Why is it so hard right now?

bad mood

I feel weird today.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but I feel down… sad… miserable.. something. I am writing this in the hope that I might figure it out.

Yesterday me and my boyfriend had a day off work together and went to the beach. The weather was beautiful and we had a lovely time.  We had a long walk, took our shoes and socks off and walked in the sand.. threw stones into the sea, generally just relaxed and spent some quality time together. It was lovely.

Then we got home and my boyfriend was moaning about the amount of food we had to throw away as it had gone bad/out of date… this annoyed me.  He kept on and on and I told him he sounded like my mother.  Later on, he suggested we went out to eat dinner and I told him no, we couldn’t afford it.  He asked why and I said you’ve just been moaning we have thrown away £30 worth of food and now you want to go and eat out? He said he wasn’t moaning, just saying.  That conversation ended and he fell asleep on the sofa.

I went upstairs and watched something on my phone, and he came upstairs to see where I was when he woke up. He immediately said something about going out for dinner and I said the same thing – you’ve moaned at me over the food in the fridge! How can you now go on about going out to spend money on food?! Somehow this escalated and within seconds he had stormed off downstairs.

With that, I burst into tears and locked myself in the toilet (as I always do when crying – no idea why).

I was crying because I HATE arguing with him. I HATE him storming off and walking away from me (particularly when it’s leaving me upstairs) and I was crying because it felt the day had been ruined.  I cried a lot, probably way more than is proportionate to the argument.  I went downstairs after I composed myself and it got brought up again… I ended up crying badly again and my boyfriend came and sat next to me and cuddled me.  He didn’t say anything though… he didn’t seem to think it was about him.  He didn’t apologise.

When I eventually stopped crying, cue bright red, blotchy face… he said something like “is that better now?” and I told him that he had upset me, he said he didn’t think he had… anyway less of the he said/she said the point is, I don’t really know what I was crying about but I think it was probably some sort of trigger/emotional flashback. I’m not entirely sure.

I woke up today feeling pretty low again which I really hate. My mood is SO inconsistent at the moment and its draining. It worries me.  I also worry what my boyfriend must be thinking and feeling because I used to be so happy and so steady (well that can’t be true, but it seems it looking back).  It made me mad for a moment when I thought this that therapy is shit and is causing this.

I see T tonight and I am nervous. I am nervous because I feel I have been too much. I feel I’ve contacted her too much, lent on her too much… I feel like I am being too vulnerable, too needy, too weak.. and it is scaring me.

Writing that last sentence has made my eyes water. I am scared. I think I am scared she is going to tell me off…. “tell me off” sounds young doesn’t it. I think I am shit scared she is going to lay down some boundaries about contact or something and I will feel so rejected that I won’t be able to handle it… the other half of me doesn’t think she will because she’s always been pretty good – very good in fact.

I had another dream about her last night. In my notes I wrote “I told her I felt stupid for emailing so much – she didn’t say much but she looked as though she was agreeing”.

Bleugh.

I know tonight we will read and discuss the dreams. The shower dream (cringe) and the other one which is actually equally cringe… I know she will ask me awkward questions about why I think I am dreaming of her children and why I felt jealous in the dreams….  the whole thing makes me feel pretty sick.

On top of the dream shit, I just feel really pissed off. I am not entirely sure what I am pissed off with but if I were to write totally uncensored I would say..

I am pissed off that I am becoming so in touch with the hurt and the pain and that it is as painful as it is.  That it makes me feel I could drown. I could die. I am pissed off that I suddenly turn into a completely incapable child who can’t “hold” her own feelings/pain and I turn so needy and HAVE to contact T. Like it isn’t a choice, like it is life or death when it clearly isn’t and that makes me feel fucking stupid.  WHY CAN’T I JUST NOT EMAIL HER??????????????????? IT ISN’T BLOODY HARD.

I feel pissed off that I keep dreaming about T and that I will have to figure out why, what the dreams are about and that I will have to feel so stupid and awkward having those conversations…. it all makes me feel so …. just fucking stupid really. I hate that I wake up miserable when I have.

I am pissed off that my moods are fluctuating so often right now, that I keep crying so hard and never really understanding what I am crying about. I am pissed off that I have any of these feelings and I am pissed off that I ever started therapy because it is shit.

I am feeling very sorry for myself right now I know… I feel so down. I am trying not to cry as I write this because I am at work. Why does everything feel so hard right now?

Today the sky is blue 

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

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

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

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

Anyway, this post isn’t about them….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I thought that was pretty relevant!! 

