Obsession, Chickens & Dream therapy

Okay, I am struggling. Really, really struggling.

I don’t know what has happened but since Friday evening when I wrote about walking home, playing the song that reminds me of T, thinking of those lovely memories with her and then the awful internet stalking binge that I went on (still not over that!) I have become obsessed.

I don’t want to use the word “obsessed” because it has very negative connotations and conjures up an image of some mad stalker or something. But for the sake of being bluntly honest, that is probably the most accurate word.

I just cannot stop thinking about T; and I am talking like 24/7 completely and utterly consumed by her. I can’t even give an example of the types of thoughts I am having, I can’t consciously grab hold of one long enough to examine, but she is just “there” if that makes any sense?

Unfortunately the fact that she is so “there” has resulted in everyone else no longer being “there” at all. I feel awful writing this, but I can’t even connect properly with my boyfriend. It is as though I just can’t see and feel him at the moment. Like there isn’t room for them both.  I feel so guilty that I feel this way that I just spent the last ten minutes crying in the toilet partly for that reason.

He is so happy today because we’ve just been to a garden centre and he’s brought some new plants. He is a keen gardener these days and it has given him that lift that I get when I’ve been on a successful shopping trip. Yet here I am, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon sitting in bed writing this in the hope that my headache goes, that I make some sense of all these thoughts in my head and that my mood lifts, for his sake as much as mine. I don’t want him to feel rejected.

It feels similar to cheating. Being totally consumed in thoughts about another person and your partner having no idea. The confusion and the guilt – it is very similar to that.

I have spent hours on the internet reading about transference and trying to make some sense of what is going on. It isn’t erotic transference because I only see her in a motherly way, there is nothing sexual about any of it – yet the feeling is similar to falling in love. All encompassing love.

***

Chickens

I found a book at the garden centre on chickens. I was drawn to the book and picked it up admiring the beautiful chickens and their lovely colours and patterns. The reason? My T (of course) because she keeps chickens.  It is one of the few things I know about her.

I thought to myself that I would buy her the book, she would like that and i would like that too and then the voice in my head told me not to be so stupid, that I wasn’t allowed to buy T things, that she would ask me why I had, perhaps even reject the gift and that I would feel ashamed and rejected. The pain of that thought alone was intense and physically hurt my chest. I felt as though I could cry right there and then and so I put the book down and walked away.

I thought to myself that it just isn’t fair that I can’t do these things. That I can’t have T as my mother figure and that I have to keep to a more professional and boundaried relationship with her. I wanted to be able to do these things and it feels so bloody unfair that I can’t. Writing that sentence has brought the tears back up. Wow it is strong.

I am aware that words like “isn’t fair” are rather childish so perhaps I am regressed. Perhaps it is the child part that is feeling the perceived rejection and unfairness.

Anyway, I then fought against all of this and decided to buy the book. I thought I could decide later if I gave it to her or not. Perhaps I would keep it for myself and it would remind of me of T, or perhaps I would decided to give it to her. So I now have a book about chickens sitting on my dining table downstairs that may, or may not, make its way to T.

***

Falling in “Love”

I started thinking about similarities in the way I think, feel and behave at the start of relationships and compared it to the way I’ve been feeling about T.  There are some definite similarities:-

  1. I become totally preoccupied by that person;
  2. I buy them gifts;
  3. I think of them in songs and play those songs on repeat;
  4. I see things everywhere that remind me of them;
  5. I go off whoever else is around me – perhaps a current partner;
  6. I want and need more.. more, more, more;
  7. My mood changes when I am with that person;
  8. I cry when that person leaves me physically or I have to leave them;
  9. I try and play it cool and fight against all of these things because I know that other people don’t tend to feel this way and because I don’t want to show my “true colours” and scare the new love interest away; and
  10. Later down the line, I constantly ask if everything is okay, if I’ve upset the other person and struggle with insecurity and jealousy to a hugely embarrassing extent.  Funnily enough, insecurity is what made me contact a therapist in the first place. I had no idea (consciously) abut anything else.

Wow, I know, this really does show my issues doesn’t it? LOL. I think this is what they call a preoccupied attachment.

Okay, so what I understand so far is that I am currently preoccupied by my T, that I am repeating old behaviours and that the reason for this is down to my anxious/preoccupied attachment style which in turn, was caused by my experiences as a baby with my caregiver.

That has helped actually… writing all of this has really helped me to understand what is going on and has made it far less scary. I can actually feel my mood lifting.

The good thing about all of this is that I am in therapy now, that all of these behaviours and thoughts are “under the microscope” so to speak and will be examined thoroughly.

