An hour is never enough

Soooo… I just got home from T’s and have to write because something odd happened.

As I pulled out of her road, I felt my eyes water a bit.. I was quite surprised.  I drove home not really thinking much and then as soon as I got into my house, I bawled my eyes out like a baby.

Today was my last session until Tuesday 20th June.. not that long really is it? AND it’s because I am going away on holiday for a week. It’s not even like she’s going anywhere.

I thought I was okay about it. She even asked me at the end of my session how I was feeling about the break and I said “well it will be weird not coming here, twice“… and she said “yes, and you will be missed“.  I’ve since thought about those words, “you will be missed” – they aren’t quite the same as “I will miss you” are they? Am I being petulant? Obviously it was nice that she said something.. and hey, who knows, perhaps that is just the way she says things? Plus if she had of said “I will miss you” I think I would have burst into tears… so probably best eh?

Clearly I will miss her more than I admitted to her or to myself.  I am really painfully aware at the moment at the huge difference in the connection that I have with T compared to the… “connection” I have with my mother. Or more to the point, the connection that I haven’t had, don’t have and will never have with my mother. It just hit me like a steam train. I saw my mother at the weekend and it was suddenly so obvious.. it was empty.  It is nothingness.  I sensed a boredom from her like I used to before I became what she wanted me to be.  Now I’m not that person again and that is dull to her.

I thought to myself mid-tears, I wonder if this is what children feel like when they are going away and will miss their mothers/parents… I wonder whether adults still feel that way?  Probably not I imagine, not for a week’s holiday.  I thought how I was already looking forward to being reunited with T – and I haven’t even left yet!!! How mental is that? I also wondered whether this may have been how I felt as a child when my mother used to go away a lot without me.  Perhaps it is me remembering that feeling somehow.  It also made me think of my stepdaughter who is currently away on a school trip for a few nights and has asked if she can come to stay with us Saturday night instead of Friday night because she wanted a night at home between the trip and coming to us.  I didn’t really get that – I do now.  She wanted to spend a nice, homely evening at home with her mum first.  Ouch.

I thought that seeing her again seems so far away…  That I miss her already and it’s not even been a few hours yet. Clearly just knowing I wouldn’t be seeing her was enough.  Having said that, I had tears in my eyes last Tuesday when I left her’s and the only conscious thought had been that the hour went too fast – that it wasn’t enough. That I wished it wasn’t over yet.

I thought how nice it would be if I could see her next Friday, the day I return from my holiday and, coincidentally, my birthday. I would love to see T for my birthday.  Ha! How many people want to see their shrink for their birthday? LOL.

I thought to myself how nice it would be if our sessions weren’t time restricted. I know the reasons why they are, but ignoring all that, how nice it would be?  What if we could just chat and chat until there was a natural closing – perhaps I would talk so much that natural close wouldn’t come for hours… or at all!

How nice would it be if we could have a cup of tea together? I sometimes picture sitting on the usual sofa but with my feet up and a small blanket over me.  Perhaps wearing a really snugly, oversized cardigan.  It would be pouring with rain outside creating that lovely smug atmosphere when you are safe and warm.  We would laugh and chat and it wouldn’t be because I was paying for an hour of her time or because I was “in therapy”. We just did because we wanted to chat, we enjoyed it.  I would leave eventually feeling all warm inside and emotionally “fed”. I would fall asleep feeling happy.

Now that is obviously the fantasy and not the reality.  Unfortunately the reality is shit in comparison to that, but wonderful on its own accord – obviously.

I guess it is the sadness of knowing I won’t see her for a while mixed with the sadness that I can only have her on paid, restricted kinda borrowed time.. mixed with the slap in the face blatant comparison of her and my mother.  Of what I could have… and what I do actually have.

I drafted a text to her which tells her that I cried when I got home and admits that perhaps I’m not as fine as I first thought, but then I thought what’s the point? I mean, what can she say to make that feel any better? It’s just how it is.

It’s probably also a bit of the inner child in me mourning the loss of the mother I would have loved to have.  Just reading this back before publishing has me snotty-crying again.

I think I will go and blare out my new favourite angry song. I sing it (shout it) at times like this. It’s very much about my mother and appropriately entitled “Bloody Mother F****** Arsehole……. here’s a link if you fancy singing along in collective anger.

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A Letter to My Mother

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.

Am I being nosy?

Last night’s session

I was as desperate to see T last night as I was nervous.  I had emailed her on Monday evening to tell her what had happened with work and the doctors etc.  She had said we would talk about it when I saw her and so hence the nerves. Saying that, I was glad that T already knew what was going on and that I didn’t have to walk in there and tell her.

She asked me how I was feeling and I said I was feeling okay… I don’t think I was actually looking at her though.. it all felt very awkward.  T said “I don’t think you are okay actually” and then we spoke in detail about what work had said and what the doctor had said.  She said that I didn’t need antidepressants because I wasn’t depressed.  She said I was in fact “coming out of depression and beginning to feel” probably for the first time.

I liked those words. Those words felt far more promising and hopeful than being told I was in fact, depressed.

