The difference it makes seeing T

So, as you might have noticed, I wasn’t in the best of moods yesterday. I was very down and very miserable, that lasted all day long. I took myself off to see T as usual and was feeling a bit anxious about going in.  As it turned 7.30pm exactly I got out of the car and knocked on her door. It felt as though it took her longer than normal to open the door, I had a very quick panic that perhaps she wasn’t there – I had the wrong day – she was on holiday… totally irrational for what could have only been about 3 seconds.

T opened the door with her usual smile and “Hello Twink” – she never ever seems any different. I thought to myself then and again today, how hard that must be. How she can keep the same eye contact and smile, the same tone of voice day after day, week after week… that must be hard. I sure as hell do not keep the same voice, smile etc at work every day that’s for sure!

I walked in.. sat down and T asked “how does it feel coming tonight?” I said.. “usual” and kinda looked at her awkwardly and said “I feel nervous/awkward”. T seemed disappointed/sad that I felt this way. We started to discuss this but within literally seconds of me trying to explain how I felt, the lump in my throat appeared and I began crying.  I am still shocked at how quickly the tears seem to come sometimes. I had barely been in the room a minute! I got a bit embarrassed and T said not to feel embarrassed, that it was good I could bring it to her and said it must have been really tough “holding it all weekend”.  I said to her I hadn’t done very well “holding” it at all because I had cried a lot over the weekend.  She said exactly, you’ve held it on your own – without me. You needed to bring it here. I agreed.

I got upset telling T how I felt which is basically what I said yesterday. I get hit by this tidal wave of feeling/emotion – depression or grief or whatever it might be… I then feel as though I absolutely NEED to email T, like it isn’t a want but a real need and then I send an email to her and at some point afterwards, I am hit by the shame of being so needy and then the fear and panic that I will be punished or pushed away or told off by T.  I was very upset telling her this.

T said (for probably the millionth time) that she would not be punitive, that she would not punish me. I said I knew that logically but that what worried me was that she thought that I didn’t know what was “too much” and then would feel she had to (reasonably) tell me and that I didn’t think I would handle the rejection well – the boundary.  T said she did not think that at all.

I told T I worried she would say I could only email say, once and no more – that she needed to tell me what was okay and what was too much. That she would say X is okay, but Y is not. T said she absolutely wasn’t going to do that, she wasn’t going to put a limit on me like that. That felt so reassuring although I still think she might regret saying that lol…

She said it was like I had created rules in my head what was okay and what wasn’t – she said I really didn’t know were the boundaries were did I… I agreed. I said that last week I had seen her twice as usual but I had then emailed her TWICE before the dream thing and that the dream thing felt stupid because at the end of the day, it was only a dream!!!

T said that it wasn’t “only a dream” and said that the dream had clearly stirred up some very deep and painful feelings in me. I agreed. We then spoke through the dreams and T asked me what I thought they were about. I said I thought it was obvious and she said she wanted to hear my words/my view of them.  I said that the shower one I felt was about the fact that when I was young and my mother was (rarely if ever) single, she would be much nicer to me but that then as soon as she got a new bloke, I was dumped again and in the way.  I said that I guess the fear was that if there was a man around T, that I would lose her in the same way (despite how unrealistic that really is).  T agreed.  She said she felt both dreams were of a very similar nature but the second was much worse.

We spoke about the relevance of my stomach being split open – of my guts all falling out. T said how scary that must have been and that she felt the fact I was in so much pain and the guy on the phone wasn’t taking me seriously, wasn’t helping me was very symbolic of the pain I was in during my childhood and how nobody “saw” it and nobody helped me or took me seriously. I agreed completely.

We spoke about her “daughters” and her “son” the photos etc. T said, “you say you felt insanely jealous” that is a very painful feeling. I said yes. I said that the way she looked at her son with such fondness upset me so deeply because I knew nobody looked at me in that way and that hurt my chest.

T said how it all comes back to not feeling “held in mind” and that when other people are around I think I disappear. Me and T have been having this conversation for some years now so this isn’t new.  I agreed.  She said that I think when others are around, partners, kids (referring to the dreams), that rather than the love being replenished, it is taken away.  I agreed. We said how this is due to the fact that is how it was for me as a child, I really was forgotten when my mother’s latest love interest came along – or her new best friends who were often only a year or two older than me.  I hate her for that.

I told T that I was really struggling at the moment and that I felt so up and down. One day I was happy and the next I was furious or depressed. I said it was tough and it made me worry about how my boyfriend felt. I said it made me feel as though I was less stable than I used to be which can’t be true… T said it may well be true but only for now.  She said you have years and years of held in feelings and now they finally have a way out it is hard work.  She said to try and hold on to the fact that in the end, I will be so much more stable on a permanent basis.  I agreed.

I told T that I don’t understand this absolute dire need to reach out to her when I feel like that – I told her again that it really didn’t feel like I just might like to, it was like I absolutely HAD to – like I couldn’t cope on my own. T said that was okay, that is what I needed right now and that was fine.  I told her I worried she might feel like I treated her like a dumping ground for my bad stuff.  T said she did not feel like that at all. She said that it won’t always be like this, that you have to be flexible depending on what the client needs and what the client is going through.  She said that she does have her own boundaries and will only read/reply to emails when she can and that is HER boundary.  She said she won’t “bleed all over the client” because of her own stuff.  I said I worried that she saw my name ping in her inbox again and again and would roll her eyes and think “god, her again!”.  T said that right now, during those moments, I was regressed to a child state and I did NEED T and that was okay.  T said I was really scared of being vulnerable and I agreed yes I was. Very.

I wonder to myself today whether T or anyone really can truly understand the depth of that feeling – I don’t think they can because it is so hard to explain. I told T that it was weird I was suddenly so aware of this because it’s got harder/worse than it ever has been before, I didn’t even used to know I felt scared (even if she did). T said I was “right in the depths of the work now”.  She told me to just say to my boyfriend to hang on in there with me for now because it was a hard time.  I did say that to him when I got home and he said he knew already. I said “why, because I’ve been a miserable cow?” and he said “no, not miserable but…. up and down”.  I agreed.  He said he felt I was picking fights with him when I needed to cry. I disagreed with that but said perhaps I was being easily triggered by things.

I also told T that I had noticed the last week or so that when I returned home from anywhere, being home was making me miserable. T said “when you are alone?” and I said, whenever – alone or with others. I told her that Friday night I actually excused myself off to bed early because I felt so miserable and low that I just didn’t have the energy to be around everyone and try and act happier than I felt.  I told T my grandmother had shown me photos of me as a child that day and that I wondered if that had brought on a lot of feelings.  Seeing “little me” in front of me like that.. kinda makes it hard to deny what she (I) went through. I also told T that when I was younger, coming home from my nan’s was always horrible and I would be in tears very quickly.  I said perhaps that is part of the reason I felt the same when I came home Friday from my nan’s. T said it almost definitely would be.