Deep Dreams & Head Cloud

Me and my boyfriend were staying in a hotel by the sea.  The view was beautiful.  My boyfriend was in the shower and I was getting dressed by the mirror.  I took my clothes off and looked in he mirror and my bum was weird, it was very big and “high”.  I looked deformed. I then saw that my stomach had a huge slit across it and my insides were all spilling out, intestines etc.  I freaked out, panicked, my legs went weak and I felt very sick.  I grabbed the telephone and called 999 but the guy on the other end was very slow and casual and said there would be a half an hour wait.  I started to scream and cry and shout and he started laughing hysterically, that got me even madder. I thought I was going to die.

The next part of the dream I was at my T’s house (it wasn’t her actual house though).  She also had a wonderful view of the beaches and the sea. The sun was out, we were sitting on a large balcony area at a table talking causally. T was very calm and peaceful and I felt at ease too.  Then one at a time, two girls roughly my age came out, in the dream they were her daughters.  She introduced me to them calling me my full name (only my mother used to call me my full name as a kid).  I smiled at them and said hello. They were both absolutely beautiful.

The girls left and T said to me “try to remember a time when you were young, perhaps playing with one of your bothers when you were completely care-free, totally relaxed, happy, excited”.  I couldn’t and that made me very upset.

Next we were sitting in T’s kitchen at her breakfast bar and her son walked in.  He sat with us and was very funny, he had me and T laughing so much we had tears running down our faces. I paused for a moment and watched T watching her son, laughing and smiling, I felt incredibly sad that she loved her children so much and that I didn’t have that.

Next thing, me and T were standing at her front door saying goodbye to loads of guests, the walls by the front door and stairs were covered top to bottom in photos of her family, I was looking at the photos scanning who was in them, where they were, what they were doing. I was insanely jealous and sad but I didn’t let that show.

T told me that she has a boat and that her family often go sailing. I realised that was probably where she went when on her breaks.  I had never imagined T sailing boats.

Lastly, myself and my boyfriend were at my mother’s house.  My mother made a sarcastic comment along the lines of “well, what DO you want to talk about?” she was implying that my boyfriend wouldn’t let her invade his boundaries and was implying that made him difficult and boring. I snapped and shouted at her to fuck off. Her husband stood up and started to shout at me but I just left. I remember thinking to myself that it was a relief to have a reason to shout at her and to be able to walk away from her for a while.

What a lot to a dream!! I woke up with a pounding headache.  I think if I hadn’t of made myself get up, I would still be asleep.  I wrote the dream out quickly so that I didn’t forget it and tried to analyse it a bit.  I went to the toilet still in a bit of a haze. I felt that familiar sense of “head cloud” that I sometimes get. I knew I felt low, sad again.  All of a sudden I burst into tears, I cried very hard for a few minutes.  I cried like a baby might, wailing noises escaped my mouth which isn’t something I normally do. It hurt a lot.

I then had a shower and tidied the house. I am writing this in the hope it eases my head a little.  So much going on in there.  This dream and the shower dream have so much in them I think.

The Fantasy of the Therapist

fantasy

[fan-tuh-see, -zee] /ˈfæn tə si, -zi/

  1. imagination,especially when extravagant and unrestrained.
  2. the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.
  3. a mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic; vision:

a nightmare fantasy.

I questioned myself this morning, “should I have cancelled my session tonight to have spent the evening with my boyfriend?” and then I answered myself by thinking, “No, we will swap cards when I get home and will have dinner together”. But then I thought to myself, “Oooh, maybe my therapist might have wanted the night off to spend with her.. husband? boyfriend?”

Isn’t it weird how little we actually know about the person we confide in most in the world? The person who we spend hours pouring our heart and souls out to. You make up a fantasy of their life, whether they are married or not, whether they have children, a boy, a girl? What ages… you decide on what they might like to do in their spare time, what kind of mother they are, what their house is decorated like etc and where do you take it all from really? Not a lot!

My T gives very little away about her life. I know she has children because she has used the words “my children” to me before… it always brings on a strange feeling when she does. Jealousy? Clearly in my fantasy, she is the perfect mother. She is patient, encouraging, supportive and very maternal. She loves her children and she enjoys spending time with them. Likewise, they love their mother and seek comfort and familiarity in her. She can see her children for who they are and encourages them in all they do in life. They seek solace in her. Lucky kids. She is a strong, dependable, intelligent woman. A role model. She has hobbies and friends and a “normal” family.

