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!! 

Deep Dreams & Head Cloud

Me and my boyfriend were staying in a hotel by the sea.  The view was beautiful.  My boyfriend was in the shower and I was getting dressed by the mirror.  I took my clothes off and looked in he mirror and my bum was weird, it was very big and “high”.  I looked deformed. I then saw that my stomach had a huge slit across it and my insides were all spilling out, intestines etc.  I freaked out, panicked, my legs went weak and I felt very sick.  I grabbed the telephone and called 999 but the guy on the other end was very slow and casual and said there would be a half an hour wait.  I started to scream and cry and shout and he started laughing hysterically, that got me even madder. I thought I was going to die.

The next part of the dream I was at my T’s house (it wasn’t her actual house though).  She also had a wonderful view of the beaches and the sea. The sun was out, we were sitting on a large balcony area at a table talking causally. T was very calm and peaceful and I felt at ease too.  Then one at a time, two girls roughly my age came out, in the dream they were her daughters.  She introduced me to them calling me my full name (only my mother used to call me my full name as a kid).  I smiled at them and said hello. They were both absolutely beautiful.

The girls left and T said to me “try to remember a time when you were young, perhaps playing with one of your bothers when you were completely care-free, totally relaxed, happy, excited”.  I couldn’t and that made me very upset.

Next we were sitting in T’s kitchen at her breakfast bar and her son walked in.  He sat with us and was very funny, he had me and T laughing so much we had tears running down our faces. I paused for a moment and watched T watching her son, laughing and smiling, I felt incredibly sad that she loved her children so much and that I didn’t have that.

Next thing, me and T were standing at her front door saying goodbye to loads of guests, the walls by the front door and stairs were covered top to bottom in photos of her family, I was looking at the photos scanning who was in them, where they were, what they were doing. I was insanely jealous and sad but I didn’t let that show.

T told me that she has a boat and that her family often go sailing. I realised that was probably where she went when on her breaks.  I had never imagined T sailing boats.

Lastly, myself and my boyfriend were at my mother’s house.  My mother made a sarcastic comment along the lines of “well, what DO you want to talk about?” she was implying that my boyfriend wouldn’t let her invade his boundaries and was implying that made him difficult and boring. I snapped and shouted at her to fuck off. Her husband stood up and started to shout at me but I just left. I remember thinking to myself that it was a relief to have a reason to shout at her and to be able to walk away from her for a while.

What a lot to a dream!! I woke up with a pounding headache.  I think if I hadn’t of made myself get up, I would still be asleep.  I wrote the dream out quickly so that I didn’t forget it and tried to analyse it a bit.  I went to the toilet still in a bit of a haze. I felt that familiar sense of “head cloud” that I sometimes get. I knew I felt low, sad again.  All of a sudden I burst into tears, I cried very hard for a few minutes.  I cried like a baby might, wailing noises escaped my mouth which isn’t something I normally do. It hurt a lot.

I then had a shower and tidied the house. I am writing this in the hope it eases my head a little.  So much going on in there.  This dream and the shower dream have so much in them I think.

Mind, body & soul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Victim Is Dead.

The victim is dead.

Here lies the body of victim Twinkletoes – she died feeling sorry for herself for her lack of decent parents, for the all-consuming feeling of being constantly rejected by the people that “should” love her but constantly demonstrated that they did not. She died never feeling like she was deserving of love. She died feeling unlovable. She died having only half-lived her life.

The survivor is born.

Let me introduce to you the newly born survivor Twinkletoes. She is born with an understanding of her own self-worth, with self-respect and with the understanding that other peoples’ perception of her, is not her truth.  Newly born survivor Twinkletoes does not think about the things that happen in life as unfair, does not think that the world owes her anything and does not feel small, powerless or defenceless.  Survivor Twinkletoes is not a child, but a powerful, independent, strong woman.

 

 

Now that the introductions are over, normal service shall commence.

Hi guys. I haven’t gone mad I promise, although something has happened. Since my last blog yesterday which sounded very strong-willed, I went back downhill slightly and started to feel a bit of a victim again. I went off to my session feeling rather pleased to be having a session. I think looking back I was hoping to go in and have T tell me what to do, what to say and what I needed to do to make things better but obviously that didn’t happen.

