Anger Turned Inwards

anger

In last night’s session I told T that I had noticed from reading through some of my old blogs that when I have my “bad days”, I tend to be extremely harsh about my weight and my looks. I told her that I always feel “hideous”. I told her that reading through the posts written on days where I was in that dark place, there was a very familiar theme where I pulled myself apart and called myself lots of horrible names.

T said she could tell I was really quite taken aback about this and I told her that I have NEVER been someone who has liked her appearance, particularly my weight but other things too, but that this was shocking because of how extreme the self-hatred was in some of those blogs.

I told her that last Monday’s post (written in the rupture) was particularly awful. I told her that it was the most severe I have felt with regards to the self-hatred. I was trying to get her to understand that it was the closest I have ever come to self-harm. I have never self-harmed in the conventional sense of the word but that day last week I guess the image I had was VERY vivid and the thought did cross my mind. I know I shouldn’t really admit that but I feel it is important at the moment.

I didn’t actually tell T this and I’m not sure that she quite understood what I was trying to say (why would she when I wasn’t actually saying the words).. I was too embarrassed to tell her and thought perhaps I would send her that blog after the session so she could see for herself (but I didn’t/haven’t).

I said to T “I am wondering if on the days where I am really down and crying a lot that I am actually angry?” and she kind of nodded and said “you mean the anger comes out as tears?”. I said to her perhaps yes, but I was thinking more that the anger is turned onto myself in a “I hate my body, I am thick, I am useless” kind of way.

I have thought about this a lot since my session and this is what I’ve come up with.

Many people say that depression is anger turned inwards. My T said this to me years ago and I remember always finding that immensely interesting. I didn’t think it applied to me (I wasn’t depressed OR angry apparently) but here we are. Now, why would you turn your anger onto yourself? For me the reasons are clear: Trying to save others from being on the receiving end of my anger.  Preventing myself from pushing people away and causing them to abandon me.  Being the good girl. Having been taught that I am not allowed to show my anger else I will be punished.. there are probably more reasons than that even.

If I have been too scared of my own anger for all of the reasons above, it makes sense that any angry feelings I had wouldn’t have just miraculously disappeared, so where did it go? Onto myself.

Forms of turning anger inwards for me include the self-hatred as discussed above, reckless spending or perhaps drinking too much, different food habits perhaps not eating enough (starving myself and punishing myself for being “fat) or perhaps eating too much to try to feel better. Withdrawing socially, sleeping too much or not enough and various other things.. which lead me to my next thought:-

On my “bad days” I stay home because I can’t face the world/work/people. I stay home, I draw the curtains and lock the doors, I cry on and off all day, I might sleep a lot or I might not.. it depends but the thing I am focussing on here is that I lock myself away.  Now, when I was young, about 4 probably, my mother and her friend locked me in a room because I was being “a little brat” I was locked in there for a long time, at least a few hours and the memory of it still makes me feel weird.  I banged the door in with a hairbrush over and over again until I fell into a heap on the floor from exhaustion. Nobody came, nobody helped me and it was horrible.  It is a memory I talk about a lot and clearly a memory which has had an impact on me because a few years ago me and my fiancé were having an argument and he left the bedroom in a huff, slamming the door behind him. I FREAKED out at that. I couldn’t bare that door being closed and me being left in it like that. Clearly I now see it was a trigger for me of that horrible memory.

Today I feel I may have joined some dots up..

When I am depressed (read ANGRY), I lock myself away in my room (house). I punish myself for having angry feelings. JUST LIKE SHE DID.

I could be onto something here or I could be way off and being a bit dramatic, but it feels like I might have really understood something that I unconsciously do.

The problem with locking myself away like that is that I become stuck in my depressed, crying state. I am left to almost marinate in my own sadness. The feelings are usually hopelessness, powerlessness and other similar things which would make sense if you think about it because if you are angry with someone else (let’s say my mother in my case) but I am too scared to feel that anger towards her, I decide that I will blame myself for my disappointments and frustrations. I decide that it is all because of me, my shortcomings, my failures, my inabilities…. Because unconsciously I’ve decided, or perhaps learnt, that the alternative is to express my anger outwardly and to lose the love, care and affection of those I depend on. I guess the primitive fear goes back to the fact that without my mother, I would have literally died and so I couldn’t possibly feel the amount of anger I must have had in me to her.

So moving on now that I’ve had this idea, I guess the next step is to try to be honest with myself when I get those feelings and figure out what I am truly angry about. I imagine that won’t be easy giving that I’ve been able to block that out for my entire life to date. If I can pinpoint the real source of that anger and find a way of expressing it more appropriately (not in hurtful ways), perhaps I will disperse the anger quicker and in the process perhaps I won’t hate myself quite as much.