I’ve searched her hands looking for a ring, she doesn’t wear one. I decide in my head once that she was probably divorced and happy on her own nowadays but recently I thought that someone so well-educated on healthy relationships and someone who has “worked through” any issues she might have once had, was probably able to have very happy, healthy, long-lasting relationships so I doubted she would be alone.

Once a few months ago, a man arrived when I was outside her house sitting in my car waiting for my appointment time. He got out of a large white van and was dressed as though he had a physical job like a builder or something. He knocked on her front door and when there was no answer, he went down the side of her house (this is where the therapy door is!). I totally freaked out because I thought he had gone into the room – my room! At my slot. I sat in the car 5 minutes past my session start time. It threw me into a bit of a panic as I didn’t know what to do. Eventually I went and knocked on the door, T opened the door as usual and it turned out that said man went around the back of the house to get in. My T told me that he wasn’t there to visit her… hmm, so who was he and who was he there to visit? I didn’t ask, because that isn’t the proper thing to do is it, not when you are always trying to be “good” anyway. I decided that he wasn’t her husband or boyfriend because he would have his own key and I decided that her husband wouldn’t do a job like that. I am far from judgmental or snobby so I have no idea why I thought this. I guess in my fantasy, if she had a husband, he was probably a therapist too or maybe a doctor or something. They would have high-powered, important, well-paid jobs.

I’ve seen her daughter park outside their house before and go inside, I guess that she is about 24 or around that age and I also know that T has animals. Definitely dogs and chickens.

Isn’t it weird how over 3 years, all I have put together is that she may or may not have a partner. She has one daughter and another child of which I don’t even know the sex – yet alone names or ages and that she has some animals.

Having said all of this, really we pay them to help us on our epic journey towards healing. As long as they are trained, empathetic, supportive, understanding, kind, attuned, consistent and all the other things that therapists need to be, does it really matter whether they are married, have kids, like the colour purple or watch Eastenders? I guess not. But I think that the fantasy of all those things actually tell us more about us and what we need and want in life, at least that is true of me.

It has only become clear to me since writing this blog entry that the “qualities” I’ve dreamt up about my therapist are probably actually what I wish I had in a mother.

They say you see what you want to see….

TT x

 

 

 

Session after “The Emails” Part 2

This is Part 2 (see Part 1 here)

I told her that I think it is best for me that we agree she will never contact me first because I think if she did sometimes and not others, I would struggle with that and it might cause me more pain.  She agreed to this very quickly and said she thought perhaps that was most sensible but we could review this and nothing was set in concrete. I surprised myself that I potentially could have stopped this from happening one day, but I guess I was doing the right thing for myself in the long-term… or, as T said, perhaps it being “my decision” meant I took back some control which made it less painful.  Maybe.

We discussed what I said about her responding clinically and my fear that if she did she would cement in the feeling of being “just a client”.  She said “Yes, and all the negative connotations that come with that of course”. I nodded. We spoke a little more about therapists responding via email and the problems it can cause. She said sometimes she/T’s are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” and that sometimes they just have to take a “leap of faith and hope for the best”. 

She told me that sometimes she might misunderstand something and sometimes she might not respond in the way I want her to.  She told me this might absolutely enrage me and that if that happens, we will just have to work through it together.  She then told me a story about her own therapy where her therapist had responded in an email telling her it was “okay to let it go” and that she was absolutely furious at this because she interpreted it to mean “let it go” whereas her therapist had actually meant – let the tears out.  She said she laughed about it now but that it did actually cause a huge rupture. She said sometimes if there is anger being expressed via email, it is actually best to wait until the session rather than dealing with it via email because she said just her kind response could actually “dilute” a lot.  She said if it is close to a session, she might respond to say something along the lines of “bring it with you tomorrow” and that this might annoy me.  I said I think I would struggle but this conversation would help that a little.  She said that when you are right in the anger, this conversation won’t actually help at all!

I read out loud the paragraph about boundaries – I was particularly dreading reading that bit to her. (I still cringe a little at swearing in front of her, although I am getting better because she has started to swear too so makes me feel like it’s more allowed). I read the bit about only being allowed my feelings during scheduled hours wasn’t fair and she agreed. She said it absolutely wasn’t fair and it was very hard – I started to cry a bit, she carried on validating me and before I knew it the flood gates were open and I was really crying again. I actually couldn’t breathe properly at one stage and had mascara dripping off of my nose! (I bet I looked very sexy!) She said some really kind things – like “I am so sorry you are having to go through this” and things like that.  They seem to have made me cry even harder but they were really nice to hear.

