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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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).
The child in me has been waiting for an adult to come and save me.
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 – or possibly magic it away forever.
Matilda (film/book) got her happy ending with Miss Honey and I wanted mine.
I would hope that adults, mainly teachers, would see that I was a good girl and would adopt me. Friend’s 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 a fairytale ending.
So I find T one day many years later. At this stage I am an adult in age and in physicality but emotionally a child. Emotionally stunted at about 6 years old. Still craving love, affection, understanding, acceptance and warmth. Still so desperate for that bond. That unconditional love.
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?
I guess I felt similarities between T and my mum in that I saw them both as powerful, authorities and strong. I guess therefore potentially dangerous.
I liked and respected T for the first two years, but now it is more than that in ways I am not sure I have the words to explain.
T has showed me things that I had never seen. 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.
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 childlishly fantasise her being one day – Miss Honey.
But.. on the less lovely side of things. T’s attunement to me, her patience and everything else have suddenly become a beacon of light on the loss. The loss of my childhood, my innocence and my birth right to have been loved by my mother.
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.
As I write this I have this strange energy coursing through my body, like adrenaline. Maybe anger. It’s mixed with sadness and prickly tears.
Everything that in(very cleverly) defended myself from knowing, seeing and feeling suddenly staring me in the face with a (not so) welcome home banner.
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.
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 won’t wave her magic wand and I will be 6 again but her daughter and non 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. 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 was 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.
That poor little girl so desperate to be loved by a mummy that she didn’t get. It makes me sick.
I have just found this letter that I wrote to my mother in November last year.
It was a very powerful letter to have written and one that took me 2 years of therapy to be able to find the courage and anger to write.
I never plan to send this letter but I think I am ready to share it with people who might be able to understand the pain that is in it.
“I read a quote this morning, it said “Narcissist spelt backwards is arsehole… well, if they can make things up, then so can we!” and I laughed, a lot. I am angry at the moment and feeling a lot of things that I haven’t previously felt.
It has taken me 2 whole years to write this letter. I never imagined being able to or even wanting to say these things to you – not consciously anyway, but now I am ready and I am no longer holding back on anything. I never plan to send it, but I really want to get it down on paper.
Growing up you always made it crystal clear that I was a chore to you. I was an annoyance. I was in the way and a nuisance. You never hid that from me, I imagine you never tried. From a very young age you would tell me that as soon as I hit 16 I had to move out. I used to panic and wonder what I would do at such a young age, what if I didn’t have a well-paid job or anywhere to go? You didn’t care you said. You told me that at 16, you moved out and so would I. Basically you told me that as soon as legally possible, I was gone – you would be free of the chore that was raising your child. When you were around children you would say “eugh” or “yuck!” and have a look of pure disgust on your face. I didn’t really understand it then, but now I realise it was comments like that which made me feel so annoying to you and so unimportant and so wrong.
You said to me several years ago that when I “met the right man” I would be “taken off your hands” and that you wouldn’t have to “worry about” me anymore. At the time I couldn’t imagine ever not needing you or your opinions or advice and thought to myself that no man could ever stop me from needing you – but you were right. The right man did come along and he has taken me off your hands. The problem is, now you finally have exactly what you wanted, you don’t want it anymore do you?
You hate that I have my own life now, you hate that I rarely speak to you or see you and you blame that entirely on my boyfriend, or on me being “a robot” to him as you say. Because it couldn’t possibly be your fault, could it? You said to aunty on Saturday night, in front of me, that you never hear from me and that I make no effort to see or speak to you. You said it very angrily and you said it aunty, but aimed at me – as a guilt trip I guess? That wound me up. But on the plus side, you seem to have helpfully got me in touch with some of my anger towards you which I haven’t been able to do very well until now, so thanks for that.
I am going to write now what I am actually thinking about you today/yesterday which I feel is not what I SHOULD be thinking about my own mother – but it is what I am thinking nonetheless, so I am going to say it and I am not going to feel ashamed for these thoughts because they are real and they are mine and you can’t control that.
I look at you and I see nothing. I feel nothing. I don’t feel any connection, any maternal love, any warmth. I don’t feel like you’re my parent. I don’t feel comforted by you if I am sad. I don’t feel supported by you if I am dealing with something challenging and I don’t feel any real love for who I am as a person at all. When I look at you, I see a fakeness and a need to please – I guess I got that from you to a degree. You have to be the life and soul of the party, you have to have everyone think you are the most fun person there. You have to be the one wearing the best clothes and the one to spend the most money or buy the most expensive/best presents. It is clearly a need for approval – I see that now but I can’t take away the fact that it annoys the hell out of me. Maybe you could try putting some of that effort into being a mother.. or maybe it’s too late for that. Who knows.
