Today: 27 September

Last night I had a dream that I was at my nan’s house early in the morning (I think I had stayed there and had not long been awake) when the doorbell went. In my gut I knew I wasn’t going to like who was at the door and I was right, it was my mother. As soon as I heard her voice I felt dread. She walked in and looked at me and I didn’t attempt to look happy to see her. I was not at all happy that she was there and felt as though she had planned this on purpose because she knew it was the only way for her to see me. I also knew that my time with my nan was now ruined. I don’t remember how old I was, but I think I was young because I felt like I had no control over this situation.

It happens to be my mother’s birthday today so I guess it’s no massive surprise that I dreamt of her last night but also I think there’s more to it because the house I am moving to soon is very near to my grandparents’ house and I was telling T the other day that I was a bit anxious that this would mean I would have to see my mother and her husband driving past my new house regularly on their way to my grandparents’, or that I would be reversing out of my drive and be let out by someone, only to find out its them. I told her it probably sounded silly but that I worry about that kind of thing because I don’t even want to SEE them when I don’t intend to (or him ever). T also pointed out that there would be a chance that I would be at my grandparents’ house and they turn up whilst I am there. She told me that if that happened I would be okay and I could simply say “hello” and then leave. Likewise she said if I was in the car I could simply put my hand up to acknowledge then or even wave (not enthusiastically obvs) and then drive off. I suppose it’s no real wonder I had that dream, that is a real-life anxiety at the moment. 

Today 3 years ago I passed my driving test (later in life than most people) and annoyingly that brings mixed emotions too. I did not book my driving test on my mother’s birthday on purpose, it was the date my instructor had offered and so I accepted. At the time I rarely saw my mother and I hadn’t told her that my test was booked for fear of failing and just to avoid the pressure I suppose. My mother had spent years and years telling me that I would never drive and that I would not be “a natural driver” like her and my sister. Her comments annoyingly put me off even trying for many years until I started to separate from her and book my secret lessons and test in. 3 years ago today, on her birthday, I took my first driving test and I passed. I passed with only 3 minors. I was so shocked that I had done it because I genuinely did not think I would have a chance. 

After I told my husband who was over the moon for me and who had been a huge source of encouragement, I told my mother. Initially she shrieked and seemed really happy for me but when I visited her later that evening for her birthday she said the following: “They probably passed you because you work in the City and wouldn’t actually drive that often”. 

That comment stung SO bad. It played on my mind for ages and ages. In fact, even today, 3 years later that comment hurts. That is my mother all over, she can put a dampener on the happiest of events or days. She always knew how to make me doubt myself or feel insecure. It was always the same. 

Today, 3 years since that day I am sitting at work and thinking how proud I still am of that day and to be honest how I still can’t believe I did it. I also thought that since that day, I have got married and in the next week or two, I will be completing on my house purchase with my husband. In some ways I can see that I have done well and achieved quite a lot since I distanced myself from my mother, though I know that sounds big-headed and I hate big-headedness.. but it does also make me a little bit sad that I’ve had to celebrate these huge events without a supportive and proud mother standing at the side-lines. I imagine people who have supportive mothers don’t even really recognise or register how nice that is (and rightly so, it should be something you take for granted), but for me today that feels a bit rubbish. 

My mother is currently on a two week holiday abroad and as harsh as it may sound, I am very glad for that. I am glad I don’t have to see her and I am glad that I haven’t had to decline another invitation from her which we both know I will not attend but that leaves me feel guilty regardless of knowing my reasons are valid. I keep hoping that my house does finally complete before she is home but I don’t really know why, because even if she were home from her holiday it isn’t like she would be offering to help me or popping over with sandwiches!! She never has. It just feels safer somehow if she is further away… somehow it feels like something could be ruined and that I would feel more anxious if she were around. Sounds mean doesn’t it? 

Just to put the icing on the cake, it happens to be my mother-in-law’s birthday on Sunday and we are going out for lunch to celebrate. We have a card, present and will sort a cake out etc. My mother-in-law is a kind lady and she deserves to have some fuss made out of her just like she does on Mothering Sunday, but it is a reminder of how different things could have been for me and my mother. 

One nice feeling at the moment though (to counteract the above!!) is that despite the sadness that occasionally creeps into my dream world or my conscious thoughts, the heart-breaking, life-altering pain has gone. Acceptance is well and truly here. The situation is sad but it is what it is and it is not and has never been, my fault. I no longer spend days occupied by thoughts of her or reading everything there is to read on Google about narcissists or narcissistic mothers. I don’t watch countless videos on YouTube about dysfunctional families or toxic parents etc. I know I am literally thinking and writing about her now, but on the whole she doesn’t take up much space anymore and that is a real relief. 

I feel pretty at peace with the fact we have very low contact and I do not feel burning anger over the situation. I don’t daydream about it being “fixed” like I used to. I don’t hope to hear from her either. I don’t feel that my low contact with her is some kind of punishment or revenge like it once was, I just feel safer with the distance between us. 

Obviously that’s not to say that I’ll never have moments of weakness again or never cry at how sad it is or at the “could have been’s”, but they are less and less frequent these days and even when they come, I do not act on them OR even want to act on them which shows a lot of growth and strength I think. 

Annoyingly I now feel like I am starting a similar process with my sister and honestly the bad thing about having “been there before” is knowing how painful it is and what a long, long process it is too. I suppose there having done it before at least allows me to have hope that it does get better – because it has done once before and at times, I never believed it could. 

I have been lucky enough to have not lost many close relatives in my life so far but I wonder if the feeling is similar. After the stages of grief and anger and denial and bargaining have been tired out, you reach a level of acceptance and understanding. It doesn’t mean that you are glad that person has gone (emotionally or figuratively in my case), but you are able to move on with your life in a way that isn’t so debilitating as it once was. Just a thought. 

I’ve been starting to think about how getting to this place re my mother is a sign that therapy really has worked – and in so many ways. The processing of the blocked grief, fear and anger but also of the kind of re-parenting I’ve had from T. I do notice how steady I feel these days and how much more secure I feel in relation to my relationships. T has just returned this week from a two-week break and in all honesty as much as I was looking forward to seeing her, I felt fine. I didn’t feel like I was desperate to see her or feel like I was counting down the days. I could have easily done another week. It felt this time more of a wish to see her because I care for her and less of an urgent need to see her to help me if that makes sense. That is also a nice feeling and one that makes me feel a little stronger about my sense of self. It has taken 5 entire years though and that feels like a lifetime! 5 YEARS of therapy….wow.

Pondering the above has made me feel that I don’t think I am going to need to continue having two sessions for much longer. I know that T has said before that even if I don’tneed two sessions a week, that I should let myself have them just to enjoy the holding and the conversations and all the lovely good stuff that therapy brings. I am also conscious that I am only just back after a break and as much as I currently feel this is a genuine feeling, perhaps this is my subconscious kicking out or something. Who knows, stranger things have happened and this does tend to be a similar theme when breaks are around so I am not intending to do anything about this just now… I am going to just sit and wait for a while. Hold still as T would say and “sit with it” for a while to see what comes up. I’m also aware that T would say I am pre-occupied with my house at the moment and so probably not properly “in it”. We shall see…. Obviously seeing T twice a week is not a chore or anything, it is nice but also there’s a part of me that would like to reach a stage where I am less reliant on her and not spending £320 a month on therapy LOL. T would literally hate it if she read that last sentence.. it would doubtless start a whole conversation about my health and wellbeing being more important than money etc which of course, it is. But let’s be honest, nobody wants to have to have therapy forever – especially twice a week. Yesterday me and T spent about 45 minutes discussing keeping chickens, guinea pigs, domestic hedgehogs and how she has a dog-pram (this still makes me crack-up!). The point being, whilst potentially therapeutic… not really actually therapy.. but I had nothing pressing to talk about. As ever, I totally believe that I still need to be seeing her once a week so I don’t think I am ready to be without her in the world. My dependency just feels.. lighter than it once did. Sometimes I look back on old blogs about my teddy bear (Frank) and about being jealous about her daughters or her talking about her mother or something else and I can’t even believe that was me!! It’s so weird.

