Thought Fuel and Irritation

It has been 25 days today since the big argument between me and my mother. So about 3 and a half weeks.  I’ve blogged quite a bit during this time and so anyone that has taken the time to read my posts will have seen the emotions I’ve gone through in this time.  There has been empowerment, anger, sadness, more anger and then lots of intellectual processing of dysfunctional family dynamics, namely with my Nan and more recently, my little sister.

I haven’t heard from my mother at all since the text messages that we exchanged a few days after the fall out. I did not reply to her last message, the one which said that I did not have a bad childhood because I had a roof over my head because I was too angry and because I was so emotionally exhausted from trying and failing repeatedly to get her to see how I felt.  It was pointless.

Since then, I put her on a restricted profile on Facebook and totally blocked her on Twitter and Instagram.  I know this sounds a bit childish, but for me this was a pretty big step. It is probably the biggest boundary I have ever implemented with her and honestly, it was quite scary as well as empowering.  Now, I have her on a restricted profile which means that she cannot see any of my status updates but I can still see her page as usual.  So, being the glutton for punishment that I am, I went on her page over the weekend and saw a load of “check in’s”.  For anyone unfamiliar with Facebook, you can “check in” at places basically to show people where you are. That could be a restaurant or a pub or a nature reserve etc.  Well, she “checked in” at 2 very nice and expensive venues … that I had brought her a voucher for recently for her birthday.  The gift was for 2 people to visit a famous landmark and then a paid meal for 2 in a famous restaurant.  She could use this voucher whenever she wanted to within a year.

Now, when we fell out 25 days ago, she had not booked this which makes me think that since we fell out, she has decided to phone up and book the two places in.  The statuses on Facebook over the weekend were many, about what fabulous places they were and how she was “drinking champagne with hubby”.  Obviously there was no thanks to me or mention of the fact it was a present purchased by me.

It felt weird seeing those statuses and check-ins. I spoke to my fiance’ about it at the time and he said that he thinks she has done it on purpose to get at me or to annoy me.  He said he thought it was a weird time to use that gift when we hadn’t been speaking for the last nearly month. I agree.

Seeing that and feeling the feelings that made me feel has had me wondering things the last few days. Now I find myself thinking “what is SHE doing?”.  I knew I wanted and needed space from her and I know why…. but from her perspective, what is she doing? What is her aim here?

I spoke to T about this last night and said to her it isn’t that I want to hear from her, because I really do not but equally I guess it is strange to me that she is carrying on her business as though life is still wonderful when she has had such a huge fall out with her daughter. Booking and going on that present has clearly had the desired effect (if there was an intention behind doing so).. I have been thinking about this ever-since.

I have found myself sitting on Google a lot (as usual) and I’ve been reading about narcissists and the silent treatment. Does this apply to me? I mean, is it the silent treatment when I haven’t contacted her? I’m not sure.  T said that even if I don’t want to hear from her, I probably assumed that I would have so the fact I haven’t is making me feel like this. I find myself giving her lots of thought and that is annoying because 1) it is totally the opposite of what I wanted to achieve by having time and space away from her and 2) is giving her what she wants isn’t it? I am back in some sort of control, whether she knows it or not, where I am spending my time questioning what she is doing, thinking etc.

I read the term “Thought Fuel” earlier and then I found this:

“Thought Fuel is especially useful when we engage in our manipulations through silent treatment, or denigrating you and then going out somewhere. We are able to conjure up the image of you distraught at home and fearing our return and this Thought Fuel invigorates us. It is evident when we have discarded you in particular as we think of how you will be reacting once you realise that you have been discarded and that we want no more to do with you. When we hoover you through technology, even though we may not receive a response to our first flurry of texts we will still draw Thought Fuel from it because we know how you will be responding to our communication. It may be excitement, it may be apprehension or it may be hatred, but whatever it is, it will be fuelling us nevertheless and that is all that matters to us.”

Mehhh.

I feel annoyed and anxious about the whole thing today. I wonder what she is doing and why, I wonder what will be next and I hate that I am spending so much energy on these thoughts and feelings. I hate that she can make me feel like that – that I am allowing myself to feel and think these things. I wish I could just turn it off. In my mind, she is carrying on with her life trying to prove to me that she isn’t at all bothered by my actions.  She is possibly genuinely not bothered or she is trying to get a reaction out of me, whether good or bad. But what is next? It could be another attempt at “moving on”, it could be guilt tripping me, it could be anger, it could be messages delivered to me via other people… and it is quite exhausting not knowing what is next.

Lastly, it is a very close family friend’s birthday party this coming Saturday.  The whole family are invited.  I have obviously decided that I shouldn’t go – because my mother, stepdad and sister will all be there. I am disappointed that I won’t  be going and I also feel guilty that I will have to tell her I won’t be there. I know she will be dissapointed.  BUT the worst bit about this is, this family friend was one of the people who told me what my mother had been saying about me and my fiance’ (how I had changed because he was controlling and manipulative) and in the heat of the moment with my mother, I dropped her as one of the names.  My mother very clearly hasn’t confronted her which is no surprise (because my mother lied) but considering she is so utterly furious with me for believing her over “my own mother“, you would think she may have said something to her wouldn’t you?

So this weekend, I can be sure to see Facebook covered in selfies of this family friend, my mother and my sister too (along with the family friend’s adult kids who are like cousins to me).  I know it will happen and yet I already know it will upset and annoy me.  Will that stop me looking? Probably not. Why do I do that to myself?  T has told me to delete my Facebook and make a new one with only a few selected friends, or to come off Facebook for a few days long enough that the photos won’t be all over the news feed… there are options I know, but I doubt I will be able to stop myself.

It is so infuriatingly unfair. I dread to think what she (and my stepdad and sister) will say to this family friend. How I am nasty and aggressive and how awful I was that night and how they don’t know who I am anymore blah blah blah….  the smear campaign beginning I guess?

So do I tell her that I can’t make her party because of the truth or because of a fake illness… will it make any difference what I say? I think probably not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dream triggers & painful memories 

****Some possible triggers about sex and abuse.***
I woke up this morning from a night full of dreams. I know I had lots because I kept waking up and I would acknowledge to myself that “she” was in them, and then I would fall back to sleep again – and repeat. When I woke up and it was morning I felt groggy and had head-cloud. I had a headache. The main bit of the dream that I can still visualise clearly is that I had slid down an inflatable slide with someone and at the end, a man put his hand inside my skirt. He slid his hand from the waistband. I didn’t do anything but I knew it was wrong. The next thing the man was taking photos of me and my mum was jumping in the photos and posing seductively. 

Writing about this dream makes me feel weird. I feel like something is building up inside me. Maybe anger? The dream makes me feel sick because when I was a teenager one of her boyfriend’s put his hand inside my skirt (from the waistband) and into my knickers. I didn’t move at all, or say anything. I froze. I was petrified and confused. 

I really liked and trusted that man. I told him everything! Too much as I can now see from adult eyes. The man groomed me. He used to give me money and top up vouchers for my phone so that we could always speak and he would ask me to send him photos of myself, he brought me a camera phone and they weren’t cheap back then! 

