Neediness, Lack of Warmth, Fear of Annihilation & Re-experiencing pain

I got to last night’s session not really sure of how it would go, feeling a bit nervous about the fact that the last communication T had from me was me saying I was crying and experiencing a really odd mixture of pain and pleasure at the connection I had felt with her.

I sat down and she smiled at me but didn’t say anything. I smiled back.. anxiously waiting for her to start talking but she didn’t, she just looked at me and I felt really uncomfortable. Why do they do that sometimes? I can’t help but feel its done on purpose to make us feel awkward as fuck!

I told T that I had done a lot of thinking, reading and writing over the weekend and that I felt like I had some realisations. I said that although they were not necessarily new realisations, I felt them differently. T said it was like peeling an onion and said that we have to revisit certain things over and over again, each time we understand or feel a little deeper and that this can only be done as and when we are ready.

I didn’t really know where to start so I started with asking her if she was familiar with Brene Brown’s theory of foreboding joy. She said she wasn’t and so I explained to her in very vague terms that I had learnt it was what happens to some of us when we feel a real sense of joy and vulnerability and explained Brene’s theory that we then dress-rehearse tragedy, waiting for it all to go wrong. T nodded and said she understood what I meant. I told T that I had sat down to write a blog on Sunday evening about this, and had found myself writing something that hit me as I typed the words out and kinda took my breath away. I told her what I had written on Sunday about the link I had made of the feelings of happiness/sadness leaving her office on Sunday and the feelings growing up of having those very random, short-lived moments of connection with my mother and how painful it was when those moments abruptly ended.  Saying those words made me cry again, I found myself suddenly gasping for breath. It felt very deep. I suppose it was the enormity of what I had just said? I don’t know.

T looked at me with empathy and seemed to understand what I had said. I told her that the feelings I had last week were horrible. I told her that I felt physical pain in my chest and said it hurt so much. This made me teary again.  T said it feels like life and death and that when you are in touch with that pain, it is absolutely excruciating. I agreed.  I told her that it is the same pain I felt a few years ago when I had planned to leave therapy and then found myself on the bathroom floor sobbing for hours with this god-awful pain of not being able to survive. Of loss and grief and all manner of other horrible things.

I told T that it confused me that getting what I have always wanted caused me such a lot of pain (and joy, admittedly) and T explained that having deep, childhood, unmet needs – met was VERY painful.  She said getting what you’ve always wanted can cause awful sadness and pain.  I didn’t understand that.  T said that this was one of the reasons that therapists had to be so careful not to “overdo it”.  She said that them overdoing it could cause us more pain! T said “this is why although I understand you want more reassurance and warmth in my emails, it is important that I am very careful”…

(I haven’t written about this yet so this is a good time – I told T last week that I sometimes find her email replies to be “lacking in warmth”. As I said it, she repeated it back to me and I agreed.  Yes. I told her that I knew that the content was fine and that if someone else read them, they wouldn’t see the issue, but for me, they sometimes felt “therapisty” (yeah, I know) and “cold”.  I’ve thought about this many times since saying it and I can very clearly see that the lacking in warmth thing is probably a bit of transference – it probably sums up how I feel about my communications/relationship with my mother – or more specifically, about my mother herself. Lacking in warmth.)

T said that the sadness when I left of not having had enough was completely understandable and expected. I told her, it isn’t quite that I haven’t “had enough” like I had written about once before, because that makes it sound like I didn’t get enough warmth or enough connection or attunement which I DID. She said, she thinks “not having had enough” was less about my session and more about my childhood. That I didn’t get enough.  That went in at a deep level and I agreed with her. I understand that therapy is starting to trigger some things in me which I perhaps didn’t understand or feel consciously before.

I told her that actually FEELING that pain when I left last week was just awful. I just closed my eyes as I typed that because honestly my words do not do that feeling justice. T once again reminded me that a lot of my pain was pre-verbal and may not have words.

I said that FEELING that pain really drove it home to me how very sad that was and I said that whilst I immediately think about my mother when I write these things, the same applied to my Dad of course because well, where the fuck was he? He didn’t try either and although my Dad is a “nicer person”, he hurt me too. T said that just because he is a “nice guy” doesn’t mean he didn’t cause me pain. I agreed.  I said that I had been thinking recently that I would see my Dad every now and again, we would have a nice time and then he would take me home and I wouldn’t know if I would see him again in a week, two weeks or months.  I told T that I still sometimes cry when I leave him as an adult now (only since my therapy got me in touch though!).  I told T that I also used to cry when my Nan and Grandad dropped me home on a Sunday night after having stayed at their house, which I did every weekend. I now understand this – I was crying because I knew that connection was over. I was crying because I knew I wouldn’t have that connection at home with my mother and crying because I never knew how long it would be until I felt that again.

T said that it is as if it felt better for me to feel nothing at all than to feel the mixture of the good against the bad. I agreed whole-heartedly.

