Questions about the fear of needing

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, particularly since my session Tuesday night and since my last blog, the comments that you lovely lot have been leaving me and today’s thoughts are:

 

Question: If I had a different childhood and therefore a different attachment  (perhaps secure rather than insecure/disorganised) would this be different? Do “normal” children/adults not experience this fear?

I think I know that the answer to that is that no, they don’t… that this fear of mine is uncommon (although clearly not unheard of according to things you guys have said in support) but I think I am just trying to get my head around this properly.

Not to sound like a child “blaming” someone but… so it’s her fault that I feel this way? It’s because she didn’t consistently meet my needs that I learnt to be scared of needing someone to rely on? Is that really right? If so, I feel so sick and angry about that today. How bloody unfair. How cruel.  How can you punish a child and scare them for having needs?

For me to feel scared of relying on someone – particularly someone like T who is clearly there to help me, I have clearly learnt that depending on someone and being vulnerable is potentially risky. Risky how? A risk of rejection or risk of abandonment or punishment I guess… and how would I have learnt that lesson? I assume by being abandoned physically and/or emotionally or by being made to feel rejected or ashamed. I guess my mother’s whole “you are so needy” is an example of that……………….. sorry if this is blatantly obvious to you guys, clearly it is taking me some time to understand this on a deep level.

 

Next question: this desperation of contacting T, of needing her there, of needing her to help me hold my stuff – is this how a child feels towards her parent when she is young or something? Or is this just something that I am personally experiencing with T right now?

I ask that because I am aware of the “re-parenting” that is done in this type of therapy and that T has said to me so many times before that I “need to do with her what I wasn’t able to do as a child”…. Is that what she means?? I wonder if that is why it feels so primal/infantile? Regression that kind of thing?

I am seeking answers today and I’ve woken up feeling unwell. Sick, blocked nose and headache-y. I don’t know if I am feeling sick because of this stuff – if it’s emotional or whether I am just genuinely getting unwell and that’s making me feel shit. Either way… I need to understand this stuff a little more.

too much

The difference it makes seeing T

So, as you might have noticed, I wasn’t in the best of moods yesterday. I was very down and very miserable, that lasted all day long. I took myself off to see T as usual and was feeling a bit anxious about going in.  As it turned 7.30pm exactly I got out of the car and knocked on her door. It felt as though it took her longer than normal to open the door, I had a very quick panic that perhaps she wasn’t there – I had the wrong day – she was on holiday… totally irrational for what could have only been about 3 seconds.

T opened the door with her usual smile and “Hello Twink” – she never ever seems any different. I thought to myself then and again today, how hard that must be. How she can keep the same eye contact and smile, the same tone of voice day after day, week after week… that must be hard. I sure as hell do not keep the same voice, smile etc at work every day that’s for sure!

I walked in.. sat down and T asked “how does it feel coming tonight?” I said.. “usual” and kinda looked at her awkwardly and said “I feel nervous/awkward”. T seemed disappointed/sad that I felt this way. We started to discuss this but within literally seconds of me trying to explain how I felt, the lump in my throat appeared and I began crying.  I am still shocked at how quickly the tears seem to come sometimes. I had barely been in the room a minute! I got a bit embarrassed and T said not to feel embarrassed, that it was good I could bring it to her and said it must have been really tough “holding it all weekend”.  I said to her I hadn’t done very well “holding” it at all because I had cried a lot over the weekend.  She said exactly, you’ve held it on your own – without me. You needed to bring it here. I agreed.

I got upset telling T how I felt which is basically what I said yesterday. I get hit by this tidal wave of feeling/emotion – depression or grief or whatever it might be… I then feel as though I absolutely NEED to email T, like it isn’t a want but a real need and then I send an email to her and at some point afterwards, I am hit by the shame of being so needy and then the fear and panic that I will be punished or pushed away or told off by T.  I was very upset telling her this.

T said (for probably the millionth time) that she would not be punitive, that she would not punish me. I said I knew that logically but that what worried me was that she thought that I didn’t know what was “too much” and then would feel she had to (reasonably) tell me and that I didn’t think I would handle the rejection well – the boundary.  T said she did not think that at all.