Anyway, I am going to the gym to try and burn a few calories and stop writing every thought that comes into my head!

Have nice weekends everyone. X

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therapy in the park & inner calm

I want to write whilst I have a moment, living with 8 people in the in-laws house without a bedroom doesn’t allow for a lot of time to sit and contemplate one’s inner-thoughts yet alone allow for time to actually write them down! So whilst I am at work on this lovely Friday afternoon without much work to do, I thought I would grab the opportunity. 

I spoke to T on the phone yesterday as is my current routine since the move. To be honest I wasn’t really looking forward to it because I find it difficult to think of enough to talk about on the phone. I don’t really know why that is because I certainly don’t have that issue when there with her face-to-face, but there we go! Anyway, since the move to the in-laws I drive myself to a local park to speak to T where I can be alone and not overheard and me and my husband have taken to calling this TITP – Therapy In The Park, which has kinda stuck and I quite like it ha ha.

So yesterday’s TITP was way better than I had imagined it would be. I’m not entirely sure why, but as I settled down to speak to her, I realised that I felt a real sense of happiness and calm (which is VERY surprising considering everything). During our hour-long phone conversation, I felt light-hearted, fun, happy and just light… we laughed quite a lot and I felt totally and utterly unfiltered like I wasn’t thinking at all about the words forming in my head before they fell out of my lips – I just said stuff and laughed and it was just great. Before I knew it the phone session was over and I was fine with that in the sense that I had nothing pressing to talk about and I felt… whatever it is you feel after a good therapy session.. perhaps contained? – anyway we hung up and I felt myself literally smiling (probably made me look like a freak in public on her own grinning) and I went for a stroll around the park and took some photos and sent one to T showing her the view and telling her that I could get used to TITP. She sent me a quick message back and I smiled and put my phone away. 

Now nothing about that sounds particularly interesting I know, but the feeling I got was new… and if not new, then not common enough to feel “normal” or be taken for granted. It was nice. Really nice. I would quite like to tell her this but I wouldn’t have a clue how to explain it and I don’t want to analyse it or over-think/over-talk it and ruin it, so I am just writing it here to note it down for myself really. 

Regarding my mother..

I wanted to write another update about where I am with things regarding my mother after the other week’s complete meltdown. I still can’t believe how much that got to me, how much it shook me and how utterly distressed and desperate I felt.  

I feel so much better now. So, so, so much better.  

I seem to have found a bit of a middle-ground though and I’ve not gone straight back to how I was before the meltdown occurred in that me and my mother have exchanged more messages in the last few week than we had for about a year(!) but I am finding them nice, but not drastically important, and I’ve lost that awful, sudden need to see her which feels safer. At the same time her messages aren’t making or breaking my days and I am not consumed by the content or anything… it’s hard to explain. Yesterday we exchanged some messages about random things – she sent me photos of her new lounge and her garden and spoke about some events she has coming up etc and I spoke about how I am excited for a wedding next week and mine and Hubby’s apt at the fertility clinic etc. I was slightly nervous that she might ask me when I was coming to stay with her, but she didn’t and so I didn’t need to worry about what to say and how to say it which was a relief. 

I was telling a friend about how I felt the other week and about how upset I was in my session and she said to me “Well I have to admit that if one of my kids didn’t speak to me or want to see me, I would be very upset too” (her kids are also adults) and I found myself saying back to her “Yes but the difference is that if one of your kids didn’t want to see you and you had nothing to do with them or their wife, you would be sitting around trying to figure out what had gone wrong/what you had done and how you could make it better wouldn’t you?” – she agreed. I then said “the difference is, my mum has had years to do that but all she seems to come up with is that she’s never done anything wrong and that it is just all down to my husband and how he has manipulated me and poisoned me against her”. 

The words came out of my mouth and it was like I *heard* them and surprised myself at my own understanding (weird I know). I realised as I said it that it was absolutely true. I knew it before and I know it now, but I didn’t *feel* it the other week. The other week when I was completely and utterly drowning in the child part of me’s hopes and dreams and wishful thinking, none of that felt remotely important. I was willing to turn a blind eye to everything – all of it – in exchange for the love of my mother. I was utterly desperate to be looked after and nurtured and protected et. It felt bigger than everything. It felt HUGE. The logic had detached from the feelings and I couldn’t hold both at the same time.  

Now, at the moment I find myself in this weird no-man’s land really. I question if I am a little numb? (I am not sure). The way I feel is that I can see/feel/remember all the bad stuff yet feel no anger about it and also I can understand the wants, needs and wishes of the child but nowhere near enough to want to actually try and get them. I have no intention of going to stay at her house or of turning up at her door crying or begging her for the chance for us to start again or any of that dramatic, movie-type stuff that I was imagining. I just feel…. nothing really… just like I am here and I can see both sides of it equally but without being affected by either. 

I am not sure if that is a good sign of having balanced myself back out (potentially more so than before!) or whether I am actually numb because the pain of the other week was too much. Who knows? It sure feels better this way though. I feel calm inside and I am not caught up in the stress and anxiety of being angry with her, being hurt by her lack of contact or dreading seeing her or whatever.. I just feel like we can have a few messages about normal stuff which is genuinely fine… but I am not being guilt-tripped or attacked and I am not dying for more or using her messages to boost me up….. it just is what it is and it is actually fine. For now at least.

What happened rocked me in a massive, massive way. I am still shocked by the hugeness of the pain I felt but I am so, so glad that it has passed and that I am okay. I am wondering whether that is likely to happen again? Is it part of the process or was it me falling off the wagon so to speak? Has it helped in some weird way? Who knows!

Oh and to end, this made me laugh…. My mother said yesterday that she had started to read a book my sister recommended. She told me the name of it and so I downloaded it at the park yesterday and I’ve been listening to it since. The book is hilariously funny and extremely crude and rude and shocking in content, BUT that didn’t surprise me. What surprised me is this….. the girl who is narrating the story in first person/diary-entry style, is a young girl. This girl is having therapy…………. This girl is having therapy………………HA. My mother and my sister LOVED this book about a girl in therapy – it makes you die doesn’t it? The two people most adverse to anyone having therapy. Hilarious. Anyway, I am yet to see if the therapist is painted as some manipulating, evil, money-grabber (I sincerely hope not), but we shall see. It is interesting to me because as neither of them have a clue what therapy consists of and as they both clearly have their own fantasies (as T would say) – this book may be changing their opinion.. or confirming them!!

 

 

First session back (phone)

Due to being unwell I had to miss my first session back which would have been on Tuesday and as I still feel rotten today, I asked T if we could speak by phone this afternoon.

I didn’t feel like I had many feelings about speaking to T after the break though I did notice some nerves kicking in as it got past about 2pm.  I have no idea why. What is there to be nervous of?

Interestingly it was about 1pm that I sat down with a pad and pen and felt that I wanted to write something. Really write something.. something with power, with meaning; something that meant something to me and so I wrote my last post.  It might not feel particularly powerful to anyone else as it is my personal story, but it felt powerful to me and it had the desired effect. That feeling of both creating something and working something through.  I know I’m always banging on about the power of reading and writing but this is exactly why I love it so much.

It’s funny also because I thought to myself earlier that I would like my hubby to read what I have written and that I hoped he would ‘like it’ – considering the subject matter, I think that is unlikely LOL.

Anyway..

T started our phone session by talking about me being sick.  She said she was thinking about how it is interesting I have got sick on the back of the break.  I had predicted this conversation as she often says this sort of thing.  She said it was interesting that I had a chest infection as though I have had “something on my chest” for the last few weeks that she was away.  I agreed and said I had also thought this.  That is only half true really. I had thought that but I am not sure I agree with it, I just knew she would say it. Though being absolutely fair to her, it has happened before so maybe there is something to it. Who knows.

She asked me how I have been and I said that I had been fine. I said that the first few days of the first week were a little difficult but after that I didn’t give anything much thought (i.e. I blocked her out of my mind completely LOL).  She asked me to talk about the first few days being difficult and I started to explain but ended up being side-tracked by something I had said and then the conversation kinda went off in various different directions so I never really answered that question properly.

