Adult or child emotions

Today I was supposed to go to a museum with my mum, brother, sister in law and nephews. It is my mum’s birthday next week so my brother said that it was for that. She didn’t seem bothered but I was looking forward to it. I made a conscious effort not to imagine it to be perfect which I seem to do these days.

I hadn’t heard anything from anyone at 11.30am this morning but decided to go up and get showered and dressed just in case. By the time it got to 12.30pm, I was losing hope. My mu messaged me to say that she had messaged my brother but hadn’t had a response, and that she was going to get ready. I replied saying that I doubt we would be going now as the museum closes at 5pm. By then, I was already feeling very let down. Well, that is the only way I can think to describe the feeling. I felt like crying, but not in the same way that I usually do. I could barely stand up because my legs felt so weak and wobbly. I had to stop myself from texting my therapist to ask her to take the pain away. It’s the weekend and I just wouldn’t do that. My mum phoned me at 1.30pm to say that my brother and sister in law were taking the boys to the museum because they had promised them. But my mum wasn’t ready after all. She was eventually ready and we went down to meet them. We saw the last part of the exhibition with them.

It was lovely to see my nephews. The eldest eventually held hands with me. We went for a meal afterwards too. He was in the corridor when I came out of the toilet and ran up to me and hugged me. The youngest is also ridiculously adorable and I still can’t believe they exist. I am one lucky auntie!

But I don’t understand where the intense disappointment came from. I can’t really think of times where I have been let down as a child although I am sure there will be times when I felt it. I just can’t recall them. But I am also, despite the fact that I have written this lengthy post, reluctant to understand my feelings. I am reluctant to try to work out why I have felt angry and jealous, and today disappointed to the point of tears. I don’t know if I am trying to keep the emotions back because I can’t handle them alone. I definitely think that in one way, I have shut down since my last session. I do feel the need to connect with my therapist in some way and hopefully my next session not being like the previous one will help me to feel safe again. I struggle to distinguish between the adult and child emotions and thoughts. I can’t separate them. I tend to assume that if I can’t put words to a feeling then it is the child part of me. If I can, then it will be the adult part of me. Adult me tends to feel more about the everyday things like work.

I know that this post doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think I am still reluctant to be vulnerable and I don’t really know how to get over that hurdle. I know that I shouldn’t rush myself especially as my therapy is only monthly. I’m so tired.

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No more Miss Nice Girl

I am feeling angry, jealous and judgemental at the moment. I don’t know if judgemental is a feeling though.

I feel angry because I am not good enough. I constantly come back to this feeling. I am angry with my parents for turning me into this person. This person who struggles with relationships, who can’t function, who people pleases, who is ugly. I could go on. It’s difficult to accept that I didn’t have any control over how I turned out. Part of me thinks that they haven’t done anything wrong. It probably wasn’t intentional, so how can I justify my anger? I have lost out on a lot in life. I feel like I have anyway. I have never been able to enjoy feeling loved. I have never had a Valentines Card. I was never given the space to make mistakes. I think that, subconsciously, I have always known that I wasn’t good enough. I always wished that one of the boys at school would be attracted to me, but it never happened. For my parents to be proud of my dancing, for them to take pictures of me with my exam certificates and at shows. The simple things really. My therapist would probably say that I am being a victim. Letting my past hold me back. But I still have no idea who I am and I am struggling to work this out.

I think that the jealousy is linked to the anger. I am angry and jealous with people who can’t see what they have and be grateful for it. For example, someone I follow on Twitter complaining that people telling her that she is amazing for dealing with her struggles is basically not helpful. She should be grateful that people care. I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t cure her anxiety and depression, but people are trying to be nice and show that they care about her. I don’t have any cheerleaders in my life. This person has a loving family too. But said person is a lot younger than me. ‘Millenials’ have grown up with social media and therefore have a larger support network. They seem to have a fear of failure and life has to be perfect. I am always grateful to anyone who is nice to me. I am also jealous of the people in this ‘community’ who are in the clique. When I give a comment on a post, I know that the person is waiting for one of their more intellectual friends to come along and comment. I am merely a fill-in. I really try not to care about people and not to help people, but I can’t stop myself. I can’t leave someone in distress or without some sort of support however rubbish my perspective may be. I guess I resent not always getting the same in return, but life is like that. Not all relationships are equal. I have always wanted to be in a clique but I have never been good enough.

