ve shown quite a lot of patience actually LOL.

But.. having said that, I can feel that my tolerance is beginning to run out.  I am finding things increasingly difficult now.  Sunday night I cried in bed because I felt so desperate to be in my own house without other people around constantly.  I am pretty introverted and so this constant people thing is so hard for me.  My in-laws are truly lovely people, but there’s only so much time you can spend around other people isn’t there? I miss just being with my husband in our own house just relaxing even down to the really silly things like laying on the sofa or cooking naughty food and snacking on chocolate on a Sunday evening, not to mention (and sorry if you are offended) but to be able to actually have sex! Honestly, we are a married couple living like brother and sister with our parents, its weird and crap and it took its toll by Sunday night and I cried it all out.  We joke that everything here is “sex-proofed” as everything is so noisy and squeaky so there’s no chance of a sneaky bit of fun.  In all seriousness though, it isn’t about the sex really, but it is about that feeling of closeness with my husband. I miss him and I miss us being a couple even down to not sleeping in a proper double bed where we can cuddle before we go to sleep.  Sleeping on two single beds pushed together with a gap between them really isn’t the same.  Ditto living out of bags and only having a few of your belongings.

On Monday my husband was really down and sad and said he was feeling how I was and that me crying had probably not helped (he didn’t mean that horribly, just it made him feel shit that I was so down).  So anyway, now that the end of September is being spoken about as potential exchange, it gives me a glimmer of hope and something to count down towards rather than just feeling like there is infinite amounts of time passing with nothing getting easier.

Anyway, aside from that stuff I am finding something else a bit difficult at the moment and that is my friend and team leader at work.  I sit next to her in the office and we are friends as well as colleagues but recently I am finding her harder and harder to sit with all day.  I’m not sure whether she has changed, or whether I have only just started to notice, but she is SO miserable and negative and she literally moans about absolutely everything, constantly all day long.  I find myself going to work feeling happy enough and within half an hour of being at my desk, I am irritated and stressed out. I’ve been trying all sorts of different tactics to stop myself being affected by her, such as not really entertaining the things she says when she’s moaning about someone – for example I continue typing and looking at my screen and maybe just make a “mm” noise rather than engaging with her properly.  That seemed to just annoy her and she said “are you listening?”.

The real problem is that she is the team leader of 7 of us and she is absolutely awful at that role. She does not lead or manage any of the team and because of it, the team is crap.  There are people that barely do any work, people that are so shit at their job but never called up that they are avoided when work is being given out, some girls are late every single day, some take long lunches every day and one girl sits on her phone literally all day long.  What does she do about this? Literally I am not exaggerating, all she does is moan to me and slag them off to me.  She NEVER disciplines them, or tells them off. She never calls them up on anything.  For example on a typical day I will have her in my ear saying “X is late again, what a surprise”, then “She’s on her bloody phone again!!”, “what time did X go to lunch? Why isn’t she back yet?” and “X has fucked this up, again, she’s useless!” and on and on it goes.  The other day I found myself snapping at her for something she was moaning about and she said “Well I don’t mean you, obviously” and so I said “Well, I am the only one who can hear you!!”.  Its infuriating.  It probably sounds pathetic but honestly, since this has become more and more of an issue, I find her more and more painful to sit next to and obviously she is the boss and so I have nobody to complain to about her.

She does have a boss too and my husband has suggested I go straight to that person but I don’t feel that is an option because they are close and so the other boss would just tell her what I had said about her but also, we have a friendship (one that now feels difficult) and I don’t think that would be the right thing to do – to go over her head and complain about her. Ugh.

Luckily she works from home on a Friday and I know it sounds awful but I love it. I get to come in and get my head down and work hard without all the bitching and moaning and negativity. That’s awful isn’t it? On top of that, I have the additional anger because she isn’t managing the team and I feel I am doing so much more work that everyone else (because they are all too busy being late, at lunch, on their phones or useless lol) and I am too conscientious (to a fault) to let the work mount up until someone complains.  Even SHE told me the other day “stop doing it all then, let someone complain when a deadline is missed!” but its like…. OR you could do your job and MANAGE the team????? She has been in this role for over 20 years now so it isn’t anything to do with not knowing what to do.  I don’t understand her reasons, whether its laziness or what, but it sucks and because of her I am finding work really difficult.

I said to my husband that if we weren’t so desperate for a baby I would 100% be leaving – without a doubt, but unfortunately I need maternity pay for if and when the time comes and I can’t afford to start a new job and have to wait the two years to get that again.