T asked me how I thought I would feel when I left and I said I thought I would feel relieved because she hadn’t told me off for emailing or asked me to stop. I told her that I knew it sounded very extreme but I truly felt if she told me I couldn’t email her anymore, that I wouldn’t want to continue therapy, that is how scary it felt. I also told T that I felt very fat, ugly, spotty and just generally wrank. I said I hadn’t even done my hair for work today and I always did my hair.

I left feeling much lighter (as always) and I woke up today feeling happy. I spent some time when I got home last night preparing a healthy salad and fruit salad for work today, I got up and did my hair and I walked to the station instead of driving or getting the bus.  I also went out for a walk at lunch time to get my steps up.

Isn’t amazing what a difference seeing your T can make on not only your mood, but your clothes, your hair, your exercise.. everything. Is that just me? I was thinking this earlier and it triggered off a weird thought – every time I see my Dad (not often), I have brought a new outfit to wear………… that says a lot doesn’t it? Yet I will go to T’s in an old baggy top with my hair tied on the top of my head with black eyes from crying….. I really must be starting to feel more comfortable showing T who I “really am”. Clearly more so than my own parents. That is amazing isn’t’ it?

 

Today the sky is blue 

It’s Saturday morning, 8.15 as I start to write this and I’ve sneaked downstairs on my own before the kids or my boyfriend are up. I’m sitting on my sofa looking out the patio doors and it’s a sunny day. Blue sky, the grass is really green, birds are flying. The fact I can notice and appreciate those things tells me I’m feeling a little better today. 

I really do hate the speed in which my emotions are changing lately, it’s so hard to keep up with. I can’t imagine how tough it must be for my boyfriend, how confusing it must be for him not knowing what girlfriend he has today. 

Looking back to yesterday’s sadness, I think it was a mixture of a delayed reaction from therapy the day before (that often happens) and the dreams about T. Those dreams clearly stirred up some really painful feelings for me. I have no doubt the dream was partly stirred up because I saw T’s daughter on Thursday, although I thought I was fine about it… clearly not. 

It’s the battle between the adult me and the child me. The adult me is currently realising the devastating effects my mother’s neglect and narc abuse had on me. It’s been horrible suddenly feeling this stuff. I often question whether I would rather not have known….. would spending the rest of my life been more or less painful if i continued to think I was the problem, or would it be more or less painful knowing my mother abused me as a child in so many different ways? Let’s not forget my father here because he could have helped to save me and chose not to. Coward. 

Anyway, this post isn’t about them….

I emailed T yesterday to tell her I wanted to send her two of my dreams. The shower one and the ones from Thursday night. The thing is, I had mentioned the shower one to her on Thursday but conveniently left out the second half of the dream (ie the bit about “a man”)…. why do I do this ? Lol!! 

But….I had emailed T last Saturday when I had my “volcano” episode and I had then seen her twice, Tuesday and Thursday AND sent her my “thank you” email so I was very aware this was yet another communication with T. That made me feel extremely needy. 

Needy” is something my mum called me growing up. “Needy” is very painful for me. It’s not just a word that passes over, it’s a worry. 

Feeling needy makes me panic. It makes me hate myself for being that way and at the same time it makes me want to cling on with all my strength because I feel like if I don’t get help/connection/something that I will die….. I know it sounds extreme but it’s a very real and raw feeling. 

So then I’m in a catch 22 position. Feel needy – risk abandonment and punishment OR die because I can’t cope alone. 

So I told T i felt this way. That I was worried about emailing her again, that I felt needy and I worried what that would mean, but I sent the dreams anyway. 

T replied being kind and said she had read the dreams and that they were painful, that we would talk about them next week. I scanned her email for signs of frustration and I don’t think there were any…. I guess I wish she had said “don’t be silly, you send as many emails as you need: I am always here”…. but obviously she didn’t… that’s the dream hey?! 

I visited my grandparents for the day and my nan got out a huge box of photos. There were pictures of me as a young child, I had never seen them. It was so weird. I have some to keep. When I got home last night, i was quiet and moody again, I took myself to bed early and cried and cried again. Not knowing exactly what I was crying for – I guess a mixture of what I’m dealing with in therapy ATM, the pain of the realisations, the dreams and what they tapped me into, the worry of being too much for T, the pain that T isn’t there as much as I wish she could be… seeing the child me and knowing how sad she was….. it all hit me again. 

I thought to myself earlier, I don’t want T to feel like a dumping ground for my bad stuff… like every time I get upset or angry I run along to T to help me, but that feels wrong. She isn’t there as a dumping ground, i don’t want her to feel like that. 

I catch myself and think this is another example of the way I’ve been “trained” as a child, worrying about her feelings (my mum’s) instead of her worrying about mine. 

T once told me to let her worry about her stuff… I guess it is all part of the worry of being too much, of burning her out, of her leaving.  Perhaps it’s a transferencial thing, seeing her as my mother – expecting her to respond in the same way. 

On a final note, I looked up some elements of my horrible dream. This is what I found for the stomach part. 


I thought that was pretty relevant!! 

Bursting my bubble

I went into my session yesterday feeling okay. I was feeling a bit annoyed that my excited-ness had worn off (thanks to T). T asked me how I was and I said I was “good”. She always smiles when I say this as if she doesn’t believe me. I think that’s because she’s very aware, as am I now, that I am a people-pleaser and I was taught that fine and good thanks were the only appropriate responses to that question.

When she smiles at me like that I always try to elaborate and so I said “well, I’m not as excited as I was on Tuesday”. She seemed to know this and said “ah, it feels as though the bubble has been burst a bit?” I said yes it did.  She asked me how that felt and if it was her that had done that. I said yes, she had brought me back to earth and it was crap. She smiles and said “what a bitch I am” in a playful way and I laughed and said “yeah, you’re so out of order”.

T then asked seriously, did it feel I was right or wrong? I said she was right but that was annoying.

I told T that several times I’ve had an exciting “revelation” and it feels she ruins it. (This all said playfully although honestly).

I said it hadn’t felt I was intellectualising but that it was clear I was. T said there was nothing wrong with that and that sometimes it helps us to be able to cognitively understand. I agreed.

T said she had noticed that it seems when I’ve had enough of the feelings – when perhaps they’ve become too much, that’s when I will read.  This intrigued me as it wasn’t something I had noticed about myself. T said that it’s like I need to give myself a break and so I switch off the feelings part and read and deal with things cognitively/intellectually. I found this quite enlightening. Also, I do like it when T out rightly tells me something like that, it’s nice to have some feedback and to know what she thinks about me/what she observes from the other couch.

