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?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heinz Kohut – Self-Psychology

Last night I was reading and came across some information about a psychoanalyst, Heinz Kohut and his theory of “self-psychology”. I hadn’t heard of him/this theory before and I found it really interesting.

In very basic terms, Kohut believed that for a child d to develop healthily and therefore in order that a child gains a healthy sense of “self”, his or her parents need to meet 3 main needs:

  1. Mirroring
  2. Idealizing
  3. Twinship

Mirroring – This is where the parent (usually the mother) would reflect back at the child a sense that he or she is worthy, loved and special.

Idealiizing – Kohut believed that children need to idealize their caregiver and see them as powerful and knowledgeable. The child needs to feel as though they can turn to their caregiver to meet their needs and to help them make sense of their world. Their caregiver needed to be able to calm and reassure them.

Twinship – Kohut believed that children need to feel they fit in with others. They have a need to be similar to their parents – not too different that they felt “wrong”.  Children mimic behaviours or characteristics from their caregiver and gradually as the child matures, would be able to feel more comfortable with any differences.

I found this really interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, knowing that every single child needs to have these 3 basic needs met in order to gain a healthy sense of self reassures me a little more about my “neediness”.  What I mean by that is that my own neediness in life, and more relevantly, in therapy includes some of these needs. Mirroring is very clearly important to me and the idealizing is something that I am very aware of with my T. I do look at her as a special being in my life – as someone who is more powerful and more knowledgeable – more able to help me with my own anxieties than any other.  I guess the twinship plays out when clients wish they were the only client or the most liked client of their therapist.  Secondly I found this very interesting because it helps me to clearly see the areas my own mother didn’t successfully met my needs.  It helps me to understand what it was I needed, what I didn’t get and why I now feel insecure and crave certain things that perhaps others around me do not (making me feel “weird” or “different”) which obviously causes anxiety.

What happens if all goes well during this early stage is that the child’s needs are consistently and repeatedly met over a period of time and the child is able to internalise the caregiver (known as selfobjects) enough that on the odd occasion the caregiver fails to meet the child’s needs, the child has internalised this enough that it can actually step in and soothe itself. This can only happen if the misattunement is not often and not severe. This helps me to understand what my therapist really means when she says “you are only as needy as your unmet needs”. So, it really isn’t YOU! It really isn’t that you are doing something wrong, that you are fault or weak or whatever else you may think you are – it is very clearly that some of, or perhaps all of, these needs were unmet and so you haven’t been able to internalise that consistent caregiver that your friends have.  Bye bye now shame!!

In psychotherapy, transference is helpful because we relate to our therapist with all our unconscious thoughts, feelings and desires and we see and relate to the therapist through our own lense – not necessarily an accurate one. The therapist’s job is to provide us with an “corrective emotive experience” by providing us with enough empathy, understanding and attunement. The basic idea is that the therapist comes in as the good enough caregiver (selfobject) and provides us with a good enough experience of all those 3 major needs.  They mirror us adequately, we idealise them and our twinship needs are met also.  After this is done consistently enough, we internalise THE THERAPIST (as our caregiver failed) and therefore a healthy sense of self is borne – as it should have been all those years ago when for whatever reason, our caregiver failed us.

Mirroring transference – The therapist helps us by mirroring us – validating our feelings and empathising/understanding our feelings and helping us to understand and work through them to prevent them from being too scary for us to handle (as a child wouldn’t be able to handle their environment on their own). The therapist would praise our achievements and make us feel good enough – possibly for the first time.

Idealising transference – In therapy we often idealise our therapist as being strong and powerful and confident.  We NEED them to be this person because we need to know we are in safe hands.  Eventually in the therapy process, we come to develop a more realistic view of the therapist warts and all (like any human being). This causes ruptures in the therapeutic alliance which is then repaired repeatedly.  We learn we are safe.

Twinship transference – In therapy sometimes we will find similarities between us and our therapist and we will enjoy that feeling. I know for me personally, my T once told me that she also watched some of the same programmes as me and I really enjoyed that. I find myself wondering as I type this, if that is why I have such a keen interest in psychology and read so much into these theories? Am I trying to me like T? For others, perhaps you may enjoy a similar taste in clothes, politics, history etc. As our therapists disclose more of themselves, we find the similarities and feel more “normal” and accepted.  I assume this is why it can be so painful to find out things about our therapist that do NOT match us. It’s why our therapists don’t give too much away about themselves (although Kohut did not believe in the whole blank-screen thing as it wasn’t humane enough).

