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!! 

Thank You T.

Following on from my “Rainbow” post last night, I woke up feeling lifted today. Thinking about T and how grateful I feel to have her alongside this journey.  I had to email her and tell her despite the fact that I will see her tomorrow – it felt like it couldn’t wait (plus also I am hiding behind the email hah!!).

For the purpose of full and frank disclosure as always, here is what I said:

Dear T,

I sent you an email this morning on my way into work but then my phone crashed due to having no memory and it doesn’t appear to have sent so I am sending it again just in case.

When I left you last night, I felt better. Lighter I guess. I played a song called “This Feeling” by Alabama Shakes which I wanted to share with you – it really spoke to me.  On the drive home I saw the most beautiful pink and orange sunset and then a rainbow!! It made me feel strangely emotional and grateful. It felt very symbolic.

Today I feel like I wanted to tell you that I feel really seen, heard and held by you. Something that I have never felt before and how lovely that feeling is.  Feeling that you are really “on my side” is so powerful and I wanted to thank you for that.

The painful feelings are still there, but they are not overwhelming today. I know that I am going to be okay in the end and that is a wonderful feeling to finally have found.”
I am all gushy I know but I meant every single word of it.  How important is this relationship? It’s bloody HUGE isn’t it! There truly is nothing like it.

Agh! I Text T! 

Hi guys,

I can’t believe I am saying this, but… I text my T. I sent her a text message whilst she is on a break. This has never been done before.

Some background: I have today off of work and was laying in bed re-reading some of my old blogs, particularly the ones just before the break and ended up crying. Not crying crying, just some tears rolling down my face.  I was pretty surprised as I am finding the break fine but hey, clearly something had mad me cry.

I had read my note on my last session and I think I felt the strength of our bond, our connection to one another or something, I’m not too sure.  Anyway, I decided to try something I have never done before and text her.

Firstly I have never text, I always always email.. secondly I have NEVER in nearly 3 years sent her a message of any kind when she has been away – that feels like a no-go area.  Here is what I said:

Hello [T,] I hope you are enjoying your break so far.  I just found myself re-reading my notes from our last session(s) and note that I am feeling like I miss you a little bit and feeling very grateful that I have you in my life.  

I feel a bit emotional – not particularly sad or depressed, just a little emotional.  Hard to explain but it feels it will pass quickly and not ruin the day. 

I have been reading your book and playing my Alanis album which seems to keep a connection alive for me which I like. 

Anyway, no questions… I just thought I would be brave and try something new and send this to you during a break even though it feels “forbidden” somehow!

Take care and see you soon.”

 

I then distracted myself by having a shower and getting ready.. I then read for a bit.. I then went to the shop and got some food shopping done… I then came home and eat lunch.. watched an episode of a series, put some washing on… and here we are nearly 4 hours later and I haven’t had a reply agggghhhhhh.

The adult and rational part of me can reason that she may well be on holiday and not just off work, she could be at an event or any manor of things… but the child and more emotive part of me is scared now that she isn’t going to reply or that I’ve overstepped the mark somehow.

I said I missed her. Aghhh gaaakkkkkk.

To be continued.

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.

A card with all the words in…

So yesterday was Mother’s Day. I had been dreading it for weeks.  A whole day devoted to mothers. A whole day devoted to her. A day where society tells us, no matter our age – that we must thank the one who brought us into this world.

Mother’s Day is idealized. Mothers themselves are idealized. Not everyone’s mother deserves to have a day dedicated to “celebrating” them and yet society tells us that we must. It is enough to make us vomit.  Well if you have a mother like mine.

Having a mother who is a narcissist or who has NPD like mine makes this day really sh*t.  They expect presents, cards, praise and thanks.. not actually much different to any other day, but this day they are “allowed” to expect it because otherwise everyone will disapprove of YOU, not just your Narc mother.  So it becomes your duty.