I told T I worried she would say I could only email say, once and no more – that she needed to tell me what was okay and what was too much. That she would say X is okay, but Y is not. T said she absolutely wasn’t going to do that, she wasn’t going to put a limit on me like that. That felt so reassuring although I still think she might regret saying that lol…

She said it was like I had created rules in my head what was okay and what wasn’t – she said I really didn’t know were the boundaries were did I… I agreed. I said that last week I had seen her twice as usual but I had then emailed her TWICE before the dream thing and that the dream thing felt stupid because at the end of the day, it was only a dream!!!

T said that it wasn’t “only a dream” and said that the dream had clearly stirred up some very deep and painful feelings in me. I agreed. We then spoke through the dreams and T asked me what I thought they were about. I said I thought it was obvious and she said she wanted to hear my words/my view of them.  I said that the shower one I felt was about the fact that when I was young and my mother was (rarely if ever) single, she would be much nicer to me but that then as soon as she got a new bloke, I was dumped again and in the way.  I said that I guess the fear was that if there was a man around T, that I would lose her in the same way (despite how unrealistic that really is).  T agreed.  She said she felt both dreams were of a very similar nature but the second was much worse.

We spoke about the relevance of my stomach being split open – of my guts all falling out. T said how scary that must have been and that she felt the fact I was in so much pain and the guy on the phone wasn’t taking me seriously, wasn’t helping me was very symbolic of the pain I was in during my childhood and how nobody “saw” it and nobody helped me or took me seriously. I agreed completely.

We spoke about her “daughters” and her “son” the photos etc. T said, “you say you felt insanely jealous” that is a very painful feeling. I said yes. I said that the way she looked at her son with such fondness upset me so deeply because I knew nobody looked at me in that way and that hurt my chest.

T said how it all comes back to not feeling “held in mind” and that when other people are around I think I disappear. Me and T have been having this conversation for some years now so this isn’t new.  I agreed.  She said that I think when others are around, partners, kids (referring to the dreams), that rather than the love being replenished, it is taken away.  I agreed. We said how this is due to the fact that is how it was for me as a child, I really was forgotten when my mother’s latest love interest came along – or her new best friends who were often only a year or two older than me.  I hate her for that.

I told T that I was really struggling at the moment and that I felt so up and down. One day I was happy and the next I was furious or depressed. I said it was tough and it made me worry about how my boyfriend felt. I said it made me feel as though I was less stable than I used to be which can’t be true… T said it may well be true but only for now.  She said you have years and years of held in feelings and now they finally have a way out it is hard work.  She said to try and hold on to the fact that in the end, I will be so much more stable on a permanent basis.  I agreed.

I told T that I don’t understand this absolute dire need to reach out to her when I feel like that – I told her again that it really didn’t feel like I just might like to, it was like I absolutely HAD to – like I couldn’t cope on my own. T said that was okay, that is what I needed right now and that was fine.  I told her I worried she might feel like I treated her like a dumping ground for my bad stuff.  T said she did not feel like that at all. She said that it won’t always be like this, that you have to be flexible depending on what the client needs and what the client is going through.  She said that she does have her own boundaries and will only read/reply to emails when she can and that is HER boundary.  She said she won’t “bleed all over the client” because of her own stuff.  I said I worried that she saw my name ping in her inbox again and again and would roll her eyes and think “god, her again!”.  T said that right now, during those moments, I was regressed to a child state and I did NEED T and that was okay.  T said I was really scared of being vulnerable and I agreed yes I was. Very.

I wonder to myself today whether T or anyone really can truly understand the depth of that feeling – I don’t think they can because it is so hard to explain. I told T that it was weird I was suddenly so aware of this because it’s got harder/worse than it ever has been before, I didn’t even used to know I felt scared (even if she did). T said I was “right in the depths of the work now”.  She told me to just say to my boyfriend to hang on in there with me for now because it was a hard time.  I did say that to him when I got home and he said he knew already. I said “why, because I’ve been a miserable cow?” and he said “no, not miserable but…. up and down”.  I agreed.  He said he felt I was picking fights with him when I needed to cry. I disagreed with that but said perhaps I was being easily triggered by things.

