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?

 

Why is it so hard right now?

bad mood

I feel weird today.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but I feel down… sad… miserable.. something. I am writing this in the hope that I might figure it out.

Yesterday me and my boyfriend had a day off work together and went to the beach. The weather was beautiful and we had a lovely time.  We had a long walk, took our shoes and socks off and walked in the sand.. threw stones into the sea, generally just relaxed and spent some quality time together. It was lovely.

Then we got home and my boyfriend was moaning about the amount of food we had to throw away as it had gone bad/out of date… this annoyed me.  He kept on and on and I told him he sounded like my mother.  Later on, he suggested we went out to eat dinner and I told him no, we couldn’t afford it.  He asked why and I said you’ve just been moaning we have thrown away £30 worth of food and now you want to go and eat out? He said he wasn’t moaning, just saying.  That conversation ended and he fell asleep on the sofa.

I went upstairs and watched something on my phone, and he came upstairs to see where I was when he woke up. He immediately said something about going out for dinner and I said the same thing – you’ve moaned at me over the food in the fridge! How can you now go on about going out to spend money on food?! Somehow this escalated and within seconds he had stormed off downstairs.

With that, I burst into tears and locked myself in the toilet (as I always do when crying – no idea why).

I was crying because I HATE arguing with him. I HATE him storming off and walking away from me (particularly when it’s leaving me upstairs) and I was crying because it felt the day had been ruined.  I cried a lot, probably way more than is proportionate to the argument.  I went downstairs after I composed myself and it got brought up again… I ended up crying badly again and my boyfriend came and sat next to me and cuddled me.  He didn’t say anything though… he didn’t seem to think it was about him.  He didn’t apologise.

When I eventually stopped crying, cue bright red, blotchy face… he said something like “is that better now?” and I told him that he had upset me, he said he didn’t think he had… anyway less of the he said/she said the point is, I don’t really know what I was crying about but I think it was probably some sort of trigger/emotional flashback. I’m not entirely sure.

I woke up today feeling pretty low again which I really hate. My mood is SO inconsistent at the moment and its draining. It worries me.  I also worry what my boyfriend must be thinking and feeling because I used to be so happy and so steady (well that can’t be true, but it seems it looking back).  It made me mad for a moment when I thought this that therapy is shit and is causing this.

I see T tonight and I am nervous. I am nervous because I feel I have been too much. I feel I’ve contacted her too much, lent on her too much… I feel like I am being too vulnerable, too needy, too weak.. and it is scaring me.

Writing that last sentence has made my eyes water. I am scared. I think I am scared she is going to tell me off…. “tell me off” sounds young doesn’t it. I think I am shit scared she is going to lay down some boundaries about contact or something and I will feel so rejected that I won’t be able to handle it… the other half of me doesn’t think she will because she’s always been pretty good – very good in fact.

I had another dream about her last night. In my notes I wrote “I told her I felt stupid for emailing so much – she didn’t say much but she looked as though she was agreeing”.

Bleugh.

I know tonight we will read and discuss the dreams. The shower dream (cringe) and the other one which is actually equally cringe… I know she will ask me awkward questions about why I think I am dreaming of her children and why I felt jealous in the dreams….  the whole thing makes me feel pretty sick.

On top of the dream shit, I just feel really pissed off. I am not entirely sure what I am pissed off with but if I were to write totally uncensored I would say..

I am pissed off that I am becoming so in touch with the hurt and the pain and that it is as painful as it is.  That it makes me feel I could drown. I could die. I am pissed off that I suddenly turn into a completely incapable child who can’t “hold” her own feelings/pain and I turn so needy and HAVE to contact T. Like it isn’t a choice, like it is life or death when it clearly isn’t and that makes me feel fucking stupid.  WHY CAN’T I JUST NOT EMAIL HER??????????????????? IT ISN’T BLOODY HARD.

I feel pissed off that I keep dreaming about T and that I will have to figure out why, what the dreams are about and that I will have to feel so stupid and awkward having those conversations…. it all makes me feel so …. just fucking stupid really. I hate that I wake up miserable when I have.

I am pissed off that my moods are fluctuating so often right now, that I keep crying so hard and never really understanding what I am crying about. I am pissed off that I have any of these feelings and I am pissed off that I ever started therapy because it is shit.

I am feeling very sorry for myself right now I know… I feel so down. I am trying not to cry as I write this because I am at work. Why does everything feel so hard right now?

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!! 