 

 

Anyway, there is more to say but this is about as far as I have read. I will continue to post my findings in the hope they help even one other person who is struggling in therapy right now with needs and vulnerability.

Any comments would be welcomed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neediness, Lack of Warmth, Fear of Annihilation & Re-experiencing pain

I got to last night’s session not really sure of how it would go, feeling a bit nervous about the fact that the last communication T had from me was me saying I was crying and experiencing a really odd mixture of pain and pleasure at the connection I had felt with her.

I sat down and she smiled at me but didn’t say anything. I smiled back.. anxiously waiting for her to start talking but she didn’t, she just looked at me and I felt really uncomfortable. Why do they do that sometimes? I can’t help but feel its done on purpose to make us feel awkward as fuck!

I told T that I had done a lot of thinking, reading and writing over the weekend and that I felt like I had some realisations. I said that although they were not necessarily new realisations, I felt them differently. T said it was like peeling an onion and said that we have to revisit certain things over and over again, each time we understand or feel a little deeper and that this can only be done as and when we are ready.

I didn’t really know where to start so I started with asking her if she was familiar with Brene Brown’s theory of foreboding joy. She said she wasn’t and so I explained to her in very vague terms that I had learnt it was what happens to some of us when we feel a real sense of joy and vulnerability and explained Brene’s theory that we then dress-rehearse tragedy, waiting for it all to go wrong. T nodded and said she understood what I meant. I told T that I had sat down to write a blog on Sunday evening about this, and had found myself writing something that hit me as I typed the words out and kinda took my breath away. I told her what I had written on Sunday about the link I had made of the feelings of happiness/sadness leaving her office on Sunday and the feelings growing up of having those very random, short-lived moments of connection with my mother and how painful it was when those moments abruptly ended.  Saying those words made me cry again, I found myself suddenly gasping for breath. It felt very deep. I suppose it was the enormity of what I had just said? I don’t know.

T looked at me with empathy and seemed to understand what I had said. I told her that the feelings I had last week were horrible. I told her that I felt physical pain in my chest and said it hurt so much. This made me teary again.  T said it feels like life and death and that when you are in touch with that pain, it is absolutely excruciating. I agreed.  I told her that it is the same pain I felt a few years ago when I had planned to leave therapy and then found myself on the bathroom floor sobbing for hours with this god-awful pain of not being able to survive. Of loss and grief and all manner of other horrible things.

I told T that it confused me that getting what I have always wanted caused me such a lot of pain (and joy, admittedly) and T explained that having deep, childhood, unmet needs – met was VERY painful.  She said getting what you’ve always wanted can cause awful sadness and pain.  I didn’t understand that.  T said that this was one of the reasons that therapists had to be so careful not to “overdo it”.  She said that them overdoing it could cause us more pain! T said “this is why although I understand you want more reassurance and warmth in my emails, it is important that I am very careful”…

(I haven’t written about this yet so this is a good time – I told T last week that I sometimes find her email replies to be “lacking in warmth”. As I said it, she repeated it back to me and I agreed.  Yes. I told her that I knew that the content was fine and that if someone else read them, they wouldn’t see the issue, but for me, they sometimes felt “therapisty” (yeah, I know) and “cold”.  I’ve thought about this many times since saying it and I can very clearly see that the lacking in warmth thing is probably a bit of transference – it probably sums up how I feel about my communications/relationship with my mother – or more specifically, about my mother herself. Lacking in warmth.)

T said that the sadness when I left of not having had enough was completely understandable and expected. I told her, it isn’t quite that I haven’t “had enough” like I had written about once before, because that makes it sound like I didn’t get enough warmth or enough connection or attunement which I DID. She said, she thinks “not having had enough” was less about my session and more about my childhood. That I didn’t get enough.  That went in at a deep level and I agreed with her. I understand that therapy is starting to trigger some things in me which I perhaps didn’t understand or feel consciously before.

I told her that actually FEELING that pain when I left last week was just awful. I just closed my eyes as I typed that because honestly my words do not do that feeling justice. T once again reminded me that a lot of my pain was pre-verbal and may not have words.

