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. 

Reaching Out Or Self-Soothing? 

Would reaching out to T actually help? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

Revelation?

It’s Sunday afternoon. 4.11pm as I start to type this and I feel good. I feel good because I saw my mother last night and have got that out of the way. I survived it. I came home this morning feeling sick (which seems to be happening a lot at the moment when I am in touch with my feelings about her or/and my Dad). But my wonderful boyfriend gave me a hug, we had a huge chat and I cried a little and now I feel good.

My boyfriend said some amazing things and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I might just be believing some of the things he said.

We spoke about my Dad. I have written a lot about him recently and the whole holiday situation so I won’t go over it again here.  My mother brought him up last night as expected (she hates him, he hates her – it’s been 28 years, get over it). Anyway, I got sucked into talking about him which I shouldn’t have done because I had been drinking and it’s a very sore subject for me and because, and I hate to say it, for some reason I still fall into the trap of telling her what she wants to hear about him – which is that he’s still being shit.

She loves to hear he is still being shit despite the impact that obviously has on me and I fell for it and launched into a speech about the holiday, about my brother’s texts Friday night, about how he signed my birthday card with his name instead of Dad. Obviously she loved all of this because, I guess, it makes her feel less threatened and makes her feel less of a shitty mother (if only she knew).

But then she said “I don’t understand why you are still upset by this? Why do you still care? Aren’t you used to it by now? When are you going to get over it? I don’t know why you allow it to bother you? Why don’t you just stop begging for his love?”

OUCHHHH.

Ouch because it’s true, isn’t it?

Why aren’t I “over it” yet? I’ve had my entire life of being dissapointed, let down and rejected by him. He’s been vacant for huge amounts of it… he has never changed despite many promises to try… why does it still hurt me so much?

I told her that I didn’t know why but that I can’t help the way I feel. That if I could stop feeling like this then I would, but that I can’t.  She went on to say that he is only my father in terms of biology and that she doesn’t understand why I feel it so important to be loved by him just because his title is Dad.  She said she doesn’t get it and said how she told her Dad to f.off when she was my age and has never thought about him since.  [Obviously I have a VERY different idea about that – her lack of caring about her dad could very easily have contributed to her extreme narcissism, but she’s too defended against her feelings to feel that]. And because she is narcissistic, she wants me to have the same life experiences as her, not better and so me having a decent dad or me having a decent relationship with him is NOT what she wants for me. Oh so lovely.

Back to today, my boyfriend mentioned this and said she is wrong. That of course it still hurts and that he understands that completely. I told him that when my mother said that if I hadn’t contacted my dad 2 years ago (after 3 years of no contact) that we still wouldn’t be talking… I said that really hurt me because it was true. I knew it was and I HATED that fact.

My boyfriend said that I didn’t actually know for a fact that was true. I said I did. I said that I had asked my Dad at the time whether he had intended to contact me, whether he would have done at some stage and he didn’t literally say no, but he meant no. He said he would have left me to it.. so that’s pretty much evidence isn’t it?

He said that it truly is my Dad’s issue and that it isn’t a fault in me. Cue me breaking down in tears because I truly believe it is me that is the problem. My poor boyfriend must have the patience of a saint because we’ve had this conversation soooooooooo many times. But then my boyfriend said this…

“Okay, give me 2 examples of why you are such a bad person your Dad doesn’t want to love you?”

And I froze. I thought and thought and I thought to myself for the very first time ever “I’m a decent human. I am a NICE person. I truly am”. I thought about different character flaws that I have, I don’t think for a second I’m anywhere near perfect, but even they didn’t seem to be applicable in this situation because we all have flaws and besides, my dad wouldn’t even know those flaws because he doesn’t know me enough!!! I did offer one suggestion:

“I remind him of my mother” but my boyfriend said, quite rightly “is that your fault that you remind HIM of someone?” and no, of course it isn’t.

Bloody Nora. In the words of Jamie Lawson… I wasn’t expecting that.

My boyfriend was laughing at the fact that for the first time in my entire life, I really believed this. I AM a nice girl. I DO deserve to be loved and treated well. That I genuinely do not “make” my father unable to love me. That it ISN’T my fault. It isn’t about me.

Jesus… it isn’t about me. Wow.  This dude should be a therapist LOL.

I’ve replayed this conversation over and over in my head since he said it this morning. He is so right isn’t he?

We then spoke about this fantasy I have of him being a great dad to his 3 boys and my boyfriend said:

“What makes you think he is such a great Dad to the boys? Does he take them out? Does he go to football matches with them? Do they go down the pub for beers? Do they go out on Sundays together?”

