Questions about the fear of needing

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, particularly since my session Tuesday night and since my last blog, the comments that you lovely lot have been leaving me and today’s thoughts are:

 

Question: If I had a different childhood and therefore a different attachment  (perhaps secure rather than insecure/disorganised) would this be different? Do “normal” children/adults not experience this fear?

I think I know that the answer to that is that no, they don’t… that this fear of mine is uncommon (although clearly not unheard of according to things you guys have said in support) but I think I am just trying to get my head around this properly.

Not to sound like a child “blaming” someone but… so it’s her fault that I feel this way? It’s because she didn’t consistently meet my needs that I learnt to be scared of needing someone to rely on? Is that really right? If so, I feel so sick and angry about that today. How bloody unfair. How cruel.  How can you punish a child and scare them for having needs?

For me to feel scared of relying on someone – particularly someone like T who is clearly there to help me, I have clearly learnt that depending on someone and being vulnerable is potentially risky. Risky how? A risk of rejection or risk of abandonment or punishment I guess… and how would I have learnt that lesson? I assume by being abandoned physically and/or emotionally or by being made to feel rejected or ashamed. I guess my mother’s whole “you are so needy” is an example of that……………….. sorry if this is blatantly obvious to you guys, clearly it is taking me some time to understand this on a deep level.

 

Next question: this desperation of contacting T, of needing her there, of needing her to help me hold my stuff – is this how a child feels towards her parent when she is young or something? Or is this just something that I am personally experiencing with T right now?

I ask that because I am aware of the “re-parenting” that is done in this type of therapy and that T has said to me so many times before that I “need to do with her what I wasn’t able to do as a child”…. Is that what she means?? I wonder if that is why it feels so primal/infantile? Regression that kind of thing?

I am seeking answers today and I’ve woken up feeling unwell. Sick, blocked nose and headache-y. I don’t know if I am feeling sick because of this stuff – if it’s emotional or whether I am just genuinely getting unwell and that’s making me feel shit. Either way… I need to understand this stuff a little more.

too much

The difference it makes seeing T

So, as you might have noticed, I wasn’t in the best of moods yesterday. I was very down and very miserable, that lasted all day long. I took myself off to see T as usual and was feeling a bit anxious about going in.  As it turned 7.30pm exactly I got out of the car and knocked on her door. It felt as though it took her longer than normal to open the door, I had a very quick panic that perhaps she wasn’t there – I had the wrong day – she was on holiday… totally irrational for what could have only been about 3 seconds.

T opened the door with her usual smile and “Hello Twink” – she never ever seems any different. I thought to myself then and again today, how hard that must be. How she can keep the same eye contact and smile, the same tone of voice day after day, week after week… that must be hard. I sure as hell do not keep the same voice, smile etc at work every day that’s for sure!

I walked in.. sat down and T asked “how does it feel coming tonight?” I said.. “usual” and kinda looked at her awkwardly and said “I feel nervous/awkward”. T seemed disappointed/sad that I felt this way. We started to discuss this but within literally seconds of me trying to explain how I felt, the lump in my throat appeared and I began crying.  I am still shocked at how quickly the tears seem to come sometimes. I had barely been in the room a minute! I got a bit embarrassed and T said not to feel embarrassed, that it was good I could bring it to her and said it must have been really tough “holding it all weekend”.  I said to her I hadn’t done very well “holding” it at all because I had cried a lot over the weekend.  She said exactly, you’ve held it on your own – without me. You needed to bring it here. I agreed.

I got upset telling T how I felt which is basically what I said yesterday. I get hit by this tidal wave of feeling/emotion – depression or grief or whatever it might be… I then feel as though I absolutely NEED to email T, like it isn’t a want but a real need and then I send an email to her and at some point afterwards, I am hit by the shame of being so needy and then the fear and panic that I will be punished or pushed away or told off by T.  I was very upset telling her this.

T said (for probably the millionth time) that she would not be punitive, that she would not punish me. I said I knew that logically but that what worried me was that she thought that I didn’t know what was “too much” and then would feel she had to (reasonably) tell me and that I didn’t think I would handle the rejection well – the boundary.  T said she did not think that at all.

I told T I worried she would say I could only email say, once and no more – that she needed to tell me what was okay and what was too much. That she would say X is okay, but Y is not. T said she absolutely wasn’t going to do that, she wasn’t going to put a limit on me like that. That felt so reassuring although I still think she might regret saying that lol…

She said it was like I had created rules in my head what was okay and what wasn’t – she said I really didn’t know were the boundaries were did I… I agreed. I said that last week I had seen her twice as usual but I had then emailed her TWICE before the dream thing and that the dream thing felt stupid because at the end of the day, it was only a dream!!!

T said that it wasn’t “only a dream” and said that the dream had clearly stirred up some very deep and painful feelings in me. I agreed. We then spoke through the dreams and T asked me what I thought they were about. I said I thought it was obvious and she said she wanted to hear my words/my view of them.  I said that the shower one I felt was about the fact that when I was young and my mother was (rarely if ever) single, she would be much nicer to me but that then as soon as she got a new bloke, I was dumped again and in the way.  I said that I guess the fear was that if there was a man around T, that I would lose her in the same way (despite how unrealistic that really is).  T agreed.  She said she felt both dreams were of a very similar nature but the second was much worse.

