Reaching Out Or Self-Soothing? 

Would reaching out to T actually help? 

I’m torn. Do I try and handle this by myself and prove to myself. and to T, that I am able to regulate myself and hold it in her absence? Will she be proud of me if I do? 

I want to give her a break – that’s what she needs. It’s why she’s taken time off. 

Yet at the same time I’m thinking that she’s always encouraged me to reach out when I need to and encouraged that I don’t go into self-sufficient mode as I always did as a child. 

I think she would rather help to regulate me than hear later that I struggled with it alone. Wouldn’t she? I don’t know. 

I don’t want to isolate myself through shame. I’m trying to fight that pattern. 

I’m okay. I’m surviving it. Like it’s painful and I’m sad and I was thrown into an emotional flashback for sure, BUT I’ve made sense of it now and I’m allowing the sad feelings to come. I’m allowing myself to cry and listen to the child part talking. I’m not falling apart. 

What could she say that would help? She would probably validate my feelings but I’ve already done that for myself (and so have some kind readers) so I don’t think I need that. 
Then there’s the issue that as I don’t know where she is, she may not read or reply to me for hours and hours and that could potentially throw me into abandonment stuff which I don’t need right now. 

She may even reply kindly but it may set off the feeling it’s “not enough” again and so perhaps I’m safer staying at a distance and handling it myself? 

Letter to T during the break: Day 5

[This is a letter to my T as she is on a break right now. I don’t intend to send this to her although perhaps I will show her/read it to her when she is back. We will see. I’ve written it as a way of feeling some sort of connection with her.]

Hi T!

I have thought of you a bit today, I guess because it’s Tuesday and Tuesday is therapy day, it is “our day”. One of the two days that I get to see you.

But obviously you are on a break at the moment and I won’t be seeing you today so I thought I would write to you instead as a way of feeling as though somehow I’ve had some connection with you.

I hope you are having a nice break whatever you are doing. Are you on holiday or just taking a week off of your busy schedule? It’s so weird that I don’t know what you are doing. I often try to guess but obviously I have absolutely no way to know whether I am right or not. Probably not I imagine.

Where do I think you are now? Hmm…. I think you are at home this week maybe seeing friends and taking your dogs for long walks in the country.  I think this because you have 2 weeks off in September and I think that is when you will go away on holiday – maybe to Portugal or Italy.

I often wonder if I should ask you if you are going away or not, but I don’t know if I would prefer knowing or not knowing and it’s too late once I know isn’t it? Also I feel like I don’t really have the right to ask you… like I’m not really entitled to that information.

Anyway, I’m doing okay at the moment. I feel quite good really, rather relaxed and fairly content. I haven’t felt any real sadness or anger since I last saw you, although I have had some “revelations” over the weekend concerning my Dad thanks to a really helpful chat with [my boyfriend].

I saw my mum on Saturday night. It was the same as usual really… although my Dad was brought up and I fell into my old ways of giving her what she wants – telling her about the holiday, the birthday card and my brother’s texts (this happened Friday). Obviously she totally invalidated my feelings about him and said a few hurtful things along the lines of “aren’t you over this yet?”.  I held my own in the sense that I told her I can’t help how I feel and that I wished I could.

She told me that she cut her Dad out for being useless and has never cared about him since.. I thought of you as she said this and that you wold probably have a field day with that comment!!

She made a few comments aimed at my lack of intelligence – but I managed to prove her wrong which was quite enjoyable. Still, it is impossible to not notice that she does these things now which are obviously unnecessary and hurtful. I now understand that isn’t “normal” and see it isn’t something that you or [my boyfriend’s] parents would do to me. To anyone.

She told me some stories which I think you will find quite shocking about how she can now see dead people…………. No joke. She is apparently taking psychic classes and has a real gift. Apparently my sister got so scared by my mother saying that she sees dead people around the house that she couldn’t get to sleep and had to get my stepdad to check the house and sleep with her bedroom door wide open. My mother found this hugely insulting and that caused an argument between them.  I just pacified her really, there seems little point in anything else so she then invited me to attend the classes with her!! Hahaha. Needless to say, that won’t be happening.

I kept myself safe enough though, I took myself off to bed and left her up chatting to my step-brother’s girlfriend because it was late, I was bored and because the conversation (inevitably) made its way to my sister and how spiteful she is to my mother. She said that when I was around, my sister was nasty to her and how she keeps writing shitty comments on my mother’s Facebook statuses. I listened to her and suggested she blocked my sister so that it prevented them arguing and prevented my mother feeling hurt by my sister’s comments and my sister feeling embarassed of my mother’s facebook antics and then I went to bed. (I don’t think she was very pleased but hey!).

Mother/Father stuff aside, I’ve been enjoying myself by reading some new books and watching some old classics. Over the weekend I watched Wuthering Heights, Sense & Sensibility and Emma and enjoyed them all. Last night I finished a book by Nick Hornby called High Fidelity which was funny and thought-provoking too (an avoidantly attached man trying to stick out a relationship basically). Today I’ve started a new book called Hotel Du Lac which is about a novelist who has escaped on her own to Switzerland after some sort of relationship crisis to restore her senses.. however apparently that isn’t quite what happens. I think perhaps the break is givinig me the mental space to enjoy these things with few therapy-related thougths flying around.

Frank is doing well and me and [my boyfriend] have been having a giggle with him. We have decided that he has a look of confusion about him which amuses us and [my boyfriend] has been calling him “Frannnnn………K” just to annoy me haha! He is lovely to have around and not for soothing me when upset (as yet) but just as a reminder of you really. I think he keeps you more “alive” in my mind.

I think that’s pretty much it for now.. if I were seeing you tonight I would speak to you about the Dad revelation that I had on Sunday but it wouldn’t surprise you because it’s probably what you’ve told me/thought and said a hundred times.  Still, you have to be in the right place to truly hear and believe things I guess. I hope you would be pleased for me though – maybe even proud?

Anyway, I will think of you at our session time tonight. Bye for now X – (ooh I’ve never put a kiss before! Is that allowed?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Given With Love: Transitional Object

Well I feel rather chipper today and it is thanks to T (and Frank).