You may have guessed that the answer to all of those things is No.  He asked me what it was that he does that made him such a great dad in my head.  I said

He’s there.

And my boyfriend said he is there yes, because he lives there – and so do they…. it isn’t that they’ve all moved out and he is regularly contacting them, popping to their houses or having dinner with them on Sundays. They share a house so they just happen to be together.  He also told me that my fantasy of them all chilling together every evening watching tele probably wasn’t accurate either. He pointed out that the boys are all in their early twenties and have girlfriends so probably weren’t at home much! And as I write this, I am thinking that they hadn’t been on a family holiday in 14 years before this one and that says a lot, doesn’t it? I’m sure they could have done if they had wanted family time enough, even camping if finances were tight. This holiday happened because my brothers suggested it and probably pushed my dad into booking it.

I said he was right. Of course he was/is. I’ve distorted it all so much in my head all of these years. It has always been me that made him a shit dad to me. This was backed up and evidenced by the fact he was such a wonderful dad to the boys when the truth is, he probably isn’t! My boyfriend said when the boys all move out, it will probably be them or their mother doing the contact and he is probably right. Admittedly there is still a voice in my head that is thinking “nah, he will be great” but even I can see that the history speaks for itself, how likely is it that he will be great at keeping in contact with them when he’s allowed literally years to pass between us?

I cried again after this conversation. I think out of relief? Some strange feeling of ease has been in me since this. I wish this was something I had felt all of my life. It could have saved me from so many sleepless nights, so many tears and so much pain!

I also cried a few tears about how if I had a decent mother she might have been able to have helped me internalise a solid sense of self, some self-esteem and she might have been able to make me feel lovable growing up (like my boyfriend makes me feel now as an adult). It strikes me as very sad that she didn’t do those things for me (whatever her reasons) and that I’ve never felt this way before and I did cry a bit for myself in that I will admit.

My boyfriend asked me how old my inner child was right now. I told him she was 6. She’s always 6 (just as my 25 year old teddy has always been 2! LOL).  He asked me what I would say to her if she were here in the room with us and I said I didn’t know and so he started to talk “to her” which I literally cannot handle so told him to stop. But he said that he would tell her she was amazing. That she was not only what he wanted in a girlfriend, but in any person in his life. That he loved me and that I was a fantastic, kind, loving person and that no decent Dad would have missed the chance to parent me. (More tears!!!).

I then said to him that I had got choked up during Cars 3 at the cinema yesterday because someone said “the best thing in his life wasn’t racing… it was you.  He saw things in you that you don’t even see yourself” and my inner child cried a little at how she has never had even one parent think that way about her. To be the best thing in a parent’s life. To be the apple of someone’s eye. That someone had so much faith in you, they “saw things” that you didn’t… wahhh.

I don’t mean to sound like I am feeling sorry for myself from every angle here, but the true force of all this shit is suddenly very obvious. The mum and dad wounds are very prominent right now and I am not going to repress it any longer. This shit has to come out.

Could today have been a breakthrough moment? I hope so. I hope it doesn’t fade into the background and get overtaken by my critical inner voice.  We will see.

Given With Love: Transitional Object

Well I feel rather chipper today and it is thanks to T (and Frank).

For those who haven’t read my previous few posts, I had been debating whether to ask my T to buy me a teddy bear for me to use as a transitional object for the break next week (and future breaks I guess).  I was battling with this because I am an adult who “shouldn’t” need a teddy bear, but at the same time, the work we are doing is very painful childhood trauma stuff and so my inner child felt it would be soothing in T’s absence.

In my session last Thursday, I plucked up the courage and said that I had an idea for a transitional object but that it was “a bit out there“.  She said that was fine and so I said “Well… I had an idea that if I gave you the money, you could buy me a teddy?”.  She said yes immediately. I was pretty shocked and weirdly embarrassed or awkward or something and so I started rambling on about how I had back-up ideas if not but that this was my favourite idea.  T agreed instantly and looked completely un-phased. She said “I bet you have been struggling with this all week haven’t you?” and I said yes and laughed (she knows me so well, I love that).  She asked me why she would possibly say no and I explained my thoughts surrounding it being a childish wish and not very age-appropriate.