Hopefully one day, this will no longer be my pattern.

***

Last night’s dream

Here are some notes I wrote this morning about a dream I had last night (about T, obviously).

In session with T and was feeling a bit weird. A mixture of anger and upset. I wasn’t sure how I was feeling, but I wanted T to know what was wrong without me having to tell her. T didn’t seem to notice anything was wrong.  I got that familiar feeling that I had been talking too much again and so instantly stopped talking and just listened to her, although I was more listening to my internal dialogue. 

I asked T why I was suddenly finding therapy so hard (I was hoping that she would push this and guess what I was trying to say to her – which was that I am suddenly thinking about her a lot and that I am preoccupied with her.  I wanted to tell her about my Googling and admit how bad I feel.  I wanted her to make it all okay and to rid myself of the shame and guilt and for her to still be there and not leave or go mad).

The session ended and I got up to go, T opened the door at the front of the room (there isn’t one in real life) which was odd. I was surprised. T quickly left the room in a way that told me to stay where I was – I assumed her daughter was there.  She came back and apologised and we left the room together and I got into my car. 

I realised I had sat in the back of my car and that I needed to get into the front seat and drive it  I didn’t want to and didn’t feel capable of driving because I was feeling so confused and regressed and angry and upset.  Nothing was clear. 

But then I saw it!!! There was an envelope on my steering wheel! With my name on the front.  It said “To Twinkletoes, with love from Poland”.  The card was half of a ripped up xmas card, it said something in about how I would like a cook book which had a weird name, something like “blonde bee cookery” and I thought to myself that perhaps her daughter had it and she had thought I might like it.  I wondered why she was giving me this card that she wrote in Poland at Xmas now, in the summer.  Perhaps she forgot she had it.  I was thrilled she had thought of me on her holiday and that I had something like this to keep because only that day I had thought how I would like an transitional object in the form of something handwritten (this was true in waking life too). 

I started to drive home but couldn’t see properly. I felt I would crash. I took my glasses off to see if that helped and then realised my headlights weren’t on, so I put them on. I didn’t feel able to drive and had such a huge sense that I needed someone to tell me it was okay, to let me stop the car and get into the back, to give me a huge cuddle and let me cry it all out and for me to not have to keep acting as though I was capable. 

My thoughts on this dream are that firstly, it is extremely close to real life events. Me wishing T would know things without me having to tell her – particularly about the more embarrassing things such as this transference and the Google stalking…  me sitting in the back of my own car instead of the driver’s seat I take to be symbolic of the fact I need to “drive my own therapy” and not sit in the back.  The card is possibly a mixture of the fact i want to ask her for something handwritten to keep in breaks and a wish that she would buy me a card or gift so that I knew she had thought of me – without me asking of course. The wish in the dream that I would tell her everything and she would not leave or punish me is clearly true in real life too.  It is almost as if I had a session with her in my head because I am struggling so much in waking life.  The part about not being able to drive and not feeling capable, of wanting her (or someone) to take over and let me collapse is probably a real wish at the moment. Not wanting to have to put on a front of being strong and able when I am not feeling it.

***

Where are you now?

That is a question that T would ask me at the end of a hard session.  Where am I now? I feel a lot better having written all of this out. It has made some space in my brain which was feeling too full up.

I understand that I am repeating behaviours and I guess that is probably pretty useful (although embarrassing) to my therapy and will hopefully be something I can use to learn from.  I just need to be able to tolerate these uncomfortable feelings (something I struggle with).

Now all I need to do is get the guts to speak to T about it and decide whether to give her the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Session re “An Hour Is Never Enough” Blog

Hi everyone,

Thank you to everyone that commented on my post last night ahead of going back to T’s, I really appreciated the thoughts, comments and birthday wishes. You are all lovely!

All went well last night. Obviously.  I mean I knew it would because it always does and because T is lovely but yet there is always that trepidation nonetheless.

T opened the door, smiley and kind faced as always.  I sat down and made small talk about the weather, how hot it is, she asked whether I had got my air-con re-gassed in my car yet and we laughed about the fact that I hadn’t (we’ve had this conversation SO many times). I told her about my holiday and we compared notes because T had been there in the past.

T asked me how I felt since our last session where I was very upset. She had my blog in front of her and asked if I was happy for us to go through it. I agreed.  I told her that I felt absolutely fine during the break and my holiday and that actually, I felt okay only a few hours after I wrote the blog which I sent to her.

