Where does it go? 

As I was sat in the hairdressers this morning I reflected back on the events that unfolded since my session Thursday. I thought about the initial upset, then the anger, the missatunement, the confusion, more anger and then yesterday’s decision to tell T how I was feeling. 

LUCKILY for me, T responded quickly and said she heard I was angry with her (I bet she nearly fell off her chair!) and she asked me if I was able to come for another session that same day – only two hours later actually! 

Unfortunately I couldn’t go, as much as I would have loved to, because I was at work but I really love that she offered. 

I told her I couldn’t, but would have really loved to and she replied to say that as that wasn’t going to work she was “here” and thinking of me, that she understood the anger and confusion and acknowledged that her missatunement (is that an agreement?) had got me in touch with my anger and pain. 

She suggested that I kept writing and told me she would not retaliate and told me to “hang in there“. 

I felt instantly better. Like within moments and that hasn’t changed since. In fact today I feel happy and have been singing along to my tunes in the car. 

I dreamt of “her” last night. I say “her” like that because it was meant to be her but I’m not sure her face was right – I don’t actually recall a face but I knew it was T if that makes sense. [side question: does anyone struggle to call up an image of their T? I can’t picture her when I’m not in fromt of her at all. I would struggle to draw a picture of her or describe her to someone]

Anyway, the dream was that I was at her family home with her dream husband and daughter. Me and her daughter were playing together and I stayed over and had dinner the next day. We went outside to her garden which was absolutely beautiful and huge. It even had pink blossom trees and a stream! We sat and played games and it was heavenly. 

I remember in the dream that they had some suitcases out in a room on the floor and had started to pack for a skiing trip. I think I was sad about that but trying to push that out of my mind. 

My sister was with me too, she was very young in the dream and lost a tooth which I looked after for her. 

When we were leaving T gave me a melon, some yogurts and an open can of baked beans (how odd!!) I loved that she gave me those things and didn’t want to leave. I left and drove me and my little sister home. 

I woke up and shortly after I fell back to sleep, this time I dreamt of what I can only describe as a giant heart shape made of grass and hedges and I was pushing the centre of the heart desperately trying to get inside. 

To break through the heart. Symbolic much? 

Dreams aside, I’m just wondering, why I feel so much better just because T knows? I wonder psychologically speaking why that helps so much? How has it completely removed the anger? Why do I feel so adult and content today when I felt so desperate then? 

Not that I’m complaining of course, I just wonder why it’s made such a huge difference. 

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Anger, Sadness, Confusion and Misattunement

I can’t cuddle Frank right now. Actually I can’t even look at him so I threw him off the side of the bed last night. My boyfriend said, “ooh is someone angry with T?” Yes. Yes I am. He asked why but I felt far too vulnerable to tell him. Poor innocent little Frank though.

I am feeling angry but I’m also feeling hurt and misunderstood and rejected although I’m not actually sure why I feel rejected! On top of that I feel some guilt because (and as a reader pointed out earlier) I have a suspicion in the back of my mind that my anger may be disproportionate and misdirected.

Here’s what happened from my perspective:

I left T yesterday and felt instantly uneasy. I felt a mixture of sadness and anger. I later managed to write and realised the feelings (which were quite young) were that I felt I hadn’t “had enough” of T yet before I had to leave her again and be without her for another 5 days.  I cried quite a lot and was really in touch with the sad feelings.

I then decided to reach out and email T to tell her this was how I was feeling. I felt vulnerable doing this because there was a risk that she may think I was being over the top and extreme – it is, after all, only a few days. But I did it anyway and I really hoped she was going to reply and say she understood that it felt it wasn’t enough, that I didn’t want to leave, that I would miss her and that I would soon be back…or in my fantasy that she would tell me to come back on Saturday or something and that she missed me too (obvs I know that wouldn’t happen but a girl can dream!)

BUT

But what happened was that she replied nicely, very kindly – but in my eyes, to me, about the wrong thing. It felt she got it wrong and the anger that brought up in me was pretty scary. I was so angry that she hadn’t “got it”.

It wasn’t about the child bit not having been tended to in session (as she said) it wasn’t that! It was just that I didn’t want to leave her again. I didn’t want to have to go away from her. I suspect there is some transference going on here – perhaps I am feeling something from my past or whatever, perhaps its an emotional flashback.  It feels to me that it is about the break and about missing her and being left alone again already or something. Perhaps I am scared she will be gone too long – I don’t know but what I do know is that it isn’t that the child bit didn’t feel it got what it needed – it wasn’t that. It’s just that I will miss her.

I got so angry because I felt so unseen and T has never made me feel like that before. I felt so much anger that she missed the point – that she had read my writing and was being so misattuned to me – that was so painful. She’s meant to be perfect – she’s meant to be a mind-reader AND she’s meant to just get it and make it feel better but she didn’t and that felt horrific. She made it worse and now I hated her for that. I felt so disappointed.