T went on to say that antidepressants would block me from feeling the things that I very clearly need to feel. I told her that was my worry also but the doctor had said it wouldn’t interfere.  She asked me if I had got the pills and I said no, I hadn’t bothered because I didn’t want to take them.

We spoke at length about work and how they have handled this. I told her that I felt like a fraud yesterday because although on Monday I was in a mess, yesterday I got up early and went to the gym, went food shopping etc and felt fine.  I said that now I am signed off work for a week and it felt wrong and insincere.  T said I didn’t need to be signed off work but that everyone just wanted a quick fix. Work expects me to be “better”, the doctor gives pills that essentially fake that feeling – she said how very frustrating it is that nobody has a real understanding about these things.  She told me that I wasn’t depressed nor mentally unwell, I was just struggling a bit with processing the trauma and I was becoming quite regressed at times like that. I agreed.

I told T that my team coordinator had suggested my T wrote a letter to them to tell them what they should expect from me, what I was dealing with etc. T said she wouldn’t write a letter but she would speak to someone on the phone if I wanted her to. She said she wouldn’t discuss specifics about my therapy but would explain that sometimes I just need a bit of space to be able to cry and that working from home every now and again was helping with that because I was still able to do my job but didn’t have to spend the day crying on the train or in the office. I told her that is exactly how I felt but now they had taken that away from me.  T started to say a few of the things she would say on the phone to my HR department and she sounded FIESTYYYYYYY!!! I liked it. She clearly would not be taking any shit.  She sounded fiercely protective of me, I liked it. I also thought I would not want to get on the wrong side of her LOL! She said she would tell them that the way there were treating me was absolutely disgusting (amongst other things).

I told T that I liked being able to send her the hard stuff before seeing her because I always worry that she will react and I will see the reaction on her face.  T said she thought a lot of this came down to feeling ashamed which is part of the reason she thought I locked myself away.  I admitted that I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t handling things well and that I felt I should be able to deal with it better. T told me that I couldn’t because I was never taught how.  She said I was never given the tools to self-soothe and said that anyone with a childhood like mine would feel exactly the same way.

Moving on we spoke about my actual feelings during the crying.

I hate this bit because I still can’t express myself. T asked me what it was I needed when I was feeling like this and I told her I didn’t know.  I told her I had no conscious thoughts and that was very frustrating.  She asked me whether I felt that I needed her? I felt mean saying no, but said I genuinely, seriously did not have the answer.  I didn’t know. It all just felt very hopeless and huge and as I had said in my email to her the day before, as though the sadness and pain would never end.

She said that she had been a little worried that my crying wasn’t providing any relief.  I said I wasn’t really sure.

She said that it was okay to feel I needed her in those moments and that she wanted to know what my fantasies were.  I said again, I just didn’t know.  T said that perhaps it was an idea for us to check in by phone to see if she could help to ground me a little.. this wasn’t something I had ever thought about. It wasn’t something I had even fantasied could be an option. I don’t know if she meant a quick few minutes to ground me or a proper paid for session and I didn’t ask.  I said that perhaps it would hep but that during these times, I can’t even speak because I am crying so much.

T said that what she worried about was that during these episodes I was kind of experiencing a repeat.  I wasn’t really sure what she meant at the time but we later discussed this a bit more and basically when I was a child, I spent 99% of my time in my bedroom. I guess it was my safe place (that and the fact that I wasn’t actually allowed in the lounge because of “adult time” pfftt!!).  Anyway, I used to have extreme OCD and even eat my dinner in my bedroom.  T was concerned that I was repeating this by locking myself at home on my own on days I felt that low and suffering alone rather than trying with someone who could help me a little. I guess that was what I was used to.

I said that this was true, I did like to lock myself away. I liked to draw the curtains and hide under a blanket. I rarely shower and I never put on make up. She said that this was what she worried about. That I wasn’t able to ground myself or be comforted by anyone and that if I wasn’t sure I was getting any relief from these crying episodes, perhaps I was almost re traumatising myself.

T said that she had been thinking about me and I admitted that when she says that, I guess I still struggled to really believe it.  She said she had been questioning whether to send me a text to tell me she was thinking of me but she wasn’t sure what to do because she said then the one time she doesn’t text, it could feel as though she isn’t understanding my pain. I agreed with her because I know myself well enough to know I would feel very hurt if she text at certain times and not others, especially if I perceived them as equally painful.  I do like that she even thought about this though. I also thought that the check-in calls were a nice suggestion because I felt I already took up enough of her time.

At some point in the session T asked me whether there was anything else perhaps that I had written about on my blog and not shared with her. I said no. I said honestly there is nothing else. I then questioned myself.. was that true? I think so.  The problem with that question however was that it made my inner critic say “see, even T doesn’t know what you are making such a fuss about!”.  It also said that clearly this isn’t “normal” for other people and has made me feel like I am exaggerating or doing something wrong.