She asked how I was feeling now about it all (i.e. about my mother). I said it was making me feel sick. T asked in what way and I said it was making me feel physically sick. T asked what exactly was bringing that feeling on and I said the realisation of the fact I was completely brainwashed. That I had never known (obviously) and that it was all so disgusting. T understood and said it was extremely sick. I said “it’s wrank” – which is odd koz it’s not a word I ever use lol!

T asked if I was feeling sad and I said no. I wasn’t crying at all. I said I just felt angry. T repeated “you are in touch with your anger” and I said yes I definitely was. This is a good step for me because anger hasn’t been something I’ve felt much in therapy.

I said that I was re-reading a book called “you’re not crazy, it’s your mother!” And that I had read it when T had first explained narcissism to me but this time it was even more amazing. I said there were just so many examples of things my mother did/does it was really quite shocking. T agreed it was shocking.

I told T what I had written about yesterday and repeated what I have written there.  T told me that it isn’t surprising and that actually, it was quite clever because I had to use the tools that I had.  T said that some daughters of narc mothers report memories of their mothers being really kind to them when they were poorly and so would regularly get “sick”.  I said that my mother was awful when I was unwell. She already knew this but for background, my mother used to make me clean up my own sick as a child whilst I was still being sick because she “couldn’t handle sick or blood”. A few years later she trained to be a health care assistant and has worked in the hospital for the last 12 years where she has to clean patients, bag up dead bodies and all sorts.  So just my sick and blood it seems.

I told T that I had text my younger sister to tell her about the book and said I had screen-shotted a section on scapegoats and the golden child because it summed up the dynamic of me and my sister growing up and I hoped it would help her. I’ve realised that in my teen years at some point o started to try to identify with her for her approval and at the time I was “promoted” into golden child position. This therefore meant that from my sister’s point of view, I was the lucky one and that she felt left out.

I wanted my sister to realise that me and mother were not “close” I was just enmeshed with her. Anyway, it fell on deaf ears unfortunately and she told me that going over the past wouldn’t help her and that she is “sure mum will upset me one day too but…” and I realised I was fighting a battle I would not win and so just accepted that we needed different things. It’s a shame.

T told me that at least I had planted the seed and that she would come round in her own time. She said I am further on than she is but said it is hard for her because she is living with my mother every day and I am not. I agreed. T said how hard it is when you can see it and you are seeing your family being sucked in.  I agreed. I said that since I had distanced myself from my mother, my sister was now “golden child” and so she would be enjoying that not understanding it all. I said to T that as soon as I received her reply I worried what she would do with this information.. keen to keep her golden child status what if she told my mum about the book or something? T said it didn’t matter really but obviously the thought filled me with terror.

We spoke again about the fear my mother provokes in me – I said that my boyfriend had told me to really think about what I was so scared of and that I really wasn’t sure. T said that it was a trigger back to childhood and the fact that she genuinely was very scary.  I said she was.  T said I have absolutely no doubt that your mother was an extremely frightening woman.  I said she was but that I keep telling myself I am an adult now, she can’t do anything but T said it isn’t as easy as that, the fear is deep set.  I agreed.  I liked this because it made me feel less pathetic for being an adult who was scared of upsetting her mother.

(conversation changed for a while onto my boyfriend’s mediation with his ex-wife although I was keen not to let this take up too much of my session. T said something nice though, she said “I have really noticed a big change in you and how you deal with [ex-wife’s name].  She said that I was much more able to see her as a separate person to myself and my boyfriend and not feel so threatened by her and their past.  That was lovely to hear because I feel the difference too, it used to be all-consuming).

We spoke about my mother again and I shocked myself at what came out of my mouth. I said that I knew this was a horrible thing to say, but… sometimes I think it would be easier if she were dead. I said that I know that is an awful thing to say, and I wasn’t for a second wishing she would die, but that it would mean I didn’t have to live with the constant fear, the guilt, the worrying about being ostracized from my family and everything else. I wouldn’t have to have the internal fight of being too “on guard and aggressive” when I see her, or run the risk of being sucked back in.  Lucky T seemed to know what I meant and didn’t look at all shocked or offended. She said that there are many, many daughters of narcissistic mothers who would think/feel the same thing.  She said she understood what I meant and that it would enable me to get on and heal without things constantly getting in the way.

I told T that what I am struggling with is how to be around her now. I said that I can’t help myself, I feel feisty. I am on guard, I like to try to catch her out on her inaccuracies.  I like to call her out on her shit and that I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it! T said it’s because I am so angry with her. I agreed.  I said that at the moment she is not “liking” anything I put on Facebook when it has anything to do with my boyfriend or his family and that it was making me laugh and was becoming a bit of a game.. I said I know, I know, not healthy.  T said the best way to be around her was to act “benign” to not react. She said that was the best place to be in. I said that was difficult! T understood. I said that my book suggested letting the whole conversation be about the mother because they love that and it gets you off the hook too, I said I can’t, it feels so wrong to do that and T said I didn’t have to do anything that made me feel uncomfortable.  T said that she understands the temptation but it’s what follows that is the problem. The rage that I will get in return, she said it is not worth it.

I told T some of the awkward/inappropriate conversations that were had on Saturday. I will put some here for your amusement.

  1. I told T that on Saturday evening my sister told my mother that she didn’t like it when she came downstairs in the morning when her boyfriend stayed (my sister’s boyfriend that is) without a bra on. My mother likes to come down wearing a strappy pj top and no bra.. she has her nipples pierced.. its pretty cringe because her nipples are VERY prominent and obviously my boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend both find this very uncomfortable. They don’t know where to look! My mother said it was her house and she could do what she wanted and that it was their problem if they didn’t like it and that they should grow up. My sister tried to get me to back her up and I just said that personally I make sure I put on a bra when I am around my step kids. My mother would not accept there was anything wrong with what she did. Anyway, it was a very inappropriate and awkward conversation that is probably pretty amusing to read about!
  2. My mother’s friend said she hated wearing a thong. My mother said she had only worn a thong once and that she went to the toilet and forgot she was wearing it and so wee’d all over it and had to throw it away…… gross. Not exactly normal conversation for my boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend to have to listen to!

*******[THIS SECTION CONTAINS SOME SEXUAL REFERENCES]*******

Me and T said how there was such a lack of boundaries. T said that my mother tried to sexualise me at a very young age. This is something we have spoken about a few times before. I said that when I was about 16, I used to go to clubs with her and she would try to set me up with men who were her age.  T asked if anything happened with these men and I said no, luckily. I used to get scared and disappear off or hide in the toilets until they lost interest.  T said she couldn’t tell where she ended and I began.  We discussed how my mother liked me/my sister to know she was having sex. She used to always leave her door wide open so we would have to see and she was VERY loud about it, like really OTT loud (think porn video)… she was once having sex on the stairs and when I came home and shouted at her, she told me it was her house and I should move out if I didn’t like it.  All things normal parents just do not do.  I said that it reminded me of NYE one year, about 5/6 years ago now where I told her that her loud, open door’ed sex was upsetting me and she went ballistic and we rowed and told me at least she was desired and again, if I didn’t like it I could move out.  We didn’t speak for about 2 weeks after this argument and I lived with her so that was awkward.  T said that she should have felt extremely embarrassed but she didn’t and T said she was a bit of a voyeur. I said I can only think that she likes us to know how fancied she is because I can’t think of any other reason for it?