The thing is, once you find out your mother has NPD, things start to make sense – at last! It is hugely uplifting which I know sounds a bit twisted, but the understanding that the problem really wasn’t you, is a feeling like nothing else. Shortly following the elation comes the pain… the devastation and the grief…  I haven’t spent nearly 3 years (and counting) in therapy to spend Mother’s Day thanking my mother for all that she did (and did not) do for me.  The reason I spend thousands of pounds a year and hours of my week in therapy is after all, because of her.

I have been aware of the day coming up, walking past a card shop twice a day on my daily commute has served as a constant reminder. I put off buying anything for my mum for as long as possible. In the past, I would have been thinking about what to get her for weeks. What would she REALLY like, what would make her happy… sadly, what would make her love me?

I’m not sure I understood that is what I was doing, but I do now and that is really sad. Now that I am nearly 3 years into my therapy, I am on the way to acceptance and healing from the damage my narc mother has caused me and I have let go of the need to try to please her. I no longer want to spend money I don’t have on finding the right present – because it is completely unobtainable anyway. It is a challenge that cannot every be gratified.

So, I have finally accepted this and so I purposely get a small gift and tell myself that it IS enough. That it will do.. but I won’t lie, it goes against everything in my body when I do this – it feels completely wrong to me.  I brought her a candle. A nice candle, a candle I know she loves because she has brought them for me (and she always buys things that SHE likes you see)…. I had it wrapped nicely in paper and in a nice gift bag.. then it was time to find the card..

Eugh the card is the hardest part. For anyone reading this that has a narc mother you will know what I mean. Even writing about the card makes my heart feel funny.

Card shops are my nemesis on mother’s day. I hate it. I hate watching everyone in there searching for the perfect card for their perfect mothers. I hate those people. Well, I don’t hate them at all, but I am jealous of them – I admit it!

I didn’t put myself through reading the cards this year. I managed to find the perfect card for my mother. It was a jokey card – one about mum drinking lots of wine instead of doing the chores! Was I being passive aggressive? Possibly…. but even she couldn’t deny the card summed her up perfectly. I will however be totally honest here and say, I still feel a pang of guilt that I know it would have upset her not to receive what she was hoping for.

She always told me growing up that she expects the cards with “all the words in” – and so that is what she used to get… but now I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I debated just grinning and bearing it and buying her a card full of “all the words” whether I meant them or not, but I can’t – it feels way too hypocritical and so I didn’t but I feel guilt about that today. Guilt that I have no doubt my T would say wasn’t mine. T would tell me to “give it back” and she would tell me it “doesn’t belong to me”.  But it feels like it does.

Yesterday morning I woke up and saw Facebook covered in lovely statuses to everyone’s “amazing mothers”.. thanking them for everything they do for them, telling them how they hope they turn out half as good as them.. rada rada radaaaaa… I knew how much my mother would love a status like that but I couldn’t bring myself to do that either.

I had to go for lunch with her yesterday. My grandparents were also there, as was my step dad, my sister and my boyfriend. I watched my mother give my Nan, her mother, a card. It was no typical card. The card was huge and it came in its own box. A special box which encased a special, huge card – one with all the words in.  Obviously.  Put simply, the card she brought her mother, shat all over the card I brought for my mother.  It has got me questioning, is she trying to win her mother’s love? I mean, she didn’t turn out this narcissist through pot-luck.

Somewhere along the line she got injured so badly that she turned this way.  The problem with having this feeling is that it does make me somewhat sympathetic towards my mother. I know first-hand how bloody painful it is trying to win your mother’s love and never getting it. Never feeling good enough.  Always feeling faulty.  If she has spent her whole life feeling like that (whether consciously or not) then I guess I kind of understand that she did the best job she knew how to… she did the best job with the tools that she had… even if that means the job she did was awful…… it is very hard to feel anger and pain and sympathy and hate all at once.  It makes me feel guilty. Yes, yes I know – blah blah blah…….

I noticed that my Nan asked my mother in quite an accusational tone whether I had got her a card. My mother said yes, and then she asked me, “Twinkletoes, did you get your mother a nice mother’s day card???”  What a weird question… the thing is, this question would have been fuelled somehow by my mother, it wouldn’t have come out of nowhere. I assume they’ve been discussing me and how I never make any effort anymore or something like that.  Meh. She also sat at the table and asked whether “anyone had any exciting news” which was very clearly aimed at me and my boyfriend and the hope that we would be announcing news of an engagement or pregnancy – that irritated me too, not because she asked, but because it was evidence of conversations had between her and my mother (trust me, I know them both well).