For those who haven’t read my previous few posts, I had been debating whether to ask my T to buy me a teddy bear for me to use as a transitional object for the break next week (and future breaks I guess).  I was battling with this because I am an adult who “shouldn’t” need a teddy bear, but at the same time, the work we are doing is very painful childhood trauma stuff and so my inner child felt it would be soothing in T’s absence.

In my session last Thursday, I plucked up the courage and said that I had an idea for a transitional object but that it was “a bit out there“.  She said that was fine and so I said “Well… I had an idea that if I gave you the money, you could buy me a teddy?”.  She said yes immediately. I was pretty shocked and weirdly embarrassed or awkward or something and so I started rambling on about how I had back-up ideas if not but that this was my favourite idea.  T agreed instantly and looked completely un-phased. She said “I bet you have been struggling with this all week haven’t you?” and I said yes and laughed (she knows me so well, I love that).  She asked me why she would possibly say no and I explained my thoughts surrounding it being a childish wish and not very age-appropriate.

Anyway, when I got to my session last night, T opened the door and as I looked over to my seat THERE HE WAS!! Sitting there waiting for me. I was SO excited. Like childishly excited. He was so cute and I felt so happy. I made this very obvious and ran to him and cuddled him and thanked her. She was smiling the whole time, she looked like she was enjoying seeing how much I loved him. I felt so warm inside. I told T that I felt “fuzzy inside”.

We chatted about how she had chosen him and how we thought he had a happy face and had character.  I thanked her several times and then she said

“He is given with love”

But what I heard was “give him some love” and so I said “Oh I will I promise!”.  T then said:

“I actually said “He is given with love””

GIVEN WITH LOVE!!!! LOVE!! L.O.V.E

Now obviously I guess everyone may have a different take on what that means, but to me, that means something along the lines of: she really cares for me and she enjoyed getting him for me and enjoyed giving him to me.  That it wasn’t a chore for her. That she took pleasure in it.  Something like that anyway. I hope. The child part of me is secretly hoping it was secret code for “I love you” but the adult me is brushing that away because that is unlikely.

Nothing like over-analysing hey!!

After 5 or so minutes, T asked if I wanted her to hold him for the session to “charge him up“. This is something we have discussed before because T once told me that when she was in therapy, she used to have her T’s scarf and that her T would “charge it up” all session before giving it back to her. Her having told me this has always made me feel like asking for a transitional object was not something to feel embarrassed about.  I knew that she would understand and knowing that she has been there herself really does help.

I will discuss the actual session in a separate blog so staying on the subject of the teddy for now, my session was about to end and T gave me the teddy back. I said that I needed to think of a name for him but that for some weird reason, Frank had come into my head.  T smiled and said

“Well, its “Fran” with a K isn’t it!”

(My T’s name is Fran – I’ve never disclosed that before and I’m unlikely to again, but I couldn’t really explain this without telling you all). We both laughed! I said I hadn’t thought that at all when the name popped into my head and we laughed at how clever the unconscious is. My brain clearly had. And so, this is how Frank came to be.

When I left, I sat Frank in the passenger seat of my car and put the seatbelt around him, I took a few photos of him to send to T once I had got home which I did. I thanked her again and she replied to say:

“I hope you are able to enjoy Frank and he is able to help soothe and steady you when needed. Sleep well Twink. See you on Thursday. Kind Wishes”

My heart was (is) warmed. There truly is something about her having chosen him, that she has got him for ME and only me. That she thought about me when she purchased him (being held in mind I guess).  I know that I asked for him and so it wasn’t a surprise, but I love him and what he represents. It’s hard to explain. I was fully intending to give her the money for him but she said she didn’t want the money and that she felt it was important she didn’t take it from me.  So that makes him even more special.

I think perhaps because of the maternal transference I have, it is almost as though I am getting something fulfilled – that “mum” has chosen me something and that it will be special to me because of that.

I cuddled him several times last night and I “introduced” him to my boyfriend who has been really cool about the whole thing and hasn’t shamed me at all.  I feel like a little bit of my T is in my house with me now and I really hope that he helps in the break next week.

Teddy 

Yay, I’m getting a teddy! And not just any teddy, my T has agreed to buy me one to use as a transitional object for the break (this time next week is my last session for a week). 

I can’t wait to meet him/her. 

I’m so excited!! 

Oh I mean, my inner child is excited. Obviously adult me isn’t at all bothered…. 😂

I’ve Fallen In Love With My Therapist: Transference in Therapy

Transference. A particular case of projection, used to describe the unconscious, emotional bond that arises in the analysand toward the analyst. (See also countertransference.)

Transference is a phenomenon characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. One definition of transference is “the inappropriate repetition in the present of a relationship that was important in a person’s childhood”.

As you may have seen from some of my recent blogs my therapy appears to have really taken off! Therapy feels entirely different from what it used to be, it is harder but at the same time, much more fruitful.  The transference seems to have really kicked in.

I told T on Tuesday that I felt feelings for her that were similar to feelings I have had in the past when falling in love. I also admitted to her that I had become preoccupied with thoughts of her.  This had freaked me out A LOT because I am a heterosexual female who is not, and has never been, attracted to other females – and also (and perhaps more confusingly) I see my T as the perfect fantasy mother and not as a love interest.

Talking to T about this was difficult and embarrassing as you can probably imagine but I am really glad I did because she has really helped to normalise this for me and in turn, I have stopped panicking.

You may have heard of erotic transference. I had, in fact my T had warned me that she thought my therapy may well be headed that way! I shrugged this off and didn’t believe her because it seemed utterly ridiculous and to be honest, petrifying! I didn’t want to have any kind of sexual attraction to my perfect fantasy mother. That would be weird, right?!

Well… it turns out it actually isn’t that weird and despite what us adults think, it isn’t actually a sexual attraction as we know it at all.

What I have learnt is that during the psychotherapy process at some stage once the trust has been gradually earned and you begin to feel attached to your therapist, you start to feel special.  For me this has taken nearly 3 years but it felt as though it has all hit me at once.