I see how two-faced you are regularly and I always have, but this weekend drummed it home more than before. You’ve done nothing but slag aunty off recently and yet you begged her to come on Saturday and you screamed with joy when she turned up and again when she said she would stay later and get a taxi home. You then had the cheek to effectively slag me off to her, but in front of me – make up your mind, exactly who is the baddy, me or her? Both of us? I dread to think how much you slag me off and I dread to think what your friends and the rest of the family think of me because of the things you’ve said.
You boss and order your husband around like he is your toy. It is cringe worthy. I think, you are either so entitled in the belief that he SHOULD be running around after you like a slave, or that you do it to show off to people quite how much control you have over him or in your eyes, how much he loves you. Again it is embarrassing and nobody thinks it’s something to admire. Even if they do laugh along with you – its because they can’t quite believe it. Your husband in turn is turning into someone I don’t like much. I have lost a huge amount of respect for him – he is trying to use me as his scapegoat now that you have pissed him off by ordering him around and making him feel totally demeaned and worthless, like you do to everyone you have “loved”. That is not on. Problem is, he is weak. Just how you like people. Weak means people don’t confront you or stand up to you in any way. Weak is how you like people – although obviously you say that you hate it and refer to people you perceive as weak as “muppets” and “idiots” and “pathetic”.
You tell me and anyone else that will listen that your husband is your “whole world” and that you have never been happier, that you love him more than you ever thought possible and how happy he makes you. You tell me that you might have enjoyed having me much more if you had someone like your husband to share it with. Someone therefore, unlike my Dad who you say was hopeless, selfish and arrogant. Funny then that you can’t bear to be alone with him and so you fill every spare moment surrounding yourself with large groups of people, drinking all night and even taking holidays with other couples. God forbid you should spend some time together alone. You told me recently when you were drunk that he is “boring” but that you do love the fact that you can tell him to go and talk to certain people and he will “trot off and do it”. That isn’t love. You think that love is what you can get from someone, what they can do for you. That is why you “love” certain people like J and H so much because they all make you feel truly admired and special. It isn’t for who they are as people but how they make you feel about yourself.
I dread your birthday, I dread Christmas and I dread Mother’s Day. Why? Because I dread having to make a fuss of you. I hate it. I dread spending my time and effort trying to find something to please you – because that an impossible task (although I do understand I would get major brownie points for the cost of the present). I dread buying you a card with loving words of affection for “mum” because they are not true and I feel like a fraud buying you one. Also, I feel a sadness that I try to deny because I am sad that you will never be what I want you to be and I hate that you have that effect on me. My friend the other day brought her and her mum tickets to a show and I thought to myself how nice that must be – but I wouldn’t want that with you. The fantasy doesn’t have you in it now.
I used to want you to hug me. I used to want you to be able to properly give me a hug. A hug when I was crying or a hug when you saw me after a period of time.. a hug well done, I don’t know. Just a hug. Some affection, but now the thought makes me feel quite sick. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the truth (today at least). I do not want a hug today. It would be like hugging a lamp post – cold, detached and pointless. It would not have a positive effect on me in anyway.
I used to (even recently) think that deep down you are loving, kind, soft, caring and warm and I used to try very hard to pick away at the hard exterior to get to that bit, but it never worked. I guess I still believe somewhere that you are because I find it hard to believe that anyone can be inheritably bad. I sometimes try and figure out why you are the way you are, I think about things that happened in your life that I know of – like your Dad and believe a lot of it stems from him – particularly because of your need to be in a relationship and because of your choice of men. I told you this the other week, again, when you were drunk and you told me that you don’t believe in “all that” and that you make your own life and that not many people have the “perfect family” that I want and that you can’t forever blame things on your family or your upbringing. Defensive much?
You told me once that when you were staying with your Dad, that your stepmum and her kids were horrible to you and I feel sad for you imagining that…. But then I get angry because I think of how many times you put me in the same situation with your horrible choice of men and their kids and how you didn’t protect me from them. How you put them first, always. You didn’t learn from it, you just copied it. Not only that, you left me vulnerable and open to worse things because you were the only one who mattered, you didn’t see it because you didn’t ever and still don’t see me. You just see yourself.
I hate you right now for the things that you did to me that have had such an effect on who I am as a person, on how I view the world, how I view myself and all the struggles I’ve had until now because of you. I hate that I don’t trust anyone to stay. I hate that I push people away when I need them the most. I hate that I have such a hard time allowing myself to really feel things and then when I do, that it scares me and hurts me so much. I hate all of the things I’ve missed out on because of you and I hate most of all, that I have to fight the guilt I have in feeling these things. I hate even using the word “mum” to you because it doesn’t feel right, calling you by your name would feel much more normal. I hate having to say that I love you back if you ever say it, which is usually said more of a “love ya” in a text, because I don’t mean it at the moment and it feels wrong. I don’t think you mean it either.