I told T about Easter and how I had cooked a big roast dinner for 7 of us and how I had decorated the table with little chicks and things.  I told her that we hid eggs in the garden for the children and how we went for a walk and ended up playing with a frisbee in a field which I had never done and enjoyed.  T said that was good and asked if I had taken any photos that I could show her and I said that I had.

I told T about the text from my mother about the family BBQ and how that has been on my mind for the last 10 days or so. I said that I hadn’t answered my mother’s text about whether or not I could go yet because I was busy at the time she asked and she’s not asked since.  I said I still hadn’t completely decided and that I was torn but felt in my gut, I shouldn’t go.  T asked me to explain my thoughts which I did (I won’t go into that on this post as I’ve already written about them in several previous posts).

T said “what’s in it for you?” and I thought about that and said “well, my nan and grandad would love it” to which T pointed out that is not for ME, that’s for them.  I suppose what I meant was that I would like them to be happy.  T said that I can arrange to see my grandparents in other ways. She suggested we had them over for dinner or that we went to see them.  I agreed and said that was totally possible and we could and would do that, but it wasn’t the same for them as having their whole family together.

T said she thought it was a bad idea for me to go there with my mother and everyone else getting drunk (standard).  She said I could end up getting “sucked back in” which I agree with.  She said it was far safer for me to stay away from big events like that, especially when there was a lot of drink involved and when I would be going without my husband for support.

I told T that I felt the “ever-hopeful child” as she says wanting to go and wishing that it would be this lovely family day… but that I could also see that the more adult part of me knew it was likely to be a big, drunken, dysfunctional mess.  I also explained that I really didn’t want to see my mother’s husband and that whilst I didn’t want to be mean or rude to him, I would just rather not have to see him at all.  T agreed with me and totally understood my reasons.

I told her that I also worried that if I went, I would have to start attending all family events, on my own, and that I didn’t want to.  She agreed.  I told her that I had had a bit of a go at my husband for not saying he would come with me but that I knew deep down he was trying to show me that I could do what he does and refuse to attend things where people are abusive and cruel to me.  T said that actually she felt the best thing my husband could do was refuse to go and also encourage me not to go either (he doesn’t do that).  She said this isn’t a normal situation with a normal family bbq – this is a whole family of dysfunctional, alcoholics and narcissists/enablers.

I then told T that my mother had text me a week ago today asking me if I fancied going out for a drink with her last Friday night.  I said that I had been shocked because she’s not invited me for a drink for many months now and that I didn’t think she would do that anymore.  T said that the thing with narcissists is that the boundaries people set with them tend to wear off and so I have to keep on reminding them/re-establishing the boundaries.  She said “you will have to remind her again and say “Mum, I’ve told you, I don’t want to be with you when you are drinking/drunk””.  I agreed but if I am honest, I just don’t feel like I can/want to say that.  I much prefer just avoiding it and suggesting meals etc.  She is right though, about a year ago I did tell her that I didn’t want to see her in those settings.  Having said that, several months ago we went for “a meal” and she got trolleyed and acted highly inappropriately…

I didn’t get chance to tell T about the dream I had about her. I did want to but by the time I remembered, it was ten minutes until the end of the session and I didn’t want to rush it.  Hopefully we can talk about that next Tuesday. If I still remember.

At the end we just caught up on some boring stuff – an argument we are having with our current estate agents and the latest on our house purchase etc.  I also told her about my husband’s sister and my own sister who has now broken up with her boyfriend (as of last night though so it’s very early days).

By the end of the call I felt pretty happy and comfortable and it started to feel less weird again.

Since coming off the phone and since writing this and my other post this morning I have been trying to think that if I grew up feeling (knowing) that my mother was at her happiest when I was not around, how that might play out with T. How might that impact the breaks.  This is a new thought so I haven’t got very far with it yet, but I suppose it might have something to do with why I never speak my mind about the breaks – because as a child I learnt my mother was happier when I went away/she went away and so I did what I was told. Went where I was told to go; regardless of whether I wanted to or not.  Perhaps that is why I have never been able to access any anger over the breaks.

Anyway, I need to think about that a bit more so to be continued…

 

 

 

 

Sick

Today should be my first session back with T after an 18 day break but I am unwell.  The timing really is impeccable.  I started to feel unwell on Sunday and recognised the very familiar pain: a chest infection.  I seem to get a chest infection at least once a year and I realised the other day that for the last 5 years, it has been in April or early May.  I don’t know why that is, perhaps it is to do with the weather or something.  What I do know is that it bloody hurts and I am writing this from my bed, where I have been since Sunday afternoon.  On my bedside cabinet I have lots of screwed up bits of tissue, half eaten packets of throat sweets, water and pain killers.

I decided I was going to have to face facts and email T earlier this morning to tell her that I wouldn’t be able to come.  I have been putting this off for a couple of reasons: 1) In case I felt better later and could go, but also 2) because I’ve read lots over the years about how lots of people cancel their session immediately before or after the break out of anger and punishment and I didn’t want T to think that was the case.  It really isn’t.

T and I have spoken by phone in the past so I knew that could be an option but talking hurts my throat and then makes me cough and the coughing really, really hurts.  Also as silly as it sounds, I genuinely feel too crap to get showered, dressed and drive to her house and back.  So I have cancelled my session.  This is the first ever time I have cancelled due to sickness in 5 years.  I am just glad that I have two sessions a week so hopefully I can go on Thursday.

T often puts physical illness down to emotions and has regularly told me in the past that colds for example are “uncried tears“.  Funnily enough T often has a tissue on her and is blowing her nose so perhaps she has lots of uncried tears herself…. or maybe she has allergies. Who knows.

Anyway just out of interest whilst I was waiting for my laptop to load, I did a Google search for the emotional causes of chest infections and it says that sadness affects lung function and the chest region. Some of the symptoms this website lists are “chest discomfort, weak voice, lack of desire to speak, low resistance to respiratory infections, pale bright face“….

Maybe the reason I get a chest infection every year is to do with emotions building up or grief that I have not expressed.  Who knows? I do remember that when I was signed off of work last September, T had been away for 2 weeks and I fell apart the day before her return.  Maybe unconsciously I hold it all in and then it gets too much and I just breakdown one way or another.  Maybe.

 

 

Nearly the end of the break

I have been thinking about writing for several days now.  Yesterday morning I told myself that I would write when I got home from work as it was my half-day and that I would use my usual therapy session time to write but instead I binged episodes of Line of Duty.  I have been really aware that recently I am either watching an episode of something addictive: Luther, then Cold Feet, then Killing Eve and now Call of Duty, or I am addicted to a book or audiobook.  Again in the last few weeks I have read Normal People by Sally Rooney, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and now, Conversations With Friends also by Sally Rooney.  I’ve been completely sucked inside this fantasy world every free waking moment.  That includes walking to and from the station and/or office, on the train journey to work and back, whilst cooking dinner, whilst showering etc.  I’m not sure that on the whole there is anything particularly unhealthy about this but I have a sneaking suspicion that it could be an attempt at blocking out thoughts and feelings; a need to escape reality.

Regardless of the above, as it is now Friday evening the therapy break is nearly over.  On Tuesday evening I will be back in therapy with T and as usual (guess what I’m going to say here?) I don’t really feel like I want to go back.

LOL

I have to laugh now because this is such a familiar feeling.  It is SO weird because as I start the break and I tell myself that soon enough I will be thinking this, I dismiss myself – it seems so unlikely. Stupid even.  But yet, here I am again.

It seems that I am not alone in these feelings and I recently read another blogger write so clearly what I feel.  During the breaks, I’m not sure how far in but I would guess approaching a week perhaps? I start to feel as though I am coping well and feeling good and then I start to question why on earth I put myself through the twice-weekly torture that is digging around in my emotions/my childhood trauma.  Why do I do that when I am sitting down to type this having not done so for near on 3 weeks and I feel fine (okay excluding the potentially unhealthy reality escaping above; but that could be a coincidence, right?).