We spoke about the relevance of my stomach being split open – of my guts all falling out. T said how scary that must have been and that she felt the fact I was in so much pain and the guy on the phone wasn’t taking me seriously, wasn’t helping me was very symbolic of the pain I was in during my childhood and how nobody “saw” it and nobody helped me or took me seriously. I agreed completely.

We spoke about her “daughters” and her “son” the photos etc. T said, “you say you felt insanely jealous” that is a very painful feeling. I said yes. I said that the way she looked at her son with such fondness upset me so deeply because I knew nobody looked at me in that way and that hurt my chest.

T said how it all comes back to not feeling “held in mind” and that when other people are around I think I disappear. Me and T have been having this conversation for some years now so this isn’t new.  I agreed.  She said that I think when others are around, partners, kids (referring to the dreams), that rather than the love being replenished, it is taken away.  I agreed. We said how this is due to the fact that is how it was for me as a child, I really was forgotten when my mother’s latest love interest came along – or her new best friends who were often only a year or two older than me.  I hate her for that.

I told T that I was really struggling at the moment and that I felt so up and down. One day I was happy and the next I was furious or depressed. I said it was tough and it made me worry about how my boyfriend felt. I said it made me feel as though I was less stable than I used to be which can’t be true… T said it may well be true but only for now.  She said you have years and years of held in feelings and now they finally have a way out it is hard work.  She said to try and hold on to the fact that in the end, I will be so much more stable on a permanent basis.  I agreed.

I told T that I don’t understand this absolute dire need to reach out to her when I feel like that – I told her again that it really didn’t feel like I just might like to, it was like I absolutely HAD to – like I couldn’t cope on my own. T said that was okay, that is what I needed right now and that was fine.  I told her I worried she might feel like I treated her like a dumping ground for my bad stuff.  T said she did not feel like that at all. She said that it won’t always be like this, that you have to be flexible depending on what the client needs and what the client is going through.  She said that she does have her own boundaries and will only read/reply to emails when she can and that is HER boundary.  She said she won’t “bleed all over the client” because of her own stuff.  I said I worried that she saw my name ping in her inbox again and again and would roll her eyes and think “god, her again!”.  T said that right now, during those moments, I was regressed to a child state and I did NEED T and that was okay.  T said I was really scared of being vulnerable and I agreed yes I was. Very.

I wonder to myself today whether T or anyone really can truly understand the depth of that feeling – I don’t think they can because it is so hard to explain. I told T that it was weird I was suddenly so aware of this because it’s got harder/worse than it ever has been before, I didn’t even used to know I felt scared (even if she did). T said I was “right in the depths of the work now”.  She told me to just say to my boyfriend to hang on in there with me for now because it was a hard time.  I did say that to him when I got home and he said he knew already. I said “why, because I’ve been a miserable cow?” and he said “no, not miserable but…. up and down”.  I agreed.  He said he felt I was picking fights with him when I needed to cry. I disagreed with that but said perhaps I was being easily triggered by things.

I also told T that I had noticed the last week or so that when I returned home from anywhere, being home was making me miserable. T said “when you are alone?” and I said, whenever – alone or with others. I told her that Friday night I actually excused myself off to bed early because I felt so miserable and low that I just didn’t have the energy to be around everyone and try and act happier than I felt.  I told T my grandmother had shown me photos of me as a child that day and that I wondered if that had brought on a lot of feelings.  Seeing “little me” in front of me like that.. kinda makes it hard to deny what she (I) went through. I also told T that when I was younger, coming home from my nan’s was always horrible and I would be in tears very quickly.  I said perhaps that is part of the reason I felt the same when I came home Friday from my nan’s. T said it almost definitely would be.

T asked me how I thought I would feel when I left and I said I thought I would feel relieved because she hadn’t told me off for emailing or asked me to stop. I told her that I knew it sounded very extreme but I truly felt if she told me I couldn’t email her anymore, that I wouldn’t want to continue therapy, that is how scary it felt. I also told T that I felt very fat, ugly, spotty and just generally wrank. I said I hadn’t even done my hair for work today and I always did my hair.

I left feeling much lighter (as always) and I woke up today feeling happy. I spent some time when I got home last night preparing a healthy salad and fruit salad for work today, I got up and did my hair and I walked to the station instead of driving or getting the bus.  I also went out for a walk at lunch time to get my steps up.

Isn’t amazing what a difference seeing your T can make on not only your mood, but your clothes, your hair, your exercise.. everything. Is that just me? I was thinking this earlier and it triggered off a weird thought – every time I see my Dad (not often), I have brought a new outfit to wear………… that says a lot doesn’t it? Yet I will go to T’s in an old baggy top with my hair tied on the top of my head with black eyes from crying….. I really must be starting to feel more comfortable showing T who I “really am”. Clearly more so than my own parents. That is amazing isn’t’ it?

 

Today the sky is blue 

It’s Saturday morning, 8.15 as I start to write this and I’ve sneaked downstairs on my own before the kids or my boyfriend are up. I’m sitting on my sofa looking out the patio doors and it’s a sunny day. Blue sky, the grass is really green, birds are flying. The fact I can notice and appreciate those things tells me I’m feeling a little better today. 

I really do hate the speed in which my emotions are changing lately, it’s so hard to keep up with. I can’t imagine how tough it must be for my boyfriend, how confusing it must be for him not knowing what girlfriend he has today. 

