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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I felt so much better at this stage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does anyone get this?
















Safe enough to “act out”

I’ve been thinking of my phone session with T ever since we got off the phone yesterday. I’m pretty sure I was processing it overnight and it was the second thing on my mind when I woke up this morning (second only to the fact we have to find a new house to live in!).

One of the things that I remembered since writing last night was T saying that it was actually a sign of feeling safe that I was able to cancel my session the other week.

Don’t get me wrong, she very quickly tried to encourage me to always go to my sessions no matter how hard it was or how angry or upset I was feeling, in fact she said “even if you have to get here crawling on your hands and knees!!” So I just want to make it clear that she wasn’t rewarding me for it so to speak.

She said that I must have felt some sense of safety that I could be angry and cancel a session knowing it could, possibly, hopefully be repaired and made to feel better again… eventually.

She asked me whether I was scared she would retaliate or attack back or punish me for my anger and I told her that actually, I had been able to hold on to the fact that in the past she has never done that and that I did know she would allow me to have and tell her my feelings without embarrassing me. I did manage to hold that fact (this is progress, right?).

I’ve thought about this a few times since and it may sound a bit weird but I think it does show a sense of safety doesn’t it?

I used to always strive to be TWBTC (the worlds best therapy client) and obviously perfect therapy clients do not cancel sessions and do not experience any anger towards their T’s do they? Yet alone TELL them about it! So yes, I do think it shows some kind of ability to hold on that all will not be lost, all will not be ruined and destroyed forever.

This made me think about what would happen with my birth mother (note the negative tone). I genuinely don’t remember a single time that I’ve sat my mother down, told her that she has upset me or annoyed me somehow and had her say she understands how I feel and apologise OR say she understands how I feel even if she has her reasons. Isn’t that saying something? I have NEVER had that experience with her. Not once.

What I have had is her belittle me, tell me I am pathetic and childish or need to grow up or attack me back with things I have done that upset or hurt her somehow. She had often told me how ungrateful I am and remind me of “all the things she’s done for me” but the difference in the two experiences is huge.

T reminded me yesterday that my mother’s inability to show me love and affection and the fact I didn’t FEEL loved, was about her and not me. She said quite strongly that I AM loveable, that it was her issue and not mine. She also said that mothers who absolutely smother their babies and are draped all over them is about their needs (the mother’s) and not the baby’s. She said it’s similar in therapy, the baby shows it’s mother what it needs and so does the client. There is no need for a mother or for a therapist to smother. It doesn’t allow the baby/client to breathe and think for itself.

Anyway, the point of this blog was meant to be that although not advisable or encouraged, it may well be progress that I’ve been able to get angry and “act out” probably safe in the knowledge somewhere deep down that she will still be there.

Trying to recover from the rupture

As 4pm drew closer today I began to feel more and more nervous. At ten to 4 I had to rush to the toilet where I got stuck for the entire 10 minutes (sorry for TMI)!. I watched my phone hit 4pm exactly and felt sick… I found T in my call list and pressed dial.

The phone rang just once or twice and then T picked up. I didn’t know what to say to her.  We said hello and then she asked me how I was currently feeling  had felt since I had sent her my email the other day.  In all honestly I wasn’t sure how I felt so I actually had to think about the answer to that question. I told her that her reply to my email had helped to lift a lot of the anger and pain and that knowing I would be talking to her today had also helped although I admitted that I was nervous and scared that it may end up making me feel more pain.

T told me that she had done some writing that she wanted to read to me to try to explain why she spoke differently to me and to other people. I was quite shocked at this, I’m not sure why but I think it’s something about the fact she had been thinking about it a lot and had clearly put a lot of thought in prior to this call.  Writing that now sounds obvious really doesn’t it? I guess of course she did.  Anyway, she begun to read to me and I can’t quite remember what she said but I do remember that I started to cry pretty quickly because what I “heard” at first was something that meant “some people need more love than others – than you do” and I cried because I thought my worst fears had come true. There really wasn’t anything she was going to say that was going to fix this rupture and there really was nothing she could say that was going to make me feel better, to enable me to trust her enough to be vulnerable with her again – to do the work with her anymore.

She said something about how she didn’t want to force herself and her love on me (as I heard this I thought to myself “it isn’t forcing when I want it”.) She said something about how my mother was an overbearing narcissist, that she didn’t want to repeat that for me and that she trusted me to show her what I needed.  She also said some things about how she worked using her intuition and that she truly believed that she was a good enough mother figure to me, and to all of her clients.  Now I got what she meant about my mother being an overbearing narcissist in one sense, but in another I was confused because my mother DIDN’T show me any love or affection so surely that isn’t the same? Surely that IS exactly what I need? There was so much being said and so many thoughts and feelings going on at once that it is hard to remember it all now.

She then explained how everyone she sees has different needs and said to me to think about my 3 stepchildren and how I would treat them all differently, but love them all the same amount.  She said you could have two children and one need a lot of reassurance and the other not need that so much. She said she worked using her intuition and was guided by me.  At this stage I was feeling pretty confused because, as I’ve already said, I understood what she was getting at, but I just kept thinking… yes, but I NEED you to show me love and affection so why won’t you do that??? If we all have different needs and I’m yelling at you because I want something (for my needs) then why aren’t you doing it?

I cried pretty constantly the whole time she was saying these things and then she asked me if I understood what she had said.  I told her I kind of did but kind of didn’t and she said it was okay if I didn’t fully get it at this moment in time, that perhaps I would in the future and that perhaps it would take more than just this one hour (someone had said this to me in a comment the other day and I am thankful they did as otherwise my expectations would have been too high – thank you).  I still felt rather disappointed and a bit deflated at this stage.  I could hear she was trying to make me feel better but it just felt a bit like what she was saying to me and what she was expecting me to feel weren’t tallying up somehow.  Like, was I missing something here?

She said that there was no denying it “was a monumental way to cock up“.  She actually admitted to me that when she realised what had happened, she had to phone a therapist friend of hers to cry to them! I felt instantly very guilty and sorry for her when she said this and said “oh nooo did you?” and before I could finish saying it she snapped quite abruptly “No! You do not feel guilty for that, I am not telling you that for you to feel bad about, but simply so that you understand that I did and do care very much“.  She said she knew instantly how deep this would have hit me and then said that the only reason she didn’t pry into how it had made me feel instantly and by text was because I was meant to be in session with her only a few hours later – until I cancelled.  She also added that being a therapist was a vocation to her and not just a job.  She said she really does get it and does deeply care, it wasn’t somethign she did simply to pay the bills.