I shouted “no!!! no!!!!” out loud through my sobs to myself – no, please don’t get it wrong, please don’t make me feel worse, please don’t be imperfect, don’t let me be angry with you. Because she is the only person that I’m NEVER angry with you know? She is the safe person, the safe place. She is the good mother and I don’t want to turn her bad.

 

T has said to me in the past that sometimes in therapy our psyche can distort things to get us to where we need to be. So with that in mind, perhaps I have “made” some anger at T as I need an excuse to direct my anger somewhere? But obviously if that is the case it is unconscious and so it doesn’t FEEL like that.

It could be misdirected and actually be about anger I have towards my mother (I will call her bitchface from now on I think).. but that hasn’t been my style before, so why now?

OR it could be that being angry with T is easier than having to feel that horrible, painful longing for her that I was feeling before she “got it wrong”. I don’t miss her now I’m angry although I am desperate for this to be resolved.

Who knows.

That now leaves me here and wondering what to do for the best. Half of me wants to contact her again, take another risk (although that feels very scary). I half want to tell her that I’ve felt angry since she replied yesterday because it feels she didn’t “get it”. To tell her that it triggered a strong reaction in me of anger and that I’ve felt uncomfortable about it since. To tell her that my response was typed very bluntly (but I wasn’t sure she had picked up on that or not) and as she then hadn’t replied it felt even worse (hello, why aren’t you a mind-reader??).  Oh and that kind regards, best wishes and all other sign-offs were pissing me off too because they felt cold and clinical and that her name and a kiss would feel much warmer (LOL).

Or do I just sit with it and wait until I see her next Tuesday night?

That is potentially safer in that there can be no more misattunement – no more understandings and therefore no more potential anger or sadness to have to deal with BUT the likelihood is that I will push it all down and away and come Tuesday I will feel as though I am “over it” although I probably won’t be and I won’t tell her because I won’t feel it necessary and then and even if I did, the feelings would be removed and it would all feel rather unimportant and small. That doesn’t feel particularly healthy or productive.

What is best, not risking more misattunement and not getting anything resolved or risking more misattunement and more anger but getting some reassurance?

I hate it when these things crop up at the end of the week and then you have to go into your Friday and weekend feeling confused and hurt and upset and rejected. I don’t want to have to carry that all weekend and i don’t seem to be much good right now at “holding” it (if I ever have been).

T has said to me in the past that when my anger comes I may find her emails set me off and that we can’t deal with the anger via email because it can make it worse – she said it almost becomes a case of damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t in regards to responding to a client in that situation and that she may have to reply to say we would speak about it in session – to “bring the anger into the room” – and can you imagine if she did that? IF best wishes set me off, what would that do?

Is there a chance that T IS right? am I misunderstanding my own feelings? Because if I am, then clearly I do not want to be telling her all of this and then look like a total tit! My gut is telling me that she isn’t right but I am now so confused by everything I am doubting myself.

Yeserday in session T said how there will be a part of me that is still hoping my mother will change and I said no there isn’t. She said there will be even if I am not consciously aware of it and I said again, no there isn’t. Not any more. I felt a bit of resistance in me. A little tiny bit of anger I guess – NO I DON’T!!! but I imagine that could be because she is right and I am wrong. Is this the same? I don’t think so, but???

WWWWWAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

 

Ps, bitchface text me about ten minutes after T’s response – can you believe that?

 

 

 

I Haven’t Sat On Her Lap For Long Enough Yet.

When I left my session this afternoon I walked to my car and felt like I had a heavy weight inside my chest. It was heavy and strong. I knew that meant  that I was upset, that I needed to cry.   I got in the car, started the engine and put my seatbelt on and then I just sat there for a moment to see what was going on.

My eyes filled up with tears but it didn’t feel like I could get in touch with these feelings sat outside T’s house and so I drove off.  A few more tears rolled down my face a few minutes later. I tried to figure out what the tears were about  and a fleeting ‘voice’ in my head said it was because I was driving away from T’s. I quickly rejected that thought, nah, it couldn’t be that.

I drove to the gym despite the fact I really couldn’t be bothered to go. I thought that perhaps I could run it out. Usually it helps to release some tension but it didn’t because I couldn’t catch a thought long enough to use it fuel me.

I left the gym and drove home. On the way home my road rage found its way out again, I found myself screaming “fucking go then!!!!! IDIOT!!” and could feel how wound up and tense I was.  I questioned myself – am I angry?

That didn’t feel right either (although the road rage clearly is an anger release). I WAS angry but I was also other things. Anger was too simple.

I got home and went and had a shower and then I sat on the bed and burst into tears. Ah thank God. That release was sooo needed. I remembered to be nice to myself and I tried to talk to my inner child (in my head) asking what was upsetting her , asking what she needed?

Some fleeting thoughts came and went and they seem to be a mixture of  a reaction of the material I spoke about in therapy and leaving therapy today.

Why am I upset about leaving my session though? I haven’t worked this through properly in my head yet but the thoughts unfiltered are something like this: She only just came back and now I have to leave her again. I want her to stay for longer. I wish I could have stayed for longer. I haven’t had enough yet, it doesn’t feel like I should have to go away again yet …… [insert floods of tears here – hang on….].