T said it was very courageous of me that I sent my writing to her because it really helped her to understand.  She said that my writing was beautiful (eek!) and that the image I had chosen (from Google Images) was beautiful too. She pointed to a piece of artwork that she has on her wall and told me that it symbolised the same thing. I didn’t know that and so was surprised. I told her that I had often wondered what it was/represented but that I hadn’t known. She told me that perhaps my subconscious had known which was what had drawn me to the image I selected. .. maybe!

mother

She asked me how it felt that I sent it and whether her response had helped.  I told her that the one saving grace I have is that when I am “really in it” meaning really upset and feeling the feelings, that any embarrassment seems to go away for a short while and my neediness takes over. I needed to write that blog and get it all out and make some sense of things – and I needed her to read it too.  The embarrassment and shame that I always feel follow shortly after.

T told me that I had absolutely nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of. She told me how absolutely normal these feelings were and that I really didn’t need to be embarrassed.  She said that she hoped in time I would feel less embarrassment. I said that this had got better so hopefully it would continue to.  For example, in the past, knowing I was going back after a break to discuss that blog would have filled me with dread all day and probably made me feel rather unwell where I would have been very nervous – whereas yesterday it didn’t feel half that bad. There is definite improvement.

T read some of my words back to me, pausing at certain parts to either look at me or for me to comment on.  I told T at one part that when I was crying before I had written down any of my feelings, my stepdaughter came into my head – the fact that she had wanted a night at home with her mother before coming to us following a school trip.  I said to T that all of a sudden I understood that. I FELT that, in my heart like a physical pain. As I said this, my voice broke and I cried a little.  T looked at me as though she completely understood what I meant and she understood quite how painful that was. I said that the realisation had been very hard. T said that she needed a “top up of mum” before going back off to her Dad’s (and mine) for the weekend and I said that I understood that now, but I never had before. I said a little bit of me was angry with her for this (read: jealous) because she had something that I had never had.  Obviously I don’t really feel that way, it was just a fleeting jealous thought.

T read some more of my words and told me that everything I had described about my wishes for things I could do with her such as drinking tea, putting my feet up, having a blanket: some of them could be met.  She said I was welcome to put my feet up on the sofa, I was welcome to use the blanket which was on the back of the sofa, we could have a cup of tea if that was something I really wanted etc.  I told her that in a way I knew I could use the blanket but it wasn’t quite the same. It wasn’t really what I meant. She seemed to know that already anyway but said that some of the things I missed out on, the things that I crave, could be met now if I wanted.

I told her that I was a bit confused because I had read such conflicting things online about how therapy works. I told her that I had read the whole point of this type of therapy was to re-parent me, make me stronger and more emotionally mature, then I would detach and become more complete and adult. More whole. Yet I had also read that T could not be a replacement for my mother because I am now an adult and that was impossible and it was unhealthy if I was allowed to think of her that way.  T said that clearly she couldn’t say to me “I will be your mummy now” because that was not practical and was not fair. She said that would be harmful to me.  She said that as hard as it was for me to hear, she couldn’t be my mother but that she could help me to internalise the things that I missed out on that would help me.  For example, internalising her kind voice. Making me feel that I was special and important. Making me feel validated, feel that my feelings are important and okay – that anger and sadness were allowed and all of those very important things. She said that the therapy could help to re-parent me in some ways.  I said that I understood that I just wasn’t really sure what I could hope for from her and what I couldn’t.

I somehow plucked up the guts and told her that on my birthday I had hoped she would text me.  I said that my boyfriend had told me that she wouldn’t and that she was not “my friend” and that it felt weird to me that we couldn’t consider one another friends because I feel so close to her (even though I obviously understand I am a patient in therapy really).  T said that firstly if she had text me happy birthday that would not necessarily mean we were “friends” but that we did have a close connection and she understood why I would like to have had a birthday text.  She asked me if I wished she had of text me and I said that although I do in a way, yes, perhaps it would have brought up other things so maybe it was best she didn’t.  T said that it didn’t matter if it brought up anything – that we would talk about it and that I didn’t ever have to worry that things couldn’t be handled between us. That nothing would ruin anything and all thoughts and feelings were allowed here with her. That we would work with anything that came up.  She then explained that the reason she hadn’t text me was because I had previously told her that her texting me might be hard for me because she might text on some occasions and not others – that I might feel misunderstood.  Ultimately, that it could end up hurting me somehow.  I said that although I did feel that way, I felt that my birthday was different.  She said that she just had to be very careful not to hurt me in any way and that as we had previously agreed she would not contact me at any time, at least I knew where I stood – consistency. I said I understood that.

T said that much like my step-daughter needed “topping up” by her mother, I could “pop in” but just not in the physical sense. She said that is why she tries to encourage me to contact her if I need to. I guess that is why she has said to me before that I could “check in with her” if I needed to.  That made more sense to me now. I used to wonder how that was beneficial to me.