I read the line about feeling like I was that kid again, bashing the door in with my hairbrush. She was nodding quite enthusiastically and said “Well yes! You do because what else could you do? You were furious and being ignored”. I told her that I can still visualise being locked in that room like it was yesterday. I was locked in there such a long time and according to my mother, I bashed on the door for hours and hours but I said I highly doubted it was that long.  She looked sad and said that those angry feelings were completely justified.

We spoke a little about her upcoming Easter holiday (2 weeks! Aghhh) and I said I was dreading it and what if this sort of thing happened just before she went away? I said the thought of it made me panic. She said that the psyche has a very clever knack of “winding down” before breaks and that I should be okay. She said that we would get through it.  I don’t want her to go again.

She said something about session times being only an hour and said that a lot of therapists offer 50 minute sessions with ten minute breaks between clients. She said she had no idea how these therapists managed to do that. I said I was glad it was a full hour because an hour feels so quick, so 50 minutes would be even quicker! She said that the reason sessions are an hour are because the psyche gets to “wind up” then “wind down” again, hopefully enough that we can leave feeling relatively grounded and then a lot of the processing is done between sessions.  I understood this anyway and said to her that I did a lot of my processing the following day.  I said that the evening of my sessions I am normally just tired and needing sleep, but the following day I tend to write it all out and that is when it starts to make proper sense to me.  She asked whether I was able to remember a lot of our conversations and I said yes, usually but joked that perhaps if she were to read my account of our sessions, perhaps she would disagree!

I mentioned to her that someone I followed on here (enter Sirena) was allowed to record her sessions and that I have wondered whether this would help me in that I could play our sessions back and wouldn’t forget anything… she said that this may bring its own problems but is something we could think about and talk about some more.  I liked that she didn’t just refuse which I thought she might.

That is about all I can remember for now…. I left feeling that warm feeling of attachment/connection which I love and wish lasted longer and will admit (despite its pathetic-ness) that I played a song very loudly on the way home called Home –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGvo62fX8V8 and thought of how it sometimes feels like “home” when we connect like that… I know, pass the sick bucket!!!

I got home and felt very tired and delicate.  I went to bed early and I’ve felt kind of sad today. I’m not really sure why considering the connection but perhaps it’s just a therapy hangover.

I then had a dream featuring my mum and her ex-boyfriend (who abused me) where my mum decided to take him back despite knowing what he had done to me.  She just stood there with a blank face and he smiled. UGH, not enough crap for one night clearly!

Session after “The Emails” Part 1

Hi everyone, this is a long post about what happened last night following my feelings last Thursday/Friday about T and the emails that followed that. I have split it into two parts so it is easier to read.  This is Part 1.

 

I was feeling really nervous about last night’s session and that feeling seemed to get worse the closer to the end of the day it got. I pulled up outside with only a couple of minutes to spare, normally I have 15-20 minutes but I think this was probably a good thing on this occasion. As I turned off the engine and prepared myself for what was to come, I exhaled very deeply as though I had been holding my breath and then my heart started thumping sooo fast! I could feel it without even putting my hand to my chest.  I then got jelly legs as I stepped out of the car!!

I knocked on the door and T opened the door with her usual smiley face and greeted me the same as every other time. Nothing had changed at all – thank god. I sat down and put my cardigan over my legs as I always do and hoped she didn’t comment about this tonight because I needed the comfort of it. She didn’t thankfully.

T asked how I was doing and I said “scared”. She didn’t seem surprised.  I told her about my nervousness and my heart beat in the car.  She asked me what it was specifically that I was feeling scared of. I said I was scared of it all. She asked if I was scared of the fact I had emailed her? I said no, more that we now have to talk about it all face to face and I find that hard.  I said I felt very vulnerable and I was scared of the feelings I might uncover and scared of how upset I might get in session.

T questioned whether I was scared of the imagined repercussions of reaching out to her. I said I didn’t think so, I knew she wouldn’t tell me off or anything. T said that the adult part of me might, but what about the child?

She said that she had noticed in my email I had tried to cover all grounds – i.e. I had said I know we can’t “do” therapy over email, that she had told me before that emails can be dangerous, that it put her in an impossible situation etc – she asked me what it would mean for me to let her worry about those things? …..