He spoke to me about everything. He asked me inappropriate questions about boys and my sexual experiences. I was innocently naive and thought he was just treating me like an adult! BUT I didn’t want that. Him touching me didn’t last long luckily because my mother came down the stairs and sent me to bed. I went into the kitchen and froze. My heart was thumping and I was in shock at what had just happened. My mum shouted again and I went to bed. 

I wrapped my blanket under and over me like a sausage roll in the hope that he would struggle to get to me. I cried and shook – then I heard him coming up the stairs and he went into the bathroom where he sent me some vulgar text messages. 

I didn’t tell my mum for 9 years. The point is, the dream triggered this memory and some horrible feelings. It’s effected me all day. I cried a while after I woke up. Not for long, but real from the heart grief type tears.  Later I felt angry. I found myself thinking things about my mother like how I can’t believe she used to have sex with men when me and my sister were in the same room. 

2 examples came to mind immediately. Both were in hotel rooms and so her bed was like a metre away from me and my little sister. I guess I would have been about 9 and 11. It also reminded me of being literally about 5 or 6 years old and waking up to what I now know are sex noises, loud banging and her screaming. I was so bloody scared. I thought she was being hurt and was dieing!! I sat on the toilet and she eventually came in and was shocked to see me there. She asked me what I was doing and I told her I was scared of the noises. She told me they were playing a game where they pushed each other off the bed and that’s why she was screaming out. 

I know sex doesn’t stop when you have kids, but there are limits and things which are morally right and wrong aren’t there? She ramped the sex stuff up another level as I got older and took to having sex with men on the sofa, the stairs and with her bedroom door wide open. It was always pornstar loud and she would leave her clothes and underwear strewn across the hall or stairs. 

I confronted her about her loud sex and she told me to move out if I didn’t like it. The last time, a few months after I told her what her ex boyfriend done to me as a teen, she told me I was jealous of her and that she didn’t believe that even happened to me. I was utterly heartbroken. 

Fuck you. 

Now I think to myself “baggy fanny slut”. 

I told T the other day that my stepdad (aka: lapdog) knew for years before my mum did about that event, he had told me not to tell my mum as it would upset her too much. When I did tell her, she told him in front of me and he acted like he didn’t know. I’ve often fantasised of telling her that he knew, but I’ve now learnt that she needs him to worship her and agree with everything and anything she does and says – which he does well. She would see this as evidence of his love and NOT how shit it was for me that another, apparently trustworthy, adult had let me down. 

Interestingly, when I told my mum she said, and I quote, “don’t tell Nan as she would have a heart attack and die”. I now see that she was scared what my Nan may say about her parenting skills. It is after all, all about her. 

I tragically held onto the hope that when she found out what happened, she would become who I needed her to but that obviously didn’t happen. 

A while after I told her, I said in anger and sadness that she had never mentioned it again and she said in anger “do we all have to talk about it all day every day and feel sorry for you?!” OUCH. 

If only I understood then what I do now, that what he did was sick and wrong, but what she did was so much worse. But hey! We had “a nice house”! 

Angry 😠 

I am angry today. Really angry. I just woke up like it. I am due on my period today, so perhaps it’s entirely hormonal… but also my fiancé and his ex wife are going to my eldest’s stepson’s opening evening together tonight for the first time. 

In the 4 years we’ve been together, he’s not been allowed to go to any school events whatsoever, yet all he go WITH her, but because of the situation at the moment, my stepson apparently said he wanted his dad there as he was worried his mum would get upset and cry, and his Mum is refusing to just let my fiancé go instead of her. 

The rational, adult in me understands this entirely. The child in me is screaming and throwing things at this sudden co-parenting, his ex-wife is back in our lives thing. I know this makes me sound very selfish. I know… 

I booked me and my fiancé a few nights away for when I leave my job yesterday. He said, it depends on when the funeral is because he said he would go with her (the ex wife). Again: rational adult understands this. Child me is NOT happy that our holiday may not happen because of something to do with her. 

Having said this, I WAS feeling okay about this stuff on Monday. Me and my fiancé had a good chat over lunch, I told him I was feeling uncomfortable with all of the texts and calls and stuff and he told me he was too and we spoke about some boundaries he would put in, if necessary. So that makes me wonder if I’m just using this stuff as an excuse to be angry. Am I projecting? 

As I sit on the train writing this, I can feel a need to cry. It’s strong, yet the anger is equally as strong. I’m on my way to T’s so hopefully that helps. I really want to be able to go in and say “I feel very angry” but o doubt I will. It’s like this fake “well behaved” adult takes over when I see her. I’m not sure I have the energy for that today though. 

I know I have a lot to feel angry about regarding my Mum and the situation I’m currently dealing with with her. The impossible decision and choice I have to make. The decision sucks either way however you look at it. Maybe it’s that. 

Huff. 

What happens when you can’t forgive?

Clearly I am a stage in my healing where I am seeing and feeling the effects of my mother’s narcissism. I am seeing and feeling, properly, for probably the first time, how deeply hurt and wounded I am because of her.  Because of her failure to love me and care for me, because of her failure to protect me and because of all of the horrible situations I have had to witness or encounter because of her – not to mention because of the way I have felt about myself my entire life because of the messages she made me believe were true about myself.  I am full of resentment at the moment. I hate her for some of these things. I have also completely let go of any hope, or even desire, that things could be different.  I truly understand that she will never change – something that I think before I thought I understood, but perhaps only understood on a logical level.

The issue this brings me is that I understand that I know that hanging on to anger and resentment is not beneficial or healthy for me. When listening to my audiobook this morning (You’re Not Crazy, It’s Your Mother) the subject of forgiveness was spoken about and it said that you have to learn to “write off the debt that she owes you” because you will never get the acknowledgment or apology that you want and that the only person you are hurting by holding onto that, is yourself.

But I can’t do that. Yet at least.  And then that makes me feel bad…. Being unable to “write off that debt” or being unable to “forgive” her makes me feel as though I am doing something wrong.  But I know myself and I know that right now, any acceptance or forgiveness would be entirely fake and what is the point in that?

anger

I am also too angry to even try to do that. Too angry to even bother faking any acceptance or forgiveness. It just isn’t on my radar right now. I just cannot bring myself to even think about that as an option.  That makes me feel stubborn, but it’s how I am feeling nonetheless.

My mother has said to me (and is probably saying to everyone else right now) that I am living in the past, that I can’t move on and that lots of people have had it worse than I did. That I have to move on and the most insulting one, that therapy has made me this way – that it is doing me more harm than good.

What I hear is “Get over it” and “You didn’t have it bad” (the undertone to “you say you had a bad childhood but we always had a nice house and I worked hard because of no help from either of your fathers”).  Both of those statements FEEL to me totally invalidating and like gaslighting.  Yet at the same time it makes me confused because I do understand that she can’t actually go back to the past and undo anything.  Of course she can’t … but if someone had genuine remorse, they wouldn’t say or imply for you to “get over it” would they? They would say how sorry they were and say that they wish they could fix it.  They would try to make up for it somehow.  Or something like that.  Am I wrong?

So what I am feeling right now is her effectively saying:

Get Over it” – “Shut up talking about it and move on

And me saying:

NO! I won’t!”