I then told her that I had a dream about her the other day where she was Jewish. I said that there really wasn’t much to the dream at all but that she was Jewish and had a large photograph of her mother behind a desk who was also Jewish.  T asked me what being Jewish meant to me and I said not a lot really.. I said I had been asking myself the same question but hadn’t been able to come up with much.  I said I had Googled it and couldn’t find anything that rang any bell.  I added that the reason I knew she was Jewish was because in the dream she had this hugely exaggerated Jewish nose (I know this reads very as hugely stereotypical and isn’t meant as offensive!) I said I had looked up the word nose and the only thing I could come up with was “being nosy”.  T asked her being nosy or me and I said me.  At this stage I kinda figured out that the nosy dream could have been about the blog post I wrote the other day called “What I was really saying was” … shit. I have since debated sending it to her/reading it to her tomorrow but I feel too nervous.

Anyway, when I woke up this morning I remembered that last night I had dreamt I had a new therapist and this therapist was saying the exact same things as T – the same words and the same phrases.  In the dream I was really hurt and shocked because it meant that nothing had been authentic with T –  it had all just been textbook stuff. I don’t think this consciously about T but I can only assume that subconsciously I am worried about that somehow.. I haven’t thought too much about this yet but I will give it a bit more thought. I might share that with her tomorrow.

Lastly T asked me how I was feeling about not having therapy next week (I am going to be on holiday).  I told T that stupidly, I hadn’t really figured that out until a couple of hours ago. I had been thinking of her next break as mid July and it had only just occurred to me.  She said whether it was me or her going away, the break may still be just as difficult.

I think I am going to re-read that blog about what I was really asking her and see if I can somehow muster up the courage to let her see it… agh I’m just not sure I am ready yet.  We will see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling like a fraud

Yesterday I was working from home because I felt so down. I couldn’t stop crying and was just generally a bit depressed.  As the day went on I thought that I needed to take a few days out and so I emailed my team coordinator and asked if it was an option to take a few days unpaid leave or to work from home a few more days.

About 3 hours went by without an answer. Eventually the phone rang and it was work.  In a nutshell they said that if my mental health was that bad, I shouldn’t be working from home at all and that going forwards, the agreement we had that I could do this now and again when I couldn’t face being at work – was no longer an option.

She then said that I had been using my annual leave for days like this too and that I would not be allowed to do this either… apparently annual leave should be used for fun and not for depression…

I’m not sure when exactly but I ended up crying so much that I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t talk at all and was more or less hyperventilating! It was pretty embarassing because she kept saying “hello?” “are you there?”… aghgh cringe.

She told me that I should go to the doctors, get signed off work for a while and get antidepressants if I wanted to take them. I said I didn’t.

I went to the doctors, I got signed off work for 2 weeks, was given a prescription for antidepressants, sleeping pills and a form to get a blood test.  Apparently the blood test was for lots of things but one of them was to check my thyroid… he said depression can be a sign of thyroid problems.

Then my actual line manager called… he didn’t have much to say. I told him what the doctor had said and he was pretty quiet the other end of the phone… he didn’t feel particularly supportive.

I then sent T an email telling her what was going on and I said that it felt as though this pain and the tears would never stop. That it felt never-ending.  She replied and we said we would talk tonight at my session…

Turning to today, the feelings have vanished. I feel like it all happened to someone else. I am aware that this probably means I have dissociated and I know there is a high chance it will all come flooding back at T’s tonight… maybe? but it’s left me feeling like a fraud. I feel like I’ve made some big song and dance … like I’ve made a load of drama …. I thought to myself maybe I am just a lazy (insert word of choice) who will do anything for a few days off work…… T says not to attack myself which I guess I am doing when I think those thoughts.

Oh meh. I don’t know where this blog is going or what the point is exactly in me writing it. I was hoping I was going to uncover something unconscious but that doesn’t feel as though it’s happening.

The problem is that no two days are the same in my head at the moment. I am glad for some time off but I don’t want to feel like a fraud. I am worried about all the drama I have caused and I’m not sure whether any of this was really necessary or not… the doctor said I was mild to moderately depressed but not severely because I hadn’t thought about ending my life. I know that many people have it much worse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emotional Flashback/Depression 

Today is not a good day. It’s Monday 5th June and I am working from home because I asked for the day off but there were already too many people off and so this is the compromise. It’s good because it means I can hide away at home and not have to see anyone but it means I can’t sleep all day which is what I was hoping to do.

I think I’m having an emotional flashback or something. It started yesterday evening, I was in the kitchen preparing today’s lunch and chopping up all my fruit and salad as I’ve been on a diet for the last two weeks. I started to feel irritated because the salad looked rubbish and I thought I needed to get some food shopping in. I then realised we had nothing healthy in for dinner and I thought I would ask my boyfriend to pop down the shop and get some chicken and salmon etc but he didn’t want to go and I was in my pjs so I didn’t want to either.

It is so over the top but I just felt the anger taking over. I just wanted to get some healthy food in for dinner and I couldn’t – I know, very immature but there we have it.

With that, I started snapping at my boyfriend and feeling very annoyed. I realised I was starving. Having lived on only salad for two weeks had taken its toll and I was feeling very fed up. All we had in the freezer was some breaded cod fillets and chips and when I logged them in my calorie counting app, they were high (obviously) and that made it worse. I ended up laying on the sofa and sobbing. I was crying disproportionately to the whole situation and as I cried, I felt this energy coursing through my body – proper anger.. so much of it, it was making my body tense and hot and tingly.