My mother brought my nan some presents which my nan opened in the restaurant, one of which was rather odd. My nan asked me if I liked it and I politely smiled and said, it was nice (although I think it was probably evident by my face that I thought otherwise).  My nan asked me what I collected and I said I didn’t collect anything. She looked appalled and said “you don’t collect ANYTHING??”…. My mother then said that her, my nan and my sister all liked the same things – that they all had the same taste… all of them apart from me.  For once, this was music to my ears! Is this a sign that I have broken free? A few years back, this would have devastated me but today it makes me feel relieved.  I am on my way to becoming my own person. My authentic self.

T has taught me that narc mothers think that we are extensions of them – and so it is important for my mother that I look like her, dress like her, like the same things as her and if I don’t – that spells trouble. Now that I properly understand this, it has made things much easier.

I thought about my T several times yesterday morning whilst getting ready for the meal. I thought about what she would be doing. I thought that she probably got some lovely cards – ones with all the words in.  Some thoughtful presents, not about their value but the sentiment.  I wondered whether her children would cook for her or bake her a cake like I would have liked to do if things were different. I caught myself and told myself that T isn’t my mother and never would be. I thought about writing her a card/note/email to let her know I was thinking of her after all, mother’s day is about celebrating all “motherly” figures, right?

I told myself that clinging on to the thought/hope/fantasy that she is or could ever be was just an attempt to soften the blow of my harsh reality. I didn’t really like that internal conversation and so I didn’t revisit that until writing it out now. I am suddenly very aware that attaching towards my T in a daughter like way/seeing her as a mother figure is purely an attempt to replace my mother with her instead of grieving the relationship I actually have with my real mother.  I know that is the truth even if I don’t like it.  And I don’t like it.

I note that I “forgot” to send my step-mum a card this year. This is very unlike me, in fact I’m not sure I have ever forgotten before apart from the years that me and my dad have not been speaking (which is quite a few!).  I remembered enough times to have sorted something out and yet I didn’t and I have been questioning myself why since.

In the past I have been to see her, taken her flowers or sent flowers if I didn’t visit and yet this year all I did was send a text message. I think that I realised that sending her flowers and taking her gifts were other examples of me trying to prove my worth – hoping it would make her/my dad see how lovely I was… perhaps that wish has gone away now. I did send her a nice text message but also feel a bit guilty today that I didn’t make the effort to post a card.   A few years ago me and my dad went nearly 3 years without speaking and I was (am?) upset that in that time I didn’t hear from her either.  Perhaps another example of me being a bit passive? That’s food for thought.

I’m a (unofficial) stepmum myself. My boyfriend asked me what he should do about mother’s day this year, because they are awkward for me… it is my view that he shouldn’t force the children to acknowledge me on this day because I am NOT their mum and that is the point of the day…. I said perhaps when we are married and I am officially their stepmum, a bunch of daffs might be nice but I think it totally defeats the point if the adult is telling the kids they have to.  It is my hope that one day perhaps they would buy me or make me a card, off their own back but if they don’t then that’s okay – because I am not their mum.  I hope one day to have my own child and I will not force or expect my child to do or buy me anything for mother’s day – clearly I hope that my child will love me in a healthy way and might want to draw me a picture for the fridge or whatever, but not because I think that day is all about me. Not because I will pile on the pressure for them to conform to society.

 

 

On a final note – please can I just say that for anyone reading this who may have found yesterday painful due to their loving mother’s no longer being here – I truly am sorry for you and I appreciate that some people may read this blog and think I am incredibly selfish for feeling this way. I understand that some people will be shouting “at least your mum is still here!!” at the screen and I don’t expect you to get it – the whole narcissist mother thing is very hard to comprehend and so I’m not going to even try to get people to understand.

 

Being The Good Girl

I’ve had this brain wave thought this morning. I’m not quite sure where it has come from, but I feel like I might be onto something.