When I put it like that, it helps to remove the guilt that I feel from the fantasy that perhaps I am unfairly baring a grudge and living in the past, unable to move on etc, – in other words, that my mother’s words are true. The other thing I imagine is that she may offer what the audiobook calls a “fauxpology” – a fake apology.  I can’t quite see that myself, but I have learnt that narcissists really will do anything to get what they want and if she does realise how serious I am, maybe she will offer me a fauxpology. Something along the lines of “I am sorry that you..” or “ I am sorry if you are still upset about the past but I can’t change it” or maybe just “We need to move on” (which isn’t actually an apology at all and she has already said in so many ways). In fact I guess she said that in her text which said “People are entitled to their own opinion” I.e. you are wrong.

You can’t forgive someone who isn’t sorry – can you?

At the moment, I have no doubt that if I am around my mum, I would be on guard. Looking out for any perceived signs of attack, insults or whatever. I can’t relax with her because I am constantly waiting to defend myself from her.  That could be defending myself against comments about my fiancé, my father, my job, my looks/clothes etc or any number of other things.  It isn’t fun for either of us.

She said in her messages last week that I have “changed from a loving, caring, fun girl into someone who is always looking for an argument”.  She also said that she felt “on egg shells” around me.  Now I know that I have not changed into someone who is always looking for an argument, that isn’t true.. BUT perhaps I have around her.  Sunday night my fiancé told me that he doesn’t like who I am when I am with her and did actually say that I seem aggressive AND that he feels on egg-shells waiting to see if a row will kick-off.

I don’t really believe that she feels on egg-shells around me… but maybe she does. Maybe she knows I am liable to explode at her if she hits a nerve.  I can’t entirely blame myself for this at the moment, although I can clearly see it isn’t exactly great behaviour. But it does tell me that being around her right now isn’t really a good idea.  For either of us.  I can’t exactly say that though, can I?

Right now I have a lot of anger and resentment towards you and being around you isn’t enjoyable for either of us. You say I am looking for an argument and that you feel like you are on egg-shells around me. I feel on guard around you, like I am ready to defend myself to you.  For those reasons, I don’t think we should see each other for a while because it cannot end well”.  I COULD say that.. but she would again, say to me, and to everyone else, that I am holding a grudge, stuck in the past etc….. does that matter though?

This sounds harsh but the thought of seeing my mother in “safe” places, such as public places and not around alcohol, still makes me feel anxious. In fact, it makes me feel more anxious because I guess the alcohol gave me brave pills or something (entirely dysfunctional I know) and something I have only just realised and am now taking steps to resolve – by knowing that IF I see her, it cannot be around alcohol.

The sad fact is that we have nothing in common, nothing to talk about. I don’t want to share anything of any real meaning with her such as my good news, my worries or family plans such as plans for a baby or details of our wedding. I genuinely feel quite mean for saying and thinking that, but I genuinely mean it. If we weren’t related to each other, I wouldn’t have her in my life (anymore at least).  Like my two ex-friends, once I realised their behaviour towards me was wrong, unhealthy and damaging and that I deserved better, I ended those friendships.  This is just harder because it is my mother.

Reading this back, clearly the main thing playing on my mind and causing me confusion and doubt is what she says about me being stuck in the past and not being able to move on. That is clearly my sore point right now.

Here are some quotes from her last few text messages a week or so ago:

You and I know I’ve never told you what to do!

I never told you constantly as a kid that I couldn’t wait to get rid of you!

All I ever wanted was for you to meet the man of your dreams and to be happy so that when the time comes that I am no longer around, you would have your rock.

You say you had a bad childhood but I worked full-time as I had to as never had any help from your dads, but we had a nice home and you did not go without much considering I was a single parent.

I give you nothing now emotionally? – That is because I never see you. You have never once invited us round. I text you religiously once a week otherwise I don’t think I would hear from you.

If you ever wanted us to go out – you could have asked.

You are also able to invite us to anything with the kids. You can’t say that is all our fault. We don’t know your plans with them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is This The End?

I genuinely can’t believe I am about to sit and type this.  I am in some weird type of shock.

I went to my mother’s last night (yeah I know, you already know this isn’t going to end well don’t you) and ended up in a very vicious row with her and being kicked out of her house by her and her twat of a husband at 2am.

I genuinely do not know if this is the end of us.  It is a real possibility that we will not speak again. I may never speak to my mother again. I can’t quite believe the words but they feel very likely and very possible and very true right now.

The evening took a nose-dive when me and my sister began a rather heated conversation about my wedding. She was saying that she wanted to plan my hen do and I was saying how she could, but that I wanted all of my bridesmaids to be involved in the planning of it.  At some stage I told her that I was actually very hurt at her lack of interest in our wedding and more specifically, her lack of interest at our engagement.  My sister is incapable of seeing someone else’s point of view and gets very defensive if someone disagrees with her (I wonder where she gets that from).  It got more and more heated and she started reeling off loads of things that I have done that have annoyed her. One of which was that I wouldn’t cancel one of my therapy sessions to attend a meal for HER father’s birthday back in August. I wrote about that at the time so you may remember my feelings about that back then.  Anyway, I told her that the fact she covers Facebook (yes the devil) in lovely affectionate statuses and photo collages of all of her friends and of our other step-siblings, it hurt me that she didn’t acknowledge our engagement at all. Nothing. Zilch. She said that we were no longer close and that she didn’t really like me anymore.  OUCH.

In the end she ran off to bed crying because I was trying to say my side of things but she expected me to sit and wait until she had finished before saying anything. That was impossible because she was going on for so, so long. Off she went.  Wonderful.

Everyone else then went to bed apart from me and my mother.  This has often ended badly so I should have seen it coming. Perhaps I did? My mother started to stick up for my sister and I found myself pretty aggressively saying to her “Why are you siding with her? Why aren’t you understanding my side of things”? From there it went from 0 to 60 in seconds and she was telling me how I had dissapointed her when she had sent me a message inviting me to her 50th birthday weekend away because I said I would only come if my fiance was able to come with me.  I explained my reasons why that was at the time, and again last night. It fell on deaf ears.  Before long, she was saying all sorts of shit that really pissed me off and I became VERY ANGRY and told her that it pisses me off that she has the cheek to moan to people that we aren’t close anymore when she slags me and my fiance off to our family and her friends saying that I have changed and that my fiance is controlling and manipulative blah bah ….. She denied that she had said anything like that and I said she was a liar.  She was outraged that I said that and said to me “Do you really believe them over your own mother?” I said Yep. Totally. 100% I have no doubt. (For background these “other people” are reliable sources and include my sister, other family members such as my aunt etc and I can hear her saying it, I believe it with my whole heart).

I then told my mother that my entire life she made me feel unwanted. I told her how my entire life she did nothing but tell me how much she wanted to get rid of me. From telling me she gave me away the day I was born, to telling me I had to move out on my 16th birthday when I was as young as 5 years old, to telling me repeatedly as a late teen/early twenties that she couldn’t wait until I finally met someone who could “take me off her hands”. I told her that now she has what she wants and she hates it because she’s lost control of me and so she blames my fiance when in all honestly, its nothing to do with him.