Doing my usual Google search, the suggestions for getting in touch with repressed anger/anger turned inwards are figuring out the following:

  • How often do you feel that way?
  • What type of feelings do you get?
  • What are the warning signs?
  • What triggers it? (i.e. is it a lack of self-control, self-discipline, forgetting something or being selfish or not having the ability to do something you wish you could).

Now I don’t know what to do with my anger, clearly so I need to make it my job to find out how to appropriately do that. Time for more Googling and to buy lots of new books I think!

“The first image that comes up is stripping my clothes off and then slicing the fat off my body.”

“I’ve noticed that my fiancé is the one triggering my angry feelings. Whenever he comes close to me to try and touch me or make a joke it makes me mad. Why?” 

“I feel so stupid.” 

Advertisements

Borderline Personality Disorder?

I had a dream last night that I was in a different house, I think in the dream it was meant to be my aunt’s house but she was away and I was house-sitting or something.  I was having my therapy sessions there but T was changing the times of my sessions and at one point I sat outside the room waiting for her for over an hour past my session time.  I didn’t know what was going on but I acted as though it was fine and I didn’t ask why she was late but inside I was stressing out.  Later in the dream I went for a ride on a motorbike or in a car or something, I can’t quite work it out, with my fiancé and then realised I only had 20 minutes until my session time and I knew I wouldn’t make it back in time. My fiancé was non-phased by this and was relaxing on the grass wherever we were but I was very anxious and stressed by it all. I remember feeling extremely stressed and upset.

I woke up feeling a bit….. groggy perhaps? I feel a bit irritated and a bit low in spirits I guess and I don’t really know why but usually feelings from my dreams seep into my waking life and so perhaps the dream stirred up some feelings for me.

I had spent my evening on Google reading about Borderline Personality Disorder , the whole push/pull thing, the fear of intimacy and engulfment and also some development phase that I clearly didn’t work through properly which is why all of this happens in the first place (I have forgotten what that was so I will try to find it again).  I read A LOT and it all fitted me so well.

It was one of those weird times that you are glad to read yourself in something and know that there is a reason for things and, obviously, that it means there is hope that things will get better. It also really grounds me when I can read stuff (intellectualise perhaps) because it becomes less scary somehow.. but given how I feel today, perhaps it has stirred up some other feelings or maybe its something else.. maybe it’s because it is T day and I have some unconscious fears about that? I don’t know.. maybe it is the dream.

The things that the dream and the stuff I was reading have in common is the fear of abandonment.  I can see that. In the dream T wasn’t being reliable was she? She wasn’t showing up when she was meant to and I didn’t know where I stood with her. Will she come, won’t she come? In the stuff I was reading I understand that the reason for the push/pull in relationships comes from a desperate need for intimacy and affection but at the same time, having a deep fear of abandonment and engulfment and so hence the push part of the push/pull situation. Leave before being left etc….  so the common theme therefore being abandonment right?

I don’t know, maybe I’m feeling the old body memories or emotional flashbacks of the abandonment fear. I feel irritable and moody.

I then flicked through some of my old blog posts to see if I could find any evidence of my new knowledge of the BPD traits.. and I did, but what stuck out more for me than anything else was quite how many “bad days” I have had.  I wrote a list down and there are at least 30 bad days.. not including today and others that I may not have written about at the time. These 30 days are between today and February this year.  So in 9 months, I’ve had 30 bad days.  An average of 3.3 per month. That is a lot, isn’t it?

I read that one of the “symptoms” of BPD is Emotional Instability and experiencing a range of emotions such as rage, sorrow, shame, panic, terror, emptiness and loneliness.  I then read

“You may have severe mood swings over a short space of time.

It’s common for people with BPD to feel suicidal with despair, and then feel reasonably positive a few hours later. Some people feel better in the morning and some in the evening. The pattern varies, but the key sign is that your moods swing in unpredictable ways.”

That is true for me.  I do feel a range of emotions including ALL of those things above… I don’t feel suicidal with despair but I do sometimes feel fine at one part of the day and then horrific at another; or visa versa.  I don’t feel “suicidal” but I have had images of harming haven’t I? I’ve written about that as recently as last Monday.

The next bit I read about impulsive behaviour. It talks about self-harm, feeling intensely sad and depressed but also impulsive activities like binge drinking or spending or gambling etc.  I have always described myself as impulsive. Often when it comes to shopping and buying clothes that I don’t have the money to buy (even when I have no money and I use credit cards or an overdraft). If I want to buy something, I will buy it and then later feel silly or guilty for it. The high doesn’t last long.

Next..

Unstable relationships

If you have BPD, you may feel that other people abandon you when you most need them, or that they get too close and smother you.