I said that FEELING that pain really drove it home to me how very sad that was and I said that whilst I immediately think about my mother when I write these things, the same applied to my Dad of course because well, where the fuck was he? He didn’t try either and although my Dad is a “nicer person”, he hurt me too. T said that just because he is a “nice guy” doesn’t mean he didn’t cause me pain. I agreed.  I said that I had been thinking recently that I would see my Dad every now and again, we would have a nice time and then he would take me home and I wouldn’t know if I would see him again in a week, two weeks or months.  I told T that I still sometimes cry when I leave him as an adult now (only since my therapy got me in touch though!).  I told T that I also used to cry when my Nan and Grandad dropped me home on a Sunday night after having stayed at their house, which I did every weekend. I now understand this – I was crying because I knew that connection was over. I was crying because I knew I wouldn’t have that connection at home with my mother and crying because I never knew how long it would be until I felt that again.

T said that it is as if it felt better for me to feel nothing at all than to feel the mixture of the good against the bad. I agreed whole-heartedly.

I said to T that when I learnt about this foreboding joy thing, I had sat down and thought about how this played out in other aspects of my life. I told her what I had written about my relationships, with job interviews and many other things. T nodded and said how hard I had been working. I agreed that I had. I said I was worried that people seemed to think the amount I thought about these things was a bad thing but said that understanding why I am feeling a certain way actually helped me to have some compassion for myself. T said perhaps it took the guilt, shame and blame away from me.  She then said (not for the first time) “You were capable of feeling that loving connection the whole of your life. It really wasn’t you – it wasn’t any fault of yours that you didn’t get that. It was your mum and dad’s”.  She said how it was only natural that as a child experiencing that lack of connection (ha, of warmth) I would understandably blame myself. It is how I survived because I had to keep them good.  I said that I understood this now and that understanding that was bittersweet. I am glad it wasn’t me, of course. But understanding, truly, how incapable they both were of emotional connection and closeness, of that parental bond is so tragically sad to me.

I then spoke to T about my blog yesterday about neediness. I told her that I had wanted to send my blog from Sunday and told her what I wrote yesterday about the conversations that played out in my head. T said “did you think you would be too much?” and I said yes. I told her how I had these visions of smothering her, suffocating her and – killing her. T told me this was the “Fear of Annihilation”. I heard her say that but had no real idea what she was talking about. I’ve since Googled this and it is very interesting. I attach a link for anyone that is interested. Once I have digested this a bit more, I will write about this as I think it will be very helpful to me, and possibly others. https://healthysenseofself.com/meet-us/terminology-for-a-healthy-sense-of-self/fear-of-annihilation/

Following this “fear of annihilation” conversation I told T that it confuses me that when I am in those moments, I NEED to contact her and only her. I said nobody else would help and that felt uncomfortable for me. T said something along the lines of:

“Of course. Like a child only wants its mummy”.

And with those simple words, it suddenly made sense to me. T said that I am using T as I need to, which is as a mother figure and so when I need containing and attunement or whatever I need, of course it is only her that I want to turn to. She told me that is why I shouldn’t really go against myself when I feel that way, that I need to let myself be steadied by her and that it was okay to do that. T said this fear of annihilation meant that I was convinced either I was going to kill her off with my needs or that she would kill me off. She said that I can’t trust that she could handle her own feelings/needs.

I told T that sometimes just pressing send on an email to her was enough. I said I never understood that either. T said:

Yes, because sending the email into my inbox is like putting something (the feelings) into mum to deal with”.

She spoke about how as a baby or a child, the mum would try to figure out what it was the baby or child needed. She would speak softly to the baby and try and see was the baby hungry? Tired? Did the baby need a nappy change etc – she said that the child was steadied just by knowing the mother was there and trying her hardest to help.  She said that me sending the email to her had the same effect.  I said but I don’t know if you are even reading it for hours yet and she said no, but you know that it is no longer just you trying to deal with it all on your own. You know that I will, at least, try to help you with it and that knowledge helps you to settle.

Isn’t that interesting? I know I haven’t expressed that very well, but hopefully the general gist is there.

 

Neediness

Morning all,

So its Tuesday 24th October and its 9.40am.  I am at work but my team are in a meeting and so I have a few moments to myself to write.

I feel pretty good today. No particular reason that I can think of apart from the fact its therapy day and those days always feel good.  I made more of an effort with my hair, make up and picked a nicer outfit than I sometimes do (although I admit that is mainly because it was at the top of the ironing basket and didn’t actually need ironing – Win!).

I’m looking forward to seeing T tonight although acknowledge some nerves about talking to her face to face about my feelings after my last session.  The fact I was crying and feeling as though I missed her, which later turned into more of a grieving over what I had “missed” out on in my childhood. Feeling such polarities in the lovely warmth of the connection I felt with T mixed with the grief that I didn’t get that growing up and my “foreboding joy” habit kicking in as explained in Sunday night’s post.