****** [SEXUAL REFERENCES END] *********

I said to T that I could be wrong, but I am pretty intuitive when it comes to my mother, that I think she is trying to “teach me a lesson” the moment. I get the feeling that she is using a bit of reverse psychology by not asking to see me, not liking my statuses, not contacting me etc in the hope that I will “realise what I am missing” or something. I said obviously I could be way off, but I would not be at all surprised. T said I could easily be right.

I said that she has gone through most of the stages set out in my book such as the victim thing (my daughter doesn’t want to see me) playing the victim, she’s tried to split us up by causing that big argument that time, using hoovering by sucking me in (briefly this worked), she is now doing the whole smear campaign thing of telling everyone that my boyfriend is controlling and manipulative.. so I wouldn’t be surprised. T warned me that she may well be about to “up the anti” and that I should be very careful.  She said that some narcissists even attempt suicide as a way to guilt their daughters back in! I said this isn’t something my mother would do, but I will be careful.

 

What is the worst she could do? – Leave.

I woke up yesterday morning and realised it was T day. That made me happy and I felt much more motivated to get out of bed and get ready for work, I noticed how much knowing I would be going to Ts changed my spirit and thought that it was a nice way to feel.

I was looking forward to telling T all about my new mind-set. My new revelations. I hoped she would be as excited as me but I had this feeling that she wouldn’t. A couple of times in the past, I’ve gone to T and told her about something which has got me really excitedly empowered and have come away feeling a bit “brought back to earth”. An example of this was when I thought I had reached acceptance about my mother’s bad behaviour. I went in excited and came out a little deflated again. I think that made me a bit angry at the time but clearly in hindsight she was right because since then I am angry with my mother so it wasn’t real acceptance after all.

Yesterday was much the same unfortunately. I went to T and told her I was feeling good and that I was feeling like a new person. She smiled and asked what realisations have you had? And I told her how I was feeling in that both of my parents are emotionally immature, that I really have understood that it was/is them and not me and that what I said out loud to her in my last session about neither of them being able to handle my feelings felt like a big deal.

T asked how it felt that I had come to this realisation that neither of them could handle my feelings and I told her that I felt empowered by it not to let them carry on. She seemed a bit surprised and said that it was a hugely painful thing to understand (clearly she expected me to be upset) and I said, before she did, that perhaps my feelings of sadness will follow but that for the time being, just having understood this was helping me to feel more in charge.  T said something about anger and I told her that I was feeling some anger about it, she suggested that perhaps at the moment the anger was fuelling the feeling of empowerment. I agreed.

We spoke a lot the rest of the session about my mother. About the fear she provokes in me (indisputable unfortunately) – I will go into details later . I told T what I had learnt in my book (adult children of emotionally immature parents) about the “rescue fantasy” and about the “role-self” – being that children with parents like mine create this fantasy that one day things will be different, that their parent will become all that they need and everything will be fixed. It is what keeps us going throughout the shit childhood. And the role-self being the self that you mould around what your parent needs you to be.  I.e. not you real self which you repress because basically it won’t be accepted by them or could get you in more trouble/cause you to get access to even less love or whatever.

I told T that both applied 100% to me and that it was remarkable. She said that perhaps reading this book was helping me to feel less alone in this situation and perhaps it was validating something. I said it was, but she said (god I hate this) that I was intellectualizing again. I really bloody hate it when she tells me this – not because she is wrong, because she isn’t! but because so what?!– Here I am feeling all feisty and empowered and now this makes me feel rubbish again. I don’t want to focus on my lack of “feelings”, I want to celebrate my new knowledge! *I realise this is the child part of me kicking off and do understand as an adult that of course she would point this out – it is her job as my therapist etc* .

Today I started another book, one I read about 2.5 years ago which is called “You’re not crazy, it’s your mother!” which was good the first time around but incredible this time around. I think because I have accepted that it is true more now than then and so it’s still giving me those “Omg” moments when I can relate something in the book to her. I have started writing some notes on the things that apply to me which I might post in a day or two in case it helps anyone else and also as a reminder to myself in the future.

I was talking about how the weekend went when I saw both my parents separately – I told her how I felt about it which was pretty much that I just held my head up high and went to both the party and then my mother’s house and felt fine. T said that I go there and shut half of myself away so that I can survive. I said maybe. I don’t know. I told T that my Dad said at the party that he was scared my mother would ruin my future wedding and that he would walk me down the aisle (if I wanted him to) but that he wouldn’t do a speech. T said it was a shame that he couldn’t put his nervousness aside for that small amount of time for his daughter – I agreed.

This lead me to tell T that my mother has always said that either her or my stepdad would want to do a speech. I used to love this thought. A special speech all about me and admitted that I had the “rescue fantasy” that my Dad would give some speech admitting his crapness and I would shed a tear or two and we would hug and it would all be lovely… I had the fantasy that my mother would do a speech but I never really imagined what she would say.  I said that now, I didn’t want my mother or stepdad giving a speech because my mother would just make it all about her and my stepdad would be doing it to get one over on my Dad in a kind of “Dad-Off”. T said that I didn’t have to have either of them give a speech.  I was like.. mmmmmmmm.  (this meant me thinking mother would kill me).

I said it would be a shame to not have any speeches if I’ve already had to give up on my parents giving speeches and T said that other people could do one if I wanted them to, perhaps my boyfriend’s Dad, my boyfriend etc… this thought filled me with horror. I couldn’t do that I said!! T asked why not? I said what would I say to my mother when she asked why I didn’t want her or my stepdad giving a speech?? T said that I don’t have to justify myself to her. I can simply say “I don’t want you giving a speech and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to come” – I rolled my eyes and said the backlash to that would be awful. T said “what is the worst that could happen?” – I told T I ask myself this all the time and didn’t know what the answer was, I said I know it sounded stupid.

T said it isn’t stupid but that it is very obvious to her that I can fall back into the trap of the “fear factor” with regards to my mum. I agreed with her and said I know, I know I do.

I told T that my boyfriend woke up feeling a little miserable on Sunday and T said that it was like he had an “emotional hangover” – I looked shocked because those were the exact words my boyfriend had used himself and T laughed. I told her the things that he had said about how he felt about being there. That he felt trapped and that he was constantly on edge, waiting to see if he was going to be attacked again like before.  He also said that he struggled seeing me act like “all was forgiven” when I was there.