When people fear abandonment, it can lead to feelings of intense anxiety and anger. You may make frantic efforts to prevent being left alone, such as:

  • constantly texting or phoning a person
  • suddenly calling that person in the middle of the night
  • physically clinging on to that person and refusing to let go
  • making threats to harm or kill yourself if that person ever leaves you

Alternatively, you may feel others are smothering, controlling or crowding you, which also provokes intense fear and anger. You may then respond by acting in ways to make people go away, such as emotionally withdrawing, rejecting them or using verbal abuse.”

Okay so I have a fear of abandonment, that is undeniable. I suffer from feelings of intense anxiety and anger (which I usually turn towards myself but T perhaps found herself on the receiving end of last week).  I don’t constantly text or phone anyone and I wouldn’t physically cling or threaten to harm or kill myself but in all honestly that is more about saving face. I have often wanted to constantly text or call someone but I wouldn’t do it. However I can’t handle the feelings associated to that feeling of being abandoned or forgotten or left or not important… I could pull my hair out of my head.

It says that people with BPD have “love-hate relationships” and that they have a very black and white view of people. That they make people either all good or all bad with no real in-between.  Splitting/fragmenting.. I know I do that. T has said that to me many times.  Look at my latest rupture for evidence. T was all bad for a few days… and then it was over and she is now all good again and the only person who is “all bad” is me.  Look what I did?

For many people with BPD, emotional relationships (including relationships with professional carers) involve “go away/please don’t go” states of mind, which is confusing for them and their partners. Sadly, this can often lead to break-ups.”

I then found this website https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm which had a list of statements that would describe feelings associated with people who have BPD.

  • I often feel empty
  • My emotions shift very quickly and I often experience extreme sadness, anger and anxiety
  • I’m constantly afraid that the people I care about will abandon me or leave me.
  • I would describe most of my romantic relationships as intense, but unstable.
  • The way I feel about the people in my life can dramatically change from one moment to the next—and I don’t always understand why.
  • I often do things I know are dangerous or bad for me, such as driving recklessly, having unsafe sex, binge drinking, doing drugs, or going on spending sprees.
  • I’ve attempted to hurt myself, engaged in self-harm behaviours such as cutting, or threatened suicide.
  • When I’m feeling insecure in a relationship, I tend to lash out or make frantic gestures to keep the other person close.

I relate to many of them, particularly feeling empty, having emotions that shift quickly, the impulsive things as previously discussed and feeling very insecure in a relationship.

And this…. the 9 signs of BPD

  1. Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. Even something as innocuous as a loved one getting home late from work or going away for the weekend can trigger intense fear. This leads to frantic efforts to keep the other person close. You may beg, cling, start fights, jealously track your loved one’s movements, or even physically block the other person from leaving. Unfortunately, this behavior tends to have the opposite effect—driving others away.
  2. Unstable relationships. People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. You may fall in love quickly, believing each new person is the one who will make you feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or horrible, with nothing in between. Your lovers, friends, or family members may feel like they have emotional whiplash from your rapid swings between idealization and devaluation, anger, and hate.
  3. Unclear or unstable self-image. When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don’t have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, and even sexual identity.
  4. Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. If you have BPD, you may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviors, especially when you’re upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex, or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. These risky behaviors may help you feel better in the moment, but they hurt you and those around you over the long-term.
  5. Self-harm. Suicidal behavior and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behavior includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats, or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm includes all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. Common forms of self-harm include cutting and burning.
  6. Extreme emotional swings. Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD. One moment, you may feel happy, and the next, despondent. Little things that other people brush off can send you into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly (unlike the emotional swings of depression or bipolar disorder), usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness. People with BPD often talk about feeling empty, as if there’s a hole or a void inside them. At the extreme, you may feel as if you’re “nothing” or “nobody.” This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the hole with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.
  8. Explosive anger. If you have BPD, you may struggle with intense anger and a short temper. You may also have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit—yelling, throwing things, or becoming completely consumed by rage. It’s important to note that this anger isn’t always directed outwards. You may spend a lot of time being angry at yourself.
  9. Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality—an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you’re outside your own body.

Again, I can relate to many of them.  My anger is mainly directed towards myself and my body image or me being “ugly” or “stupid”… I guess occasionally my fiancé may be on the receiving end of it.. and perhaps T was last week, but usually its directed towards myself.  Perhaps this is what causes my depressive days or days like today where I feel irritated and angry with no real reason… things trigger me easily to lash out like a busy day at work where I feel I can’t stay level-headed.  Friday for example, I was busy at work, not feeling great and I CRIED at my desk because I was stressed.