Anyway, when I got to my session last night, T opened the door and as I looked over to my seat THERE HE WAS!! Sitting there waiting for me. I was SO excited. Like childishly excited. He was so cute and I felt so happy. I made this very obvious and ran to him and cuddled him and thanked her. She was smiling the whole time, she looked like she was enjoying seeing how much I loved him. I felt so warm inside. I told T that I felt “fuzzy inside”.

We chatted about how she had chosen him and how we thought he had a happy face and had character.  I thanked her several times and then she said

“He is given with love”

But what I heard was “give him some love” and so I said “Oh I will I promise!”.  T then said:

“I actually said “He is given with love””

GIVEN WITH LOVE!!!! LOVE!! L.O.V.E

Now obviously I guess everyone may have a different take on what that means, but to me, that means something along the lines of: she really cares for me and she enjoyed getting him for me and enjoyed giving him to me.  That it wasn’t a chore for her. That she took pleasure in it.  Something like that anyway. I hope. The child part of me is secretly hoping it was secret code for “I love you” but the adult me is brushing that away because that is unlikely.

Nothing like over-analysing hey!!

After 5 or so minutes, T asked if I wanted her to hold him for the session to “charge him up“. This is something we have discussed before because T once told me that when she was in therapy, she used to have her T’s scarf and that her T would “charge it up” all session before giving it back to her. Her having told me this has always made me feel like asking for a transitional object was not something to feel embarrassed about.  I knew that she would understand and knowing that she has been there herself really does help.

I will discuss the actual session in a separate blog so staying on the subject of the teddy for now, my session was about to end and T gave me the teddy back. I said that I needed to think of a name for him but that for some weird reason, Frank had come into my head.  T smiled and said

“Well, its “Fran” with a K isn’t it!”

(My T’s name is Fran – I’ve never disclosed that before and I’m unlikely to again, but I couldn’t really explain this without telling you all). We both laughed! I said I hadn’t thought that at all when the name popped into my head and we laughed at how clever the unconscious is. My brain clearly had. And so, this is how Frank came to be.

When I left, I sat Frank in the passenger seat of my car and put the seatbelt around him, I took a few photos of him to send to T once I had got home which I did. I thanked her again and she replied to say:

“I hope you are able to enjoy Frank and he is able to help soothe and steady you when needed. Sleep well Twink. See you on Thursday. Kind Wishes”

My heart was (is) warmed. There truly is something about her having chosen him, that she has got him for ME and only me. That she thought about me when she purchased him (being held in mind I guess).  I know that I asked for him and so it wasn’t a surprise, but I love him and what he represents. It’s hard to explain. I was fully intending to give her the money for him but she said she didn’t want the money and that she felt it was important she didn’t take it from me.  So that makes him even more special.

I think perhaps because of the maternal transference I have, it is almost as though I am getting something fulfilled – that “mum” has chosen me something and that it will be special to me because of that.

I cuddled him several times last night and I “introduced” him to my boyfriend who has been really cool about the whole thing and hasn’t shamed me at all.  I feel like a little bit of my T is in my house with me now and I really hope that he helps in the break next week.

It’s Not Fair

Today is a bad day
Today is a bad day. I knew this at 6.20am the second my alarm went off but it’s now 11am and I still feel the same. I have made it to work though which is an improvement, although I haven’t bothered to do my hair so I look pretty crap. I just don’t care enough, I don’t have the energy.

I posted yesterday about the photos of my mother and sister and how they had angered me. I still feel so pissed off about them which feels a bit drawn out really, I just can’t shake it off. On top of that today my Dad, stepmum, 3 brothers and their girlfriends have all gone on a family holiday –without me and I feel excluded. I’m not sure which one of these are causing me the most pain, but the two things together have really got under my skin.

The child part of me feels like screaming “THIS ISN’T FAIIIIRRRRRR!!!!”. No it isn’t bloody fair. Having one bad parent would be crap enough, but having two just seems like punishment. What did I do to deserve this?

How can they both be so thoroughly shit? How is that even possible? In such different ways too.

There they are both enjoying their lives, care-free. Happy. Meanwhile I’m struggling through all the stuff therapy throws up, constantly battling my way through it all. Feeling the pain of it. It is bloody hard work and it’s because of them. How is that fair?

“Dad”
My Dad signed my birthday card last month with his name (instead of Dad)…. Says a lot really doesn’t it. He didn’t even notice! It isn’t like he accidentally wrote his name and then crossed it out, he sealed the card and gave it to me without noticing. I know people make mistakes, but that felt symbolic of everything. Perhaps that makes me oversensitive but I don’t care. It’s how I feel.  He had written how glad he was that we are “back in each other’s lives” and that makes it feel like just words because surely if he meant those words, he would have his Dad head on, and sign the fucking card with Dad and not his name. Just to make matters worse, it was also Father’s Day and I had just given him a card with Dad on. Arsehole.