Mind, body & soul

I was sent a photo of me bowling yesterday and it’s horrific. I look so fat! I know this sounds weird but although I don’t see myself as skinny (not at all), I didn’t think of myself as particularly chunky either. Well, photos don’t lie and now I’m in shock. 

I admit for the last… actually I don’t know how long, I’ve been eating whenever and whatever I want. This has consisted in take aways after particularly bad days at work and drinking wine/snacking on chocolate and crisps etc. 

I’ve been emotionally eating. Comfort eating for sure. 

I’ve also not been able to sleep this weekend, Saturday night was bad and last night even worse. 

I feel tired even though I’m probably still getting enough sleep and I’ve decided I need to do something about this. 

My gym classes have slipped, I thought I was giving myself a break but I think maybe the exercise would have done me good both physically and mentally. 

Today is a new day and all. I think that my mind and body are really going through it at the moment. All this understanding and deeper level of acceptance that my mother has npd is taking its toll on me in both ways. 

I nearly asked for a day’s leave from work today to sleep and be alone but decided I would only spend the day upset and perhaps the distraction would do me good. I’ll probably regret that later but hey. I can’t keep taking time off work when things get hard, I’ll have no holiday left. 

She has done enough damage already. She can’t keep doing this. My mental health has taken a battering and now my sleep and my body? Enough! 

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.

Feeling Angry & Sad 

It’s Bank Holiday Monday today, about 12.30 in the afternoon and I am writing this because I am feeling fed up, angry and a whole load of things that I can’t quite put my finger on. 

The feelings crept in about 10.30am this morning and are linked to the fact that we are going to my mother’s house for lunch in an hour’s time. 

I got the invite last night and felt like I had to accept because we haven’t seen her since Mother’s Day and because if we don’t go today, it will have to be very soon and going in the daytime for lunch is probably a lot safer than going in the evening where there would be drunken conversations like last time. 

Anyway. It started whilst I was doing my hair. I stared playing out possible scenarios, my nan saying things like “did you get your mum something for Easter?” Or “mum says….[fill in the blanks]”… instantly after that it all went downhill. 

I looked in my mirror and felt really ugly. My skin isn’t looking good. My hair wasn’t going right. I didn’t know what to wear and was feeling torn between making an effort so that nobody comments on me but equally not wanting to make any effort because I didn’t feel like it and because it probably wouldn’t make any difference anyway. 

I told my boyfriend I wasn’t feeling good (I think he could tell as I was huffing and puffing like a steam train) and he asked if it was because we were going to my mum’s. I said I think so. 

I told him that I struggle when my nan says things on behalf of my mum and I struggle to stay calm and bite my tongue. He said you have to and I was like “I bloody know that!! Aghhh”!! But it’s so hard. He pulled me over for a cuddle and I burst out crying which he knew would happen and so did I. 

And now here we are…. with no more than about half an hour to go and I still feel shit. Headachy, sick… nervous, dread… isn’t that an awful way to feel about seeing your family.  It’s sad. Contrasted massively with the fact we spent the last two days with my boyfriend’s parents who are the sweetest. I brought his mum some flowers and his dad an Easter egg, we went for dinner, it was peaceful and relaxing. I haven’t got my mum (or anyone else) anything and I feel I should buy I don’t want to. 

Oh well. What can I do? I just have to go and get it over with. 

Session Tuesday 4th April

Hi everyone,

Firstly thank you to everyone who commented on my post yesterday about feeling unwell, it seems I am far from the only one who has experienced somatic symptoms on therapy day and I have absolutely no doubt at all that it is linked. Far too much of a coincidence for my liking! I have woken up feeling much better today which is a relief.

When I got home last night (shortly after posting about how I was feeling on the train), I found myself in floods of tears and desperate for a cuddle from my boyfriend. I didn’t know what I was crying at which is something I still struggle to accept – I get quite aggravated at myself for not understanding what is making me cry. I really needed to be cuddled by him, he had just taken his top off to get changed and I literally had my head pressed on his chest and just cried all over him (I know, lovely!). I do feel for him because obviously he asked why and when I said I didn’t know, he didn’t know what to do or say to me lol!

I asked him if he could drive me to my session because I really didn’t want to go and I really didn’t want to drive (I have noticed that when I feel like this, I lose concentration when driving or I make stupid mistakes and scare myself) but he couldn’t because he had to log back onto work. So I had no choice. I really, really didn’t want to go.

But I did go, and I did drive and I arrived – with no nails having bitten them all off.