Okay.. that got me.

I shouldn’t have to go away again yet/already – SHE shouldn’t be gone away again/already….

I know logically of course that she is now back from her break. That we are back to normal sessions but something about leaving my session has set me off. I don’t know why.

If I try to liken the situation to a real-life past event I can think that my mother regularly went away on holiday and then when she came back I would see her for a day or two before being shipped back off to someone else as she went out clubbing etc. Is that what I am remembering/feeling? Perhaps somewhere inside it feels as though I’ve seen her a little bit (but not enough) and now I am going to be away from her for another 5 days. 5 days feeling like forever right now when in fact it isn’t a long time and factually speaking it’s 4 days as I see her on the evening of the 5th…

I just feel I haven’t had enough yet. I don’t feel like I’ve made the most of her – I haven’t absorbed her enough yet. Her face and voice feel a bit faded at the moment.  It isn’t quite strong enough yet. She doesn’t seem “here” enough yet.

I haven’t sat on her lap for long enought yet to be able to go off and play happily. I still want to sit there and I want to cuddle her and smell her perfume and take her in for a bit longer before I have to leave her again. (Metaphorically speaking.)

I’ve had tears running down my face the whole time I’ve been typing this – they haven’t eased off yet.

I feel I have not had enough yet. I shouldn’t be back on my own again yet. It isn’t fair. She is too far away already and again and it hurts right now. It really, really hurts like hell.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnicott: Fear of Breakdown

Have you ever read about Winnicott’s fear of breakdown? If you haven’t, I highly recommend that you Google it and have a read. I just found a paper written by Claire Winnicott (psychoanalyst and wife of Donald Winnicott called, “Fear of breakdown: A clinical example” and I found it utterly fascinating and extremely comforting.

Below I have picked out a few of the most relevant quotes for me personally within that paper and I think that some of my fellow bloggers may find this as interesting as I have.

According to D. Winnicott, the fear of breakdown is described as “a previous early breakdown occurred at a time when the ego cannot organize against environmental failure, when dependence is a living fact. At the dependence stage environmental failure disrupts the ego defence organization and exposes the individual again to the primitive anxieties which he had, with the help of the facilitating environment, organised himself to deal with. This leads to an unthinkable state of affairs”.

 

Clare Winnicott says in her paper “In fact the word anxieties is not a strong enough word, and Winnicott lists what he calls the primitive agonies against which new defences must be constructed. This early trauma will continue to be a threat until and unless the patient is able to experience the original event now with the help of the ego supporting analyst (mother)”.  Winnicott concludes “there is no end [to the analysis] unless the bottom of the trough has been reached, unless the thing feared has been experienced”.

Clare Winnicott discusses one of her patient’s story which, in my opinion, is well worth the read. In that story she talks about the patient working through her “negative feelings with regard to dependence” – something that I struggle with in my therapy and something that I know fellow bloggers also struggle with.  I am hoping this may normalise it for you as it has for me.  She also talks about the “broken-down child” and how that part of her patient was “split off and defended against”.  Claire Winnicott says “In other words, she developed a successful false-self to deal with the situation”.  This is one of the “primitive agonies” that Winnicott described in his theory.  My thoughts as I read this section were that this explains why my T used to press me to not only consider the “self-sufficient adult” and to think about the non-logical, non-rational parts of me.  When she used to ask me where my feelings were. My false-self was certainly centre-stage.

She explains that her patient began to see her as “a mother therapist who could feed her” albeit via the power of a dream. Claire suggested to the patient that the patient saw her as having “special powers”.  I know this is something that I can relate to. My T has been placed on a pedestal and I certainly view her as being some sort of “golden healer”.  Irrationally thinking that if only I could get more access to her, that I would be healed when deep down I know that is untrue. At least it appears to be a normal part of the process.

The example discusses the patient’s use of a transitional object which is something that a lot of us going through trauma therapy have spoken about before. Another reassuring thing to read.

The patient later has a dream where she literally picks up her child self. Clare Winnicott suggested that this represented the fact that the patient “felt strong enough with my help to go back and pick up and carry that distressed child part of herself from which she had been cut off for so long. I also said it seemed that the child was now no longer frozen, but was ready to move and come alive and to be part of her grown up self”.   This was of particular interest to me at the moment because I was telling T on Tuesday that all of a sudden the “voice” of my inner child is clear, that suddenly it is very obvious that I have an adult voice and a child voice and that although they are in constant conflict, it is very much there and it didn’t used to be.  Reading this has reassured me that perhaps this is a sign I am getting stronger and am more able to “move and come alive” as Clare describes about her patient.

 

In summary of her patient Claire says “as the transference became established the patient was able to reveal to the analyst in a concrete way the nature of the early trauma which had caused the original breakdown at a time when the patient’s immature ego was not strong enough to encompass the experience. The traumatized child part of herself therefore became split off and defended against. The work of the analysis has been concerned with the gradual experiencing for the first time, with the support of the analyst, the pain and terror of the early breakdown. Over a period of years this has led to the re-discovery and reintegration of the lost child in to the patient’s present ego organization”.

