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. 

Letter to T during the break: Day 5

[This is a letter to my T as she is on a break right now. I don’t intend to send this to her although perhaps I will show her/read it to her when she is back. We will see. I’ve written it as a way of feeling some sort of connection with her.]

Hi T!

I have thought of you a bit today, I guess because it’s Tuesday and Tuesday is therapy day, it is “our day”. One of the two days that I get to see you.

But obviously you are on a break at the moment and I won’t be seeing you today so I thought I would write to you instead as a way of feeling as though somehow I’ve had some connection with you.

I hope you are having a nice break whatever you are doing. Are you on holiday or just taking a week off of your busy schedule? It’s so weird that I don’t know what you are doing. I often try to guess but obviously I have absolutely no way to know whether I am right or not. Probably not I imagine.

Where do I think you are now? Hmm…. I think you are at home this week maybe seeing friends and taking your dogs for long walks in the country.  I think this because you have 2 weeks off in September and I think that is when you will go away on holiday – maybe to Portugal or Italy.

I often wonder if I should ask you if you are going away or not, but I don’t know if I would prefer knowing or not knowing and it’s too late once I know isn’t it? Also I feel like I don’t really have the right to ask you… like I’m not really entitled to that information.

Anyway, I’m doing okay at the moment. I feel quite good really, rather relaxed and fairly content. I haven’t felt any real sadness or anger since I last saw you, although I have had some “revelations” over the weekend concerning my Dad thanks to a really helpful chat with [my boyfriend].

I saw my mum on Saturday night. It was the same as usual really… although my Dad was brought up and I fell into my old ways of giving her what she wants – telling her about the holiday, the birthday card and my brother’s texts (this happened Friday). Obviously she totally invalidated my feelings about him and said a few hurtful things along the lines of “aren’t you over this yet?”.  I held my own in the sense that I told her I can’t help how I feel and that I wished I could.

She told me that she cut her Dad out for being useless and has never cared about him since.. I thought of you as she said this and that you wold probably have a field day with that comment!!

She made a few comments aimed at my lack of intelligence – but I managed to prove her wrong which was quite enjoyable. Still, it is impossible to not notice that she does these things now which are obviously unnecessary and hurtful. I now understand that isn’t “normal” and see it isn’t something that you or [my boyfriend’s] parents would do to me. To anyone.

She told me some stories which I think you will find quite shocking about how she can now see dead people…………. No joke. She is apparently taking psychic classes and has a real gift. Apparently my sister got so scared by my mother saying that she sees dead people around the house that she couldn’t get to sleep and had to get my stepdad to check the house and sleep with her bedroom door wide open. My mother found this hugely insulting and that caused an argument between them.  I just pacified her really, there seems little point in anything else so she then invited me to attend the classes with her!! Hahaha. Needless to say, that won’t be happening.

I kept myself safe enough though, I took myself off to bed and left her up chatting to my step-brother’s girlfriend because it was late, I was bored and because the conversation (inevitably) made its way to my sister and how spiteful she is to my mother. She said that when I was around, my sister was nasty to her and how she keeps writing shitty comments on my mother’s Facebook statuses. I listened to her and suggested she blocked my sister so that it prevented them arguing and prevented my mother feeling hurt by my sister’s comments and my sister feeling embarassed of my mother’s facebook antics and then I went to bed. (I don’t think she was very pleased but hey!).

Mother/Father stuff aside, I’ve been enjoying myself by reading some new books and watching some old classics. Over the weekend I watched Wuthering Heights, Sense & Sensibility and Emma and enjoyed them all. Last night I finished a book by Nick Hornby called High Fidelity which was funny and thought-provoking too (an avoidantly attached man trying to stick out a relationship basically). Today I’ve started a new book called Hotel Du Lac which is about a novelist who has escaped on her own to Switzerland after some sort of relationship crisis to restore her senses.. however apparently that isn’t quite what happens. I think perhaps the break is givinig me the mental space to enjoy these things with few therapy-related thougths flying around.

