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.

 

Disaster 

Fucking therapy. Honestly, why do I sign myself up for this torture? What a joke. 

I’ve just this minute got home from my first session back in over 2 weeks and can honestly say, it was the worst session I’ve had in all the years of therapy I’ve had. 

I’ve never felt like leaving a session so much before. Like I genuinely considered leaving. I stared at the clock or the floor the whole time and I felt so angry and so frustrated with T I could have combusted. 

I went in there unwell, I have a stinking cold. Obviously that can’t just be a cold though, can it? Noooo it’s all about her and going back after a break. Yawn! 

Then we start talking about my new job. I told her how dissapointed I’ve been with everyone’s reaction. She said “maybe you wer dissapointed with mine?” Yes. Yes I was. I admitted it. I told her it was a HUGE deal for me and I would have liked some happiness and congratulations. I explained I wanted her to do what my mum doesn’t. She said something about how she had to play it safe because it was tied up in dropping a session etc.. 

Anyway, I’ll write more another time because now I am too pissed off but basically she just didn’t listen to a thing I said about dropping a session. She didn’t hear me at all. She kept on repeatedly telling me I was potentially ruining my therapy, she even said I DID NEED to be going twice a week, that I’m not “where you think you are” (fuck you). 

She went on and on and on and on about how I was sabotaging myself, how I was shut off and how I wasn’t in touch with my feelings or my child self… she kept on and on about how I should tell my new job I need therapy twice a week and how I should tell them I need Thursday afternoons off. I told her, clearly, I didn’t want to do that. I told her I wanted a fresh start, I wanted to throw myself into my new job and I didn’t want to do that. 

She wouldn’t have it. She wouldn’t listen. She didn’t hear me AT ALL!!!! 

I felt myself boiling with rage. I let her talk, I breathed through it – but my God she wouldn’t let up. 

At one point she even said that if I stop back to one session a week, I will shut down and not be able to access the stuff I was and so I snapped “so I’ll have to stop and it will all be pointless”. 

She said she could see I was angry with her. No shit! 

She kept on about how she was trying to put a middle ground in because I had gone off too far the other way. 

I’m genuinely sure she would never have spoken to or said the things she said to me had I been a 40 year old woman instead of someone her daughters’ age. I think there’s some counter-transference going on. 

I’m so angry at some of the jabs she made such as “why would you want to work for a firm that wouldn’t allow you to have Thursday afternoons off?” and things like how my therapy won’t work once a week.  She also said “are you getting a pay rise because there’s no point going sideways?”. 

The whole session was her talking AT me, not to me. It was her on her high horse telling me how wrong I am. 

I can’t even bring myself to write anymore right now. I have never felt like this about her before. I’ve never wanted to walk out so much. 

She even kept trying to make “jokes”, couldn’t she see how angry I was? 

Man. Wtf. Oh and then she said I might “fill in the gaps” meaning I would misinterpret what she was saying and that I would confuse her with my mother. 

Ha well if so, that’s because you sound like my fucking mother! 

Back to therapy tomorrow 

I’m back to therapy tomorrow night after 2 weeks and 3 days and I feel…. absolutely nada. In fact, I forgot until earlier today when I remembered and had absolutely no feelings about it at all. No relief and no anger or apprenhension…. nothing! 

I actually feel a little mean that I have so easily “forgotten” her and the good feelings I get when I’ve seen her. I have no doubt they will come flooding back tomorrow but it’s weird, like, where have they gone? It’s a bit unnerving that I can do easily do this. 

Tomorrow she will ask me how I’ve been and I will tell her I’ve been fine… she will laugh when I say fine and ask where my anger is.. if I am angry with her and when I say no, she won’t believe me. I will secretly get angry but I won’t say anything koz, well what’s the point? (Also that’s twisted isn’t it? I will then GET angry and she will think she’s right but she’s not). 

Then we will talk about my redundancy application, my new job and me dropping a session. My guilt around that and all that stuff. I should tell her that her reaction disappointed me, that actually everyone’s reaction has dissapointed me (apart from my fiancé and you guys)…. but I probably won’t and even if I do, she will probably explain and I’ll feel as though I’m being stupid.

The tone to this actually sounds a little aggressive doesn’t it? Which is odd koz I don’t feel it! Ha.. mental. 

The Fairytale Ending: Amended/Revised

For anyone that read the fairytale ending, this is pretty much the same post but I have expanded on it and sent it to T ahead of tomorrow’s session. Don’t ask me where I found the courage to do that……….. aghhhhghgh.

 

Matilda and Miss Honey

The child in me has been waiting for an adult to come and save her. She has been waiting to be rescued for approximately 29 years. She wants someone to come and take the pain away. Someone to fix everything bad that has happened – to magic it away forever.

Matilda got her happy ending with Miss Honey and she wants hers.

I used to hope that adults, mainly teachers, would see that I was a good girl and would adopt me. Friends’ parents would joke that I was their adopted daughter – it was a joke to them about how regularly I spent time at their houses, but to me it was the potential beginning of my fairytale ending.

