It’s not about the therapy break!!!!

I was pretty desperate for last night’s session to come. I had stomach issues all day Monday and Tuesday and after spending all day Monday crying in the toilets at work, by last night I was really in need of some T time.

I walked in, sat down and brought Frank out of my bag. I sat him on the sofa and T commented on the fact I had him with me. I told her that as it was our last week before her 2 week holiday, I wanted to bring him with me to keep her “fresh” on him somehow. T used the subject of her holiday to tell me that she thought my email to her on Friday may have actually been an attempt to “keep her good for the break”.  I didn’t write about that email, but for background I had emailed her Friday morning to tell her I felt some sort of shift in my recovery and said that I felt very strong, optimistic and thanked her for making it all possible.

I kind of internally rolled my eyes when she said this and thought to myself “why can’t I just have been happy? Why does there have to be an unconscious ulterior motive?” but I didn’t say anything. T said she thought that perhaps if I let her know I was feeling good and was thankful to her – then the break would be easier and I wouldn’t worry about her going away and potentially not coming back if I was angry with her.  I told her that I didn’t think so, no. I genuinely felt very happy at the time. She said she didn’t doubt that possibly I did in that moment, but that similar to a bipolar episode when you are that “up” you can’t feel anything low at all – it keeps anything sad, hard, tough etc well and truly away and that it is often short-lived. She said she thought that when she read my email but thought to herself “let’s see if it holds”.

I jumped in here and said “and then you got my email on Monday” (the one where I said I was extremely sad post mother stuff). She laughed.

T said a few more things and then said she thought that potentially my mother got me in touch with my anger and that perhaps it was aimed at her for going away. I told her no, it wasn’t. I told her again that I felt okay about the break and that right now I was just preoccupied with the mother/narc stuff that was going on.

She said something else about the break/how I was probably angry with her… and I could feel myself getting a bit wound up. I looked away and thought to myself just grin and bear it, she will move on soon… I clearly can’t persuade her its nothing to do with the break. With that she said “what’s going on right now?”.

As soon as she said that I felt something in my body, it was quick and I’m not too sure what it was although on reflection today I think it was frustration. She said “are you angry?”… I paused and then said, I’m just upset and then began to cry a little.  I think looking back I was getting angrier and angrier because I felt like she wasn’t listening to me. I had said it wasn’t about the break over and over again and yet she seemed determined it was. I am always open-minded when she makes suggestions and she may even be right somewhere unconsciously but what am I meant to say if I can’t feel it??? It was irritating me because I felt like I was holding in sooooooooo much stuff from the weekend and needed a release so badly that this was wasting precious session time.  I think that perhaps I also felt like the blog I sent her Monday about how utterly sad I felt, how disappointed and how much grief I was feeling wasn’t being respected or acknowledged or something..

I can’t really remember what I said or what she said and the order of things but we discussed what happened with my mum Saturday night and I told her how the evening played out. Thankfully we moved on from the bloody break-anger at last. A while later I found myself really crying my eyes out with T encouraging me to get it all out and feel the release.  I cried a lot, I felt totally exhausted and wiped out.  I told  T that I just “hate it. I hate her sometimes so much” in a small, childish voice.  She said “of course you do, that is normal, that is okay”.

We went over lots of mother stuff and she told me that I would never win with her or with a narc in general and that the only way to stop this happening was to not engage. She acknowledged that it was understandable that I got sucked back in and suggested that next time I go to give a boundary away (like when I changed my mind about her birthday weekend which I am now regretting) I listen to the other voice in my head that says to hold off and wait and see for a while longer. I told her that I actually did have this voice in my head at the time and that I purposely went against it. I told it to be quiet. She looked sad for me and said that perhaps next time I would listen to it more, that it would be stronger.

She told me to keep myself safe during her break meaning don’t see my mum. I told her that I won’t and that the next time I will see her is the dreaded birthday weekend away. We spoke about that for a while and she suggested some ways that I could make it more manageable. She also told me that I did not have to go but clearly I feel like I do have to.  We spoke about that for a while and T said “you are so scared of her” (not in a mocking way) and I thought to myself how I hate it when she says that because I want to tell her she is wrong, but that I knew she wasn’t.  See, I can be objective!

I told T that I was worried whilst away on her birthday weekend she would invite people to our wedding in front of me again and that I had very nearly sent her a text yesterday to say I did not like what she did at the party (inviting people in front of me). I told her I didn’t send it but that I had wanted to.  T said perhaps wait and see if she does it again or that perhaps it should be done face-to-face.  T also suggested if she did it again, I should aim my response to her and say something like “Mum, the guest list is up to me and fiancé, thank you” but I said that would make me look bad and embarrass whoever the other person was.  I said it would also show her up and she would hate that. Hate that I wasn’t complying with her and hate that I would show her up and looking “rude”.  T suggested I spoke to her before that weekend and said to her ahead of time please do not do that so that if she did, she already knew what my response would be.

Conversation moved on to work and I told T that I had found out that redundancies were going to be announced this week for my job role and that I had found out they were considering accepting voluntary applications. I told her I suspected the announcement would be Friday afternoon as that seems to be the way they do things that might cause a reaction, they tell you and then send you home so that you don’t cause too much disruption to the firm. She asked me how I was feeling about it and I said I was anxious and couldn’t decide whether I wanted to apply for voluntary redundancy or not.  I told her my reasons for and against it and said that obviously a huge pull factor was escaping Tina.  It really would sever the contact between us for good. No need to see each other anymore at all and that was very attractive to me.

When I drove home I had some tears in my eyes as I thought to myself how kind, soothing and maternal I found her. How I wish when I looked in my mother’s eyes I had that same warmth instead of such an evil, coldness.  Her eyes pierce my soul sometimes. I thought to myself how much I love it when T laughs – like really laughs, sometimes she laughs loudly and throws her head back and it makes me warm inside.