It is really strange to me because I felt shitty about the break and the fact that T had given me some of her chicken’s eggs felt so wonderful. It was most certainly a transitional object of sorts and there I was in the kitchen with my husband and stepchildren a couple of days later snapping pictures of us making fried and scrambled eggs and omelettes and I sent them to T thanking her.  It felt comforting in a strange way that only other therapy-goers could possibly understand.

Then there was the dream that I wrote about recently. The one where T and my mother had the same curtains, wall pictures and wallpaper and I didn’t want to tell T in case she was offended.  I can clearly see the symbolism in that dream and do not deny it is probably trying to grab my attention and make me aware of what is going on deep in my subconscious mind. But yet.. here we are.

Being honest I have barely thought about T this week and I will go so far as to say that yesterday when I left work at lunch time, I was rather excited to have a whole afternoon off work to myself where I didn’t have to rush home, drive anywhere or poke around in old pains.  Nope, I could come home, eat lunch on the sofa and watch tele.  After a few hours of tele I decided I should do some exercise so I wasn’t a total couch potato.. only mostly.

Anyway perhaps I am feeling this way because my defences are up and I am unwilling to feel anything to the contrary.. maybe T is right and I have always learnt to become very self-sufficient but wouldn’t it be nice if actually it just meant I was a whole lot stronger and more able than I realise I am?

As I write this I ask myself “am I looking forward to seeing T?” and I can’t quite settle on an answer. Saying no feels horrible. I’m not NOT looking forward to seeing her and yet I don’t feel a real pressing need to or a craving to either.  “Did I miss her?” – again, my instant feeling is to write ‘no’ but again, that sounds nasty and I don’t mean it to.  Could I survive another week or so? Yes I feel I could, easily but perhaps that is only because I know the break is nearly over and so it is easy to sit here and think that.  Perhaps I would be writing something very different if I was only, say, half-way through a longer break.

I sometimes worry that I am a fickle and shallow person because I can see that in my life I sometimes have this disturbing ability to just cut people out as though they meant nothing to me.  I am aware how narcissistic that sounds and yes, it does worry me sometimes.  For example, my very narcissistic friend that I fell out with about 2 years ago now.  When me and her finally came to blows and our friendship ended I was upset and confused for a while but looking back I got over her very quickly in the scheme of things.  The second friend, my old narcissistic work colleague who I used to call “work mum” (shudder).  I fell out with her one day and never looked back.  Genuinely I never even got a craving to send her a single message. I felt nothing but relief and freedom when we went our separate ways.  After so many years of.. well.. friendship? that concerns me.  I would however like to point out here that in both of these situations I was being emotionally abused by narcissists and at the point of the breakdown of these friendships I was completely and utterly done in.  Exhausted.

But I can say the same about romantic relationships and even partly family. My mother and her husband (it pains me to call him my stepdad these days).  They were both, in their own ways, bullies and abusive yes, but I have literally removed myself from them and the life we all shared together – that ‘family’ unit.  How many people can do that I wonder?  I admit that is only a very small part of the very large picture and as anyone that reads these posts will know, I have also spent years of therapy and crying and writing to keep that distance and not run back towards the dysfunction.  BUT my point is, sometimes I worry that my ability to just flick a switch of “don’t need you/care for you/love you” is just a bit too easy.

The relevance of T and the above is that I feel like I left my last session feeling sad that I would miss T, mopping for her for a couple of days and then *flick switched* – no more sadness etc.  It’s weird!!

If I was reading another person saying the above I might secretly think to myself that said person just cannot tolerate feelings of loss or abandonment and I might be right, however, I clearly deal with the biggest loss of them all in therapy don’t I? The loss of a childhood.  The loss of a ‘good enough mother’.  The loss of growing up feeling safe and loved and precious and feeling like you are good enough and that you should expect to be treated fairly and with appropriate levels of respect.

Perhaps my capacity to feel any further loss is limited.  Who knows.

Another thing I find funny is that when I watch therapy on tele or I read about it in books, I can see how it is such a great opportunity to just say stuff – whatever you think of, whatever comes to mind, anything no matter how creepy for example when I was recently (binge) watching the series ‘You’ she told her male therapist that she fantasised about having sex with him.  She had no embarrassment about that whatsoever – just came right out and said it and when I’m watching that kind of thing I genuinely think that’s great! that is EXACTLY the point in therapy.  But what I notice is that is because I am not thinking about, or perhaps feeling the relationship between the therapist and client.  So in my mind I think wouldn’t it be great to go to my session on Tuesday evening and just be blunt and hit T with

“So I felt sad about the break at first and I loved the eggs but after several days you basically became non-existent and I didn’t give you a second thought.  I don’t NOT want to be here but I feel like I could take it or leave it.  Sorry”..

And I know that T would take that. She possibly (probably??) wouldn’t care one iota. BUT I absolutely couldn’t and wouldn’t do that because I care what she feels and thinks and I don’t want her to think that I don’t.  Also, if I am brutally honest with myself I think I worry that then she would think about me a certain way and then when my neediness, attachment and insecurity all kicks back in (inevitably) she might not understand or she might have forgotten since having ‘moved’ me from one box in her head – to another.  A less “needy” person box.  A box for clients she doesn’t have to care for as much. Love as much, perhaps?

I’m freewriting here so this may not make any sense at all.

But the question in my mind right now is: what is the healthy balance? What is the middle-ground? What is ‘right’?

I imagine that I should be able to feel the good attachment with T and miss her whilst also feeling strong and able and I do to some extent I suppose… I haven’t turned her bad but I guess I kind of lose the warmth and comfort of the good stuff in a way that is hard to explain.  It’s like for me I am either totally besotted with T and realise how crucial her existence is to my entire life OR I am just not bothered.  It doesn’t go so far as anger or hatred for me but I lose the lovely feelings of dependency too.

Interesting and confusing thoughts.

 

Inner dialogue

It is Friday afternoon, quarter to 3 and honestly today is dragging soooooo badly. I am so ready to go home and have yawned non-stop today. I was actually in bed at my normal time having spent the evening at home alone watching my programmes and drinking tea so nothing deserving of this weird kind of hangover feeling that I have. I guess it is all the stress of the last few days mixed in with the relief of having got somewhere with T yesterday afternoon. I just feel drained.. completely drained. 

I haven’t got clear thoughts or feelings to write about today but I am planning to try to document any feelings that come and go over the next few weeks post yesterday’s session. I cried as I typed up my previous blog yesterday early evening but the main feeling was utter relief. Later in the evening I started to think and rather than trying to explain it, I am going to write out my inner-dialogue here. It went something like this…

“Hmm yes I think if I could separate T from therapy then that would be the ideal situation. Because I want to see T and still have her present in my life but yet I don’t want to have to “do therapy” twice a week. But T is therapy.. there is no having one without the other. That sucks. If I could just see T without therapy… though it would be entirely different and I might not actually like it/might not actually benefit the way that I do from seeing her FOR therapy (not that it is an option either way – just saying). So therefore it kind of IS therapy that I want… with T.. so what is my issue with it “being therapy” then? What is it exactly that is causing this internal struggle?”

And then today it continues along these lines..

Also it is interesting that I typed the following words last night without thinking them through “I know there’s nothing negative about doing that even if I don’t *need* to.. but the feeling I have is that I don’t WANT to NEED to”. Oh Christ… *replays T saying “I do think there are still some dependency issues at play here… not wanting to feel dependant”. God, is she right? Is this all about not wanting to depend on T? Surely we are passed that by now? I mean, I don’t feel I shy away from telling her or admitting to myself when I feel I *need* her….

Is she right that this has come on top of her 2 week break… is the upcoming break making me go into self-sufficiency mode? Am I “acting out” and trying to tell her I don’t need her anyway? Oh yuck. 

It feels very weird… this whole thing is very weird. I felt instantly better when T agreed that we could talk about me dropping my second session – like the relief was huge (mainly because she was no longer horrible LOL) but I am aware that in the distance of my brain, there’s a little, tiny, brat piece of me saying “I don’t want it now that she said I can have it” and I actually feel really ashamed admitting that. Like what is that about? A toddler strop? Pushing/testing the boundaries? 