I ranted, vented, moaned whatever you want to call it, I exhausted myself. T sat with me. She “heard” me, she understood and she validated but she didn’t tell me what to do to magically fix it which was a shame really… however we were (or rather I was) chatting away about it all and I said that it felt as though my mother and my father were both standing behind glass.  I can see them but I can’t “get to them” and T said “and they probably can’t hear you either if they are behind glass” and I agreed.  I said to T that when I was a child and visited my Dad for the day, he would always ask me at some point in the afternoon (awkwardly) what time I wanted to go home.  I never knew the answer to this and it always made me feel very uncomfortable. I told T that I never knew the “right” answer so I would always say very timidly that I didn’t mind, it was up to him.. whenever.  He used to get a bit annoyed because he clearly wanted me to decide but I was a child.  Sometimes he would say things like “well do you want to stay for dinner or not?” and I wouldn’t know whether he wanted me to say yes or whether saying yes was putting him out and so I would say the same thing, I don’t mind – it’s up to you”.  I gave a few examples of these silly scenarios and T said that even when I was a child he put it all on me to decide.  He couldn’t ever be the adult, the father and just make a decision and tell me what we were doing.  I said that was true and that also I was always so worried about saying or doing the wrong thing and pushing him away that I was always playing the good girl.  I said to T:

“Neither of them can handle my feelings. Neither of them can validate how I feel.  Neither can take themselves out of the picture for even a moment and try to see where I am coming from.  Neither of them can apologise when they are wrong or have hurt me, intentionally or not”.

T nodded her head and smiled at me as if to say “Finally you understand”… it was as though I had finally understood something that she had known all along. It’s one of them moments in therapy where you say something out loud that you just know is very significant and something that you thought you “knew” but only intellectually knew – and now you really knew it like on some deep level.

T then said that no, they couldn’t handle my feelings and that they couldn’t handle their own either. My dad buries his head in the sand and hopes it will all go away and my mother projects her stuff onto other people and is obviously so narcissistic that her grandiose sense of self doesn’t enable her to even consider she might be in the wrong.

I suddenly realised this was true and I suddenly understood the impact this has had on me, on my life so far. I think about them, their feelings and their responses before my own. I am too scared to be honest, I am too scared to say how I feel – I don’t even KNOW how I feel because I lost touch with my feelings a long time ago – if I ever learnt how to feel them in the first place?!

And then I thought “I’ve tried to be a good girl for 29 years now and it hasn’t worked – I am still chasing their love and approval and I haven’t got it so fu*k them! No more”.

I left T’s and went home where I did some housework and watched a few episodes of a series I like, a few hours later as I was hanging up some washing I thought to myself “ooh I haven’t thought about this for all that time, ha!” I was surprised because until this point, this stuff has been consuming me constantly. Not even seconds went by without me thinking about it all. I thought to myself that this was a good sign but wasn’t sure how it had happened. I thought it must just be the power of T.

But today I think I understand that it is actually the power of that realisation. It’s the effect of finally really “getting” something. Understanding something, being validated – heard and seen and, dare I say it… maybe even that belief that it really isn’t my fault. Like, really, it really, honestly, truly and genuinely isn’t (something I’ve heard a gazillion times before and rolled my eyes at because I thought it was just a pleasantry. You know, something you say to cheer someone up or whatever).

I then spent some time Googling (the font of all knowledge!) about “victim mentality” and “how to stop playing the victim” because I decided that I am fed up of feeling weak and powerless and childish. Yes I am hurt, yes I am angry – very at the moment, but I refuse to spend the rest of my life only half living.  What a waste that would be.

Here is what I learnt so far:

  • People like to feel like the victim because it basically brands them “the goody” and the other person “the baddy”. So I guess you get some sort of approval from that – in my case, approval is clearly something I want so it’s better than nothing right?
  • If you are a victim, its safe. You don’t need to risk anything or do anything – you can just sit around in your familiar “victim” status.
  • You don’t have to take responsibility because life is happening TO you;
  • Many people think they are entitled to good treatment. The truth is that they are neither entitled nor not entitled to it. The significant issues are what is going on and how do they feel about it. This woman would have been better off actively facing the facts of the situation and acknowledging her emotional reactions rather than personally judging it and feeling victimized by it”; and

 

  • Maintaining a child victim role leads to chronic passivity. Victimized feelings are very often appropriate to the child’s situation. Children are without power, are helpless and are at the mercy of their parents. Later as an adult, things happen that are sometimes beyond your control and understanding. However, the adult who is still playing the child victim role responds like the deer that sees a mountain lion approaching and instead of fleeing the danger becomes paralyzed. This person just keeps noticing over and over that the situation is unreasonable, unfair or threatening but doesn’t make the appropriate adaptive responses. In the case of the woman mentioned above, the tip off to the fact that she really preferred the child victim role was that she never made any substantial attempt to change her circumstances. Like so many of us, she would rather feel justified in complaining endlessly about her unfortunate circumstances while passively registering her dissatisfaction than actively changing her situation”.