I also told T that I had noticed the last week or so that when I returned home from anywhere, being home was making me miserable. T said “when you are alone?” and I said, whenever – alone or with others. I told her that Friday night I actually excused myself off to bed early because I felt so miserable and low that I just didn’t have the energy to be around everyone and try and act happier than I felt.  I told T my grandmother had shown me photos of me as a child that day and that I wondered if that had brought on a lot of feelings.  Seeing “little me” in front of me like that.. kinda makes it hard to deny what she (I) went through. I also told T that when I was younger, coming home from my nan’s was always horrible and I would be in tears very quickly.  I said perhaps that is part of the reason I felt the same when I came home Friday from my nan’s. T said it almost definitely would be.

T asked me how I thought I would feel when I left and I said I thought I would feel relieved because she hadn’t told me off for emailing or asked me to stop. I told her that I knew it sounded very extreme but I truly felt if she told me I couldn’t email her anymore, that I wouldn’t want to continue therapy, that is how scary it felt. I also told T that I felt very fat, ugly, spotty and just generally wrank. I said I hadn’t even done my hair for work today and I always did my hair.

I left feeling much lighter (as always) and I woke up today feeling happy. I spent some time when I got home last night preparing a healthy salad and fruit salad for work today, I got up and did my hair and I walked to the station instead of driving or getting the bus.  I also went out for a walk at lunch time to get my steps up.

Isn’t amazing what a difference seeing your T can make on not only your mood, but your clothes, your hair, your exercise.. everything. Is that just me? I was thinking this earlier and it triggered off a weird thought – every time I see my Dad (not often), I have brought a new outfit to wear………… that says a lot doesn’t it? Yet I will go to T’s in an old baggy top with my hair tied on the top of my head with black eyes from crying….. I really must be starting to feel more comfortable showing T who I “really am”. Clearly more so than my own parents. That is amazing isn’t’ it?

 

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.

Mind, body & soul

I was sent a photo of me bowling yesterday and it’s horrific. I look so fat! I know this sounds weird but although I don’t see myself as skinny (not at all), I didn’t think of myself as particularly chunky either. Well, photos don’t lie and now I’m in shock. 

I admit for the last… actually I don’t know how long, I’ve been eating whenever and whatever I want. This has consisted in take aways after particularly bad days at work and drinking wine/snacking on chocolate and crisps etc. 

I’ve been emotionally eating. Comfort eating for sure. 

I’ve also not been able to sleep this weekend, Saturday night was bad and last night even worse. 

I feel tired even though I’m probably still getting enough sleep and I’ve decided I need to do something about this. 

My gym classes have slipped, I thought I was giving myself a break but I think maybe the exercise would have done me good both physically and mentally. 

Today is a new day and all. I think that my mind and body are really going through it at the moment. All this understanding and deeper level of acceptance that my mother has npd is taking its toll on me in both ways. 

I nearly asked for a day’s leave from work today to sleep and be alone but decided I would only spend the day upset and perhaps the distraction would do me good. I’ll probably regret that later but hey. I can’t keep taking time off work when things get hard, I’ll have no holiday left. 

She has done enough damage already. She can’t keep doing this. My mental health has taken a battering and now my sleep and my body? Enough! 

Bursting my bubble

I went into my session yesterday feeling okay. I was feeling a bit annoyed that my excited-ness had worn off (thanks to T). T asked me how I was and I said I was “good”. She always smiles when I say this as if she doesn’t believe me. I think that’s because she’s very aware, as am I now, that I am a people-pleaser and I was taught that fine and good thanks were the only appropriate responses to that question.

When she smiles at me like that I always try to elaborate and so I said “well, I’m not as excited as I was on Tuesday”. She seemed to know this and said “ah, it feels as though the bubble has been burst a bit?” I said yes it did.  She asked me how that felt and if it was her that had done that. I said yes, she had brought me back to earth and it was crap. She smiles and said “what a bitch I am” in a playful way and I laughed and said “yeah, you’re so out of order”.