My boyfriend came and hugged me and told me he thought this diet business was now ridiculous and said I needed to eat something and stop this strictness – he said it was making me miserable.

Fast-forward an hour or so and we sat down to watch the Manchester concert for the victims of the terrorist attack a few weeks ago and I cried continuously throughout as I imagine did lots of other people – nothing surprising about that, it was incredibly emotional after all. But it felt like a deeper sadness. It is hard to explain what I mean by that.

I didn’t sleep last night. I was in bed for about 5 hours in total but I had lots of dreams and woke up a lot. Often when this happens I convince myself I can hear noises downstairs and freak myself out which happened last night. I can’t remember any real detail of the dreams although I remember being hidden in a toilet with a baby hiding from something awful (like a terrorist attack) and when I came out, these ladies told me that a baby had died in that cubicle once and I was horrified…. until they all started laughing and told me they were joking and I felt hideously embarrassed.

I got up for work, felt awful. Sick, tired, upset and decided to ask for the day off. My boyfriend came in to where I was getting ready and I told him and he looked at me disappointingly and asked me what was wrong. I told him that I felt very sad and he kinda looked annoyed. He asked what was the reason for me being so upset and I said I wasn’t sure and he looked fed up. That made me burst into tears again. The look of disappointment felt so cutting. So painful and raw. He came back a while later and gave me a cuddle – I then sobbed like a child all over him. He didn’t have a top on and I just wanted to lay on his bare skin for ages (but I couldn’t). I felt such a sadness I don’t have the words to explain. I told him that him looking disappointed with me had hurt and he told me I “wasn’t his daughter”. He was laughing, not in a cruel way but laughing nonetheless.

He left for work about two hours ago, I’ve since cried about 10 times. I feel physically sick, very tired and weak.

I don’t know what is going on but it is bloody horrible. It feels like depression. There is so much sadness and pain. The London terrorist attacks are a large part of this I am sure, but I think there is more. I did see my mother this weekend – and my father (separately) and think perhaps that has triggered something. Nothing happened, she was okay but I wonder if is to do with that somehow. I have thought that I’m aware there is no emotional connection between us, it is very “friendship” kind of level…. surface level? There isn’t a genuine, deep and loving closeness if that makes sense? I don’t know what I am trying to say.

My boyfriend has text suggesting I do some gardening like that’s the answer to my problems and my boss just emailed telling me to “think about the good things in my life”. 

I know I can’t expect anyone to understand but it’s painful when they don’t. I feel so powerless. I’ve thought about going to the GP and asking to be signed off work but even that doesn’t feel like it will help, not really… I want this feeling to go. 

The Grazed Knee Analogy

On Thursday I told T that when I left her on Tuesday night I was very upset.  She asked me how I knew I was upset and I said “well, because I was crying”.  She repeated back at me “you cried” and I noted that I felt a bit uncomfortable with her saying those words.

I’ve noticed lately that I said I felt “miserable” when I actually meant I felt angry and now I said I felt “upset” rather than just saying I cried. I wonder why?

T didn’t seem particularly surprised by this.  She said that at the moment I am really dipping in and out of “it“. What does she mean by “it“?  I don’t know but I imagine she meant “the work” as she calls it.  She said I go in “it” a bit, then back out again.  She said “you need to go at your own pace, you can’t rush it” and I thought – are you implying I am trying to rush or are you saying you understand why I am being slow? What was the comment meant to mean…nothing like over thinking things hey? Welcome to my brain.

I told T that I was really struggling at the moment with not being able to pinpoint a reason for my tears.  I said I wasn’t sure what exactly I was crying about.  T looked quite surprised and said almost sarcastically “you don’t think you have a reason to be crying?” and I quickly said that I didn’t mean I didn’t have anything to cause me to cry, just that usually you know exactly the reason. For example you might cry because you had an argument with a friend or because your boyfriend was an idiot… but when you are just crying after therapy with no proper “reason”.. that feels different and for me, hard and scary. T said that just in the last session alone there was “enough to cry about for weeks”….. was there?

She said that she thought perhaps when I was a child and I grazed my knee or cut myself as children do, that perhaps my mother could deal with the tears about those sort of upsets.  She quickly added that she didn’t mean to imply that she was particularly caring and warm, but that the tears were not punished because she could physically see the cause of the upset.  BUT if I were to cry about something emotional, something without a physical and obvious bruise – no actual blood so to speak, that is when she demanded a reason why and would get angry and blame, shame and embarrass me.

I had never thought about this before but it rang true immediately. I thought for a moment and told T that sounded very possibly true.  I did agree that there certainly wasn’t ever any kindness even with grazed knees, but perhaps there wasn’t the shaming and anger.  I can’t remember any particular instance which would have been helpful and that the two more major physical hurts I had as a kid she couldn’t handle because of the blood.