She said that although I might think I would like to be able to pop in and see her whenever I wanted to, as often as I liked and at whatever time, that the reality would actually be very messy and not be what I thought it would.  I am not sure I totally got this but I agreed anyhow.

She read the sentence about me only having her on “paid, restricted kinda borrowed time” and said that I really should try not to think of it this way because it was “horribly punitive”.  She said that I pay for her to be there with me, doing that job but that all of her care and affection is completely free. She said those things couldn’t be brought: that it does not work that way.  She said to try not to think of it like that but that she understood the pain of the restricted time – that sometimes it just doesn’t feel enough.

I got teary again at this point and told her (through tears and snot) that I think this feeling reminds me of the fact that my mother told me so often growing up that raising me was a chore, that she hated being a parent, that I was a horrible child, an even worse teenager, that she thought kids were disgusting – basically that she was only there because it was “her job” and that it is horrible to think at times like this, when regressed, that she is only there for me because it is her job too.  That I just wanted someone to be there for me because they wanted to – not because it was their job.  I had never said or written these words before, they just came out. They were really raw. Very deep feelings that hurt to say out loud. I was emotional and I really felt a need for her to properly “see” me and understand this in that moment.

T did seem to get what I was saying and repeated that her care was free and that she did truly care for me – that I was not a chore to her.  She said that she missed me (actual words) whilst I was away, particularly at my normal session times. That she did think of me on my birthday and wondered whether I had a nice holiday.  She looked at me and I half-smiled and she said “but you don’t believe that, do you?” and I laughed and said no.  I told her it isn’t that I don’t believe her as such, but that it just doesn’t really feel true.

She asked what my fantasy was about what happens to me when I am not around and I said that although the adult part of me knows I don’t stop existing to her – to others when I am not around, the other part of me, perhaps the more childish part DID feel that way. That I would be forgotten.  T explained that this was because unfortunately I did disappear to my mother when not around and that I wasn’t taught to feel that I was special.  T also said that she wasn’t in it for the money. She told me that if something happened and I could no longer pay her, that she wouldn’t just stop me coming. That she would never do that.

T read these parts to me “It’s probably also a bit of the inner child in me mourning the loss of the mother I would have loved to have”

and

“I guess it is the sadness of knowing I won’t see her for a while mixed with the sadness that I can only have her on paid, restricted kinda borrowed time.. mixed with the slap in the face blatant comparison of her and my mother.  Of what I could have… and what I do actually have.”

I told her that the comparison was just suddenly so obvious, so intense and painful.  That it felt so hugely unfair.  She seemed to get this immediately and said that she understood how painful this was.  I told her that the things I said I would have liked to do with her like drink tea and chat on unlimited time sounded silly but that they were small examples of the things I would like. T said they didn’t sound silly at all because it was more about what those things represented such as nurturing, warmth, understanding, comfort, home, safety.  I was teary and said yes.  She said that I wrote the words “emotionally fed” and she hoped she could help to offer me that feeling to a degree. I said she did, that I always left feeling happier and better. I said that although clearly I can’t remember being a baby and being held to my mother’s breast and fed – I just know it didn’t happen how it should have. That I can just FEEL it in my whole body. That wasn’t there, it was missing, the love and attachment was absent.  T seemed to know exactly what I meant and she said of course I did. She said you don’t have to remember a time and date of an event to remember something and that she knew exactly what I meant.

I said where I had written the words “It just hit me like a steam train” that it really did feel that way. Sudden and brutal.

T said that she wanted me to know that she truly really respected the attachment that I have towards her and that she would never do anything to intentionally hurt me. She said she knew how scary it was for me to feel this way – which it sure is.

I told T what I had written in my blog “Transference” and she agreed with me that it was some sort of repeat – that it had triggered off some old feelings and said well done for being able to see that.

T then read the last few sentences about my angry song and said she was very pleased there was a bit of anger there.  She asked how it would be possible for me to NOT feel angry. That there was so very much to be angry about. All of the things I should have had that I didn’t, the fact that I was now having to spend so much time, effort and money in therapy to fix something that shouldn’t have needed fixing.

I asked her if she had listened to the song and she said she had not because she thought we should listen to it together. I warned her the song wasn’t particularly “nice” and she said that “nice and angry don’t tend to go together”.  We played it – I felt a little awkward and didn’t know where to look as it played but at the end she said she could totally understand why I related to it so much and that she thought the song was powerful and the words very deep too.  I told her that I played it very loudly when driving and it always made me feel better.  I said the line “with her hand in my head” was very relevant to me because that is how it always felt with my mother – she controlled me so much. She may as well of had her hand in my head physically as well pulling at my thoughts.