So, I now have one final session with her, tomorrow afternoon and I have no idea what I want the focus of that session to be but I am not looking forward to it if she talks about the fecking break. I keep questioning myself is it that? Am I in denial? But its infuriating when you aren’t in touch with something that she so clearly thinks I am feeling – what am I meant to say to that?

I worry she is right and that it will all hit me as I leave tomorrow’s session. I know it sounds rather dramatic, but right now I am not at my strongest emotionally and I feel drained and I need tomorrow to be good, to be connecting and I absolutely can’t handle that pain of leaving her that sometimes kicks in on top of everything else. Perhaps I am compartmentalising I don’t know.

Oh and on a totally different note, I wondered to myself today if I sometimes self-sabotage. I was thinking that on Saturday when I decided I quite fancied some drinks that evening (with mother), I did have a voice in my head that said “you are really strong right now, you’ve just had a big shift in your therapy and the day with the kids has been great – why potentially ruin all of that?” and I just ignored it and said back to it that it would be fine (because I am so strong ….) Gah.  I also thought to myself that this has happened several times. I get to a good place and then I make contact to see her and it ends in tears – this is half the reason I was so annoyed with myself for falling into her trap again..  I have the knowledge there, I have that voice there trying to make me question my motives and I sometimes go against it.  I wonder why I do that.

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Narcissistic hoovering 

I’m still wrapping my head around the events from Saturday night and the things that my fiancé said on Sunday about it.  I know I am a little preoccupied with it, but it had such a strong effect on me that I can’t help but try to make sense of it a bit more until it lessens its hold.

So far this is where I am at.

Ever since T told me that my mother suffered from NPD, I have made conscious efforts to keep her at arm’s length. I’ve distanced myself from her physically and emotionally. It has been hard because the only way I’ve really been able to do this, to keep that distance emotionally, has been to be on high-alert and I guess, feel angry – perhaps unconsciously.  For a long time when I saw her I felt highly defensive and have been known to be a bit passive with her.  I told T this once and said I was constantly on the look out for digs from her, insults and sometimes when she tripped herself up with lies I would make a point of questioning her.  T said it was anger then, she was right.

Then for a long while I totally switched off my feelings that I grieved for that relationship and felt “over it”.  I wrote a few months back that when T told me I still had hopes for things to be different with my mum, I got angry. It made me want to scream at her “NO I DO NOT!!!”. I reflected at the time that perhaps I was protesting too much.

Then I got engaged. I Facetimed her with my fiancé to tell her the news.  She reacted as predicted with screams etc. but it didn’t feel particularly genuine (although I don’t know if that’s me always assuming the worse or what)… the next day she sent balloons and flowers.  She didn’t tell the whole family, she let me do it – I was surprised. I was pleased.

I was allowed to tell everyone myself, she didn’t make it all about her or tell anyone at all – I thought this is good, she isn’t reacting as I predicted. This was part 1 to me being fooled.  The next thing to happen was that me and my fiancé met her, her husband, my Nan and Granddad for lunch one day.  When we walked towards them at the pub, I had hoped for a bit of a special greeting = maybe they would clap when they saw us or something but it was very normal. I was slightly disappointed secretly but not surprised. She didn’t really mention the engagement, she didn’t ask to see the ring or anything….. BUT she behaved herself well enough at the lunch and I left feeling like it had gone successfully.  Part 2.

I then secretly went to a wedding dress shop without her and found “the dress”.  I loved it and knew it was what I wanted but didn’t feel I could make any decision without her. The shop assistant suggested that I Facetimed her so she could see me in it. I did and she cried. My mother CRIED at me in my wedding dress. I felt so emotional that I cried too and I couldn’t believe she had reacted like that. The shop assistant and my sister-in-law told me how lovely my mum’s reaction had been – how I must have her all wrong (grrr) and I stupidly fell for the tears. I felt instant guilt that I hadn’t invited her to come along – after all, she reacted so well. No insults, digs, no comments that would upset me somehow…… she even PAID for my dress, in full!!!! Part 3.

The next day, she sent me a text to tell me she had transferred money (£2,000!) into my bank account. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked and we discussed it because I didn’t think she could afford it, told her she didn’t need to etc. – I then thanked her (as did my fiancé). I was chuffed. An hour later she asked me if I was inviting someone and I replied to say no. She replied “well, that is awkward” and I thought this could be the start of it all…  I thought to myself then that I shouldn’t spend that money yet as I may need to offer it back if the money comes with a price but she didn’t kick off like I thought she would and she didn’t refer to the fact she had sent me money…. I did feel obligated but I wanted to keep firm. Part 4.

I then made an appointment at the dress shop and we both took a day off work to go and show her my dress. She cried again (I didn’t because it didn’t feel very genuine to me) and then we went for lunch afterwards. She was fine, it wasn’t the stuff dreams are made of but she behaved herelf. She even brought me my veil and a necklace that I was going to buy myself. Part 5

Me and my fiancé saw her about a week later for dinner at her house, she was on good form – good behaviour and because it was a work night, she didn’t get drunk and we left by about 9pm – another successful night! Part 6.

That leads us to Saturday where it all fell to shit. As soon as I saw her I felt it. The change had happened. The closest thing I can relate the feeling to was that I picked up on her anger. She seemed angry or jealous or both. I’m not quite sure. I’ve already written about the specifics of that evening so I won’t go into that again here.. the point is, by Saturday I had been hoovered back in.  I had been fooled that things were finally different. I foolishly thought that because the last month had been “normal” that we had somehow turned a corner where we could maintain a healthier relationship! and then I was rather brutally proved wrong.

I’ve gone over the specific events again and again since then and I think I’ve put most of them down to a lack of attention towards her, too much attention towards me and my fiancé (engagement related), her anger that me and my boyfriend were paying my aunty and uncle attention and genuinely getting along well with them (because she HATES him and constantly slags my aunty off too) and the fact that I was having a better time than her.  But I could be wrong.