 

Perhaps this may offer some explanation to anyone who is feeling frustration and anger at not being able to cry in therapy yet? Maybe the tears only follow once the psyche starts to acknowledge that lost child and lets it speak out. Some lost children will take longer than others to come out of hiding due to their own personal trauma. For me, this took over 2 years. I guess it depends on quite how long and how strong that defence was, how strong the “false-self” has become and how safe it feels now. I relate this to all of us who have longings that we are too scared to act on: I hope that we learn to push past each of our uncomfortable limits a little bit more each time our therapists respond in a caring, understanding, attuned and non-punishing or judgmental way.

The therapeutic journey seems to be more clear-cut to me having read these papers. Obviously as with any theory you will have your own opinion on it, but for me this is encouraging. It has helped to explain away and normalise the fears I have with dependency, the depth and strength of the feelings of grief and sadness (the primitive agonies), the need for a strong mother like attachment with my therapist, the use of transitional objects, the need to “hear” the child within, or the “lost child” as it is described here.  It explains that gradually over a period of potentially more years, I will re-experience the initial breakdown in small more manageable chunks and that is how I will heal.  I have even read that “This fear is characterized by feelings of falling forever” and that sums up very well the feelings I get when I am in what I call an emotional flashback, where I am triggered and regressed. Those times I have written about where I feel utterly desperate and unable to function as an adult, unable to go to work and just want to stay in bed and hide from life.

I hope this helps others the way it has helped me.

 

 

 

 

The Golden Fantasy

Tuesday 27th June 2017

As I expected, I had to read my “Fairytale Ending” blog out loud to T Tuesday night and it was bloody tough.

I told T that I didn’t want to read it out loud but she encouraged me to give it a go. She told me to take my time and to remember to breathe. I felt so nervous about reading some of it to T, mainly the bits about her, but I also knew that I would cry my way through it as usual and I guess I was scared about that too.

Anyway, I did read it and it was very, very painful. I cried pretty much the whole time, sobbed actually, the full works: nose-blowing, make-up running, noise producing sobbing.

But, I DID do it and I am really glad I did.

I couldn’t look at T for pretty much the entire thing because I felt so vulnerable and scared. So exposed.  T was reassuring and comforting as always. She kept saying “it’s okay, I am here“.  She said some other things too but if I am honest, they just felt like words to make me feel better rather than the truth.  Things like “I can see how intelligent the child was – is, she is very clever. She works things out, she understands things” – I just brushed that comment off because I don’t feel that is true at all. I am not saying that to fish for compliments, I genuinely do not believe I am, or have ever been, intelligent.

The first sentence to make me cry was “Someone who would listen to all of the pain and have genuine compassion…” – that surprised me because I didn’t think that was a particularly weighty sentence, but when reading it to her it suddenly became rather poignant and was the first sentence to make my voice crack.

The second was reading ” I think I am scared sometimes by the depth of feelings I have for her and how painful the loss would be if she went away“.  I broke down in tears at this and T told me that the reason I was finding this so hard to say was that by telling her how strong my feelings are for her, I gave her the ability to hurt me.  I agree that is probably the fear.  Letting someone really know how much you need them, want them and love them does open you up to the possibility of a lot of pain doesn’t it. I’ve never thought of myself as someone who has been guarded with her heart or someone who takes a long time to open up, but with T it seems that is how I am and I can only assume it is because it is so important with her.

In relationships in the past I think I always subconsciously knew that I could find another boyfriend (talking younger years here, not serious relationships) whereas with T, it feels like a vital opportunity that I absolutely cannot fuck up.  T said that perhaps I was worried that not only would she abuse my love and trust in her but that she would enjoy the power she had like my mother did. That she might lord it over me.  I agreed with her.  My mother played on and enjoyed the control and power she had over me, particularly when I was vulnerable or crying and needy and so that was most definitely a fear here.

When I read the part about how I think the reason I write here, read and comment on other people’s blogs and read therapy-related books is to try to keep some sort of connection to T, she suggested that I was using them transitionally.  The same purpose that someone would use a transitional object.  She said that actually it was very clever.

[I reached the end of the first page at this point and T asked me if I wanted to stop or carry on. She told me I was doing really well and said “see, nothing bad has happened, you are still here, nothing has exploded or anything“.  She told me that it felt so unnatural and scary to me because I haven’t ever been allowed to have feelings and so I had to fight past that.  I wasn’t sure and didn’t say anything. I was thinking.. half of me wanted to maintain the courage and keep reading, to fight against everything telling me to stop – the other half was aware that T may be suggesting it for a reason. She has suggested before that I may “purge” a bit and almost punish myself and push myself too far.  I told her I would carry on for now.]

I read the part about having “verbal diarrhoea” and T said “awww” which sounded weird to me because I think I only really associate that word with sarcasm but she wasn’t being sarcastic. I cried as I read “I have so much to say, so much to share, so much to be soothed and so little time”.