I blame you for the fact that I don’t have any proper relationship with my Dad. Because I am sure you hate him so much for moving on with his life and not still being in love with you. I think you hate S because she got what you wanted when you met him, the lovely, normal, stable, family life. Thing is, again, when you got it – you didn’t want it anymore. So you immensely dislike them both for no good reason other than what I can only think is your own jealousy and bitterness. It is just a shame that in your own jealousy, you didn’t think about me. Again, I was just a pawn to hurt him wasn’t I. You did a good job because here I am now at 28 years old and I don’t have a very good connection with him either.
Because of you, I sometimes feel an intense loneliness deep in my heart. I am not alone now as an adult, I have my boyfriend and his children but it doesn’t totally remove that feeling at times when the pain comes back, as it does in waves. Sometimes I still feel like a lost little girl with no mummy or daddy and I guess that is because it isn’t really a feeling, but a memory. A real memory. I feel so sad for the little girl that I was who didn’t get what she needed – and what she deserved.
I sometimes hope that you will one day wake up and have some epiphany, you will get help, you will be remorseful and understand and apologise but I know that you will not. Even if you did, I am not sure what it would achieve, not really. It will all be too late by then anyway won’t it, the damage was done a long time ago. Maybe it will give you some inner peace or something, who knows. I feel sad FOR you now. I am not the only one that has missed out. You also, have missed out on so many things.
I’ve realised that me and my boyfriend are currently playing the roles of “rescuer” and “victim” – then both “persecutor” at times – we are totally following the Karpman’s triangle/relationship triangle to a tee –
It is hugely eye-opening for me that my whole life, all of my relationships, I’ve attracted men that might “look after me” and have automatically fallen into the “victim” role – without realising… then they get fed up with their role, or I do, and it goes wrong and ends – I had no idea. Recognising that pattern is very insightful but * at the same time. I feel ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, weak…. Stupid.
I was looking for stuff in my boyfriends that no adult can give me – unconditional love – protection – safety of never being abandoned etc. I have basically been searching for a mother/father role haven’t I? In boyfriends?
I need to learn not to try and seek that stuff from boyfriends…. I need to not expect or want my boyfriend to mind-read or fix me when I am down. I guess I need to deal with my counselling stuff with T and not bring that home – it clearly doesn’t help the dynamic.
Being “looked after” is a parent/child thing – not a relationship thing. Perhaps that is why the sex life took a tumble…. I mean, who wants to have sex with their child!! Perhaps that also explains the lack of romance and the lack of effort in keeping the “relationship” alive… because the relationship has turned into purely rescuer/victim stuff……. There hasn’t been room for romance? Isn’t that sad? I feel very upset about that.
I feel stupid really because I thought I had finally found a relationship that was entirely different. I thought it was just the men that I was picking that were wrong for me, I hadn’t realised it wasn’t that I was just picking the wrong men – I’ve been entering into this triangle thing every time, even with my boyfriend . I thought boyfriend was the “hero” that came along and made it all better – and that is entirely the problem.
I feel scared that now this has come out into the open that we won’t be able to tolerate it. What if we can’t fix it? What if boyfriend is put off completely and can’t see me any differently after “seeing” it?
I feel ashamed that I’ve done this – that I’ve let this happen. What if I do lose him … is our love strong enough for us to climb out of this triangle together and still be okay? I’ve spent the last 3 years feeling so sure I have finally found “the one”. Someone that I feel safe with, secure with, someone I don’t worry about cheating on me or leaving me – someone that “gets me”, encourages me and supports me. Having someone that understands all that I do in my counselling and can be there for me when I am going through tough times without judgment.. and now I realise we’ve been in these roles, does that mean none of it was real?
He said a while ago, “God, being the rescuer is tiring. Can I be vulnerable for a while?” and I feel panic all over me that he has admitted he is tired of his role … he was resenting me and I didn’t even know. How blind have I been?
How do we turn this around? I know the fact we’ve been able to identify our roles in this is a great start… but now what happens? How do you change the only dynamic you’ve ever known in each other.. in the relationship… how do I stop that need of mine to be looked after and protected when its clearly been automatic and unconscious desire all this time? My entire life? How do I get that need met elsewhere – or put it to bed… to stop it ruining another relationship. It wouldn’t have mattered who I met if I had that need, I guess………
I assume that I met boyfriend and he was attracted to my vulnerability because it was less threatening to him than his ex wife was… he didn’t feel needed or loved or appreciated by his ex-wife and he met me and I was sending out signals left, right and centre that I needed him and I would be grateful – that was the pull. He sent me signals that he would be caring, stable and give me unconditional love and that was my pull… our roles in the triangle were born there and then. We just had no idea. I remember reading this article a long while ago and being too afraid to show him. I was afraid that if he read it, realised it was true that he would leave. And now he has read it, I feel the same.
I know logically it isn’t just my fault. It is both of our issues that have allowed for it to happen and I know that I am working on myself in counselling so I am doing the best I can do, but I do feel extremely worried and upset right now that maybe now we’ve realised, it can’t ever be hidden again. I can’t bear to think that we might not be “real”.