Looking back to yesterday’s sadness, I think it was a mixture of a delayed reaction from therapy the day before (that often happens) and the dreams about T. Those dreams clearly stirred up some really painful feelings for me. I have no doubt the dream was partly stirred up because I saw T’s daughter on Thursday, although I thought I was fine about it… clearly not. 

It’s the battle between the adult me and the child me. The adult me is currently realising the devastating effects my mother’s neglect and narc abuse had on me. It’s been horrible suddenly feeling this stuff. I often question whether I would rather not have known….. would spending the rest of my life been more or less painful if i continued to think I was the problem, or would it be more or less painful knowing my mother abused me as a child in so many different ways? Let’s not forget my father here because he could have helped to save me and chose not to. Coward. 

Anyway, this post isn’t about them….

I emailed T yesterday to tell her I wanted to send her two of my dreams. The shower one and the ones from Thursday night. The thing is, I had mentioned the shower one to her on Thursday but conveniently left out the second half of the dream (ie the bit about “a man”)…. why do I do this ? Lol!! 

But….I had emailed T last Saturday when I had my “volcano” episode and I had then seen her twice, Tuesday and Thursday AND sent her my “thank you” email so I was very aware this was yet another communication with T. That made me feel extremely needy. 

Needy” is something my mum called me growing up. “Needy” is very painful for me. It’s not just a word that passes over, it’s a worry. 

Feeling needy makes me panic. It makes me hate myself for being that way and at the same time it makes me want to cling on with all my strength because I feel like if I don’t get help/connection/something that I will die….. I know it sounds extreme but it’s a very real and raw feeling. 

So then I’m in a catch 22 position. Feel needy – risk abandonment and punishment OR die because I can’t cope alone. 

So I told T i felt this way. That I was worried about emailing her again, that I felt needy and I worried what that would mean, but I sent the dreams anyway. 

T replied being kind and said she had read the dreams and that they were painful, that we would talk about them next week. I scanned her email for signs of frustration and I don’t think there were any…. I guess I wish she had said “don’t be silly, you send as many emails as you need: I am always here”…. but obviously she didn’t… that’s the dream hey?! 

I visited my grandparents for the day and my nan got out a huge box of photos. There were pictures of me as a young child, I had never seen them. It was so weird. I have some to keep. When I got home last night, i was quiet and moody again, I took myself to bed early and cried and cried again. Not knowing exactly what I was crying for – I guess a mixture of what I’m dealing with in therapy ATM, the pain of the realisations, the dreams and what they tapped me into, the worry of being too much for T, the pain that T isn’t there as much as I wish she could be… seeing the child me and knowing how sad she was….. it all hit me again. 

I thought to myself earlier, I don’t want T to feel like a dumping ground for my bad stuff… like every time I get upset or angry I run along to T to help me, but that feels wrong. She isn’t there as a dumping ground, i don’t want her to feel like that. 

I catch myself and think this is another example of the way I’ve been “trained” as a child, worrying about her feelings (my mum’s) instead of her worrying about mine. 

T once told me to let her worry about her stuff… I guess it is all part of the worry of being too much, of burning her out, of her leaving.  Perhaps it’s a transferencial thing, seeing her as my mother – expecting her to respond in the same way. 

On a final note, I looked up some elements of my horrible dream. This is what I found for the stomach part. 


I thought that was pretty relevant!! 

The Rainbow 

I drove home from T’s tonight playing the song “this feeling” by Alabama Shakes. The song speaks to me for some reason and tonight it was particularly relevant because I realised, I really am gonna be alright. 

As I drove I noticed the beautiful sunset, pink and orange and smiled to myself at how beautiful it was and how much my boyfriend would have liked to see it. I carried on and then I saw a huge, beautiful rainbow. 

I got a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. It felt like every piece of symbolism that I needed. 

The song, the sunset, the rainbow. Leaving T’s feeling seen, believed and supported. Finally feeling that I know the truth about my story. Having a witness to it. Believing she won’t leave me.  Driving home to my caring boyfriend.

I’ll be alright!!!!!! 

What is the worst she could do? – Leave.

I woke up yesterday morning and realised it was T day. That made me happy and I felt much more motivated to get out of bed and get ready for work, I noticed how much knowing I would be going to Ts changed my spirit and thought that it was a nice way to feel.

I was looking forward to telling T all about my new mind-set. My new revelations. I hoped she would be as excited as me but I had this feeling that she wouldn’t. A couple of times in the past, I’ve gone to T and told her about something which has got me really excitedly empowered and have come away feeling a bit “brought back to earth”. An example of this was when I thought I had reached acceptance about my mother’s bad behaviour. I went in excited and came out a little deflated again. I think that made me a bit angry at the time but clearly in hindsight she was right because since then I am angry with my mother so it wasn’t real acceptance after all.

Yesterday was much the same unfortunately. I went to T and told her I was feeling good and that I was feeling like a new person. She smiled and asked what realisations have you had? And I told her how I was feeling in that both of my parents are emotionally immature, that I really have understood that it was/is them and not me and that what I said out loud to her in my last session about neither of them being able to handle my feelings felt like a big deal.