I obviously don’t know what was going on inside her mind. The fact that when we got in the car to leave, the first thing she said was “[Uncle] is still a total wanker isn’t he?” to which her husband agreed and me and my fiancé blanked.  She then went on to say how close she was with my other cousin (other side of the family who wasn’t there) and how that cousin wishes she were her mum. I am pretty sure that was said to either spark envy in me or to remind me that she was attractive and wonderful and that it was only me that couldn’t see that.  I didn’t bite.  Her inviting a couple to our wedding who we do not know (and would never invite) I think was her attempt at seeing if she could still have that power over me – testing to see if I would still allow her to do that – if I would let her do what she wanted or not and her complete lack of response at me telling her we had a wedding fare on Sunday I put down to either a lack of interest and an unwillingness to pretend she cared for my sake OR jealousy.

I get the distinct impression that she hates my happiness. My happiness makes her unhappy. That is a bitter pill to swallow and one that is hard to fully comprehend. Not just my happiness, but anyone’s.  She seemed irritated that me and my boyfriend liked my aunty’s new bathroom, that we said how cool their garden was (she even said “I don’t think so – it was better before”).  It made me question, were the tears when I was in my wedding dress about how proud she felt seeing her little girl grown up and happy OR envy related?

Anyway, I feel annoyed with myself that I let my guard down because I had boundaries in place with her that I removed when I (clearly) got sucked back in… I allowed myself to be hoovered back.  I did things/said things that would make her happy – I knew it as I did it but told myself that it was okay this time “because she really was behaving”.  For example, it is her 50th birthday in a few weeks and she has invited the whole word to a weekend away “clubbing”.  I told her we could only go for the Saturday day and overnight and not the entire weekend as she had wanted. I knew it had displeased her considerably but remained firm. I didn’t even want to go but was trying to remove any further drama.  When I got sucked back in recently, I told her me and my fiancé could now come Friday and Saturday – I knew she would be happy about that and she was.  Now I am regretting it hugely.  Lesson learnt.

She also told us thta she had got us tickets to a festival recently. We didn’t know anything about it and she said “didn’t I tell you?” – well it turns out to be on my aunty’s 50th birthday. As that came out that evening she said “Oh no, you are joking! We are all going to this festival!!!”.  I have no doubt it was done on purpose. But we had said we would go.. now what! ?

I feel as though the right thing to do now is to put the boundaries back in. Reinstate the physical and emotional distance and learn my lesson that just because it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck..  doesn’t in fact mean it is one. It’s a hard lesson to learn but I guess an important one.

So now I guess I keep my distance again…. I stay away from her again until I have to see her (at her birthday now) which I am dreading. I have to go, it will be all about her – which, let’s face it is nothing new! She will be drunk and she will have all her flying monkeys there – all the family and friends that think she is the bee’s knees and all those (especially the cousin I refer to earlier) telling her how beautiful, clever, funny she is.. buying her special 50th birthday presents.. she will be absolutely LOVING the spotlight and attention and maybe that will keep any anger or jealousy away from me.. BUT I am now back to feeling angry and dissapointed and hurt and stupid and all the other things from allowing myself to be fooled and so I feel like I’m back to square one of feeling defensive around her and probably becoming passive when she does and says things that are stupid or blatant lies. I will struggle again as she is so fake towards the people she regularly slags off (like uncle for example) and will not enjoy myself at all. It’s a potentially dangerous position for me to be in because the unfairness of it all mixed with alcohol and all these people who think she is great (add for extra annoyance the “your mum misses you so much”) and it makes me want to kill her.

Clearly I wouldn’t actually do anything like that – but it does make me so angry that I find it VERY hard to bite my tongue. VERY HARD and that is the worst thing that I could do because last time I reached my limit and exploded (3 years ago) all that happened was that I “proved” my mother right – apparently she had told everyone how jealous, angry, nasty I was .. and so my explosion confirmed to them all that my poor mother was, in fact, the victim.

 

 

 

 

What goes up…. 

I feel really down today. I’m sad, really sad. I have fought the temptation of not going to work the whole journey so far because I can feel in my entire body, in my bones, a really intense need to cry. To sob. 

I’m slightly surprised because I felt very strong on Friday, I even emailed my T to tell her that I felt a huge shift in my recovery. I meant every word. Now I feel like some sort of crazy person for being such a yoyo of emotion. Up one day and down the next, such extremes. 

It feels as though it’s been a while since I felt this sadness. It’s heavy. It’s in my body and in my brain. I feel like I’m so weak and so tired yet physically I’m standing and trying to keep going. It’s so tough. 

The reason for the sadness is this. Last night my fiancé told me that the reason he was quiet/down all day was due to how difficult he found Saturday evening (gathering at my aunt’s house with my mother). He said it’s just all so toxic and dysfunctional and that he always feels so on edge. He also said he finds it so twisted that everyone is so clearly slagging each other off and so and so hates x and x hates y…. he said that me and my mother were clearly trying to wind each other up and he found it very tough as he was constantly waiting for it to all kick off. He also added that it’s always a high-pressured environment to drink as much as you can and he doesn’t like that. 

Now, today I can honestly say that everything he said is right. It’s all true but what happened when he said this to me last night was that I felt attacked and I became very defensive and emotional. 

I felt like he was saying my whole family were fucked up. That everyone is toxic and that the environment is always drunk-fuelled and dysfunctional. I felt like that said something about me. That was a dig about ME. The thing is, all of those statements are sadly true. But why did I feel it was a reflection of me? I don’t know. 

His statement about how me and my mother were clearly winding one another up angered me because I felt he wasn’t “On my side”. I felt as though he was saying I was a bad as her. I also felt defensive because although yes I admit I probably did become a little passive aggressive, it was only in retaliation and deep down, inside me, I was so hurt and disappointed that situation was happening. Again. 

I see today that I was beginning to be sucked back in to her. I rather foolishly started to think things had maybe begun to change! I had seen her a few times recently, more than I have for a very long time and she had behaved well! I thought that it was my new boundaries and her finally not being able to push me around that was making our time together much more tolerable….. I was wrong. 

I feel so stupid. 