I told T that when I was a young child I was very small and very skinny and my legs were always covered in bruises. I said that my mother used to make me wear knee-length socks to cover them and T said that I even had to hide my physical bruises and that I was taught they were something to be ashamed of. I said yes I guess so. She said that my mother couldn’t tolerate any imperfections of any sort and so the bruises had to be hidden and I had to be perfect.  I agreed but said she allowed my teeth to be awful which didn’t fit the perfect image.  I said that as a baby and child she gave me Ribena in a bottle instead of milk and that it rotted all of my teeth.  I said they looked horrendous and that when I was about 11, I had 6 teeth taken out at once under GA and then another 4 taken out at 13 before my brace was fitted. I said that they were perfectly straight after wearing the brace for over 3 years but then my dog chewed my retainer and she wouldn’t replace it because she said it was too expensive.  I told T that my mother’s teeth were not very nice – they weren’t straight or white and so perhaps that is why she didn’t care about mine (nobody can be different to a narcissist).

Somehow this conversation made its way to me talking about what her ex-boyfriend did to me. I won’t go into detail here but basically he groomed me and then was physically “inappropriate” with me (T’s words) and it scared me. A LOT.  I was only 14 at the time and he was someone I trusted, my mother’s boyfriend and about 45 years old.  I was petrified and didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t tell any adults – only my two best friends and I swore them both to secrecy.

I told T that for some reason, I had this strange fantasy that one day I would tell my mother what he had done to me and that something would be magically fixed.  That it would make things better.  I think now I understand that I was hoping she would see the damage that had been done to me (“physically” as in, he physically touched me) which perhaps she would accept a bit more than the emotional damage that she couldn’t see that I had been feeling for years (the grazed-knee analogy).

Unfortunately that did not happen. What happened was the opposite. She eventually (not initially) accused me of making it all up. I was not validated in any way. She made the whole thing about her – how upset she was, how she couldn’t eat, how she couldn’t sleep.  I was told not to tell anyone else, especially my grandparents as they would “have heart attacks and die”… you get the point.

I said to T that I wish I had never told her because it didn’t make anything better, it just made it all much worse.  T said that there is the pain of the event and what he did and then there is the pain of knowing you can’t turn to your caregiver for safety and comfort because they can’t help you and then eventually (10 years later) you tell her in the hope that it is going to fix something and … it doesn’t, it makes it worse.

I said to T that the whole thing was totally fucked up anyway because when I broke the news to my mother she went to wake her sleeping husband up to tell him.  But the thing is, he already knew. I had confided in him one drunk night and he had told me never to tell my mother because she wouldn’t be able to handle it.  Yep….. it was about her. So when she “told him” he acted shocked and horrified and then came downstairs to where I was sitting in floods of tears and acted his arse off like a soap star that this was new information.  He even sat there asking me questions that he already knew the answer to……. wtf? I see now he was scared of my mother like I always have been.

As usual I did the good girl thing and kept my mouth shut.  I really, really wanted to tell my mother over the coming weeks and months that he knew. The only thing that stopped me was that she never believed me about anything else and I had my entire life history of her taking her latest bloke’s side, so would this time really be any different? Clearly not.. I fought against that dilemma for a long time.

T was listening attentively and seemed to agree with my feeling that it was all very fucked up.  She seemed sympathetic despite knowing this stuff already.

Then……

I told T something that sounds very strange.

I told T that when I was younger I used to imagine telling my mother about this sexual abuse on my wedding day.  I know, I know.. please don’t ask me why my wedding day because I have absolutely no idea.  T seemed confused and seemed to be trying to find some sort of link – as did I but without any luck.  I said perhaps it was because I was then going to be “off her hands” and grown up or something? I said that the nearest thing I could compare it to was this – you know when you are watching a film and a couple are about to get married but right at the very last-minute one of them tells the other at the back of the church that they’ve had an affair at some point…..that they had to come clean, that the other person had to know the total truth before they committed to the other person? I said it was just like that.

T said that would suggest that I had done something wrong. I said yes, it does sound that way saying it out loud. T said it almost sounded as though in the fantasy, I was marrying my mother.

We discussed this for a while and I felt embarrassed because I know it sounds very odd and I wish I could tell you that I’ve somehow worked it out and understand the deeper meaning but unfortunately I can’t.  I still do not know. It’s very messed up.

T asked whether my mother had any beliefs about not having sex before marriage or anything like that? If I had been drinking I would have literally spat my drink out at that suggestion. I said absolutely not and laughed – my mother was the complete opposite of that. Sex was something that she did A LOT of and sex was encouraged on me at a young age.  It certainly wasn’t that.  T said she knew it wasn’t in line with her characteristics but said that sometimes people have these sorts of beliefs despite the way they act themselves.

I’ve thought about it a lot today. Saying it out loud felt weird.  Writing it here for you to read feels uncomfortable but I am hoping that going over it will help me to figure it out somehow. I am actually still surprised I told her this knowing how odd it sounds.. it just slipped out.

Why would you imagine as a child that the day you would tell your mother that her (then) boyfriend had sexually abused you would be your wedding day, at the back of the church?