We spoke a little about music and the power of expressing yourself with music. I told T that when I was young I spent all of my time in my room playing music and so I often felt very strongly for certain songs and could almost always link a song to a place or a time or a memory.  T asked me if I knew a particular song, I didn’t so she played it and we sat together and listened to it. The song was about someone accepting every part of you and not leaving. Someone who saw the “dark” side of you as well as the light and loved you just as much.  The song made me emotional and I did get teary. T said she thought I would like it and I liked it even more just knowing that she knew me enough to know what I may like.. does that make sense? If anyone is interested the song is “Everything” by Alanis Morissette –

I did mention the whole step-kids not mentioning my birthday thing to her and said that I had noted how it had annoyed me and that I did know that I probably shouldn’t feel that way: but that I did.  I said that perhaps it was because of the way my mother made me look after her feelings and the way I was always forced to make a big deal out of her and her boyfriends’ birthdays (the things I wrote in my blog yesterday basically) and she did agree.  She said that it wouldn’t have been personal. That yes, that could be encouraged along but that also the kids may have felt a little left out that they weren’t around for my birthday (or indeed for our holiday).

T said she was conscious that we only had a few minutes left and said that she wanted to see how I thought I was going to feel when I left. I told her that I thought I would feel fine, good, better but that sometimes I surprised myself.  I told her that knowing I couldn’t/wouldn’t see her for a week or something was somehow instantly hard for me but I knew I would be back on Thursday and that the time went by so quickly so I thought I would be okay.

And I am, Other than having a chest infection and cold today I feel okay.  No therapy hangover or left over sadness.  Perhaps I am just glad that I am back there with T and feeling as though someone completely “gets” me.

Am I being nosy?

Last night’s session

I was as desperate to see T last night as I was nervous.  I had emailed her on Monday evening to tell her what had happened with work and the doctors etc.  She had said we would talk about it when I saw her and so hence the nerves. Saying that, I was glad that T already knew what was going on and that I didn’t have to walk in there and tell her.

She asked me how I was feeling and I said I was feeling okay… I don’t think I was actually looking at her though.. it all felt very awkward.  T said “I don’t think you are okay actually” and then we spoke in detail about what work had said and what the doctor had said.  She said that I didn’t need antidepressants because I wasn’t depressed.  She said I was in fact “coming out of depression and beginning to feel” probably for the first time.

I liked those words. Those words felt far more promising and hopeful than being told I was in fact, depressed.

T went on to say that antidepressants would block me from feeling the things that I very clearly need to feel. I told her that was my worry also but the doctor had said it wouldn’t interfere.  She asked me if I had got the pills and I said no, I hadn’t bothered because I didn’t want to take them.

We spoke at length about work and how they have handled this. I told her that I felt like a fraud yesterday because although on Monday I was in a mess, yesterday I got up early and went to the gym, went food shopping etc and felt fine.  I said that now I am signed off work for a week and it felt wrong and insincere.  T said I didn’t need to be signed off work but that everyone just wanted a quick fix. Work expects me to be “better”, the doctor gives pills that essentially fake that feeling – she said how very frustrating it is that nobody has a real understanding about these things.  She told me that I wasn’t depressed nor mentally unwell, I was just struggling a bit with processing the trauma and I was becoming quite regressed at times like that. I agreed.

I told T that my team coordinator had suggested my T wrote a letter to them to tell them what they should expect from me, what I was dealing with etc. T said she wouldn’t write a letter but she would speak to someone on the phone if I wanted her to. She said she wouldn’t discuss specifics about my therapy but would explain that sometimes I just need a bit of space to be able to cry and that working from home every now and again was helping with that because I was still able to do my job but didn’t have to spend the day crying on the train or in the office. I told her that is exactly how I felt but now they had taken that away from me.  T started to say a few of the things she would say on the phone to my HR department and she sounded FIESTYYYYYYY!!! I liked it. She clearly would not be taking any shit.  She sounded fiercely protective of me, I liked it. I also thought I would not want to get on the wrong side of her LOL! She said she would tell them that the way there were treating me was absolutely disgusting (amongst other things).

I told T that I liked being able to send her the hard stuff before seeing her because I always worry that she will react and I will see the reaction on her face.  T said she thought a lot of this came down to feeling ashamed which is part of the reason she thought I locked myself away.  I admitted that I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t handling things well and that I felt I should be able to deal with it better. T told me that I couldn’t because I was never taught how.  She said I was never given the tools to self-soothe and said that anyone with a childhood like mine would feel exactly the same way.