“Mother”
My mother blames my boyfriend for how I’ve “changed”. She tells all and sundry that my boyfriend is controlling and manipulative (which is a projection of the things she is). She feels sorry for herself and tells everyone how much she loves and misses me which seriously is a giant head-fuck because she’s never loved or missed me my entire life and although I understand intellectually that she doesn’t love or miss me really, not in the usual sense that a mother would love her child, she just misses her ability to control me – it makes me feel jealous. Left out. Excluded. Even though I don’t want to be close to her or enmeshed with her (obviously).  I just can’t shake that feeling of being constantly rejected, never good enough. I know deep down that it isn’t me, I know that.. but that is the adult bit and this is the child bit and the child is standing there saying “What is wrong with me? Why don’t you love me?!” and how sad is that? Nobody should ever make a child feel like that. Nobody. Ever. I don’t know how to make it better for her.

She just wants me to be dependent on her so she can then take the piss out of me, she loves it when things go badly for me. Seriously, it would make my mother’s YEAR if I were to go round there upset and tell her I was arguing with my boyfriend or that we were breaking up or something – she can’t even hide her excitement. What kind of mother gets happiness from her daughter’s unhappiness? How sick is that?

Sister
On top of that, my sister (who is 22) has struggled on and off throughout her life with depression and she goes through phases where she can’t stop crying and she feels desperate and says things like she doesn’t want to wake up in the mornings. Every time she comes to me and me and my boyfriend try to help her, we are there for her and I’ve spent years trying my hardest to convince her to start therapy but she doesn’t want to and it is infuriating because she just circles round and around in these depressive phases. 2 weeks ago whilst she was abroad with her boyfriend I received texts from my mother who said she was worried sick and crying because my sister had text her saying she felt depressed and was now not responding to her texts or answering the phone. For 2 hours I sat up worried, trying to contact my sister just for her to reply to us all hours later saying she lost signal.. I was furious.  Every time she gets this depression it seems to be triggered by my mother.  My mother will randomly turn on her and they will start to fight. My mother will throw my sister back into it – it’s so clear for me to see and yet she continues to refuse getting counselling, she continues to turn to my mother who is completely incapable of sympathising or anything remotely like that – she makes her worse and worse until she comes to me and I pick up the pieces just like I have done since she was a kid because I was the one who brought her up whilst my mother was off with blokes or getting drunk in clubs. And then I see their fucking selfies together at the festival… are you kidding me????

There is a hugely dysfunctional situation with the 3 of us (my mum, sister and me) in that someone always has to be the bad guy. My mother has taught us this dynamic since we were kids and now that I can see it and understand it, it makes me sick. It’s the whole golden child/scapegoat thing. Enmeshment. Jealousy making and it pains me to say it, but it works. It keeps someone constantly fighting for her affection. I am fighting it, but look – its pissed me off so it is still partly successful. Bitch.  Those two partying together makes me the “bad guy” and that shouldn’t phase me I know. But deep down it does or at least it does today.

I do feel sorry for my sister behind this anger. I get it, I’ve been there. She is just desperate for my mother’s love and affection and approval like I have always been – so I truly have no right to feel this annoyed but now I am in therapy and understand these things a little more, I want to shake her and make her see sense… but I can’t. Perhaps the anger is at myself and not her. Maybe it is both. I don’t know.

I’m The Bad Guy
Everyone in my family now think I’m the bad guy (because my poor mother misses me so much) and I know I shouldn’t care – I know that… BUT it’s so hard not to. It is so unjust. I have spent my entire life under her spell, feeling less than, feeling shit and now I am trying to heal and that feels shit too.  I just live in hope that every day and every tear is a little bit closer to feeling a little bit less shit. To finally feeling genuine happiness and ease and some days, most days even, I can do that. I can keep on keeping on.. but today, today I feel like screaming until my lungs burst. I shouldn’t even have to do this once yet alone twice. How is it fair that you have to experience all this childhood pain and trauma and then you have to relive it all in therapy to get over it – torturous. Truly it is torturous.

I am so angry and I am so hurt and I feel like the power of it all is so monumentally huge today. I feel like if I let it come properly, I would fall to the ground sobbing. But I can’t, I’m at work and having to be an adult and that is something I am so fed up of doing. I have been acting like an adult since I was a child and today I feel the anger about that too. Now I feel like I want to fix that, and obviously I can’t.