So, I have made the decision to go to this party tomorrow where my dad, stepmum and brothers will be. I will go there and be strong and adult. I will not get caught up in any conversations about unfairness or rejection or disappointment because I will not waste my pearls (T’s phrase). I am going to the party because I WANT to go to it, rightly or wrongly.  I know I will only feel more upset if I don’t go and so why bring that upon myself on purpose?

The plan currently is this: Change my thinking from victim, to survivor. Change my mentality from defenseless child, to in charge adult.  Try and accept that my father is unable to give me what I would like and try to just accept what he can offer and if I decide at some stage that isn’t enough – well then perhaps I will have to make the tough decision to stop being the one to keep the contact.. we will see.

I accept that I may slip in and out of this mindset. It may feel easy today and impossible next week but I will hang in there.

recover from victim

 

strong women

 

recover

 

Ah, Sweary McSwearison

So I had my session last night and a long-lost friend turned up with me – anger.  Well hello anger, it’s been a very long time! Where have you been hiding?

Further to my last post on Monday (see Pity Party), I had another disappointment last night and it happened just as I sat outside my T’s waiting for my appointment to start. I received an invitation from an uncle on my Dad’s side of the family inviting me to my cousin’s engagement party… this coming Saturday (as in like 3 days away).  I thought that seemed a bit odd so text one of my brothers to ask if he was going and he replied to say that they “all were”…. I felt so gutted it was like another punch to the stomach. Yet another event my Dad hadn’t mentioned to me, another thing to feel disappointment over and obviously it hasn’t come at a good time on top of the holiday business and the stuff my mum’s saying to my family etc.  I was already feeling let down and hurt and this just felt like yet another thing….. but in terms of timing, I guess it couldn’t have been much better because I walked straight into T’s room and for the very first time when she asked “how are you?” I said…

“Angry”.

I expected her to look shocked but she actually didn’t.  She just asked why.  I said there were a few things – well two, my dad and then my mum.

I told T all about the holiday thing and then the party thing and I then told her about the stuff my sister had told me my mum had been saying about me and my boyfriend. I shocked myself as at one stage I swore, in fact twice I think and I just don’t do that in front of T.

I told her that I didn’t want to play the poor me card too much but felt so angry that I got such a shit deal from both parents, surely one of them could be decent?! T told me that it isn’t a “poor me” and that I am perfectly entitled to feel hurt, anger, sadness and disappointment in these things and that it really is very unfair. She apologised at one point and said how sorry she was that I had to deal with this (I wasn’t really sure how to handle that because it isn’t her fault is it?) but the thought was nice.

We went through all the details, I cried a few times but I was crying whilst being very angry. I soon developed a banging headache which tends to happen when I am angry or stressed or upset in therapy.

T said she imagines I just want to get my Dad and shake him – I said I do. I said he is just so unobtainable. I said it doesn’t matter what I do, there is no getting through to him. I ignore him – he doesn’t seem to care.  I shout at him – he gets defensive and then I don’t hear from him for a long time (years).  I cry to him – he gets defensive… it just doesn’t seem to make any real difference.

I said to T that what pisses me off (I actually said this, so proud!) is that he is completely unaccountable for his actions. He just cannot have a conversation with me, admit some fault and apologise – never.  He just can’t do it and I get left with knowing this and having to hold it all in and then times like this it makes me feel like I’m going to explode with rage!

T said she understood and said how unfair and frustrating it was. I agreed it really was.

We then moved to my mother. I told her the things my sister told me about how she said my boyfriend is controlling and manipulative and how it is all his fault that I don’t see her etc… T laughed at this and said it was such a blatant projection. I agreed.

I said it is ridiculous, all these people in my family that all go on about how they never see me yet not one of the idiots EVER texts or phones me to see how I am – none of them EVER invite me to their house or out for lunch/dinner whatever yet I am always the bloody bad guy, how does that even work???? I said I am so fed up with it.