On Saturday night she did various things that upset or angered me and as I wrote yesterday, I had tears as I went to sleep and I wasn’t sure what the tears were for. I do now. 

I hate to admit that there is still a part of me that needs her mother. I hate to admit that she has left me feeling so grieved again. I hate myself for falling into the trap again and I hate her for not being who I want her to be. 

More objectively I can also see that it’s understandable for me to occasionally slip back into thought processes and that of course the child in me still yearns for her mother. I can also see that she is who she is and that I shouldn’t hate her for that because it’s only using up my energy. I need to learn to accept her for who she is and I thought I had. But I haven’t. 

Friday I felt as though I was at the top of a mountain and today I feel like I’ve fallen and I’m completely covered in rocks and I’m struggling to get out. 

I did become passive aggressive with her and I did do/say things to wind her up – I should have. The reason I did that was because she had (yet again) hurt me so deeply and disappointed me so much. She triggered my hurt and angry inner child and my inner child reacted from that place rather than from an adult place. 

I told my fiancé that he sounded righteous and obnoxious and that he made it sound like my entire circle were all distorted and fucked up and even said to him that I can’t spend my entire life only being around him, his parents and his kids! I realise today that I said that because I’m so jealous. I want so badly to have some “normal” family, some normal gatherings and I won’t ever have that. 

It isn’t righteous when it’s true is it. 

And today all of this and more things that I don’t have the words for are pulling me down and making me feel so much sadness and so much anger and so much disappointment. 

Empaths & Narcissists: Wising up

Hi all, happy Sunday.  I’ve been having a lot of inner-dialogue today so thought I would take some time to sit and write and clear my brain out a bit.

I feel pretty good really although busy in my brain.  The main thing occupying my brain space at the moment are thoughts about empaths and narcissists.  I’ve been Googling a lot about the toxic and dysfunctional attachment they have with each other, or more accurately, myself as empath and the narcissists in my life.

I’ve been doing my usual Googling, looking at quotes on pintrest and reading books to help really cement things in my brain and I’ve learnt a lot of stuff.  I have never really read much about empaths and what they are but I now see that I fit that label very well.

As an empath I pick up on other people’s emotions VERY quickly and easily. I can feel their emotions and I have clearly internalised growing up that it is my job to make those people feel better. To be some sort of healer or something.  I am highly sensitive. I care what other people think about me to excess. I have some sort of antenna for mood changes, facial expressions and various other things that other people probably don’t notice.  I now understand that the purpose of being so aware of these moods/emotions is basically that I have lived constantly hypervigilant.  Always living in fight or flight mode – it was for my own protection! My unconscious plan was that if I stayed alert, I would be able to quickly eradicate any perceived danger from someone who was dangerous (someone who is angry or upset that could cause me harm) and that I could learn to “fix” whatever the problem was for them, I would then be safe again. Hence why I am such a people-pleaser.  It was actually a clever defense mechanism but one that I now need to stop using.

All throughout my life I’ve been called “sensitive” and “needy”. My mother and my ex work friend (hereafter to be named “Tina”) always told me I was overly sensitive and made it clear that was a character flaw, however…… from what I now understand, that is exactly how they liked and needed me to be! If I wasn’t such an empath, if I wasn’t so “sensitive” then I wouldn’t have been able to provide such a wonderful source of narcissistic supply for them. Isn’t that ironic?

Moving on to them, the narcissists in my life – they are attracted to empathetic, people- pleasers like me because we provide them with everything they need to feel good about themselves.  Narcissists are not empathetic people, they do not have the ability to put themselves in other people’s shoes, they are not kind and considerate and they need a lot of admiration. They crave everything that an empath happily provides. So unfortunately its a sick kind of win/win situation.  Everyone’s happy.. right? Unfortunately yes, until the empath wises up to whats going on and gets some boundaries OR the narcissist decides to discard of  the empath through boredom and moves on to a new source of supply.

Narcissists come in all shapes and sizes and the two I am writing about, my mother and Tina are very different types. My mother is your more stereotypical narcissist, she is loud, a know-it-all, she is always trying to be the centre of attention, she is fake, a chameleon, she thinks she is beautiful and cares VERY much about material possessions. She is selfish and bossy and she does not care what people think of her because in her eyes, she is the creme de la creme.  Add to that the fact that she is my mother and she had a lot of control over me, plus she had all of my life to train me to please her properly.

The way that my mother controlled me was mainly by her never giving me her approval or love. She was emotionally (and physically) absent and unloving. I never felt good enough for her and so I would do and try literally anything. Every now and again, I would get a very tiny snippet of approval as a reward and I would then know what I needed to do more of .. except it was like she dangled a carrot that I would never reach.  This “approval” made me invent a whole new “self” a fake personality that was much more like her. Luckily that didn’t last and the real self is still here and fighting to get back out. Unfortunately my sister is now at this stage and is clearly becomming more and more sucked in to narcissisim herself for the same reason… our mother’s approval. It’s sad.

Tina on the other hand is a more covert narcissist. She is not physically that interested in her appearance, in fact she is obese. Her narcissism comes from her ability to play the victim card very well. She makes you feel sorry for her. She makes you want to look after her or make her feel better about her miserable life but yet, confusingly at the same time, she makes it clear that she is above you, better than you somehow and much more knowledgeable and well put together than you are. She controlled me by playing on my people-pleasing need and used to guilt-trip me into keeping her happy.  If I did not keep her happy then I would pay the price of her guilt-tripping me (look how sad I am already, are you really going to leave me like this?), making me feel I was being extremely selfish (after everything I have done for you?) or by being more passively aggressive by not talking to me for hours/days and sulking very obviously by slamming and banging things and muttering barely audible things under her breath.  She did also outrightly tell me I was selfish and “rude”.  Tina kept me in a down position. She kept me weak and vulnerable and needy. She kept me small.