I know that T will be kind and gentle, I know she will understand and I know she won’t mock or tease me, yet the nervous feelings are there and I think it is important that I acknowledge those feelings rather than trying to pretend they are not there.  This is growth, right?

I thought to myself last night (whist on the loo of all places!) that I hadn’t sent T my blog from Sunday night although a large part of me wanted to. I questioned why that was and the answer was that I had already emailed her on Friday and it felt too soon to be sending another email. This is something that has come up many, many times for me in therapy.  T always says that I put these rules in, not her and that she has never said that I can’t send emails or that I have a limit or anything like that. I know this is true but I am fighting against the internal fear that I will hit that invisible “limit” and be rejected and/or punished.  Just the image in my head of how that scenario would play out makes me feel sick.  The humiliation and rejection is just too much to bear and so I would rather not risk coming too close to that imagined boundary – just in case.

Neediness
So what is neediness? According to Psychology Today neediness is:

“The feeling and behavior that corresponds with the frustration of having unmet needs.  It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach that says that something is wrong in your life and you need someone or something to fix it”.

I relate to that feeling of needing someone to fix it. That is how I feel when I am having feelings or a struggle and I want to email T. I know realistically I could cope without emailing her, but the urge to contact her is too huge.  I feel in those moments that only she can help me reduce those intolerable feelings.  Sometimes just hitting send on my email takes the anguish away. That has always baffled me.

This lead me to think that if I did everything and anything I wanted to with regards to reaching out for T, having contact in-between sessions as much as I wanted etc, that I would become too much. Again, this is a familiar fear of mine and one I’ve written about before and also a fear that many other bloggers have written about so I know I am not alone here. I realised that the fear I have is of suffocating her and being far too clingy that she wouldn’t be able to cope. I thought to myself, if I contacted her whenever I wanted to, if I really, really had no limit whatsoever, I genuinely worry that I would push her away and that my needs would kill her or something. It would all get too much and she would combust.

Seeing those thoughts written down I can see that the fear goes back to growing up with my mother.

Being told you are “too needy” when you are a child would have that effect wouldn’t it?  And I think that witnessing my mother not being able to tolerate my “neediness” or my dependency on her has resulted in me assuming that nobody else could tolerate that either. That wasn’t helped when I reinforced this belief in my choice of men to date! My more open mind is questioning this belief and thinking:

What if T doesn’t react like your mum did? What if she CAN tolerate your dependency on her?”. 

This thought makes me laugh at the irony that only a couple of weeks ago I was freaking out at the thought that T was purposely trying to keep me weak and trying to keep me down so that I had to rely on her whilst she controlled and manipulated me to do what SHE wanted me to do….

So lets just summarise those thoughts:

I feel if I show my true neediness/dependency on T I would kill her off….. [My fear that I am too much and that it will lead to abandonment like it did when I was young].

Yet I also feared (no longer) that she was trying to keep me dependant so that she could control and manipulate me into doing things for her gain… [My fear that she is dangerous and trying to control me – is this a defence? Feeling anger instead of fear?]

How very confusing.

T regularly tells me it is okay to have needs. I hear her, I know she is right but there is still a part of me that just will not let go and relax completely into those feelings. They are still so scary to me. I think it comes back to allowing yourself to be vulnerable and relax into things, people, moments despite the fears that arise inside. I know that for me, the fear with T is so huge because it is as close as it can be to that mother/daughter relationship and so its like trying again isn’t it? I have learnt what pushed my mum further away and I don’t want to repeat that. So logic tells me T isn’t my mum and that she encourages me to reach out to her when I need to but emotionally that is just too frightening.

Separation Anxiety: A Letter To T

Dear T,

Yesterday afternoon I found myself re-reading an old blog called “An Hour Is Never Enough“. I sent that blog to you back in June and we spent an entire session talking about it. Whilst reading it again,  I found myself crying and feeling the same (clearly that is why I went looking for it).

I wish that I could find the words to help you to understand how I am feeling but I can’t, it is really confusing. At first I wanted to write and say that I felt like I was just missing you, but something doesn’t quite feel right with that word. I can’t miss you because I had only been gone for a few hours.

I thought that perhaps it was because I just didn’t want to leave my session. I was enjoying my session and I felt very warm inside.