I eventually said to her outright “I get that everyone has different needs and that you treat us all differently, just as I do my stepchildren, I get that.. but, I feel like I am always fighting to get someone to show me love and they never do and that IS what I want!” T said that it might feel to me like what I need is for her to show me lots of “gushing love” but that often what we think we need, isn’t actually that helpful for us.  She said that if she is working with someone who has had no love and affection from a mother and who has suffered childhood trauma and cruelty, that gushing them with love would be extremely damaging and painful for them.  My ears pricked up…  I questioned why and she said in the most extreme case, showering someone who has been loved deprived with affection COULD lead them to commit suicide. At this point I was listening intently but still confused and then she said this:

“Imagine a baby that is starving, literally starving and nearing death, extremely malnourished and very sick.  What you might think you need to do is to take the baby and feed it and feed it and feed it to make it better, to save it? But actually that would kill the baby!  What the baby would need is to be drip fed tiny bit by tiny bit until it built up a tolerance and could slowly adjust to having more food”…

Something about this image clicked in my head and really made sense… okay… okay, this was helpful – I told T this image was very helpful. She continued explaining and said that in my head I think I know what I need but that a lot of that was fantasy and built up using the fantasy that she is the perfect mother and that the perfect mother would and could never hurt me.  But that the fantasy was wrong.

I told T that it was so painful for me because so many times over the years I have got upset and complained to my mother that she never hugged me or told me she loved me or showed me any affection and my mother would shame me and tell me to grow up and tell me that I wasn’t a child and that I was pathetic.  I said it felt like the same thing was happening all over again – not the shaming so to speak, but like T was saying that she wouldn’t show me any affection even though she could have.  I told T that my mother was always very gushing with her men – just not me and the feelings were triggered by the text she sent me.

She said something again about being led by me and I said something like “but I have told you before that I sometimes find your emails lacking warmth and a bit cold and clinical!” and she said it was quite a while ago and said “lets not get too carried away, it is only an email sign-off, you do FEEL my love in many other ways – I know you do and I know that you have the capacity and capability to feel that love. Some people cannot feel it and need me to speak to them in different ways, in ways that might help it to get through to them. You feel my love here”.

Hmm…something about what she said made me feel ashamed. It felt as though she was saying “Jesus Christ, it’s a bloody sign off on an email!” and so I said that I understood that it was stupid and I was being irrational but she butted in and said she doesn’t think that for a single second, she said how much she understood the pain was very deep. She said every therapist’s favourite line… twice “This IS the work” with extra emphasis on the IS. I had to try not to chuckle.  She then spoke about “the frame” which I took to be a reference to the therapeutic frame, as in the guidelines or something? She said that it is expected and normal for me to want to bash the frame about and hit it and try to change it and it is her job to hold steady whilst I did that.  This gave me an image of a toddler who wants things it can’t have and kick and screams for them all the while the mother is calmly saying “no” but not shaming the child and, perhaps, validating the child’s pain? I don’t know, I could have this entirely wrong. I need to do some reading about the frame to fully grasp this I think.

[What I need to write next may offend/upset/annoy or possibly trigger those who have D.I.D or parts – I am not sure but I want to be cautious so consider this a warning if you want to continue reading].

T said that the person who the text was actually for was much more dissociated than I am and she said that sometimes she “doesn’t even bloody know I am here at all! I have to fight to get through to her to know I am there for her!”.  She then said I wasn’t that split and dissociative and that I did know she was there – that she only had to say something gently and I knew it, but that the other girl didn’t.  She said that working with parts was an entirely different way of working but that I wasn’t that split-off. She said that I was integrated.  (I questioned how true that was as she said it..).  She later said that the work I was doing was entirely different and that we were “nowhere near each other” whatever that meant.

I told T that I always secretly hoped I was her youngest client and that it made me special to her somehow.  She told me that it didn’t matter whether I was the youngest, oldest, prettiest or whatever.. that I was special to her just for being me.  She said that I didn’t need to “jump through hoops” for her.  I cried as she said this even though it felt a bit of a cliché you know like “you are special just the way you are”… but I think I believe her….. I think.  She said that I was working “beautifully” and was doing very well and that she admired me said I had plenty of courage even if I didn’t feel I did at times.  She said something along the lines of how the other client was in a very difficult place and that therapy was very difficult and unpredictable for her but for me, I may be struggling but i am progressing along very well.  I have mixed thoughts about this.

She told me that there was a space inside her that was just mine and that nobody else could ever take or come near because it was just for me and then said that she wondered if it felt a bit like finding out you were going to have a sibling when you were a child – others – someone else to share mum’s love and being really angry about it.  She said she wondered if it reminded me of when my sister was born?  I admitted when my sister was born I was terribly upset and jealous, having been an only child for 7 years, I was used to that and when I already had no love or affection another child surely meant I would have even less?! I’m not sure how accurate that fear was because it made not difference to the lack of love I got but it did result in lots of other feelings of insecurity and being forgotten or left-out.  It set me (and my sister) up for years of competing for her attention. The ultimate power-trip I guess. MEH.

She told me she had a lot of love and care for me and she said if I wanted her to sign her emails off “with love” from now on, that she would. I felt immature but thought to myself that it really isn’t the same when you ask someone is it? LOL and then she said …. I try to match your style in your emails to me… and I interrupted her and said, I had thought this only today.. when I re-read my emails to her, I always signed them off “Thanks, TT” and admitted that was rather formal, especially for me! I said I had done that because I was copying her style and she said she was following my lead!!! I did laugh at this.

I guess the main things I took from the call were that she thinks lots of affectionate words and gushing love is NOT what I need, even if I think I do… that she thinks I have the capacity to feel her love in many other ways and that some clients do not and that because I am in a constant state of hypervigilance, looking for perceived proof of being rejected or abandoned, that is why this hurt so much.  It did tap in to some very deep wounds of mine, mainly being unloved/unloveable and not special.  She said once or twice that I did not get to experience the good enough mother and that I was not taught that was allowed to feel angry and resolve something with her and that her love did not change for me if I did have those angry feelings.

Right now I have lots of words and thoughts and reactions to sit with and work through but I do already feel heaps better.  She reminded me that each rupture we get through is helpful and will build a deeper level of trust.  She said with each rupture that we successfully repair, I will gradually remember that things can be survived no matter how hard they get between us. I understood what she meant as she said this because the other day it seemed insurmountable and now it doesn’t.