Frank is doing well and me and [my boyfriend] have been having a giggle with him. We have decided that he has a look of confusion about him which amuses us and [my boyfriend] has been calling him “Frannnnn………K” just to annoy me haha! He is lovely to have around and not for soothing me when upset (as yet) but just as a reminder of you really. I think he keeps you more “alive” in my mind.

I think that’s pretty much it for now.. if I were seeing you tonight I would speak to you about the Dad revelation that I had on Sunday but it wouldn’t surprise you because it’s probably what you’ve told me/thought and said a hundred times.  Still, you have to be in the right place to truly hear and believe things I guess. I hope you would be pleased for me though – maybe even proud?

Anyway, I will think of you at our session time tonight. Bye for now X – (ooh I’ve never put a kiss before! Is that allowed?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You 😊 

Going through a journey to heal yourself from childhood trauma, adult trauma, abuse of any kind, addiction, illness… whatever it is, trying to heal is one hell of a ride. It has so many ups, downs, twists and turns and you sometimes leaves you hanging upside down!!! 

For me, my blog is so important on this journey. It’s important for a few reasons: 

  • It helps me to “vent” out my feelings somewhere that I feel I won’t be judged:
  • It helps me to figure out what my feelings even are when I don’t know:
  • I like to be able to read back on old blogs to see any patterns or signs of growth. Sometimes I like to read old blogs just to feel a connection to my T if she’s away: 
  • Writing up sessions helps me to process them:
  • I get to read all of your stories and try and support you back:
  • I get to read lovely, supportive comments from all you guys: and more importantly… 
  • I never feel alone in this journey. Because of all of you. 

Now I know this is all very me, me, me but I just wanted to say that I think having a therapy friend(s) or friends who understand your struggles with trying to change your life in one way or another is so important. 

In my “real” life (I know it might surprise some of you, but my real name isn’t Twinkletoes *gasps!!) I don’t have anyone to talk to or share this stuff with, and so you guys that share your own stories, struggles and triumphs and comment on my blogs occasionally, you really are very important and I just want to thank you all. 

I am proud of all of us and because of this, my blog feels like less of a blog now and more of a little community. 

#ProudOfUs #Survivors #TherapyFriends 

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. 

I’ve Fallen In Love With My Therapist: Transference in Therapy

Transference. A particular case of projection, used to describe the unconscious, emotional bond that arises in the analysand toward the analyst. (See also countertransference.)

Transference is a phenomenon characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. One definition of transference is “the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person’s childhood”.

As you may have seen from some of my recent blogs my therapy appears to have really taken off! Therapy feels entirely different from what it used to be, it is harder but at the same time, much more fruitful.  The transference seems to have really kicked in.

I told T on Tuesday that I felt feelings for her that were similar to feelings I have had in the past when falling in love. I also admitted to her that I had become preoccupied with thoughts of her.  This had freaked me out A LOT because I am a heterosexual female who is not, and has never been, attracted to other females – and also (and perhaps more confusingly) I see my T as the perfect fantasy mother and not as a love interest.

Talking to T about this was difficult and embarrassing as you can probably imagine but I am really glad I did because she has really helped to normalise this for me and in turn, I have stopped panicking.

You may have heard of erotic transference. I had, in fact my T had warned me that she thought my therapy may well be headed that way! I shrugged this off and didn’t believe her because it seemed utterly ridiculous and to be honest, petrifying! I didn’t want to have any kind of sexual attraction to my perfect fantasy mother. That would be weird, right?!

Well… it turns out it actually isn’t that weird and despite what us adults think, it isn’t actually a sexual attraction as we know it at all.

What I have learnt is that during the psychotherapy process at some stage once the trust has been gradually earned and you begin to feel attached to your therapist, you start to feel special.  For me this has taken nearly 3 years but it felt as though it has all hit me at once.