When I let myself cry at home, I got such a pang in my chest. I’ve written that before, it is a feeling I can never articulate very well but it always comes back when I am crying about loss somehow. When I nearly quit therapy when I lived in [    ], I remember vividly crying on the bathroom floor and having that same pain.  I keep thinking about losing my Thursday sessions and wondering how the hell I will cope without them if I was crying having seen you twice this week already.

I wrote a blog yesterday about how it must be because I hadn’t “had enough” yet which is another thing I’ve written about and told you about before, but since then I have come to realise that it is actually a bit more complicated than that. It’s almost as if the fact I felt so connected to you yesterday/recently is what is hurting me.  That is the only way I can explain it.

I wrote about the feelings I got when I was first dating [   ] and he would leave my flat to go home or to spend the weekend with the children. I would be in bits within seconds or minutes of him leaving. I would cry so much. I would yearn for him to be back and I hated it. I would be preoccupied with him and the only thing that helped in that time apart was that we had constant text messages and he would tell me that he missed me or that he loved me.  The pain feels very similar to that but obviously the attachment with you is different – the pain is the same though.  Does that make any sense at all?

A lady whose blog I follow wrote this (Life In A Bind):

“I wish I could email my therapist. Sometimes you just want to reach out to the person your heart feels safe with. Not even for a reply or an acknowledgment, but to be received and wrapped in thought.  You know that it will pass. That you will talk about it tomorrow. But right now she is the only person you feel intimately connected to. And you miss her, very much.  I wish that I could say: “I’m crying, and you make me feel safe ; I just wanted you to know”.

And that summed it up for me so well. I also know “it will pass” and that I can talk to you about it next week, but that doesn’t seem to help much. I acknowledge the huge amounts of shame that I am feeling about all of this. I try to tell myself its the child feelings and not the adult which makes me feel a little less pathetic (I can hear you saying “don’t do that to yourself” as I type that)!

I understand why I might be feeling sad and as though I am missing being there with you, I can understand that to a point.. but I can’t understand why getting what I’ve always wanted and needed can hurt so much at the same time. That doesn’t make sense and that feels so cruel and unfair.

If I have always wished I had someone (a mother) who was warm, attuned, who cared about me, who tried to “get me”, who I could talk to, laugh with etc.. then why, when I get those needs met do I leave feeling such heartache?

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”………….

 

Drunk thoughts 

I’m drunk, not in a bad way but I’ve had enough wine that I’m feeling that typical I love everyone glow. 
And guess who I love right now? My T. 
I love her and I admit it, I need her. I want her in my life. 

But she did scare me. She really, really bloody scared me last week/weekend. I can see now with clearer more adult eyes that I projected a lot onto her and I can see that there was a hell of a lot of transference going on…. regardless of all that stuff, I was truly scared. 

Yesterday in my session I felt very weird. I felt uneasy and confused. I couldn’t find the words to sum up my experience. I cried so much. I told T I wanted to relax but couldn’t. I was being pulled between her being good and her being bad. 
I went for a long walk after and felt okay but when I got home I cried again, a lot. And then the guilt hit. 

Shit.. I haven’t apologised. I haven’t said sorry. She must think I’m awful. 
So I emailed her to say sorry and thank you and she replies a few hours later to say it was okay and that she understood. Her mail disappointed me again because it wasn’t as warm as I wanted it to be. As always though, it said enough that nobody else would agree with that. That feeling makes me wish I hadn’t emailed, it’s familiar. 

I realised last night that the feeling I was having was familiar. Someone says or does something which worries me, I shit myself and get protective of myself. I get strong and angry. I act out. Then I realise at some point I was wrong or I went too far or something and I am hit with such a sadness and such a guilt. It’s hard to find the words to convey the guilty feeling. It’s awful sadness and fear I guess. Fear that I’ve fucked everything up. 

T says “it’s okay”. She could be saying that in an honest, real “it’s okay!” (Calm down voice) or it could be a “it’s okay” (don’t do it again voice)… the one I think she’s using. 

I noticed when I arrived yesterday that T looked … something. She looked like she had been crying maybe? Sad? Her face looked different and she didn’t seem as ….. happy? as usual. I worried about her. Why? Why was she crying? Was she crying about the things I had said about her? About having to see me again when she didn’t want to? Something else? It’s played on my mind since then a few times. Is she okay? 