Right now, believe it or not… whether she signs an email “with love” or just her name feels wholly insignificant… isn’t that funny? Or perhaps makes me a little crazy! Perhaps her reassurance has helped me to come out of my triggered place and back into a more rational and adult place? I’m not sure.  I feel hopeful but yet the remains of some sadness lurk below the surface, a bit like when you’ve got back together with an old boyfriend and you are glad but you feel a little fragile and kinda nervous and careful? on guard perhaps?? I dunno, it’s hard to explain.
































































































Draft letter to T

I’m sure you already know what’s going on for me, you probably guessed pretty instantly but that actually made it worse because if you did guess, why didn’t you do what you usually do and ask if it upset me or ask if it hurt or angered me? It felt as though you skirted over the issue and that made it worse.

When I read the text you sent me by mistake it felt like a kick to the stomach. I was already having a particularly bad few days and that day was horrible, reading your text just felt like the last straw. I couldn’t take anything else that day.

I have a lot of probably childish and irrational and dramatic feelings about that text. I’ve struggled with the feelings for the past 8 days and honestly all it makes me want to do is never come back to therapy,

You know by now that I’ve never missed a therapy session in 3 years, but last week I never wanted to come back again and unfortunately I still feel like that.

Reading a message from you to someone else, clearly another client, was just horrible. Obviously logically I understand you see many people, not just me… but I don’t have to face up to that reality because I don’t have to see it.

Reading that text changed that for me. There are two reasons it hurt me:

1) Some of the words are the same as you use with me – the words I refer to as “therapisty” like “bring it here” etc…. and that made me feel like I just get the same crap as a million other people. And then the complete opposite that

2) SHE got soooo much more warmth than I get. You called her “dearest”. Ouch. You later said “much love”… honestly I don’t have the words to explain how this made me feel but without sounding like a petulant child, you don’t use words like that with me do you? I don’t get that level of warmth and affection and I’ve told you before that I feel your replies can be cold and clinical and sometimes have made me angry as I’ve felt like I mean nothing. Sometimes I’ve poured my heart out to you and received a reply like “we will talk about it. Kind thoughts” and it’s like the equivalent of telling someone you love them for them to reply “thanks”. It’s painful.

So I’ve told myself that it’s the way you speak to all of your clients! That it’s some therapy rule or some code of ethics or something: keeping professional or something I don’t know….. but clearly that’s not true because SHE gets warmth and affection and terms of endearment that I don’t get and that makes me feel utterly rejected I guess. I feel unimportant, less liked, not loved… it makes me feel like I’m a chore and just “a job” and that clearly triggers me for very obvious reasons.

It makes me question everything. It makes me want to leave and stay away. Why is that? I guess it’s because without feeling like I am really important to you or liked or loved by you, that I am somehow special, what’s the point? I wish I could be more mature and accept that I am in counselling and I’m an adult paying another adult, a professional, for a service and that be that…. but clearly I don’t work that way. It goes way deeper than that for me and I feel it’s now one-sided and feel embarrassed for that.

I don’t see what you can say that would make me feel any better about this. There is nothing you can say about why you are so much more affectionate with her than with me that would make me feel any better.

So yes, you’re right, I AM running away but I’m running away because I just don’t see a way of repairing this rupture in a way that doesn’t mean everything from here will be different. Ruined. I don’t see how I can trust you the same way or be as open and vulnerable now. So what’s the point?

For Christmas I chose a special present and card for you. It really was chosen with a lot of thought and love, it wasn’t about money or anything. It felt special to me, I was giving you something symbolic of my love and it feels like perhaps you were laughing at me because you felt so very differently. Maybe you felt just like she did when I gave her special presents for Christmas that ended up in the bin.

I feel so unloved and so insignificant and like a chore and a job. I feel “less than”. Rejected in comparison and stupid for ever feeling anything else. Foolish.

I don’t need to tell you why those feelings are raw for me, having to feel those things AGAIN but because of you is hideous.

Perhaps the more time that passes the less hurt I will feel, but for now, I don’t know what else to do or say. I know you sent the text by accident and that if you hadn’t, I wouldn’t even know these things but that just adds to me feeling foolish.

Borderline Personality Disorder?

I had a dream last night that I was in a different house, I think in the dream it was meant to be my aunt’s house but she was away and I was house-sitting or something.  I was having my therapy sessions there but T was changing the times of my sessions and at one point I sat outside the room waiting for her for over an hour past my session time.  I didn’t know what was going on but I acted as though it was fine and I didn’t ask why she was late but inside I was stressing out.  Later in the dream I went for a ride on a motorbike or in a car or something, I can’t quite work it out, with my fiancé and then realised I only had 20 minutes until my session time and I knew I wouldn’t make it back in time. My fiancé was non-phased by this and was relaxing on the grass wherever we were but I was very anxious and stressed by it all. I remember feeling extremely stressed and upset.

I woke up feeling a bit….. groggy perhaps? I feel a bit irritated and a bit low in spirits I guess and I don’t really know why but usually feelings from my dreams seep into my waking life and so perhaps the dream stirred up some feelings for me.

I had spent my evening on Google reading about Borderline Personality Disorder , the whole push/pull thing, the fear of intimacy and engulfment and also some development phase that I clearly didn’t work through properly which is why all of this happens in the first place (I have forgotten what that was so I will try to find it again).  I read A LOT and it all fitted me so well.

It was one of those weird times that you are glad to read yourself in something and know that there is a reason for things and, obviously, that it means there is hope that things will get better. It also really grounds me when I can read stuff (intellectualise perhaps) because it becomes less scary somehow.. but given how I feel today, perhaps it has stirred up some other feelings or maybe its something else.. maybe it’s because it is T day and I have some unconscious fears about that? I don’t know.. maybe it is the dream.

The things that the dream and the stuff I was reading have in common is the fear of abandonment.  I can see that. In the dream T wasn’t being reliable was she? She wasn’t showing up when she was meant to and I didn’t know where I stood with her. Will she come, won’t she come? In the stuff I was reading I understand that the reason for the push/pull in relationships comes from a desperate need for intimacy and affection but at the same time, having a deep fear of abandonment and engulfment and so hence the push part of the push/pull situation. Leave before being left etc….  so the common theme therefore being abandonment right?

I don’t know, maybe I’m feeling the old body memories or emotional flashbacks of the abandonment fear. I feel irritable and moody.

I then flicked through some of my old blog posts to see if I could find any evidence of my new knowledge of the BPD traits.. and I did, but what stuck out more for me than anything else was quite how many “bad days” I have had.  I wrote a list down and there are at least 30 bad days.. not including today and others that I may not have written about at the time. These 30 days are between today and February this year.  So in 9 months, I’ve had 30 bad days.  An average of 3.3 per month. That is a lot, isn’t it?