T asked how it felt that I had come to this realisation that neither of them could handle my feelings and I told her that I felt empowered by it not to let them carry on. She seemed a bit surprised and said that it was a hugely painful thing to understand (clearly she expected me to be upset) and I said, before she did, that perhaps my feelings of sadness will follow but that for the time being, just having understood this was helping me to feel more in charge.  T said something about anger and I told her that I was feeling some anger about it, she suggested that perhaps at the moment the anger was fuelling the feeling of empowerment. I agreed.

We spoke a lot the rest of the session about my mother. About the fear she provokes in me (indisputable unfortunately) – I will go into details later . I told T what I had learnt in my book (adult children of emotionally immature parents) about the “rescue fantasy” and about the “role-self” – being that children with parents like mine create this fantasy that one day things will be different, that their parent will become all that they need and everything will be fixed. It is what keeps us going throughout the shit childhood. And the role-self being the self that you mould around what your parent needs you to be.  I.e. not you real self which you repress because basically it won’t be accepted by them or could get you in more trouble/cause you to get access to even less love or whatever.

I told T that both applied 100% to me and that it was remarkable. She said that perhaps reading this book was helping me to feel less alone in this situation and perhaps it was validating something. I said it was, but she said (god I hate this) that I was intellectualizing again. I really bloody hate it when she tells me this – not because she is wrong, because she isn’t! but because so what?!– Here I am feeling all feisty and empowered and now this makes me feel rubbish again. I don’t want to focus on my lack of “feelings”, I want to celebrate my new knowledge! *I realise this is the child part of me kicking off and do understand as an adult that of course she would point this out – it is her job as my therapist etc* .

Today I started another book, one I read about 2.5 years ago which is called “You’re not crazy, it’s your mother!” which was good the first time around but incredible this time around. I think because I have accepted that it is true more now than then and so it’s still giving me those “Omg” moments when I can relate something in the book to her. I have started writing some notes on the things that apply to me which I might post in a day or two in case it helps anyone else and also as a reminder to myself in the future.

I was talking about how the weekend went when I saw both my parents separately – I told her how I felt about it which was pretty much that I just held my head up high and went to both the party and then my mother’s house and felt fine. T said that I go there and shut half of myself away so that I can survive. I said maybe. I don’t know. I told T that my Dad said at the party that he was scared my mother would ruin my future wedding and that he would walk me down the aisle (if I wanted him to) but that he wouldn’t do a speech. T said it was a shame that he couldn’t put his nervousness aside for that small amount of time for his daughter – I agreed.

This lead me to tell T that my mother has always said that either her or my stepdad would want to do a speech. I used to love this thought. A special speech all about me and admitted that I had the “rescue fantasy” that my Dad would give some speech admitting his crapness and I would shed a tear or two and we would hug and it would all be lovely… I had the fantasy that my mother would do a speech but I never really imagined what she would say.  I said that now, I didn’t want my mother or stepdad giving a speech because my mother would just make it all about her and my stepdad would be doing it to get one over on my Dad in a kind of “Dad-Off”. T said that I didn’t have to have either of them give a speech.  I was like.. mmmmmmmm.  (this meant me thinking mother would kill me).

I said it would be a shame to not have any speeches if I’ve already had to give up on my parents giving speeches and T said that other people could do one if I wanted them to, perhaps my boyfriend’s Dad, my boyfriend etc… this thought filled me with horror. I couldn’t do that I said!! T asked why not? I said what would I say to my mother when she asked why I didn’t want her or my stepdad giving a speech?? T said that I don’t have to justify myself to her. I can simply say “I don’t want you giving a speech and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to come” – I rolled my eyes and said the backlash to that would be awful. T said “what is the worst that could happen?” – I told T I ask myself this all the time and didn’t know what the answer was, I said I know it sounded stupid.

T said it isn’t stupid but that it is very obvious to her that I can fall back into the trap of the “fear factor” with regards to my mum. I agreed with her and said I know, I know I do.

I told T that my boyfriend woke up feeling a little miserable on Sunday and T said that it was like he had an “emotional hangover” – I looked shocked because those were the exact words my boyfriend had used himself and T laughed. I told her the things that he had said about how he felt about being there. That he felt trapped and that he was constantly on edge, waiting to see if he was going to be attacked again like before.  He also said that he struggled seeing me act like “all was forgiven” when I was there.

T said it must be hard for him but that he needs to know if she does it again, he can look her in the eye and tell her that he will not tolerate her behaving like that to him and that he will not put up with it. That he can walk out and that he can tell her “I know what you are doing, but if you want a relationship with your daughter and I then you cannot treat me this way” or words to that effect.. I said I agreed but I felt he worried I wouldn’t stick up for him.

T said he probably had a shock when she attacked him last time because saw how I changed (basically totally dissociated and stared into space feeling all weird). I agreed that was probably hard for him.

T then told me a story about how she once went with a friend of her’s to visit her narcissistic mother after they had been separated for 15 years. Apparently this narcissistic mother attacked my T (not her daughter) and T said that the reason she was telling me this story was that my mother and this narcissistic woman were very similar.  That this woman attacked my T instead of her daughter and that my mother was doing the same via my boyfriend.  I said to T that I know my mother is furious with me, I can see it in her eyes.  T said she will be furious because you are not being her narcissistic supply anymore and that is what she wants.