All of a sudden, I felt very aware of and in touch with my inner child – the less logical part of me, the more childish, feeling-based part of me and I began to listen to what she was saying.  This enabled me to write my blog “the fairytale ending” which I then subsequently took to T and read to her (through my tears).  I had suddenly got in touch with some previously stored away pain, grief and sadness.  It became abundantly clear what it was that I have been searching for all of my life (a mother) and that I had some very deep, unmet needs from childhood.

T was so wonderful about all of this and she made me feel truly heard. I feel that she understands me (sometimes better than I understand myself) – I feel seen and cared for.  She does not humiliate me in my needs which I am used to.  She stays strong and sits with me through my pain and because of all of this, the bond and attachment I feel has increased.

So I have now idealised my T. She has become the all-powerful, all-knowledgeable, can’t-do-anything-wrong, on a pedestal therapist whom clearly holds all of the power to my future happiness and I want more of that! Who wouldn’t? Seriously for me, this feeling is intoxicating and it feels like love.

Cue absolute terror!! agggghhh I’ve fallen in love with my therapist! (Please note that for me, this has not become sexualised [yet?] but for lots of people, it does).

Now that I have taken some time to talk to T about this and have read nearly everything online, what I have come to understand is that it is in fact about desire – the hope that all of your prayers have been answered by this wonder-woman and it’s about transference. Having T in my life means that I finally have the chance to win the “perfect” love of a mother substitute!

Erotic love is based on very infantile wishes and needs – going back to the beginning a baby needs its primary caregiver (in my case, my mother) for survival. Literally.  The baby needs to feel loved, seen, understood.  It needs to be held, fed, changed and if some of those basic needs were not met, you will have a metaphoric hole in your life and that is probably what has brought you into therapy in the first place. The need to “fill” that hole has probably not ended well.  For me this played out in all of my relationships where I was extremely anxious, became almost obsessed with my love interest (secretly), never felt at ease and got extremely jealous and insecure.  Needless to say, “love” wasn’t fun and it certainly wasn’t easy. I think the jealousy I usually feel in my relationships with men are going to play out in therapy as jealousy towards T’s children.. I can see that happening.

In therapy I will basically redo any of the developmental stages that were not sufficiently completed as a child, but with my therapist instead of my mother.  The aim is that she will be a secure base – something I didn’t have growing up, that she will help me to redo these stages how they should have been done therefore enabling me to move on to the next stage and the stage after that and so on until I have “grown up”.  I am probably in stage 1, right back to being a baby and the “love” and fixation that I am feeling towards my T is normal for the development stage (i.e. this is how a baby would feel towards its main caregiver). The mother fixation.

mother fixation

Etymology: AS, modor, mother; L, figere, to fasten an arrest in psychosexual development characterized by an abnormally persistent, close, and often paralyzing emotional attachment to one’s mother. Compare father fixation. See also freudian fixation.

I have also learnt that the feelings I am having of wanting more of T, wanting her to myself and not only being able to see her in my set therapy hours, because I pay her, wanting to know more about her private life, wishing she didn’t have a husband or children (aghh) – is part of the learning curve that children go through when they go through that annoying “mine!” phase. I will learn to share my T – in due course.  Lets not get ahead of ourselves ;o)

During this process I will be taught that it isn’t T that I “love” but the feeling of genuine acceptance and unconditional positive regard that has been missing all of my life. This will enable me to understand where I go wrong in relationships (for me, picking avoidantly attached men, due to repetition compulsion and mistaking an activated attachment system for passion) and why, it will enable me to identify my defence mechanisms and have healthier relationships in the future having resolved all of my unfinished business.

“it is my proposition that the emergence of the erotic transference signifies the patient’s deepest wish for growth. Like those in love, patients wish to be known and understood, to change what they do not like about themselves, to alter what makes them unlovable. Through the erotic, light is shone on the deepest recesses of the psyche” (Mann, 2008, p. 9)

So, if you find yourself caught up in an erotic transference, a wish your therapist was your parent, fixated on them, Googling them and becoming distraught at the findings (yep, I did this) then don’t worry, it is just evidence that your therapy is on course and you are exactly where you need to be.

TT x

love

 

Confessing to T: Telling my therapist that I had Googled her (amongst other things!)

I survived! I went to my session last night and I live to tell the tale! Thank God.

As the day went on yesterday and it got closer to my session time, I got more and more nervous. I arrived about ten minutes before and sat in the car. I felt sick. My heart was beating very fast and I genuinely felt so scared.

T opened the door as usual and as soon as I saw her and realised there really was no backing out now, I had arrived, my nerves got worse, by this stage I was a bit of a mess.  I grabbed a cushion and cuddled it into my lap.  I hadn’t really made any eye-contact at this point. To me the air felt charged with my fear, I wasn’t sure if T had noticed anything or not though.  T said “are you scared?”.

I was relieved that she had noticed because I was fearing that she would just be cheery and ask how I was which would make me having to tell her everything ten times worse.  I replied and said “can you tell?”.  T seemed concerned and asked me why I was scared.  I told her that a lot had happened that I needed to tell her and that I was feeling scared and nervous about telling her.  She told me to take my time and said that she wouldn’t punish me for anything. I let off a “ha” in a sarcastic kinda “wait and see” way.

I couldn’t believe how hard it was to tell her. My voice went, I cried within seconds, I couldn’t look at her, in short it truly wasn’t easy.  BUT, eventually I did manage to tell her everything. Including the Googling.

Her email on Friday
I started by telling her that for some reason her email reply to me on Friday morning just hadn’t had any effect on me. I told her that I felt bad for saying that because there was nothing she hadn’t said that I wished she had, but that it just hadn’t touched me.  I told her that I had shown my boyfriend who had thought it was a really lovely email and so that made me feel like I was being stupid. T told me not to do that to myself.  T said that her email obviously wasn’t enough and that it was okay. She said sometimes an email just isn’t enough of a connection and clearly in that situation, I needed more.  I agreed.