T asked me how I was and I said quite honestly, “Err, I’ve been better”. I had a bit of a miserable sulk face on and breathed out quite heavily.  I went on to explain my physical symptoms and she asked me what I thought they were about. I said I didn’t know and that I hadn’t had any thoughts accompanying the feelings so I was a bit confused.  T said she thought it was about the break and I said I had thought this was possible too.

I told T that I had also bitten off all of my nails and that I had realised I had also done this last week. T asked if I always bit my nails and I said that I used too, but not anymore.  T said that I have suffered with my stomach a lot haven’t I and I said that I used to think I had IBS for years.  T said “used to?” and I told her that for nearly a year now, I’ve barely noticed any stomach troubles and that it had nearly gone unless I had a lot of dairy – which was easy enough to avoid.

T said “so you are re-experiencing physical symptoms that you used to have?” – that made sense. I agreed. She said she didn’t think that was a coincidence and said something was going on and it was all in my tummy. She asked if I was scared and I said I wasn’t sure. She asked if I was angry and I said I wasn’t sure.

I told T that I had burst into tears when I got home and she said she thought it was interesting that I had cried at home rather than in the room. I said that I had felt like I needed to cry all day long so I wasn’t surprised it came out when I got home – she said maybe the “upset” coming out in tears at home would help with the “belly upset”.

T mentioned the break and said that obviously the break was next week (for two weeks) and that it was probably having an effect on me. She said that last time in the break I found it very hard at first, but was then able to settle into it a little. I didn’t say much at this point…. I noticed that for the first time probably ever, there were a lot of silences from me.  Usually I talk A LOT. I just didn’t have anything to say and that is very unusual for me.

My mother came up and I said that I hadn’t thought much about my last therapy session and that over the weekend I had totally turned therapy stuff off (again this is unusual for me). T said that it struck her in our last session how much I was realising about my mum and how painful it was.  Silence from me for a bit….. I then said that it had really hit me last session that everything we spoke about and every suggestion T made about my wedding, that my first thought was about what my mother would think. I said that I couldn’t really believe how much I did this and that it really made me realise how much I do it. I said it was stupid.  T said it wasn’t stupid, it was completely natural because I have been trained to please her and I’ve become very loyal to her because of it.  I felt irritated and annoyed. Deep breath out… more silences.

I told T at some point during the session that I just can’t believe she is that bad yet I know she is. I said it is annoying me because I feel so stupid – I have all the evidence there – right there in front of me and yet, I still have these thoughts and hopes that it isn’t really true. I said I just can’t understand that conflict!  T said again how it is normal. She said that sometimes we need our defences because things are truly so painful.  She kept telling me not to call myself stupid and I said even though I understood why I might do things or feel things, it was annoying me.  T asked where the anger was and I said I do get angry! I do, it really pisses me off that I do this, that I fall into her trap – it pisses me off that I can be so gullible and feel so much guilt and it annoys me that I still can’t accept the truth!!!!! She said again not to turn the anger to myself. (easier said than done).

The tears were flowing by this stage and I think they pretty much stayed there for the rest of the session on and off. I still find this hard to believe because up until fairly recently, there were no tears EVER and now they are there nearly all session nearly every session.  I worry she will start to find me too depressing even though I know that is not something a trained therapist probably thinks about her patients.  I also know that I am not there to entertain her but hey, I can’t help the thoughts that come – true or not true.

T told me to limit how much I see my mother during the two weeks she is off and I said I would and that I had no plans to see her. She said that when she is away, she isn’t there to regulate and contain me and my feelings about her so not seeing her would help with that. I agreed.

We spoke a bit about how when I see her and when I am in touch with my anger, I find myself rather aggressive – I question the things she says that don’t match up and I point out inconsistencies etc. I am guarded and ready to fire – I said that this wasn’t fun for me and that if I’m not like that, I am too soft and seem to get sucked in to her attempts and don’t realise what she is doing. T said that it might help to imagine that I am wearing a sort of cloak. It is soft enough to let the good stuff in but is hard enough to let all the nasty stuff just bounce off.  She has used this concept before but it hasn’t really worked for me before. I told T that some weeks a certain family friend will be all wonderful and the next time I see her, she is slating that person and that I find myself pointing that out to her.  T said not to waste my time or my breath – I said I know, I just can’t help myself.