Therapy Break
At the back of my mind I know I only have 2 sessions this week before T goes on holiday. One is tomorrow so it’s coming quickly. I am dreading it. Admittedly it might be fine, I never know how I am going to feel until the time comes because one day I feel fine and the next like this… but regardless, it’s there in my head. Another thing that “isn’t fair”. None of it is fair. None of it.

“Normal” Family
I spent the weekend with my boyfriend’s kids and then his mum and dad all day yesterday who are all so normal. There is no dysfunction and I’m not saying they are perfect, of course no family is, but you know what I mean. Normal. I enjoy time with them all of course, I try to get from them the things I didn’t/don’t have but I think that by the time I got home last night I just felt like I’d had enough of having that rubbed in my face. They are wonderful but they are not mine. I had a lovely time, until I got home and had to face my reality again. Does that make sense?

WTF
My mother is sitting on my 65-year-old stepdad’s shoulders at a fucking festival pissed off her face as usual, smiling for selfies with my sister and my dad and his “family” are on their way to their holiday whilst my brother’s uploading photos of them all with the slogan “#MYFAMILYAREEVERYTHINGTOME #LOVETHEMALL” and I am at work, feeling the unfairness of it all and trying to stay adult enough to function and not lose my shit.

Seriously what the actual fuck is wrong with them? Why did I get so unlucky???

When will this stop? When will life stop feeling like this? I’m exhausted.

Only half the picture 

Shortly before I went to bed last night I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw some photos of my mother … at a festival… with my sister and all of her friends (22 years old). My mother was on my stepdad’s shoulders, waving her arms around looking very happy. 

Soon after I felt “moody” and went to bed feeling sick. I didn’t have any conscious thoughts about the reason. 

Then I woke up this mornin instantly aware of my mood. I couldn’t figure out why. I got ready for the day and then went back onto Facebook, screen-shotted the photos and sent them to my boyfriend who was downstairs. (Believe it or not, I was STILL not consciously aware of the photos being the cause of my mood!) 

I had several strops over what to wear, having no clothes, my hair being a mess – standard stuff and then went downstairs and my boyfriend came over and gave me a hug. I said I wasn’t sure what was making me so miserable. Then started talking about my mother and the photos and within seconds I was crying. 

I said how it had really pissed me off that she’s out there, acting like she hasn’t a care in the world and meanwhile I’m going through all of this shit (therapy) because of her. I suddenly felt the injustice of it all. How dare she? I went on to call her a bitter old hag and said she looked old in the photos. I said she was sad for gatecrashing festivals with my little sister and her friends, acting like she’s 21 when she’s 50. 

My boyfriend said he had a feeling this is what had caused me to feel so angry and said that he didn’t blame me. He said some really sweet things about how I would be the happy one and that she would always be full of bitterness and would never truly be happy despite her narcissistic cover up. He told me how strong I am for constantly dealing with all my therapy stuff, despite all of the pain. 

This is a rather new thing for me. Intellectually I have known my mother has issues (a lot of them) and that she’s caused me a lot of hurt in my life, but until recently I haven’t been in touch with the feelings behind this. 

So, hello anger. I think we should get acquainted because I have a feeling we’re going to become friends. 

Mother: fuck you. 

Teddy 

Yay, I’m getting a teddy! And not just any teddy, my T has agreed to buy me one to use as a transitional object for the break (this time next week is my last session for a week). 

I can’t wait to meet him/her. 

I’m so excited!! 

Oh I mean, my inner child is excited. Obviously adult me isn’t at all bothered…. 😂

Confessing to T: Telling my therapist that I had Googled her (amongst other things!)

I survived! I went to my session last night and I live to tell the tale! Thank God.

As the day went on yesterday and it got closer to my session time, I got more and more nervous. I arrived about ten minutes before and sat in the car. I felt sick. My heart was beating very fast and I genuinely felt so scared.

T opened the door as usual and as soon as I saw her and realised there really was no backing out now, I had arrived, my nerves got worse, by this stage I was a bit of a mess.  I grabbed a cushion and cuddled it into my lap.  I hadn’t really made any eye-contact at this point. To me the air felt charged with my fear, I wasn’t sure if T had noticed anything or not though.  T said “are you scared?”.