What I was really saying was…

Towards the end of my session yesterday I told T that I had recently read a fellow bloggers post (you may recognise yourself in this if you are reading but I am keeping this anonymous for your privacy – I hope you don’t mind me writing about it!!) where she detailed that she had sent her T an email clearly showing how much pain she was in and subsequently her T’s response. I said that it had shocked me to read the T’s response because it felt so cruel and so unattuned.  I said it had really shocked me and I guess scared me in a way because I don’t know what I would do if my T did that to me.  My T has recently suggested that humiliation is a real issue for me because my mother always punished me for having needs and embarrassed me at the same time for being too needy and so I guess that is why this tapped into me so much.

I guess the worry that my T might respond to a similar email from me made me panic.  What would I do? How would I respond? How would I continue to see her? What would happen if my T were to become “bad” in my head? Then what?

My T said that often therapists who “haven’t done their own work” can sometimes struggle with knowing how to be attuned to things like this.  The push and pull of people affected by attachment trauma is palpable – to me at least – because I experience it first hand and luckily for me, my T seems to “get it” enough that I feel understood. So far at least.

I told T that I had responded to this poor lady with sympathy and said that I was sure she wouldn’t appreciate me or anyone else “slagging off” her therapist because I know I would become extremely defensive, but that I wanted her to know that I “got it”.. I said other people had responded in much the same way as me.

T said that therapists that haven’t had their own therapy and dealt with their own issues often come up against countertransference and can struggle to properly “see” the issues their client is facing enough to be able to respond in the appropriate way. For example I said that someone I know regularly threatens to cancel their next therapy appointment when distressed. I said that even I (as a completely untrained individual) understand that this isn’t really because they don’t want to go to their session, but it is out of fear and panic and pushing away when they most need something – the same way that I push my boyfriend away when I need to be held and comforted most.  My T agreed with this and said that usually someone threatening to quit or cancel sessions is for that same reason and that they mostly just need to know that their therapist WANTS them to come, that they will stay, that they won’t give up on them or abandon them – like a lot of us who have been previously abandoned and assume the same thing will happen again.

I think for me when I need my T the most that is when I am the most scared of her. I’ve written a lot recently about the fear of needing T and how I find it difficult to put into words – the fear is so huge and feels life-threatening, I think perhaps this feeling is similar for others.  I honestly believe the only reason I’ve never cancelled a session is because I am far too compliant and too much of a people pleaser to take that risk… but perhaps it will happen one day.  T often warns me that one day I will feel a lot of anger towards her and that I may not want to come.. she’s been right about everything else she’s predicted in the past despite how unbelievable it seems at first.  For example she used to ask me how it felt when she was going or on a break and I used to laugh and find this really weird… not so funny now is it Twinks? LOL.

Anyway, back to the point – therapists that have or haven’t “done their own work”. T said that therapists that haven’t worked through their own issues may be triggered by a patient in distress and this can sometimes explain the reason for a (what seems punitive) response, especially by email when it is hard to know the way in which something is meant.  I know for me I read emails in the mood that I am in rather than the way they may have been intended.  Have you ever shown someone else an email or text that you think is rude or abrupt for someone else to say they don’t see the issue? … hopefully not just me. I am hugely hypersensitive and very hypervigilent so I notice the most microscopic of change in people – another thing I can thank my mother for.

I asked T what would happen though if the therapist hadn’t had any attachment-based trauma and was dealing with a patient who was very wounded by attachment based stuff? I said what if they had no attachment problems growing up –  how would they understand? T said that nobody ever has absolutely no attachment issues.  I questioned this as I had thought for a long while now that most people who were securely attached wouldn’t have experienced ANY attachment related problems.  T said that everyone has some kind of issue growing up because no parents were absolutely perfect – and that attachment effects so much in our lives, the way we respond to life, the way we grieve, all sorts of things. She then said that therapists barely touch on attachment in their training…………………

Whhhatttttt???????? Sorry but this seems absolutely mental to me. I just assumed that all therapists learnt about attachment in a very deep and detailed way .I assumed it was the pillar of their learning? At least the fundamental building blocks no? Apparently not.  I didn’t hide my shock when T said this. I was really thrown.  She said they touch on it in a very basic way in that they learn that a baby’s attachment to its mother will have links to how that child (then adult) will grieve.. she said that all her learning has been through her own therapy, through being a therapist and through reading and training seminars etc.  Wowzas.

So I said, the thing is, I find it hard to believe that a therapist who hasn’t had deep attachment trauma could come anywhere near to understanding what people like me experience – what we feel and how we view the world, the people in it – how we see things. I just don’t think you can learn that stuff in a book.  T said she believed that experiencing things would certainly help.

I said to T that if you were a therapist that had similar issues to someone sat in front of you who was deeply distressed and crying and feeling this unbearable pain how hard that must be – that it must tap into their own issues? I said if I was a therapist and someone was in front of me going through things that I could relate to, I think I would find it incredibly difficult and would end up crying with them! T said that once you have done your own work, you hold a boundary and you don’t get affected by it in the way that I might think I would. She said once you’ve worked through your own stuff, you are boundaried and it doesn’t feel like that….