Since writing this she has phoned me (whilst I am off sick) to talk about a few jobs I was dealing with yesterday.  Even that annoys me because she doesn’t ever phone anyone else in the team when they are off sick, they are left alone but because we are “friends”, she obviously feels she can call me and on the phone she was miserable and winging about stuff and arguing with me about whether or not some figures were right that I’ve done.  I felt like yelling at her to leave me alone, but obviously I can’t do that so I didn’t.  Still, just since that call I can feel my body has gone angry and tense.  She really causes a reaction in me, she irritates me so easily.

Okay, rant over.

So that is about it really…. T is on holiday this week and next so no therapy for me for a while.  I feel okay about that though, at the moment anyway.

 

My analogy for when I am regressed

I came up with a very random analogy the other night to explain to my husband how I feel in the times that I suddenly “miss” my mother and I thought I would write it here so that in the harder times to come, I can read this and remind myself of what is happening.

I used a smoking analogy because my husband has recently quit smoking and so I hoped he would be able to relate a little more, this is what I said:

I explained that it is like when you’ve quit something (smoking, drinking, drugs – whatever) and you know that you are doing the right thing. You have all the facts, you know smoking is killing you, you know its costing a lot of money, you know it makes your clothes smell and ruins your taste buds etc and you are really, genuinely very glad that you have quit.  You are proud of yourself for quitting.  All is good.

Until all of a sudden, you are hit with this extreme craving for a cigarette.  Suddenly the need for a cigarette is urgent and although you know all of the logical stuff about health and finances and how disappointed you would be with yourself for caving, you can decide in a second to either disregard all of that stuff and just satisfy the craving with a cigarette… OR fight the craving.  Distract yourself by drinking some water or by brushing your teeth – whatever it is that you need to do.  You have a moment when it is so easy to go either way.

But gradually, over time, the cravings come less and less often (or maybe eventually stop altogether).  The fight was worth it! You are no longer addicted.  YAY!!!

I explained that it feels much the same way to me in relation with my mum at times.  I can be happy with the very limited contact we have. I can know that I am better off this way, know that it is better for me and for my peace of mind and yet randomly, every now and again I find myself in this regressed child-like place where suddenly all the logic goes out of the window and all that seems to matter is that I get my needs met (the needs often being this fantasy of having the perfect, loving mother stroking my hair and bringing me tea and stuff).

I can feel this really strong pull to go to her – to run to her and I have to decide which way I will go.  I can either, give in to this really strong craving to see her OR I can try to sit through the pain and wait for it to pass (which it will, it always does).

In those moments the choices are so hard.  The attachment pull can feel stronger than anything I’ve never known and I am sure it isn’t QUITE that deep for a smoker giving up their fags, but hopefully the analogy makes sense anyway.  In those moments you have a choice and all anyone wants to do when they have an addiction is make themselves feel better – back to “normal” and often we convince ourselves that the best and easiest way to do that is to just give in and deal with the consequences afterwards (or just put that out of your mind).

I am relieved that I am able to resist my “cravings” these days and I am able to just sit through the pain but I admit the pain hasn’t really got much easier.  When I am regressed like that, the pain is still horrendous BUT it doesn’t last as long as it used to and I am pleased to say that I do bounce back quicker then I used to.

However I do know that it is easy for me to sit and write this now as I am clearly in my adult head but when I am regressed and in my child state, none of this seems to really get through to me.  I write this anyway with the hope that it will… you never know.

I told my husband, T and myself to be quite honest(!) that until now it has felt like torture sometimes not doing what it felt like I wanted to.  There have been times when I have really wanted to just turn up at my mum’s house and see her face as she opens the door to me. I’ve had visions of all sorts of lovely, fantasy visits and I have stopped myself contacting her or going to her house or whatever just because of what T and my husband would say and think. I have had the intellectual knowledge that it isn’t a good idea and that she wouldn’t be able to really give me what I wanted but it wasn’t quite there in terms of my feelings – it still felt like torture and like I was not doing what I wanted to do.  That was a tough feeling to feel and in my regressed states I often used to think to myself “fuck what everyone else thinks I should do – this is my life and my mum!”.

And so that is why when I realised this week that it is MY choice and really and truly is what I want to do (or not do), that has made everything feel so much easier. It no longer feels like torture because it is my choice.

I explained the above to T yesterday on the phone and she said that although it felt like torture and although I was only doing it because of her and my husband, that their voices kept me safe.  She likened it to a child being told not to do something, for example not to touch the iron because it will burn them – it is only their mother’s voice that stops them doing that thing and even then, they might test it out and once they have really learnt it, they don’t do that thing/touch that iron anymore on their own accord.  Does that make sense? It did to me.

She thinks that the last visit with my mother a few weeks ago pushed me over the edge. Seeing her being so clearly angry and hearing her comment on me having put on weight etc was not nice. It really made me realise that she hasn’t changed and she really won’t ever change.  I said to T that obviously it wasn’t nice, but it did me a favour in the long run.