I was relieved that she had noticed because I was fearing that she would just be cheery and ask how I was which would make me having to tell her everything ten times worse.  I replied and said “can you tell?”.  T seemed concerned and asked me why I was scared.  I told her that a lot had happened that I needed to tell her and that I was feeling scared and nervous about telling her.  She told me to take my time and said that she wouldn’t punish me for anything. I let off a “ha” in a sarcastic kinda “wait and see” way.

I couldn’t believe how hard it was to tell her. My voice went, I cried within seconds, I couldn’t look at her, in short it truly wasn’t easy.  BUT, eventually I did manage to tell her everything. Including the Googling.

Her email on Friday
I started by telling her that for some reason her email reply to me on Friday morning just hadn’t had any effect on me. I told her that I felt bad for saying that because there was nothing she hadn’t said that I wished she had, but that it just hadn’t touched me.  I told her that I had shown my boyfriend who had thought it was a really lovely email and so that made me feel like I was being stupid. T told me not to do that to myself.  T said that her email obviously wasn’t enough and that it was okay. She said sometimes an email just isn’t enough of a connection and clearly in that situation, I needed more.  I agreed.

The car memories
I then told her about the memories I had of her and how they had made me happy, she smiled.  I said that unfortunately those memories triggered me to remember my mother’s reaction.  T then quoted my mother’s cruel words.  There was something that felt nice about the fact that she had remembered; that my stuff stayed with her and wasn’t forgotten.  I said that the contrast was painful and that I had nearly cried in the street, so I rushed home.

My Googling
Then I told her about my detective skills… LOL. I had barely explained what I did but as soon as I said I had typed her name into Google she said “of course you did!” she seemed totally un-phased by this which gave me instant relief. I cried again I think out of embarrassment.  We discussed what I had seen and how it had made me feel. I told her I had found her on this site which listed her name, address and names of the others who lived with her.  She nodded and said “did it say I had a husband”? I told her that it didn’t expressly say that, but it had a man’s name and his age and so I had put two and two together.  She said how hard that must have been for me because of my mother – we have previously discussed how hard it is for me when there are “others” around and how I feel I vanish (can’t be held in mind) and that it all stems from my mother’s preoccupation with her boyfriends.  I told her that yes, it had upset me.  She asked what else I found out and I said it had listed two girls’ names and their ages and so I gathered she had two daughters.

T really seemed to understand how this had all felt for me and she didn’t seem at all angry, dissapointed or shocked. I cried as I told her that I had felt so guilty and ashamed of myself and how I felt I had totally violated her privacy – that if she had wanted me to know these things, she would have told me herself! She reassured me that I had nothing to feel guilty about and that what I had done was not bad. That she absolutely wasn’t angry and was not going to punish me.

I told her that as she didn’t wear a wedding ring (but also because of my wishful thinking) I had told myself previously that she wasn’t married.  T said that she didn’t wear rings generally and I said I had wondered if it was just to keep a “blank screen” or whatever.  She then told me that she wasn’t in fact married…………….. hold the phone!! Sorry, what now??

She told me that she had been married years ago, that they were still friends but that he did not live there and hadn’t done for many years.  She told me this was an example of why I shouldn’t worry or read too much into things I see on the internet – because it was inaccurate and out of date.

I feel awful admitting this but I was so happy about this! I know that sounds very nasty and childish, but I understand my reasons for this and so I am not beating myself up over it. Obviously that doesn’t mean she doesn’t live with someone now, but I didn’t want or need to ask.

T said that she would tell me these things as they had come up because of my Googling but that she doesn’t tell me things about her because she is trying to protect me and not, as I think, because she doesn’t care about me or want to share anything.  She also said that I knew more about her than I thought I did.  I smiled. She said “just last session I told you lots of things about my animals and other things” and I smiled and said that I had noticed that she had and wondered if she had done that on purpose because the session before (where I read her my rescue fantasy blog) I had said I felt I didn’t know anything. She said she hadn’t done it on purpose, but that perhaps I was just more aware now than I used to be.

She mentioned something about Google again and said “I don’t care whether you found the names of my children and typed them into social media!” [OMG THE WOMAN IS PSYCHIC LOL!!] I just listened but acted as though I hadn’t – come on, I had been soooo honest until this point, let me off?? 😉

I told her that the reason I put her name into Google was initially to find a photo and so she said if I needed a photo, that I could have one. She said I could take one there and then and I cringed and said no, that was too weird. 

Boundaries
We spoke about boundaries. T said that I am constantly putting in my own rules and then worrying that if I break them I will be punished.  I told her that I knew this and had been thinking about it. I said that I really just needed some boundaries so that I could relax a little more because at the moment, I was constantly fearful of overstepping them.