 

Okay so basically what I was saying to her was this:

T, what happened to you growing up? Did you have attachment trauma? Did you have a shit caregiver? Were you abused? Was your mother narcissistic like mine? Was your Dad an absent, head-in-the-sand coward too?  Please tell me about your life so that I can decide whether you really understand my pain.

Do you realllyyyyyyyyyyyyy understand how I feel or are you just remembering things you’ve read in books?

Why don’t you cry when I am upset?

Share your history with me please!

 

But clearly I didn’t actually say that and I think I was hoping she might work that out and ask me if that is what I was getting at – but she didn’t. Or at least she didn’t then… maybe she will think on it and what I *really* meant, we shall see.

Back to the crying conversation: T said something like “I am not really a crier” or “I don’t cry often” or something like that…. I didn’t like it when she said that because it took me a very, very, very long time to be able to cry in front of T and I still feel hugely uncomfortable and embarrassed when I do cry in front of her… for some reason her saying she isn’t a “crier” made me feel like she would judge me more than I already worried she did. Obviously though I acted as though she had said “I like cats” and just smiled and nodded in interest.

She then said that she had a previous career (“before I had my children”) (OUCHY – Why do I hate this so much. T: please stop talking about your children, I don’t like it)that had helped her with this stuff.. she didn’t expand on what that was (although in the past she has told me she worked with domestic abuse victims and that she worked in a school and a care home) – so I assume she meant one of these: my mind has since fantasied that she was saying

“I’ve worked with victims of domestic abuse who have had it much, much worse than you – that will stop you crying at attachment trauma“…

but I know that isn’t really the case.

T said it really wouldn’t be helpful if she were to cry (if a therapist were to cry) because it would put the patient in a precarious situation. She said that if someone was co-dependant or was used to parenting the adult (like me…) that person would then feel a duty to protect and look after the crying therapist. That made sense I guess.  I admitted to T that one half of me would feel like they really were moved by what I was talking about – enough to cry for me but that yes, if she were to cry I may feel I had to stop what I was saying because I wouldn’t want to be the cause of her tears… it was a double-bind.  She said that sometimes she may feel her eyes go prickly/water but that she could generally hold her own stuff back.

I said to T that therapists must see so many people cry that I guess it is hard to be moved to tears – they’ve seen it all and heard it all.. I was basically implying that nothing would shock them enough to be that moved emotionally by someone else’s pain.

I was basically saying:

Do you think that my stuff is boring?

Do you think I am over the top upset?

Do you think I should be over it by now? That compared to other clients, my stuff is very basic and not a big deal?

Do you think I exaggerate or that I feel sorry for myself?…..

 Do you ever get upset for me?

Do you ever nearly cry at what I tell you?

Do I as a person MOVE you at all?


The session was over at this point and I was standing at the door on my way out when T said that of course they get moved by things and that they’ve never seen or heard it all – that they are not robots and of course they still have their own feelings about things but they have just learnt to handle them effectively and that they need to do this in order to not “burn out”. She said that therapists who were burnt out were dangerous to their clients which was why their breaks were important. She said that burn out was a dangerous little shit.. and that she could see it from a mile away.

She said “bring this back with you next week” and I said “Yep, will do!” but I meant: l want to see if you remember and I want to see if this plays on your mind at all and you work out what I was really saying/asking you.

We shall see but I just have this feeling that she won’t, which is a shame.

Prisoner of War (Narc Abuse)

From my Book – From Charm to Harm and Everything else in Between with a Narcissist! @ https://www.amazon.com SAY NEVER! We never, never, never deserved this and most assuredly NEVER, EVER asked for this abuse because of WHO we are. We wonder where our prince/princess charming has gone and WHAT HAS HAPPENED that made this […]

via Don’t Be a P.O.W. (prisoner of war) to an abuser for life – THIS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! The first steps to recovery – knowledge and a strong education. — After Narcissistic Abuse

World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day

narc abuse

So apparently it was World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day yesterday! I didn’t know, surely I should have received an invitation in the post or something? I am after all, a fully fledged member of the “abused by a narcissist” club… damnit.

I didn’t even know that such a day existed.  Perhaps next year I will be able to “celebrate” properly but for this year, I am going to pretend it is today so that I haven’t missed it.

Now clearly I am not trying to imply that being a member of the “abused by a narcissist “club is a good thing, nor is it fun – obviously… BUT there seems to be a community of people who are dealing with recovering from narc abuse and it seems only fair that we should have a day once a year where it is recognised that the invisable suffering these arsehole narcs cause us is worthy of a whole day, worldwide, being dedicated to such a cause (I know that isnt’ the right word but I can’t think of the right one). Hopefully you know what I mean.  It kind of allows narcissistic abuse to be viewed appropriately as severe.

So few people seem to know about narcissistic abuse.  I can’t decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. On the plus side, hopefully this means that lots of people, most people even, haven’t experienced the soul-destroying abuse but then again perhaps they have and like me until two and a half years ago, they just didn’t know there was a “name” for it, a term, that it was a thing… that it was abuse.  Abuse is a strong word.