And so I spent the last 8 or so years trying to keep her happy at my own expense – as an empath I had no boundaries and I didn’t know where I ended and someone else began. I genuinely didn’t realise that it wasn’t my sole purpose in life to make everyone else feel better! I didn’t even consciously know that I did this.

Its sad actually that I ever attracted Tina in the first place because what drew me to her was how different to my mother she was!! Little did I know she was actually going to be the same (in a different but toxic way).  Tina was bundles more maternal than my mother was, she had children and she doted on them. She spoke about them all the time and she sold me this story of what a wonderful mother she was. It was everything I ever wanted and so I wanted in on that. She called me her “adopted daughter” and I called her “work mum”.  Now I realise how sadly sick that was.

So, here I am now 29 years old, nearly 3 years into some pretty intense therapy for “insecurity in relationships” which actually turned into therapy for attachment based issues, having a narcissistic mother, childhood trauma of various types and other things that I am only just learning about… but I feel genuinely relieved, pleased and, dare I say it? proud that I am understanding all of this for the first time. I am seeing it through clear eyes for the first time in all its distorted, murky, twisted, sick dysfunction and it feels weirdly empowering.

This is what I’m thinking today. I am an empath – I accept that 100% and that being an empath doesn’t make you this sweet, innocent, perfectly nice girl it actually makes you give away your power. It makes you weak and vulnerable. It means you have no self-esteem and you rely on everyone else to tell you who you are. That is not good. Being an empath is a weakness, not a strength.

My mother, and Tina (and my old friend who I’ve previously written about that I walked away from last August) are all narcissists which yes, does make them all selfish and abusive to varying degrees BUT I allowed them to be that way. It is ME that let them have that power over me and ME that encouraged their control to continue.  I accept that too, I own that. [I guess I have slightly more sympathy for myself where my mother is concerned because I was a baby and child who knew no different but hopefully you know what I mean.

So I now understand what part I play in all of this and in life generally I guess. I also understand what parts they play and that means I can change it. I’ve now ended two friendships with narcissists that were bad for me and bad to me. They are now out of my life and the guilt for friend 1 has totally and completely gone. The guilt for Tina is lessening every day, particularly this weekend since I’ve read and understood all of this stuff, it’s really helped to ground me. It is very hard to undo everything you’ve ever known, and it has clearly taken me nearly 3 years of therapy to get to this stage which sounds INCREDIBLY slow doesn’t it? but I think I needed that long to get my head around this, to fight through my defences and to really accept all of it enough to be able to look at it more objectively and change it.

My mother continues to be a hard case to crack, clearly she is never going to be as easy as friend 1 and Tina – there is a lot of deeper stuff involved with her, but one thing that is helping is to know it isn’t actually about me at all. It truly isn’t – I see that now and that takes the sting out of things so much.

On that note, I was with her last night at a gathering at my aunt’s house. I sensed as soon as I saw her some sort of aggression or anger or something. It’s very hard to describe, I can sense it on her. It may be in her eyes or something.. I can FEEL it (see, empath me!) and I acknowledged that to myself. During the course of the evening she got visibly worse, probably helped by alcohol.  By the time we had left the gathering she:

  1. Completely ignored me when I told her me and my fiance were heading to a wedding show today. She literally went “umm” which in my mother’s language means “I couldn’t give two fucks”.
  2. She later called me by another girl’s name who she is friends with. That girl wasn’t even there.
  3. She clearly got jealous that I was having a good time and dancing to the music that my uncle was playing and so turned his music off and replaced it with what “everyone else wanted”. She then told me “it isn’t all about you!” which irritated me beyond belief at the time because I had nothing to do with my uncle’s choice of musi, but today I more clearly see the blatant projection of how it is actually “all about HER”.
  4. She then invited two people to my wedding in front of me! People we had only met once, a year or so ago who absolutely would not be invited to our wedding. I couldn’t believe the front of her. I am not sure whether it was done to get a reaction from me and enjoy my night, because she was visibly irritated by my enjoyment – or – whether she just invited them because she thinks she has the right.
  5. And lastly, on the way home she told me how at a party recently her and my cousin (who I dislike BECAUSE of my mother – long story) were talking together for hours and hours and how she wished my mum was her mum. She literally said “she loves me and said she just wishes I was her mother because we are so close“.  It riled me up so much at the time but today it makes me laugh. What a pathetic attempt at making me jealous! That cousin gives her everything she needs. She showers her with admiration and affection and they are “close” yes, very.. I would go as far as to say dangerously enmeshed. Good luck to them, rather her than me!

So, watch this space. I am making changes and I am feeling good about them. A new me is in the making.

removing toxic ppl

this is the part wherecant change ppl

stage 4 boundaries

Some links that I found helpful:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-freedom/201602/10-traits-empathic-people-share

https://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/the-toxic-attraction-between-an-empath-a-narcissist/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/are-you-an-emotional-empa_b_697483.html

 

 

 

Self Integration?

Yesterday I wrote a brief description of a dream that I had Monday night.  The dream left me with a very intense feeling of what I can only describe as maternal love.  Now I have not had any children yet although me and my (now) fiance were trying for about 17 months prior to getting engaged.  Now the wedding is booked we are putting that on hold until after the wedding, partly for practicalities but partly because I/we need the break from the emotions that trying unsuccessfully brought us.

Anyway, to the point – I have never felt a feeling like that before. It was like love on steroids and yet clearly it was only a dream.. yet it felt so important somehow.

A lovely blogger helped me to think about the dream in more detail earlier, we spoke about how the baby could symbolise the child/baby part of myself.. I agreed and then I went into my session and spoke to T about it a bit more.  Here is the dream again with a bit I left out the other day:

I had a baby girl. Her name was Kia. She was wrapped tightly in a blanket and I was either holding her over my shoulder or pushing her in her pram. At one point in the dream I stepped off of a bus and when I looked into her pram, it was empty and I panicked and turned around to see my mother holding her – I took her off of my mother and then my mother pushed the empty pram instead.  Later in the dream I gently rubbed the side of her face and she laughed and “spoke” to me in her baby language. I laughed and spoke back to her in baby language but the feeling it gave me (as I explained above) was just phenomenal.

