Back To Therapy (Session 1 after the break)

Hey guys.

So I went back to therapy last night! It was.. what was it? It was lots of things.

This is a (lengthy) post about how it went. I’m not sure it will be of much interest or use to anyone else but I want to post it because it helps me to process the session and it is good for me to be able to look back on it.

I was very nervous about going back last night. The anxiety had really set in as I pulled up outside her house. I didn’t know what to say to her, what she would ask me or how I would feel. I kept trying to decide what things I would tell her and in what order – trying to plan the structure of the session I guess. I had printed off my blogs during the break and thought I would take them in with me.

First of all, I decided to make myself tell her the two things I wrote about at the very beginning of the break.

Challenge 1: Tell her that I have a blog and that I hadn’t felt I could tell her before the break.

I told her that I had something to tell her and that I should have told her before the break, but that I hadn’t. She questioned whether I had wanted to tell her but hadn’t got to it and I said no, I hadn’t wanted to tell her at the time, but had since written about it and had decided that I should tell her.  She reacted well. She didn’t seem shocked or hurt and she reassured me that she would never go looking for my blog if I was worried about her invading my privacy.  I said it wasn’t that.

I told her that during the break I figured it was because whenever I started anything new or exciting, my mum would always ruin it and so I think I was trying to “keep it safe”.  I also told her about my little Freudian slip, but it seems that she hadn’t noticed anyway.  I also told her that when she asked if I write things in my “journal”, that I don’t tell her – I had lied when I said no.  She understood and said it is scary.  She also said that it must have been hard having to “hold” that all of that time.

Challenge 2: Tell her that she had upset me with her joke about the Easter Break.

This is the thing I was dreading the most.

I decided to force myself to tell her that her joke about not telling me her Easter holiday dates had upset me. She said it nicely and as a joke – I think to cheer me up! but it had played on my mind and upset me a bit.

She apologised (quite a few times actually) and she also said that she didn’t think she had meant it as a joke – that she genuinely was concerned that her Easter holiday would be coming up quickly and as this February holiday wasn’t one she normally took off, they would be very close together. Either way, it lead to a helpful discussion that we would, in her words, “need to be creative about the Easter break” and that we would need to “think about it carefully”.

I’m not entirely sure what she meant by this, but I perceived it to mean that we would need to discuss things to help during the break. Maybe contact or maybe a transitional object or something.  I don’t know.

It led to a discussion about transitional objects though, which I had secretly been thinking about for a while but never had the guts to ask for.  She said she thinks perhaps we should think about that and I agreed (I shocked myself!) and I asked her what she thought would help?  She said that she would be “guided” by me. I would rather I was guided by her, but I got the point.

transitional-object

She told me that when she was in therapy herself, her T used to “charge up” a scarf for her and then let her have it.  I love it when she tells me things from her own therapy.  I like to know things about her and I only get very small snippets now and again. She also explained to me that the reason she was telling me that was to normalise it for me a bit – I told her I found it very useful and it definitely helped to normalise the feelings.

So the two scary challenges were over. Breatheeeee.

I then told her I had printed all of my blogs and I read them all to her. Some parts of them were pretty cringe… some parts I didn’t like reading out at all, but the hardest bit was reading out Emotional Flashback? – Jesus that was tough.

I sobbed my way through it. I shocked myself how easily I got back in touch with those feelings. I cried a lot, my shoulders and back started to hurt which often happens when I am stressed. I was hot, my chest became very tight, I couldn’t breathe.. it really was very tough. It is hard to articulate.

She was great though and she sat with me through it all. I noticed that I couldn’t look at her because I felt very embarrassed.  She said things to calm and reassure me like how she was there with me, that she was there now – we were together now, that kind of thing.  It was probably the most vulnerable I’ve felt with her to date. The good thing is, nothing I said seemed to shock her. Nothing seemed to annoy her or upset her – she just seemed…. compassionate I suppose? She told me that my words had “moved” her.

At one point in the session, she told me that although there was a lot of replay being done and transference etc, that the feelings were still real. She told me that she does care for me (I can’t remember the words she used). I felt embarrassed by her words and couldn’t look at her. She has never told me she has any feelings for me before and despite hoping she did, hearing her say the words was lovely but oh so awkward! I felt a lump in my throat which luckily I managed to swallow down.

embarassed

After that was out of the way, I read Object Constancy which was pretty cringe-worthy as it did mention that when she’s gone, it feels like she is dead………. LOL!! But she didn’t seem particularly surprised, or hurt, so that was a relief.