I thought about this for a moment and read that part of my email back to myself. I said I think that perhaps I said all of that so that she didn’t.  I said that this way it was like I was saying them before she did because it would hurt less.  She said something about boundaries and that she felt things that she has said before about boundaries have become stuck very rigidly in my head. I agreed. I said I would hate to overstep the boundaries. She asked me why, what would that mean to me and I said “well, I guess I worry about the… well, punishment is probably the wrong word but the….” She interrupted me and said “No, I think punishment IS exactly the right word”.  She said again that she thinks I am scared of being “punished”. I agreed, perhaps I was. She said she thought this would be because when I was little I would have been punished when upset or angry etc – this is true and something we have spoken about before.

We spoke about the actual event again. She said that she thought I had really got in touch with some painful stuff on Thursday just before I left and she could see how much pain I was in. I nodded and got a bit teary. I said that when I had got to the door, she had said something nice and that it had set me off. She said that sometimes people caring can be painful. I agreed. I said as soon as she said what she had said (something about keeping both of my feet firmly on the ground) I had to try so hard not to cry before I got to the car.

She then said that in future if I leave in that state I must not drive home straight away. She was quite strict about this. She said the last thing she wanted was for me to have a car crash. She said if I feel too vulnerable crying in the car outside then I could drive into another road or to a park close by, but that I needed to find a way to ground myself before driving. She suggested playing a game on my phone or writing it out.  I told her that I knew what she meant but that I had actually found the drive with the loud music and windows open quite helpful. I said I actually went a longer way home than I needed to in order to keep that feeling a little.

I told T that I felt rather disconnected emotionally from actually directing any anger or blame onto my mother and said I felt like I had taken a huge step backwards. She said that she completely disagreed and said I haven’t done that, but that I was transferring the feelings onto her which is exactly what I was meant to do.  She told me how I had to do a lot of the things I didn’t get to do as a child with her – because I can’t and couldn’t do them with my mother. I nodded.

She asked me if I would like to read out loud the email I had sent her. I jokingly said “oh yes, that would be lovely, I would love that!” because she knows how much I hate doing this. She makes me do this because it really gets me back in touch with the feelings – it works every time.  I knew it would last night because I was already able to access those feelings pretty easily.

I read the email out loud and we stopped at lots of bits of it for her to offer some comfort or explanation. She said that she really saw how I couldn’t possibly believe that she would have been thinking of me after I had left – that to me, she really couldn’t “care less” or “give a shit” and that I was just forgotten about in my head.  I said yes. That I knew that sounded horrible, but it is how I felt at the time.  She looked quite sad for me and said “I have been very pre-occupied with you since then and have thought about you a lot hoping you were okay”.  They were such lovely words to hear. I can’t ever look at her when she says things like this. It feels impossible, too good to be true maybe. But they have given me something lovely to hold on to today.  Actually writing that makes me feel a bit emotional again.

She told me that she understood my fantasy of her texting me to see if I were okay but that there are various reasons she doesn’t do this. One being that although I might be upset in session, I am an adult out in the world and she doesn’t want to disempower me. (At this stage I wanted to tell her that she could feel free to “disempower” me because I am never “powered” but I didn’t).  She said that sometimes she might get it wrong – she might text thinking I am dreadfully upset and in fact I am not.. all sorts of reasons.  She then said to me, “please don’t think I don’t have my own fantasies about contacting you, because I do”. That was lovely to hear. Although I do admit that I did automatically try to decide whether this was her just being nice (I know, I know…). I thought to myself I was surprised that she told me that, but that I loved that she had.  I liked that.

She said that she isn’t saying that she absolutely cannot and will not ever reach out to me first, but that it is important that I learn that just because I have to reach out first doesn’t mean that her response is any less real or valid.  I said I guessed so, but it didn’t quite feel the same. She told me she understood that. She said that I was hoping and wishing she could just know. That she would be completely attuned to me because that is what I’ve never had. She said my mother should have been completely attuned to me and been able to just know when I was in pain and soothe me – but that obviously she didn’t.  This made me teary again and I nodded.  I felt like saying “this isn’t fair!!!” but I didn’t.  She said she wasn’t trying to be cruel in saying that, she just wanted to demonstrate that she understood.

(Part 2 coming up)

 

 

Boundaries, Schmoundaries

As you will know if you read my “Ugly” post yesterday, things turned pretty shitty for me after my session yesterday and it seemed to really throw me into something.

I’m really aware that the thing that seems to be giving me the most pain is that I had to leave. I HAD to leave the room, I HAD to leave her and I wasn’t ready to go.

I really, really wanted her to come out to me when I was sobbing in the car. I wanted her to care and come and console me.. I wanted her to text or email me last night to check in and see how I was because she knew I was in pain.  Even today would be nice.. but of course she didn’t and she isn’t going to.