I’ve realised this week that the fact my trauma is about my mum and her emotional unavailability, her cruelty and everything else means that I need to see T as a replacement mother, a better mother, a “good enough mother” and yet I’m so clearly so scared that T will turn out like my mother did, that I’m unconsciously looking for evidence of her wrongdoing or bad traits… so it’s like half of me wants to find something and be like. “Ah hah! I knew it!” And yet the other half desperately can’t bare that to happen. To lose another Mum? To go through that loss twice? Oh no. I can’t. 

The stuff going on right now is deep as …. 

I don’t feel T is warm enough and I don’t feel she wants to help me enough and I don’t feel she (or anyone else) could possibly understand HOW BAD it hurts – and I also understand that perhaps all of those feelings are transference and understanding that makes me understand my “original trauma” more, or perhaps my unconscious trauma …. it helps me understand me more. And it’s painful. 

That’s all deep from wine thoughts huh?! 

First Session After The Rupture

I don’t know what to write but I am hoping that the words will come flying out of the tips of my fingers on the keyboard without me thinking about them too much and that somehow it will help.  Writing always helps… here’s hoping.

I had my session last night which I was very anxious about. I can’t work out how I feel now.  I came home feeling okay… weird though, kinda like I hadn’t really processed it or that I was numb or something. I went to bed feeling fine but have woken up feeling down. Again.

I got in the shower this morning and then cried and cried as I dried my hair. I climbed back into bed with my fiance who asked what was wrong, what was I crying for? I bloody hate that question when I don’t know the answer to it. It makes me feel so stupid! This has been a common theme in recent months, crying without being able to identify the exact cause. I don’t know why I’m crying.

I went back to sleep after my fiance left for work (where I should be!!) and woke up a little while ago having had some weird dreams. This is usual for me when I feel like this.  The dreams had a theme of showers… my fiance was in the bathroom and so was his eldest son. I was naked and fell back onto my stepson so he turned around to avert his gaze and I felt very embarrassed, grabbed a towel and said “he doesn’t want to see his stepmother naked! Stop it!”.  I then found another shower in a wardrobe in my bedroom and turned it on but it was dark in there and I couldn’t see so decided there might be spiders in there and turned it off. I then saw a fish-tank with a goldfish floating at the top. I felt irritated and confused and like I had nowhere to go. See – weird!

In my experience, dreams about showers and nakedness usually represent vulnerability and the feeling of being exposed. That would make sense I suppose wouldn’t it.

Last night I waited in the car for my session to begin, when it got to 7.28pm, my stomach flipped.  The nerves hit and I felt very anxious. I walked into my session feeling awkward and I didn’t really know how to feel, how to look, what to do…. T opened the door and greeted me as she always does. I kinda knew that wouldn’t be different.

I don’t have a lot to write about the actual session… I was hoping last night that by now I would have … I can’t work out why I don’t? where has it all gone?

I read my “letter to T” out loud. I cried through it and felt embarrassed reading the bits where I swore.  T was great about it all, she didn’t get defensive at all, she didn’t react in any negative way. In fact, she said something sympathetic to me and said something, something “sweetie” and I thought “Omg she called me sweetie!!!” she has NEVER called me something like that before, never. In fact, I had assumed that she just didn’t use words like that in her life (because obviously I see the whole of t and not just her professional self – ha!).  I didn’t react outwardly to that because I didn’t want her to realise and then never do it again… but she said “I just want to take a moment to ask you how it felt when I called you sweetie? I hope you didn’t feel patronised by that?” I admitted I liked it. I then couldn’t look at her.. I felt shame for liking it.  How can I go on about how I hate it when she treats me like a child, write about how she is controlling, powerful and dangerous and then enjoy it when she calls me sweetie?

T said a lot of things but none have really gone in.  She actually said to me at one point “I am aware that I am talking a lot but I think its important to reassure you and explain some of these things – how does that feel?”.  I guess she said that because I got very angry about that disaster session where I said she just spoke AT me and went on and on at me… I guess she was trying to make sure that didn’t trigger me again.  I told her it was fine but that I was struggling to process a lot of it. She said that was okay and that I would take the bits I needed and leave the bits I didn’t.

T explained to me that we are now approaching/in the “rupture and repair phase” and that this was exactly what was supposed to happen.  She told me that unfortunately this wasn’t a “one-off”.  I made a “mehhh” noise and exhaled loudly.

T said that she knew this phase was approaching as we have been building up to this for a long while.  She said it is one of the reasons that she was passionate about me not dropping from 2 sessions to 1.  She said she worried that this would hit and I wouldn’t be able to get through 7 days without her.  She also said that she worried equally that dropping back to 1 session would push this phase further into the distance – or cause me to prematurely terminate.  She said some stuff about our psyches always trying to sabotage things for us and how it was interesting that I made this decision whilst she was away and we were in a break.