The other blogs were a lot easier to read. We spoke them through and at the end she told me how I really had worked very hard. I really liked that she acknowledged this because I had worked hard.

The hour flew by, I hate how quickly a therapy hour goes, but I think I crammed everything in I needed – I would have hated to have finished having only got some of it out. I’m not sure how that would have felt.

time-too-fast
When I left, I wasn’t really sure how I felt. I drove home and felt tired – I think I felt emotionally drained, which I often do after crying like that.

I had an interesting dream last night which is very clearly about her and the divide between her “therapy room” and her home.  I think this was because we had discussed whether it is better for me to know where she is/what she is doing when on a break or not.

I said I wasn’t sure because in one way it was easier knowing she was at home and not miles away: yet at the same time it was harder because she was close, but not available to me. [For context, she had time off to get some work done to her house and in the dream I went into her house and she asked me if I liked her new decorations. I said I did, but I was lying because I hadn’t turned the light on and so I couldn’t see!].

If you’ve made it this far, then thanks and well done!

TT x

 

 

 

Object Constancy – Are you still alive?

The definition of object constancy, according to one of my favourite sites for C-PTSD is “An inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision

As I understand it, a lack of object constancy is a result of insecure attachments to caregivers when we are young. It means that those who suffer from a lack of object constancy are kinda stuck at that development stage, having never successfully managed to pass through it.  At that age (about 2 or 3), when your caregivers leave, you are naturally frightened, sad and worried that they will be gone forever, but with any luck, you have a decent caregiver who models to you time and time again, that they will return and so you manage to learn that you don’t need to worry – that said caregiver is still “there” somewhere and will return.  You learn to self-sooth and use your internalized image until they return to comfort you again. You gain “object constancy”.

Unfortunately when you don’t have a decent caregiver like moi, you don’t learn that and so when someone isn’t around, you still feel those infantile feelings of abandonment, panic, fear and/or anger and you begin to question whether that relationship even exists anymore. This is what causes the panic, the clinginess, the jealousy and can drive our partners crazy.  It is what makes us feel “needy” when we compare ourselves to others who don’t suffer from a lack of object constancy. Having a lack of object constancy makes us insecure – literally.  For example, if my boyfriend is out and doesn’t contact me all day – I won’t automatically think that he is just busy and will contact me later.  No, obviously he doesn’t love me anymore, is planning to leave me or worse – is dead!! Dramatic isn’t it?

Learning about this has really helped me because now when I get these feelings and thoughts, the adult part of me can (try to) calm myself down. Easier said than done I must say, just see Emotional Flashback? for proof that I can’t think my way out of the feelings, but it does help to understand that I’m not “crazy”. God how hard I used to try to be “casual” and “calm” in relationships – I tried so hard to be the laid back girlfriend that boys wanted but eventually my true colours would come glaring out – usually after a few vinos and that was not a pretty sight believe me!!   The worst thing about this is that when I eventually unleashed the crazy, it was the beginning of the end in my relationships and so my worst fears would then be realised – da daaaaaa!! It’s a wonder I’m in therapy isn’t it?laid-back-gf

Anyway, I’ve been thinking today about all this object constancy stuff in relation to this therapy break… I think this explains a lot for me. It explains why I felt so awful on Monday. She was gone physically so to me, having a lack of object constancy, she was gone forever. That brought all my feelings of panic, abandonment, terror and grief flooding back.  I’ve since calmed down because I can reasonably talk myself down to a degree, knowing that she will be back, just like she has every single time before.  The logical stuff can work to a degree, but poor Little Twink, she couldn’t rationalise that way could she?  She didn’t have a good role model like T showing her this stuff and she didn’t have a “good enough mother” either.

I guess that the fact I can’t “hold someone in mind” positively for very long is probably why I assume nobody can hold me in mind either?  That would make sense.  Clearly I am painting everyone with the same brush!! I did think this morning that Monday was particularly awful but since then I’ve been okay. I don’t know if I’ve just gone into “self-sufficient mode” because I’ve repressed any feelings since or whether I’ve genuinely been able to calm myself down enough with this logical thinking (or if that is even how it works?).  I also thought that although I’m okay, I am looking forward to next Tuesday and that I would absolutely hate it if I no longer had therapy with her anymore.  I also admit (cringing) that it does feel like she is no longer alive when she isn’t here… and that I will be anxious when I wake up on Tuesday – what I am nervous of I have absolutely no idea!!

This is another one of those things that I knew already – but know a bit more today.

T is re-parenting me by constantly showing me that she will return – like, I guess, most people will in this world. …..Just not my mother.

teddy-bear