T said it must be hard for him but that he needs to know if she does it again, he can look her in the eye and tell her that he will not tolerate her behaving like that to him and that he will not put up with it. That he can walk out and that he can tell her “I know what you are doing, but if you want a relationship with your daughter and I then you cannot treat me this way” or words to that effect.. I said I agreed but I felt he worried I wouldn’t stick up for him.

T said he probably had a shock when she attacked him last time because saw how I changed (basically totally dissociated and stared into space feeling all weird). I agreed that was probably hard for him.

T then told me a story about how she once went with a friend of her’s to visit her narcissistic mother after they had been separated for 15 years. Apparently this narcissistic mother attacked my T (not her daughter) and T said that the reason she was telling me this story was that my mother and this narcissistic woman were very similar.  That this woman attacked my T instead of her daughter and that my mother was doing the same via my boyfriend.  I said to T that I know my mother is furious with me, I can see it in her eyes.  T said she will be furious because you are not being her narcissistic supply anymore and that is what she wants.

I thought to myself last night/today that the “role-self” I came up with developed in my teens because I realised that being my true self, which my mum called “Saffy” (after the daughter in Ab Fab) wasn’t going to win her approval and eventually I guess I succumbed into being more like her. I started to drink, to smoke, to flirt around me, to go to clubs with her (yes, I know)…I went out with men – actual men, not boys my age that I didn’t even like.. I even slept with someone because she told me I should.  This train of thought reminded me of a memory that I am ashamed of but have decided to write here because I think it is important on this journey of mine.

I once went to the pub with some friends and drank a lot of wine. One of the boys then invited everyone back to his flat for more drinks which I went to happily.  They all started doing drugs and I decided that I would try it. I have no idea why because I had always been dead set against drugs! I even ended a relationship with a long-term ex because he started to do them… anyway I tried it and I did it various more times during that evening (the evening finished at 6am the following day!).  I eventually got into a taxi home and when I got into bed, I didn’t feel very good and I just couldn’t believe I had done drugs, I had surprised myself.  Then I had this thought…. Maybe I should text my mother (who was asleep in the other room) and tell her what I had been doing, I had this feeling that she would be proud of me. That it would really prove I wasn’t boring. That I wasn’t “saffy” after all.  But the fear that I might be wrong and she might actually hate me for it stopped me telling her.

Isn’t that story just horrific? Isn’t it sick? I haven’t been able to admit this to anyone at all ever before and I’m not sure I will.. but I think it proves my point.

My boyfriend said to me “try to really think about what it is that you are scared of when you know your mum won’t like something. Like really think about it, I think the answer will be important” and I thought about it and said, well, I guess it all boils down to her abandoning me, leaving forever and there we have it.

The very basic point of it all is that I am petrified of upsetting or angering my mother in case she abandons me.

AGHH.

The Victim Is Dead.

The victim is dead.

Here lies the body of victim Twinkletoes – she died feeling sorry for herself for her lack of decent parents, for the all-consuming feeling of being constantly rejected by the people that “should” love her but constantly demonstrated that they did not. She died never feeling like she was deserving of love. She died feeling unlovable. She died having only half-lived her life.

The survivor is born.

Let me introduce to you the newly born survivor Twinkletoes. She is born with an understanding of her own self-worth, with self-respect and with the understanding that other peoples’ perception of her, is not her truth.  Newly born survivor Twinkletoes does not think about the things that happen in life as unfair, does not think that the world owes her anything and does not feel small, powerless or defenceless.  Survivor Twinkletoes is not a child, but a powerful, independent, strong woman.

 

 

Now that the introductions are over, normal service shall commence.

Hi guys. I haven’t gone mad I promise, although something has happened. Since my last blog yesterday which sounded very strong-willed, I went back downhill slightly and started to feel a bit of a victim again. I went off to my session feeling rather pleased to be having a session. I think looking back I was hoping to go in and have T tell me what to do, what to say and what I needed to do to make things better but obviously that didn’t happen.

I ranted, vented, moaned whatever you want to call it, I exhausted myself. T sat with me. She “heard” me, she understood and she validated but she didn’t tell me what to do to magically fix it which was a shame really… however we were (or rather I was) chatting away about it all and I said that it felt as though my mother and my father were both standing behind glass.  I can see them but I can’t “get to them” and T said “and they probably can’t hear you either if they are behind glass” and I agreed.  I said to T that when I was a child and visited my Dad for the day, he would always ask me at some point in the afternoon (awkwardly) what time I wanted to go home.  I never knew the answer to this and it always made me feel very uncomfortable. I told T that I never knew the “right” answer so I would always say very timidly that I didn’t mind, it was up to him.. whenever.  He used to get a bit annoyed because he clearly wanted me to decide but I was a child.  Sometimes he would say things like “well do you want to stay for dinner or not?” and I wouldn’t know whether he wanted me to say yes or whether saying yes was putting him out and so I would say the same thing, I don’t mind – it’s up to you”.  I gave a few examples of these silly scenarios and T said that even when I was a child he put it all on me to decide.  He couldn’t ever be the adult, the father and just make a decision and tell me what we were doing.  I said that was true and that also I was always so worried about saying or doing the wrong thing and pushing him away that I was always playing the good girl.  I said to T:

“Neither of them can handle my feelings. Neither of them can validate how I feel.  Neither can take themselves out of the picture for even a moment and try to see where I am coming from.  Neither of them can apologise when they are wrong or have hurt me, intentionally or not”.

T nodded her head and smiled at me as if to say “Finally you understand”… it was as though I had finally understood something that she had known all along. It’s one of them moments in therapy where you say something out loud that you just know is very significant and something that you thought you “knew” but only intellectually knew – and now you really knew it like on some deep level.

T then said that no, they couldn’t handle my feelings and that they couldn’t handle their own either. My dad buries his head in the sand and hopes it will all go away and my mother projects her stuff onto other people and is obviously so narcissistic that her grandiose sense of self doesn’t enable her to even consider she might be in the wrong.

I suddenly realised this was true and I suddenly understood the impact this has had on me, on my life so far. I think about them, their feelings and their responses before my own. I am too scared to be honest, I am too scared to say how I feel – I don’t even KNOW how I feel because I lost touch with my feelings a long time ago – if I ever learnt how to feel them in the first place?!

And then I thought “I’ve tried to be a good girl for 29 years now and it hasn’t worked – I am still chasing their love and approval and I haven’t got it so fu*k them! No more”.

I left T’s and went home where I did some housework and watched a few episodes of a series I like, a few hours later as I was hanging up some washing I thought to myself “ooh I haven’t thought about this for all that time, ha!” I was surprised because until this point, this stuff has been consuming me constantly. Not even seconds went by without me thinking about it all. I thought to myself that this was a good sign but wasn’t sure how it had happened. I thought it must just be the power of T.