I read that one of the “symptoms” of BPD is Emotional Instability and experiencing a range of emotions such as rage, sorrow, shame, panic, terror, emptiness and loneliness.  I then read

“You may have severe mood swings over a short space of time.

It’s common for people with BPD to feel suicidal with despair, and then feel reasonably positive a few hours later. Some people feel better in the morning and some in the evening. The pattern varies, but the key sign is that your moods swing in unpredictable ways.”

That is true for me.  I do feel a range of emotions including ALL of those things above… I don’t feel suicidal with despair but I do sometimes feel fine at one part of the day and then horrific at another; or visa versa.  I don’t feel “suicidal” but I have had images of harming haven’t I? I’ve written about that as recently as last Monday.

The next bit I read about impulsive behaviour. It talks about self-harm, feeling intensely sad and depressed but also impulsive activities like binge drinking or spending or gambling etc.  I have always described myself as impulsive. Often when it comes to shopping and buying clothes that I don’t have the money to buy (even when I have no money and I use credit cards or an overdraft). If I want to buy something, I will buy it and then later feel silly or guilty for it. The high doesn’t last long.


Unstable relationships

If you have BPD, you may feel that other people abandon you when you most need them, or that they get too close and smother you.

When people fear abandonment, it can lead to feelings of intense anxiety and anger. You may make frantic efforts to prevent being left alone, such as:

  • constantly texting or phoning a person
  • suddenly calling that person in the middle of the night
  • physically clinging on to that person and refusing to let go
  • making threats to harm or kill yourself if that person ever leaves you

Alternatively, you may feel others are smothering, controlling or crowding you, which also provokes intense fear and anger. You may then respond by acting in ways to make people go away, such as emotionally withdrawing, rejecting them or using verbal abuse.”

Okay so I have a fear of abandonment, that is undeniable. I suffer from feelings of intense anxiety and anger (which I usually turn towards myself but T perhaps found herself on the receiving end of last week).  I don’t constantly text or phone anyone and I wouldn’t physically cling or threaten to harm or kill myself but in all honestly that is more about saving face. I have often wanted to constantly text or call someone but I wouldn’t do it. However I can’t handle the feelings associated to that feeling of being abandoned or forgotten or left or not important… I could pull my hair out of my head.

It says that people with BPD have “love-hate relationships” and that they have a very black and white view of people. That they make people either all good or all bad with no real in-between.  Splitting/fragmenting.. I know I do that. T has said that to me many times.  Look at my latest rupture for evidence. T was all bad for a few days… and then it was over and she is now all good again and the only person who is “all bad” is me.  Look what I did?

For many people with BPD, emotional relationships (including relationships with professional carers) involve “go away/please don’t go” states of mind, which is confusing for them and their partners. Sadly, this can often lead to break-ups.”

I then found this website https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm which had a list of statements that would describe feelings associated with people who have BPD.

  • I often feel empty
  • My emotions shift very quickly and I often experience extreme sadness, anger and anxiety
  • I’m constantly afraid that the people I care about will abandon me or leave me.
  • I would describe most of my romantic relationships as intense, but unstable.
  • The way I feel about the people in my life can dramatically change from one moment to the next—and I don’t always understand why.
  • I often do things I know are dangerous or bad for me, such as driving recklessly, having unsafe sex, binge drinking, doing drugs, or going on spending sprees.
  • I’ve attempted to hurt myself, engaged in self-harm behaviours such as cutting, or threatened suicide.
  • When I’m feeling insecure in a relationship, I tend to lash out or make frantic gestures to keep the other person close.

I relate to many of them, particularly feeling empty, having emotions that shift quickly, the impulsive things as previously discussed and feeling very insecure in a relationship.

And this…. the 9 signs of BPD

  1. Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. Even something as innocuous as a loved one getting home late from work or going away for the weekend can trigger intense fear. This leads to frantic efforts to keep the other person close. You may beg, cling, start fights, jealously track your loved one’s movements, or even physically block the other person from leaving. Unfortunately, this behavior tends to have the opposite effect—driving others away.
  2. Unstable relationships. People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. You may fall in love quickly, believing each new person is the one who will make you feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or horrible, with nothing in between. Your lovers, friends, or family members may feel like they have emotional whiplash from your rapid swings between idealization and devaluation, anger, and hate.
  3. Unclear or unstable self-image. When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don’t have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, and even sexual identity.
  4. Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. If you have BPD, you may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviors, especially when you’re upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex, or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. These risky behaviors may help you feel better in the moment, but they hurt you and those around you over the long-term.
  5. Self-harm. Suicidal behavior and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behavior includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats, or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm includes all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. Common forms of self-harm include cutting and burning.
  6. Extreme emotional swings. Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD. One moment, you may feel happy, and the next, despondent. Little things that other people brush off can send you into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly (unlike the emotional swings of depression or bipolar disorder), usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness. People with BPD often talk about feeling empty, as if there’s a hole or a void inside them. At the extreme, you may feel as if you’re “nothing” or “nobody.” This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the hole with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.
  8. Explosive anger. If you have BPD, you may struggle with intense anger and a short temper. You may also have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit—yelling, throwing things, or becoming completely consumed by rage. It’s important to note that this anger isn’t always directed outwards. You may spend a lot of time being angry at yourself.
  9. Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality—an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you’re outside your own body.

Again, I can relate to many of them.  My anger is mainly directed towards myself and my body image or me being “ugly” or “stupid”… I guess occasionally my fiancé may be on the receiving end of it.. and perhaps T was last week, but usually its directed towards myself.  Perhaps this is what causes my depressive days or days like today where I feel irritated and angry with no real reason… things trigger me easily to lash out like a busy day at work where I feel I can’t stay level-headed.  Friday for example, I was busy at work, not feeling great and I CRIED at my desk because I was stressed.

This morning my fiancé said he woke up and thought to himself “how do I feel today” because he wasn’t feeling too good yesterday. He laughed and said how silly is that? I told him that is my first thought EVERY DAY.  He asked “in a mental capacity you mean?” and I said yes.  He said that was very sad.  I guess it is, isn’t it? I can go to bed happy and wake up feeling very sad or vice versa.. it is my very first thought of every day. Yesterday I felt excitable and hyperactive and today I feel rubbish.

I know that lots of people don’t agree with needing a “label” and I can’t be bothered to get into a debate on that right now, my brain is too fried, but for me, this is helpful. I will speak to my T about it tonight and see what she says.

If I am right and I do have BPD at least it explains a few things, particularly the mood swings and the extent at which I go from happy to utterly depressed and back because that really does worry me sometimes.  It explains the push/pull to me more and helps me to understand and it means I can read up about it so that I feel less scared by everything.