T then asked seriously, did it feel I was right or wrong? I said she was right but that was annoying.

I told T that several times I’ve had an exciting “revelation” and it feels she ruins it. (This all said playfully although honestly).

I said it hadn’t felt I was intellectualising but that it was clear I was. T said there was nothing wrong with that and that sometimes it helps us to be able to cognitively understand. I agreed.

T said she had noticed that it seems when I’ve had enough of the feelings – when perhaps they’ve become too much, that’s when I will read.  This intrigued me as it wasn’t something I had noticed about myself. T said that it’s like I need to give myself a break and so I switch off the feelings part and read and deal with things cognitively/intellectually. I found this quite enlightening. Also, I do like it when T out rightly tells me something like that, it’s nice to have some feedback and to know what she thinks about me/what she observes from the other couch.

She asked how I was feeling now about it all (i.e. about my mother). I said it was making me feel sick. T asked in what way and I said it was making me feel physically sick. T asked what exactly was bringing that feeling on and I said the realisation of the fact I was completely brainwashed. That I had never known (obviously) and that it was all so disgusting. T understood and said it was extremely sick. I said “it’s wrank” – which is odd koz it’s not a word I ever use lol!

T asked if I was feeling sad and I said no. I wasn’t crying at all. I said I just felt angry. T repeated “you are in touch with your anger” and I said yes I definitely was. This is a good step for me because anger hasn’t been something I’ve felt much in therapy.

I said that I was re-reading a book called “you’re not crazy, it’s your mother!” And that I had read it when T had first explained narcissism to me but this time it was even more amazing. I said there were just so many examples of things my mother did/does it was really quite shocking. T agreed it was shocking.

I told T what I had written about yesterday and repeated what I have written there.  T told me that it isn’t surprising and that actually, it was quite clever because I had to use the tools that I had.  T said that some daughters of narc mothers report memories of their mothers being really kind to them when they were poorly and so would regularly get “sick”.  I said that my mother was awful when I was unwell. She already knew this but for background, my mother used to make me clean up my own sick as a child whilst I was still being sick because she “couldn’t handle sick or blood”. A few years later she trained to be a health care assistant and has worked in the hospital for the last 12 years where she has to clean patients, bag up dead bodies and all sorts.  So just my sick and blood it seems.

I told T that I had text my younger sister to tell her about the book and said I had screen-shotted a section on scapegoats and the golden child because it summed up the dynamic of me and my sister growing up and I hoped it would help her. I’ve realised that in my teen years at some point o started to try to identify with her for her approval and at the time I was “promoted” into golden child position. This therefore meant that from my sister’s point of view, I was the lucky one and that she felt left out.

I wanted my sister to realise that me and mother were not “close” I was just enmeshed with her. Anyway, it fell on deaf ears unfortunately and she told me that going over the past wouldn’t help her and that she is “sure mum will upset me one day too but…” and I realised I was fighting a battle I would not win and so just accepted that we needed different things. It’s a shame.

T told me that at least I had planted the seed and that she would come round in her own time. She said I am further on than she is but said it is hard for her because she is living with my mother every day and I am not. I agreed. T said how hard it is when you can see it and you are seeing your family being sucked in.  I agreed. I said that since I had distanced myself from my mother, my sister was now “golden child” and so she would be enjoying that not understanding it all. I said to T that as soon as I received her reply I worried what she would do with this information.. keen to keep her golden child status what if she told my mum about the book or something? T said it didn’t matter really but obviously the thought filled me with terror.

We spoke again about the fear my mother provokes in me – I said that my boyfriend had told me to really think about what I was so scared of and that I really wasn’t sure. T said that it was a trigger back to childhood and the fact that she genuinely was very scary.  I said she was.  T said I have absolutely no doubt that your mother was an extremely frightening woman.  I said she was but that I keep telling myself I am an adult now, she can’t do anything but T said it isn’t as easy as that, the fear is deep set.  I agreed.  I liked this because it made me feel less pathetic for being an adult who was scared of upsetting her mother.