But today I think I understand that it is actually the power of that realisation. It’s the effect of finally really “getting” something. Understanding something, being validated – heard and seen and, dare I say it… maybe even that belief that it really isn’t my fault. Like, really, it really, honestly, truly and genuinely isn’t (something I’ve heard a gazillion times before and rolled my eyes at because I thought it was just a pleasantry. You know, something you say to cheer someone up or whatever).

I then spent some time Googling (the font of all knowledge!) about “victim mentality” and “how to stop playing the victim” because I decided that I am fed up of feeling weak and powerless and childish. Yes I am hurt, yes I am angry – very at the moment, but I refuse to spend the rest of my life only half living.  What a waste that would be.

Here is what I learnt so far:

  • People like to feel like the victim because it basically brands them “the goody” and the other person “the baddy”. So I guess you get some sort of approval from that – in my case, approval is clearly something I want so it’s better than nothing right?
  • If you are a victim, its safe. You don’t need to risk anything or do anything – you can just sit around in your familiar “victim” status.
  • You don’t have to take responsibility because life is happening TO you;
  • Many people think they are entitled to good treatment. The truth is that they are neither entitled nor not entitled to it. The significant issues are what is going on and how do they feel about it. This woman would have been better off actively facing the facts of the situation and acknowledging her emotional reactions rather than personally judging it and feeling victimized by it”; and

 

  • Maintaining a child victim role leads to chronic passivity. Victimized feelings are very often appropriate to the child’s situation. Children are without power, are helpless and are at the mercy of their parents. Later as an adult, things happen that are sometimes beyond your control and understanding. However, the adult who is still playing the child victim role responds like the deer that sees a mountain lion approaching and instead of fleeing the danger becomes paralyzed. This person just keeps noticing over and over that the situation is unreasonable, unfair or threatening but doesn’t make the appropriate adaptive responses. In the case of the woman mentioned above, the tip off to the fact that she really preferred the child victim role was that she never made any substantial attempt to change her circumstances. Like so many of us, she would rather feel justified in complaining endlessly about her unfortunate circumstances while passively registering her dissatisfaction than actively changing her situation”.

So, I have made the decision to go to this party tomorrow where my dad, stepmum and brothers will be. I will go there and be strong and adult. I will not get caught up in any conversations about unfairness or rejection or disappointment because I will not waste my pearls (T’s phrase). I am going to the party because I WANT to go to it, rightly or wrongly.  I know I will only feel more upset if I don’t go and so why bring that upon myself on purpose?

The plan currently is this: Change my thinking from victim, to survivor. Change my mentality from defenseless child, to in charge adult.  Try and accept that my father is unable to give me what I would like and try to just accept what he can offer and if I decide at some stage that isn’t enough – well then perhaps I will have to make the tough decision to stop being the one to keep the contact.. we will see.

I accept that I may slip in and out of this mindset. It may feel easy today and impossible next week but I will hang in there.

recover from victim

 

strong women

 

recover

 

A Letter to My Mother

I  have just found this letter that I wrote to my mother in November last year. I have since wrote another which I will post shortly. It was a very powerful letter to have written and one that took me 2 years of therapy to be able to find the courage and anger to write.  I never plan to send this letter but I think I am ready to share it with people who might be able to understand the pain that is in it.  I will post the newest “letter” in a while. The only thing I’ve changed is a few names just to keep me safe!

“I read a quote this morning, it said “Narcissist spelt backwards is arsehole… well, if they can make things up, then so can we!” and I laughed, a lot.  I am angry at the moment and feeling a lot of things that I haven’t previously felt.

It has taken me 2 whole years to write this letter.  I never imagined being able to or even wanting to say these things to you – not consciously anyway, but now I am ready and I am no longer holding back on anything. I never plan to send it, but I really want to get it down on paper.

Growing up you always made it crystal clear that I was a chore to you. I was an annoyance. I was in the way and a nuisance.  You never hid that from me, I imagine you never tried.  From a very young age you would tell me that as soon as I hit 16 I had to move out. I used to panic and wonder what I would do at such a young age, what if I didn’t have a well-paid job or anywhere to go? You didn’t care you said. You told me that at 16, you moved out and so would I.  Basically you told me that as soon as legally possible, I was gone – you would be free of the chore that was raising your child.  When you were around children you would say “eugh” or “yuck!” and have a look of pure disgust on your face. I didn’t really understand it then, but now I realise it was comments like that which made me feel so annoying to you and so unimportant and so wrong. 

You said to me several years ago that when I “met the right man” I would be “taken off your hands” and that you wouldn’t have to “worry about” me anymore.  At the time I couldn’t imagine ever not needing you or your opinions or advice and thought to myself that no man could ever stop me from needing you – but you were right.  The right man did come along and he has taken me off your hands.  The problem is, now you finally have exactly what you wanted, you don’t want it anymore do you?  

You hate that I have my own life now, you hate that I rarely speak to you or see you and you blame that entirely on my boyfriend, or on me being “a robot” to him as you say. Because it couldn’t possibly be your fault, could it? You said to aunty on Saturday night, in front of me, that you never hear from me and that I make no effort to see or speak to you. You said it very angrily and you said it aunty, but aimed at me – as a guilt trip I guess? That wound me up. But on the plus side, you seem to have helpfully got me in touch with some of my anger towards you which I haven’t been able to do very well until now, so thanks for that.

I am going to write now what I am actually thinking about you today/yesterday which I feel is not what I SHOULD be thinking about my own mother – but it is what I am thinking nonetheless, so I am going to say it and I am not going to feel ashamed for these thoughts because they are real and they are mine and you can’t control that.

I look at you and I see nothing. I feel nothing. I don’t feel any connection, any maternal love, any warmth.  I don’t feel like you’re my parent. I don’t feel comforted by you if I am sad.  I don’t feel supported by you if I am dealing with something challenging and I don’t feel any real love for who I am as a person at all.  When I look at you, I see a fakeness and a need to please – I guess I got that from you to a degree. You have to be the life and soul of the party, you have to have everyone think you are the most fun person there.  You have to be the one wearing the best clothes and the one to spend the most money or buy the most expensive/best presents. It is clearly a need for approval – I see that now but I can’t take away the fact that it annoys the hell out of me.  Maybe you could try putting some of that effort into being a mother.. or maybe it’s too late for that. Who knows.

I see how two-faced you are regularly and I always have, but this weekend drummed it home more than before. You’ve done nothing but slag aunty off recently and yet you begged her to come on Saturday and you screamed with joy when she turned up and again when she said she would stay later and get a taxi home.  You then had the cheek to effectively slag me off to her, but in front of me – make up your mind, exactly who is the baddy, me or her? Both of us? I dread to think how much you slag me off and I dread to think what your friends and the rest of the family think of me because of the things you’ve said.