I find it so weird that a dream can leave me with such a strong feeling when I’ve never felt that in real life – how is that even possible?

T said she also thought the dream was hugely symbolic. She agreed that the baby was probably symbolic of my child/baby self. I said that I felt it important that I “took the baby back from my mother” and that my mother was then “pushing an empty pram”.  T said that my mother may as well have been pushing an empty pram, I agreed.  I said that it didn’t feel like grief processing because there was no element of sadness whatsoever. T said that she felt it was actually a very transitional dream – a sign that perhaps I have fully accepted my child part into myself.

I can’t find the right words right now to really express what I want you to feel as you read this, I’m not sure that is possible but it just feels SO IMPORTANT. So, so important. Madness from a dream!!

Anyway, I read up about self-integration which made its way into my brain because I was re-reading an old blog of mine earlier (Winnicott’s fear of breakdown) and in the paper I referred to by Clare Winnicott, she speaks about how her client had a dream where she picked up her child self and Clare Winnicott thought this was hugely symbolic of her patient integrating – growing and healing and I can’t help but think my dream is a very similar thing. It FEELS like something in my body, my being… there has been some sort of shift or something.

I’m sure I sound a bit weird ha! But there we go.

I think I’ve changed a lot lately, I’ve had to go against everything I know with my ex friend at work (I really need to find a better name for her). Setting such firm boundaries, ending a friendship, not letting the fear, guilt, panic take over – putting myself first and standing strong despite perhaps not feeling it!! Surviving everything that came as a side effect to me doing this, such as the preoccupation with predicting what she would do and say when I saw her, dreaming about her, doubting myself, crying from the fear of it all… and so on and so on…  I am still here and I am okay. It is hard, its tough and I am currently witnessing her in the middle of a smear campaign trying to make herself look like a victim and me look like an evil bitch – its okay. It will be okay. I am okay. And that is huge.

As well as that I had a run in with my younger sister a few weeks ago because I wouldn’t cancel a therapy session which she wanted me to do. Because I wouldn’t do that, she decided I was selfish and her and my mother clearly had a lovely little bitch session about me which wound me up. But I didn’t bite. I WAS angry and yet again, I did doubt myself a lot .. perhaps I was being selfish? T helped me to see that my feelings were justified but not to be acted out.  Yet again, I just had to hold firm. I sat on Pintrest for hours looking at quotes of “boundaries” and reassured myself that I was doing the right thing. She was very angry with me and my mother even made a point of telling me how upset my sister was with me… I told her what I wish I could have told the pair of them really, that it doesn’t make me a bitch because I won’t do EXACTLY as she wants me to. I told her that my counselling (swear word to my mother – physically makes her wince!) was a very important commitment to me and one that I stuck to whatever else was happening. I told her I only get to miss two sessions a year otherwise I have to pay the entire £40 which I couldn’t afford to do and told her that I had offered all sorts of alternatives such as joining for a drink afterwards etc etc…. the very clear message was “I am not being selfish and I don’t care whether you or she thinks I am”.

I held my own. I owned it. And for that I am proud. [Side note: I put a picture of a quote about boundaries on FB today and my sister quoted sarcastically so clearly it hit a nerve].

Aside from all of that, there is the stuff I’ve written about lately regarding my soon to be stepdaughter and some of the struggles we have both been having. There is a hell of a lot of different things at play with this. There is clearly fear of being left behind, forgotten about or replaced by me from her side of things and from mine there is clearly some jealousy which probably comes from daddy issues of mine. I am very aware of all these different triggers and am speaking to T about them all a lot at the moment, I feel very proud of myself for being able to be objective and be able to self-reflect on the whole situation no matter how difficult it might be.

Its funny really, since the engagement I had worried that the excitement of getting married might overshadow my therapy and stall any progress… now it feels the opposite is true.

Sorry if this blog reads as really up myself, I very rarely big myself up but this does feel monumental and I want to document it to be able to look back on.

boundaries quote 2boundaries quoteselfish

Where does it go? 

As I was sat in the hairdressers this morning I reflected back on the events that unfolded since my session Thursday. I thought about the initial upset, then the anger, the missatunement, the confusion, more anger and then yesterday’s decision to tell T how I was feeling. 

LUCKILY for me, T responded quickly and said she heard I was angry with her (I bet she nearly fell off her chair!) and she asked me if I was able to come for another session that same day – only two hours later actually! 

Unfortunately I couldn’t go, as much as I would have loved to, because I was at work but I really love that she offered. 

I told her I couldn’t, but would have really loved to and she replied to say that as that wasn’t going to work she was “here” and thinking of me, that she understood the anger and confusion and acknowledged that her missatunement (is that an agreement?) had got me in touch with my anger and pain. 

She suggested that I kept writing and told me she would not retaliate and told me to “hang in there“. 

I felt instantly better. Like within moments and that hasn’t changed since. In fact today I feel happy and have been singing along to my tunes in the car. 

I dreamt of “her” last night. I say “her” like that because it was meant to be her but I’m not sure her face was right – I don’t actually recall a face but I knew it was T if that makes sense. [side question: does anyone struggle to call up an image of their T? I can’t picture her when I’m not in fromt of her at all. I would struggle to draw a picture of her or describe her to someone]

Anyway, the dream was that I was at her family home with her dream husband and daughter. Me and her daughter were playing together and I stayed over and had dinner the next day. We went outside to her garden which was absolutely beautiful and huge. It even had pink blossom trees and a stream! We sat and played games and it was heavenly. 

I remember in the dream that they had some suitcases out in a room on the floor and had started to pack for a skiing trip. I think I was sad about that but trying to push that out of my mind. 

My sister was with me too, she was very young in the dream and lost a tooth which I looked after for her. 

When we were leaving T gave me a melon, some yogurts and an open can of baked beans (how odd!!) I loved that she gave me those things and didn’t want to leave. I left and drove me and my little sister home. 