I said to T that when I learnt about this foreboding joy thing, I had sat down and thought about how this played out in other aspects of my life. I told her what I had written about my relationships, with job interviews and many other things. T nodded and said how hard I had been working. I agreed that I had. I said I was worried that people seemed to think the amount I thought about these things was a bad thing but said that understanding why I am feeling a certain way actually helped me to have some compassion for myself. T said perhaps it took the guilt, shame and blame away from me.  She then said (not for the first time) “You were capable of feeling that loving connection the whole of your life. It really wasn’t you – it wasn’t any fault of yours that you didn’t get that. It was your mum and dad’s”.  She said how it was only natural that as a child experiencing that lack of connection (ha, of warmth) I would understandably blame myself. It is how I survived because I had to keep them good.  I said that I understood this now and that understanding that was bittersweet. I am glad it wasn’t me, of course. But understanding, truly, how incapable they both were of emotional connection and closeness, of that parental bond is so tragically sad to me.

I then spoke to T about my blog yesterday about neediness. I told her that I had wanted to send my blog from Sunday and told her what I wrote yesterday about the conversations that played out in my head. T said “did you think you would be too much?” and I said yes. I told her how I had these visions of smothering her, suffocating her and – killing her. T told me this was the “Fear of Annihilation”. I heard her say that but had no real idea what she was talking about. I’ve since Googled this and it is very interesting. I attach a link for anyone that is interested. Once I have digested this a bit more, I will write about this as I think it will be very helpful to me, and possibly others. https://healthysenseofself.com/meet-us/terminology-for-a-healthy-sense-of-self/fear-of-annihilation/

Following this “fear of annihilation” conversation I told T that it confuses me that when I am in those moments, I NEED to contact her and only her. I said nobody else would help and that felt uncomfortable for me. T said something along the lines of:

“Of course. Like a child only wants its mummy”.

And with those simple words, it suddenly made sense to me. T said that I am using T as I need to, which is as a mother figure and so when I need containing and attunement or whatever I need, of course it is only her that I want to turn to. She told me that is why I shouldn’t really go against myself when I feel that way, that I need to let myself be steadied by her and that it was okay to do that. T said this fear of annihilation meant that I was convinced either I was going to kill her off with my needs or that she would kill me off. She said that I can’t trust that she could handle her own feelings/needs.

I told T that sometimes just pressing send on an email to her was enough. I said I never understood that either. T said:

Yes, because sending the email into my inbox is like putting something (the feelings) into mum to deal with”.

She spoke about how as a baby or a child, the mum would try to figure out what it was the baby or child needed. She would speak softly to the baby and try and see was the baby hungry? Tired? Did the baby need a nappy change etc – she said that the child was steadied just by knowing the mother was there and trying her hardest to help.  She said that me sending the email to her had the same effect.  I said but I don’t know if you are even reading it for hours yet and she said no, but you know that it is no longer just you trying to deal with it all on your own. You know that I will, at least, try to help you with it and that knowledge helps you to settle.

Isn’t that interesting? I know I haven’t expressed that very well, but hopefully the general gist is there.

 

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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.

Next..

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.

 

AANNNDDDDD……

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

https://bpdtransformation.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/four-phases-of-bpd-treatment-and-recovery/

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”………….

 

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……

It’s not about the therapy break!!!!

I was pretty desperate for last night’s session to come. I had stomach issues all day Monday and Tuesday and after spending all day Monday crying in the toilets at work, by last night I was really in need of some T time.

I walked in, sat down and brought Frank out of my bag. I sat him on the sofa and T commented on the fact I had him with me. I told her that as it was our last week before her 2 week holiday, I wanted to bring him with me to keep her “fresh” on him somehow. T used the subject of her holiday to tell me that she thought my email to her on Friday may have actually been an attempt to “keep her good for the break”.  I didn’t write about that email, but for background I had emailed her Friday morning to tell her I felt some sort of shift in my recovery and said that I felt very strong, optimistic and thanked her for making it all possible.

I kind of internally rolled my eyes when she said this and thought to myself “why can’t I just have been happy? Why does there have to be an unconscious ulterior motive?” but I didn’t say anything. T said she thought that perhaps if I let her know I was feeling good and was thankful to her – then the break would be easier and I wouldn’t worry about her going away and potentially not coming back if I was angry with her.  I told her that I didn’t think so, no. I genuinely felt very happy at the time. She said she didn’t doubt that possibly I did in that moment, but that similar to a bipolar episode when you are that “up” you can’t feel anything low at all – it keeps anything sad, hard, tough etc well and truly away and that it is often short-lived. She said she thought that when she read my email but thought to herself “let’s see if it holds”.

I jumped in here and said “and then you got my email on Monday” (the one where I said I was extremely sad post mother stuff). She laughed.

T said a few more things and then said she thought that potentially my mother got me in touch with my anger and that perhaps it was aimed at her for going away. I told her no, it wasn’t. I told her again that I felt okay about the break and that right now I was just preoccupied with the mother/narc stuff that was going on.

She said something else about the break/how I was probably angry with her… and I could feel myself getting a bit wound up. I looked away and thought to myself just grin and bear it, she will move on soon… I clearly can’t persuade her its nothing to do with the break. With that she said “what’s going on right now?”.