You boss and order your husband around like he is your toy. It is cringe worthy. I think, you are either so entitled in the belief that he SHOULD be running around after you like a slave, or that you do it to show off to people quite how much control you have over him or in your eyes, how much he loves you. Again it is embarrassing and nobody thinks it’s something to admire. Even if they do laugh along with you – its because they can’t quite believe it. Your husband in turn is turning into someone I don’t like much. I have lost a huge amount of respect for him – he is trying to use me as his scapegoat now that you have pissed him off by ordering him around and making him feel totally demeaned and worthless, like you do to everyone you have “loved”.  That is not on.  Problem is, he is weak. Just how you like people. Weak means people don’t confront you or stand up to you in any way.  Weak is how you like people – although obviously you say that you hate it and refer to people you perceive as weak as “muppets” and “idiots” and “pathetic”. 

You tell me and anyone else that will listen that your husband is your “whole world” and that you have never been happier, that you love him more than you ever thought possible and how happy he makes you.  You tell me that you might have enjoyed having me much more if you had someone like your husband to share it with.  Someone therefore, unlike my Dad who you say was hopeless, selfish and arrogant.  Funny then that you can’t bear to be alone with him and so you fill every spare moment surrounding yourself with large groups of people, drinking all night and even taking holidays with other couples.  God forbid you should spend some time together alone. You told me recently when you were drunk that he is “boring” but that you do love the fact that you can tell him to go and talk to certain people and he will “trot off and do it”.  That isn’t love.  You think that love is what you can get from someone, what they can do for you.  That is why you “love” certain people like J and H so much because they all make you feel truly admired and special.  It isn’t for who they are as people but how they make you feel about yourself.

I dread your birthday, I dread Christmas and I dread Mother’s Day. Why? Because I dread having to make a fuss of you. I hate it.  I dread spending my time and effort trying to find something to please you – because that an impossible task (although I do understand I would get major brownie points for the cost of the present).  I dread buying you a card with loving words of affection for “mum” because they are not true and I feel like a fraud buying you one.  Also, I feel a sadness that I try to deny because I am sad that you will never be what I want you to be and I hate that you have that effect on me. My friend the other day brought her and her mum tickets to a show and I thought to myself how nice that must be – but I wouldn’t want that with you. The fantasy doesn’t have you in it now.

I used to want you to hug me. I used to want you to be able to properly give me a hug. A hug when I was crying or a hug when you saw me after a period of time.. a hug well done, I don’t know. Just a hug. Some affection, but now the thought makes me feel quite sick. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the truth (today at least). I do not want a hug today. It would be like hugging a lamp post – cold, detached and pointless. It would not have a positive effect on me in anyway.

I used to (even recently) think that deep down you are loving, kind, soft, caring and warm and I used to try very hard to pick away at the hard exterior to get to that bit, but it never worked.  I guess I still believe somewhere that you are because I find it hard to believe that anyone can be inheritably bad. I sometimes try and figure out why you are the way you are, I think about things that happened in your life that I know of – like your Dad and believe a lot of it stems from him – particularly because of your need to be in a relationship and because of your choice of men. I told you this the other week, again, when you were drunk and you told me that you don’t believe in “all that” and that you make your own life and that not many people have the “perfect family” that I want and that you can’t forever blame things on your family or your upbringing. Defensive much?
 
You told me once that when you were staying with your Dad, that your stepmum and her kids were horrible to you and I feel sad for you imagining that…. But then I get angry because I think of how many times you put me in the same situation with your horrible choice of men and their kids and how you didn’t protect me from them.  How you put them first, always.  You didn’t learn from it, you just copied it. Not only that, you left me vulnerable and open to worse things because you were the only one who mattered, you didn’t see it because you didn’t ever and still don’t see me. You just see yourself.

I hate you right now for the things that you did to me that have had such an effect on who I am as a person, on how I view the world, how I view myself and all the struggles I’ve had until now because of you. I hate that I don’t trust anyone to stay. I hate that I push people away when I need them the most. I hate that I have such a hard time allowing myself to really feel things and then when I do, that it scares me and hurts me so much.  I hate all of the things I’ve missed out on because of you and I hate most of all, that I have to fight the guilt I have in feeling these things.  I hate even using the word “mum” to you because it doesn’t feel right, calling you by your name would feel much more normal.  I hate having to say that I love you back if you ever say it, which is usually said more of a “love ya” in a text, because I don’t mean it at the moment and it feels wrong. I don’t think you mean it either.

I blame you for the fact that I don’t have any proper relationship with my Dad. Because I am sure you hate him so much for moving on with his life and not still being in love with you. I think you hate S because she got what you wanted when you met him, the lovely, normal, stable, family life. Thing is, again, when you got it – you didn’t want it anymore.  So you immensely dislike them both for no good reason other than what I can only think is your own jealousy and bitterness.  It is just a shame that in your own jealousy, you didn’t think about me.  Again, I was just a pawn to hurt him wasn’t I.  You did a good job because here I am now at 28 years old and I don’t have a very good connection with him either. 

Because of you, I sometimes feel an intense loneliness deep in my heart. I am not alone now as an adult, I have my boyfriend and his children but it doesn’t totally remove that feeling at times when the pain comes back, as it does in waves. Sometimes I still feel like a lost little girl with no mummy or daddy and I guess that is because it isn’t really a feeling, but a memory. A real memory. I feel so sad for the little girl that I was who didn’t get what she needed – and what she deserved.

I sometimes hope that you will one day wake up and have some epiphany, you will get help, you will be remorseful and understand and apologise but I know that you will not. Even if you did, I am not sure what it would achieve, not really. It will all be too late by then anyway won’t it, the damage was done a long time ago. Maybe it will give you some inner peace or something, who knows. I feel sad FOR you now. I am not the only one that has missed out.  You also, have missed out on so many things.

Repetition compulsion?

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

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

Repetition compulsion at play again I guess.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diary entry – 9 Feb

Thursday 9th Feb

Today is therapy day again. I like therapy days, they seem to feel different. I can’t entirely work out what the feeling is, but it can change the feel of the day from “ugh, another day” to “oh, its T day, excellent”… isn’t that strange.  ???

I thought I would write a quick entry and I thought I would ask myself, how am I feeling today? Then it struck me, that I find it pretty hard to answer that. I mean, if someone else asked me that, I’d just say I’m fine, thanks, or I’m good! but knowing I am writing in my own journal means I can be a bit more honest and think about the answer more and I realised how strange it is that I can’t answer that quickly. I have no obvious feeling of sadness or anger or anything – so I guess I am happy… although I’m not hyperactive happy like I can sometimes be.. in fact that seems to have been happening less and less frequently lately.

