Questions about the fear of needing

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, particularly since my session Tuesday night and since my last blog, the comments that you lovely lot have been leaving me and today’s thoughts are:

 

Question: If I had a different childhood and therefore a different attachment  (perhaps secure rather than insecure/disorganised) would this be different? Do “normal” children/adults not experience this fear?

I think I know that the answer to that is that no, they don’t… that this fear of mine is uncommon (although clearly not unheard of according to things you guys have said in support) but I think I am just trying to get my head around this properly.

Not to sound like a child “blaming” someone but… so it’s her fault that I feel this way? It’s because she didn’t consistently meet my needs that I learnt to be scared of needing someone to rely on? Is that really right? If so, I feel so sick and angry about that today. How bloody unfair. How cruel.  How can you punish a child and scare them for having needs?

For me to feel scared of relying on someone – particularly someone like T who is clearly there to help me, I have clearly learnt that depending on someone and being vulnerable is potentially risky. Risky how? A risk of rejection or risk of abandonment or punishment I guess… and how would I have learnt that lesson? I assume by being abandoned physically and/or emotionally or by being made to feel rejected or ashamed. I guess my mother’s whole “you are so needy” is an example of that……………….. sorry if this is blatantly obvious to you guys, clearly it is taking me some time to understand this on a deep level.

 

Next question: this desperation of contacting T, of needing her there, of needing her to help me hold my stuff – is this how a child feels towards her parent when she is young or something? Or is this just something that I am personally experiencing with T right now?

I ask that because I am aware of the “re-parenting” that is done in this type of therapy and that T has said to me so many times before that I “need to do with her what I wasn’t able to do as a child”…. Is that what she means?? I wonder if that is why it feels so primal/infantile? Regression that kind of thing?

I am seeking answers today and I’ve woken up feeling unwell. Sick, blocked nose and headache-y. I don’t know if I am feeling sick because of this stuff – if it’s emotional or whether I am just genuinely getting unwell and that’s making me feel shit. Either way… I need to understand this stuff a little more.

too much

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?

 

Thank You T.

Following on from my “Rainbow” post last night, I woke up feeling lifted today. Thinking about T and how grateful I feel to have her alongside this journey.  I had to email her and tell her despite the fact that I will see her tomorrow – it felt like it couldn’t wait (plus also I am hiding behind the email hah!!).

For the purpose of full and frank disclosure as always, here is what I said:

Dear T,

I sent you an email this morning on my way into work but then my phone crashed due to having no memory and it doesn’t appear to have sent so I am sending it again just in case.

When I left you last night, I felt better. Lighter I guess. I played a song called “This Feeling” by Alabama Shakes which I wanted to share with you – it really spoke to me.  On the drive home I saw the most beautiful pink and orange sunset and then a rainbow!! It made me feel strangely emotional and grateful. It felt very symbolic.

Today I feel like I wanted to tell you that I feel really seen, heard and held by you. Something that I have never felt before and how lovely that feeling is.  Feeling that you are really “on my side” is so powerful and I wanted to thank you for that.

The painful feelings are still there, but they are not overwhelming today. I know that I am going to be okay in the end and that is a wonderful feeling to finally have found.”
I am all gushy I know but I meant every single word of it.  How important is this relationship? It’s bloody HUGE isn’t it! There truly is nothing like it.