I suppose the above could also be deemed as judgemental. A now ex-colleague posted a status on Facebook recently saying that the investigation gave her the worst anxiety attacks she has had in her life. Maybe don’t do something that requires an investigation in the first place. She is playing the victim, but she is the reason that she lost her job. I know that everyone had their struggles, but I don’t understand why people are giving her sympathy. Slating an employer who you will need to give you a job reference in the future is also a stupid thing to do in my book. I guess I feel jealous of the empathy and validation that I see people receive because I need it so much.

I know that jealousy and judging people are not nice traits, but I can’t help it. I need to look out for myself because nobody else will. I put everybody else before myself. I know that I sound like an awful person, but my continual neglect of myself is cyclical. It’s a cycle that I can’t break. I struggle to give unconditionally because I need love and validation. Helping others makes me feel good until I see that someone better than me has appeared and made it all better. I don’t know how to put myself first because nobody has ever put me first – not as my memory serves me anyway.

I was watching ‘Instinct’ last night. It’s a film about a psychologist who is working with anthropologist who is on trial for murder. He has spent two years in the jungle living with primates with no human contact. I was triggered by the scene in which his daughter visits him in prison. He tells her that when he went away, he always took her with him inside. “If you were just born, I would pick you up and hold and take you everywhere with me, and never walk away from you.” I nearly broke down. In the past I would have been able to watch that with absolutely no feelings whatsoever.

I’m still not sure where my therapy will go from here. My last session was a game changer that I didn’t plan or anticipate. I do feel like I have shut down a little. Partly because I am not sure if it will be safe and partly because I don’t even know what happened. I haven’t done any writing to her since before that session. I want to ask my therapist what she saw and why it was different. It’s probably a bit of an odd question and I don’t know what hearing the answer will achieve. I know that I have written about the session a lot but it I am trying to understand it. My therapist said in her email that it helped her to see how others, including herself, impact on me. But how?

This post is rather mixed up as are my thoughts and feelings at the moment. I feel like the change of scenery did me good, but for the first time after spending a lot of time with my mother, I didn’t think that I was cured. I didn’t think, I don’t need therapy.

Back to reality 

I am home from Ireland now. I got back this afternoon. My internet wouldn’t work over there for some reason so I have had to grab the odd few minutes of free Wi-Fi here and there. The trip itself was drama free. I felt very infantilised by most of my family. But I only see them every couple of years and once a year at the most.

My mum did quite a few things that I ignored and just didn’t pursue. I think that was a unconscious thing. I don’t think I would have been able to tolerate her being angry with me when I had nowhere to escape to. I couldn’t risk connecting with all those feelings and anxieties. We had to share a bed and she behaved as if I wasn’t there. She was way too close and I was nearly on the edge of the bed. Sounds trivial, but it feels so inconsiderate. I was anxious on. Monday night when we went to bed. The winds from the hurricane had intensified again. She didn’t acknowledge my fears, but maybe that’s because I didn’t tell her directly that I was anxious. She just seems so cold and unloving. My therapist is so warm. But she doesn’t have to love me or pretend to. I am still in denial about attachment issues which was mentioned in the comment on my last post. I had to parents who were present, so why would I have attachment issues? I don’t want to put my therapist under pressure by becoming attached to her.

I feel like I have come right back into those feelings. Well, they are bubbling away under the surface. I am still struck by what happened on my last therapy session. I don’t want to go on about it, but it has had a big impact on me. At the moment, I don’t feel like I need to connect with my therapist, but I think going back to work tomorrow could possibly trigger that. I think the change of scenery was good, but using public transport, going back to a busy city and office may be an assault on my senses.

I know that none of this is earth shattering or deep, but I needed to process being ‘back’. I guess writing that makes me interested in who I have been for the past week versus who I am now again. I have caught up on some blogs, but couldn’t find anything useful to say.

Pre-break thoughts

I am taking some time to write before I go away for a week tomorrow. I need some time to process some thoughts that have been in my head for the past few days.