I think that T triggered something in me that session which made me freak out and pull away from her. I split her off as all bad and projected onto her until the next session where we started to repair things and I came back down a bit (the depressive position I spoke about yesterday).  The sadness and grief that followed on Thursday and all the tears I cried that day which were the result of my panic at her leaving me due to my anger… my fear of abandonment kicking in and my need to pull her back to me again. Is this what I do in all of my relationships?

Did I decide to drop a session whilst T was on holiday because I was freaking out about her leaving me? Because I was unconsciously fighting against my own abandonment fears? Was I trying to pull away from her because I was hurting?……… and the tears and fear I felt on Thursday about the fact I would only see T once a week instead of twice soon, is that me panicking because I have brought on an abaondment (kind of) all by myself…. a self fulfilling prophecy?

So many thoughts in my head right now whirling around!

Paranoid-Schizoid and Depressive Positions And Recovery from BPD

Last week in my session with T, she said something about “paranoid-schizoid and the depressive position“. At the time, all I heard was the word “schizoid” and I momentarily freaked out that she was trying to tell me I had a personality disorder (which I probably do, but she has never actually told me that), then last night I was Googling Borderline Personality Disorder and it lead me to this page which I now realise was what she was referring to!

I found this VERY interesting and enlightening and what’s more, it has really helped me to understand the process of rupture and repair.  I am hoping it may also help some of you too.  I was planning to summarise these notes and make some comments on them but I think it is a bit too complex for me to do that accurately, so whilst I am tempted to sit here and make comments on everything, I will just attach a few links and if you have time/are interested, please do read them and let me know what you think, I would love to talk to someone about this!

A very brief summary is as follows:

The paranoid-schizoid position

Anxiety is experienced by the early infant’s ego both through the internal, innate conflict between the opposing life and death drives (manifested as destructive envy) and by interactions in external reality.

A child seeks to retain good feelings and introjects good objects, whilst expelling bad objects and projecting bad feelings onto an external object. The expulsion is motivated by a paranoid fear of annihilation by the bad object.

Klein describes this as splitting, in the way that it seeks to prevent the bad object from contaminating the good object by separating them via the inside-outside barrier.

The schizoid response to the paranoia is then to excessively project or introject those parts, seeking to keep the good and bad controlled and separated. Aggression is common in splitting as fear of the bad object causes a destructive stance.

The child’s ego does not yet have the ability to tolerate or integrate these two different aspects, and thus uses ‘magical’ omnipotent denial in order to remove the power and reality from the persecuting bad object.

This splitting, projection and introjection has a frighteningly disintegrative effect, pulling apart the fragile ego.

Projective identification is commonly used to separate bad objects whilst also keeping them close, which can lead to confused aggression.


The initial depressive position

The initial depressive position is a significant step in integrative development which occurs when the infant discovers that the hated bad breast and the loved good breast are one and the same.

The mother begins to be recognized as a whole object who can be good and bad, rather than two part-objects, one good and one bad. Love and hate, along with external reality and internal phantasy, can now also begin to co-exist.

As ambivalence is accepted, the mother can be seen as fallible and capable of both good and bad. The infant begins to acknowledge its own helplessness, dependency and jealousy towards the mother. It consequently becomes anxious that the aggressive impulses might have hurt or even destroyed the mother, who they now recognize as needed and loved. This results in ‘depressive anxiety’ replacing destructive urges with guilt.

The general depressive position

In the more general depressive position, projective identification is used to empathize with others, moving parts of the self into the other person in order to understand them.

To some extent, this is facilitated when the other person is receptive to this act. The experience that the projecting person through their identification is related to the actions and reactions of the other person.

When the thoughts and feelings are taken back inside the projecting person from the other person, they may be better able to handle them as they also bring back something of the other person and the way they appeared to cope. It can also be comforting just to know that another person has experienced a troublesome part of the self.

The depressive position is thus a gentler and more cooperative counterpoint to the paranoid-schizoid position and acts to heal its wounds.


My understanding of this is that children (or adults if they have been emotionally neglected and wounded and didn’t have a “good-enough” caregiver to help them develop through these phases successfully), tend to see people as all good or all bad due to using splitting as a defence mechanism.  In the therapy setting, this happens because a child is desperate for a good enough parent substitute (this is 100% true for me as I have written many times on here).

As therapy continues, the aim is that the therapist helps us to move through this phase as we should have done as children and in turn, we are more able to view the therapist as a whole person made up of good bits and bad bits and not one or the other.

I guess that when my T referred to me having “moved out of the paranoid-schizoid and into the depressive position” on Thursday she meant that I have moved out of the entirely “bad” projecting place and was then in a place where I was feeling guilt and worry about HER feelings and the damage that I may have caused to HER and our relationship. I think this is evident if you read my latest blog post.

Klein says “If the confluence of loved and hated figures can be borne, anxiety begins to centre on the welfare and survival of the other as a whole object, eventually giving rise to remorseful guilt and poignant sadness, linked to the deepening of love.”. I think I speak of this poignant sadness in my post “Drunk Thoughts“.

I guess when I went to my session Thursday and told T I couldn’t relax, was crying a lot and didn’t really know why and was feeling utterly helpless it was because I was feeling the guilt and grief of my projection onto T, the worry that I had damaged her/us.



On top of this wonderful new information, I then came across the following blog:


which explained the 4 phases of therapy when recovering from BDP – being

(1) The Out-of-Contact Phase

(2) Ambivalent Symbiosis

3)  Therapeutic Symbiosis

4)  Resolution of the Symbiosis (Individuation)

The blogger explains these amazingly well and so I won’t copy her blog but please read it if you are interested.  I wonder now if this is what my T meant when she told me last week that we were now entering into the phase of my therapy where rupture and repair was common.  (Phase 2 perhaps? The ambivalent phase?).

I then read this:

“…. the dominance of the all-negative images during ambivalent symbiosis result in the patient distrusting the therapist and using projective identification to reject them. The patient distorts the therapist, turning him “all bad” in their mind in order to block the development of a positive relationship. In other words, the patient sabotages himself by actively attacking his potential positive relationship to the therapist“.

Oh dear.. well that feels worryingly familiar doesn’t it? Our entire rupture was formed on me asking to go from 2 sessions to 1 and her reaction being that I was sabotaging my therapy……… GULP!!  What followed? a huge rupture where I turned her “all bad”………….


Drunk thoughts 

I’m drunk, not in a bad way but I’ve had enough wine that I’m feeling that typical I love everyone glow. 
And guess who I love right now? My T. 
I love her and I admit it, I need her. I want her in my life. 