Before I knew it, my mother was phoning her husband who was in bed, telling him that she needed him NOW.  I told her she was pathetic, why did she need to get him? this was nothing to do with him! GOD I HATE THAT SHE DOES THAT!!!!! She has done that my whole life. Gets her bloke involved when we are having a disagreement and gets him to shout at me, back her up, enable her.

She told me that she needed her husband there to “witness how evil I was being”, “to hear the things I was saying to her”.  Please.

She told me to get out of her house. I stood up, very confidently and said with pleasure. I walked towards the kitchen door to go inside and genuinely expected to feel her yanking my hair or punching or kicking me, something. I could feel myself internally tense and wait for the physical attack. Luckily it didn’t come. I walked into the room my fiance was in and told him to get up, that we had to leave. With that her husband flung the door open screaming at me “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO YOUR MOTHER? WHY HAVE YOU UPSET HER SO MUCH?”.  He then added that “Every fucking time I leave you alone with her, you do this!” (That is such a lie as this has never happened before.)

She said to him that I was evil and that I had told her she was evil and that she was the worst mother in the world. I didn’t actually say those things but I guess she isn’t/wasn’t wrong.

She then delivered this beauty “You need to sack your counsellor mate because you are fucking evil and need sectioning”.

Wow. That right there is my mother.

I replied equally as maturely “I don’t need to sack my counsellor, it’s because of her that I have finally seen what a nasty bitch you are”.

I’m still shocked by this as I type it out my heart is racing.

And so me and my fiance left with me shouting to the pair of them to fuck off as my stepdad (AKA: Mother’s lapdog) shouted shit at me.  We then had to walk at 2am in the dark for half an hour to try to find a taxi and get home.

I cried on and off the whole way. I told my fiance several times that I was scared. I couldn’t tell him what of. But I was very scared.

We got home and talked about what had happened for a while. I cried a lot of that time. We eventually went to bed at 4am.  When I woke up today I was in shock over what has happened. I still am.

I have not heard from my mother, her lapdog or my sister and I do not expect to.  My mother seriously has never apologised to me (or anyone I am sure) in her whole life. NEVER and my mother is totally unable to admit she has done any wrong, much like my sister and the fact that the three of them live together will mean that they will all have each other and obviously it will mean that I am, of course, the evil one.

She kept shouting at me over and over again “What the hell has happened to you?” and “You are so fucking evil!!”, “Look at you?”.

I have written about this before, but 3 years ago, weirdly in November(!) a very similar argument occurred. I had been in counselling about one month and T had explained to me that my mother was narcissistic. I found myself shouting at her all her shortcomings as I grew up, her lack of interest, her lack of affection etc.  Unfortunately that night, my sister, my mum’s lapdog and my aunties, uncles and cousin were all there. The entire lot of them sided with my mother and I was completely demonized.  That side of the family still keep a very large distance from me and that was the last time I argued with my mother.  Until last night.

So you can probably imagine that this event last night has probably cost me the entire family as well as my beloved grandparents because my mother sees them most days and my Nan will not understand my point of view, neither do I wish to persuade her of my feelings, she is old and doesn’t need the hassle.

So…. Now what? Where do I go from here?

Is this the beginning of no contact?

One thought I’ve had is that she has given us a large amount of money towards our wedding. Will she give it back? I feel I should give it back regardless but selfishly we can’t actually afford to do that….

I keep thinking how weird it would be to lose so many of my family like this and before my wedding. Visualising our wedding day without all of those people is just painful.

I have thought, shit, it’s nearly Christmas. At this rate me and my fiance will be sitting at home just the two of us. How sad.

The strange thing is that my main feeling, other than shock, is relief. I am relieved I’ve told her those things although I am not at all proud of the way I said them or how aggressive and nasty I was. I was uncontrolled and clearly very triggered and reacting from a rage place. I meant what I said though.

I have seconds of guilt… seconds of absolute terror and fear and then relief again. And probably very textbook moments where I think “they can’t ALL be wrong…. what if it is me?”.  It defies all logic really. I know it isn’t me.  I know they are all toxic and dysfunctional. I also know my mother has wounded me terribly and yet I feel totally unjustified in cutting her out.

So once again, I am the persecutor (Evil, nasty etc) and its poor victim mother. Poor her, how could I.

I know that not having my mother in my life won’t leave a huge deficit in the sense that she doesn’t actually give me anything. She doesn’t ever come to my house, she has nothing to do with my stepchildren, she doesn’t invite us to dinner or to meals or anything healthy like that. I visit her normally through a sense of obligation and I go there guarded and with my invisible armour on waiting for her next attack.  She doesn’t support me in any way, she doesn’t give me warmth, connection, nice conversation, advice. I keep my distance from her emotionally and do not tell her anything. I do not confide in her. I see the glow she gets if I have bad news or a problem. She loves it. She clearly hates me being happy – that is evident.  So what will I miss?

I don’t know what I’ll miss. But it feels ever so scary and I can’t help but picture her face which was very genuinely shocked and angered and hurt by my words. Does she really not realise how she has hurt me? And if not, does that mean I shouldn’t blame her?

Why am I snapping at him?

Wednesday night/yesterday I was beginning to feel a bit irritable or stressed or something. Wednesday late afternoon, about 4pm, my fiancé sent me a message at work to say that his parents had invited us over for dinner that evening to see his sister and her 3 children. I feel mean but it was so not what I wanted to do that night. I wasn’t mentally prepared for it and so I asked him if he would mind going on his own. In the 3.5 years we’ve been together I have NEVER done that before. I felt instantly very guilty. Anyway, I finally got home about 7.30pm, got into my onesie, read my book for a while and then put one of my favourite programmes on. I felt so pleased that I had made this decision for myself because I just didn’t have the energy to put on my happy face a moment longer. It’s hard enough at work all day.

Unfortunately that feeling didn’t last long as the doorbell went and there stood my fiancé, his dad and his sister. They had run him home and then decided to come in and have a cup of tea with me.  I wasn’t expecting them and so I guess it felt like a bit of an invasion.  They had “ruined” my relaxation and my time alone and I wasn’t mentally prepared for visitors (or dressed for them!). Whilst they were there, his sister told me that WE were all going for a meal the following evening (last night – Thursday evening). I feel like a bad person for admitting this but my heart sank.  I was in (am still in) need of some time alone, some time to feel how I really feel, some space.  This now meant that Wednesday night was ruined, Thursday night was now ruined AND on top of that, we have my fiancé’s children every Friday and Saturday so I knew that meant that until Sunday, I had to have my game face on.  I guess also, seeing his perfect family is very hard for me when I am feeling triggered from the lack of having had one myself. I know that sounds selfish.

What struck me at this point was that I used to have “my game face on” every day of my life! Now that therapy has got me in touch with my feelings, I am finding it increasingly difficult to not have the time and space I need to process and feel my feelings. That was quite a huge realisation.  How the hell did I get through life like that? Repression I guess.

Back to the story.. I woke up yesterday feeling just annoyed. I felt resentful that is the best word I have for it. I noticed that this was leaking out of me by me being snappy and miserable towards my fiancé and then instantly feeling guilty.  I also noticed that when I wasn’t with him, I craved him, I thought about how much I loved him, I smiled at lovely memories etc but when I was actually with him.. he irritated me. I snapped at him. I felt angry.  WHY??????