I was thinking about regression in therapy and the ways in which I’ve become and felt regressed there recently. I did my usual Google search, not really sure of what I was hoping to read but searching for the answers regardless. I often do this and actually sometimes the things I’m searching for give me a clue to what I’m thinking about, weird as that sounds.

I looked up things about the therapeutic relationship, regression, transference, maternal transference and a few other bits and bobs. It got me questioning what is my transference with my T?

I feel small and helpless when I am in that regressed state. I become weak and hopeless. A victim? Maybe, a child, for sure. I clearly regress with her a lot these days which I guess is natural in part and probably helps us to “do” the therapy but having read lots about transference, it has got me thinking… is it transference that I feel so young and helpless around T? Maybe it is. Maybe that is how I felt around my mum. Maybe I still do to an extent? Obviously I was actually a kid with my mother so some of this feeling could be memories, but that isn’t quite what I’m talking about.

I become a child with her. I am hopeless. If she is away, I am lost.  When I am with her and we are accessing trauma stuff, I want her to hug me and make me feel better. Maybe make us a cup of tea? Because tea makes everything better.  Perhaps she would offer me a blanket and I could kick off my shoes and curl up on her sofa with my tea and we could just chat about nice things, not therapy things.

When I leave her sometimes I cry, sometimes it hurts a lot. I panic she will leave, go away forever. It makes me feel like I could break and why?

Because I am a child and she is the mummy.

An actual child without mummy would naturally feel those things, but I am nearly 29 years old. I’m an adult. I’m a step-mother. I have a home, a job, a car, bills… so why do I become that lonely, lost little girl?

Why do I become “little”?

Is it because I’m secretly hoping she will become “mum” for real? Or is it a defence mechanism? Little to me is innocent, good, cute, harmless….if I stay “little” then maybe I will get mothered? If I stay little I won’t get told off or punished because I am little and innocent you see!  I feel like I am on the cusp of really realising something, but I’m not quite there yet…. Agh, what is it??

By doing this, I render myself incapable. I make myself overwhelmed on someone else “saving” me.

Maybe it is my mother’s internalised words. “Behave yourself” – the undertone to that obviously was “or else!”.  I didn’t want the or else. She could say it all with her eyes. That look, the one all mothers seem to possess. I got told off a lot when I was younger for whatever “bad” stuff I did. I once had a bar of soap shoved in my mouth because she caught me swearing. I got told off big time once because I brought her husband at the time a cd for his birthday and apparently that wasn’t good enough. She used to tell my nan every time we saw her that my room was a mess and that I was dirty. I was so far from messy or dirty it’s ridiculous, I had proper OCD when it came to my bedroom. She just said that to annoy me. She used to say that I thought the world revolved around me and that I was selfish. I guess that I learnt that to be loved, you had to be good all the time and so perhaps that’s why I am always trying to be the good girl. But that’s not real is it? When I cried as a child she would ignore me and would tell me she would “give me something to cry about” or “knock me from here into next week”.  Even crying wasn’t allowed but bad moods – oh no, you do not get bad moods. Bad moods were not allowed.

When I was very little, maybe like 4, I had a troll. It was a soft body with a hard face and I got a biro and scribbled all over its face in anger. I got VERY told off for that but looking back, I think I was wishing it was her face. The troll was my transitional object after all. It represented her. A troll! Harsh but true.

In reality I’m not just a nice girl who doesn’t have moods and doesn’t swear, is never selfish or rude. Sometimes I am snappy and sometimes I leave my house in a mess and sometimes I don’t want to do things that I should do. Some  days I am far from cute. Today is actually one of those days. Today I had a “strop” because my hair wouldn’t go right and looked a mess. I looked a mess. Another topic that me and T have recently been talking about. My inability to tolerate “mess”. Physical or emotional and I think I know where that comes from……

I feel like I’ve become stuck in being little. Being under 5 foot doesn’t help that. People often say I am cute. I’m not cute.  I want to grow up now and stop being so weak and little.  I want to come into myself authentically and stop pretending to be something just to be safe.