But she did scare me. She really, really bloody scared me last week/weekend. I can see now with clearer more adult eyes that I projected a lot onto her and I can see that there was a hell of a lot of transference going on…. regardless of all that stuff, I was truly scared. 

Yesterday in my session I felt very weird. I felt uneasy and confused. I couldn’t find the words to sum up my experience. I cried so much. I told T I wanted to relax but couldn’t. I was being pulled between her being good and her being bad. 
I went for a long walk after and felt okay but when I got home I cried again, a lot. And then the guilt hit. 

Shit.. I haven’t apologised. I haven’t said sorry. She must think I’m awful. 
So I emailed her to say sorry and thank you and she replies a few hours later to say it was okay and that she understood. Her mail disappointed me again because it wasn’t as warm as I wanted it to be. As always though, it said enough that nobody else would agree with that. That feeling makes me wish I hadn’t emailed, it’s familiar. 

I realised last night that the feeling I was having was familiar. Someone says or does something which worries me, I shit myself and get protective of myself. I get strong and angry. I act out. Then I realise at some point I was wrong or I went too far or something and I am hit with such a sadness and such a guilt. It’s hard to find the words to convey the guilty feeling. It’s awful sadness and fear I guess. Fear that I’ve fucked everything up. 

T says “it’s okay”. She could be saying that in an honest, real “it’s okay!” (Calm down voice) or it could be a “it’s okay” (don’t do it again voice)… the one I think she’s using. 

I noticed when I arrived yesterday that T looked … something. She looked like she had been crying maybe? Sad? Her face looked different and she didn’t seem as ….. happy? as usual. I worried about her. Why? Why was she crying? Was she crying about the things I had said about her? About having to see me again when she didn’t want to? Something else? It’s played on my mind since then a few times. Is she okay? 

I’ve realised this week that the fact my trauma is about my mum and her emotional unavailability, her cruelty and everything else means that I need to see T as a replacement mother, a better mother, a “good enough mother” and yet I’m so clearly so scared that T will turn out like my mother did, that I’m unconsciously looking for evidence of her wrongdoing or bad traits… so it’s like half of me wants to find something and be like. “Ah hah! I knew it!” And yet the other half desperately can’t bare that to happen. To lose another Mum? To go through that loss twice? Oh no. I can’t. 

The stuff going on right now is deep as …. 

I don’t feel T is warm enough and I don’t feel she wants to help me enough and I don’t feel she (or anyone else) could possibly understand HOW BAD it hurts – and I also understand that perhaps all of those feelings are transference and understanding that makes me understand my “original trauma” more, or perhaps my unconscious trauma …. it helps me understand me more. And it’s painful. 

That’s all deep from wine thoughts huh?! 

First Session After The Rupture

I don’t know what to write but I am hoping that the words will come flying out of the tips of my fingers on the keyboard without me thinking about them too much and that somehow it will help.  Writing always helps… here’s hoping.

I had my session last night which I was very anxious about. I can’t work out how I feel now.  I came home feeling okay… weird though, kinda like I hadn’t really processed it or that I was numb or something. I went to bed feeling fine but have woken up feeling down. Again.

I got in the shower this morning and then cried and cried as I dried my hair. I climbed back into bed with my fiance who asked what was wrong, what was I crying for? I bloody hate that question when I don’t know the answer to it. It makes me feel so stupid! This has been a common theme in recent months, crying without being able to identify the exact cause. I don’t know why I’m crying.

I went back to sleep after my fiance left for work (where I should be!!) and woke up a little while ago having had some weird dreams. This is usual for me when I feel like this.  The dreams had a theme of showers… my fiance was in the bathroom and so was his eldest son. I was naked and fell back onto my stepson so he turned around to avert his gaze and I felt very embarrassed, grabbed a towel and said “he doesn’t want to see his stepmother naked! Stop it!”.  I then found another shower in a wardrobe in my bedroom and turned it on but it was dark in there and I couldn’t see so decided there might be spiders in there and turned it off. I then saw a fish-tank with a goldfish floating at the top. I felt irritated and confused and like I had nowhere to go. See – weird!

In my experience, dreams about showers and nakedness usually represent vulnerability and the feeling of being exposed. That would make sense I suppose wouldn’t it.

Last night I waited in the car for my session to begin, when it got to 7.28pm, my stomach flipped.  The nerves hit and I felt very anxious. I walked into my session feeling awkward and I didn’t really know how to feel, how to look, what to do…. T opened the door and greeted me as she always does. I kinda knew that wouldn’t be different.

I don’t have a lot to write about the actual session… I was hoping last night that by now I would have … I can’t work out why I don’t? where has it all gone?

I read my “letter to T” out loud. I cried through it and felt embarrassed reading the bits where I swore.  T was great about it all, she didn’t get defensive at all, she didn’t react in any negative way. In fact, she said something sympathetic to me and said something, something “sweetie” and I thought “Omg she called me sweetie!!!” she has NEVER called me something like that before, never. In fact, I had assumed that she just didn’t use words like that in her life (because obviously I see the whole of t and not just her professional self – ha!).  I didn’t react outwardly to that because I didn’t want her to realise and then never do it again… but she said “I just want to take a moment to ask you how it felt when I called you sweetie? I hope you didn’t feel patronised by that?” I admitted I liked it. I then couldn’t look at her.. I felt shame for liking it.  How can I go on about how I hate it when she treats me like a child, write about how she is controlling, powerful and dangerous and then enjoy it when she calls me sweetie?

T said a lot of things but none have really gone in.  She actually said to me at one point “I am aware that I am talking a lot but I think its important to reassure you and explain some of these things – how does that feel?”.  I guess she said that because I got very angry about that disaster session where I said she just spoke AT me and went on and on at me… I guess she was trying to make sure that didn’t trigger me again.  I told her it was fine but that I was struggling to process a lot of it. She said that was okay and that I would take the bits I needed and leave the bits I didn’t.

T explained to me that we are now approaching/in the “rupture and repair phase” and that this was exactly what was supposed to happen.  She told me that unfortunately this wasn’t a “one-off”.  I made a “mehhh” noise and exhaled loudly.

T said that she knew this phase was approaching as we have been building up to this for a long while.  She said it is one of the reasons that she was passionate about me not dropping from 2 sessions to 1.  She said she worried that this would hit and I wouldn’t be able to get through 7 days without her.  She also said that she worried equally that dropping back to 1 session would push this phase further into the distance – or cause me to prematurely terminate.  She said some stuff about our psyches always trying to sabotage things for us and how it was interesting that I made this decision whilst she was away and we were in a break.