The car memories
I then told her about the memories I had of her and how they had made me happy, she smiled.  I said that unfortunately those memories triggered me to remember my mother’s reaction.  T then quoted my mother’s cruel words.  There was something that felt nice about the fact that she had remembered; that my stuff stayed with her and wasn’t forgotten.  I said that the contrast was painful and that I had nearly cried in the street, so I rushed home.

My Googling
Then I told her about my detective skills… LOL. I had barely explained what I did but as soon as I said I had typed her name into Google she said “of course you did!” she seemed totally un-phased by this which gave me instant relief. I cried again I think out of embarrassment.  We discussed what I had seen and how it had made me feel. I told her I had found her on this site which listed her name, address and names of the others who lived with her.  She nodded and said “did it say I had a husband”? I told her that it didn’t expressly say that, but it had a man’s name and his age and so I had put two and two together.  She said how hard that must have been for me because of my mother – we have previously discussed how hard it is for me when there are “others” around and how I feel I vanish (can’t be held in mind) and that it all stems from my mother’s preoccupation with her boyfriends.  I told her that yes, it had upset me.  She asked what else I found out and I said it had listed two girls’ names and their ages and so I gathered she had two daughters.

T really seemed to understand how this had all felt for me and she didn’t seem at all angry, dissapointed or shocked. I cried as I told her that I had felt so guilty and ashamed of myself and how I felt I had totally violated her privacy – that if she had wanted me to know these things, she would have told me herself! She reassured me that I had nothing to feel guilty about and that what I had done was not bad. That she absolutely wasn’t angry and was not going to punish me.

I told her that as she didn’t wear a wedding ring (but also because of my wishful thinking) I had told myself previously that she wasn’t married.  T said that she didn’t wear rings generally and I said I had wondered if it was just to keep a “blank screen” or whatever.  She then told me that she wasn’t in fact married…………….. hold the phone!! Sorry, what now??

She told me that she had been married years ago, that they were still friends but that he did not live there and hadn’t done for many years.  She told me this was an example of why I shouldn’t worry or read too much into things I see on the internet – because it was inaccurate and out of date.

I feel awful admitting this but I was so happy about this! I know that sounds very nasty and childish, but I understand my reasons for this and so I am not beating myself up over it. Obviously that doesn’t mean she doesn’t live with someone now, but I didn’t want or need to ask.

T said that she would tell me these things as they had come up because of my Googling but that she doesn’t tell me things about her because she is trying to protect me and not, as I think, because she doesn’t care about me or want to share anything.  She also said that I knew more about her than I thought I did.  I smiled. She said “just last session I told you lots of things about my animals and other things” and I smiled and said that I had noticed that she had and wondered if she had done that on purpose because the session before (where I read her my rescue fantasy blog) I had said I felt I didn’t know anything. She said she hadn’t done it on purpose, but that perhaps I was just more aware now than I used to be.

She mentioned something about Google again and said “I don’t care whether you found the names of my children and typed them into social media!” [OMG THE WOMAN IS PSYCHIC LOL!!] I just listened but acted as though I hadn’t – come on, I had been soooo honest until this point, let me off?? 😉

I told her that the reason I put her name into Google was initially to find a photo and so she said if I needed a photo, that I could have one. She said I could take one there and then and I cringed and said no, that was too weird. 

Boundaries
We spoke about boundaries. T said that I am constantly putting in my own rules and then worrying that if I break them I will be punished.  I told her that I knew this and had been thinking about it. I said that I really just needed some boundaries so that I could relax a little more because at the moment, I was constantly fearful of overstepping them.

T said that she thought I confused rules and boundaries and said “you think that a boundary is a rule that if broken, results in punishment”.  I nodded and said yes I did.  She told me that was incorrect and that there was a difference between the two. She said that my mother had put in a hell of a lot of rules and regulations and therefore a lot of punishment, but that boundaries in therapy were not rules and that she knows I would like a long list of rules and regulations (I laughed and nodded), but that she absolutely wouldn’t do that.  She told me that part of the process was for us to find things out as we went and discuss what is working and what isn’t – that there wouldn’t be punishment at all.  She said that it was me that decided how my therapy went and that she was simply there to make sure I was safe and to guide me. I laughed at the thought of this and said something sarcastic.

I told T that if it were completely up to me how much I contacted her, I might end up emailing twice a week or could end up texting her every single day!! To my surprise she said, and that would be okay, we would talk about that. She said that the only problem with texting her every day would be that I would be up against “life” and that she wouldn’t always be able to respond quickly and that it might hurt me.  She didn’t say I couldn’t though which shocked me. I told her that my biggest fear was becoming too much for her. I said I didn’t want to become a chore to her – I didn’t want to exhaust her and I didn’t want her to roll her eyes with frustration whenever my name popped up.  She assured me I wasn’t a chore at all and that she didn’t feel like that.  She said that she didn’t work too much, that she took breaks and looked after herself.  She said that there was “room” there for me and that I was wanted.  She told me she enjoyed working with me. I cried again.  She questioned whether I believed her or not and I said no. I said “it isn’t that I think you are lying, just it doesn’t seem real – like I want to believe it, but it just doesn’t seem possible”.

We spoke some more about contact and she said that sometimes my psyche may “distort” what she has said to enable me to get in touch with my anger or sadness or any number of things. She said that I will use her and therapy in whichever way I need to in order to do what I need to do.  I smiled and said that I had wondered whether sometimes when I’ve emailed her lengthy emails and her response hasn’t “done the job” that it wasn’t a response to that subject that I needed, but just contact.  She reminded me that she has said to me before that it is perfectly okay for me to text or email her just to check-in, just to ask her “are you there” . I told her that she had said this to me back in April when she was going on a break and that it had annoyed me then because it just made no sense to me. Why would I want to check she was “there” when I didn’t even know where “there” was?? She asked if it made more sense to me now and I said yes, it did. It felt less scary to just ask for some connection.