I realised that I was in real danger of projecting my bad feelings onto him and that wasn’t fair and so I composed a very long text to him which basically told him that I was struggling with some feelings post therapy this week and craving some time to not have to paint on a smile. I told him that with the plans with his family two nights in a row this week (at the last-minute) and then having his kids at the weekend, I could feel some resentment. I told him that I wasn’t blaming him at all and that he had done nothing wrong at all. I just wanted him to know how I was feeling so that he didn’t take it personally. I also told him that I wanted his love and wanted to have a proper chat about it all, that I wanted a cuddle but that when I was with him, I seemed to be irritable and said it was probably my whole push/pull thing.  NEEDING to get close and yet being too scared too.

I told T about this in yesterday’s session and she said that it was good I was more able to own what was mine and not take it out on him. I guess she is right.  She asked what I thought the guilt was about when I decided not to go to his parents on Wednesday and I said well, I guess I felt that I should be putting myself out more for him.  T said she wondered whether I was worried whether he was okay with that, whether he would “store it up” and use it against me another time or something?  I said that I believed he was okay with it but that I guess perhaps I worried he would do the same back to me one time and with my mum, that would  be pretty hard going.  T asked whether I told him that and I said I hadn’t.  She said perhaps you could?

So we had the meal with all of his family last night. The meal went well, it was fine and my fiancé’s kids came along too which is not something that would usually be allowed as it isn’t our time to have them.  I then “put myself out” by driving from where we live to the restaurant which took me an hour and was nerve-wracking for me as it was a long drive on a-roads in the dark and in the rain. I only passed my test a year ago and so driving places I do not know is still scary to me.  I did it so that we could drop his children home afterwards which was one of the terms that they could come.  I feel better now that I have evened the scales a bit more in my mind.

But then something weird happened again.  My fiancé drove my car home and on the way home I felt my happy me mask start to come off. My fiancé was being silly and beeping my horn randomly and it just irritated me.  Then he started doing other stupid things (that were harmless and fun) and I just got more and more annoyed.  By the time we got home and it was just us again, I felt pretty down but yet again, it is only him that seems to be on the receiving end of this irritable-ness.  This makes me feel bad. Really bad.  The moment he stops playing and is probably hurt or being quiet, I feel bad. When he leaves the house/the room – I feel awful and cry.

WHY?

So here we are. It is now midday on Friday. The kids are back tonight and we have a busy weekend with them. I feel less resentful today but I am looking forward to my gym class in the morning to work off a bit of tension. Interestingly I have a very upset stomach and a headache today which could be due to eating too much at the meal last night, or related to my (unconscious?) emotions. I am not sure.  We are seeing  my mum tomorrow night and I think there may be some unconscious nerves about that too. Am I angry and trying not to be? What am I angry about?

Feelings are so messy!

 

(Ps, T leant me a new book yesterday. When she was looking on her bookshelf for it however I noticed that the book she had leant me a while ago which I had covered with sticky tabs had gone…. where has it gone? Has she leant it to someone else? Has she taken off the sticky-tabs? Why does this bother me?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anger Turned Inwards

anger

In last night’s session I told T that I had noticed from reading through some of my old blogs that when I have my “bad days”, I tend to be extremely harsh about my weight and my looks. I told her that I always feel “hideous”. I told her that reading through the posts written on days where I was in that dark place, there was a very familiar theme where I pulled myself apart and called myself lots of horrible names.

T said she could tell I was really quite taken aback about this and I told her that I have NEVER been someone who has liked her appearance, particularly my weight but other things too, but that this was shocking because of how extreme the self-hatred was in some of those blogs.

I told her that last Monday’s post (written in the rupture) was particularly awful. I told her that it was the most severe I have felt with regards to the self-hatred. I was trying to get her to understand that it was the closest I have ever come to self-harm. I have never self-harmed in the conventional sense of the word but that day last week I guess the image I had was VERY vivid and the thought did cross my mind. I know I shouldn’t really admit that but I feel it is important at the moment.

I didn’t actually tell T this and I’m not sure that she quite understood what I was trying to say (why would she when I wasn’t actually saying the words).. I was too embarrassed to tell her and thought perhaps I would send her that blog after the session so she could see for herself (but I didn’t/haven’t).

I said to T “I am wondering if on the days where I am really down and crying a lot that I am actually angry?” and she kind of nodded and said “you mean the anger comes out as tears?”. I said to her perhaps yes, but I was thinking more that the anger is turned onto myself in a “I hate my body, I am thick, I am useless” kind of way.

I have thought about this a lot since my session and this is what I’ve come up with.

Many people say that depression is anger turned inwards. My T said this to me years ago and I remember always finding that immensely interesting. I didn’t think it applied to me (I wasn’t depressed OR angry apparently) but here we are. Now, why would you turn your anger onto yourself? For me the reasons are clear: Trying to save others from being on the receiving end of my anger.  Preventing myself from pushing people away and causing them to abandon me.  Being the good girl. Having been taught that I am not allowed to show my anger else I will be punished.. there are probably more reasons than that even.

If I have been too scared of my own anger for all of the reasons above, it makes sense that any angry feelings I had wouldn’t have just miraculously disappeared, so where did it go? Onto myself.

Forms of turning anger inwards for me include the self-hatred as discussed above, reckless spending or perhaps drinking too much, different food habits perhaps not eating enough (starving myself and punishing myself for being “fat) or perhaps eating too much to try to feel better. Withdrawing socially, sleeping too much or not enough and various other things.. which lead me to my next thought:-

On my “bad days” I stay home because I can’t face the world/work/people. I stay home, I draw the curtains and lock the doors, I cry on and off all day, I might sleep a lot or I might not.. it depends but the thing I am focussing on here is that I lock myself away.  Now, when I was young, about 4 probably, my mother and her friend locked me in a room because I was being “a little brat” I was locked in there for a long time, at least a few hours and the memory of it still makes me feel weird.  I banged the door in with a hairbrush over and over again until I fell into a heap on the floor from exhaustion. Nobody came, nobody helped me and it was horrible.  It is a memory I talk about a lot and clearly a memory which has had an impact on me because a few years ago me and my fiancé were having an argument and he left the bedroom in a huff, slamming the door behind him. I FREAKED out at that. I couldn’t bare that door being closed and me being left in it like that. Clearly I now see it was a trigger for me of that horrible memory.

Today I feel I may have joined some dots up..

When I am depressed (read ANGRY), I lock myself away in my room (house). I punish myself for having angry feelings. JUST LIKE SHE DID.

I could be onto something here or I could be way off and being a bit dramatic, but it feels like I might have really understood something that I unconsciously do.

The problem with locking myself away like that is that I become stuck in my depressed, crying state. I am left to almost marinate in my own sadness. The feelings are usually hopelessness, powerlessness and other similar things which would make sense if you think about it because if you are angry with someone else (let’s say my mother in my case) but I am too scared to feel that anger towards her, I decide that I will blame myself for my disappointments and frustrations. I decide that it is all because of me, my shortcomings, my failures, my inabilities…. Because unconsciously I’ve decided, or perhaps learnt, that the alternative is to express my anger outwardly and to lose the love, care and affection of those I depend on. I guess the primitive fear goes back to the fact that without my mother, I would have literally died and so I couldn’t possibly feel the amount of anger I must have had in me to her.