We discussed what I said about the difference between Tuesday and Thursday sessions and how I feel so different in them. That it feels that on Tuesdays the child is there, whereas Thursdays it is the adult.  T said that the psyche is very clever and it is trying to protect me.  She said it is because the gap is longer and it knows I need to get through Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday before I can see her again and so it does what it can to keep me safe.  I told her that I understood that but that the child part of me feels it misses out on a Thursday and that it is frustrating.  T said she completely understood this but said I shouldn’t worry about it for now because she believes that in time I will be able to bring the child part into my Thursday sessions more and more.  She said she thinks starting the second session is what enabled me to bring her my child part in the first place and that without the second session I may not have been able to bring it to her (which makes total sense to me because I was not aware of the child part at all for the first two years when I only had one session a week).  She told me to trust in my process. That actually really helped.

When I read the part to T about wanting her to think of me as a competent “normal” adult just sometimes she said “you are worrying about my feelings” and said that this was because I had to look after my mother in all of her needs and feelings growing up and so naturally I was now worrying about her and how she felt and that I was probably worried I was being too much for her.  I told her that I did worry I was too much, but equally it wasn’t so much that I was worried about how T felt, but that I didn’t want her to think of me as pathetic. T told me that she did not think I was pathetic and that I really need to learn to trust that she can look after herself as well as me. I note that in my head I thought “but that’s too much for you to do!” and it is only really today that I realise how sad that thought is because I guess a parent should be able to do that for themselves and their child but my mother couldn’t/didn’t which is why it seems such a foreign idea to me. T said that she saw all sides/parts of me and that if I only brought her the competent adult, then we would be rather stuck. We laughed.

We spoke about therapy breaks.  I haven’t ever shown T any anger about the breaks. I have cried about them to her once I think, but this time I read her the words about how it feels so cruel and how it feels like I am almost tricked into trusting her not to leave – for her to then leave.  T told me that she agreed, that the breaks are bloody unfair.  She told me that she understood that right now it felt the breaks were purely for her benefit and not for mine, but that in time that will change.  She said that she really did understand and asked me if perhaps I felt angry with her?  I said no, I wasn’t angry at HER but just at the whole idea in therapy that you have to get so bloody needy and vulnerable and depend on someone so much for them to then disappear and leave you alone.  She said that perhaps the anger towards her was still too scary at the moment, but that in time it would come and that it would feel “liberating”. I thought to myself that seemed like a strong word and I assume that the reason it would feel liberating would be that it would be a transferencial (is that a word?) reaction perhaps – what I couldn’t do or say to my mother? I don’t know. She also said that her next break was now 2 weeks away and that may be why this was on my mind. Eugh 2 weeks… that isn’t long.

We discussed the adult/child conflict and I told her how I did understand it all in adult terms but that the child didn’t.

Moving on, I read “Adult me knows that I am an adult now and that I cannot now get all that I missed and long for. That it is too late”  and T interjected quickly and said “but all is NOT lost – you can still get something, there are things I can give you” I didn’t look at her when she said this and kind of carried on reading immediately, not pausing to talk to her about what she said. I continued “I have a hole in my heart that is exposed to the elements and it feels like no amount of plasters or stitches or even filler can make it better” I broke down again here.  T said “No, plasters and stitches won’t help, I know” and I said to her that I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful to her and what she does give me, she said I didn’t sound ungrateful at all…I said that it all feels a bit artificial. Like filler.  Like I have to accept that the hole in my heart will have to be stuffed with “stuff”, like cotton wool or something but it isn’t “stuff” that I want it to be filled with.  It felt like the cracks would still be there – I am not sure if this makes much sense?

void fill

Now for the cringiest bit…

I read T the section about how it hurts knowing she is a mum and that her children get her in a way that I don’t – and never will.  I read that when she said “my children” it hurts and how I tried to keep a poker-face. T told me that I absolutely didn’t need to hold it in or keep a poker-face, she said I didn’t need to do that to protect her from my feelings that it was okay for me to tell her and show her how it made me feel.  I kept my head down and ignored this too… I definitely did not want to look at her. I continued:

I can’t ask her things that I want to know and so it isn’t really the same is it? Because what I “love” is the feeling I get because you can’t love someone you don’t even know

T said it is interesting how I assume I can’t ask her the things that I want to know and that she has never told me that – that I have made this boundary myself.  I laughed this off and said “I knew you would say that” she said that of course I know her. She said that I knew where she lived, what car she drove, that “others lived here“, what her personality was like.. I nodded in agreement but it wasn’t what I meant. I think she probably knew that and was just trying to make me feel better.  She said that as much as I thought I wanted to know lots of other things about her, that I wouldn’t be able to handle it and that it would be too much for me. She said “me even saying “my children” is too much” and I thought to myself agghhh this is why I didn’t want to tell you – now you won’t tell me anything at all!! So I said to her “I don’t want to feel like that!!” and felt a bit angry with myself.  She said she knew that and that it wouldn’t always be that way. I kind of regret having told her that but she said it was very important for her to “protect me” in this.