Moving on we spoke about my actual feelings during the crying.

I hate this bit because I still can’t express myself. T asked me what it was I needed when I was feeling like this and I told her I didn’t know.  I told her I had no conscious thoughts and that was very frustrating.  She asked me whether I felt that I needed her? I felt mean saying no, but said I genuinely, seriously did not have the answer.  I didn’t know. It all just felt very hopeless and huge and as I had said in my email to her the day before, as though the sadness and pain would never end.

She said that she had been a little worried that my crying wasn’t providing any relief.  I said I wasn’t really sure.

She said that it was okay to feel I needed her in those moments and that she wanted to know what my fantasies were.  I said again, I just didn’t know.  T said that perhaps it was an idea for us to check in by phone to see if she could help to ground me a little.. this wasn’t something I had ever thought about. It wasn’t something I had even fantasied could be an option. I don’t know if she meant a quick few minutes to ground me or a proper paid for session and I didn’t ask.  I said that perhaps it would hep but that during these times, I can’t even speak because I am crying so much.

T said that what she worried about was that during these episodes I was kind of experiencing a repeat.  I wasn’t really sure what she meant at the time but we later discussed this a bit more and basically when I was a child, I spent 99% of my time in my bedroom. I guess it was my safe place (that and the fact that I wasn’t actually allowed in the lounge because of “adult time” pfftt!!).  Anyway, I used to have extreme OCD and even eat my dinner in my bedroom.  T was concerned that I was repeating this by locking myself at home on my own on days I felt that low and suffering alone rather than trying with someone who could help me a little. I guess that was what I was used to.

I said that this was true, I did like to lock myself away. I liked to draw the curtains and hide under a blanket. I rarely shower and I never put on make up. She said that this was what she worried about. That I wasn’t able to ground myself or be comforted by anyone and that if I wasn’t sure I was getting any relief from these crying episodes, perhaps I was almost re traumatising myself.

T said that she had been thinking about me and I admitted that when she says that, I guess I still struggled to really believe it.  She said she had been questioning whether to send me a text to tell me she was thinking of me but she wasn’t sure what to do because she said then the one time she doesn’t text, it could feel as though she isn’t understanding my pain. I agreed with her because I know myself well enough to know I would feel very hurt if she text at certain times and not others, especially if I perceived them as equally painful.  I do like that she even thought about this though. I also thought that the check-in calls were a nice suggestion because I felt I already took up enough of her time.

At some point in the session T asked me whether there was anything else perhaps that I had written about on my blog and not shared with her. I said no. I said honestly there is nothing else. I then questioned myself.. was that true? I think so.  The problem with that question however was that it made my inner critic say “see, even T doesn’t know what you are making such a fuss about!”.  It also said that clearly this isn’t “normal” for other people and has made me feel like I am exaggerating or doing something wrong.

I then told her that I had a dream about her the other day where she was Jewish. I said that there really wasn’t much to the dream at all but that she was Jewish and had a large photograph of her mother behind a desk who was also Jewish.  T asked me what being Jewish meant to me and I said not a lot really.. I said I had been asking myself the same question but hadn’t been able to come up with much.  I said I had Googled it and couldn’t find anything that rang any bell.  I added that the reason I knew she was Jewish was because in the dream she had this hugely exaggerated Jewish nose (I know this reads very as hugely stereotypical and isn’t meant as offensive!) I said I had looked up the word nose and the only thing I could come up with was “being nosy”.  T asked her being nosy or me and I said me.  At this stage I kinda figured out that the nosy dream could have been about the blog post I wrote the other day called “What I was really saying was” … shit. I have since debated sending it to her/reading it to her tomorrow but I feel too nervous.

Anyway, when I woke up this morning I remembered that last night I had dreamt I had a new therapist and this therapist was saying the exact same things as T – the same words and the same phrases.  In the dream I was really hurt and shocked because it meant that nothing had been authentic with T –  it had all just been textbook stuff. I don’t think this consciously about T but I can only assume that subconsciously I am worried about that somehow.. I haven’t thought too much about this yet but I will give it a bit more thought. I might share that with her tomorrow.

Lastly T asked me how I was feeling about not having therapy next week (I am going to be on holiday).  I told T that stupidly, I hadn’t really figured that out until a couple of hours ago. I had been thinking of her next break as mid July and it had only just occurred to me.  She said whether it was me or her going away, the break may still be just as difficult.

I think I am going to re-read that blog about what I was really asking her and see if I can somehow muster up the courage to let her see it… agh I’m just not sure I am ready yet.  We will see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living without the Narcissist Friend

Last night I went out for a “date” with my lovely other half. Conversation somehow found it’s way to friendships and one friend in particular. Or should I say, Ex-friend. 