This morning my fiancé said he woke up and thought to himself “how do I feel today” because he wasn’t feeling too good yesterday. He laughed and said how silly is that? I told him that is my first thought EVERY DAY.  He asked “in a mental capacity you mean?” and I said yes.  He said that was very sad.  I guess it is, isn’t it? I can go to bed happy and wake up feeling very sad or vice versa.. it is my very first thought of every day. Yesterday I felt excitable and hyperactive and today I feel rubbish.

I know that lots of people don’t agree with needing a “label” and I can’t be bothered to get into a debate on that right now, my brain is too fried, but for me, this is helpful. I will speak to my T about it tonight and see what she says.

If I am right and I do have BPD at least it explains a few things, particularly the mood swings and the extent at which I go from happy to utterly depressed and back because that really does worry me sometimes.  It explains the push/pull to me more and helps me to understand and it means I can read up about it so that I feel less scared by everything.

I think that T triggered something in me that session which made me freak out and pull away from her. I split her off as all bad and projected onto her until the next session where we started to repair things and I came back down a bit (the depressive position I spoke about yesterday).  The sadness and grief that followed on Thursday and all the tears I cried that day which were the result of my panic at her leaving me due to my anger… my fear of abandonment kicking in and my need to pull her back to me again. Is this what I do in all of my relationships?

Did I decide to drop a session whilst T was on holiday because I was freaking out about her leaving me? Because I was unconsciously fighting against my own abandonment fears? Was I trying to pull away from her because I was hurting?……… and the tears and fear I felt on Thursday about the fact I would only see T once a week instead of twice soon, is that me panicking because I have brought on an abaondment (kind of) all by myself…. a self fulfilling prophecy?

So many thoughts in my head right now whirling around!

Coping Strategies/Behaviours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Letter to T (not actually sent)

Dear T,

I am writing this for my benefit more than your’s, but perhaps it will help us both. Who knows.

Right now things aren’t feeling good for me. About you. You aren’t feeling safe to me at the moment. In fact, you feel dangerous to me. That probably sounds a bit dramatic but its the truth.

Right now I feel that when I see you I will have to put on an act that I am very strong, very sure of myself and of my feelings, opinions and thoughts and not weak. The reason I feel like that is that I feel if you sense my weakness, you will sense a “way in” and you will use it to your advantage to “win” somehow. Perhaps by making me doubt myself and think that you are right and I am wrong, perhaps by persuading me that I have been stupid, perhaps by filling me with guilt…. perhaps by removing the sense I have at the moment that I am not weak or stupid or guilty, but I am listening to my own mind, my body and to my gut, to my self for once. I don’t want you to take that away from me.

When I started to have doubts that perhaps you aren’t actually who I thought you were, I tried to brush them off. I tried to ignore myself and then I tried to listen to myself… listening to myself is what has got me here. I have spent my life ignoring or dismissing my own beliefs or ignoring my internal danger radar – I decided that has to stop. And here I am.

You don’t feel safe because I feel like perhaps the whole time that I have looked at you as the some great protector, the fantasy mother or whatever else I’ve seen you as, has all been wrong.  When you apportioned  your own angry feelings to me you were wrong. You weren’t only wrong, you did what SHE does. Don’t project your negative shit onto me. I won’t take it. I am NOT a scapegoat anymore for anyone, least of all you who should know better.  Why do people see me as such an easy target? Do I do something to make that possible? Is it because people look at me and think “she won’t do anything about it”? Is it that easy?

You don’t feel safe anymore because you ruined my good news. SHE does that too. Why have you started doing the things that she does?

You’ve admitted that when you got my email telling you I had a new job and telling you I would be dropping back to one session a week you felt anger. I could tell you felt something negative because of your reply. I admitted to you that your reply left me feeling disheartened and dissapointed. It felt “therapisty” and cold to me, but as usual, I doubted myself because obviously you are right all the time.. or so I thought. I should have trusted my gut at the time. I could feel something wasn’t right then but I chose to ignore it. There seems to be a pattern emerging there.

You experienced a negative reaction to my good news. I don’t know the reason for that, but what I do know is that, that isn’t right. It isn’t normal for my therapist to have a negative reaction to my good news.  Guess who else would feel a negative response to my good news?? HER AGAIN. I expected more from you T.  At least with her I can put it down to her being jealous of me somehow, but clearly that doesn’t apply to you and so the only way I can make sense of that is that you want to keep me down, small, weak…. dependant on you and that makes me so angry. Why do you both want to keep me needy?

I feel like you will blame all of this on me. I feel like you are currently sitting at home feeling totally un-phased by all of this. Perhaps it crosses your mind every now and again and you think to yourself “Ooh Twink has turned me bad – at last, this will be interesting” or something similar which feels painfully condescending and disrespectful to the pain and anguish I am left with in the meantime. It makes me feel like a fucking science experiment. You won’t admit that to me of course, that wouldn’t be ethical. My feelings mean shit, right?