I read her my dream and she said that her take on it was “sneaking up behind you” or “creeping up your behind”…  she said that she thought perhaps I was scared about what was yet to come and I said yes straight away. I most definitely was scared about what was yet to be felt, experienced, remembered… how could I not be.  She said “what you haven’t yet remembered perhaps?” and I agreed.  Bleugh what a horrible thought.

“My adult wants to make it all better for the child. To cuddle and love her better and yet the child is saying “No! not you!! – someone else!!””

T said that it was actually really good that the adult in me wanted to look after and protect the child because it would be really easy for me to be vicious and angry to the child part and shame it.  I told her that although there was that part, I was so angry about the fact that I should have to do that because I didn’t want to. I wanted it to be someone else that fills that for me, I don’t feel like I can do that, like I WANT to do it and so whilst I can be kind to the child part at times, I can’t and won’t be its mum. T said that I couldn’t do this yet, that this is why I needed her.  I needed to get some of my unmet needs met first by her, but that eventually I would be able to do this.  T said that it was awfully unfair that I should have to do this at all of course and that she understood my anger. That I was completely entitled to my anger. I feel angrier today than yesterday. Today I am very grumpy.

I had finally finished reading it. Thank God. I felt emotionally exhausted. I had cried so much and when I looked at the time (for the hundredth time), it was 8.20pm so I only had ten minutes left which felt scary because I had just read all of the painful stuff and I guess I was hoping we could sit and chat and I would get time to calm down for longer than that before leaving.

T asked me what bits I felt I would most like to re-visit or discuss.  I skimmed through it and said to her that none of it felt very important now….  we both laughed at the ridiculousness of that statement! I said that it felt it had lost its power and importance all of a sudden and she said that having read it out loud, having shared it with her, having been able to access the emotions and cry through it would have been cathartic and that is why it no longer felt so scary, but that there was a lot to it and it was all very big stuff.

I said the dream didn’t seem important and neither did the breaks right now.

She said that I was clearly very in touch with both the child and adult parts of me now and I asked her what exactly IS the child part? What does that even mean? I said that I’ve never been so aware of it before but that clearly it isn’t an actual child in me, so what is it? T said it is the feeling part. That the adult part of me is the rational part  and the child carries the feelings and all of the historic stuff, the pain, the fears, the worries etc.  It is more unfiltered.

I told T that I know it sounds weird but I have this image/memory of me about 6 years old in the place I lived in at the time, I am in my nightie and I am walking up the long corridor which went from the front door to the back of the house and I am all alone and scared.  T asked me why it was that I felt I was 6, she said I often say 6 years old and she wondered if there was a reason I thought this? I said no, it just feels that I am about 6 and I look about that age. I said that perhaps it isn’t even a memory, perhaps I’ve made it all up or something. T said she felt this stuff went right back to birth, to when I was a baby but perhaps the reason for “feeling 6” is that it is the rough age when you start to remember things and have explicit memories.

T said that she was certainly not the perfect mother but that is my fantasy because it is what I need right now.  I looked at her when she said this for probably only the second time in the entire hour. She looked quite serious and sincere when she said that, but I still don’t believe it ha!

T said “when we haven’t been given what we need from a good enough mother as little one’s, all we have to go by is our fantasy of what it would look like to have that. For it to feel safe it becomes an idealised “perfect” fantasy of a mother who can meet all of our needs in a perfectly attuned way.  A golden fantasy that feels safe because a perfect mother cannot hurt us.  So it’s perfectly normal and to be expected that you hold the fantasy of Miss Honey close to your heart – that is what she represents for you.”

She also told me to remember that I do still have a competent adult part and that is a good thing. She said in the breaks I need that adult. That I still need to be able to go to work, cook for myself, wash etc and that I shouldn’t forget that I have both the child AND the adult otherwise it can feel far too scary and overwhelming.

End of session

 

Tuesday night’s dream

I had been on a rollercoaster.  I sat on the ride facing someone else. I closed my eyes tight and thought to myself that I just had to survive it. That I wouldn’t die, but I might feel very sick and that I might hate every second of it. I did it and although it wasn’t pleasurable to me at all, I did survive and I even debated going on a second time and opening my eyes that time.

I think that is a very symbolic dream given the session.

 

 

 

The Fairytale Ending: Amended/Revised

For anyone that read the fairytale ending, this is pretty much the same post but I have expanded on it and sent it to T ahead of tomorrow’s session. Don’t ask me where I found the courage to do that……….. aghhhhghgh.

 

Matilda and Miss Honey

The child in me has been waiting for an adult to come and save her. She has been waiting to be rescued for approximately 29 years. She wants someone to come and take the pain away. Someone to fix everything bad that has happened – to magic it away forever.

Matilda got her happy ending with Miss Honey and she wants hers.

I used to hope that adults, mainly teachers, would see that I was a good girl and would adopt me. Friends’ parents would joke that I was their adopted daughter – it was a joke to them about how regularly I spent time at their houses, but to me it was the potential beginning of my fairytale ending.