I thought to myself last night/today that the “role-self” I came up with developed in my teens because I realised that being my true self, which my mum called “Saffy” (after the daughter in Ab Fab) wasn’t going to win her approval and eventually I guess I succumbed into being more like her. I started to drink, to smoke, to flirt around me, to go to clubs with her (yes, I know)…I went out with men – actual men, not boys my age that I didn’t even like.. I even slept with someone because she told me I should.  This train of thought reminded me of a memory that I am ashamed of but have decided to write here because I think it is important on this journey of mine.

I once went to the pub with some friends and drank a lot of wine. One of the boys then invited everyone back to his flat for more drinks which I went to happily.  They all started doing drugs and I decided that I would try it. I have no idea why because I had always been dead set against drugs! I even ended a relationship with a long-term ex because he started to do them… anyway I tried it and I did it various more times during that evening (the evening finished at 6am the following day!).  I eventually got into a taxi home and when I got into bed, I didn’t feel very good and I just couldn’t believe I had done drugs, I had surprised myself.  Then I had this thought…. Maybe I should text my mother (who was asleep in the other room) and tell her what I had been doing, I had this feeling that she would be proud of me. That it would really prove I wasn’t boring. That I wasn’t “saffy” after all.  But the fear that I might be wrong and she might actually hate me for it stopped me telling her.

Isn’t that story just horrific? Isn’t it sick? I haven’t been able to admit this to anyone at all ever before and I’m not sure I will.. but I think it proves my point.

My boyfriend said to me “try to really think about what it is that you are scared of when you know your mum won’t like something. Like really think about it, I think the answer will be important” and I thought about it and said, well, I guess it all boils down to her abandoning me, leaving forever and there we have it.

The very basic point of it all is that I am petrified of upsetting or angering my mother in case she abandons me.

AGHH.

The Victim Is Dead.

The victim is dead.

Here lies the body of victim Twinkletoes – she died feeling sorry for herself for her lack of decent parents, for the all-consuming feeling of being constantly rejected by the people that “should” love her but constantly demonstrated that they did not. She died never feeling like she was deserving of love. She died feeling unlovable. She died having only half-lived her life.

The survivor is born.

Let me introduce to you the newly born survivor Twinkletoes. She is born with an understanding of her own self-worth, with self-respect and with the understanding that other peoples’ perception of her, is not her truth.  Newly born survivor Twinkletoes does not think about the things that happen in life as unfair, does not think that the world owes her anything and does not feel small, powerless or defenceless.  Survivor Twinkletoes is not a child, but a powerful, independent, strong woman.

 

 

Now that the introductions are over, normal service shall commence.

Hi guys. I haven’t gone mad I promise, although something has happened. Since my last blog yesterday which sounded very strong-willed, I went back downhill slightly and started to feel a bit of a victim again. I went off to my session feeling rather pleased to be having a session. I think looking back I was hoping to go in and have T tell me what to do, what to say and what I needed to do to make things better but obviously that didn’t happen.

I ranted, vented, moaned whatever you want to call it, I exhausted myself. T sat with me. She “heard” me, she understood and she validated but she didn’t tell me what to do to magically fix it which was a shame really… however we were (or rather I was) chatting away about it all and I said that it felt as though my mother and my father were both standing behind glass.  I can see them but I can’t “get to them” and T said “and they probably can’t hear you either if they are behind glass” and I agreed.  I said to T that when I was a child and visited my Dad for the day, he would always ask me at some point in the afternoon (awkwardly) what time I wanted to go home.  I never knew the answer to this and it always made me feel very uncomfortable. I told T that I never knew the “right” answer so I would always say very timidly that I didn’t mind, it was up to him.. whenever.  He used to get a bit annoyed because he clearly wanted me to decide but I was a child.  Sometimes he would say things like “well do you want to stay for dinner or not?” and I wouldn’t know whether he wanted me to say yes or whether saying yes was putting him out and so I would say the same thing, I don’t mind – it’s up to you”.  I gave a few examples of these silly scenarios and T said that even when I was a child he put it all on me to decide.  He couldn’t ever be the adult, the father and just make a decision and tell me what we were doing.  I said that was true and that also I was always so worried about saying or doing the wrong thing and pushing him away that I was always playing the good girl.  I said to T:

“Neither of them can handle my feelings. Neither of them can validate how I feel.  Neither can take themselves out of the picture for even a moment and try to see where I am coming from.  Neither of them can apologise when they are wrong or have hurt me, intentionally or not”.

T nodded her head and smiled at me as if to say “Finally you understand”… it was as though I had finally understood something that she had known all along. It’s one of them moments in therapy where you say something out loud that you just know is very significant and something that you thought you “knew” but only intellectually knew – and now you really knew it like on some deep level.

T then said that no, they couldn’t handle my feelings and that they couldn’t handle their own either. My dad buries his head in the sand and hopes it will all go away and my mother projects her stuff onto other people and is obviously so narcissistic that her grandiose sense of self doesn’t enable her to even consider she might be in the wrong.

I suddenly realised this was true and I suddenly understood the impact this has had on me, on my life so far. I think about them, their feelings and their responses before my own. I am too scared to be honest, I am too scared to say how I feel – I don’t even KNOW how I feel because I lost touch with my feelings a long time ago – if I ever learnt how to feel them in the first place?!

And then I thought “I’ve tried to be a good girl for 29 years now and it hasn’t worked – I am still chasing their love and approval and I haven’t got it so fu*k them! No more”.