I woke up and shortly after I fell back to sleep, this time I dreamt of what I can only describe as a giant heart shape made of grass and hedges and I was pushing the centre of the heart desperately trying to get inside. 

To break through the heart. Symbolic much? 

Dreams aside, I’m just wondering, why I feel so much better just because T knows? I wonder psychologically speaking why that helps so much? How has it completely removed the anger? Why do I feel so adult and content today when I felt so desperate then? 

Not that I’m complaining of course, I just wonder why it’s made such a huge difference. 

Anger, Sadness, Confusion and Misattunement

I can’t cuddle Frank right now. Actually I can’t even look at him so I threw him off the side of the bed last night. My boyfriend said, “ooh is someone angry with T?” Yes. Yes I am. He asked why but I felt far too vulnerable to tell him. Poor innocent little Frank though.

I am feeling angry but I’m also feeling hurt and misunderstood and rejected although I’m not actually sure why I feel rejected! On top of that I feel some guilt because (and as a reader pointed out earlier) I have a suspicion in the back of my mind that my anger may be disproportionate and misdirected.

Here’s what happened from my perspective:

I left T yesterday and felt instantly uneasy. I felt a mixture of sadness and anger. I later managed to write and realised the feelings (which were quite young) were that I felt I hadn’t “had enough” of T yet before I had to leave her again and be without her for another 5 days.  I cried quite a lot and was really in touch with the sad feelings.

I then decided to reach out and email T to tell her this was how I was feeling. I felt vulnerable doing this because there was a risk that she may think I was being over the top and extreme – it is, after all, only a few days. But I did it anyway and I really hoped she was going to reply and say she understood that it felt it wasn’t enough, that I didn’t want to leave, that I would miss her and that I would soon be back…or in my fantasy that she would tell me to come back on Saturday or something and that she missed me too (obvs I know that wouldn’t happen but a girl can dream!)

BUT

But what happened was that she replied nicely, very kindly – but in my eyes, to me, about the wrong thing. It felt she got it wrong and the anger that brought up in me was pretty scary. I was so angry that she hadn’t “got it”.

It wasn’t about the child bit not having been tended to in session (as she said) it wasn’t that! It was just that I didn’t want to leave her again. I didn’t want to have to go away from her. I suspect there is some transference going on here – perhaps I am feeling something from my past or whatever, perhaps its an emotional flashback.  It feels to me that it is about the break and about missing her and being left alone again already or something. Perhaps I am scared she will be gone too long – I don’t know but what I do know is that it isn’t that the child bit didn’t feel it got what it needed – it wasn’t that. It’s just that I will miss her.

I got so angry because I felt so unseen and T has never made me feel like that before. I felt so much anger that she missed the point – that she had read my writing and was being so misattuned to me – that was so painful. She’s meant to be perfect – she’s meant to be a mind-reader AND she’s meant to just get it and make it feel better but she didn’t and that felt horrific. She made it worse and now I hated her for that. I felt so disappointed.

I shouted “no!!! no!!!!” out loud through my sobs to myself – no, please don’t get it wrong, please don’t make me feel worse, please don’t be imperfect, don’t let me be angry with you. Because she is the only person that I’m NEVER angry with you know? She is the safe person, the safe place. She is the good mother and I don’t want to turn her bad.

 

T has said to me in the past that sometimes in therapy our psyche can distort things to get us to where we need to be. So with that in mind, perhaps I have “made” some anger at T as I need an excuse to direct my anger somewhere? But obviously if that is the case it is unconscious and so it doesn’t FEEL like that.

It could be misdirected and actually be about anger I have towards my mother (I will call her bitchface from now on I think).. but that hasn’t been my style before, so why now?

OR it could be that being angry with T is easier than having to feel that horrible, painful longing for her that I was feeling before she “got it wrong”. I don’t miss her now I’m angry although I am desperate for this to be resolved.

Who knows.

That now leaves me here and wondering what to do for the best. Half of me wants to contact her again, take another risk (although that feels very scary). I half want to tell her that I’ve felt angry since she replied yesterday because it feels she didn’t “get it”. To tell her that it triggered a strong reaction in me of anger and that I’ve felt uncomfortable about it since. To tell her that my response was typed very bluntly (but I wasn’t sure she had picked up on that or not) and as she then hadn’t replied it felt even worse (hello, why aren’t you a mind-reader??).  Oh and that kind regards, best wishes and all other sign-offs were pissing me off too because they felt cold and clinical and that her name and a kiss would feel much warmer (LOL).

Or do I just sit with it and wait until I see her next Tuesday night?

That is potentially safer in that there can be no more misattunement – no more understandings and therefore no more potential anger or sadness to have to deal with BUT the likelihood is that I will push it all down and away and come Tuesday I will feel as though I am “over it” although I probably won’t be and I won’t tell her because I won’t feel it necessary and then and even if I did, the feelings would be removed and it would all feel rather unimportant and small. That doesn’t feel particularly healthy or productive.

What is best, not risking more misattunement and not getting anything resolved or risking more misattunement and more anger but getting some reassurance?

I hate it when these things crop up at the end of the week and then you have to go into your Friday and weekend feeling confused and hurt and upset and rejected. I don’t want to have to carry that all weekend and i don’t seem to be much good right now at “holding” it (if I ever have been).

T has said to me in the past that when my anger comes I may find her emails set me off and that we can’t deal with the anger via email because it can make it worse – she said it almost becomes a case of damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t in regards to responding to a client in that situation and that she may have to reply to say we would speak about it in session – to “bring the anger into the room” – and can you imagine if she did that? IF best wishes set me off, what would that do?

Is there a chance that T IS right? am I misunderstanding my own feelings? Because if I am, then clearly I do not want to be telling her all of this and then look like a total tit! My gut is telling me that she isn’t right but I am now so confused by everything I am doubting myself.