Being angry at you or not trusting you feels like a no-win situation. You are more intelligent, more important, more authoritative and more wise. I am none of those things and so, naturally, I am wrong.

Every now and then this wave of guilt washes over me when I think of the times you have been kind and soft and it makes me cry. Like now as I type that… but I am fighting against that because I can’t lose my anger. Losing my anger makes me feel weak again and as I have already said, me being weak means you get to be stronger and overpower me and I can’t let that happen. I can’t be crushed. Guilt is a bastard little shit face. Guess who else uses guilt to win?

If it turns out that you are just like my mother I don’t know what I will do. The thought terrifies me. It isn’t impossible though is it? Look how many people like my mother I’ve already attracted in my life! There’s Sarah, then Tina and God only knows how many other people, not to mention the fact my Nan and sister clearly treat me with similar traits to my mother and her narcissism. Do what we say, do what we do, don’t disagree and don’t say no… or else…… that’s how you made me feel too.

If I have bared my heart and soul to you for the last 3 years and all the while you were just like her, then I give up. I won’t ever be able to trust anyone again because if even a qualified therapist is able to control and manipulate me and make me feel weak and use me as a scapegoat for her shit feelings, then what hope is there?

I think I will stop there because I am drained and I have a headache from crying.

Despite my anger, my fear and everything else, I can clearly see that a lot of this letter is probably transference after all…… but that doesn’t give you permission to make light of it. The feelings are real, the pain is real and the fear is real too.

Don’t laugh at it, please.

 

 

 

 

 

The Floodgates Have Opened (Trigger Warning) ⚠️ 

Last night when the kids went home and I wrote my blog, I felt a familiar feeling of being low, being down or sad or something. I put a lot of it down to this current situation with T, but thought it could also be standard Sunday blues and perhaps some secret resentment of having had the kids all weekend and having no time to myself or my fiancé mixed with some (immature) irritations at things mainly triggered between my fiancé and my Stepdaughter. Also that memory is playing on my mind. 

I went to bed feeling down and thought to myself, why are you so sad? I told myself to pull myself together and that I don’t have much longer at this company so I just had to suck it up. 

I dreamt a lot last night. The dream seems to be all over the place, I will note it below in case writing it helps me make sense of a feeling or message somehow. 

Anyway, I got dressed this morning and felt huge. Really fat. I grabbed onto the fat on my hips and stomach and felt hideous. I’ve really let myself go. I stepped on the scales and thought again, wow, you fat cow. 

My hair looks shit. It’s all over the place and the top looks greasy despite being washed yesterday. Why am I so ugly and fat? 

I walked to work and regretted the trousers I am wearing. They make me look even fatter. What was I thinking? I can’t pull these off. 

I got to work, I felt headachy, sweaty and miserable. I changed my shoes and took my bag to the toilets to do my hair again. I went into a cubicle, sat down on the toilet and BOOM! I burst into hysterical tears. I cried so hard, so loudly and so many tears. I felt awful. I also didn’t give two shits that colleagues may hear me. I just kept crying and crying… 

I realised this wasn’t going to pass and I grabbed my phone and text my boss. I told him I wasn’t in a state to work and that I needed to take the day as sick or work from home. I knew I couldn’t really work from home and regretted suggesting that. luckily he replied and told me to take it as sick. 

I’m now on my way back home. I’m trying to picture what I want or need to do when I get in. The first image that comes up is stripping my clothes off and then slicing the fat off my body. I won’t actually do that, don’t worry, but that’s the image. 

I wonder if I need sleep? Do I need exercise? Nothing is hitting the spot. I have slept loads this weekend and when I sleep, I dream and I don’t want to dream and wake up worse. 

I’ve thought about contacting T to say I need to see her and sort this mess out today , perhaps it’s this making me so upset? But what is stopping me is that given how I am feeling, the very last thing I want to do is show her my weakness. I can’t show her I am weak and impressionable and easily shut up. I can’t afford to be vulnerable with her at the moment. She is too dangerous. 

My eyes are filling up as I type this on my phone on the train home. 

I think to myself, what is wrong with you?? Seriously?! 

The dream:

Walking around the area my Nan used to live in looking for the school I worked in. Couldn’t find it or remember the name of it. 

Got picked up along the main road Nan lived on but left my saucepans on. Someone took them in and I wanted to get them but was too embarrassed to admit they were mine and I had left them on. 

Two dead babies. I held one. I stood up and the dead baby was heavy and my shoe heel sunk into the grass – I asked someone to hold the baby until I had come back but said I wasn’t avoiding the dead babies which is what they were implying. 