I left T’s and went home where I did some housework and watched a few episodes of a series I like, a few hours later as I was hanging up some washing I thought to myself “ooh I haven’t thought about this for all that time, ha!” I was surprised because until this point, this stuff has been consuming me constantly. Not even seconds went by without me thinking about it all. I thought to myself that this was a good sign but wasn’t sure how it had happened. I thought it must just be the power of T.

But today I think I understand that it is actually the power of that realisation. It’s the effect of finally really “getting” something. Understanding something, being validated – heard and seen and, dare I say it… maybe even that belief that it really isn’t my fault. Like, really, it really, honestly, truly and genuinely isn’t (something I’ve heard a gazillion times before and rolled my eyes at because I thought it was just a pleasantry. You know, something you say to cheer someone up or whatever).

I then spent some time Googling (the font of all knowledge!) about “victim mentality” and “how to stop playing the victim” because I decided that I am fed up of feeling weak and powerless and childish. Yes I am hurt, yes I am angry – very at the moment, but I refuse to spend the rest of my life only half living.  What a waste that would be.

Here is what I learnt so far:

  • People like to feel like the victim because it basically brands them “the goody” and the other person “the baddy”. So I guess you get some sort of approval from that – in my case, approval is clearly something I want so it’s better than nothing right?
  • If you are a victim, its safe. You don’t need to risk anything or do anything – you can just sit around in your familiar “victim” status.
  • You don’t have to take responsibility because life is happening TO you;
  • Many people think they are entitled to good treatment. The truth is that they are neither entitled nor not entitled to it. The significant issues are what is going on and how do they feel about it. This woman would have been better off actively facing the facts of the situation and acknowledging her emotional reactions rather than personally judging it and feeling victimized by it”; and

 

  • Maintaining a child victim role leads to chronic passivity. Victimized feelings are very often appropriate to the child’s situation. Children are without power, are helpless and are at the mercy of their parents. Later as an adult, things happen that are sometimes beyond your control and understanding. However, the adult who is still playing the child victim role responds like the deer that sees a mountain lion approaching and instead of fleeing the danger becomes paralyzed. This person just keeps noticing over and over that the situation is unreasonable, unfair or threatening but doesn’t make the appropriate adaptive responses. In the case of the woman mentioned above, the tip off to the fact that she really preferred the child victim role was that she never made any substantial attempt to change her circumstances. Like so many of us, she would rather feel justified in complaining endlessly about her unfortunate circumstances while passively registering her dissatisfaction than actively changing her situation”.

So, I have made the decision to go to this party tomorrow where my dad, stepmum and brothers will be. I will go there and be strong and adult. I will not get caught up in any conversations about unfairness or rejection or disappointment because I will not waste my pearls (T’s phrase). I am going to the party because I WANT to go to it, rightly or wrongly.  I know I will only feel more upset if I don’t go and so why bring that upon myself on purpose?

The plan currently is this: Change my thinking from victim, to survivor. Change my mentality from defenseless child, to in charge adult.  Try and accept that my father is unable to give me what I would like and try to just accept what he can offer and if I decide at some stage that isn’t enough – well then perhaps I will have to make the tough decision to stop being the one to keep the contact.. we will see.

I accept that I may slip in and out of this mindset. It may feel easy today and impossible next week but I will hang in there.

recover from victim

 

strong women

 

recover

 

This has to stop ✋ 

More drama… 

Yesterday was one of my brother’s birthdays. I had text in the day and wished him a good day. He said he hoped to see me soon and I asked him if he was going to this party Saturday night, he said he was and that it would be “good to see you again”. I thought at the time that it made it sound as though I was a random and not his sister but brushed it off because clearly I’m sensitive at the moment. 

On my way home from work I was scrolling through social media and see a photo of my 3 brothers all dressed up in shirts etc and it hit me – of course, they will all be going out for a meal tonight to celebrate (they do this for everyone’s birthdays (well, except me). 

So I text and asked when his birthday meal was going to be. No reply for about an hour and I just knew I was right. It was now. I text another brother with the same question and eventually they both replied at the same time to say yes it was tonight but that it was “last minute”. Like fuck it was. 

With this is burst into tears but the tears only lasted a few seconds. Rage kicked back in. The rage I had been carrying since my session Tuesday anyway, amplified. 

I phoned my friend and ranted to her about it all and when I hung up, I saw that one of the brothers had “checked in” on Facebook and tagged people in. It was my dad, stepmum, 3 brothers AND all 3 of their girlfriends too… last minute my arse and even if it was last minute, they managed to invite the others so where was my text? 

Beast mode: activated. 

Cute, sweet me is not so cute now. I’m full of so much anger and disappointment but I’m struggling to hold it all, I don’t know what to do with it because it’s an unfamiliar feeling for me. 

T said to “bring” it to her but that doesn’t seem enough. I want to react. I want to write shitty statuses, shout, scream, punish and send angry texts and make him feel as shit as I do. But there really is no point. 

I had a stern talk with myself and thought, I’m 29 in a few weeks he (dad) has never been any different, this is very much same story different day. Why am I still so hurt? You would think the pain would lessen but it doesn’t seem to be. 