So moving on now that I’ve had this idea, I guess the next step is to try to be honest with myself when I get those feelings and figure out what I am truly angry about. I imagine that won’t be easy giving that I’ve been able to block that out for my entire life to date. If I can pinpoint the real source of that anger and find a way of expressing it more appropriately (not in hurtful ways), perhaps I will disperse the anger quicker and in the process perhaps I won’t hate myself quite as much.

Doing my usual Google search, the suggestions for getting in touch with repressed anger/anger turned inwards are figuring out the following:

  • How often do you feel that way?
  • What type of feelings do you get?
  • What are the warning signs?
  • What triggers it? (i.e. is it a lack of self-control, self-discipline, forgetting something or being selfish or not having the ability to do something you wish you could).

Now I don’t know what to do with my anger, clearly so I need to make it my job to find out how to appropriately do that. Time for more Googling and to buy lots of new books I think!

“The first image that comes up is stripping my clothes off and then slicing the fat off my body.”

“I’ve noticed that my fiancé is the one triggering my angry feelings. Whenever he comes close to me to try and touch me or make a joke it makes me mad. Why?” 

“I feel so stupid.” 

Borderline Personality Disorder?

I had a dream last night that I was in a different house, I think in the dream it was meant to be my aunt’s house but she was away and I was house-sitting or something.  I was having my therapy sessions there but T was changing the times of my sessions and at one point I sat outside the room waiting for her for over an hour past my session time.  I didn’t know what was going on but I acted as though it was fine and I didn’t ask why she was late but inside I was stressing out.  Later in the dream I went for a ride on a motorbike or in a car or something, I can’t quite work it out, with my fiancé and then realised I only had 20 minutes until my session time and I knew I wouldn’t make it back in time. My fiancé was non-phased by this and was relaxing on the grass wherever we were but I was very anxious and stressed by it all. I remember feeling extremely stressed and upset.

I woke up feeling a bit….. groggy perhaps? I feel a bit irritated and a bit low in spirits I guess and I don’t really know why but usually feelings from my dreams seep into my waking life and so perhaps the dream stirred up some feelings for me.

I had spent my evening on Google reading about Borderline Personality Disorder , the whole push/pull thing, the fear of intimacy and engulfment and also some development phase that I clearly didn’t work through properly which is why all of this happens in the first place (I have forgotten what that was so I will try to find it again).  I read A LOT and it all fitted me so well.

It was one of those weird times that you are glad to read yourself in something and know that there is a reason for things and, obviously, that it means there is hope that things will get better. It also really grounds me when I can read stuff (intellectualise perhaps) because it becomes less scary somehow.. but given how I feel today, perhaps it has stirred up some other feelings or maybe its something else.. maybe it’s because it is T day and I have some unconscious fears about that? I don’t know.. maybe it is the dream.

The things that the dream and the stuff I was reading have in common is the fear of abandonment.  I can see that. In the dream T wasn’t being reliable was she? She wasn’t showing up when she was meant to and I didn’t know where I stood with her. Will she come, won’t she come? In the stuff I was reading I understand that the reason for the push/pull in relationships comes from a desperate need for intimacy and affection but at the same time, having a deep fear of abandonment and engulfment and so hence the push part of the push/pull situation. Leave before being left etc….  so the common theme therefore being abandonment right?

I don’t know, maybe I’m feeling the old body memories or emotional flashbacks of the abandonment fear. I feel irritable and moody.

I then flicked through some of my old blog posts to see if I could find any evidence of my new knowledge of the BPD traits.. and I did, but what stuck out more for me than anything else was quite how many “bad days” I have had.  I wrote a list down and there are at least 30 bad days.. not including today and others that I may not have written about at the time. These 30 days are between today and February this year.  So in 9 months, I’ve had 30 bad days.  An average of 3.3 per month. That is a lot, isn’t it?

I read that one of the “symptoms” of BPD is Emotional Instability and experiencing a range of emotions such as rage, sorrow, shame, panic, terror, emptiness and loneliness.  I then read

“You may have severe mood swings over a short space of time.

It’s common for people with BPD to feel suicidal with despair, and then feel reasonably positive a few hours later. Some people feel better in the morning and some in the evening. The pattern varies, but the key sign is that your moods swing in unpredictable ways.”

That is true for me.  I do feel a range of emotions including ALL of those things above… I don’t feel suicidal with despair but I do sometimes feel fine at one part of the day and then horrific at another; or visa versa.  I don’t feel “suicidal” but I have had images of harming haven’t I? I’ve written about that as recently as last Monday.

The next bit I read about impulsive behaviour. It talks about self-harm, feeling intensely sad and depressed but also impulsive activities like binge drinking or spending or gambling etc.  I have always described myself as impulsive. Often when it comes to shopping and buying clothes that I don’t have the money to buy (even when I have no money and I use credit cards or an overdraft). If I want to buy something, I will buy it and then later feel silly or guilty for it. The high doesn’t last long.

Next..

Unstable relationships

If you have BPD, you may feel that other people abandon you when you most need them, or that they get too close and smother you.

When people fear abandonment, it can lead to feelings of intense anxiety and anger. You may make frantic efforts to prevent being left alone, such as:

  • constantly texting or phoning a person
  • suddenly calling that person in the middle of the night
  • physically clinging on to that person and refusing to let go
  • making threats to harm or kill yourself if that person ever leaves you

Alternatively, you may feel others are smothering, controlling or crowding you, which also provokes intense fear and anger. You may then respond by acting in ways to make people go away, such as emotionally withdrawing, rejecting them or using verbal abuse.”

Okay so I have a fear of abandonment, that is undeniable. I suffer from feelings of intense anxiety and anger (which I usually turn towards myself but T perhaps found herself on the receiving end of last week).  I don’t constantly text or phone anyone and I wouldn’t physically cling or threaten to harm or kill myself but in all honestly that is more about saving face. I have often wanted to constantly text or call someone but I wouldn’t do it. However I can’t handle the feelings associated to that feeling of being abandoned or forgotten or left or not important… I could pull my hair out of my head.

It says that people with BPD have “love-hate relationships” and that they have a very black and white view of people. That they make people either all good or all bad with no real in-between.  Splitting/fragmenting.. I know I do that. T has said that to me many times.  Look at my latest rupture for evidence. T was all bad for a few days… and then it was over and she is now all good again and the only person who is “all bad” is me.  Look what I did?

For many people with BPD, emotional relationships (including relationships with professional carers) involve “go away/please don’t go” states of mind, which is confusing for them and their partners. Sadly, this can often lead to break-ups.”

I then found this website https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm which had a list of statements that would describe feelings associated with people who have BPD.

  • I often feel empty
  • My emotions shift very quickly and I often experience extreme sadness, anger and anxiety
  • I’m constantly afraid that the people I care about will abandon me or leave me.
  • I would describe most of my romantic relationships as intense, but unstable.
  • The way I feel about the people in my life can dramatically change from one moment to the next—and I don’t always understand why.
  • I often do things I know are dangerous or bad for me, such as driving recklessly, having unsafe sex, binge drinking, doing drugs, or going on spending sprees.
  • I’ve attempted to hurt myself, engaged in self-harm behaviours such as cutting, or threatened suicide.
  • When I’m feeling insecure in a relationship, I tend to lash out or make frantic gestures to keep the other person close.