Falling in Love/Fixation
I spoke to her about how I had been listening to a song and was thinking of her – she asked what the song was and I cringily told her it was called “unchanging love”. I said that I felt like a huge creep but that I associated it with her. She told me not to call myself names again. I said that I was confused by this because children don’t think about their mothers in songs like this and replay them over and over.  She said that children didn’t need to do that exactly but that there are completely preoccupied with their mother when young. She said that our first love affair in life should be with our mothers, but that I hadn’t been allowed the chance to do that because my mother was always pushing me away and that is why this was all so painful. She said that she had to become my mother and that I needed to be able to do all of these things in order to heal. I cried again…

I said that I knew it sounded weird, but that it felt like falling in love. She very quickly said “yes, it completely does!” and I was once again totally relieved because I had been so scared she would think I was weird.  I said that I could liken it to the way I have felt about boys in the past.  T asked if this scared me because I was having feelings about her that would normally be towards men? I said yes. I was so glad she was following! I told her that the fixation of her over the weekend, the song playing, the google searching – the present buying (will get to that), it all made me feel as though I was going crazy. She told me I absolutely wasn’t going crazy but she knew that is how it felt. She told me I was doing exactly what I needed to, that there was nothing wrong with any of these feelings. She asked if I could perhaps try to enjoy it? I told her I couldn’t get any enjoyment from it, because it was too scary.  I told her that I understood erotic transference and had read a lot about it, but that wasn’t what was happening because there was no sexual thoughts at all. T said that it was okay if there were and that maybe that will happen, maybe it wouldn’t but regardless it was all okay and none of it would cause any punishment or ruin our connection.

Hold On Tight
T said that I needed to hold on tight for a while because it had all really started to move (I assume she meant my therapy, the transference, the replay of things etc).  She asked me whether I understood why I felt so fixated on her or on boys in the past and I said I thought I did, that it was attachment based.  She said yes, you were/are desperately seeking what you didn’t get when you were a baby. I said that explains why I become so nervous and preoccupied – because i want to cling on with every bit of me so it doesn’t slip away.. again.  She smiled in a really caring way. I told T that this all felt a bit cruel, having to feel these things because if I have been through it once then why do I have to go through it twice? She told me that when these things happened when I was a baby/child, I didn’t go through it exactly because I couldn’t and so it was all put away – now I am dealing with it.

The Gift
I told her about my struggle on Sunday with buying her a gift. She asked if I had it with me and I told her that I did but that I was scared because I didn’t know if she was allowed/would accept the gift and I was worried the rejection would cause me even more pain. T said we could talk about gifts and that the only problem with gifts was that she didn’t want me spending lots of money on her. I told her the gift only cost £4! She said that was okay. She told me that I really needed to understand and hear her when she says this, that I do not need to buy her anything. That I already pay for my sessions and that is enough.  I told her I was frightened she would think I was trying to “buy her love” and that I absolutely wasn’t, I just saw it and thought of her and wanted to get it for her.

I gave her the book and she seemed pleased. She smiled instantly and said how lovely it was. She thanked me.  She said that she could understand it was a nice way to connect. I told her that it worked two ways because obviously it was nice for me to think of her and get it for her, but that equally I knew that when she looked at it, she would think of me and I liked that too. She said she most definitely would. Big grin as I type this.

Recap
We re-capped a bit on all of the above and I said to T that only last week she had told me that although I thought I wanted to know more about her, that I wouldn’t be able to handle it.. she laughed and said “the psyche really is a bitch!!!” and we both laughed a lot.  She said that perhaps I needed to test it out or check.  She said that I may have ideas and if she doesn’t think it is a good idea that she will say something like “I’m not sure that is wise” or something along those lines, but that regardless, I will probably go ahead and do it anyway and we will deal with it.  She said it is just like a child, that I have to test the boundaries to find out.  She reiterated again, boundaries are not rules – that there would be no punishment but I will find the boundaries because of the pain I may experience (like the Googling).

T asked whether perhaps there was a part of me that wanted her to punish me for these things? I said that there wasn’t consciously, no… but that I guess perhaps I would have felt I had been proved right if she had.  T nodded.  I said that I would have been hugely dissapointed if she had of punished me, obviously.

I then said that in the shower this morning, I had realised that I hadn’t; thought about my mother for a long while. I don’t know how long it has actually been, but it felt like weeks and weeks.  T said that was what I needed to do. I said I felt as though I was cheating on her, that I had replaced her with T because T was nicer to me.  She said to trust in my process. I said that it did’t seem normal for someone to not think about their own mother for such a long period of time and that I wondered if that is how it was for my mother about me.  T said she thought that my mother thought of me, just in dysfunctional ways – for her own needs.  I agreed.

She asked me how I felt now that I had told her all of this and I told her that I felt huge relief. That I felt a weight off.  T told me that she really hoped I could get some rest now and some sleep.  She said it was important for me to rest in the quieter times because I will need that energy for these tougher times. I agreed and said it was all so shit.  She agreed it was.

Just as my session time ended, she reminded me that we only have next week before her break (like I had forgotten!!).  I said that the timing couldn’t be worse and she said that my psyche might actually be getting this out of the way before the break, whilst it was safer. I said I hoped so but that I was dreading this break more than ever.  T said perhaps next session we could discuss ways to get me through and I said that I had hoped we could because I had some ideas.

Transitional Object
On that note, I wonder what people think of these ideas.  I had thought of suggesting that if I gave T some money, she buy me a teddy. One that I could sit on my bed and see every day that would remind me of her.  I like the thought of this but feel the critical part of me saying I am too old… the other idea I had, was to take my teddy in (that I’ve had since I was about 8) and then perhaps I would associate it with her a bit? I also thought that something handwritten would be nice, some sort of card or note but I don’t think that would work as well.  She has offered me a rock/stone out of a collection in the therapy room, but that just doesn’t do it for me for some reason.

Summary
To sum all of that up (sorry it is long!!), it is 1.30pm the following day and I feel totally happy. I feel that I have been understood, soothed, held, seen, heard – everything you could possibly want really. The relief is huge and I love her even more now.. and so to celebrate… I treated my inner child to a……….