I decided enough is enough. I’m starting to feel like I’m keeping myself in this victim role. It’s like I just sit here and wait for the next rejection to come my way, then I cry about it and feel a bit poor me until it fades and then I wait for the next thing to happen that backs up my thought and feelings that I’m not loved by him. 

No more. 

Something needs to change because I am seriously through with this shit now. 

I know I need to accept him for what he is. He can’t offer me what I want, he never has been able to. I need to let go of this hope that I carry around because it’s like one huge vicious circle of hope & dissapointment. Each time it bites off another piece of my self esteem. 

I need to get some self respect. I need to give up on this childish fantasy of righting the wrongs. The daddy thing just isn’t going to happen for me. I need to make my peace with this, I don’t know how yet, but I know that is what’s next. 

Clinging on to any tiny morsel of love is insulting and pathetic. 

I have told him all the awful things that have happened to me in the hope he will see I truly need rescuing and they make no difference. 

I haven’t cried since that initial moment. I’m not feeling that in touch with sadness, just anger and this weird feeling that something has shifted. 

It takes 2 people to hurt someone right? The one doing the hurting and the one allowing it to repeat. I need to stop playing my part in this right now. 

I’ve been caught up in this replay for years and years, never giving up hope that it will change. The evidence is clear. 

I woke up feeling that something had happened. You know that feeling where you have to figure out what – is it Xmas day? A birthday? Are you going somewhere …. then I remembered what it was and I thought today is the start of a new phase for me. I don’t know how but it just is. 

Last week before break (Number 2) 

So this is my last week at T’s before her two-week break. Needless to say I’m not looking forward to it.

I’ve woken up feeling sick this morning. It’s all in my tummy and all I really wanted to do was stay home from work and sleep but I can’t, so here I am on the train.

I’ve said it before but it’s probably not a coincidence that I feel like this on a Tuesday – it’s like my body clock taps me into stuff now in readiness to take to T. It’s a shame it can’t wait until 7.30pm rather than make me feel like this all day!

So two sessions. I’m pretty sure I will be all non-eventful and adult and perhaps eventually cry. I am dreading her asking me “how are you feeling about the break?” Because there doesn’t seem to ever be a right answer.

If I say I am dreading it or if I cry then I feel embarrassed and childish – she will tell me she’s coming back which the adult part of me already knows, and then I feel like an idiot….

Or I say I haven’t got many feelings about it yet or that it’s fine and she doesn’t believe me.

So what do you do with that? Last time she took a break, only 6 or 7 weeks ago I cried in our last session and the first few days she was gone was awful. I think I’m scared of feeling that way again. I told T this a while ago but she said just because it happened once doesn’t mean it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy……. does that mean I shouldn’t feel that again?

I think I’m angry somewhere. I think the churning stomach is angry. I could very easily cry and very easily have an almighty strop… I can feel it.

I don’t like this shitty therapy stuff today. I’ve had enough of it all. It’s nothing but pain and tears and anger and frustration and embarrassment and patheticness.

I hate it.

Another thing I hate is that she says she will “hold me in mind” and that she will think of me, that I’m not forgotten. But I am. I know I am. She makes me feel stupid for not believing her but I just don’t. I bet she is trying to be kind and she is saying all the right things, but I’m not a kid, like I honestly believe she is going to be on a beach somewhere  or wherever she’s going thinking about her 29 year old patient …. I don’t think so.

She won’t MISS me. The break will be a welcomed rest to her … I feel pacified. There there *pats head*. It would be like me having two weeks off work and telling a colleague I’ll miss them … (I won’t! But I might say it to be nice).

I don’t want to go tonight now. I want to hide. I can’t even pretend I’m sick because she already knows that I would be hiding or angry… she won’t believe me anyway.  She asked me the other week what I did when I was angry with my boyfriend and I said I would probably spend time away from him – out of the house so she said that when I’m angry with her I’ll probably not want to come – damn it! Why did I tell her that?

What a crock of absolute shit.

Being angry isn’t really something I do very well in therapy and I’ve never felt very angry with T. My rational mind is telling me I am not angry with her and my childish mind is saying I am.

Scared Therapist Will Leave Me

I went to my session this afternoon and told T I was feeling a bit rubbish. She asked me what I was feeling and I said I just felt down and sad but I wasn’t totally sure why. 

T said that it wasn’t really surprising because I am doing some really tough work and the feelings are very painful. I nodded. 

She asked me whether I had any thoughts accompanying the feelings and I said, well… I didn’t until… and then I started crying. I felt annoyed at myself for crying already and shook my head in annoyance. T told me not to do that to myself. 

I told her that I couldn’t believe I was crying already, I had only been in the room for about 3 minutes! She said that it was better this way because I could make the most of my session rather than getting upset at the end of the session like last week. I said that’s true. 

So I took the plunge and said well, I read something the other day about someone’s T leaving and it played on my mind a little…. and then I read in my book today about the end of therapy between a patient and a therapist and it made me panic… I was really embarrassed and pretty upset talking about this. 

T nodded and said ah, I see. You are very in touch with abandonment feelings. I was crying again. I said I was worried she would quit or leave or something. It went quiet which freaked me out! Why wasn’t she reassuring me?!! Ahhhhhh then finally (probably seconds) she said that she couldn’t predict the unpredictable but that she has no plan to leave or quit anytime soon. She said she enjoyed her job and that also she took it very seriously that this type of work is important and she would never abuse her power like that. I was relieved. 