Another teacher had loads and loads of lovely clothes. I didn’t have any. I found her room and all her clothes were hanging up. She had such lovely stuff. I looked at the labels and thought I would try and shop there but doubted anything would look as nice on me. 

My boss said I could go home early – it was about 4pm but I hadn’t done someone else’s typing. I asked if he needed me to stay and do it, he said it needed to be done by 10am tomorrow. I thought I would send it to his PA, but was nervous she wouldn’t pick it up in time and wasn’t sure whether I should stay or not. 

Days like this are HARD. Hard isn’t a strong enough word. Days like this make me feel like I have a real fault. Nobody else seems to get this way at work, none of my friends do either. Why am I so miserable? I feel so awful for my fiancé, he’s always so happy and content. He’s so steady. He’s just had what he classes as “a great weekend” and has gone to work feeling rested – then there’s me?! How does that happen? How did someone like him get stuck with someone like me? 

Still down 

Here we are again… still… I’m sat on the bathroom floor pretending to still be in the bath just to get some time alone. Work today was horrible, I was manic busy and it was stressful. I went to work still feeling down, sad and angry. Like I had last night. 

I seemed to be able to put these feelings aside at work but they came flooding back instantly the very second I walked out of the office tonight. I walked home slowly and felt so deflated. I even stopped off to buy a chocolate bar which I ate immediately and that really isn’t something I do or have ever done. 

The feeling is so heavy. It’s taking over and I don’t have the energy to try and fake being okay. I’m not okay but my reason seems so small. 

The kids are here now and so I have to snap into happy stepmother role and I seriously feel the opposite. 

I’ve noticed that my fiancé is the one triggering my angry feelings. Whenever he comes close to me to try and touch me or make a joke it makes me mad. Why? 

The only thing I want to do is sleep. Oh and eat. I fancied wine too but realised that was just to make me feel better and I’ve stopped myself because well, that’s not healthy is it. 

I played my audiobook all the way home but none of it really went in so I’m going to have to rewind it and play it again. 

I hope this feeling has passed when I wake up. It’s really got its claws into me. 

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. 

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. 

Where am I in healing from my mother wound? 

How am I feeling about her at the moment? 

Where am I in this journey to heal from the mother wound – of being an unloved daughter of a narcissist? 

I don’t know. 

This is the thing, everything is so confusing in this recovery. It all seems to overlap and intertwine, nothing seems clear cut and obvious, nothing is easy to articulate or process. I think that’s what makes it harder. You make progress in one aspect and then you fall back in another. 

I often wish someone would give me some sort of map of recovery, so I could see what stages there were, which stages I had “completed” and which stages were yet to come. I question myself why? Why do I want that? and I think the answer is that I want to know I’m getting somewhere and I need to know there’s an end in sight somewhere – the feeling that this pain and confusion is never-ending is too much to take. 

It’s like peeling a very large onion. You learn something (that she’s a narc for example) a layer comes off as you take that in and you learn what that means. That takes years and then your understanding and awareness deepens a bit and you learn something else, maybe that you feel guilty for thinking badly about her – you explore that, where that comes from and why and another layer comes off. This goes on and on. 

I have no idea how many layers I’ve peeled off this onion now, but it feels like a hell of a lot and it feels as though its scarily never-ending. It’s the fear of what’s to come and how much more pain is yet to make its way into my heart. 

My latest realisation this week is how scared I am of her. I knew I was scared of certain things, but this week I’ve seen and felt the true strength of this fear in a way that I’ve never “seen” before. It’s shaken me up a bit to be honest. 

Was that small child as scared as this? I mean, if I’m this scared with my adult knowledge, life experience and safety, how the hell did a helpless child feel who had to live with her night and day? The answer is that the child made it her fault. Mummy was good – she was bad. And that’s stuck. I don’t know what’s worse. 

She couldn’t get away. It makes me feel sick. 

So I’ve been asking myself, what exactly am I scared of? 

I just don’t know the answer. I guess it’s just the way my inner child has been programmed. It’s not a conscious thought process. The way I reacted and how easily I was triggered Wednesday was excessive – she was dangerous. The way I felt and the way my body reacted Saturday evening before going to her house tells me I was very scared. 

I know logically there is nothing to be scared of. I’m an adult now – I no longer need her for survival. I don’t need her approval now. I have my own life, house and family and I don’t even have any warm feelings towards her – I dislike her and I HATE the lack of connection between us and how raw that feels to me. 

Avoiding her for as long as possible seems the best and safest option. 

Yet I now have the option to cut her out completely and yet I choose against it? Why? The truth is (and it’s hard to even admit this), that it’s for her sake. 

I see her for her sake. To keep her happy. How fucked up is that? I don’t see her because I miss her or because I enjoy her company. I subject myself to the anxiety before visiting her, the false-self during my visits and then the pain and sadness that follow the day after when I inevitably cry and mourn a little more the difference between what I want and what I have. 