Is T right that if I had gone there and said I needed to stop, temporarily or permanently and she had just agreed, would I have felt hurt? Seen it as a sign she doesn’t want me there anyway.. seen it as a sign that she wants rid of me etc? It’s hard to tell. Possibly though I suppose. Did I use this as a good time to tell her I needed to drop down/back a session knowing that she would respond the way she did (based on evidence from last time)? Was I trying to punish her? Clearly not consciously.. but unconsciously”

Seeing that written down actually makes me realise quite how much internal dialogue I have with myself!! I feel calm enough knowing I have no timescale and no rush to make any decision but yet I don’t feel fully calm because I feel inside that I have a decision to make and I am aware that I am trying to work something out still… figure out what I am thinking and feeling and what it all means. I feel a little fragile today I think.. I haven’t really admitted that to myself until writing this now. I feel a bit… needy to make sure things are really okay, that T is really okay with me – that WE are okay and will be okay regardless of what happens but obviously I am trying to hold on to the fact that they are, and I am too proud to tell her that considering the bloody topic(!) because imagine if I tell her this and then in a few weeks I tell her that I have thought long and hard about it and I DO want to cut back? It would be like giving her ammunition to use later (yes I know, interesting that I would think of it as ammo LOL).

Christ this blog has turned into me bloody psychoanalysing myself!!!!

I want to fly.. but still have the safe nest

Okay… so. I had therapy a couple of hours ago and I’ve had an hour or so to just relax and distract myself from all the feelings and now I am going to attempt to put some of what happened down on paper (well, on here anyway).  It feels like I will probably only remember half of what was said between us but hopefully that will be the most important bits if they are the bits that have stuck.  So here we go.

I felt rather angry about it all last night.  I woke up feeling stressed and confused and angry about it all this morning.  I was really dreading seeing T today, I felt nervous and scared and angry all at the same time. My main thought behind the anger was that T was not hearing me out, that she was kinda dismissing me and my wishes and that she spoke to me in a negative (child-like way) and that I felt backed into a corner.  On top of all of that, I felt hurt and scared about the state of our relationship because of this but also because she suddenly seemed like.. well, she felt unsafe I suppose.

Typically of all the bloody days, I got stuck in some temporary traffic lights for an age and was late to my session. I am NEVER late.  When I realised I was, I rolled my eyes and thought how T would surely take this as a sign of my “acting out”.  That was annoying because it genuinely wasn’t – I don’t do things like that.  I mentioned this to T at the end of my session and she said she had thought that, yes.  I laughed and said I didn’t do it on purpose and she made a comment about how we can do these things subconsciously …but honestly, I left at the same time as I always leave so I really wasn’t acting out at all.

When we started the session I decided to just come right out and say it.  I opened by saying that I have felt stressed since Tuesday’s session and that I had a few things that I wanted to talk about.  I said that 1) I didn’t need to stop my second session for the house money now because I had miscalculated and forgotten about some money that we have left from our mortgage deposit which makes all the difference (£3k!!).  T was visibly happy about this and went on to say something like “see, this is why I say we need to just sit on it for a while and not make knee-jerk reactions…” and I thought to myself, Oh God, don’t get too on that bandwagon.. wait a minute… so I interrupted and said BUT.. but I do want to stop my second session however I don’t need to do that immediately and I want us to really talk about it and plan ahead for it and do it properly so it is not done on impulse etc.

I can’t really remember the order that followed this but I told T some of my reasons, being logistical – getting up so early every day and working these long days is hard to sustain on a long-term basis… financial: whether T likes it or not, I don’t want to be spending that extra money each month if I don’t feel I need to be; and lastly, I feel like I will be fine without it and that the second session feels much like a luxury and not a necessity.

I explained to T that my Tuesday session (which has been consistently there for 5 years now) feels like a necessity and feels important and just part of my life now, but my second session does not have that feeling and it no longer feels like something I NEED.  More to the point, I WANT to try to go without it.

T didn’t seem to realise that I saw my Thursday session as a luxury and looked a bit surprised – not shocked, but like it was information that helped her somehow, new knowledge I suppose.  She said that having two sessions each week helped with continuity and meant that the gaps were smaller between sessions so the work could flow more naturally.  I said I understood that.  I again explained to T that I just want to try to “move on” a bit now. I feel like yes, in September I fell apart a bit momentarily and I clearly needed the extra support but 6 months later, I feel I have been stronger and I feel more content and happy to try without it again.

I told T that I didn’t feel she understood my reasons or what I said on Tuesday and that I felt quite angry about it all.  She said “I know you did. I knew you would be feeling angry”.  I told her that what I was desperate for was to not have a repeat of the rupture that happened last time I quit a session about a year and a half ago.  T kind of raised her eyebrows and said “it was a rupture, was it?”.  That kinda pissed me off to be honest.  How could it NOT have been a rupture? Clearly it was a rupture, it was fucking AWFUL.  I said “Yes, to me it was at least – it was horrific for me. That session was dreadful and I felt awful for a long while afterwards too!”.

We really spoke a lot about how it all felt to me on Tuesday and I was very honest with her, more than I have been before and I told her that I didn’t like some of the things she said or the way she said them.  I said I particularly didn’t like the “banker” comment and she said “what do you think I meant by that comment?” and I said, I took it to mean that I was taking money OFF of her, to give to someone/something else.  She said that is not what she meant and that what she had meant was that I was making my therapy purely about money.  In all honestly I am not sure that if that is what she meant or not.  She said “I did think I should have explained that comment” – I presume she means afterwards, but I don’t know.

I told her that I didn’t like the way she was, that she was angry and dismissive and that I felt she was telling me off and that I bit my tongue because last time I argued with her, it was so awful I didn’t want a repeat but that yes, it left me feeling very unheard and very pushed down and resentful and angry and scared.  I told her that it made me feel like she didn’t listen to my reasons and that it was just a “no” and that was the end of it. I said if I am brutally honest, it felt to me as though she was struggling with the rejection and taking it personally and that she wanted me to feel guilty for what it was that I wanted.

She asked me to explain the guilt bit and asked me “why would you feel guilty?” and I said, half jokingly, “because that’s what I do” and we both laughed which helped defuse the atmosphere a little.

I said guilt for money but also perhaps guilt that I was “done” with needing her as much and that I imagined it was a bit like a mother and daughter and the daughter growing up and not needing the mother so much….

T asked me what my feelings reminded me of (and I knew perfectly well where she was going with this) so I said “Yes, I know. I know the dynamic is that of me and my mother when I was younger and I can clearly see that – I knew you would say this”.  I said, truthfully, that I fully expect this is why I feel so angry about it because I was feeling like I didn’t have the right to make my own choices or decisions and that my choices were not being respected or listened too and that I felt like I was being told off by a parent who was treating me like a child rather than an adult in therapy which is something I do through choice.

T told me she was not “telling me off”.  I said it felt like it.  T explained that she knows she is extremely passionate and that maybe that doesn’t come across very well.  She didn’t say sorry for that but she said something about trying to make sure it doesn’t come across as angry or telling me off in future.

We spoke quite a lot about the similarities between our session Tuesday (and last time) and my mother.  T said that my mother was never able to attune and that she was never really interested in what I wanted or was doing and was certainly not trying to protect me.  She said she WAS trying to protect me, that she was looking out for the parts of me that do need her twice a week.  She said that clearly I am very much in my adult self at the moment, buying a house etc and that she understands the harder, sad feelings are not present and so of course I would want to stop therapy because nobody WANTS to have to be in therapy because something went wrong in their childhood. Nobody.

I said something about how it isn’t about HER that if you separated her and the therapy… and then caught myself and said I know that doesn’t make sense because you ARE the therapy / the therapy and you are the same thing… she said not to worry about the words and to just talk… I explained that it is nothing to do with not wanting to see her. I said that clearly everyone would benefit from having therapy twice a week – I said who wouldn’t enjoy having someone there to talk to and to see etc, BUT that equally at the same time, I just want to be able to see that therapy has really benefited me and actually see the benefit in terms of only going once a week and not having to change my hours at work and work stupidly long days and that yes, I admit, I would like to have the extra money too!! I said to her “I know you don’t like the money thing but it just is the facts. I only have a certain amount of disposable income and it is all going on therapy”.  She did actually agree and understand this which was a relief… I really didn’t want her to go on about how it is worth the money etc because clearly I know that.