(conversation changed for a while onto my boyfriend’s mediation with his ex-wife although I was keen not to let this take up too much of my session. T said something nice though, she said “I have really noticed a big change in you and how you deal with [ex-wife’s name].  She said that I was much more able to see her as a separate person to myself and my boyfriend and not feel so threatened by her and their past.  That was lovely to hear because I feel the difference too, it used to be all-consuming).

We spoke about my mother again and I shocked myself at what came out of my mouth. I said that I knew this was a horrible thing to say, but… sometimes I think it would be easier if she were dead. I said that I know that is an awful thing to say, and I wasn’t for a second wishing she would die, but that it would mean I didn’t have to live with the constant fear, the guilt, the worrying about being ostracized from my family and everything else. I wouldn’t have to have the internal fight of being too “on guard and aggressive” when I see her, or run the risk of being sucked back in.  Lucky T seemed to know what I meant and didn’t look at all shocked or offended. She said that there are many, many daughters of narcissistic mothers who would think/feel the same thing.  She said she understood what I meant and that it would enable me to get on and heal without things constantly getting in the way.

I told T that what I am struggling with is how to be around her now. I said that I can’t help myself, I feel feisty. I am on guard, I like to try to catch her out on her inaccuracies.  I like to call her out on her shit and that I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it! T said it’s because I am so angry with her. I agreed.  I said that at the moment she is not “liking” anything I put on Facebook when it has anything to do with my boyfriend or his family and that it was making me laugh and was becoming a bit of a game.. I said I know, I know, not healthy.  T said the best way to be around her was to act “benign” to not react. She said that was the best place to be in. I said that was difficult! T understood. I said that my book suggested letting the whole conversation be about the mother because they love that and it gets you off the hook too, I said I can’t, it feels so wrong to do that and T said I didn’t have to do anything that made me feel uncomfortable.  T said that she understands the temptation but it’s what follows that is the problem. The rage that I will get in return, she said it is not worth it.

I told T some of the awkward/inappropriate conversations that were had on Saturday. I will put some here for your amusement.

  1. I told T that on Saturday evening my sister told my mother that she didn’t like it when she came downstairs in the morning when her boyfriend stayed (my sister’s boyfriend that is) without a bra on. My mother likes to come down wearing a strappy pj top and no bra.. she has her nipples pierced.. its pretty cringe because her nipples are VERY prominent and obviously my boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend both find this very uncomfortable. They don’t know where to look! My mother said it was her house and she could do what she wanted and that it was their problem if they didn’t like it and that they should grow up. My sister tried to get me to back her up and I just said that personally I make sure I put on a bra when I am around my step kids. My mother would not accept there was anything wrong with what she did. Anyway, it was a very inappropriate and awkward conversation that is probably pretty amusing to read about!
  2. My mother’s friend said she hated wearing a thong. My mother said she had only worn a thong once and that she went to the toilet and forgot she was wearing it and so wee’d all over it and had to throw it away…… gross. Not exactly normal conversation for my boyfriend and my sister’s boyfriend to have to listen to!

*******[THIS SECTION CONTAINS SOME SEXUAL REFERENCES]*******

Me and T said how there was such a lack of boundaries. T said that my mother tried to sexualise me at a very young age. This is something we have spoken about a few times before. I said that when I was about 16, I used to go to clubs with her and she would try to set me up with men who were her age.  T asked if anything happened with these men and I said no, luckily. I used to get scared and disappear off or hide in the toilets until they lost interest.  T said she couldn’t tell where she ended and I began.  We discussed how my mother liked me/my sister to know she was having sex. She used to always leave her door wide open so we would have to see and she was VERY loud about it, like really OTT loud (think porn video)… she was once having sex on the stairs and when I came home and shouted at her, she told me it was her house and I should move out if I didn’t like it.  All things normal parents just do not do.  I said that it reminded me of NYE one year, about 5/6 years ago now where I told her that her loud, open door’ed sex was upsetting me and she went ballistic and we rowed and told me at least she was desired and again, if I didn’t like it I could move out.  We didn’t speak for about 2 weeks after this argument and I lived with her so that was awkward.  T said that she should have felt extremely embarrassed but she didn’t and T said she was a bit of a voyeur. I said I can only think that she likes us to know how fancied she is because I can’t think of any other reason for it?