Last August I cut ties with one of my closest friends after a particularly brutal verbal attack.  It was the last in a very long line of them but this time I just had enough.

She wasn’t a typically “nice” person. She did sometimes do and say some awful things, un-PC things, shocking things.  I had learnt to laugh them off, shrug them off or just roll my eyes at her and shake my head.  Don’t get me wrong, I did tell her she was wrong – countless times but it always fell on deaf ears and I didn’t want to always spend my time telling her what she should and shouldn’t say or do.  That was up to her.

narcissist bird.jpg

Anyway, cutting to the chase – I’ve been without said ex-friend now for about 5 months. We had been very close friends, at least in my eyes, for about 8 years. I miss her sometimes and particularly when I’ve had a glass of vino like last night or when I’m feeling lonely. 

I don’t have many friends. I have some friends and I have my boyfriend and step-kids, but the horrible, hard truth is that ex-friend and my mother are both very narcissistic: I’ve “lost” them both recently, or so it seems. 

Actually, I don’t think I should say lost because it’s been my choice – what would the right word be?  I’m leaning to remove the negative things and people from my life. Both of these women hurt me over and over again, for years and I just used to let it happen. I’m not actually sure I even knew it was wrong at the time.

Trying to explain to my boyfriend that despite her/their horrible ways and the many ways she/they hurt me and knocked me down time and time again, I did love her and I did get something from our friendship, but it’s like persuading someone that Hannibal Lecter was a nice guy!! 

I miss having someone I could go out with once every few weeks and have a drink with, talk rubbish with – connect with (although looking back, I guess it wasn’t an authentic connection) and just relax with. 

I know deep down, I can’t have really relaxed, not properly, because I was always on guard for an attack or at least repairing the attacks she spat at the bar staff or innocent people sat nearby. 

Realising that ex-friend and mother are exactly the same is still a shock sometimes.  You know the kind of thing that you know, but you get reminded and it’s like you’ve just realised all over again? 

The fact that I accepted and loved both these people for so long still hurts me. How was I so blind for so long? And now I can “see” how can I miss someone so bad for me? 

Another example of the inevitable pain that comes with recovery I guess. Newly educated, logical mind tells you that “X” is bad. Old mind wants what is “normal” and misses it’s old creature comforts – be that abusive or not.  Perhaps it is fear of the unknown or maybe it’s just that familiar is comfortable, whether it’s good for you or not.

It’s our default position and that is what we are fighting against all the time in recovery.  Fighting against repetition compulsion.

repitition
Weirdly, I’ve noticed that I never want to text or call my mother anymore. Never. I guess I’ve replaced her with my new “good mother” – the therapist. 

The journey continues….

Repetition compulsion?

Okay so her words are running through my head today over and over again. Sometimes she says something and it’s like she is shouting it at me really trying very hard to make me pay attention, to sit up and understand what she is saying (not literally).  I don’t know whether it is that she really does say it in a different way, or perhaps that she repeats it enough times that I finally listen or whether sometimes something in me realises somewhere along the line, this is important, Twink, listen up.

Yesterday’s words that are having this effect on me were “your needs and feelings are not too much.  You just attract people who cannot handle feelings.  It isn’t your feelings – it feels like it is, because everyone around you is the same so you blame yourself, but it isn’t you”. Or words to that affect anyway, I can’t remember the exact words but I remember playing it back to myself at the time thinking “she is saying that it feels like EVERYONE in the world thinks my feelings are too much, only because I’ve attracted those people around me…. so that’s all I know”…

Repetition compulsion at play again I guess.

So, do I believe her? I guess the adult part of me has sat up and thought about this and understood that she is a very clever, knowledgeable lady and what’s more, she is a therapist.  It is her job to point things out to me, make me understand and believe them and not lie to me. Yet I guess there is a part of me that still thinks she is just trying to be nice to me and say nice things, whether they are actually true or not.

When I’ve sent her an email in a dark place, I send it off to her and I don’t hold back. It could be full of desperation, loneliness, sadness, anger, fear – any of those things.  All I care about is getting it out of me, making some sense of it and sending it to her “to hold” because she is the only person in the world who could possibly understand what I mean.  Sometimes I worry that my emails have little emotional effect on her and that she reads them like reading a story about a stranger in a magazine, skimming to the important bits just enough to be able to tell me that she has read it and the other half of me thinks that is entirely unfair because she is clearly invested in me and has known me for nearly 3 years, enough to care about me when I’m in pain.. surely?  Anyway, I send her the email, I eventually calm down and return to a bit more of an adult way of feeling and then I’m whacked by this great big shame storm for having been so needy, so desperate, so pathetic. I hate that I’ve sent it to her and I hate that she has read it and worry she will think “Jesus Christ, will you stop!!”.  Obviously she hasn’t ever given me any reason for feeling this, although when I emailed her last Tuesday to tell her that I was not looking forward to coming because I really felt so ashamed for having sent such a desperate email a few days before, she didn’t reply and that really didn’t help contain me when I was already feeling extremely anxious.