We spoke a bit about how I feel silly having such regressed feelings lately and I also said that I felt that recently, I had so many upsetting and childlike feelings – I said it felt they were all coming at once and they were so tough. 

I said that I just thought if I had finally allowed myself to feel this much and open up and then she left…. (I didn’t finish that sentence). 

I was glad that was out the way. 

I said that also, it being Thursday I was worried there might be a repeat of last week and I would be upset leaving and spend the next two days feeling shit which I really didn’t want. I said I know just because it happened once doesn’t mean it will definitely happen again, but I was worried in case. 

She nodded and asked what happens to her at weekends? I said… err I don’t know really. She asked “do I forget about you at weekends?” I said yes. She said so I only think of you Monday to Friday? I smiled and laughed and said yes lol! 😂 we both laughed at this. 

I said I found the weekends easier because I was busy with the kids and I guess I associated therapy with week days and work etc so the weekends don’t feel so tough BUT the thought of the gap between Thursday and Tuesday feels like forever! 

We chatted about some other less important topics and then I told her some of my dreams the past couple of nights. I said they were horrible and obviously weren’t helping my mood. She said my unconscious was very busy and that I should write them down to get them out. I said I do anyway but I would. 

With 5 minutes to go T said “right we have 5 minutes left of our session, how are you feeling now?” She’s never said this before so I assume this is because of last week…. I said I felt okay but that “you just never know what surprises I have in store for myself later!” (Cringe). 

She said she felt it was probably better for me to leave more “adult”. 

She then said “why don’t you leave some of the sadness here with me?” I thought that was a weird thing to say. I kinda half heartedly said yeah that would be nice… but she seemed serious. 

She said I could acknowledge that I feel sad, but be able to still do nice and happy things for myself and not let it take over…. I was a bit confused about this really but I don’t want to sound like a petulant child… it’s just a bit annoying like I can’t just turn my feelings on and off like that for starters but also, she’s spent 2 and a half years trying to get me to be able to feel stuff…. to not live totally in my logic state and to be able to cry and now she’s basically saying “stop being sad”. 

That’s confusing to me although I guess the adult part of me does know she’s trying to help. I’m just being a bit childish perhaps. 

So… let’s see what the next 5 days bring. 

Boundaries, Schmoundaries

As you will know if you read my “Ugly” post yesterday, things turned pretty shitty for me after my session yesterday and it seemed to really throw me into something.

I’m really aware that the thing that seems to be giving me the most pain is that I had to leave. I HAD to leave the room, I HAD to leave her and I wasn’t ready to go.

I really, really wanted her to come out to me when I was sobbing in the car. I wanted her to care and come and console me.. I wanted her to text or email me last night to check in and see how I was because she knew I was in pain.  Even today would be nice.. but of course she didn’t and she isn’t going to.

The logical part of me knows that it’s all to do with the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship but if I am totally honest with myself, it makes me want to scream “Fuck the fucking boundaries!!!!”.

BOUNDARIES

The fact that there are even “boundaries” makes me angry.  Why can’t I have what I need?

Why can’t she love me in a genuine way that isn’t part of a job or part of a process or part of a journey that will end? It is a very real reminder of the fact that she ISN’T my mother no matter how much I might wish she were.

I don’t doubt that she has genuine feelings for me of some kind. Maybe she might have even wanted to contact me, but knew she couldn’t.  Perhaps it is for my own good and all that bollocks like when you’re forced to eat vegetables when you’re a kid because they are “good for you” but I don’t care right now. I don’t want to eat the vegetables.

I struggle already with my feelings being “too much” and with feeling like I might “kill her off”, so the fact that we have to have fucking boundaries just feels like proof of this because they are there to “keep her safe“. Safe from me – safe from my feelings.  I mean, over the last few years, she has taught me to put in some boundaries to protect me from my narc mother. So that is what boundaries are there for. To protect us.

I guess I am being a bit of a toddler and having a strop. I want it and I want it now and I can’t get it so I am going to have a hissy fit and throw my toys out of the pram.

I just can’t understand why it is that it is so hard to have someone stay there with me when I need them. Like whenever I need them – not just when it’s acceptable. You know? Like 2 hours a week.

I can’t contain my feelings to only be allowed when it’s convenient!!!  

AGHH. Okay I think maybe I’ve found some anger. It’s been a long time coming.

I still love her. I am not angry with her in some ways, yet in other ways it feels too rigid and too black and white and too cold and clinical to just be able to send me on my way knowing I can’t cope with these feelings alone.

The fantasy is that she’s already forgotten how much pain I was in. She probably cared for ten mins or so and then forgot.  She’s forgotten me in my head – whether that is reality or not.

I’m sure this is transference – maybe the pain I am feeling is what I might have felt as a child when my mother wasn’t there when I needed her but even the understanding of that isn’t helping at the moment. Because she isn’t my mum – she is better.

She really “saw” my pain and then left me alone with it (even though it was me who left physically…)

I keep debating reaching out to her. Maybe sending a text or an email and telling her that I am struggling but I’ve never done that before and it is SO scary.  I keep telling myself to take a chance at being vulnerable and letting her potentially help me out a little…. but I worry she will say something that I perceive to be too clinical and it will hurt even more than it already does now and I can’t bear that. I guess I could tell her that. I don’t know yet.