Enter T

So I find T one day many years later. At this time I am an adult in age, and in physicality, but emotionally a child. Emotionally stunted at about 6 years old. Still unknowingly craving love, affection, understanding, acceptance and warmth.  Still so desperate for that bond.  That unconditional love. I had a yearning for something but I didn’t know what it was, or how to get it. I tried to get it by moving from boyfriend to boyfriend, even at a young age. I don’t like that about myself but I understand that I just copied what my mother did – that was all I was taught to do. Clearly it didn’t work. But I didn’t need a man, I needed a mother.

I guess I picked a female T for this reason. It wouldn’t have been so easy to find my new mum in a man would it? My fantasy about therapy wasn’t only to “fix myself” but I guess I had this feeling that I could potentially find a kind adult to care for me. Someone who would listen to all of the pain and have genuine compassion… someone who, like I used to hope my teachers would, would see I needed rescuing and would rescue me. I guess in a way it was hoping someone would take pity on me.

Looking back I felt (feel?) some similarities between T and my mum in that I saw them both as powerful, authoritive and strong. I guess therefore potentially dangerous. I felt a similar unconscious sense that I had to be good, well behaved, polite, well-mannered. The alternative? Punishment.  But of what kind? I am not really sure. Abandonment and rejection perhaps.

I liked and respected T for the first two years that I saw her, but now it is more than that in ways I am not sure I have the words to explain. Just thinking about it makes me well up with tears. I’m not entirely sure why, I think I am scared sometimes by the depth of feelings I have for her and how painful the loss would be if she went away. Is it worse to lose something wonderful or to have never had it?

T has shown me and given me things that I had never seen or felt before. Patience, understanding and non-judgment – but I think the thing that sticks out most for me is attunement. I don’t even think I knew what that word meant a while ago and now it is the word I use most regularly in all of my diary entries and blogs. Attunement is key. It is so important on such a deep level. I don’t think I ever felt my mother attuned to me and what’s more, you can’t fake attunement apparently so it truly is precious.

“being or bringing into harmony; a feeling of being “at one” with another being”

I’ve written a lot about all of the ways T is amazing and how I love her – or what she gives me or represents. What I still childishly fantasise her being one day – effectively my Miss Honey.

But…. on the less lovely side of things. T’s attunement to me, her patience and everything else, have suddenly shone a beacon of light on the loss. The loss of my childhood, my innocence and my birth-right to have been loved by my “good enough” mother. A childhood that felt full instead of starved and warm instead of cold. Safe instead of dangerous,. Loved instead of hated.

All of a sudden I am feeling the stark contrast of what T offers me and what I have/had and it hurts. Like it hurts my entire being.  My soul. Everything. It hurts me in a way I don’t think can be explained.

As I write this I have this strange energy coursing through my body, like adrenaline. Maybe it’s anger. It’s mixed with sadness and prickly tears. But the tears aren’t flowing, they are forming a barrier behind my eyelids almost refusing to come out. Like they are trying to stand strong. Like a line of soldiers making a human fence.

Everything that I (very cleverly) defended myself from knowing, seeing and feeling suddenly staring me in the face with a (not so) welcome home banner. I’ve reached the truth, my truth and it makes me want to debate for a moment if I want to keep walking towards “truth” or run backwards to denial and just pretend none of it is real.  Although that isn’t possible now. I sometimes question what was harder: blaming myself for everything, for the things I didn’t have; or knowing it wasn’t my fault and knowing who’s “fault” it was… what is worse? Which is the lesser of the two evils?

Verbal Diarrhoea

The adult part of me knows this is necessary for my healing. That this “is the work” as T would say. I guess that is what enables me to stick it out and not run away. (That and the fantasy of Miss Honey of course) but child me is in pain and shock and so I guess that explains why now I am craving the fairytale more than ever. I feel so regressed so regularly in therapy and sometimes in-between sessions and the craving for T is more intense than ever before. I think that the reason I enjoy writing my blog about therapy, enjoy reading other people’s, reading therapy books, re-reading my old blogs and the comments on them, is all part of this – trying to “feel” the connection that I am craving when I am not physically there with her.. and then sometimes when I am there, the sessions go way too quickly and the loss is right there again sitting in my chest hard to ignore. So I talk fast. “Verbal diarrhoea” as my mother would say, because I have so much to say, so much to share, so much to be soothed and so little time.  And then I leave and feel so ashamed of how much I’ve talked. I should not be the centre of attention – that is for my mother and not for me. I do not deserve that. I will be punished for that – and so I punish myself.