****** [SEXUAL REFERENCES END] *********

I said to T that I could be wrong, but I am pretty intuitive when it comes to my mother, that I think she is trying to “teach me a lesson” the moment. I get the feeling that she is using a bit of reverse psychology by not asking to see me, not liking my statuses, not contacting me etc in the hope that I will “realise what I am missing” or something. I said obviously I could be way off, but I would not be at all surprised. T said I could easily be right.

I said that she has gone through most of the stages set out in my book such as the victim thing (my daughter doesn’t want to see me) playing the victim, she’s tried to split us up by causing that big argument that time, using hoovering by sucking me in (briefly this worked), she is now doing the whole smear campaign thing of telling everyone that my boyfriend is controlling and manipulative.. so I wouldn’t be surprised. T warned me that she may well be about to “up the anti” and that I should be very careful.  She said that some narcissists even attempt suicide as a way to guilt their daughters back in! I said this isn’t something my mother would do, but I will be careful.

 

The Victim Is Dead.

The victim is dead.

Here lies the body of victim Twinkletoes – she died feeling sorry for herself for her lack of decent parents, for the all-consuming feeling of being constantly rejected by the people that “should” love her but constantly demonstrated that they did not. She died never feeling like she was deserving of love. She died feeling unlovable. She died having only half-lived her life.

The survivor is born.

Let me introduce to you the newly born survivor Twinkletoes. She is born with an understanding of her own self-worth, with self-respect and with the understanding that other peoples’ perception of her, is not her truth.  Newly born survivor Twinkletoes does not think about the things that happen in life as unfair, does not think that the world owes her anything and does not feel small, powerless or defenceless.  Survivor Twinkletoes is not a child, but a powerful, independent, strong woman.

 

 

Now that the introductions are over, normal service shall commence.

Hi guys. I haven’t gone mad I promise, although something has happened. Since my last blog yesterday which sounded very strong-willed, I went back downhill slightly and started to feel a bit of a victim again. I went off to my session feeling rather pleased to be having a session. I think looking back I was hoping to go in and have T tell me what to do, what to say and what I needed to do to make things better but obviously that didn’t happen.

I ranted, vented, moaned whatever you want to call it, I exhausted myself. T sat with me. She “heard” me, she understood and she validated but she didn’t tell me what to do to magically fix it which was a shame really… however we were (or rather I was) chatting away about it all and I said that it felt as though my mother and my father were both standing behind glass.  I can see them but I can’t “get to them” and T said “and they probably can’t hear you either if they are behind glass” and I agreed.  I said to T that when I was a child and visited my Dad for the day, he would always ask me at some point in the afternoon (awkwardly) what time I wanted to go home.  I never knew the answer to this and it always made me feel very uncomfortable. I told T that I never knew the “right” answer so I would always say very timidly that I didn’t mind, it was up to him.. whenever.  He used to get a bit annoyed because he clearly wanted me to decide but I was a child.  Sometimes he would say things like “well do you want to stay for dinner or not?” and I wouldn’t know whether he wanted me to say yes or whether saying yes was putting him out and so I would say the same thing, I don’t mind – it’s up to you”.  I gave a few examples of these silly scenarios and T said that even when I was a child he put it all on me to decide.  He couldn’t ever be the adult, the father and just make a decision and tell me what we were doing.  I said that was true and that also I was always so worried about saying or doing the wrong thing and pushing him away that I was always playing the good girl.  I said to T:

“Neither of them can handle my feelings. Neither of them can validate how I feel.  Neither can take themselves out of the picture for even a moment and try to see where I am coming from.  Neither of them can apologise when they are wrong or have hurt me, intentionally or not”.

T nodded her head and smiled at me as if to say “Finally you understand”… it was as though I had finally understood something that she had known all along. It’s one of them moments in therapy where you say something out loud that you just know is very significant and something that you thought you “knew” but only intellectually knew – and now you really knew it like on some deep level.