I said that I had thought a bit about our conversation about the row between my mum and my boyfriend and that it made me feel sick to think that her reasons for allegedly “protecting me” were so different to what I had hoped/thought they were. I said it made me feel sick – she pointed out it wasn’t a surprise I had physically felt sick all day. I said to T, obviously it is all sick but it really is so sick isn’t it? She is so sick.  T didn’t say much but I just kinda looked into nowhere and sat with that.

I said that I know people say this sort of thing often but I just cannot comprehend/believe that she could be so … just like this. It is hard to truly accept properly. I said yet someone had commented recently on my blog to say that perhaps my mother wasn’t narcissistic and I was very quick to point out that she really is. I said I know she is but I just can’t believe it.  T said she really did understand.

T said it takes time and I said I thought I had understood all of this for the last 2 years, why now am I back to denial? T said I might have accepted it on an intellectual level but the feelings about it all are much harder. She said it takes time and that I would get there slowly. She said to settle in and that 2 years really wasn’t long. I let out a sulky moan type noise and felt kind of defeated inside.  I wanted to tell her that I don’t want more years of feeling like this but I didn’t say that.

We spoke some more about the guilt that I feel (this is not a new conversation) and I said that sometimes I guess I fear she will know what I am thinking and saying about her and that ….. I paused here and said I know this is totally ridiculous but I guess that I worry she will die and I was wrong (about her being shit and narcissistic etc) and that I would never forgive myself. T said basically I worry that I could CAUSE her death? I said yes, and that I know that isn’t possible.  T understood this fear and said that it doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not, fears are fears and feelings are what they are – they don’t have to make sense.  She seemed to understand this and said again, it is just more evidence of how much I have been taught to look after her and put her needs first and that obviously going against that so much would bring on these fears.  She said I was taught growing up to keep her good and happy otherwise death was possible.  Even writing that sounds stupid but I hope some of my readers might understand this somehow.

Conversation changed towards the end of the session and I spoke about 2 examples of arguments I have had in the past with my mother. I told her the details of the stories which I won’t go into here but one of them resulted in her not speaking to me (or her husband) for 3 weeks and that was whilst I lived at home. I said it was horrible and she seemed quite shocked.  The other story, she told me if I left a party she held that she would never, ever throw a party again – I told T that I DID leave and she didn’t ever throw a party again until a year ago.  T said “she made you very powerful in that didn’t she?” I said yes.  I spoke more about how these two events happened surrounded by her friends and by our family and that this is why everyone thinks so badly of me. She cries and becomes a victim and everyone only ever seems to see me when I have had enough and I get angry and respond either with words or by refusing to do what she wants and that this is why they think I am bad.

T said I know it is hard, but it doesn’t matter what these people think. They are her flying monkeys – people that associate with her that are either scared of her, just like her themselves or just only see little bits, not enough to get the full picture I said I knew all of this and that I know it shouldn’t matter what they think of me but it still does – it still infuriates me.  I told T that I had a dream the other night of someone hiding a knife in my purse or bag and that everyone thought I was dangerous but it really wasn’t me – she said that dream was pretty symbolic of being made to look like the baddy. I agreed.

I can’t remember much more of the session but I left feeling okay and I feel fine today too which is nice. But… it is on my mind that tomorrow afternoon is my last session for 19 days including weekends and that obviously isn’t a nice thought….. we haven’t discussed ways to help me through the break with transitional objects or voice recordings etc and I am worried it is now too late. I am debating sending an email today asking for something but I feel so stupid doing this (despite the fact I would encourage anyone else to do this!!!!).

 

 

 

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.

Back To Therapy (Session 1 after the break)

Hey guys.

So I went back to therapy last night! It was.. what was it? It was lots of things.

This is a (lengthy) post about how it went. I’m not sure it will be of much interest or use to anyone else but I want to post it because it helps me to process the session and it is good for me to be able to look back on it.

I was very nervous about going back last night. The anxiety had really set in as I pulled up outside her house. I didn’t know what to say to her, what she would ask me or how I would feel. I kept trying to decide what things I would tell her and in what order – trying to plan the structure of the session I guess. I had printed off my blogs during the break and thought I would take them in with me.

First of all, I decided to make myself tell her the two things I wrote about at the very beginning of the break.

Challenge 1: Tell her that I have a blog and that I hadn’t felt I could tell her before the break.

I told her that I had something to tell her and that I should have told her before the break, but that I hadn’t. She questioned whether I had wanted to tell her but hadn’t got to it and I said no, I hadn’t wanted to tell her at the time, but had since written about it and had decided that I should tell her.  She reacted well. She didn’t seem shocked or hurt and she reassured me that she would never go looking for my blog if I was worried about her invading my privacy.  I said it wasn’t that.