HAMSTER!!!!!!! PAHAHAHAH. Yep, I drove to the pet shop this morning and I have come home with a new furry little friend. I am so excited about him I feel about 10 years old.  I decided that my little Twink deserved it.

Let’s hope I don’t get into the habit of buying a pet every time there is a “rupture and repair”!!

TT x

 

 

 

 

 

Activated Attachment System

It’s Tuesday. The day I’ve been wishing would hurry up and get here so that I can see T and speak about everything that has been driving me insane since Friday, but guess what? I am fighting against the fact that I don’t want to go.

This is so typical for me, this is what I do when she’s been on a therapy break and I’ve spent a week or two counting down the days until I can reconnect with her, only to arrive at that day and …. Nope, I don’t wanna go. I guess this is the push and pull of my anxious attachment. Come here – go away.. Jeez it is exhausting.

 

Attached

I read a book a couple of years ago Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love” by Rachel Heller and Amir Levine and I am re-reading it now, now that I am further into my therapy journey and now that I have more insight on myself and why I do things. I seriously recommend that anyone who struggles with attachment related injuries gives it a read, it is wonderfully validating and very helpful.

I keep trying to visualise tonight’s session. What will I say to T when she asks me how I am? Sometimes I start to play out a possible dialogue and other times I tell myself not to plan it, to just turn up and see what happens. I am nervous. So I’ve been doing what I usually do, reading as much as I can on the internet and in books to kinda diagnose myself. It’s like I want to be able to take the information to T almost so I can say “I did and felt this… but it’s okay, because I read in this book that it’s because……” which I know is completely ridiculous because she is a highly educated, talented, skilled therapist and she doesn’t need me to take her snippets from Google! Still, perhaps I have a fear that she will punish me and I am trying to protect myself by doing this.

On that note, I think I have figured out what sent me spiralling and as usual, it is all about my attachment style. Taking some quotes from the book, and a website, here is what I’ve learnt:

“The attachment system is the mechanism in our brain responsible for tracking and monitoring the safety and availability of our attachment figures. If you have an anxious attachment style, you possess a unique ability to sense when your relationship is threatened. Even a slight hit that something may be wrong will activate your attachment system and once it is activated, you are unable to calm down until you get a clear indication from your partner that he or she truly is there for you and that the relationship is safe”. 

“Once activated, they are often consumed with thoughts that have a single purpose: re-establish closeness with their partner. “activating strategies”.”

“Activating strategies are any thoughts or feelings that compel you to get close, physically or emotionally, to your partner. Once he or she responds to you in a way that re-establishes security, you can revert back to your calm, normal self.”

[Next section taken from: http://the-love-compass.com/2014/02/22/understanding-the-needs-of-the-anxiouspreoccupied-attachment-style/]

“Protest behaviour

A protest behaviour is any action that tries to reestablish connection with the partner and get their attention. If we can reassure our partner’s needs before they engage in protest behaviour, then they can be calmed very quickly. If things continue to escalate and needs continue to go unmet, protest behaviour ensues and can harm the relationship. Protest behaviour includes:

Excessive attempts to reestablish contact: Excessive texting, calling, messaging etc.

  • Withdrawing: Ignoring, not taking calls, etc.
  • Keeping score: Waiting to see how long it takes for them to call you back and waiting the same amount of time before returning their call, waiting for them to apologize, etc.
  • Acting hostile: Eye rolling, walking away, leaving room
  • Threatening to leave: Making comments that you can’t do this anymore and that your better off without the person in hopes that they will convince you to stay
  • Manipulations: Saying you have plans when you don’t, not answering calls, playing games
  • Making him/her feel jealous: Making plans with an ex, talking about your attractive coworker, texting friends of the opposite sex, etc.
  • Protest behaviour can manifest itself in anything that jolts the other person to notice and respond to you. It can cause harm to the relationship.

Longing for someone who is no longer available – biological and emotional make up is programmed to try and win them back. The process of attachment follows its own course and schedule. This means you will continue to think about the other person and will be unable to push them out of your mind for a very long time.”

 

Using this to help me 

So I think that I understand what happened for me:

  1. Something activated my attachment system. I think this was my reading into the comment that T made about how she had hoped I wouldn’t need to be in therapy for long. As previously explained, I had read into this that I was much harder work than my T ever anticipated and that basically, she probably wished she had never taken me on.
  2. I emailed T to re-establish contact… but unfortunately for some reason, her response wasn’t enough to settle me and so I then….
  3. Engaged in protest behaviour – however the chosen method was internet stalking. I guess this felt like the safest option because she didn’t have to “know” about it.
  4. Unfortunately said internet stalking resulted in me feeling even worse upon finding out she is married and has two daughters close to my age which just fuelled my insecurity.
  5. I then became fixated/obsessed with T due to “longing for someone who is no longer available” – this explains why I was unable to push her out of my mind.

I guess the purchasing of the book for T was all part of this longing – it was a way of establishing connection and closeness .

 

Tonight

I know I should probably relax a bit more and not spend so much time analysing the crap out of myself and my behaviour and thoughts, but it has actually benefited me figure this out. I feel much more able to take it to T tonight and discuss it with her now that I understand the bigger picture.

 

 

 

 

 

Obsession, Chickens & Dream therapy

Okay, I am struggling. Really, really struggling.

I don’t know what has happened but since Friday evening when I wrote about walking home, playing the song that reminds me of T, thinking of those lovely memories with her and then the awful internet stalking binge that I went on (still not over that!) I have become obsessed.

I don’t want to use the word “obsessed” because it has very negative connotations and conjures up an image of some mad stalker or something. But for the sake of being bluntly honest, that is probably the most accurate word.

I just cannot stop thinking about T; and I am talking like 24/7 completely and utterly consumed by her. I can’t even give an example of the types of thoughts I am having, I can’t consciously grab hold of one long enough to examine, but she is just “there” if that makes any sense?

Unfortunately the fact that she is so “there” has resulted in everyone else no longer being “there” at all. I feel awful writing this, but I can’t even connect properly with my boyfriend. It is as though I just can’t see and feel him at the moment. Like there isn’t room for them both.  I feel so guilty that I feel this way that I just spent the last ten minutes crying in the toilet partly for that reason.

He is so happy today because we’ve just been to a garden centre and he’s brought some new plants. He is a keen gardener these days and it has given him that lift that I get when I’ve been on a successful shopping trip. Yet here I am, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon sitting in bed writing this in the hope that my headache goes, that I make some sense of all these thoughts in my head and that my mood lifts, for his sake as much as mine. I don’t want him to feel rejected.

It feels similar to cheating. Being totally consumed in thoughts about another person and your partner having no idea. The confusion and the guilt – it is very similar to that.

I have spent hours on the internet reading about transference and trying to make some sense of what is going on. It isn’t erotic transference because I only see her in a motherly way, there is nothing sexual about any of it – yet the feeling is similar to falling in love. All encompassing love.

***

Chickens

I found a book at the garden centre on chickens. I was drawn to the book and picked it up admiring the beautiful chickens and their lovely colours and patterns. The reason? My T (of course) because she keeps chickens.  It is one of the few things I know about her.

I thought to myself that I would buy her the book, she would like that and i would like that too and then the voice in my head told me not to be so stupid, that I wasn’t allowed to buy T things, that she would ask me why I had, perhaps even reject the gift and that I would feel ashamed and rejected. The pain of that thought alone was intense and physically hurt my chest. I felt as though I could cry right there and then and so I put the book down and walked away.

I thought to myself that it just isn’t fair that I can’t do these things. That I can’t have T as my mother figure and that I have to keep to a more professional and boundaried relationship with her. I wanted to be able to do these things and it feels so bloody unfair that I can’t. Writing that sentence has brought the tears back up. Wow it is strong.

I am aware that words like “isn’t fair” are rather childish so perhaps I am regressed. Perhaps it is the child part that is feeling the perceived rejection and unfairness.

Anyway, I then fought against all of this and decided to buy the book. I thought I could decide later if I gave it to her or not. Perhaps I would keep it for myself and it would remind of me of T, or perhaps I would decided to give it to her. So I now have a book about chickens sitting on my dining table downstairs that may, or may not, make its way to T.

***

Falling in “Love”

I started thinking about similarities in the way I think, feel and behave at the start of relationships and compared it to the way I’ve been feeling about T.  There are some definite similarities:-

  1. I become totally preoccupied by that person;
  2. I buy them gifts;
  3. I think of them in songs and play those songs on repeat;
  4. I see things everywhere that remind me of them;
  5. I go off whoever else is around me – perhaps a current partner;
  6. I want and need more.. more, more, more;
  7. My mood changes when I am with that person;
  8. I cry when that person leaves me physically or I have to leave them;
  9. I try and play it cool and fight against all of these things because I know that other people don’t tend to feel this way and because I don’t want to show my “true colours” and scare the new love interest away; and
  10. Later down the line, I constantly ask if everything is okay, if I’ve upset the other person and struggle with insecurity and jealousy to a hugely embarrassing extent.  Funnily enough, insecurity is what made me contact a therapist in the first place. I had no idea (consciously) abut anything else.

Wow, I know, this really does show my issues doesn’t it? LOL. I think this is what they call a preoccupied attachment.

Okay, so what I understand so far is that I am currently preoccupied by my T, that I am repeating old behaviours and that the reason for this is down to my anxious/preoccupied attachment style which in turn, was caused by my experiences as a baby with my caregiver.

That has helped actually… writing all of this has really helped me to understand what is going on and has made it far less scary. I can actually feel my mood lifting.

The good thing about all of this is that I am in therapy now, that all of these behaviours and thoughts are “under the microscope” so to speak and will be examined thoroughly.

Hopefully one day, this will no longer be my pattern.

***

Last night’s dream

Here are some notes I wrote this morning about a dream I had last night (about T, obviously).

In session with T and was feeling a bit weird. A mixture of anger and upset. I wasn’t sure how I was feeling, but I wanted T to know what was wrong without me having to tell her. T didn’t seem to notice anything was wrong.  I got that familiar feeling that I had been talking too much again and so instantly stopped talking and just listened to her, although I was more listening to my internal dialogue. 

I asked T why I was suddenly finding therapy so hard (I was hoping that she would push this and guess what I was trying to say to her – which was that I am suddenly thinking about her a lot and that I am preoccupied with her.  I wanted to tell her about my Googling and admit how bad I feel.  I wanted her to make it all okay and to rid myself of the shame and guilt and for her to still be there and not leave or go mad).

The session ended and I got up to go, T opened the door at the front of the room (there isn’t one in real life) which was odd. I was surprised. T quickly left the room in a way that told me to stay where I was – I assumed her daughter was there.  She came back and apologised and we left the room together and I got into my car. 

I realised I had sat in the back of my car and that I needed to get into the front seat and drive it  I didn’t want to and didn’t feel capable of driving because I was feeling so confused and regressed and angry and upset.  Nothing was clear. 

But then I saw it!!! There was an envelope on my steering wheel! With my name on the front.  It said “To Twinkletoes, with love from Poland”.  The card was half of a ripped up xmas card, it said something in about how I would like a cook book which had a weird name, something like “blonde bee cookery” and I thought to myself that perhaps her daughter had it and she had thought I might like it.  I wondered why she was giving me this card that she wrote in Poland at Xmas now, in the summer.  Perhaps she forgot she had it.  I was thrilled she had thought of me on her holiday and that I had something like this to keep because only that day I had thought how I would like an transitional object in the form of something handwritten (this was true in waking life too). 

I started to drive home but couldn’t see properly. I felt I would crash. I took my glasses off to see if that helped and then realised my headlights weren’t on, so I put them on. I didn’t feel able to drive and had such a huge sense that I needed someone to tell me it was okay, to let me stop the car and get into the back, to give me a huge cuddle and let me cry it all out and for me to not have to keep acting as though I was capable. 

My thoughts on this dream are that firstly, it is extremely close to real life events. Me wishing T would know things without me having to tell her – particularly about the more embarrassing things such as this transference and the Google stalking…  me sitting in the back of my own car instead of the driver’s seat I take to be symbolic of the fact I need to “drive my own therapy” and not sit in the back.  The card is possibly a mixture of the fact i want to ask her for something handwritten to keep in breaks and a wish that she would buy me a card or gift so that I knew she had thought of me – without me asking of course. The wish in the dream that I would tell her everything and she would not leave or punish me is clearly true in real life too.  It is almost as if I had a session with her in my head because I am struggling so much in waking life.  The part about not being able to drive and not feeling capable, of wanting her (or someone) to take over and let me collapse is probably a real wish at the moment. Not wanting to have to put on a front of being strong and able when I am not feeling it.

***

Where are you now?

That is a question that T would ask me at the end of a hard session.  Where am I now? I feel a lot better having written all of this out. It has made some space in my brain which was feeling too full up.

I understand that I am repeating behaviours and I guess that is probably pretty useful (although embarrassing) to my therapy and will hopefully be something I can use to learn from.  I just need to be able to tolerate these uncomfortable feelings (something I struggle with).

Now all I need to do is get the guts to speak to T about it and decide whether to give her the book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What have I done? 

Sorry for the overload of posts from me today but I am feeling rather desperate as I write this one.

I was walking home tonight playing that new song I found earlier in the week which makes me think of my T.  I was smiling to myself, listening to the words very carefully.  I thought to myself how weird the client/therapist relationship is because I think about T so much lately.  So much that I’ve related this wonderful song to her and I highly doubt that people do that for their mothers (which is how I think I view her).

This made me think, could the way I feel about T right now be similar to that of falling in love? You know that initial honeymoon phase where you are elated and excited and they are just wonderful.  Where you can’t see anything you don’t want to see.  When you want to be wtih them all of the time and you are totally preocupied by them.  I know I’ve been guilty in the past of being so hopelessly in love (so I thought) that I’ve managed to relate all sorts of mushy music to the way I was feeling about the boy .  Yes uber cringe, I know. And I am now doing the same with T.

I was thinking about some of the words in the song which were “Once I was younger, now I am older” and I thought that this will be how I feel when I’ve finished my therapy in that I will have emotionally developed and grown – aged in that way (as well as aged in years obviously).

Somehow this thought conjured up an image in my head of the day I passed my driving test and how excited I was to tell her.  That image was quickly replaced by another, which was T coming out of her office to look at the car I had brought. My first car.  I had never seen T outside of that room so it felt a bit awkward, but good too.  Thinking of this event now seemed so lovely, particularly when I then remembered the contrast between the way T responded and the way my mother responded. My mother “joked” that I had only passed my driving test because the instructor knew I worked in the City and so wouldn’t be on the road much.  She also said that my car was a heap and turned her nose up at it.  [It is a heap, but it is MY heap and that hurt].

As I had these thoughts and images and as the song played, I felt a lump in my throat. I didn’t cry, but I could have done very easily.  I already knew how much I thought of her, but all of a sudden she was just vital to my existence in a bit of an excessive way.  I don’t want to use the word obsession, but I’m so preoccupied by her.

What a lovely story … yeah.. until this.

So I did what any nutcase would do. I went home, sat on the toilet for a wee and decided to Google her.

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????????????????

I Googled her and I found her on the BACP page – I found her full name (which I had pretty much guessed anyway) and her address, which I already knew because her office is attached to her house.  No harm done.

I then decided to click on the address which then told me who else lived there….. the names of a man (wahhh!!) and 2 girls – clearly her daughters (*sobs*).

My heart dropped when I saw that and I don’t know why because I already assumed she had 2 daughters.  I guess there is a difference between thinking something and knowing it. The tiny shred of hope – gone.

My crazy time wasn’t up. I then went onto Facebook to look for her and for both of the girls. I found pages for them all instantly. I even had mutual friends with one of them which tells me we’re very possibly the same age.  My T had commented on one of the girl’s profile photos and that made me feel shit. The comment said the photo was lovely and natural and had two kisses. I’ve never had kisses on her emails – I know, obviously.   Also my T has changed her Facebook name to her first name and middle name, I assume so that she is harder to find in case one of her unhinged patients feels the need to stalk her online!

I didn’t stop here even though I felt like my heart had stopped.  I was clearly distressed at this stage, why didn’t I stop?

I then found links to her husband’s Facebook page! Luckily for me his account is very private. Oh and also I saw T’s front room in one of the pictures.

What the hell is wrong with me? I feel awful. I feel guilty for snooping on T. Not only T, I may be able to reason that away, but for snooping on her children, on her husband and her private space. Eugh Jesus.  I have done similar things in the past with boyfriend’s and their exes. I have done it enough to know it is a VERY BAD IDEA.

How did this escalate so quickly? From a nice song, to memories of T being wonderful to me being a spy.

What was I looking for? What did I want to find? Would it have made any difference if she had been single or had only one daughter… or maybe if she had a son as well or instead? I don’t know.

I guess if I am brutally honest then her having a son or sons would possibly be easier for me to stomach because it wouldn’t be so easy for me to compare and relate to the fact that I am one of two daughters. That I could have been one of her’s instead?

I get that searching for your T tends to be about seeking a connectio,  but honestly, how much more bloody connecting do I need? I’ve seen her twice this week where it’s been all about me. I’ve had to email her a few times and one of those times was only this morning. Clearly looking at her children is about comparing myself to them.

We have spoken many times before about how I feel I dissapeer if others are involved. My mum didn’t see me because of all of the men she surrounded herself with. My Dad remarried and had 3 children and then lost contact with me and I have ended up with a man that has an ex-wife and 3 children.  We have spoken about how I do not feel “held in mind” when I am not physically with people and so I think the proof of the husband and daughters feels so painful for the same reason. Third parties equals no TT.

This is one blog that I absolutely will not show or tell T about. I would rather die from the shame, guilt and embarassment first.

It’s like I’m never satisfied. I am so greedy.

Why have I done this to myself?