T then said that no, they couldn’t handle my feelings and that they couldn’t handle their own either. My dad buries his head in the sand and hopes it will all go away and my mother projects her stuff onto other people and is obviously so narcissistic that her grandiose sense of self doesn’t enable her to even consider she might be in the wrong.

I suddenly realised this was true and I suddenly understood the impact this has had on me, on my life so far. I think about them, their feelings and their responses before my own. I am too scared to be honest, I am too scared to say how I feel – I don’t even KNOW how I feel because I lost touch with my feelings a long time ago – if I ever learnt how to feel them in the first place?!

And then I thought “I’ve tried to be a good girl for 29 years now and it hasn’t worked – I am still chasing their love and approval and I haven’t got it so fu*k them! No more”.

I left T’s and went home where I did some housework and watched a few episodes of a series I like, a few hours later as I was hanging up some washing I thought to myself “ooh I haven’t thought about this for all that time, ha!” I was surprised because until this point, this stuff has been consuming me constantly. Not even seconds went by without me thinking about it all. I thought to myself that this was a good sign but wasn’t sure how it had happened. I thought it must just be the power of T.

But today I think I understand that it is actually the power of that realisation. It’s the effect of finally really “getting” something. Understanding something, being validated – heard and seen and, dare I say it… maybe even that belief that it really isn’t my fault. Like, really, it really, honestly, truly and genuinely isn’t (something I’ve heard a gazillion times before and rolled my eyes at because I thought it was just a pleasantry. You know, something you say to cheer someone up or whatever).

I then spent some time Googling (the font of all knowledge!) about “victim mentality” and “how to stop playing the victim” because I decided that I am fed up of feeling weak and powerless and childish. Yes I am hurt, yes I am angry – very at the moment, but I refuse to spend the rest of my life only half living.  What a waste that would be.

Here is what I learnt so far:

  • People like to feel like the victim because it basically brands them “the goody” and the other person “the baddy”. So I guess you get some sort of approval from that – in my case, approval is clearly something I want so it’s better than nothing right?
  • If you are a victim, its safe. You don’t need to risk anything or do anything – you can just sit around in your familiar “victim” status.
  • You don’t have to take responsibility because life is happening TO you;
  • Many people think they are entitled to good treatment. The truth is that they are neither entitled nor not entitled to it. The significant issues are what is going on and how do they feel about it. This woman would have been better off actively facing the facts of the situation and acknowledging her emotional reactions rather than personally judging it and feeling victimized by it”; and

 

  • Maintaining a child victim role leads to chronic passivity. Victimized feelings are very often appropriate to the child’s situation. Children are without power, are helpless and are at the mercy of their parents. Later as an adult, things happen that are sometimes beyond your control and understanding. However, the adult who is still playing the child victim role responds like the deer that sees a mountain lion approaching and instead of fleeing the danger becomes paralyzed. This person just keeps noticing over and over that the situation is unreasonable, unfair or threatening but doesn’t make the appropriate adaptive responses. In the case of the woman mentioned above, the tip off to the fact that she really preferred the child victim role was that she never made any substantial attempt to change her circumstances. Like so many of us, she would rather feel justified in complaining endlessly about her unfortunate circumstances while passively registering her dissatisfaction than actively changing her situation”.

So, I have made the decision to go to this party tomorrow where my dad, stepmum and brothers will be. I will go there and be strong and adult. I will not get caught up in any conversations about unfairness or rejection or disappointment because I will not waste my pearls (T’s phrase). I am going to the party because I WANT to go to it, rightly or wrongly.  I know I will only feel more upset if I don’t go and so why bring that upon myself on purpose?

The plan currently is this: Change my thinking from victim, to survivor. Change my mentality from defenseless child, to in charge adult.  Try and accept that my father is unable to give me what I would like and try to just accept what he can offer and if I decide at some stage that isn’t enough – well then perhaps I will have to make the tough decision to stop being the one to keep the contact.. we will see.

I accept that I may slip in and out of this mindset. It may feel easy today and impossible next week but I will hang in there.

recover from victim

 

strong women

 

recover

 

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)