Enter T

So I find T one day many years later. At this time I am an adult in age, and in physicality, but emotionally a child. Emotionally stunted at about 6 years old. Still unknowingly craving love, affection, understanding, acceptance and warmth.  Still so desperate for that bond.  That unconditional love. I had a yearning for something but I didn’t know what it was, or how to get it. I tried to get it by moving from boyfriend to boyfriend, even at a young age. I don’t like that about myself but I understand that I just copied what my mother did – that was all I was taught to do. Clearly it didn’t work. But I didn’t need a man, I needed a mother.

I guess I picked a female T for this reason. It wouldn’t have been so easy to find my new mum in a man would it? My fantasy about therapy wasn’t only to “fix myself” but I guess I had this feeling that I could potentially find a kind adult to care for me. Someone who would listen to all of the pain and have genuine compassion… someone who, like I used to hope my teachers would, would see I needed rescuing and would rescue me. I guess in a way it was hoping someone would take pity on me.

Looking back I felt (feel?) some similarities between T and my mum in that I saw them both as powerful, authoritive and strong. I guess therefore potentially dangerous. I felt a similar unconscious sense that I had to be good, well behaved, polite, well-mannered. The alternative? Punishment.  But of what kind? I am not really sure. Abandonment and rejection perhaps.

I liked and respected T for the first two years that I saw her, but now it is more than that in ways I am not sure I have the words to explain. Just thinking about it makes me well up with tears. I’m not entirely sure why, I think I am scared sometimes by the depth of feelings I have for her and how painful the loss would be if she went away. Is it worse to lose something wonderful or to have never had it?

T has shown me and given me things that I had never seen or felt before. Patience, understanding and non-judgment – but I think the thing that sticks out most for me is attunement. I don’t even think I knew what that word meant a while ago and now it is the word I use most regularly in all of my diary entries and blogs. Attunement is key. It is so important on such a deep level. I don’t think I ever felt my mother attuned to me and what’s more, you can’t fake attunement apparently so it truly is precious.

“being or bringing into harmony; a feeling of being “at one” with another being”

I’ve written a lot about all of the ways T is amazing and how I love her – or what she gives me or represents. What I still childishly fantasise her being one day – effectively my Miss Honey.

But…. on the less lovely side of things. T’s attunement to me, her patience and everything else, have suddenly shone a beacon of light on the loss. The loss of my childhood, my innocence and my birth-right to have been loved by my “good enough” mother. A childhood that felt full instead of starved and warm instead of cold. Safe instead of dangerous,. Loved instead of hated.

All of a sudden I am feeling the stark contrast of what T offers me and what I have/had and it hurts. Like it hurts my entire being.  My soul. Everything. It hurts me in a way I don’t think can be explained.

As I write this I have this strange energy coursing through my body, like adrenaline. Maybe it’s anger. It’s mixed with sadness and prickly tears. But the tears aren’t flowing, they are forming a barrier behind my eyelids almost refusing to come out. Like they are trying to stand strong. Like a line of soldiers making a human fence.

Everything that I (very cleverly) defended myself from knowing, seeing and feeling suddenly staring me in the face with a (not so) welcome home banner. I’ve reached the truth, my truth and it makes me want to debate for a moment if I want to keep walking towards “truth” or run backwards to denial and just pretend none of it is real.  Although that isn’t possible now. I sometimes question what was harder: blaming myself for everything, for the things I didn’t have; or knowing it wasn’t my fault and knowing who’s “fault” it was… what is worse? Which is the lesser of the two evils?

Verbal Diarrhoea

The adult part of me knows this is necessary for my healing. That this “is the work” as T would say. I guess that is what enables me to stick it out and not run away. (That and the fantasy of Miss Honey of course) but child me is in pain and shock and so I guess that explains why now I am craving the fairytale more than ever. I feel so regressed so regularly in therapy and sometimes in-between sessions and the craving for T is more intense than ever before. I think that the reason I enjoy writing my blog about therapy, enjoy reading other people’s, reading therapy books, re-reading my old blogs and the comments on them, is all part of this – trying to “feel” the connection that I am craving when I am not physically there with her.. and then sometimes when I am there, the sessions go way too quickly and the loss is right there again sitting in my chest hard to ignore. So I talk fast. “Verbal diarrhoea” as my mother would say, because I have so much to say, so much to share, so much to be soothed and so little time.  And then I leave and feel so ashamed of how much I’ve talked. I should not be the centre of attention – that is for my mother and not for me. I do not deserve that. I will be punished for that – and so I punish myself.

Tuesdays/Thursday Sessions

Thursday sessions sometimes seem like they don’t give me the same feeling that Tuesday sessions do and that is annoying because it is my “ last chance” at connection until the following Tuesday and that feels like a lifetime.  I keep wondering why it is that Thursday sessions feel so different and it feels as though I go into that session more (too) adult. It feels as though I go to Tuesday night sessions way more in touch with the child me, the regressed me, the sensitive me that wants to bare her soul and be soothed – whereas Thursdays I am an adult who wants T to see how competent I am. How grown up I am and I am so bloody fed up with trying to be the grown up so why do I do that? Perhaps I don’t want T to think I am a complete lost-cause. I don’t want her to think I am pathetic and childish and immature. I want her to think to herself just sometimes when I leave that she can have a normal “adult” chat with me about normal life things and not have to feel as though she is babysitting me or teaching me how to be a normal person…. And yet even that is completely contradicted by having a childish need to be rescued so none of it makes sense. It’s like the child in me has a tantrum when I leave on Thursdays and is shouting

“Hello? What about me? Now I have ages to wait just so you could be all grown up”

I wonder whether T sees a difference between Tuesday me and Thursday me or whether this is purely internal?