I told her that during the break I figured it was because whenever I started anything new or exciting, my mum would always ruin it and so I think I was trying to “keep it safe”.  I also told her about my little Freudian slip, but it seems that she hadn’t noticed anyway.  I also told her that when she asked if I write things in my “journal”, that I don’t tell her – I had lied when I said no.  She understood and said it is scary.  She also said that it must have been hard having to “hold” that all of that time.

Challenge 2: Tell her that she had upset me with her joke about the Easter Break.

This is the thing I was dreading the most.

I decided to force myself to tell her that her joke about not telling me her Easter holiday dates had upset me. She said it nicely and as a joke – I think to cheer me up! but it had played on my mind and upset me a bit.

She apologised (quite a few times actually) and she also said that she didn’t think she had meant it as a joke – that she genuinely was concerned that her Easter holiday would be coming up quickly and as this February holiday wasn’t one she normally took off, they would be very close together. Either way, it lead to a helpful discussion that we would, in her words, “need to be creative about the Easter break” and that we would need to “think about it carefully”.

I’m not entirely sure what she meant by this, but I perceived it to mean that we would need to discuss things to help during the break. Maybe contact or maybe a transitional object or something.  I don’t know.

It led to a discussion about transitional objects though, which I had secretly been thinking about for a while but never had the guts to ask for.  She said she thinks perhaps we should think about that and I agreed (I shocked myself!) and I asked her what she thought would help?  She said that she would be “guided” by me. I would rather I was guided by her, but I got the point.

transitional-object

She told me that when she was in therapy herself, her T used to “charge up” a scarf for her and then let her have it.  I love it when she tells me things from her own therapy.  I like to know things about her and I only get very small snippets now and again. She also explained to me that the reason she was telling me that was to normalise it for me a bit – I told her I found it very useful and it definitely helped to normalise the feelings.

So the two scary challenges were over. Breatheeeee.

I then told her I had printed all of my blogs and I read them all to her. Some parts of them were pretty cringe… some parts I didn’t like reading out at all, but the hardest bit was reading out Emotional Flashback? – Jesus that was tough.

I sobbed my way through it. I shocked myself how easily I got back in touch with those feelings. I cried a lot, my shoulders and back started to hurt which often happens when I am stressed. I was hot, my chest became very tight, I couldn’t breathe.. it really was very tough. It is hard to articulate.

She was great though and she sat with me through it all. I noticed that I couldn’t look at her because I felt very embarrassed.  She said things to calm and reassure me like how she was there with me, that she was there now – we were together now, that kind of thing.  It was probably the most vulnerable I’ve felt with her to date. The good thing is, nothing I said seemed to shock her. Nothing seemed to annoy her or upset her – she just seemed…. compassionate I suppose? She told me that my words had “moved” her.

At one point in the session, she told me that although there was a lot of replay being done and transference etc, that the feelings were still real. She told me that she does care for me (I can’t remember the words she used). I felt embarrassed by her words and couldn’t look at her. She has never told me she has any feelings for me before and despite hoping she did, hearing her say the words was lovely but oh so awkward! I felt a lump in my throat which luckily I managed to swallow down.

embarassed

After that was out of the way, I read Object Constancy which was pretty cringe-worthy as it did mention that when she’s gone, it feels like she is dead………. LOL!! But she didn’t seem particularly surprised, or hurt, so that was a relief.

The other blogs were a lot easier to read. We spoke them through and at the end she told me how I really had worked very hard. I really liked that she acknowledged this because I had worked hard.

The hour flew by, I hate how quickly a therapy hour goes, but I think I crammed everything in I needed – I would have hated to have finished having only got some of it out. I’m not sure how that would have felt.

time-too-fast
When I left, I wasn’t really sure how I felt. I drove home and felt tired – I think I felt emotionally drained, which I often do after crying like that.

I had an interesting dream last night which is very clearly about her and the divide between her “therapy room” and her home.  I think this was because we had discussed whether it is better for me to know where she is/what she is doing when on a break or not.

I said I wasn’t sure because in one way it was easier knowing she was at home and not miles away: yet at the same time it was harder because she was close, but not available to me. [For context, she had time off to get some work done to her house and in the dream I went into her house and she asked me if I liked her new decorations. I said I did, but I was lying because I hadn’t turned the light on and so I couldn’t see!].

If you’ve made it this far, then thanks and well done!

TT x