I told T that I had worried she would think I had decided to drop back to 1 session BECAUSE she was on a break, but that I honestly didn’t.  T said something about “acting out”.  She said she doesn’t mean that in a negative way, like acting out as in being childish etc… but that it is common during a break for these decisions to be made.  T said that she was very aware I was already cut-off due to being preoccupied with the engagement and then the job search and then the break and said that it was her biggest concern I had gone to that adult place in order to go out and get the job and to handle the break and that my psyche was sabotaging my therapy by making these decisions in my adult brain. She said she was trying to hold the child part which I wasn’t in touch with.  She said something about how as a patient/client I could only focus on the now whereas as therapist, she had to “hold” the bigger picture and she could see, or have a good idea of, where it was headed.

I asked her if the next phase is rupture and repair, what was my last phase? She kind of smiled or something, I’m not sure why.  She said that it was building trust and some other things but I can’t quite remember what.. I guess it made sense though.  I then said “what is the point in rupture and repair? what is the point in all of these angry feelings?” she smiled again and said that it’s accessing all of the anger and fears I’ve held in my body my entire life – that it is very important to release them all.

T said something about the anger she felt when she got my email. She said she felt it was important to discuss this.  She then said that she didn’t say SHE felt anger when she got my email, but that she was in touch with something in the days afterwards and that she knew it was going to trigger MY anger….. (I am pretty sure this is NOT what she said but now I am unsure).  She said that she knew her reply could easily trigger some of my anger and she wasn’t sure how to respond because if she “gushed” about the job, she may have fallen into a trap about the second session etc and if she didn’t, that I would be upset.  She said that she had made a conscious effort to acknowledge the new job (which she did, but not in the way I had hoped).  She said she could tell the email, the dropping of the second session etc could cause anger and a potential rupture.  She said obviously she didn’t and doesn’t know exactly how these things will play out but that it inevitably would and that she didn’t want to take anything away from me until we could work through it properly.

She said something about the comment I had made about her wanting me there twice a week for money. I cringed – outwardly. I felt my face heat up and flush and pulled some “cringeeee” faces. I told her I didn’t mean it. She said that actually it was fine what I had said and that it was a very frightening and powerful fear and that she was PROUD I was able to write it.  I told her I didn’t really believe it even as I thought it or read it but that I wanted to write down all my thoughts so that I could try to make some sense of them.

T said that I had worked extremely hard over the weekend and that I must feel exhausted. I told her that once I had written the letter to her, I felt much, much better as I kind of made some sense of things and realised how much transference was in it.  She asked me if I feared her reacting to my anger? I said that I knew she wouldn’t but she seemed to think that was a big worry of mine. She said how this was the stuff I should have been able to do with my mum but was far too dangerous because she was “batty”… another weird word for her to use and not one she’s every used before ha!  I knew what she meant though and she is right.

T then said it was clear I was worried she would dismiss my feelings as “only transference”. She said to me that she was using my words there because she doesn’t ever use the words transference. She said in quite a serious voice that the feelings ARE real and ARE scary and that she would never say that.  She said it is very important that I can tell her these feelings and that they can be a source of really great work for me.  I told her everyone keeps saying that to me but I don’t really understand how. She explained and said a few things such as how the rupture would repair and make the relationship stronger and not weaker – I thought even as she said it, yes it does.. even though I know she is probably right.  Clearly that is a fear of mine.

T said that she understands I use my blog as a source of support in times like this, but that I should be careful because the only people who truly know what is going on during a rupture is us. I told her I get that but when the person you are most angry with, most scared of IS the person that you usually turn to for advice or comfort, it is very hard. I said I needed to write on here to get some help with it all – I needed that. She said she totally understood the need for support but that I just needed to be careful because sometimes it sends us spiralling off into even more painful feelings.

I told T how horrifying it was when that feeling hit me that she was just like my mum.. I said how stupid I felt, how utterly devastated I was and how strong the sense of fear was. I said that I don’t really have the words to explain this. She said sometimes there aren’t words that cover it. I agreed.

I can’t think of much else right now and I’m aware this is getting a bit long..  I know there is much more that was said that I can’t think of now but that is the gist of how the session went……


So…  there we are. Nothing in there to make me wake up how I did and since writing this out I haven’t got upset or cried once which normally happens when I am struggling like this so this really is an usual feeling/situation.

Coping Strategies/Behaviours

Its 3.54pm as I start to type this.  I am sat on my cuddle chair with the back door open for some fresh air to come in whilst wearig a comfy pair of jogging bottoms, a hoodie and have my blanket over my legs.

I took another day off of work today although I am actually feeling a million times better than yesterday.  I just craved one more day at home alone, but not because I am crying or anything.  Today I have been to the gym, blasted my music through my headphones and spent about 40 minutes on the treadmill walking and running and then a bit on the exercise bike.  After the gym, I went to the supermarket and stocked up on loads of healthy foods, fruit, salad, veg etc.  I came home, made and ate a lovely salad and I am now cooking a roast chicken for me and my fiance to eat tonight after my therapy session.

I feel strangely good today.. happy.. positive.  I don’t mean to sound like Mrs Negative or anything, but I am considering whether this is some strange sort of fake happiness or the calm before the storm.  It could also, of course, be genuine because writing that letter yesterday to T helped me immensely.  I found so much clarity writing that letter, it helped me to figure out my main concerns, my main fears and where they came from – what the transference was and what is actually “now”.  Since doing that, the whole episode feels minimised into almost nothing…

I am open to the thought that this could be some clever trick my psyche is playing on me because I admit that it feels much easier to be angry with T at a distance and of course in a few hours I will be sat in front of her and the thought makes me squirm!!!

I guess it’s better than spending the day feeling unwell which has happened lots in the past if I am dreading a session, sometimes I get bad heartburn, a headache or an upset stomach. I guess there is still time.

I am really intrigued to see how tonight goes.  I feel quite open to all ideas and suggestions and I am not going in angry or closed so I think that is good… but I am dreading reading my letter to T and any of the other blogs that I have sent her. How cringe is that? It isn’t so much the actual complaints such as “her admitting her anger” or whatever, that is genuinely a concern and one I am happy to tell her, its more the bits where I was angry and writing things like “well you sound like my fucking mother!!” cringe, cringe, cringe…………………

I am predicting that if T is nice and soft and makes me feel at ease then I may end up very easily accepting any apology or suggestion that she makes.. and then potentially coming away afterwards or the next day and thinking “actually, no, I don’t like that”… I don’t know why the delay.. perhaps again it comes back to being more comfortable feeling my anger at a distance where she can’t get to me/see me or something.  Either way, I feel this is my first real rupture and I am sure whatever happens will lead to some valuable therapy.. who knows how useful it may end up being. I am still in shock that I found some random courage to confront her about my worries and doubts, that is very unlike me. Perhaps a new, more courageous and outspoken me is being born! Here’s hoping!