I told her I resented some of her comments on Tuesday because I have been going to her for 5 years consistently once a week and I did one of those years at twice a week, and the last 6 months at twice a week and I was committed. I never cancel sessions and I’ve never said I am sick or anything.  I said I felt a bit insulted actually and very misunderstood that she would act as though I didn’t give a shit about my therapy or about my mental health because I really, really did and do and I felt that proved it.  I also said I do not want to quit therapy altogether at all and that I have not even thought about that for a second.  She said “you are not there yet” and I agreed with her. She started to say when it is time to end we will know that together and we will talk about it together and it will just feel right…. then I started to cry a bit as she spoke.

I told her I still want her, I still want therapy and I really, truly do.. but right now I just wanted to lessen down the sessions and try to live a bit more of a “normal” for want of a better word, life.  She seemed to understand that.

I said I worried she felt rejected and felt as though I had picked her up when I needed her in September, she had given me the second session and then now I felt better I was dumping her and throwing it back in her face.  She said that I didn’t need to worry about her and that she could look after herself and that she has her own therapy and other things.  She also said that was the entire point of therapy, that it isn’t forever – that of course I need her more when I am struggling and that is what it is there for.  That helped to relieve that feeling a bit.

I asked her outright “do you not think I should drop a session? Do you not think I will be able to cope?” and she said “of course I do” but I got the feeling she heard that as a more aggressive comment so I said “No, I mean, genuinely – what do you think about me dropping a session?” and she said that she felt I would be absolutely fine with just one session but that therapy has different stages and she had thought that we would be going through a lot of rupture and repair and that having two sessions would be really helpful to get us through that.  But she did add that we haven’t and that we would just have to rely on writing (email/sending blogs etc) or phone calls.  I liked that she said that, I was worried she would give more of an ultimatum like “if you drop your second session don’t think I will offer any extra support outside” kind of thing. Not in so many words – obviously.

It felt really good to know she agreed I would be fine.  AND it helped to know that her main reason for thinking the second session was important was in case of a phase of rupture and repair.  I told her I just don’t think we are going to be like that, that I read plenty of blogs where people go through that and that perhaps it was just different for me – that we all do therapy differently don’t we depending on our experiences and our needs and our personalities and the type of therapy and therapist etc etc.  She said that this right now was a type of rupture and repair and that it was clearly really important and helpful that we had today for me to go back there and we could have this conversation – whereas if we didn’t, I would be holding it and all these feelings for another week! I agreed and knew what she was saying.

She said she thought I was very brave going there today and being able to tell her.  I told her I was dreading it.  I was mainly dreading her being aggressive and telling me off and me getting resentful and angry and feeling unheard and misunderstood.  She said it was really hard and good work that I was doing and that it was very painful when I feel she is doing things my mother did, like not listening and that I have never had a template of someone genuinely caring and protecting me and so of course I felt she was only saying the things she did out of self-interest.  I kind of laughed.. and she smiled kindly at me.

I felt so much better at this stage.

We decided that we will have my 2 sessions next week and then she is on a break for 2 weeks so we will see where I am with it all then and how I feel and then we can think about making a plan if I still feel the same. I am happy with that and said so.  It gives me time to make sure this is truly what I want. I do worry that this decision was thought up in anger (as much as I wouldn’t have admitted that this morning) and, for the record, I am NOT saying it was.. just that I would like to give that a chance to dissipate and see if I still feel the same.  It is easy to not want a second session when you are livid with your therapist isn’t it, not so easy when you are happy with them.

I cried a bit on the drive home and felt such a huge relief that she was back to being “good”, kind T and not the horrible and aggressive one from Tuesday.  I know that is pretty black and white thinking, but I am just being honest.  I didn’t like how she was and I felt shit.  I feel so much better now and I told her so.  I felt more heard and more understood etc.

The feeling I have right now is relief and I find myself feeling a bit torn between wanting more independence (dropping a session) and loving T and so enjoying each session and the feeling I get afterwards (like now I suppose).  I cried and could cry now in fact because I feel so stuck with this… I think there is a fear in there that if I don’t see her enough something will change and be lost and I admit, a huge guilt feeling of leaving her behind which IS something I’ve written about with regards to my mother and my “leaving her behind” over the past few years of my individuating etc.  I know that T can show me a healthier experience than that, that I don’t have to be right up in someone’s grill for them to be able to still love me and treat me kindly and for us to still have a really good and stable and reliable relationship…. but there is definitely that fear inside me right now – one that I am more open to feeling now the anger has passed.

With my mother I had no choice but to become un-meshed and to pull away and put distance between us – for my sanity!! but with T it isn’t like that.  I love her and I want to see her but also I want to move on and get on a bit with my life….. I want therapy to be so beneficial to me in living my, oh god.. hash tag, best life… that it pushes me to be able to do these things and be less dependent and not have to make so many logistical and financial sacrifices you know?  T said that she absolutely understands that I don’t want to let my need for therapy dictate so many aspects of my life when I shouldn’t have to be having it in the first place.  I am so glad she gets that and doesn’t feel it is about her personally.  It is hard because I keep wanting to separate T and “the therapy” and say things like “If I could keep T around but not have the therapy, I would” and by that I mean, if I was family with or friends with T, if I could pop in now and again for tea or a chat or if I could meet up with her for dinner… I would – without having to have “therapy” at a set time but of course I understand that T IS the therapy – that therapy and T are the same thing. I wonder if that makes any sense when you read this…. possibly not.   It is the harsh reality that you can’t have one without the other. I can’t keep T in my life as often unless I go to and yes, pay for, therapy as often – that is just the facts.  But does that mean I NEED to? I am not sure right now.

I am going to let this settle and see what comes up… knowing me I will have all sorts of conflicting feelings and I’ll probably have some really fucked up dreams. I will probably have a huge panic and at the same time feel really empowered with my choice… we shall see. The main thing is, there is no rush.  No rush at all.

I didn’t (and don’t) want to feel held back against my will – but yes, I don’t want to be abandoned either (real or perceived).

I want to fly, but still have that safe nest waiting for me.  I don’t want to have to do what I’ve had to do with my mother and have all or nothing.  All leaves me feeling totally suffocated and kills my authenticity and “self” off and yet nothing leaves me emotionally destitute and missing and grieving and full of pain.

Maybe one session will bring me the right balance.  T will be there – but not as prominent.  I will have more “independence” if you like, but have the security to…..

Or maybe I will just regret it and feel as though I will fall apart. HA.  Fuck knows.

I wonder if the original need to save quickly was just a good “excuse” to do this and now that reason has fallen away, it has given me the chance to explore this more sensibly.

Does anyone get this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love-Bombing & Giving back the projection

I wonder when I turned into the kind of person that found sneaking off to a coffee shop on my own for an hour, a treat. I wonder when it was that I swapped my absolute fear of being alone in public, of being looked at or judged, for sitting at a table with a snack and a cup of tea and finding it the most relaxing way to spend an hour. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I crave it!

So here I am, I’ve just been watching something on Netflix on my phone but I also had a craving to write so I thought I would quickly write here. It’s not quite satisfying the craving because in the perfect world I would be in a coffee shop nowhere near work and I would have my laptop and some comfort clothes on – but hey, I’ll take what I can and so my phone and my work clothes will have to do.

I’m feeling pretty good today. Work was stressing me out this morning but that’s just work stuff, not emotions or people or anything, literally paperwork. Russian visas to be precise. Ball. Ache.

I had therapy last night and told T some of the new things I had been thinking. I told her that I knew it didn’t sound like much out loud, but that my new thoughts felt huge.

I told her that I realised that my mother’s upset at my lack of attention/interest/love etc and that I realised that’s exactly how I felt all of my life growing up with her.

She agreed.