I told T that I had worried she would think I had decided to drop back to 1 session BECAUSE she was on a break, but that I honestly didn’t.  T said something about “acting out”.  She said she doesn’t mean that in a negative way, like acting out as in being childish etc… but that it is common during a break for these decisions to be made.  T said that she was very aware I was already cut-off due to being preoccupied with the engagement and then the job search and then the break and said that it was her biggest concern I had gone to that adult place in order to go out and get the job and to handle the break and that my psyche was sabotaging my therapy by making these decisions in my adult brain. She said she was trying to hold the child part which I wasn’t in touch with.  She said something about how as a patient/client I could only focus on the now whereas as therapist, she had to “hold” the bigger picture and she could see, or have a good idea of, where it was headed.

I asked her if the next phase is rupture and repair, what was my last phase? She kind of smiled or something, I’m not sure why.  She said that it was building trust and some other things but I can’t quite remember what.. I guess it made sense though.  I then said “what is the point in rupture and repair? what is the point in all of these angry feelings?” she smiled again and said that it’s accessing all of the anger and fears I’ve held in my body my entire life – that it is very important to release them all.

T said something about the anger she felt when she got my email. She said she felt it was important to discuss this.  She then said that she didn’t say SHE felt anger when she got my email, but that she was in touch with something in the days afterwards and that she knew it was going to trigger MY anger….. (I am pretty sure this is NOT what she said but now I am unsure).  She said that she knew her reply could easily trigger some of my anger and she wasn’t sure how to respond because if she “gushed” about the job, she may have fallen into a trap about the second session etc and if she didn’t, that I would be upset.  She said that she had made a conscious effort to acknowledge the new job (which she did, but not in the way I had hoped).  She said she could tell the email, the dropping of the second session etc could cause anger and a potential rupture.  She said obviously she didn’t and doesn’t know exactly how these things will play out but that it inevitably would and that she didn’t want to take anything away from me until we could work through it properly.

She said something about the comment I had made about her wanting me there twice a week for money. I cringed – outwardly. I felt my face heat up and flush and pulled some “cringeeee” faces. I told her I didn’t mean it. She said that actually it was fine what I had said and that it was a very frightening and powerful fear and that she was PROUD I was able to write it.  I told her I didn’t really believe it even as I thought it or read it but that I wanted to write down all my thoughts so that I could try to make some sense of them.

T said that I had worked extremely hard over the weekend and that I must feel exhausted. I told her that once I had written the letter to her, I felt much, much better as I kind of made some sense of things and realised how much transference was in it.  She asked me if I feared her reacting to my anger? I said that I knew she wouldn’t but she seemed to think that was a big worry of mine. She said how this was the stuff I should have been able to do with my mum but was far too dangerous because she was “batty”… another weird word for her to use and not one she’s every used before ha!  I knew what she meant though and she is right.

T then said it was clear I was worried she would dismiss my feelings as “only transference”. She said to me that she was using my words there because she doesn’t ever use the words transference. She said in quite a serious voice that the feelings ARE real and ARE scary and that she would never say that.  She said it is very important that I can tell her these feelings and that they can be a source of really great work for me.  I told her everyone keeps saying that to me but I don’t really understand how. She explained and said a few things such as how the rupture would repair and make the relationship stronger and not weaker – I thought even as she said it, yes it does.. even though I know she is probably right.  Clearly that is a fear of mine.

T said that she understands I use my blog as a source of support in times like this, but that I should be careful because the only people who truly know what is going on during a rupture is us. I told her I get that but when the person you are most angry with, most scared of IS the person that you usually turn to for advice or comfort, it is very hard. I said I needed to write on here to get some help with it all – I needed that. She said she totally understood the need for support but that I just needed to be careful because sometimes it sends us spiralling off into even more painful feelings.

I told T how horrifying it was when that feeling hit me that she was just like my mum.. I said how stupid I felt, how utterly devastated I was and how strong the sense of fear was. I said that I don’t really have the words to explain this. She said sometimes there aren’t words that cover it. I agreed.

I can’t think of much else right now and I’m aware this is getting a bit long..  I know there is much more that was said that I can’t think of now but that is the gist of how the session went……

 

So…  there we are. Nothing in there to make me wake up how I did and since writing this out I haven’t got upset or cried once which normally happens when I am struggling like this so this really is an usual feeling/situation.