I relate to many of them, particularly feeling empty, having emotions that shift quickly, the impulsive things as previously discussed and feeling very insecure in a relationship.

And this…. the 9 signs of BPD

  1. Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. Even something as innocuous as a loved one getting home late from work or going away for the weekend can trigger intense fear. This leads to frantic efforts to keep the other person close. You may beg, cling, start fights, jealously track your loved one’s movements, or even physically block the other person from leaving. Unfortunately, this behavior tends to have the opposite effect—driving others away.
  2. Unstable relationships. People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. You may fall in love quickly, believing each new person is the one who will make you feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or horrible, with nothing in between. Your lovers, friends, or family members may feel like they have emotional whiplash from your rapid swings between idealization and devaluation, anger, and hate.
  3. Unclear or unstable self-image. When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don’t have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, and even sexual identity.
  4. Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. If you have BPD, you may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviors, especially when you’re upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex, or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. These risky behaviors may help you feel better in the moment, but they hurt you and those around you over the long-term.
  5. Self-harm. Suicidal behavior and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behavior includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats, or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm includes all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. Common forms of self-harm include cutting and burning.
  6. Extreme emotional swings. Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD. One moment, you may feel happy, and the next, despondent. Little things that other people brush off can send you into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly (unlike the emotional swings of depression or bipolar disorder), usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness. People with BPD often talk about feeling empty, as if there’s a hole or a void inside them. At the extreme, you may feel as if you’re “nothing” or “nobody.” This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the hole with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.
  8. Explosive anger. If you have BPD, you may struggle with intense anger and a short temper. You may also have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit—yelling, throwing things, or becoming completely consumed by rage. It’s important to note that this anger isn’t always directed outwards. You may spend a lot of time being angry at yourself.
  9. Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality—an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you’re outside your own body.

Again, I can relate to many of them.  My anger is mainly directed towards myself and my body image or me being “ugly” or “stupid”… I guess occasionally my fiancé may be on the receiving end of it.. and perhaps T was last week, but usually its directed towards myself.  Perhaps this is what causes my depressive days or days like today where I feel irritated and angry with no real reason… things trigger me easily to lash out like a busy day at work where I feel I can’t stay level-headed.  Friday for example, I was busy at work, not feeling great and I CRIED at my desk because I was stressed.

This morning my fiancé said he woke up and thought to himself “how do I feel today” because he wasn’t feeling too good yesterday. He laughed and said how silly is that? I told him that is my first thought EVERY DAY.  He asked “in a mental capacity you mean?” and I said yes.  He said that was very sad.  I guess it is, isn’t it? I can go to bed happy and wake up feeling very sad or vice versa.. it is my very first thought of every day. Yesterday I felt excitable and hyperactive and today I feel rubbish.

I know that lots of people don’t agree with needing a “label” and I can’t be bothered to get into a debate on that right now, my brain is too fried, but for me, this is helpful. I will speak to my T about it tonight and see what she says.

If I am right and I do have BPD at least it explains a few things, particularly the mood swings and the extent at which I go from happy to utterly depressed and back because that really does worry me sometimes.  It explains the push/pull to me more and helps me to understand and it means I can read up about it so that I feel less scared by everything.

I think that T triggered something in me that session which made me freak out and pull away from her. I split her off as all bad and projected onto her until the next session where we started to repair things and I came back down a bit (the depressive position I spoke about yesterday).  The sadness and grief that followed on Thursday and all the tears I cried that day which were the result of my panic at her leaving me due to my anger… my fear of abandonment kicking in and my need to pull her back to me again. Is this what I do in all of my relationships?

Did I decide to drop a session whilst T was on holiday because I was freaking out about her leaving me? Because I was unconsciously fighting against my own abandonment fears? Was I trying to pull away from her because I was hurting?……… and the tears and fear I felt on Thursday about the fact I would only see T once a week instead of twice soon, is that me panicking because I have brought on an abaondment (kind of) all by myself…. a self fulfilling prophecy?

So many thoughts in my head right now whirling around!

Paranoid-Schizoid and Depressive Positions And Recovery from BPD

Last week in my session with T, she said something about “paranoid-schizoid and the depressive position“. At the time, all I heard was the word “schizoid” and I momentarily freaked out that she was trying to tell me I had a personality disorder (which I probably do, but she has never actually told me that), then last night I was Googling Borderline Personality Disorder and it lead me to this page which I now realise was what she was referring to!

I found this VERY interesting and enlightening and what’s more, it has really helped me to understand the process of rupture and repair.  I am hoping it may also help some of you too.  I was planning to summarise these notes and make some comments on them but I think it is a bit too complex for me to do that accurately, so whilst I am tempted to sit here and make comments on everything, I will just attach a few links and if you have time/are interested, please do read them and let me know what you think, I would love to talk to someone about this!

A very brief summary is as follows:

The paranoid-schizoid position

Anxiety is experienced by the early infant’s ego both through the internal, innate conflict between the opposing life and death drives (manifested as destructive envy) and by interactions in external reality.

A child seeks to retain good feelings and introjects good objects, whilst expelling bad objects and projecting bad feelings onto an external object. The expulsion is motivated by a paranoid fear of annihilation by the bad object.

Klein describes this as splitting, in the way that it seeks to prevent the bad object from contaminating the good object by separating them via the inside-outside barrier.

The schizoid response to the paranoia is then to excessively project or introject those parts, seeking to keep the good and bad controlled and separated. Aggression is common in splitting as fear of the bad object causes a destructive stance.

The child’s ego does not yet have the ability to tolerate or integrate these two different aspects, and thus uses ‘magical’ omnipotent denial in order to remove the power and reality from the persecuting bad object.

This splitting, projection and introjection has a frighteningly disintegrative effect, pulling apart the fragile ego.

Projective identification is commonly used to separate bad objects whilst also keeping them close, which can lead to confused aggression.

 

The initial depressive position

The initial depressive position is a significant step in integrative development which occurs when the infant discovers that the hated bad breast and the loved good breast are one and the same.

The mother begins to be recognized as a whole object who can be good and bad, rather than two part-objects, one good and one bad. Love and hate, along with external reality and internal phantasy, can now also begin to co-exist.

As ambivalence is accepted, the mother can be seen as fallible and capable of both good and bad. The infant begins to acknowledge its own helplessness, dependency and jealousy towards the mother. It consequently becomes anxious that the aggressive impulses might have hurt or even destroyed the mother, who they now recognize as needed and loved. This results in ‘depressive anxiety’ replacing destructive urges with guilt.

The general depressive position

In the more general depressive position, projective identification is used to empathize with others, moving parts of the self into the other person in order to understand them.

To some extent, this is facilitated when the other person is receptive to this act. The experience that the projecting person through their identification is related to the actions and reactions of the other person.

When the thoughts and feelings are taken back inside the projecting person from the other person, they may be better able to handle them as they also bring back something of the other person and the way they appeared to cope. It can also be comforting just to know that another person has experienced a troublesome part of the self.

The depressive position is thus a gentler and more cooperative counterpoint to the paranoid-schizoid position and acts to heal its wounds.