The logical part of me knows that it’s all to do with the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship but if I am totally honest with myself, it makes me want to scream “Fuck the fucking boundaries!!!!”.

BOUNDARIES

The fact that there are even “boundaries” makes me angry.  Why can’t I have what I need?

Why can’t she love me in a genuine way that isn’t part of a job or part of a process or part of a journey that will end? It is a very real reminder of the fact that she ISN’T my mother no matter how much I might wish she were.

I don’t doubt that she has genuine feelings for me of some kind. Maybe she might have even wanted to contact me, but knew she couldn’t.  Perhaps it is for my own good and all that bollocks like when you’re forced to eat vegetables when you’re a kid because they are “good for you” but I don’t care right now. I don’t want to eat the vegetables.

I struggle already with my feelings being “too much” and with feeling like I might “kill her off”, so the fact that we have to have fucking boundaries just feels like proof of this because they are there to “keep her safe“. Safe from me – safe from my feelings.  I mean, over the last few years, she has taught me to put in some boundaries to protect me from my narc mother. So that is what boundaries are there for. To protect us.

I guess I am being a bit of a toddler and having a strop. I want it and I want it now and I can’t get it so I am going to have a hissy fit and throw my toys out of the pram.

I just can’t understand why it is that it is so hard to have someone stay there with me when I need them. Like whenever I need them – not just when it’s acceptable. You know? Like 2 hours a week.

I can’t contain my feelings to only be allowed when it’s convenient!!!  

AGHH. Okay I think maybe I’ve found some anger. It’s been a long time coming.

I still love her. I am not angry with her in some ways, yet in other ways it feels too rigid and too black and white and too cold and clinical to just be able to send me on my way knowing I can’t cope with these feelings alone.

The fantasy is that she’s already forgotten how much pain I was in. She probably cared for ten mins or so and then forgot.  She’s forgotten me in my head – whether that is reality or not.

I’m sure this is transference – maybe the pain I am feeling is what I might have felt as a child when my mother wasn’t there when I needed her but even the understanding of that isn’t helping at the moment. Because she isn’t my mum – she is better.

She really “saw” my pain and then left me alone with it (even though it was me who left physically…)

I keep debating reaching out to her. Maybe sending a text or an email and telling her that I am struggling but I’ve never done that before and it is SO scary.  I keep telling myself to take a chance at being vulnerable and letting her potentially help me out a little…. but I worry she will say something that I perceive to be too clinical and it will hurt even more than it already does now and I can’t bear that. I guess I could tell her that. I don’t know yet.

 

Erotic Transference 

Yesterday T mentioned something about erotic transference and said that I might experience this. I looked at her as though she was talking another language.

Why would I have erotic feelings towards her? a woman when I am straight?

Then I panicked that she might think I was defending myself too much and tried to calm down the shock that was clearly radiating off of me.  Agghhhh! (the problems of allowing yourself to be analysed!).

She explained to me that erotic transference is a perfectly normal part of the process for some people and that it is nothing to be scared of. I said that I’ve read about it, but it isn’t something I’ve felt and said that I can’t imagine I would. I told her that I thought erotic transference only applied to male/female therapist and patient but it appears not.

T explained to me that erotic transference actually stems from infantile feelings of desire. Being seen, heard, held, accepted, soothed etc, but that because we are adults we view the feelings as being adult sexual feelings, rather than the innocent “love” feelings that a child would have.

I’ve done some research on this today and from what I have understood, it’s the intoxication of finally feeling noticed and understood instead of feeling rejected – which is what a lot of us in psychotherapy have felt our whole lives. That feeling becomes addictive and we want more – we feel special to our therapist and we want them for ourselves. We don’t want to share them with other clients or with their family and that “love” can lead to the erotic transference mentioned above.  Apparently it is the desire in you for love in general – not actually the person who is giving you the love and that is what you work through in therapy when/if erotic transference takes place.

T said that if this happens, I should just “enjoy” the feeling and not be scared by it.  The first thought I had when she said this to me was “wow, that must be super weird for you”.  Knowing her clients might have (what they deem) as sexual feelings towards her… that would creep me the f out!  I guess that is one of many reasons I am this side of the couch!

Then T said something which has stuck with me ever since.

I think it is highly likely you will experience this given the way your therapy is going”.

The way my therapy is going? How is my therapy going? What does that mean?

The insecure part of me has decided that she thinks I am hopelessly insecure – highly attached in a way that I shouldn’t be and all other sorts of negative things.