Yeserday in session T said how there will be a part of me that is still hoping my mother will change and I said no there isn’t. She said there will be even if I am not consciously aware of it and I said again, no there isn’t. Not any more. I felt a bit of resistance in me. A little tiny bit of anger I guess – NO I DON’T!!! but I imagine that could be because she is right and I am wrong. Is this the same? I don’t think so, but???

WWWWWAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

 

Ps, bitchface text me about ten minutes after T’s response – can you believe that?

 

 

 

FFS

Read previous blog first or this won’t make any sense

I’ve never felt anger towards my T before. Never. Not consciously anyway.

Until just now.

I emailed her to tell her how upset I am and why. I even put in quotes the sentence about wishing I could sit on her lap for longer etc.

She replied just now, it’s a very kind and gentle reply but she didn’t understand. She said how tough it is for me that my child part didn’t get tended to today because I only ever take my adult self on a Thursday. But that isn’t the problem!

I know this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to people but I felt so hurt and upset and disappointed and (I can’t believe it but..) angry!

I burst into tears and said out loud “no, no!!!”.

Now I wish I hadn’t told her! Now it’s worse.

I replied quite bluntly (another first!) and said it wasn’t about that. It was the break stuff. I don’t think she will reply because I kinda closed the convo down but maybe if she picked up on some anger somehow that would help? But why would she pick up on anger – I didn’t tell her I was angry. Clearly she’s not a mind-reader!

Oh also. What’s with fucking kind wishes or best wishes or whatever – why does that feel so horribly cold and professional?!

AGGHHHHHH!!

I Haven’t Sat On Her Lap For Long Enough Yet.

When I left my session this afternoon I walked to my car and felt like I had a heavy weight inside my chest. It was heavy and strong. I knew that meant  that I was upset, that I needed to cry.   I got in the car, started the engine and put my seatbelt on and then I just sat there for a moment to see what was going on.

My eyes filled up with tears but it didn’t feel like I could get in touch with these feelings sat outside T’s house and so I drove off.  A few more tears rolled down my face a few minutes later. I tried to figure out what the tears were about  and a fleeting ‘voice’ in my head said it was because I was driving away from T’s. I quickly rejected that thought, nah, it couldn’t be that.

I drove to the gym despite the fact I really couldn’t be bothered to go. I thought that perhaps I could run it out. Usually it helps to release some tension but it didn’t because I couldn’t catch a thought long enough to use it fuel me.

I left the gym and drove home. On the way home my road rage found its way out again, I found myself screaming “fucking go then!!!!! IDIOT!!” and could feel how wound up and tense I was.  I questioned myself – am I angry?

That didn’t feel right either (although the road rage clearly is an anger release). I WAS angry but I was also other things. Anger was too simple.

I got home and went and had a shower and then I sat on the bed and burst into tears. Ah thank God. That release was sooo needed. I remembered to be nice to myself and I tried to talk to my inner child (in my head) asking what was upsetting her , asking what she needed?

Some fleeting thoughts came and went and they seem to be a mixture of  a reaction of the material I spoke about in therapy and leaving therapy today.

Why am I upset about leaving my session though? I haven’t worked this through properly in my head yet but the thoughts unfiltered are something like this: She only just came back and now I have to leave her again. I want her to stay for longer. I wish I could have stayed for longer. I haven’t had enough yet, it doesn’t feel like I should have to go away again yet …… [insert floods of tears here – hang on….].

Okay.. that got me.

I shouldn’t have to go away again yet/already – SHE shouldn’t be gone away again/already….

I know logically of course that she is now back from her break. That we are back to normal sessions but something about leaving my session has set me off. I don’t know why.

If I try to liken the situation to a real-life past event I can think that my mother regularly went away on holiday and then when she came back I would see her for a day or two before being shipped back off to someone else as she went out clubbing etc. Is that what I am remembering/feeling? Perhaps somewhere inside it feels as though I’ve seen her a little bit (but not enough) and now I am going to be away from her for another 5 days. 5 days feeling like forever right now when in fact it isn’t a long time and factually speaking it’s 4 days as I see her on the evening of the 5th…

I just feel I haven’t had enough yet. I don’t feel like I’ve made the most of her – I haven’t absorbed her enough yet. Her face and voice feel a bit faded at the moment.  It isn’t quite strong enough yet. She doesn’t seem “here” enough yet.

I haven’t sat on her lap for long enought yet to be able to go off and play happily. I still want to sit there and I want to cuddle her and smell her perfume and take her in for a bit longer before I have to leave her again. (Metaphorically speaking.)

I’ve had tears running down my face the whole time I’ve been typing this – they haven’t eased off yet.

I feel I have not had enough yet. I shouldn’t be back on my own again yet. It isn’t fair. She is too far away already and again and it hurts right now. It really, really hurts like hell.

Reaching Out Or Self-Soothing? 

Would reaching out to T actually help? 

I’m torn. Do I try and handle this by myself and prove to myself. and to T, that I am able to regulate myself and hold it in her absence? Will she be proud of me if I do? 

I want to give her a break – that’s what she needs. It’s why she’s taken time off. 

Yet at the same time I’m thinking that she’s always encouraged me to reach out when I need to and encouraged that I don’t go into self-sufficient mode as I always did as a child. 

I think she would rather help to regulate me than hear later that I struggled with it alone. Wouldn’t she? I don’t know. 

I don’t want to isolate myself through shame. I’m trying to fight that pattern. 

I’m okay. I’m surviving it. Like it’s painful and I’m sad and I was thrown into an emotional flashback for sure, BUT I’ve made sense of it now and I’m allowing the sad feelings to come. I’m allowing myself to cry and listen to the child part talking. I’m not falling apart. 

What could she say that would help? She would probably validate my feelings but I’ve already done that for myself (and so have some kind readers) so I don’t think I need that. 
Then there’s the issue that as I don’t know where she is, she may not read or reply to me for hours and hours and that could potentially throw me into abandonment stuff which I don’t need right now. 

She may even reply kindly but it may set off the feeling it’s “not enough” again and so perhaps I’m safer staying at a distance and handling it myself?