T said that she thought I confused rules and boundaries and said “you think that a boundary is a rule that if broken, results in punishment”.  I nodded and said yes I did.  She told me that was incorrect and that there was a difference between the two. She said that my mother had put in a hell of a lot of rules and regulations and therefore a lot of punishment, but that boundaries in therapy were not rules and that she knows I would like a long list of rules and regulations (I laughed and nodded), but that she absolutely wouldn’t do that.  She told me that part of the process was for us to find things out as we went and discuss what is working and what isn’t – that there wouldn’t be punishment at all.  She said that it was me that decided how my therapy went and that she was simply there to make sure I was safe and to guide me. I laughed at the thought of this and said something sarcastic.

I told T that if it were completely up to me how much I contacted her, I might end up emailing twice a week or could end up texting her every single day!! To my surprise she said, and that would be okay, we would talk about that. She said that the only problem with texting her every day would be that I would be up against “life” and that she wouldn’t always be able to respond quickly and that it might hurt me.  She didn’t say I couldn’t though which shocked me. I told her that my biggest fear was becoming too much for her. I said I didn’t want to become a chore to her – I didn’t want to exhaust her and I didn’t want her to roll her eyes with frustration whenever my name popped up.  She assured me I wasn’t a chore at all and that she didn’t feel like that.  She said that she didn’t work too much, that she took breaks and looked after herself.  She said that there was “room” there for me and that I was wanted.  She told me she enjoyed working with me. I cried again.  She questioned whether I believed her or not and I said no. I said “it isn’t that I think you are lying, just it doesn’t seem real – like I want to believe it, but it just doesn’t seem possible”.

We spoke some more about contact and she said that sometimes my psyche may “distort” what she has said to enable me to get in touch with my anger or sadness or any number of things. She said that I will use her and therapy in whichever way I need to in order to do what I need to do.  I smiled and said that I had wondered whether sometimes when I’ve emailed her lengthy emails and her response hasn’t “done the job” that it wasn’t a response to that subject that I needed, but just contact.  She reminded me that she has said to me before that it is perfectly okay for me to text or email her just to check-in, just to ask her “are you there” . I told her that she had said this to me back in April when she was going on a break and that it had annoyed me then because it just made no sense to me. Why would I want to check she was “there” when I didn’t even know where “there” was?? She asked if it made more sense to me now and I said yes, it did. It felt less scary to just ask for some connection.

Falling in Love/Fixation
I spoke to her about how I had been listening to a song and was thinking of her – she asked what the song was and I cringily told her it was called “unchanging love”. I said that I felt like a huge creep but that I associated it with her. She told me not to call myself names again. I said that I was confused by this because children don’t think about their mothers in songs like this and replay them over and over.  She said that children didn’t need to do that exactly but that there are completely preoccupied with their mother when young. She said that our first love affair in life should be with our mothers, but that I hadn’t been allowed the chance to do that because my mother was always pushing me away and that is why this was all so painful. She said that she had to become my mother and that I needed to be able to do all of these things in order to heal. I cried again…

I said that I knew it sounded weird, but that it felt like falling in love. She very quickly said “yes, it completely does!” and I was once again totally relieved because I had been so scared she would think I was weird.  I said that I could liken it to the way I have felt about boys in the past.  T asked if this scared me because I was having feelings about her that would normally be towards men? I said yes. I was so glad she was following! I told her that the fixation of her over the weekend, the song playing, the google searching – the present buying (will get to that), it all made me feel as though I was going crazy. She told me I absolutely wasn’t going crazy but she knew that is how it felt. She told me I was doing exactly what I needed to, that there was nothing wrong with any of these feelings. She asked if I could perhaps try to enjoy it? I told her I couldn’t get any enjoyment from it, because it was too scary.  I told her that I understood erotic transference and had read a lot about it, but that wasn’t what was happening because there was no sexual thoughts at all. T said that it was okay if there were and that maybe that will happen, maybe it wouldn’t but regardless it was all okay and none of it would cause any punishment or ruin our connection.

Hold On Tight
T said that I needed to hold on tight for a while because it had all really started to move (I assume she meant my therapy, the transference, the replay of things etc).  She asked me whether I understood why I felt so fixated on her or on boys in the past and I said I thought I did, that it was attachment based.  She said yes, you were/are desperately seeking what you didn’t get when you were a baby. I said that explains why I become so nervous and preoccupied – because i want to cling on with every bit of me so it doesn’t slip away.. again.  She smiled in a really caring way. I told T that this all felt a bit cruel, having to feel these things because if I have been through it once then why do I have to go through it twice? She told me that when these things happened when I was a baby/child, I didn’t go through it exactly because I couldn’t and so it was all put away – now I am dealing with it.