I replied to my therapists email yesterday and gave the reasons why I think I was so emotional in our last session. The reasons felt risky. I thought that I may have been worried about her because she hadn’t had the however many hours it takes her to prepare to deal with me. I was worried that she couldn’t handle my emotions. Again, I felt like I was criticising her. Despite knowing the rationale to conflict with that. I think that a lot of it came from my subconscious so I still can’t explain it. I can only speculate as to what may have triggered me. I have also realised tonight that I can’t really differentiate between the conscious and unconscious. I again felt anxious at not getting a reply. Today, I had a very strong need for the connection and validation from her, or anyone really. I managed to stop myself from texting her though. But I felt bereft. The hole inside me was huge and I felt like my heart was being ripped out. That gut wrenching need for love and validation.

I received a reply from my therapist at lunchtime. She said that dealing with vulnerability is very much part of her job so I don’t need to worry – and she knows that I know that too. I wonder if that her way of doing suggestions she may do during hypnosis but through email. But she is right, I do know that. Adult me knows that she can handle whatever I bring to the session. Child me is scared of upsetting her and having to take care of her, but still not be able to make things better. She also said that I ‘survived a really horrible day and got through it, and it is now in the past… so well done.’ Part of me thinks that she is telling me stop going on about it – and I know I have gone on about it. I am struck by the words ‘survived’ and ‘horrible’. My therapist is a very calm, measured person so I am surprised that she used those words – ‘survived’ in particular. I defined it as a difficult or a tough day. ‘Survived’ sounds quite dramatic. My therapist doesn’t do drama and I don’t think that she would use that word lightly. But I wasn’t the person watching me or taking care of me. I was the one in it who couldn’t see a way out apart from running away. Part of me wants to ask her what she saw but also not to dwell on it. It just feels like a turning point and I don’t know where my sessions will go from here. The concept of reading my writing now seems irrelevant.

I am feeling anxious and a lot of dread about going away tomorrow. The thought of basically living in my mum’s pockets for a week is anxiety inducing. She can be hard work. We went out shopping on Sunday and she was insistent that I needed a new coat/jacket to go away. The weather is fairly cool and we haven’t had an Indian summer unfortunately. I couldn’t find one that I liked and she asked, “what are you going to do if you don’t find one today?” – okay. My response was that nobody would die if I didn’t buy a new coat. I know that is rather dramatic and probably not very adult, but it really grinds my gears! I got a stern, offended look as a result. When I found a coat that I liked, she said, “Don’t buy one for the sake of it.” Argh. I didn’t respond to that. I feel like she projects her worries and anxieties onto me. I feel a huge responsibility to make her feel okay. I don’t have the strength to do that anymore. I still pull it from somewhere but now it upsets me. The difference between my mum and my therapist is huge. I think this is triggering some of the grief. It’s a very different relationship. My therapist doesn’t have to love me for a start. But I see what I should have had from my mum in my therapist. I am anxious that I won’t have packed the clothes my mum will approve of. Or she will say that I have brought too much. The expectation to be perfect.

I feel like having some words from my therapist would be so helpful right now. I have her emails that I can refer to depending on the phone signal which I don’t think will be great in places. My uncles house being one of them. But I think that having something that she has written for in between sessions to keep the connection and the validation alive. I guess it’s a bit like a transitional object but with words. I’m just going to have to get through it and hope that the week goes fast. I’m not catastrophising but it’s a difficult relationship. A codependent relationship. I do think that I need a break from work. I’m hoping that the change of scenery and break from work will help. I’m hoping that I will be able to handle life a bit better. I do feel like my life has become unmanageable. Waking up and noticing the emptiness inside me followed by the loneliness and worthlessness is not a good motivator for a day at work. I really need to get a grip on my time management at work. Working full time and trying to get through what feels like the most difficult part of therapy is so difficult.

 

Email from my therapist

I got a reply from my therapist last night at 8.50pm. My phone battery had actually died by the time she replied, so I didn’t see it until I got home. That’s what happens when you keep checking your emails! I managed to reduce my anxiety levels yesterday afternoon. I realised that I could have been waiting until next week for a response and living with sustained anxiety is not good. Also that she was unlikely to be angry, feel criticised and never want to see me again.