The adult part of me is trying to wrestle with the child part to say that as I’ve just said, heard and read, this is normal. It is part of the process which many other people go through. Still, it stings a little bit and I hate that because it makes me feel immature.

It has taken me nearly 3 years to accept that I need her. To accept that I am attached to her and that she helps to regulate me.  The thought of being sexually attracted to her – of having any kind of fantasy about wanting to be sexual with her makes me feel VERY uncomfortable. I don’t want that to happen. I see her as my replacement (better) “good mother” nothing else.

T said to me that it depends on “where the injury first took place”.  I asked her what age she thought that was for me and she said she thought right back to the womb.  She said this is why she thinks it is more likely that I will experience this because back then, you should experience things like being cradled in the safety of the womb, being born and having your mother stare happily into your eyes as she feeds you, smiling at you because you are a wonderful creation.  But if you don’t experience these lovely things, you have unconscious feelings and intense longings which you think you can have met with the therapist, but you think these unconscious needs are sexual desires.

 

Isn’t it odd that I can understand this on a logical level but still not accept its probability, or possibility, within my own therapy? Perhaps I am being overly defensive after all!

The Reunion – Back to Therapy Tomorrow

I started drafting this about 2 hours ago.  It was feeling very confused, but since typing it all out, I seem to have made some sense of it.  This is what I love about writing and about blogging. It helps me to un-jumble all the chaotic thoughts and organise them a little better.

It’s Monday 27th February today and I have called in sick at work. I woke up early this morning with such a pounding headache.  That and the familiar sense of sadness.  I hate that feeling. It is so obvious even when you’ve only been awake for seconds and you know the likelihood is, it isn’t going anywhere for at least the rest of the day.  Not a nice start to the day, or the week!

The thing is though, tomorrow happens to be “Return To Therapy” day and so I don’t think it is a huge coincidence that I feel like this.  I often have a lot of physical responses to therapy stuff (read: feelings).

Tomorrow will be the first session back after 12 days.  Today is day 11 (obviously) and yes, I have been counting! On the whole, I’ve done okay. Last Sunday and Monday were pretty awful, but since then I seem to have been in “adult functioning” mode and have been able to get on with life and not feel that sense of doom and panic that I had.

An hour or so ago, I re-read the post from last Monday and I cried. It felt as though it got me back in touch with those feelings again. I wonder if I am a bit regressed today. I think Little Twink is around.

All I have wanted for the last 11 days is to be back in there with her, so you would think today I would be excited and happy wouldn’t you? But no. I feel weird. I feel anxious, nervous even, and physically my head is banging so hard it’s like a door knocker!

What am I nervous about?

  • Am I scared she will have changed?
  • Am I scared it will all be a big anti-climax?
  • Am I scared she will extend her break at the last minute?
  • Am I scared of overwhelming her with all the stored up needs from the last 12 days?
  • Am I scared of admitting how needy I’ve felt and telling her the real feelings I’ve had?

I think given how easily that list was to write, the answer is probably yes to all of them.

It has made me question whether this is how I felt as a child when my mum was due back from one of her latest holidays. Did I feel nervous then? I can’t remember.  One thing I do remember is that she would be really “nice” for a little while and then everything would go back to normal and that seemed to hurt more than if she had stayed the same.  I guess it was that bit of hope that things were different at last … and then that sense of utter devastation that nothing was different at all  would hit. And it hurt like hell.

good-or-bad-mum

I don’t think that bit applies to therapy though, because I don’t want anything to change and she doesn’t need to be “nicer” than normal, because she isn’t like that.  Maybe old habits die hard?

This cocktail of feelings is unnerving. The mixture of anticipation, excitement, panic, dread – it is horrible.

I have read on the net today that lots of people feel angry towards their T on the return to therapy. Anger for having left them alone or anger as a defense to their painful feelings of abandonment. I don’t feel angry.  T has often told me that it is okay to feel angry feelings about her and that it is natural but consciously at least, I have none. Maybe unconsciously I do? Who know’s?

I have known for the last 11 days that today would bring these feelings of anxiety and nervousness, so it’s nothing I didn’t predict already. I’ve felt this way before.

I have tried to intellectualize my way out of this today and it has helped a little – I know that isn’t a good thing really, but it helps me to feel the feelings with less shame. It at least stops me from denying them completely.

For anyone who hasn’t watched The Strange Situation,who struggles with these feelings, give it a watch now, it is incredible. It models attachment styles in babies beautifully. It reminds me that a lot of these feelings are all due to my particular attachment style which is either anxious or disorganised. T says I flip between the two.