After my big session on Tuesday evening, me and my boyfriend had a pretty brief chat last night about things, I told him that I had cried a lot in my session on Tuesday and he seemed genuinely surprised. He asked why and I said the triangle stuff, realising I had been doing this and not realising, the fear that we weren’t as happy as I thought we were – he got off his chair and came to cuddle me and I burst into tears again – something has REALLY got me with this stuff, hasn’t it!?

He said that we may not be perfect but that we have a relationship that a lot of people would be envious of, I agreed with that but said I was so scared of the things we had done that weren’t “healthy” or whatever.  He went into the kitchen to clean up after dinner and I sat at the table and cried again, quite hard. I could feel that I was only crying half as hard as I could have – that was a weird feeling.  I don’t know a better of way of describing this, but it was like the depth of the tears were (could have been) soooo deep.

My boyfriend promised that he would try to open up to me more about how he feels and I said that I felt like such a * when he admitted that when I ask him what he wants, he panics and doesn’t tell me because he worries about what I will say or think. I said I hate that he thinks I’m that bad and that I felt so guilty for that. He said it wasn’t that he thought I would “kick off” but more that he worried he wouldn’t express himself clearly and then I would jump to conclusions and take it out of context and it would upset me.  I said that was a sign that I wasn’t patient enough and that hopefully it would get easier now we’ve had this conversation and with practice.  He agreed and said he promised to try and open up more and relax about things that he worries about.  I told him that I’m not weak and unable to handle things and he said he knew that.  I said that we had to work on things so that if I was upset by something he told me about how he was feeling, that was MY problem to deal with and not his to own.

Obviously Tuesday night’s session and that conversation are emotionally tough so maybe that’s why I don’t feel hyperactively happy but I don’t feel sad either… I just kinda “am”… maybe its even a good thing not to swing from high to low so much? I don’t know.

Knowing I’ll be back at T’s at 1.30 is a good feeling – I don’t really know what to expect. I guess she will want to talk about my tears the other night and my reaction to this stuff.. I wonder whether there are more tears yet to come or not? I also think she will ask me how I am feeling knowing that I only have 2 sessions before a week’s break – and for the first time I think I am able to admit to her that I am not looking forward to it. I’ve been on a countdown of the date she’s going away since she told me it at our first session back after Christmas.  I guess it unsteadies me because I have become so dependant on my sessions, on her and knowing that even with 2 sessions a week, I still have to reach out to her via email sometimes – I guess there is a panic that I won’t be able to handle stuff without her there.  When she’s on holiday, I NEVER email her. I do plan to be honest about this today if it comes up, but I am embarrassed about admitting it.  There has been so much shame and embarrassment this week hasn’t there?!

Things occupying my mind at the moment are:

  • The triangle stuff/stuff with me and my boyfriend
    My reaction on Tuesday and again last night – the crying and how deep it felt
    The shame I’ve felt this week in particular
    The therapy break coming up
    What my mum said at the weekend about men crying; and
    That dream about the man

Relationship Triangles

I’ve realised that me and my boyfriend are currently playing the roles of “rescuer” and “victim” – then both “persecutor” at times – we are totally following the Karpman’s triangle/relationship triangle to a tee –

It is hugely eye-opening for me that my whole life, all of my relationships, I’ve attracted men that might “look after me” and have automatically fallen into the “victim” role – without realising… then they get fed up with their role, or I do, and it goes wrong and ends – I had no idea.  Recognising that pattern is very insightful but * at the same time.  I feel ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, weak…. Stupid.

I was looking for stuff in my boyfriends that no adult can give me – unconditional love – protection – safety of never being abandoned etc.  I have basically been searching for a mother/father role haven’t I?  In boyfriends?

I need to learn not to try and seek that stuff from boyfriends…. I need to not expect or want my boyfriend to mind-read or fix me when I am down.  I guess I need to deal with my counselling stuff with T and not bring that home – it clearly doesn’t help the dynamic.

Being “looked after” is a parent/child thing – not a relationship thing.  Perhaps that is why the sex life took a tumble…. I mean, who wants to have sex with their child!! Perhaps that also explains the lack of romance and the lack of effort in keeping the “relationship” alive… because the relationship has turned into purely rescuer/victim stuff……. There hasn’t been room for romance? Isn’t that sad? I feel very upset about that.

I feel stupid really because I thought I had finally found a relationship that was entirely different. I thought it was just the men that I was picking that were wrong for me, I hadn’t realised it wasn’t that I was just picking the wrong men – I’ve been entering into this triangle thing every time, even with my boyfriend . I thought boyfriend was the “hero” that came along and made it all better – and that is entirely the problem.

I feel scared that now this has come out into the open that we won’t be able to tolerate it. What if we can’t fix it? What if boyfriend is put off completely and can’t see me any differently after “seeing” it?

I feel ashamed that I’ve done this – that I’ve let this happen. What if I do lose him … is our love strong enough for us to climb out of this triangle together and still be okay? I’ve spent the last 3 years feeling so sure I have finally found “the one”. Someone that I feel safe with, secure with, someone I don’t worry about cheating on me or leaving me – someone that “gets me”, encourages me and supports me. Having someone that understands all that I do in my counselling and can be there for me when I am going through tough times without judgment..  and now I realise we’ve been in these roles, does that mean none of it was real?

He said a while ago, “God, being the rescuer is tiring.  Can I be vulnerable for a while?” and I feel panic all over me that he has admitted he is tired of his role … he was resenting me and I didn’t even know. How blind have I been?

How do we turn this around? I know the fact we’ve been able to identify our roles in this is a great start… but now what happens? How do you change the only dynamic you’ve ever known in each other.. in the relationship… how do I stop that need of mine to be looked after and protected when its clearly been automatic and unconscious desire all this time? My entire life? How do I get that need met elsewhere – or put it to bed… to stop it ruining another relationship. It wouldn’t have mattered who I met if I had that need, I guess………

I assume that I met boyfriend and he was attracted to my vulnerability because it was less threatening to him than his ex wife was… he didn’t feel needed or loved or appreciated by his ex-wife and he met me and I was sending out signals left, right and centre that I needed him and I would be grateful – that was the pull. He sent me signals that he would be caring, stable and give me unconditional love and that was my pull… our roles in the triangle were born there and then. We just had no idea. I remember reading this article a long while ago and being too afraid to show him. I was afraid that if he read it, realised it was true that he would leave. And now he has read it, I feel the same.

I know logically it isn’t just my fault. It is both of our issues that have allowed for it to happen and I know that I am working on myself in counselling so I am doing the best I can do, but I do feel extremely worried and upset right now that maybe now we’ve realised, it can’t ever be hidden again. I can’t bear to think that we might not be “real”.