It’s like self-punishment. I punish myself for her gain over and over again. 

I know that T, my boyfriend and probably my readers will be thinking that I don’t need to do those things, that I don’t owe her anything and that it’s probably infuriating to read – yet the idea that I could live without her seems impossible. Which again makes no sense because she does nothing for me!!! What would I miss other than the apprehension, anxiety and fear? 

I think perhaps I’m scared of her ability to manipulate me and how easily she can do it. 

I’m scared she will suck me back in without me realising. 

I’m scared she will turn me bad – make me do and say things that are not really me as I morph into the people-pleasing me I used to be with her. 

I’m scared she will ruin my life. She will damage my relationship with my boyfriend, with my other family members, with friends or my boyfriend’ family…. and why? Because she can and because she has done before. The risk is real. 

I’m scared of what could happen if we got into an argument. Of what I would do or say. Yet there’s a part of me wishing for an excuse to let rip and have an excuse to break ties. 

I’m scared of having to feel the depths of my feelings about her. 

I’m still scared I’ve got it all wrong even though logically I know i haven’t. 

I’m still scared that everything else in my life is borrowed and that I may find myself alone one day and need her. That ultimately she’s the only thing I’m guaranteed to “keep”. 
I don’t like her and I don’t like who I am around her. It’s all too fake. I feel I loose touch with myself when I am there and it’s scary how naturally that happens, how quickly and how effortlessly. 

I don’t feel love for her as a daughter “should” and I can’t handle the disconnect that’s recently become so obvious. That hurts me deeply. 

The denial has left (for the most part) and the harsh reality that’s left is frankly sickening. 

I find myself caught in cycles of self-pity, mourning and grief, anger then depression. 

I wish I could go back in time with this new knowledge and grow myself up properly, differently. I wish I could save my inner child from the feelings I had to endure. I wish someone could save me from enduring them now too.

So much damage has already been done, what more am I scared of? Family relationships have been ruined. Family members think things about me that aren’t true because of her and I’m dealing with that – though it’s a struggle because it’s unfair – I’m learning to accept that’s how this is going to go, I’ve given up the fight. 

I don’t need anyone’s approval anymore. I don’t want her’s and if I can’t get my Nan’s or my sister’s or whoever else’s then so be it. 

But I do want to get to a place where I fully support myself. Where I have less doubt and far less fear. When will I feel strong on my own?

I’m only uncovering the truth, my truth and yet I feel like I’m being deceitful in doing so. I’m sick of the blame being on my shoulders. I keep telling myself, if she wanted me to speak nicer about her, she should have given me nicer things to tell.. 

It all comes down to the fact that I am hurt so very deeply by her. My heart physically breaks when I’m in touch with these feelings. It feels like it will be eternal. I can’t intellectualise this away. It’s not possible. My mother is too self absorbed and selfish and narcissistic to love me how I needed and still need to be loved. I didn’t have the mum I needed – or deserved and I never will. 

How do you heal that hole in your heart? 

Why didn’t I get that? I’m learning it wasn’t my fault, I’m believing this, slowly… yet I need explanations. I need logic to help me accept it and there isn’t any. I have to feel this to loosen its hold. 

I know it’s not true, but it feels like I’m the only daughter who wasn’t loved by her mum and dad in the world. It feels so acutely personal. 
There’s grief, sadness, anger, hate, disbelief and it’s all muddled up and confused. 

People talk about me setting boundaries with her that would enable a more beneficial relationship between us and there is nothing I can think of that would enable this to happen because as awful as it sounds, it’s not boundaries I need, it’s an entirely different mother. 

Sure I could suggest we meet at a different location, a restaurant for example so it’s less on her territory. I could lay down the law and ban certain subjects of conversation etc but none of this seems appealing to me because none of those adjustments would give me what I need. It doesn’t feel as though a middle ground is achievable or even wanted. 

So what, I would rather put myself through this self punishment than even try and apply helpful boundaries? Yep. How distorted is that?! 

In an ideal world, she would do something so undeniably awful to me that I could evidence and then I’d cut her off forever. Nobody could think badly of me because “look what she did!!” They wouldn’t be able to take her side, they wouldn’t pity her and I would be guilt-free. I could finally cut the ties and walk away with my head held high. Some readers may be thinking that she’s already done that in so many ways and you’d be right, but none of it is easy to prove and even she isn’t able to admit any wrongdoing yet alone apologise to me. So there’s still that doubt that I have it wrong. That I would be making a huge mistake. 

Then there’s all the people that tell me I should try to emphasise with my mum and understand that she loved me the only way she knew how, that clearly she has wounds herself that affected her parenting ability and then the guilt is back in my hands – it’s me in the wrong again. 