I explained that in a bit more detail and said I know it sounds like I’m being spiteful, but I’m not, I didn’t mean it like that – it’s not meant as punishment or anything. She said it absolutely did not sound like that at all.

She said “you’ve given the projection back”.

I didn’t really focus on that last night but it has been on my mind today because I clearly remember her saying a while ago that I needed to “give the projection back” when I was feeling desperately guilty. I had no idea what she meant to be honest. Hearing her say that last night felt good. Had I given it back?

I plan to speak to her about that in more detail in tomorrow’s session but I guess what she means is it isn’t me that should feel guilty, it’s her and so I’m refusing to carry that weight and I’m “giving it back” to her. Not that she would accept it … I guess that’s not the point.

I told T how clearly I can see her lack of empathy all of a sudden. I said the few examples I could think of immediately being 1) when I told her about the sexual abuse by her then boyfriend, 2) my operation when I was scared I had cancer, 3) when I confronted her about how I felt growing up. T already knows these stories and she knows all the details of what happened so she agreed with me. I said it was like all of a sudden I could really understand how awful her reactions were. I said I just keep trying to put myself in her position and imagining my stepdaughter telling me those things and how I just realised how shocking it all was in a way that I hadn’t before.

T agreed with me. Clearly she’s been thinking this way the whole time but I’ve taken a while (5 years!) to catch up.

I asked T is she had heard of the term “love bombing” in relation to narcissists and she hasn’t. I told her what I had been reading about it and what it meant and she seemed very interested. I told her that mostly everything I had read about love bombing was in relation to romantic relationships with a narcissist, but that I had put it into my context, with my mother and it had made sense. I explained that the inviting us to “forget it all and move on”, the invite to go to her house, the money she put into my bank account, the messages saying how much she loved me, how much she missed me, how I was her “daughter” etc were all part of this love-bombing. The idea being to confuse and guilt the receiving party into thinking the manipulator is actually lovely, to doubt your perception of them, to feel bad, feel guilty.

T understood straight away and agreed with what I was saying about my mother and her “love-bombing” and we both said how what usually follows is devaluation and then discard. Perhaps not discard with my mother, but devaluation for sure.

I said reading what I had really helped because it stopped me thinking that perhaps I was wrong and also I told T that I couldn’t help but feel I was being a horrible person thinking her “generous” gifts could be somehow “bad”.

Anyway, I have to go back to work now unfortunately so this is shorter than I would like it to be. Hopefully it made some sense anyway.

Some things

Things I need to write about.

  1. Today I found out that an old school friend has died. He was 30, recently married and had a 7 month old baby.  We haven’t spoken for years since college but it is such a shock and such tragic news.
  2. Therapy today – I only bloody saw one of T’s daughters for the first time.
  3. I never write about my relationship with my husband but I feel I need to write about some feelings I have right now regarding him/us.
  4. The money.

Okay so there isn’t much more for me to say about number 1.  The news is bloody tragic. It really has shocked me so much, I just cannot believe it.  In fact, I mean that quite literally – I don’t feel like I have taken it in yet, it doesn’t seem possible that someone I knew for all of those years who was on a very similar path to me is now gone.  Just like that.  I keep thinking about his wife and their baby and how someone gets through something so terrible.  I keep picturing his face which is really hard and it reminds me of how I felt when another of my friends died at 21 years old – both of these people were in our group  at school.  Both now gone.  21 and 30 – no age to die.  One through suicide and one through an accident.

Number 2
Well, I can’t quite believe this but I pulled up to T’s earlier and I had only been stopped a matter of seconds when I saw someone out of the corner of my eye near T’s house.  I looked up and saw it was one of T’s daughters coming out of her house, carrying a dog in her arms.  She had nothing on her feet and was wearing a tracksuit. She got into her car which was facing mine and I played around with my phone to hide my awkwardness.  I looked up a few times and she was still looking in my direction and then she got out of the car, and went back inside.  I can only assume she left something in her car, but I have no idea why she had to take the dog with her – perhaps to stop it running outside or something.

It was weird seeing her. In 5 years I’ve never seen her despite seeing her car outside most times.  I’ve seen what she looks like enough times because I used to look at her on Instagram but it was weird seeing her in real life and, I suppose it was the shock of seeing her right there when I have never had to see anyone before.

Obviously my paranoid mind was thinking all sorts of things.   Had she come out to get a look at me?  Was she coming out to look at me because she knew it was me who used to look at her social media all the time? Did she purposely wait until my session time? And then I started wondering if T doesn’t stop her from doing that kind of thing – I mean, clients who relate to their T in the way I do and clients with mother issues/attachment issues really don’t want to be seeing T’s children do they?

To my surprise, I didn’t feel any strong feelings about seeing her and T didn’t say anything about it or ask how I felt etc so either she didn’t know I had or maybe she just saw I looked happy enough and so thought she would avoid it? Who knows.

Onto number 3..

So I rarely write about my marriage and mostly that is because there really isn’t much to say.  We don’t have big arguments or anything and we get on very well.  The only time we tend to disagree is about my mother or possibly money (me wanting to spend it by going out to eat or booking a holiday and him wanting to save it for a house, baby, the future etc).  However…. I’ve been feeling some things lately which I suppose I’ve been kinda trying to ignore but they’ve been getting louder and then today I feel it even more.  At the same time however, a bit of me wonders if it is about him at all or whether I am transferring some feelings about someone else/something else onto him because it is easier or safer or whether I am using these things as an excuse or something…. I don’t know.

The first thing that started this off was that he doesn’t seem to want to have sex hardly ever anymore.  I know that can happen, that sometimes people go through phases etc but I started to feel a little bit insecure about it and when I made a few comments, he would get a bit stroppy or tell me he didn’t want to discuss it.  He always says he is tired and stressed from the day or I have been to therapy or whatever and so he’s started to only want sex on a Saturday morning when the kids are all here and it makes me feel on edge.  Not being funny but it isn’t exactly relaxing knowing there are 3 sets of ears potentially listening out or that any second there could be a knock on the door or whatever, yet alone the fact we cannot make any noise whatsoever and the fact that due to this there is absolutely NO romance involved in it whatsoever.

Anyway… as we are trying to conceive and have been for what feels like eternity, there are times when we have to have sex and that alone is not romantic let me tell you.  That has probably made me feel even worse because he will be brutally honest and say things like “God do we have to” or “Eugh, again?” and I’m like, yeah, I don’t particularly want to either mate.  You know? Without being too graphic, its got to the point on those fertile days where there is no foreplay or kissing or anything and its not for mutual pleasure if you get my drift. It is a job to do. Another chore and I don’t blame him for this one – we both feel the same. It would be easy to blame the whole sex thing on this but it is no different the rest of the month so that doesn’t really work.

Anyway, sex aside I just feel a bit neglected recently I suppose.  It is all such silly things but things like I will text him and he will read it and ignore me rather than reply.  He will come home every night and just sit on the sofa and play on his phone and he will often stay up later than me because he wants to watch something and I need to get to bed as I get up so early.. then the kids are here and obviously the dynamic is different again.

I know that he loves me and I’m not worried that he is going to suddenly want a divorce or anything so I’m not trying to dramatize anything… I just feel a bit… kinda lonely I suppose if that makes sense?  I guess it is upsetting because it has never felt like this before and so it’s probably pretty normal stuff, but it isn’t normal for our marriage you know?

Anyway, as I started to write this he phoned me to say he was staying late at work tonight and I found myself being really stroppy and short with him on the phone.  I couldn’t help myself and the second I hung up, I burst into tears because I felt guilty for being a bitch.  Even writing this now makes me feel so bad I’m crying again.

I can’t help but feel that my feelings have nothing to do with any of the stuff I’ve written above but it feels like it is… so I’m confused as to whether it is any of that stuff and genuinely I do feel bit taken for granted or whether I am using him as an excuse for my bad/sad/mad feelings.

Which leads onto number 4

It has been a week since “the money” thing.  I haven’t actually given it much thought the last few days but to be honest that is mainly because of Tuesday’s night’s session and all the feelings that kicked up/my new favourite hobby of distracting myself to block out thinking and feeling.