I said that its stupid. I am a grown woman with my own mind, I have my own car – if I wanted to go and see my mother, then I would!! I said that I told my sister this and said to her, can you blame me for not wanting to see mum? When I see her she always insults me, attacks me, upsets me, slags off my boyfriend or attacks him verbally like last time.  My sister had absolutely no idea what I was referring to when I said this. I said, the row when we were last there about the baby thing? She was totally oblivious.  This made me laugh because it told me that my mother clearly knew she was in the wrong because trust me, if she thought she was in the right, the whole world would have known about it!

I told my sister what had happened and she was shocked and said she wasn’t surprised.

My sister said that her and my mother had got into a huge argument and my mother had shouted “what is so bloody special about him??” (referring to my boyfriend).  Apparently my sister said to my mother that she pushes people away and then once they’ve gone, she guilt trips them for not being in her life. I completely agreed with this.

I told T that I am so angry about it all but at the same time I feel like I should be “over it”. I said I am not ten years old anymore yet I feel it sometimes. I said I shouldn’t still need mummy and daddy’s approval, it is stupid.  T said that I didn’t and haven’t dealt with or processed the feelings from when I was a young girl and so I need to deal with them now. She said to me, this pain you are in now as an adult, imagine how you felt as a child? It would have been just awful.  I said well I don’t understand it now so I wouldn’t have had a clue then.  T said well, you do understand bits of it, it is just painful. I said that I might understand elements, like for example the fact my mother is narcissistic and that she projects stuff and that she is manipulative and controlling etc… but I still don’t fully understand it, but I guess by the word understand I actually mean that I just cannot accept it… I’m not sure.

I told T that sometimes I want to line them all up – my mother, my father, my Nan, my sister and I want to just scream and scream at the all from the top of my voice!!! T said she bets that I want to kill them. I laughed.

T kept telling me that none of it is about me. I am not the reason or the cause for the way they act but I told her it is very hard to believe that because I am obviously the only common denominator.  T said she thinks my father is a very weak man who just buries his head in the sand and said this is probably why my mother was able to be with him all those years ago (30 years now).

I said it hurts that my dad just forgets about my existence and T said she doesn’t think he does, but gets it feels that way. I said it does feel that way because there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to contradict that thought.  I don’t hear from him, he doesn’t maintain contact.  T said he really should make more effort and I said yes he should, but I don’t want to be a chore to him, I want him to want to see and speak to me like most people do with their children! Agghh.

T said that she can’t help but wonder whether my Dad just sees my mother when he looks at me.  That he can’t separate us and because my mother hurt him so much all those years ago, he can’t handle a relationship with me. She said she thinks his lack of effort and “forgetfulness” are quite passive really.

I said regarding this party Saturday that I am so pissed off about it that it makes me want to push him away and be sulky about it but that the only person that ever hurts is myself.  I have thought about this sentence since my session and surprised myself that I said this – this wasn’t something I thought through, I just said it… interesting thought.

I told T that another of the things that my sister said was that now that I’ve “rekindled” things with my dad I’m suddenly seeing him “all the time” and he hasn’t been there for my entire life so that has hurt her.  I mean it’s factually incorrect anyway, but what is the point?

Oh yeah and another thing was that my mother gave me some money in January when she bumped into me, boyfriend and stepkids. It is my sister’s view that if I “don’t like mum” then I shouldn’t be taking the money from her and I should be returning it.  I said why should I? I don’t ask her for money, if she decides to do this once every 6 months or so, then why shouldn’t I keep it?  T said if it made me feel better I should return it but I said it doesn’t.  Perhaps it should, but it doesn’t. I don’t care about it and I don’t care about doing “the right thing” or whatever.  She gives money because she can’t give love and so I will take it (I know this sounds very nasty but its almost a stubborn reaction on my part I guess).  T said the problem is that the money comes with a price – it isn’t a gift, it’s like she then expects something in return. I said tough shit.

T said that this stuff is huge. She said it is very painful and she said that I needed to be able to feel this stuff, to think things and not shut myself down for “feeling sorry for myself”.

T said it is all “very fucked up” and I agreed. It truly is.

T said that she can understand how some daughters of narcissists end up going completely no contact and I agreed. I said to her, if that ever happens for me it will be as a result of this guilt making because the guilt used to make me feel awful but now it is wearing thin and the guilt making is the cause of this anger I am feeling.

I am so fucking fed up of being everyone’s poxy scapegoat. I have had enough of it.  They can all go and fuck themselves.

 

 

Feeling Angry & Sad 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Session Tuesday 4th April

Hi everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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