All of a sudden, I felt very aware of and in touch with my inner child – the less logical part of me, the more childish, feeling-based part of me and I began to listen to what she was saying.  This enabled me to write my blog “the fairytale ending” which I then subsequently took to T and read to her (through my tears).  I had suddenly got in touch with some previously stored away pain, grief and sadness.  It became abundantly clear what it was that I have been searching for all of my life (a mother) and that I had some very deep, unmet needs from childhood.

T was so wonderful about all of this and she made me feel truly heard. I feel that she understands me (sometimes better than I understand myself) – I feel seen and cared for.  She does not humiliate me in my needs which I am used to.  She stays strong and sits with me through my pain and because of all of this, the bond and attachment I feel has increased.

So I have now idealised my T. She has become the all-powerful, all-knowledgeable, can’t-do-anything-wrong, on a pedestal therapist whom clearly holds all of the power to my future happiness and I want more of that! Who wouldn’t? Seriously for me, this feeling is intoxicating and it feels like love.

Cue absolute terror!! agggghhh I’ve fallen in love with my therapist! (Please note that for me, this has not become sexualised [yet?] but for lots of people, it does).

Now that I have taken some time to talk to T about this and have read nearly everything online, what I have come to understand is that it is in fact about desire – the hope that all of your prayers have been answered by this wonder-woman and it’s about transference. Having T in my life means that I finally have the chance to win the “perfect” love of a mother substitute!

Erotic love is based on very infantile wishes and needs – going back to the beginning a baby needs its primary caregiver (in my case, my mother) for survival. Literally.  The baby needs to feel loved, seen, understood.  It needs to be held, fed, changed and if some of those basic needs were not met, you will have a metaphoric hole in your life and that is probably what has brought you into therapy in the first place. The need to “fill” that hole has probably not ended well.  For me this played out in all of my relationships where I was extremely anxious, became almost obsessed with my love interest (secretly), never felt at ease and got extremely jealous and insecure.  Needless to say, “love” wasn’t fun and it certainly wasn’t easy. I think the jealousy I usually feel in my relationships with men are going to play out in therapy as jealousy towards T’s children.. I can see that happening.

In therapy I will basically redo any of the developmental stages that were not sufficiently completed as a child, but with my therapist instead of my mother.  The aim is that she will be a secure base – something I didn’t have growing up, that she will help me to redo these stages how they should have been done therefore enabling me to move on to the next stage and the stage after that and so on until I have “grown up”.  I am probably in stage 1, right back to being a baby and the “love” and fixation that I am feeling towards my T is normal for the development stage (i.e. this is how a baby would feel towards its main caregiver). The mother fixation.

mother fixation

Etymology: AS, modor, mother; L, figere, to fasten an arrest in psychosexual development characterized by an abnormally persistent, close, and often paralyzing emotional attachment to one’s mother. Compare father fixation. See also freudian fixation.

I have also learnt that the feelings I am having of wanting more of T, wanting her to myself and not only being able to see her in my set therapy hours, because I pay her, wanting to know more about her private life, wishing she didn’t have a husband or children (aghh) – is part of the learning curve that children go through when they go through that annoying “mine!” phase. I will learn to share my T – in due course.  Lets not get ahead of ourselves ;o)

During this process I will be taught that it isn’t T that I “love” but the feeling of genuine acceptance and unconditional positive regard that has been missing all of my life. This will enable me to understand where I go wrong in relationships (for me, picking avoidantly attached men, due to repetition compulsion and mistaking an activated attachment system for passion) and why, it will enable me to identify my defence mechanisms and have healthier relationships in the future having resolved all of my unfinished business.

“it is my proposition that the emergence of the erotic transference signifies the patient’s deepest wish for growth. Like those in love, patients wish to be known and understood, to change what they do not like about themselves, to alter what makes them unlovable. Through the erotic, light is shone on the deepest recesses of the psyche” (Mann, 2008, p. 9)

So, if you find yourself caught up in an erotic transference, a wish your therapist was your parent, fixated on them, Googling them and becoming distraught at the findings (yep, I did this) then don’t worry, it is just evidence that your therapy is on course and you are exactly where you need to be.

TT x

love

 

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