All of the main feelings of panic and anxiety etc have passed in relation to the money thing and now I just feel like I need to almost pretend it didn’t happen to make sure that I keep my boundaries and don’t get sucked into doing anything differently.  Yesterday at work someone was talking about how they have been fixing furniture and revamping old things and it reminded me that when I was younger, my mum went mad for “sponging” the walls and things.  In the early 90s that was a thing apparently! Anyway as I remembered it I wanted to text my mum and remind her and in my head we would have a laugh over it.. but then I realised I shouldn’t be encouraging contact and I shouldn’t do that now of all times when I don’t usually make any kind of small-talk because it would send out the wrong message wouldn’t’ it? And besides, it might then prompt her to ask to see me and then I would end up feeling stressed about that… so just not worth it.  So I didn’t.  But I wanted to and that kinda sucks.

I’ve touched on this previously already but I felt quite shocked and overwhelmed by the stuff I spoke about in my session on Tuesday by the time I got home and I told T that in today’s session.  She said she wasn’t surprised and that she had just been sitting there thinking about how I told the story/stories differently this time to before.  I didn’t ask what she meant by that but I am pretty sure what she meant was that previously I just told the stories and this time, I felt the feelings the memories brought up.  I know that I felt that to be the case.

I can sense that I’m not fully letting the feelings come at the moment – I’m probably scared of the intensity of them, but I keep thinking to myself that the things I went through were actually awful and that I’ve played them down my entire life.  Now all of a sudden those things feel big.  They feel traumatic and they feel very, very, bloody unfair (I know, I know).

It made me see that my mother really didn’t care about how much pain I was in back then and she still doesn’t.  This is a real obvious statement I know, but I can feel it at the moment whereas often when I say or write that, it is the logic – the obvious logic of her words or actions.  Feeling it makes it more real.  More shocking and more painful.

In one of her messages about the money she referred to our issues as being “some differences but that is life” and reading that sentence made me feel so angry.  Some differences?! I mean, way to play it down.  Those differences are my entire life experience!! My feelings.  My hurt and my pain.  For her to just say something that casual like our different views hurt.

Since that message I’ve thought to myself I wonder if she really thinks that way.  I wonder if she genuinely tells herself that; that we just have different views (I.e. that my view is she was a shit mother and I grew up feeling unloved and that her view is that she was a great mother who did the best she could and I have nothing to feel hurt by).  I mean.. even if you think you did your best, wouldn’t you want to hear your child out and wouldn’t you apologise anyway? Wouldn’t you hear your child’s pain and want to reassure them that THEY did absolutely nothing wrong and apologise over and over again?  Not her.  She just thinks its a “different view”.

As I write this I can feel the anger bubbling up inside me.  How can she minimise my pain like that? How can she not self-reflect at all and see that actually, her choices in life put me in some really shitty situations and that she was barely around and did not have any idea how I actually FELT about anything.  All she sees is that she was a “single mother” (who wasn’t actually ever single) and that she “had no help from either of your dads” and that “other people have it much, much worse”.  So defensive.

That right there is why things between me and her will never, ever be able to be improved.  She cannot or will not allow herself to put herself in my shoes and see how I felt growing up.  She cannot hear that I was lonely, scared, insecure, felt unloved etc etc… she just can’t.  I’ve told her twice now and both times she just kicked off and called me things.  Both times we stopped speaking for a period of time. I told her once that I didn’t want to talk to her unless she had had an epiphany and she told me it was me that needed one, not her – when I stopped all the nonsense.

Because she is a narcissist and all she cares about is her own feelings.  The lack of empathy being one of the main characteristics of a narcissist. Suddenly so obvious.

After I told her about what her boyfriend did to me and she had finished fawning about everywhere telling everyone how she blamed herself and how she couldn’t eat or drink (perleaseee), she said to me “Oh sorry, do we all need to sit around and feel sorry for you every day for the rest of our lives. Poor you!!”.  THAT is the level of empathy my mother has about her (then) boyfriend being a fucking paedophile.

Because like EVERYTHING else, we need to just forget it all and have no feelings about any of it. Ever.

Don’t have feelings. Don’t talk about it.  Definitely do not confront her.

What the fuck though?

This article says it well:

Lack of empathy is a trademark of narcissistic parents. Empathizing with your children is feeling what they are feeling and acknowledging those feelings. It is the art of compassion and sensitivity, as well as the ability to give moral support in whatever they are experiencing. You do not have to agree with them but you are there for them. You put aside your own feelings and thoughts for the moment and tune in to their emotional needs to attempt to understand where they are coming from and why. Instead of citing rules or trying to give advice and direction, try this empathy exercise instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shocked?

I know this doesn’t really make sense but I left Tuesday’s therapy session feeling what I can only describe as “in shock”. I had told T about the dream I had Saturday night about being outside one of my childhood homes and the feeling it left me with all day on Sunday (feeling shit). We spoke about the dream and T said she felt there was something that I needed to “revisit” and I told her what the house meant to me, the things that happened there.

Time ran away as it often does in therapy and before I knew it I had spoken in detail about the sexual abuse stuff and the grooming, about how I felt that evening when I went to bed and how petrified I was when he came up the stairs and started sending me disgusting messages from the bathroom opposite my bedroom.

I had spoken in detail about the man that was violent and had started to physically abuse my mother and how I had found her on her bed naked and covered in the glass from the large mirror he had pulled off the wall and smashed onto her. How I had to get him out of our house. Again, how bloody scared I was.

I spoke about the times I ran away and where I went and what it was like when I went home again.

About how I lost my virginity in that house at a young age and how that guy dumped me and told my mother it was her he loved…

Blah blah… there is more but it’s going to end up retriggering me if I carry on. The point is, as the session wound up and I had a couple of minutes left I just sat in silence and found myself in a bit of a daze. I was just staring at the floor and was aware that T had two clocks which were ticking out of sync and suddenly seemed SO loud.

I usually hate the “awkward” silences but I didn’t have anything to say. I was feeling weird. After a pause T said “it seems like its washed over you” and I said “erm yeah I guess I’m just processing it all” and she agreed. Anyway, I left and in the car home I felt weird.

When I got home I still felt weird. I keep writing weird because I genuinely don’t know how to explain that feeling.

I sat on my bed for a minute and stared into space again. I felt the weight of the things I had just spoken about. I felt like my adrenaline was pumping through me and I felt anxious and kinda on my guard or something. I felt like I wanted to cry, but nothing was happening…

I felt so uncomfortable that I decided to distract myself and went and put the tele on and started to cook my dinner. Every now and again I would “remember” and feel that same feeling.

It was like… I was scared or anxious or shocked.

I had fleeting thoughts that lasted half a second where I thought “shit, that’s big” or “why the fuck do I feel sorry for her when she let all that happen to me?”. Then I would banish it all again.

When I went to get into bed I caught a glimpse of a photo on my bedside cabinet of my 3 stepchildren which was taken about 5 years ago. The 3 of them smiling and looking so young and cute and innocent and I thought to myself “oh my god I don’t even know how a childhood like that feels – one without fear or trauma”. It sounds awful but for half a second I hated them for that. Then I nearly cried again but didn’t – why weren’t the tears coming out? I could even feel the lump in my throat.

One thing T said in the session that has stuck with me is that in most cases of childhood sexual abuse from a partner of a mother, the mother is a narcissist. She explained that the men were clever and knew the mother would be so wrapped up in herself and that the child wouldn’t be protected, would be vulnerable. She said he was with her to “get” to me. That made me feel sooo sick.

She also said that although what he did was awful I had a close call. I know she’s right, it certainly could have been worse. I’m grateful they split up after that happened – though they did get back together a few months later and i came home to find him back in my house again. Luckily it didn’t last that time.

I’ve thought about this feeling a little since Tuesday though admittedly not a lot because it’s a horrible feeling that I find myself trying to block out. I think it’s shock.

I know that sounds weird but it’s like the severity of some of those things suddenly sunk in. Like I heard myself properly for the first time or something.

It FEELS awful. It never used to. How can you feel shocked about your own memories years and years after they happened?