Changing the subject slightly, the last time I felt as down as I did yesterday was the beginning of June. That was the week I ended up being signed off work.  In that week, after the two days of non-stop crying and sleeping, I went to the gym nearly every day, shopped for healthy food, ate nothing but salad and rabbit food (not really) and made a real effort to lose weight………  so that is interesting that I’ve done that again today/yesterday after feeling so low…. coincidence or not? I am not sure.

Me and another blogger were talking a while ago about this very subject – we have both noticed our patterns with food when we feel insecure or upset.  We both reported episodes of either restricting food OR comfort eating, depending on the feeling. She rightly pointed out that it seems to be about feeling powerless and out of control. I guess this is the same for people who suffer from eating disorders – perhaps it is for the same reasons?  When I was a kid, I had a little bin in my room and I used to hide my dinners in it rather than getting told off for not eating enough – that would certainly explain that, although it wouldn’t have been a conscious decision at that age.

It made me think of other things I do/behaviours I have when I am experiencing certain feelings. So far I can think of the following: Eat less/eat too much, sleep too much, stay home from work with the curtains closed and a blanket on me all day – not showering until an hour before my fiance is due home, spend money/shop excessively, clean and tidy the house excessively and get agitated by any mess that is made (I note I had severe OCD as a child) and lastly, crave alcohol – go out and drink wine.  What do you do?

The other thing we spoke about was that I will fall back into severe body hating.  I will find myself repulsive and get horrible visions of things I want to do to my body.  I will feel ugly and fat and just generally disgusting – she suggested that perhaps when I do that, I am turning my anger inwards – I think that is highly likely. I really need to keep an eye on this as it is clearly very destructive.

Well, it is now 4.15pm….. in just over 3 hour I will be there with T.. think of me please and send me good luck vibes! AGGGHHHH……

A Letter to T (not actually sent)

Dear T,

I am writing this for my benefit more than your’s, but perhaps it will help us both. Who knows.

Right now things aren’t feeling good for me. About you. You aren’t feeling safe to me at the moment. In fact, you feel dangerous to me. That probably sounds a bit dramatic but its the truth.

Right now I feel that when I see you I will have to put on an act that I am very strong, very sure of myself and of my feelings, opinions and thoughts and not weak. The reason I feel like that is that I feel if you sense my weakness, you will sense a “way in” and you will use it to your advantage to “win” somehow. Perhaps by making me doubt myself and think that you are right and I am wrong, perhaps by persuading me that I have been stupid, perhaps by filling me with guilt…. perhaps by removing the sense I have at the moment that I am not weak or stupid or guilty, but I am listening to my own mind, my body and to my gut, to my self for once. I don’t want you to take that away from me.

When I started to have doubts that perhaps you aren’t actually who I thought you were, I tried to brush them off. I tried to ignore myself and then I tried to listen to myself… listening to myself is what has got me here. I have spent my life ignoring or dismissing my own beliefs or ignoring my internal danger radar – I decided that has to stop. And here I am.

You don’t feel safe because I feel like perhaps the whole time that I have looked at you as the some great protector, the fantasy mother or whatever else I’ve seen you as, has all been wrong.  When you apportioned  your own angry feelings to me you were wrong. You weren’t only wrong, you did what SHE does. Don’t project your negative shit onto me. I won’t take it. I am NOT a scapegoat anymore for anyone, least of all you who should know better.  Why do people see me as such an easy target? Do I do something to make that possible? Is it because people look at me and think “she won’t do anything about it”? Is it that easy?

You don’t feel safe anymore because you ruined my good news. SHE does that too. Why have you started doing the things that she does?

You’ve admitted that when you got my email telling you I had a new job and telling you I would be dropping back to one session a week you felt anger. I could tell you felt something negative because of your reply. I admitted to you that your reply left me feeling disheartened and dissapointed. It felt “therapisty” and cold to me, but as usual, I doubted myself because obviously you are right all the time.. or so I thought. I should have trusted my gut at the time. I could feel something wasn’t right then but I chose to ignore it. There seems to be a pattern emerging there.

You experienced a negative reaction to my good news. I don’t know the reason for that, but what I do know is that, that isn’t right. It isn’t normal for my therapist to have a negative reaction to my good news.  Guess who else would feel a negative response to my good news?? HER AGAIN. I expected more from you T.  At least with her I can put it down to her being jealous of me somehow, but clearly that doesn’t apply to you and so the only way I can make sense of that is that you want to keep me down, small, weak…. dependant on you and that makes me so angry. Why do you both want to keep me needy?

I feel like you will blame all of this on me. I feel like you are currently sitting at home feeling totally un-phased by all of this. Perhaps it crosses your mind every now and again and you think to yourself “Ooh Twink has turned me bad – at last, this will be interesting” or something similar which feels painfully condescending and disrespectful to the pain and anguish I am left with in the meantime. It makes me feel like a fucking science experiment. You won’t admit that to me of course, that wouldn’t be ethical. My feelings mean shit, right?

Being angry at you or not trusting you feels like a no-win situation. You are more intelligent, more important, more authoritative and more wise. I am none of those things and so, naturally, I am wrong.

Every now and then this wave of guilt washes over me when I think of the times you have been kind and soft and it makes me cry. Like now as I type that… but I am fighting against that because I can’t lose my anger. Losing my anger makes me feel weak again and as I have already said, me being weak means you get to be stronger and overpower me and I can’t let that happen. I can’t be crushed. Guilt is a bastard little shit face. Guess who else uses guilt to win?

If it turns out that you are just like my mother I don’t know what I will do. The thought terrifies me. It isn’t impossible though is it? Look how many people like my mother I’ve already attracted in my life! There’s Sarah, then Tina and God only knows how many other people, not to mention the fact my Nan and sister clearly treat me with similar traits to my mother and her narcissism. Do what we say, do what we do, don’t disagree and don’t say no… or else…… that’s how you made me feel too.

If I have bared my heart and soul to you for the last 3 years and all the while you were just like her, then I give up. I won’t ever be able to trust anyone again because if even a qualified therapist is able to control and manipulate me and make me feel weak and use me as a scapegoat for her shit feelings, then what hope is there?

I think I will stop there because I am drained and I have a headache from crying.

Despite my anger, my fear and everything else, I can clearly see that a lot of this letter is probably transference after all…… but that doesn’t give you permission to make light of it. The feelings are real, the pain is real and the fear is real too.

Don’t laugh at it, please.