 

My understanding of this is that children (or adults if they have been emotionally neglected and wounded and didn’t have a “good-enough” caregiver to help them develop through these phases successfully), tend to see people as all good or all bad due to using splitting as a defence mechanism.  In the therapy setting, this happens because a child is desperate for a good enough parent substitute (this is 100% true for me as I have written many times on here).

As therapy continues, the aim is that the therapist helps us to move through this phase as we should have done as children and in turn, we are more able to view the therapist as a whole person made up of good bits and bad bits and not one or the other.

I guess that when my T referred to me having “moved out of the paranoid-schizoid and into the depressive position” on Thursday she meant that I have moved out of the entirely “bad” projecting place and was then in a place where I was feeling guilt and worry about HER feelings and the damage that I may have caused to HER and our relationship. I think this is evident if you read my latest blog post.

Klein says “If the confluence of loved and hated figures can be borne, anxiety begins to centre on the welfare and survival of the other as a whole object, eventually giving rise to remorseful guilt and poignant sadness, linked to the deepening of love.”. I think I speak of this poignant sadness in my post “Drunk Thoughts“.

I guess when I went to my session Thursday and told T I couldn’t relax, was crying a lot and didn’t really know why and was feeling utterly helpless it was because I was feeling the guilt and grief of my projection onto T, the worry that I had damaged her/us.

 

AANNNDDDDD……

On top of this wonderful new information, I then came across the following blog:

https://bpdtransformation.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/four-phases-of-bpd-treatment-and-recovery/

which explained the 4 phases of therapy when recovering from BDP – being

(1) The Out-of-Contact Phase

(2) Ambivalent Symbiosis

3)  Therapeutic Symbiosis

4)  Resolution of the Symbiosis (Individuation)

The blogger explains these amazingly well and so I won’t copy her blog but please read it if you are interested.  I wonder now if this is what my T meant when she told me last week that we were now entering into the phase of my therapy where rupture and repair was common.  (Phase 2 perhaps? The ambivalent phase?).

I then read this:

“…. the dominance of the all-negative images during ambivalent symbiosis result in the patient distrusting the therapist and using projective identification to reject them. The patient distorts the therapist, turning him “all bad” in their mind in order to block the development of a positive relationship. In other words, the patient sabotages himself by actively attacking his potential positive relationship to the therapist“.

Oh dear.. well that feels worryingly familiar doesn’t it? Our entire rupture was formed on me asking to go from 2 sessions to 1 and her reaction being that I was sabotaging my therapy……… GULP!!  What followed? a huge rupture where I turned her “all bad”………….

 

A Letter to T (not actually sent)

Dear T,

I am writing this for my benefit more than your’s, but perhaps it will help us both. Who knows.

Right now things aren’t feeling good for me. About you. You aren’t feeling safe to me at the moment. In fact, you feel dangerous to me. That probably sounds a bit dramatic but its the truth.

Right now I feel that when I see you I will have to put on an act that I am very strong, very sure of myself and of my feelings, opinions and thoughts and not weak. The reason I feel like that is that I feel if you sense my weakness, you will sense a “way in” and you will use it to your advantage to “win” somehow. Perhaps by making me doubt myself and think that you are right and I am wrong, perhaps by persuading me that I have been stupid, perhaps by filling me with guilt…. perhaps by removing the sense I have at the moment that I am not weak or stupid or guilty, but I am listening to my own mind, my body and to my gut, to my self for once. I don’t want you to take that away from me.

When I started to have doubts that perhaps you aren’t actually who I thought you were, I tried to brush them off. I tried to ignore myself and then I tried to listen to myself… listening to myself is what has got me here. I have spent my life ignoring or dismissing my own beliefs or ignoring my internal danger radar – I decided that has to stop. And here I am.

You don’t feel safe because I feel like perhaps the whole time that I have looked at you as the some great protector, the fantasy mother or whatever else I’ve seen you as, has all been wrong.  When you apportioned  your own angry feelings to me you were wrong. You weren’t only wrong, you did what SHE does. Don’t project your negative shit onto me. I won’t take it. I am NOT a scapegoat anymore for anyone, least of all you who should know better.  Why do people see me as such an easy target? Do I do something to make that possible? Is it because people look at me and think “she won’t do anything about it”? Is it that easy?

You don’t feel safe anymore because you ruined my good news. SHE does that too. Why have you started doing the things that she does?

You’ve admitted that when you got my email telling you I had a new job and telling you I would be dropping back to one session a week you felt anger. I could tell you felt something negative because of your reply. I admitted to you that your reply left me feeling disheartened and dissapointed. It felt “therapisty” and cold to me, but as usual, I doubted myself because obviously you are right all the time.. or so I thought. I should have trusted my gut at the time. I could feel something wasn’t right then but I chose to ignore it. There seems to be a pattern emerging there.

You experienced a negative reaction to my good news. I don’t know the reason for that, but what I do know is that, that isn’t right. It isn’t normal for my therapist to have a negative reaction to my good news.  Guess who else would feel a negative response to my good news?? HER AGAIN. I expected more from you T.  At least with her I can put it down to her being jealous of me somehow, but clearly that doesn’t apply to you and so the only way I can make sense of that is that you want to keep me down, small, weak…. dependant on you and that makes me so angry. Why do you both want to keep me needy?

I feel like you will blame all of this on me. I feel like you are currently sitting at home feeling totally un-phased by all of this. Perhaps it crosses your mind every now and again and you think to yourself “Ooh Twink has turned me bad – at last, this will be interesting” or something similar which feels painfully condescending and disrespectful to the pain and anguish I am left with in the meantime. It makes me feel like a fucking science experiment. You won’t admit that to me of course, that wouldn’t be ethical. My feelings mean shit, right?

Being angry at you or not trusting you feels like a no-win situation. You are more intelligent, more important, more authoritative and more wise. I am none of those things and so, naturally, I am wrong.

Every now and then this wave of guilt washes over me when I think of the times you have been kind and soft and it makes me cry. Like now as I type that… but I am fighting against that because I can’t lose my anger. Losing my anger makes me feel weak again and as I have already said, me being weak means you get to be stronger and overpower me and I can’t let that happen. I can’t be crushed. Guilt is a bastard little shit face. Guess who else uses guilt to win?

If it turns out that you are just like my mother I don’t know what I will do. The thought terrifies me. It isn’t impossible though is it? Look how many people like my mother I’ve already attracted in my life! There’s Sarah, then Tina and God only knows how many other people, not to mention the fact my Nan and sister clearly treat me with similar traits to my mother and her narcissism. Do what we say, do what we do, don’t disagree and don’t say no… or else…… that’s how you made me feel too.

If I have bared my heart and soul to you for the last 3 years and all the while you were just like her, then I give up. I won’t ever be able to trust anyone again because if even a qualified therapist is able to control and manipulate me and make me feel weak and use me as a scapegoat for her shit feelings, then what hope is there?

I think I will stop there because I am drained and I have a headache from crying.

Despite my anger, my fear and everything else, I can clearly see that a lot of this letter is probably transference after all…… but that doesn’t give you permission to make light of it. The feelings are real, the pain is real and the fear is real too.

Don’t laugh at it, please.