She said that she thinks I get this shame attack because I’ve had it drummed into me that my needs are bad and that my feelings can’t be handled. My mum couldn’t handle my needs or feelings and made that very clear to me over the years. She said that is why I find it so hard to really bring the feelings into therapy and why I’ve found it so hard to cry with her because I am so worried I will be too much. Makes sense….

Another thing we spoke about was that when you are a child, you have to keep your parent good – you can’t allow yourself to “see” the bad stuff about them.  So you push away anything that doesn’t fit with the image you hold of them, the one you want to hold for them.  You idealise them. She also explained to me that in a relationship, at the beginning stages, you idealise your partner and you both project onto each other what you want the other person to be – a while later, maybe years, that projected image starts to fall and you are left with the real person.  She said that it is this stage that effectively makes or breaks a couple. Do you really/still like what you are left with or not?  She said that couples who get through this period are normally pretty set for life.

I told her that I’ve been crying so much lately and she asked what the main feeling/fear was. I said I wasn’t entirely sure and that it was hard to make any sense of. I thought a while and then I said that I think it’s that feeling that “we” weren’t really real. That what we’ve had wasn’t as good as I thought it was and that I don’t really know him at all.  It made me cry quiet, slow tears again.  She nodded and seemed to understand.  She told me that she thinks although I am starting to use her as the mother figure for transference issues, she thinks I’ve done a lot of it with My boyfriend.  She said that obviously she can’t be there with me at home every day and that he is so she thinks I’ve maybe done a bit of this with him…

So today I’m trying to digest this… I’m only just now, 3 years in, realising that he isn’t able to be emotionally open with me and he can’t discuss his feelings, fears etc because of his own things… and I guess that is proving so unbearable for me because I have to “keep him good” like a child has to keep their mum good.  Now that I’ve had my eyes opened to the truth, that he isn’t emotionally available to me, it is killing me because I NEED for him to be what I NEED him to be.. I don’t know if this makes any sense but the words seem to be flying out as I process it.

I told her that after our last session, I had sent him an email telling him our theory about why he finds it so hard to be emotionally vulnerable with me and about our theory of why concerning his upbringing and his mum and dad’s relationship etc – I told her his reaction which was mainly defensive although he agreed to one small point in it.  She said “you can’t be his therapist, don’t even try”.  I said oh no, I’m not, I just want to help him so that it helps us! But she said “you can’t change him”.  I didn’t like her saying that because I don’t want to be someone who is accused of wanting to change someone they love.  I guess I was feeling instantly defensive.  Am I trying to change him? I guess I am, but not because I don’t think he is lovely as he is, and not because I don’t love him – just because I want so much for our relationship to blossom into a healthy, authentic and equal one and that him being more in touch with his emotions is something that we need to happen… still, I guess the words have stayed with me because she is right. It isn’t for me to try and get him to do that – I just want to encourage him to because I guess I worry what the alternative is… if he doesn’t ever open up to me and learn to confide in me, will our love stagnate because I will change due to all this therapy and I will one day realise we are incompatible because of it?

I have been so busy playing my part of this relationship triangle business and enjoying the “benefits” of being the victim – getting all the comfort, support, love, advice etc that I hadn’t sat up and looked at things in a clear light.  Now I can see that I’ve attracted a (wonderfully) imperfect man, its scared me.  All I want to be able to do is accept that he is imperfect as we all are, and be able to still feel the love I feel for him.  I hope that is possible more than I can write.  All my previous relationships have been with emotionally unavailable men, and I’ve spent the last 3 years telling her that he is so different – which is is don’t get me wrong!!!! But on this level, they were somewhat the same. That is a hard thing to discover. I had totally idealised him as my perfect saviour – my hero.

As I write this, I feel totally consumed with my love for him. I can picture his face smiling at me and it makes me feel so happy inside. I truly love him, I hope whatever is next in my therapy teaches me to be able to tolerate any pain I feel which is really aimed at my mother and my loss of what she couldn’t give me so that I can keep me and him safe whatever issues we may have to confront together.

Perhaps one day he will agree to some couples counselling – but I can’t see it right now.   :wave: