First session back (phone)

Due to being unwell I had to miss my first session back which would have been on Tuesday and as I still feel rotten today, I asked T if we could speak by phone this afternoon.

I didn’t feel like I had many feelings about speaking to T after the break though I did notice some nerves kicking in as it got past about 2pm.  I have no idea why. What is there to be nervous of?

Interestingly it was about 1pm that I sat down with a pad and pen and felt that I wanted to write something. Really write something.. something with power, with meaning; something that meant something to me and so I wrote my last post.  It might not feel particularly powerful to anyone else as it is my personal story, but it felt powerful to me and it had the desired effect. That feeling of both creating something and working something through.  I know I’m always banging on about the power of reading and writing but this is exactly why I love it so much.

It’s funny also because I thought to myself earlier that I would like my hubby to read what I have written and that I hoped he would ‘like it’ – considering the subject matter, I think that is unlikely LOL.

Anyway..

T started our phone session by talking about me being sick.  She said she was thinking about how it is interesting I have got sick on the back of the break.  I had predicted this conversation as she often says this sort of thing.  She said it was interesting that I had a chest infection as though I have had “something on my chest” for the last few weeks that she was away.  I agreed and said I had also thought this.  That is only half true really. I had thought that but I am not sure I agree with it, I just knew she would say it. Though being absolutely fair to her, it has happened before so maybe there is something to it. Who knows.

She asked me how I have been and I said that I had been fine. I said that the first few days of the first week were a little difficult but after that I didn’t give anything much thought (i.e. I blocked her out of my mind completely LOL).  She asked me to talk about the first few days being difficult and I started to explain but ended up being side-tracked by something I had said and then the conversation kinda went off in various different directions so I never really answered that question properly.

I told T about Easter and how I had cooked a big roast dinner for 7 of us and how I had decorated the table with little chicks and things.  I told her that we hid eggs in the garden for the children and how we went for a walk and ended up playing with a frisbee in a field which I had never done and enjoyed.  T said that was good and asked if I had taken any photos that I could show her and I said that I had.

I told T about the text from my mother about the family BBQ and how that has been on my mind for the last 10 days or so. I said that I hadn’t answered my mother’s text about whether or not I could go yet because I was busy at the time she asked and she’s not asked since.  I said I still hadn’t completely decided and that I was torn but felt in my gut, I shouldn’t go.  T asked me to explain my thoughts which I did (I won’t go into that on this post as I’ve already written about them in several previous posts).

T said “what’s in it for you?” and I thought about that and said “well, my nan and grandad would love it” to which T pointed out that is not for ME, that’s for them.  I suppose what I meant was that I would like them to be happy.  T said that I can arrange to see my grandparents in other ways. She suggested we had them over for dinner or that we went to see them.  I agreed and said that was totally possible and we could and would do that, but it wasn’t the same for them as having their whole family together.

T said she thought it was a bad idea for me to go there with my mother and everyone else getting drunk (standard).  She said I could end up getting “sucked back in” which I agree with.  She said it was far safer for me to stay away from big events like that, especially when there was a lot of drink involved and when I would be going without my husband for support.

I told T that I felt the “ever-hopeful child” as she says wanting to go and wishing that it would be this lovely family day… but that I could also see that the more adult part of me knew it was likely to be a big, drunken, dysfunctional mess.  I also explained that I really didn’t want to see my mother’s husband and that whilst I didn’t want to be mean or rude to him, I would just rather not have to see him at all.  T agreed with me and totally understood my reasons.

I told her that I also worried that if I went, I would have to start attending all family events, on my own, and that I didn’t want to.  She agreed.  I told her that I had had a bit of a go at my husband for not saying he would come with me but that I knew deep down he was trying to show me that I could do what he does and refuse to attend things where people are abusive and cruel to me.  T said that actually she felt the best thing my husband could do was refuse to go and also encourage me not to go either (he doesn’t do that).  She said this isn’t a normal situation with a normal family bbq – this is a whole family of dysfunctional, alcoholics and narcissists/enablers.

I then told T that my mother had text me a week ago today asking me if I fancied going out for a drink with her last Friday night.  I said that I had been shocked because she’s not invited me for a drink for many months now and that I didn’t think she would do that anymore.  T said that the thing with narcissists is that the boundaries people set with them tend to wear off and so I have to keep on reminding them/re-establishing the boundaries.  She said “you will have to remind her again and say “Mum, I’ve told you, I don’t want to be with you when you are drinking/drunk””.  I agreed but if I am honest, I just don’t feel like I can/want to say that.  I much prefer just avoiding it and suggesting meals etc.  She is right though, about a year ago I did tell her that I didn’t want to see her in those settings.  Having said that, several months ago we went for “a meal” and she got trolleyed and acted highly inappropriately…

I didn’t get chance to tell T about the dream I had about her. I did want to but by the time I remembered, it was ten minutes until the end of the session and I didn’t want to rush it.  Hopefully we can talk about that next Tuesday. If I still remember.

At the end we just caught up on some boring stuff – an argument we are having with our current estate agents and the latest on our house purchase etc.  I also told her about my husband’s sister and my own sister who has now broken up with her boyfriend (as of last night though so it’s very early days).

By the end of the call I felt pretty happy and comfortable and it started to feel less weird again.

Since coming off the phone and since writing this and my other post this morning I have been trying to think that if I grew up feeling (knowing) that my mother was at her happiest when I was not around, how that might play out with T. How might that impact the breaks.  This is a new thought so I haven’t got very far with it yet, but I suppose it might have something to do with why I never speak my mind about the breaks – because as a child I learnt my mother was happier when I went away/she went away and so I did what I was told. Went where I was told to go; regardless of whether I wanted to or not.  Perhaps that is why I have never been able to access any anger over the breaks.

Anyway, I need to think about that a bit more so to be continued…

 

 

 

 

Sick

Today should be my first session back with T after an 18 day break but I am unwell.  The timing really is impeccable.  I started to feel unwell on Sunday and recognised the very familiar pain: a chest infection.  I seem to get a chest infection at least once a year and I realised the other day that for the last 5 years, it has been in April or early May.  I don’t know why that is, perhaps it is to do with the weather or something.  What I do know is that it bloody hurts and I am writing this from my bed, where I have been since Sunday afternoon.  On my bedside cabinet I have lots of screwed up bits of tissue, half eaten packets of throat sweets, water and pain killers.

I decided I was going to have to face facts and email T earlier this morning to tell her that I wouldn’t be able to come.  I have been putting this off for a couple of reasons: 1) In case I felt better later and could go, but also 2) because I’ve read lots over the years about how lots of people cancel their session immediately before or after the break out of anger and punishment and I didn’t want T to think that was the case.  It really isn’t.

T and I have spoken by phone in the past so I knew that could be an option but talking hurts my throat and then makes me cough and the coughing really, really hurts.  Also as silly as it sounds, I genuinely feel too crap to get showered, dressed and drive to her house and back.  So I have cancelled my session.  This is the first ever time I have cancelled due to sickness in 5 years.  I am just glad that I have two sessions a week so hopefully I can go on Thursday.

T often puts physical illness down to emotions and has regularly told me in the past that colds for example are “uncried tears“.  Funnily enough T often has a tissue on her and is blowing her nose so perhaps she has lots of uncried tears herself…. or maybe she has allergies. Who knows.

Anyway just out of interest whilst I was waiting for my laptop to load, I did a Google search for the emotional causes of chest infections and it says that sadness affects lung function and the chest region. Some of the symptoms this website lists are “chest discomfort, weak voice, lack of desire to speak, low resistance to respiratory infections, pale bright face“….

Maybe the reason I get a chest infection every year is to do with emotions building up or grief that I have not expressed.  Who knows? I do remember that when I was signed off of work last September, T had been away for 2 weeks and I fell apart the day before her return.  Maybe unconsciously I hold it all in and then it gets too much and I just breakdown one way or another.  Maybe.

 

 

Nearly the end of the break

I have been thinking about writing for several days now.  Yesterday morning I told myself that I would write when I got home from work as it was my half-day and that I would use my usual therapy session time to write but instead I binged episodes of Line of Duty.  I have been really aware that recently I am either watching an episode of something addictive: Luther, then Cold Feet, then Killing Eve and now Call of Duty, or I am addicted to a book or audiobook.  Again in the last few weeks I have read Normal People by Sally Rooney, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and now, Conversations With Friends also by Sally Rooney.  I’ve been completely sucked inside this fantasy world every free waking moment.  That includes walking to and from the station and/or office, on the train journey to work and back, whilst cooking dinner, whilst showering etc.  I’m not sure that on the whole there is anything particularly unhealthy about this but I have a sneaking suspicion that it could be an attempt at blocking out thoughts and feelings; a need to escape reality.

Regardless of the above, as it is now Friday evening the therapy break is nearly over.  On Tuesday evening I will be back in therapy with T and as usual (guess what I’m going to say here?) I don’t really feel like I want to go back.

LOL

I have to laugh now because this is such a familiar feeling.  It is SO weird because as I start the break and I tell myself that soon enough I will be thinking this, I dismiss myself – it seems so unlikely. Stupid even.  But yet, here I am again.

It seems that I am not alone in these feelings and I recently read another blogger write so clearly what I feel.  During the breaks, I’m not sure how far in but I would guess approaching a week perhaps? I start to feel as though I am coping well and feeling good and then I start to question why on earth I put myself through the twice-weekly torture that is digging around in my emotions/my childhood trauma.  Why do I do that when I am sitting down to type this having not done so for near on 3 weeks and I feel fine (okay excluding the potentially unhealthy reality escaping above; but that could be a coincidence, right?).

It is really strange to me because I felt shitty about the break and the fact that T had given me some of her chicken’s eggs felt so wonderful. It was most certainly a transitional object of sorts and there I was in the kitchen with my husband and stepchildren a couple of days later snapping pictures of us making fried and scrambled eggs and omelettes and I sent them to T thanking her.  It felt comforting in a strange way that only other therapy-goers could possibly understand.

Then there was the dream that I wrote about recently. The one where T and my mother had the same curtains, wall pictures and wallpaper and I didn’t want to tell T in case she was offended.  I can clearly see the symbolism in that dream and do not deny it is probably trying to grab my attention and make me aware of what is going on deep in my subconscious mind. But yet.. here we are.

Being honest I have barely thought about T this week and I will go so far as to say that yesterday when I left work at lunch time, I was rather excited to have a whole afternoon off work to myself where I didn’t have to rush home, drive anywhere or poke around in old pains.  Nope, I could come home, eat lunch on the sofa and watch tele.  After a few hours of tele I decided I should do some exercise so I wasn’t a total couch potato.. only mostly.

Anyway perhaps I am feeling this way because my defences are up and I am unwilling to feel anything to the contrary.. maybe T is right and I have always learnt to become very self-sufficient but wouldn’t it be nice if actually it just meant I was a whole lot stronger and more able than I realise I am?

As I write this I ask myself “am I looking forward to seeing T?” and I can’t quite settle on an answer. Saying no feels horrible. I’m not NOT looking forward to seeing her and yet I don’t feel a real pressing need to or a craving to either.  “Did I miss her?” – again, my instant feeling is to write ‘no’ but again, that sounds nasty and I don’t mean it to.  Could I survive another week or so? Yes I feel I could, easily but perhaps that is only because I know the break is nearly over and so it is easy to sit here and think that.  Perhaps I would be writing something very different if I was only, say, half-way through a longer break.

I sometimes worry that I am a fickle and shallow person because I can see that in my life I sometimes have this disturbing ability to just cut people out as though they meant nothing to me.  I am aware how narcissistic that sounds and yes, it does worry me sometimes.  For example, my very narcissistic friend that I fell out with about 2 years ago now.  When me and her finally came to blows and our friendship ended I was upset and confused for a while but looking back I got over her very quickly in the scheme of things.  The second friend, my old narcissistic work colleague who I used to call “work mum” (shudder).  I fell out with her one day and never looked back.  Genuinely I never even got a craving to send her a single message. I felt nothing but relief and freedom when we went our separate ways.  After so many years of.. well.. friendship? that concerns me.  I would however like to point out here that in both of these situations I was being emotionally abused by narcissists and at the point of the breakdown of these friendships I was completely and utterly done in.  Exhausted.

But I can say the same about romantic relationships and even partly family. My mother and her husband (it pains me to call him my stepdad these days).  They were both, in their own ways, bullies and abusive yes, but I have literally removed myself from them and the life we all shared together – that ‘family’ unit.  How many people can do that I wonder?  I admit that is only a very small part of the very large picture and as anyone that reads these posts will know, I have also spent years of therapy and crying and writing to keep that distance and not run back towards the dysfunction.  BUT my point is, sometimes I worry that my ability to just flick a switch of “don’t need you/care for you/love you” is just a bit too easy.

The relevance of T and the above is that I feel like I left my last session feeling sad that I would miss T, mopping for her for a couple of days and then *flick switched* – no more sadness etc.  It’s weird!!

If I was reading another person saying the above I might secretly think to myself that said person just cannot tolerate feelings of loss or abandonment and I might be right, however, I clearly deal with the biggest loss of them all in therapy don’t I? The loss of a childhood.  The loss of a ‘good enough mother’.  The loss of growing up feeling safe and loved and precious and feeling like you are good enough and that you should expect to be treated fairly and with appropriate levels of respect.

Perhaps my capacity to feel any further loss is limited.  Who knows.

Another thing I find funny is that when I watch therapy on tele or I read about it in books, I can see how it is such a great opportunity to just say stuff – whatever you think of, whatever comes to mind, anything no matter how creepy for example when I was recently (binge) watching the series ‘You’ she told her male therapist that she fantasised about having sex with him.  She had no embarrassment about that whatsoever – just came right out and said it and when I’m watching that kind of thing I genuinely think that’s great! that is EXACTLY the point in therapy.  But what I notice is that is because I am not thinking about, or perhaps feeling the relationship between the therapist and client.  So in my mind I think wouldn’t it be great to go to my session on Tuesday evening and just be blunt and hit T with

“So I felt sad about the break at first and I loved the eggs but after several days you basically became non-existent and I didn’t give you a second thought.  I don’t NOT want to be here but I feel like I could take it or leave it.  Sorry”..

And I know that T would take that. She possibly (probably??) wouldn’t care one iota. BUT I absolutely couldn’t and wouldn’t do that because I care what she feels and thinks and I don’t want her to think that I don’t.  Also, if I am brutally honest with myself I think I worry that then she would think about me a certain way and then when my neediness, attachment and insecurity all kicks back in (inevitably) she might not understand or she might have forgotten since having ‘moved’ me from one box in her head – to another.  A less “needy” person box.  A box for clients she doesn’t have to care for as much. Love as much, perhaps?

I’m freewriting here so this may not make any sense at all.

But the question in my mind right now is: what is the healthy balance? What is the middle-ground? What is ‘right’?

I imagine that I should be able to feel the good attachment with T and miss her whilst also feeling strong and able and I do to some extent I suppose… I haven’t turned her bad but I guess I kind of lose the warmth and comfort of the good stuff in a way that is hard to explain.  It’s like for me I am either totally besotted with T and realise how crucial her existence is to my entire life OR I am just not bothered.  It doesn’t go so far as anger or hatred for me but I lose the lovely feelings of dependency too.

Interesting and confusing thoughts.

 

Inner dialogue

It is Friday afternoon, quarter to 3 and honestly today is dragging soooooo badly. I am so ready to go home and have yawned non-stop today. I was actually in bed at my normal time having spent the evening at home alone watching my programmes and drinking tea so nothing deserving of this weird kind of hangover feeling that I have. I guess it is all the stress of the last few days mixed in with the relief of having got somewhere with T yesterday afternoon. I just feel drained.. completely drained. 

I haven’t got clear thoughts or feelings to write about today but I am planning to try to document any feelings that come and go over the next few weeks post yesterday’s session. I cried as I typed up my previous blog yesterday early evening but the main feeling was utter relief. Later in the evening I started to think and rather than trying to explain it, I am going to write out my inner-dialogue here. It went something like this…

“Hmm yes I think if I could separate T from therapy then that would be the ideal situation. Because I want to see T and still have her present in my life but yet I don’t want to have to “do therapy” twice a week. But T is therapy.. there is no having one without the other. That sucks. If I could just see T without therapy… though it would be entirely different and I might not actually like it/might not actually benefit the way that I do from seeing her FOR therapy (not that it is an option either way – just saying). So therefore it kind of IS therapy that I want… with T.. so what is my issue with it “being therapy” then? What is it exactly that is causing this internal struggle?”

And then today it continues along these lines..

Also it is interesting that I typed the following words last night without thinking them through “I know there’s nothing negative about doing that even if I don’t *need* to.. but the feeling I have is that I don’t WANT to NEED to”. Oh Christ… *replays T saying “I do think there are still some dependency issues at play here… not wanting to feel dependant”. God, is she right? Is this all about not wanting to depend on T? Surely we are passed that by now? I mean, I don’t feel I shy away from telling her or admitting to myself when I feel I *need* her….

Is she right that this has come on top of her 2 week break… is the upcoming break making me go into self-sufficiency mode? Am I “acting out” and trying to tell her I don’t need her anyway? Oh yuck. 

It feels very weird… this whole thing is very weird. I felt instantly better when T agreed that we could talk about me dropping my second session – like the relief was huge (mainly because she was no longer horrible LOL) but I am aware that in the distance of my brain, there’s a little, tiny, brat piece of me saying “I don’t want it now that she said I can have it” and I actually feel really ashamed admitting that. Like what is that about? A toddler strop? Pushing/testing the boundaries? 

Is T right that if I had gone there and said I needed to stop, temporarily or permanently and she had just agreed, would I have felt hurt? Seen it as a sign she doesn’t want me there anyway.. seen it as a sign that she wants rid of me etc? It’s hard to tell. Possibly though I suppose. Did I use this as a good time to tell her I needed to drop down/back a session knowing that she would respond the way she did (based on evidence from last time)? Was I trying to punish her? Clearly not consciously.. but unconsciously”

Seeing that written down actually makes me realise quite how much internal dialogue I have with myself!! I feel calm enough knowing I have no timescale and no rush to make any decision but yet I don’t feel fully calm because I feel inside that I have a decision to make and I am aware that I am trying to work something out still… figure out what I am thinking and feeling and what it all means. I feel a little fragile today I think.. I haven’t really admitted that to myself until writing this now. I feel a bit… needy to make sure things are really okay, that T is really okay with me – that WE are okay and will be okay regardless of what happens but obviously I am trying to hold on to the fact that they are, and I am too proud to tell her that considering the bloody topic(!) because imagine if I tell her this and then in a few weeks I tell her that I have thought long and hard about it and I DO want to cut back? It would be like giving her ammunition to use later (yes I know, interesting that I would think of it as ammo LOL).

Christ this blog has turned into me bloody psychoanalysing myself!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I felt so much better at this stage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does anyone get this?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Mother… Smearing

So I haven’t got time to write a proper blog but needed to write this quickly…

I went to see my Aunty tonight, the one I’ve written about a lot recently, the one my mother is not longer speaking to because she was “being disloyal” to her by continuing to speak to me…. anyway, we obviously discussed everything and this is what I’ve just found out:

1) my mother has told everyone that I am obsessed with my counsellor and go to therapy 4 times a week.

2) that I think (and I quote) I am “so hard done by and had a terrible childhood” – sense the mocking tone of that: and lastly

3) My mother has told my Grandparents that I’m no longer speaking to her because I had such a terrible childhood and my grandparents are allegedly horrified, shocked and disappointed in me….

I have a lot to say about this and I’m having a lot of thoughts about it all. I can’t make much sense out of it at the moment but I’m starting to think that perhaps she genuinely doesn’t think she’s guilty of treating me badly when I was a child. Until now I thought she knew she was a shit mum but was just incapable of apologising, now I wonder if she truly doesn’t think she has anything to apologise for. (I know: wake up and smell the coffee).

At least I have some insight to her I suppose.

Safe enough to “act out”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trying to recover from the rupture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft letter to T

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mirroring Feelings of Disappointment and Sadness.

Happy Boxing Day everyone. I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas Day and enjoy today whatever it brings for you.

This is the first time I’ve been able to sit down with my laptop and write and I feel like I need the release so much. I feel like I have so many different thoughts and feelings floating around in me and that once I’ve managed to write them out, I will feel a bit lighter for it. Here’s hoping.

So the things on my mind are: My mother and her Christmas Day text – the confusion and conflict that brought me, my decision and the end result.  My Dad and his texts over the last few days and the feelings that has brought up in me and my T and my feelings over her and the general feeling of Christmas having not seen anyone in “my family” (meaning my family of origin rather than my family of choice).  I apologise that some of this will be duplication from yesterday’s short typed-on-my-phone posts and some of it may already be written in comments but I am going to write it all out in full here for my own benefit really.

My Mother & Christmas so far

My mother sent me that I love you text about 3/4 weeks ago and I ignored that.  The guilty feelings over that passed pretty quickly, much quicker than I thought they would actually.  Then came the Christmas card last week.  That triggered yet more guilty feelings in me but I did ignore it because .. well, what was the point of it? Perhaps if she had written something other than our names and theirs… but she didn’t and so it made me feel as though it was more about keeping up appearances or being able to tell people she had sent us a card which would make her look like the good mother. Moving on, Xmas Eve I said to my fiancé that I knew she would text me and I knew it would be early in the morning. She has always got up very early Christmas Day to cook so I made the decision to turn my phone off when I went to bed. That is unheard of for me, my phone normally just goes on silent but I didn’t want to look at my phone when I woke up (which I always do) and for that to be the first thing I saw. So off it went and I waited until me and my fiancé had got up, had a cup of tea and opened our presents before turning it on. Sure enough there was a text, sent early which read “Have a lovely Christmas. Love you lots xx”.

From then and for the majority of the rest of the day, I was distracted with thoughts about that text. I didn’t know whether to reply or not. I toyed with what would happen if I ignored it and what would happen if I replied.  Neither option felt good to me, both felt like a no-win situation.  I tried leaving it to just percolate in my head as I showered and things but could feel my mood plummeting. I didn’t want to feel that sadness on Christmas Day and so I guess in hindsight what I wanted to do was whatever stopped me feeling shit, sad, guilty and ease my conscience a bit.  Equally I kept asking myself “what do you WANT to do?”.  I tried hard to distinguish between what I wanted to do and what I felt I SHOULD do and that was trickier then you might think.  What I WANTED to do was to open a text full of sorry’s and messages asking for my forgiveness but clearly that wasn’t going to happen and obviously I had no control over her actions anyway, so what did I WANT to do myself? I still don’t really know the answer to that.  I acknowledged I had heaps of guilty feelings going on in my body, guilt that she would be sitting there sad on Christmas Day because I hadn’t messaged her back and that I wouldn’t be seeing her. Those fantasies (however inaccurate) made me feel terrible.  I told my fiancé that was what my imagination was drawing up and he asked me whether I thought my mother felt wracked with guilt when she left me home alone on Christmas Day when I was younger or if she was full of guilt now at the ways she has treated me etc.  Obviously the answer was no. I could tell from his tone that he was a bit agitated at my guilt. I can understand that from his point of view to be honest, it must be hard when he loves me and he sees and hears about all the hurt she has caused me and then sees me beating myself up for being guilty.

We then arrived at my fiancé’s parents’ house and so from that point onwards I knew I wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk about it again. I was now on my own with it. We had a lovely day with them, they are such lovely and kind people. We had a lovely dinner, some drinks, a toast, some photos and played board games – all the normal things families do that I always craved growing up. It gave me the warm fuzzies in one sense, because it was what I had always wanted but it also made me feel something else…. some kind of missing. Missing having my own family to do that with – missing “them” even though “them” are dysfunctional and toxic and even though I would never have been doing those same things with “them”.  It’s hard to put in words what I mean, but it’s something about not having my own blood to feel those things with/for/about. I don’t know if anyone will understand that feeling?

Anyway, I’m not sure what happened but all of a sudden I went onto my WhatsApp and actually opened her message, before I had only previewed it.  When I did, it said she was online and something about seeing her online did something to me and instantly I typed a reply “You Too x” and I hit send before I thought about it any further. I then stupidly watched until the message got two blue ticks which took about 4 or 5 minutes and then she disappeared offline again.

The effect that had on me was that in one sense the guilt eased up immensely and in another, I felt weirdly disappointed that she read my response and then went offline. Gone again. Just like that.

I know that sounds completely ridiculous. I said myself that one of the reasons I was worried to reply at all was that I didn’t want messages back and forth… so I got what I wanted didn’t I? You’d think so.. but for some reason, it felt strangely sad to me that nothing further was said. I totally appreciate that there isn’t much you can say to “You Too”, it is hardly a conversation starter is it? What exactly was I hoping for? I guess if I am totally honest I was hoping for something along the lines of “I miss you not being here today” or perhaps “Christmas isn’t the same without you”… I don’t know. Having said that, I DIDN’T want to have to reply to tell her that our argument was still unresolved so what did I want? Total contradictions and complete conflict. I know none of that makes sense. Feelings don’t always make sense I guess.

Nothing has happened since then. I told my fiancé when we went to bed at his parents’ house last night. He thought I was joking until I told him I really wasn’t. He seemed disappointed and shocked that I had sent a reply. I know he doesn’t want me to know he really would rather I didn’t speak to her again because he doesn’t want to control how I feel or think, but it is clear to see. He hates her for the things she has done to me and the way she has made/makes me feel.  He said the other day he just wishes she would fight for me – show a bit of effort for once. I am sure I would feel the same if I were in his shoes.   Today I am just left feeling a bit….. a little bit empty I guess.  I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but I do. I just feel Christmas isn’t quite right. I feel a bit lacking of something. Some familiar family time or something.. I don’t know.

Anyway, that’s that. Moving on, my Dad.

My Dad

Things have improved with my Dad recently. We have spoken via text more than we ever have before. I am not sure if that is because we are both making a conscious effort, whether it has something to do with me not speaking to my mother (from both of our point’s of view) or whether it is something else but it is good.  On Xmas Eve he sent me a text which said “Happy Christmas Eve my darling xx” and it nearly made me cry. It touched my heart instantly. I was actually mopping the bathroom floor at the time and I felt so much warmth come into my body when I read that. I replied a few minutes later and said what a lovely message it was and said the same back. It was lovely.

Christmas Day he sent another message this time he said “Happy Christmas my daughter” and again, it felt lovely. Really lovely. Such simple things that meant so much. We then had numerous texts over the course of the day, some in the morning and some in the evening.  Then today he sent another!!! Happy Boxing Day and “two more sleeps” meaning until we saw each other. Later in some messages I told him it is my last Christmas with our surname as I will take my fiancé’s name next year and he said he wasn’t sure he liked that and that he hadn’t thought of that. It felt strangely nice that he felt he didn’t want me to lose our surname – our bit of connection I guess? The messages made me feel young I suppose.

I later told my fiancé about these messages and he said how he was really glad and that he wasn’t a total write-off after all (as we had both said many times over the years). I was shocked but I said to him “It just makes me feel a bit sad…” my voice cracked and my eyes welled up instantly. I had to try really hard to choke back the tears. As that happened his car alarm went off and he had to go and sort it out and that conversation never continued but I realised that the messages were and are nice.. and his effort is wonderful but the thing that makes me sad is that I am nearly 30 now.  I needed this so badly before now…. I don’t say that in an ungrateful way. I’m not saying it is too late, clearly it isn’t, but it taps me into some more loss. Loss of being a child that received messages like that from her daddy. I needed that so much then.  It also taps me into some sadness over how my mother (unconsciously I am sure) ruined any chance of that for me and him.  For whatever reasons, her narcissism, her jealousy, her insecurity, control? whatever, she put a big wedge between us. She made me doubt him a lot, she told me lies about him and constantly told me how he didn’t care about me and I was a child who naturally believed her mother.  When the whole false-self thing kicked in and I morphed into her when I was a late teen, he had no hope. WE had no hope.  And so, it is better late than never of course, it truly is… but it makes me feel another sense of loss and missing.

T

And lastly, T.

I am very aware at the moment that I have such a strong desire to stay away from T.  I am very glad that there is no therapy tonight and I am still very glad that I didn’t go to my session last week either.  I don’t feel in touch with any real sadness of not feeling a happy and warm connection with her although I guess it must be in me somewhere.  I just feel a real need to stay the hell away from her. That stupid message hurt so much and I feel so childish and immature and pathetic for feeling that way. It’s based entirely on jealousy and insecurity isn’t it, I can see that… and I can see that I am doing the whole black and white splitting thing again which isn’t healthy or very adult and I don’t WANT to feel how I do.. but .. I do.

I feel silly for writing this but it’s like it has ruined everything. It feels it has taken away something so big. It has changed how I see her entirely.  The fantasy has been ruined and what is left is the truth that T feels differently about me than she does about that other person.  That other person whose name I will never forget. Why do I have to feel so extreme about this? I can see it shouldn’t make me feel this way. It shouldn’t change anything and yet it does. It has.

It sounds ludicrous I know, but all I want to do is run away and never have to see her again. I don’t want to talk to her about this. 1 because – well, CRINGE and 2 because – what is the point??? She can’t say anything that will make this feel any better for me. Perhaps she will empathise and say she can imagine how painful it is and that makes it worse. I don’t want her pity.

The other thing about that bloody text is that the therapisty bit in there was so generic. It is the same words and phrases that she uses with me. Of course it is! But seeing it for yourself in black and white makes you feel so… so insignificant and so…. just so nothing.

I can see that the facts haven’t changed. That she has been sending other people messages like that for the entire time I have known her, I just didn’t know.  I can see that it doesn’t change the fact that we have done lots of good work together and that I have benefited hugely from our sessions but I can’t get the reality and the mature outlook to tally up right now. All I am left with is this feeling that everything has changed and will never be the same. Some kind of disappointment and sadness.  Much like I am left feeling right now about my mother and my Dad.

I’m sorry to anyone that has read this far that this is such a negative and bleak blog for Christmas, for Boxing Day. I just needed to write this out and try to get it off of my mind a bit.  In a few hours the children will be back with us and I have to get myself back into adult me.. until then I plan to snuggle under my new super soft blanket and hide away from the world.

Twink x