With that in mind, I can appreciate that it is transference making me feel this way today.

Because of my attachment style I experience a really high amount of distress when I am not with my caregiver (therapist).  I can’t soothe myself well and I therefore stay hyper-vigilant whilst she is gone.  When she returns, I remain just as fired-up because I don’t know what I am going to get. The good mother or the bad mother.  I guess that does link in with my memory from childhood actually doesn’t it? How long will the niceness last? How long until I have to feel the same again? I guess that is why I have often gone back to therapy after a break with “no feelings” and nothing to discuss, because if you want to keep your caregiver good after they’ve been away, you keep any “bad” feelings away don’t you? You stay good.

That isn’t going to work tomorrow because I have a whole host of feelings ready to take to her.  I guess THAT is what is making me anxious.

 

Shh!! My Inner Child Is Taking A Nap..

I just wanted to write to thank everyone who liked and commented on my post yesterday “Emotional Flashback?” I was in a really horrible and desperate place yesterday and the comments and likes really helped – the likes because I felt less “alone” and less “crazy” – the comments because it is lovely that people take time out of their busy lives to add some support/validation or give suggestions when others are suffering. It is so easy to “read and run” so I thank you all, sincerely.

Today, it feels as though the child part of me – I will call her “Little Twink” has settled back down.  Perhaps she is taking a nap after exhausting herself being so hypervigilent and alert yesterday.

Yesterday (and Sunday) I was really feeling these child-like feelings of abandonment and pain. Sadness, grief, worry, embarrassment – all of it. The post I wrote yesterday was as raw as they come. I very nearly didn’t post it because it is embarrassing to me to have feelings that strong, that needy and that dramatic, but, the point of this blog is to share my therapy journey and so it wouldn’t be right to not include these darker moments with you all.  Being able to accept these feelings as being “allowed” is still very much a work in progress for me.  I hope that by sharing some of this darker more desperate stuff, people are able to see that they are not alone if they experience similar things and on a totally selfish note, it helps to validate my pain when people tell me they understand it too. Win-Win right?!

Looking back to yesterday, everything felt so terrible. Everything was going wrong – it all felt so hopeless and just, well, shit! Today, I feel so much better. I am smiling again, I am laughing again and I feel in my “adult” brain again.  I have been trying to understand what took me out of that place and I don’t really know.  Perhaps I just felt everything enough to let it pass?

When I regress like yesterday and Little Twink takes over, it’s nearly impossible to imagine feeling better.  When the adult me is back in control, it’s hard to imagine having felt that bad!  It’s a weird concept.  I knew the second I opened my eyes this morning that today was going to be a better day. The first thought I had when opening them was that I had been able to sleep, all night, unlike Sunday night – that seemed to make things better immediately. I managed to get out of bed easier and the day just seemed “lighter” somehow.  When I was on the bus to the station this morning, I read a few posts on here that made me smile – they genuinely lifted my spirits and when I caught myself physically smiling (like a loon on her own!) on the bus, I knew adult me was back!

I hope that Little Twink has settled down because she feels heard and reassured and not because I’ve shamed her to pipe down. It’s hard to tell isn’t it? I am aware as I read this blog entry back to myself before posting that that my need to refer to those feelings in me as another person/part of me – Little Twink – and by using words like she and her I am objectifying to make it easier to tolerate. Baby steps.

sleeping

I read about emotional flashbacks ages ago. Pete Walker’s work talks to me as though it was written for me alone.

When I read sentences like this “Flashbacks strand clients in the feelings of danger, helplessness and hopelessness of their original abandonment, when there was no safe parental figure to go to for comfort and support” I can rationalise that I can tell my T the feelings I had yesterday without feeling hideously embarrassed because she knows this stuff isn’t really about her – it’s transference.  Yet, there is still a huge part of me that finds the whole thing so scary. I am learning that for me to really, truly need or depend on her (anyone?) it scares the living daylights out of me – I think this is actually what triggered all of this in the first place.  To acknowledge and admit that her being away for one week could cause such awful angst and sadness is one hell of an insight for me – but I am glad that I am starting to be able to let the feelings in because for the last 2 years, I’ve been adamant that I’ve had no feelings whatsoever about the breaks…. Clearly my unhelpful defence mechanisms are starting to thaw – and that is progress.

Anyway, thank again everyone. I am sure there will be much more where that came from!

On a completely different, happier and more random note – I wanted to thank Just Ruminating Rob for his Bitmoji suggestion – here’s mine! (I’m now addicted and sending them to all my friends ha).

bitemoji

Twink x