Tuesdays/Thursday Sessions

Thursday sessions sometimes seem like they don’t give me the same feeling that Tuesday sessions do and that is annoying because it is my “ last chance” at connection until the following Tuesday and that feels like a lifetime.  I keep wondering why it is that Thursday sessions feel so different and it feels as though I go into that session more (too) adult. It feels as though I go to Tuesday night sessions way more in touch with the child me, the regressed me, the sensitive me that wants to bare her soul and be soothed – whereas Thursdays I am an adult who wants T to see how competent I am. How grown up I am and I am so bloody fed up with trying to be the grown up so why do I do that? Perhaps I don’t want T to think I am a complete lost-cause. I don’t want her to think I am pathetic and childish and immature. I want her to think to herself just sometimes when I leave that she can have a normal “adult” chat with me about normal life things and not have to feel as though she is babysitting me or teaching me how to be a normal person…. And yet even that is completely contradicted by having a childish need to be rescued so none of it makes sense. It’s like the child in me has a tantrum when I leave on Thursdays and is shouting

“Hello? What about me? Now I have ages to wait just so you could be all grown up”

I wonder whether T sees a difference between Tuesday me and Thursday me or whether this is purely internal?

 

Therapy Breaks

And then you have therapy breaks. I mean, the adult gets this – of course she does, but the child wants to shout:

“What about me? You can’t just leave me here on my own. I will die without you looking after me”

It thinks it very cruel that it is expected to fight against everything it knows to “let someone in” and to learn to trust, to learn to take down the barriers and try to stop the competent (fake) adult taking over. So it does, slowly, very slowly it does this and then it is left alone?!  WTF is that about.  You wouldn’t leave a 6 year old child at home on their own for an entire week because it would die. Unable to eat or wash or anything and it feels almost the same, but emotionally speaking. Mixed messages – confusing. “Trust me, I won’t leave you” – oh, I’ve gone away. Then there is inner-dialogue between adult and child

“T deserves a break, she needs a break to look after you properly. It is only a week [or two weeks], she will be back before you know it”

“She hates me. She wants to leave me. I’ve worn her out. She is fed up of me. She won’t think about me, she will forget me. She won’t ever come back! I don’t need her anyway. I am fine. I am grown up and mature. Watch me cope all by myself. I don’t even think I need therapy anymore”

To the people that created this therapy. Freud etc: you missed something here!

 

Adult vs Child

Adult me knows that I am an adult now and that I cannot now get all that I missed and long for. That it is too late. Adult me knows therapy will help me to accept this and move on. Adult me knows T isn’t going to become mum and make it all vanish – that she doesn’t have a magic wand and that she can’t wave it so that I am 6 again, but her daughter, and none of it would have happened. Adult me gets that in therapy T will help give me some of the things that I didn’t get that will help me. Things like a kinder internalised voice – she had already done that to an extent and she is helping me not to feel so ashamed for having needs, to feel loveable. But child me… she hasn’t quite given up the hope of being rescued yet.  I know the happy ending will still be far nicer than the story ever was…. That in comparison the ending will be nicer than it could have been…. but I have a way to go to be okay with this. Today I feel robbed and angry. Like I have a hole in my heart that is exposed to the elements and it feels like no amount of plasters or stitches or even filler can make it better. Horrible image, but it feels like it is left open and it is being chewed on by insects.

That poor little girl was and is so desperate to be loved by a mummy that she didn’t get. It makes me sick.

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for what I do have – that I have found T, that I can get so much from her that I have never had – but I guess like a child it wants more of what it likes and it can’t really have much more and that seems so unfair. Knowing that T is a mum seems to make that harder because it makes me jealous that her children get her as a mum so when she has said the words “my children” I have to try hard to keep my face neutral in case she can see anything in me change. Poker face.  Luckily she can’t feel the movement inside my chest.  Plus anyway, it is obviously a one-way relationship where I can’t ask her things that I want to know and so it isn’t really the same is it? Because what I “love” is the feeling I get because you can’t love someone you don’t even know. The whole thing is so confusing.

Dream

I had a dream on Saturday night that two boys I had been intimate with in my life (not both physically) told me that I had an infection on my bottom – I looked in the mirror and it was disgusting, all scabby and disgusting. The word in the dream that jumped out was “bacterial”. I hadn’t seen it because it was behind me, on my bum and so out of my view and I felt hugely humiliated and dirty. I felt so ashamed that they had both seen it and knew it was there and that I didn’t.  I have thought about this dream a lot since and I think it is representative of the fact that people that knew me well enough “saw” I had issues, problems, gaps… but that I didn’t and how ashamed I am about that and now the “scars” of it all seem to be obvious – like the scabby rash thing in my dream.

“A hidden or invisible attack that may weaken or even destroy you” – “Feelings of inadequacy or a sense of uncleanness”

 

One thing that amazes me is quite how relentless my inner child is at not giving up that hope. I am not sure if that makes her determined or stupid but there we have it. She isn’t ready to drop that fantasy yet. Saying that, I do admire the fact that she has continued to fight and has never totally given up. I wouldn’t have blamed her.

My adult wants to make it all better for the child. To cuddle and love her better and yet the child is saying “No! not you!! – someone else!!

The thought that I can make this better for myself seems ridiculous because although half of me wants to be grown up, the other half wants to stay young because if I stay young then Miss Honey will come and if I don’t – she won’t.

 

I do not want to have to be my own mother. I don’t want to grow up (even though I already have).