The Gift
I told her about my struggle on Sunday with buying her a gift. She asked if I had it with me and I told her that I did but that I was scared because I didn’t know if she was allowed/would accept the gift and I was worried the rejection would cause me even more pain. T said we could talk about gifts and that the only problem with gifts was that she didn’t want me spending lots of money on her. I told her the gift only cost £4! She said that was okay. She told me that I really needed to understand and hear her when she says this, that I do not need to buy her anything. That I already pay for my sessions and that is enough.  I told her I was frightened she would think I was trying to “buy her love” and that I absolutely wasn’t, I just saw it and thought of her and wanted to get it for her.

I gave her the book and she seemed pleased. She smiled instantly and said how lovely it was. She thanked me.  She said that she could understand it was a nice way to connect. I told her that it worked two ways because obviously it was nice for me to think of her and get it for her, but that equally I knew that when she looked at it, she would think of me and I liked that too. She said she most definitely would. Big grin as I type this.

Recap
We re-capped a bit on all of the above and I said to T that only last week she had told me that although I thought I wanted to know more about her, that I wouldn’t be able to handle it.. she laughed and said “the psyche really is a bitch!!!” and we both laughed a lot.  She said that perhaps I needed to test it out or check.  She said that I may have ideas and if she doesn’t think it is a good idea that she will say something like “I’m not sure that is wise” or something along those lines, but that regardless, I will probably go ahead and do it anyway and we will deal with it.  She said it is just like a child, that I have to test the boundaries to find out.  She reiterated again, boundaries are not rules – that there would be no punishment but I will find the boundaries because of the pain I may experience (like the Googling).

T asked whether perhaps there was a part of me that wanted her to punish me for these things? I said that there wasn’t consciously, no… but that I guess perhaps I would have felt I had been proved right if she had.  T nodded.  I said that I would have been hugely dissapointed if she had of punished me, obviously.

I then said that in the shower this morning, I had realised that I hadn’t; thought about my mother for a long while. I don’t know how long it has actually been, but it felt like weeks and weeks.  T said that was what I needed to do. I said I felt as though I was cheating on her, that I had replaced her with T because T was nicer to me.  She said to trust in my process. I said that it did’t seem normal for someone to not think about their own mother for such a long period of time and that I wondered if that is how it was for my mother about me.  T said she thought that my mother thought of me, just in dysfunctional ways – for her own needs.  I agreed.

She asked me how I felt now that I had told her all of this and I told her that I felt huge relief. That I felt a weight off.  T told me that she really hoped I could get some rest now and some sleep.  She said it was important for me to rest in the quieter times because I will need that energy for these tougher times. I agreed and said it was all so shit.  She agreed it was.

Just as my session time ended, she reminded me that we only have next week before her break (like I had forgotten!!).  I said that the timing couldn’t be worse and she said that my psyche might actually be getting this out of the way before the break, whilst it was safer. I said I hoped so but that I was dreading this break more than ever.  T said perhaps next session we could discuss ways to get me through and I said that I had hoped we could because I had some ideas.

Transitional Object
On that note, I wonder what people think of these ideas.  I had thought of suggesting that if I gave T some money, she buy me a teddy. One that I could sit on my bed and see every day that would remind me of her.  I like the thought of this but feel the critical part of me saying I am too old… the other idea I had, was to take my teddy in (that I’ve had since I was about 8) and then perhaps I would associate it with her a bit? I also thought that something handwritten would be nice, some sort of card or note but I don’t think that would work as well.  She has offered me a rock/stone out of a collection in the therapy room, but that just doesn’t do it for me for some reason.

Summary
To sum all of that up (sorry it is long!!), it is 1.30pm the following day and I feel totally happy. I feel that I have been understood, soothed, held, seen, heard – everything you could possibly want really. The relief is huge and I love her even more now.. and so to celebrate… I treated my inner child to a……….

HAMSTER!!!!!!! PAHAHAHAH. Yep, I drove to the pet shop this morning and I have come home with a new furry little friend. I am so excited about him I feel about 10 years old.  I decided that my little Twink deserved it.

Let’s hope I don’t get into the habit of buying a pet every time there is a “rupture and repair”!!

TT x