Coping Strategies/Behaviours

Its 3.54pm as I start to type this.  I am sat on my cuddle chair with the back door open for some fresh air to come in whilst wearig a comfy pair of jogging bottoms, a hoodie and have my blanket over my legs.

I took another day off of work today although I am actually feeling a million times better than yesterday.  I just craved one more day at home alone, but not because I am crying or anything.  Today I have been to the gym, blasted my music through my headphones and spent about 40 minutes on the treadmill walking and running and then a bit on the exercise bike.  After the gym, I went to the supermarket and stocked up on loads of healthy foods, fruit, salad, veg etc.  I came home, made and ate a lovely salad and I am now cooking a roast chicken for me and my fiance to eat tonight after my therapy session.

I feel strangely good today.. happy.. positive.  I don’t mean to sound like Mrs Negative or anything, but I am considering whether this is some strange sort of fake happiness or the calm before the storm.  It could also, of course, be genuine because writing that letter yesterday to T helped me immensely.  I found so much clarity writing that letter, it helped me to figure out my main concerns, my main fears and where they came from – what the transference was and what is actually “now”.  Since doing that, the whole episode feels minimised into almost nothing…

I am open to the thought that this could be some clever trick my psyche is playing on me because I admit that it feels much easier to be angry with T at a distance and of course in a few hours I will be sat in front of her and the thought makes me squirm!!!

I guess it’s better than spending the day feeling unwell which has happened lots in the past if I am dreading a session, sometimes I get bad heartburn, a headache or an upset stomach. I guess there is still time.

I am really intrigued to see how tonight goes.  I feel quite open to all ideas and suggestions and I am not going in angry or closed so I think that is good… but I am dreading reading my letter to T and any of the other blogs that I have sent her. How cringe is that? It isn’t so much the actual complaints such as “her admitting her anger” or whatever, that is genuinely a concern and one I am happy to tell her, its more the bits where I was angry and writing things like “well you sound like my fucking mother!!” cringe, cringe, cringe…………………

I am predicting that if T is nice and soft and makes me feel at ease then I may end up very easily accepting any apology or suggestion that she makes.. and then potentially coming away afterwards or the next day and thinking “actually, no, I don’t like that”… I don’t know why the delay.. perhaps again it comes back to being more comfortable feeling my anger at a distance where she can’t get to me/see me or something.  Either way, I feel this is my first real rupture and I am sure whatever happens will lead to some valuable therapy.. who knows how useful it may end up being. I am still in shock that I found some random courage to confront her about my worries and doubts, that is very unlike me. Perhaps a new, more courageous and outspoken me is being born! Here’s hoping!

Changing the subject slightly, the last time I felt as down as I did yesterday was the beginning of June. That was the week I ended up being signed off work.  In that week, after the two days of non-stop crying and sleeping, I went to the gym nearly every day, shopped for healthy food, ate nothing but salad and rabbit food (not really) and made a real effort to lose weight………  so that is interesting that I’ve done that again today/yesterday after feeling so low…. coincidence or not? I am not sure.

Me and another blogger were talking a while ago about this very subject – we have both noticed our patterns with food when we feel insecure or upset.  We both reported episodes of either restricting food OR comfort eating, depending on the feeling. She rightly pointed out that it seems to be about feeling powerless and out of control. I guess this is the same for people who suffer from eating disorders – perhaps it is for the same reasons?  When I was a kid, I had a little bin in my room and I used to hide my dinners in it rather than getting told off for not eating enough – that would certainly explain that, although it wouldn’t have been a conscious decision at that age.

It made me think of other things I do/behaviours I have when I am experiencing certain feelings. So far I can think of the following: Eat less/eat too much, sleep too much, stay home from work with the curtains closed and a blanket on me all day – not showering until an hour before my fiance is due home, spend money/shop excessively, clean and tidy the house excessively and get agitated by any mess that is made (I note I had severe OCD as a child) and lastly, crave alcohol – go out and drink wine.  What do you do?

The other thing we spoke about was that I will fall back into severe body hating.  I will find myself repulsive and get horrible visions of things I want to do to my body.  I will feel ugly and fat and just generally disgusting – she suggested that perhaps when I do that, I am turning my anger inwards – I think that is highly likely. I really need to keep an eye on this as it is clearly very destructive.

Well, it is now 4.15pm….. in just over 3 hour I will be there with T.. think of me please and send me good luck vibes! AGGGHHHH……