 

Therapy Breaks

And then you have therapy breaks. I mean, the adult gets this – of course she does, but the child wants to shout:

“What about me? You can’t just leave me here on my own. I will die without you looking after me”

It thinks it very cruel that it is expected to fight against everything it knows to “let someone in” and to learn to trust, to learn to take down the barriers and try to stop the competent (fake) adult taking over. So it does, slowly, very slowly it does this and then it is left alone?!  WTF is that about.  You wouldn’t leave a 6 year old child at home on their own for an entire week because it would die. Unable to eat or wash or anything and it feels almost the same, but emotionally speaking. Mixed messages – confusing. “Trust me, I won’t leave you” – oh, I’ve gone away. Then there is inner-dialogue between adult and child

“T deserves a break, she needs a break to look after you properly. It is only a week [or two weeks], she will be back before you know it”

“She hates me. She wants to leave me. I’ve worn her out. She is fed up of me. She won’t think about me, she will forget me. She won’t ever come back! I don’t need her anyway. I am fine. I am grown up and mature. Watch me cope all by myself. I don’t even think I need therapy anymore”

To the people that created this therapy. Freud etc: you missed something here!

 

Adult vs Child

Adult me knows that I am an adult now and that I cannot now get all that I missed and long for. That it is too late. Adult me knows therapy will help me to accept this and move on. Adult me knows T isn’t going to become mum and make it all vanish – that she doesn’t have a magic wand and that she can’t wave it so that I am 6 again, but her daughter, and none of it would have happened. Adult me gets that in therapy T will help give me some of the things that I didn’t get that will help me. Things like a kinder internalised voice – she had already done that to an extent and she is helping me not to feel so ashamed for having needs, to feel loveable. But child me… she hasn’t quite given up the hope of being rescued yet.  I know the happy ending will still be far nicer than the story ever was…. That in comparison the ending will be nicer than it could have been…. but I have a way to go to be okay with this. Today I feel robbed and angry. Like I have a hole in my heart that is exposed to the elements and it feels like no amount of plasters or stitches or even filler can make it better. Horrible image, but it feels like it is left open and it is being chewed on by insects.

That poor little girl was and is so desperate to be loved by a mummy that she didn’t get. It makes me sick.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for what I do have – that I have found T, that I can get so much from her that I have never had – but I guess like a child it wants more of what it likes and it can’t really have much more and that seems so unfair. Knowing that T is a mum seems to make that harder because it makes me jealous that her children get her as a mum so when she has said the words “my children” I have to try hard to keep my face neutral in case she can see anything in me change. Poker face.  Luckily she can’t feel the movement inside my chest.  Plus anyway, it is obviously a one-way relationship where I can’t ask her things that I want to know and so it isn’t really the same is it? Because what I “love” is the feeling I get because you can’t love someone you don’t even know. The whole thing is so confusing.

Dream

I had a dream on Saturday night that two boys I had been intimate with in my life (not both physically) told me that I had an infection on my bottom – I looked in the mirror and it was disgusting, all scabby and disgusting. The word in the dream that jumped out was “bacterial”. I hadn’t seen it because it was behind me, on my bum and so out of my view and I felt hugely humiliated and dirty. I felt so ashamed that they had both seen it and knew it was there and that I didn’t.  I have thought about this dream a lot since and I think it is representative of the fact that people that knew me well enough “saw” I had issues, problems, gaps… but that I didn’t and how ashamed I am about that and now the “scars” of it all seem to be obvious – like the scabby rash thing in my dream.

“A hidden or invisible attack that may weaken or even destroy you” – “Feelings of inadequacy or a sense of uncleanness”

 

One thing that amazes me is quite how relentless my inner child is at not giving up that hope. I am not sure if that makes her determined or stupid but there we have it. She isn’t ready to drop that fantasy yet. Saying that, I do admire the fact that she has continued to fight and has never totally given up. I wouldn’t have blamed her.

My adult wants to make it all better for the child. To cuddle and love her better and yet the child is saying “No! not you!! – someone else!!

The thought that I can make this better for myself seems ridiculous because although half of me wants to be grown up, the other half wants to stay young because if I stay young then Miss Honey will come and if I don’t – she won’t.

 

I do not want to have to be my own mother. I don’t want to grow up (even though I already have).

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.

Back To Therapy (Session 1 after the break)

Hey guys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the thing I was dreading the most.

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

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

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

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

transitional-object

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

So the two scary challenges were over. Breatheeeee.

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

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

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

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

embarassed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TT x