As soon as she said that I felt something in my body, it was quick and I’m not too sure what it was although on reflection today I think it was frustration. She said “are you angry?”… I paused and then said, I’m just upset and then began to cry a little.  I think looking back I was getting angrier and angrier because I felt like she wasn’t listening to me. I had said it wasn’t about the break over and over again and yet she seemed determined it was. I am always open-minded when she makes suggestions and she may even be right somewhere unconsciously but what am I meant to say if I can’t feel it??? It was irritating me because I felt like I was holding in sooooooooo much stuff from the weekend and needed a release so badly that this was wasting precious session time.  I think that perhaps I also felt like the blog I sent her Monday about how utterly sad I felt, how disappointed and how much grief I was feeling wasn’t being respected or acknowledged or something..

I can’t really remember what I said or what she said and the order of things but we discussed what happened with my mum Saturday night and I told her how the evening played out. Thankfully we moved on from the bloody break-anger at last. A while later I found myself really crying my eyes out with T encouraging me to get it all out and feel the release.  I cried a lot, I felt totally exhausted and wiped out.  I told  T that I just “hate it. I hate her sometimes so much” in a small, childish voice.  She said “of course you do, that is normal, that is okay”.

We went over lots of mother stuff and she told me that I would never win with her or with a narc in general and that the only way to stop this happening was to not engage. She acknowledged that it was understandable that I got sucked back in and suggested that next time I go to give a boundary away (like when I changed my mind about her birthday weekend which I am now regretting) I listen to the other voice in my head that says to hold off and wait and see for a while longer. I told her that I actually did have this voice in my head at the time and that I purposely went against it. I told it to be quiet. She looked sad for me and said that perhaps next time I would listen to it more, that it would be stronger.

She told me to keep myself safe during her break meaning don’t see my mum. I told her that I won’t and that the next time I will see her is the dreaded birthday weekend away. We spoke about that for a while and she suggested some ways that I could make it more manageable. She also told me that I did not have to go but clearly I feel like I do have to.  We spoke about that for a while and T said “you are so scared of her” (not in a mocking way) and I thought to myself how I hate it when she says that because I want to tell her she is wrong, but that I knew she wasn’t.  See, I can be objective!

I told T that I was worried whilst away on her birthday weekend she would invite people to our wedding in front of me again and that I had very nearly sent her a text yesterday to say I did not like what she did at the party (inviting people in front of me). I told her I didn’t send it but that I had wanted to.  T said perhaps wait and see if she does it again or that perhaps it should be done face-to-face.  T also suggested if she did it again, I should aim my response to her and say something like “Mum, the guest list is up to me and fiancé, thank you” but I said that would make me look bad and embarrass whoever the other person was.  I said it would also show her up and she would hate that. Hate that I wasn’t complying with her and hate that I would show her up and looking “rude”.  T suggested I spoke to her before that weekend and said to her ahead of time please do not do that so that if she did, she already knew what my response would be.

Conversation moved on to work and I told T that I had found out that redundancies were going to be announced this week for my job role and that I had found out they were considering accepting voluntary applications. I told her I suspected the announcement would be Friday afternoon as that seems to be the way they do things that might cause a reaction, they tell you and then send you home so that you don’t cause too much disruption to the firm. She asked me how I was feeling about it and I said I was anxious and couldn’t decide whether I wanted to apply for voluntary redundancy or not.  I told her my reasons for and against it and said that obviously a huge pull factor was escaping Tina.  It really would sever the contact between us for good. No need to see each other anymore at all and that was very attractive to me.

When I drove home I had some tears in my eyes as I thought to myself how kind, soothing and maternal I found her. How I wish when I looked in my mother’s eyes I had that same warmth instead of such an evil, coldness.  Her eyes pierce my soul sometimes. I thought to myself how much I love it when T laughs – like really laughs, sometimes she laughs loudly and throws her head back and it makes me warm inside.

So, I now have one final session with her, tomorrow afternoon and I have no idea what I want the focus of that session to be but I am not looking forward to it if she talks about the fecking break. I keep questioning myself is it that? Am I in denial? But its infuriating when you aren’t in touch with something that she so clearly thinks I am feeling – what am I meant to say to that?

I worry she is right and that it will all hit me as I leave tomorrow’s session. I know it sounds rather dramatic, but right now I am not at my strongest emotionally and I feel drained and I need tomorrow to be good, to be connecting and I absolutely can’t handle that pain of leaving her that sometimes kicks in on top of everything else. Perhaps I am compartmentalising I don’t know.

Oh and on a totally different note, I wondered to myself today if I sometimes self-sabotage. I was thinking that on Saturday when I decided I quite fancied some drinks that evening (with mother), I did have a voice in my head that said “you are really strong right now, you’ve just had a big shift in your therapy and the day with the kids has been great – why potentially ruin all of that?” and I just ignored it and said back to it that it would be fine (because I am so strong ….) Gah.  I also thought to myself that this has happened several times. I get to a good place and then I make contact to see her and it ends in tears – this is half the reason I was so annoyed with myself for falling into her trap again..  I have the knowledge there, I have that voice there trying to make me question my motives and I sometimes go against it.  I wonder why I do that.