I remember having a bit of a “light bulb moment” one day fairly recently where I woke up and realised that I had been abused.  I don’t use that word lightly.  I always associated abuse with physical violence or horrific sexual abuse.  One day I woke up and really felt that I had been abused and I am currently experiencing the fall out from that.

How would I describe the feelings that go with that realisation?… fuck I don’t think it is possible to explain.

I have experienced everything from:

  • Elation: Absolute elation. You read the check-list of narc traits and your abuser meets every single one (or a lot of them) and you feel the weight of the world lift off of your shoulders. There is a reason and it wasn’t me! You want to shout it from the rooftops “hey everyone, listen!!! My mother was narcissistic, it wasn’t my fault after all!!!!!!!!!!!!” but clearly you can’t do that because you would sound like a crazy lady. I genuinely believe that I will remember this evening for the rest of my life.  The day T told me to go home and read up on the internet about narcissistic mothers changed my life forever.
  • Guilt: Absolute truck loads of guilt. How could you think this about the woman who brought you into this word? Who put a roof over your head your entire life and made sure you were fed and watered?
  • Fear: Oh the fear. I am fighting this often at the moment. When you have been programmed to fear your caregiver (or whoever the narc is), that shit gets in deep. Deeper than deep.  What if they find out what you are saying? That you are exposing them?  When you have spent your entire life trying to gain the approval of a narc and never getting it, you do whatever you can to keep them “safe enough”.  Something is better than nothing after all and you know what they are capable of, you have seen their narcissistic rage often and you do not want to be the subject of that.  You fear they will leave you, that they won’t love you anymore, that they will tell everyone how bad you are and everyone will side with them and leave you totally alone.  You fear they will hurt you so badly that you will die.  I don’t think I am doing this fear as much justice as it deserves but even writing about the fear is bringing up lots of feelings in my body.  It is making my arms tingle and feel weak… see? deeper than deep.
  • Denial: It couldn’t have been that bad, right? I have probably exaggerated this. Because there are not visible bruises or wounds, it is hard to “back up” your truth. It is hard to prove to yourself but I think deep down, you just “know”.
  • Grief: Grief that hurts your heart, makes you feel empty, alone and helpless.
  • Anger: Realising the impact that the narc abuser has had on who you are, who you were and mostly for me, who you COULD have been.
  • Rage: Wanting to smash the bathroom up and feeling like an unexploded volcano.
  • Depression: Waking up with what I call “head cloud” and feeling completely numb to life.
  • Sick: Not quite a “feeling” admittedly but something I have been feeling a lot lately. Physically sick. Sick to my stomach. Wanting to vomit and get out the horrendous and intolerable feelings that this is bringing up for me.
  • Loneliness: The feeling that your mother doesn’t/hasn’t/can’t love you is something that cannot be put into words. When I am in the thick of this it throws me into an emotional flashback where I am 6 years old wondering in my house in my nightie on my own.  I become so alone, so helpless, so powerless. I feel I might die.  The feeling that there really is nobody in the entire world that can love you completely unconditionally invokes a feeling of loneliness that I just can’t describe.
  • Gratitude: Feeling grateful that I’ve been able to “label” this lifetime of suffering with a term… realising it wasn’t MY fault… trying to come to terms with the fact that I have survived this long and I will survive going forwards.  Gratitude that I took myself for counselling and gratitude that is hard to comprehend that I have found a highly experienced, empathetic and attuned therapist to hold my hand as I go through these feelings over and over again.

My recovery hasn’t been linear which I don’t think is uncommon. I was stuck in the denial phase for what feels like eternity.  I intellectualised my knowledge of narc abuse very well – but I didn’t seem to be able to “feel” the effects and I didn’t seem to marry up the words with my experiences.  I understand now that this was my psyche protecting me.  I didn’t WANT it to be true. I didn’t WANT to feel these things.  I didn’t want to accept my truth.  That I was abused.

Yesterday I told my T that when I left my session Tuesday evening I cried in the car and again at home. When she asked me what thoughts or feelings were making me cry I didn’t know. I told her that I felt a bit “numb”.  This is a feeling I have been getting a lot lately, I think perhaps it is still an element of shock.  I sometimes wonder whether this shock will ever wear off.

Recently I have felt like I am going backwards. That I am less stable now than I was before I came into therapy.  That is a very destabiling feeling because it makes you want to trick yourself into believing that things were better before and that you can get back to that if you run now – run back into denial and back to pleasing the narcissist every day.  I think this often but can you truly ever un-know what you now know? I’m not sure….. possibly I suppose if your defences are strong enough.

I feel like I am on a rollercoaster at the moment in this recovery.  One day I am happy and I feel strong and like a survivor, other days I feel completely and utterly floored by the whole thing and it smothers me until I feel I can’t even breathe.

In therapy I realise more and more the ways I have been hurt by my mother. Some sessions the reality hits me afresh and the pain is overwhelming. It is confusing, it is scary and it is bloody painful but I keep on going because in the end I know that I will feel better. That life will feel brighter and easier.

The main driver for sticking with this process is that she has done enough damage. She has “won” long enough and now it is my turn to win.

narc abuse