Tell me this gets easier please? I feel like I could drown in the confusion and pain this brings. 

Things have gone south: Emotional Flashback 

Things have gone south. 

I went to the quiz night last night with my boyfriend and his parents. The evening was pleasant until… 

3 women walk towards our table and as I look up, it’s my mother and two of her friends. 

Oh My God. 

I felt a weird panic. Shock, fear, awkwardness. I couldn’t believe she was here. This was my local and she knew I drank here sometimes and that we did this quiz with my boyfriends’s parents…. what was she doing here? And on a Wednesday night? She had never been here before my birthday. Childish I’m like “this is my place. Not your’s”. 

Everyone said hello to one another but the awkwardness was really obvious. My mother put her fake posh look and voice on and said “we came for supper”… supper??? Sorry who are you? Before I knew it, I was saying “Supper? Since when do you use that word?”. Looking back I guess that was a bit aggressive but the words had flown out of my mouth before I had processed them. She was trying to put on an act of some sort of poshness because she thinks my boyfriend’s parents are posh. 

The difference between my boyfriend’s parents and her (and her friends) was so obvious. I really wasn’t enjoying this one bit. I wasn’t prepared for it.

There were a few moments of small talk and then she and her friends left. Nothing more was said. I felt so weird… so uncomfortable…. and I’m not sure if everyone did, or if it was just me, but suddenly it felt as though there was an elephant in the room. Things weren’t being said that were being thought – I wonder if I’m wrong? 

I panicked because I’m scared (or the little me) is that she will tell them I’ve been bad – that I AM bad. Because that’s what she did to me when I was young. She always made stories up to my grandparents and told them in front of me so that they disapproved. She would phone them or my aunty or my sister’s dad or get her latest fling to tell me off. I think that young fear is still there. 

I’m a different person with her to with them. Please don’t ruin this for me…. please don’t tell them I’m bad!!  She always won the crowd – the audience, whoever was watching. How ashamed I was. 

Anyway we got on with our evening and she wasn’t mentioned again. Me and my boyfriend came home and I went straight to bed as it was late and as my head hit the pillows and I grabbed Frank, I cried. 

I didn’t know then what I was crying for and I’m not entirely sure now but I woke up for work this morning and (sorry for tmi) had a very upset tummy. I called in sick and am now in bed with a thumping headache. 

I know not everyone believes in the mind and body link, but I do and so I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this happened, that I cried and that I’m feeling crap. But I can’t put my finger on what upset me so much. 

I’ve had my mind and body book out and looked up my symptoms to see if that helped, diarrhoea mainly pointing towards not being able to hold on to something anymore, being scared shitless or feeling as though you’ve been hit in the guts. The headache points to too much time in the head and repressed feelings. 

The thing is I’ve been aware that I’ve been really overeating. I feel constantly hungry at the moment and I’ve not been caring what I’m eating or how much. And I haven’t been to the gym like I usually do. This is a huge change from previous months where I’ve been eating a certain amount of calories and exercising a lot. I put this down to the break but now I’m not so sure. It’s no surprise my stomach is chucking it all out, there’s too much!! It’s also made me think back to a time when I used to starve myself and hide my food in my bedroom bin and then get told off… no I’m doing the opposite. 

My boyfriend had to go to work and I really wanted him to stay and cuddle me. Problem is he’s scared of getting ill and so won’t come near me when I’m sick. 

I’m really in touch with this needy feeling of needing to be looked after. As I write this tears are dripping down my face. 

I wish I could expand on that a bit, but I don’t think I can. I just have this craving to be looked after and made better. I wish someone was here to give me a cuddle, let me cry on them, maybe cook me soup at lunch and make me feel loved. I need love.

I’m crying because I need love. I want love and affection and to feel looked after. Instead I’m eating food and that’s making me ill as my stomach tries to tell me “no, that’s not helping!”. Apparently the hole can’t be filled with food.

Maybe I’m a bit regressed and I’m feeling like a child that needs her mummy.

I had a dream earlier this morning that I had made my hamster a new cage up as he had wrecked his. His tube had broken and he was seconds away from escaping and his fur was matted. I bathed him, held him and fixed his cage and tubes. I mothered him. 

That’s why I’m crying isn’t it? This sucks so bad. I feel heartbroken. 

And today and I would normally see T but she’s gone and that makes it hurt even more. 

I need a mummy and she’s gone. Both in the sense that the mummy I wanted never was mine and my therapy mummy is away. I’m feeling alone and in need of being looked after like a child. That mother hole constantly getting bigger. 

I’ve just cried a whole river. Snotty, noisey crying. Wow that was horrible. 

Damn it.