I don’t want to post the whole email, but she explained that she hadn’t forgotten about our session but didn’t have any other appointments, so decided to have a dress down day. She hadn’t organised herself well enough to find time to change. She wondered if it made me feel uncomfortable. I don’t think it did. My job doesn’t really have a dress code so the fact that she was wearing jeans didn’t make her any less professional to me. She apologised if her husband opening the door made me feel uncomfortable and if I had been waiting outside. Her husband had heard the door and she hadn’t. The rest of it read as follows:

“It is completely your session and I am there to help you.  It actually did help me to see your vulnerability as it gives me a better understanding of how others (including me) impact on you. Your email certainly didn’t sound like you are being critical and manipulative, so please don’t think for a moment that is what I would think.  Remember, as a therapist my motto is “non-judgemental and unconditional positive regard” and of course we have built up a relationship over the years and I too respect and admire you for continuing to work on your well-being.  I feel that your email for being open about your feelings of yesterday is a demonstration of the good progress you are making and took a real amount of courage.”

I have read the email many times in an attempt to believe it. The acceptance and validation makes my head spin. It’s so overwhelming and doesn’t seem real. Even writing this, I don’t feel like I am writing about myself. That sounds weird because it’s something so basic, but I can’t comprehend it.

I think that the session not starting in the way I expected totally threw me. I’m not sure if it triggered my already vulnerable inner child. I don’t know why specifically. It did make me feel out of place and out of control. I think that I worried about my therapist perhaps. On reflection, I think that maybe it was meant to happen. My T was supposed to see me in that state. I don’t know how she interpreted it as she has said in her email, but I guess I have to let her work with what she saw. I think that although I have been more open in reading my writing in recent sessions, I quickly learn to adapt to the level of emotions it triggers and to burying them again. I couldn’t do that on Wednesday.

I met up with my dad last night because he is home. He asked me why my dance classes have changed so I explained that one of the teachers is on maternity leave until at least after Christmas. He then mentioned that I used to dance on Friday nights and that he couldn’t have a drink until 9pm when he had picked me up. Sorry to inconvenience you dad. He also mentioned that my sister in law has asked if she and the boys can go back with him and my stepmother for a few days. He has had to book new flights because of the Monarch airline going into administration. He then gave me £100 because he had paid for their flights. That both intrigues and triggers me. Part of me thinks that he thinks I am motivated by money. I also think that it is the only thing that he can give me. I didn’t even think about money. I wondered what my mum will think of this arrangement. My dad can’t show me love or validation, he can only give me money. I think that is where some of the grief is coming from. I don’t want your money dad. I want you to watch me dance and enjoy it. I don’t want you to tell me not to be cheeky when I correct you on something. I am an adult now too.

My head is swimming with trying to work out what triggered me on Wednesday. I can’t even fully remember how I was anymore. I don’t know if I have blocked it out. My body is full. The validation from my therapist is trying to get in but there is no room. I am full and I can barely breathe.

Thank you to rubberbandsandchewinggum for your advice/objective view. 🙂

 

The anxiety of emailing your therapist 

I emailed my therapist this morning explaining how I felt about our session on Wednesday and I haven’t had a response. It’s not even midday so I know that I am probably coming across as impatient!

It just feels like such a vulnerable thing. To send my thoughts to her and not be able to see her reaction. I don’t think that she checks her emails everyday anyway. Although she was checking them whilst I was stood outside her house on Wednesday. 😬 I am having to stop myself from texting her and asking her to read it. I know that explaining myself and opening up a discussion is the right thing to do, but the wait is incredibly anxiety inducing. It’s so triggering and I don’t understand why. My parents being inconsistent and never knowing where I stood. I don’t know.

I need this to end and it’s now out of my control. I know that I sound like a crazy person. It’s my own fault for not being open in the session but I just couldn’t.

When your therapist is not prepared

I’ve just got home from my session and it was pretty difficult.

I knew something was wrong when I had to knock on the door about four or five times. My T’s husband eventually answered and said, “Are you here for H?” I had already been stood there thinking shit, shit, shit, shit. She eventually came to the door and we went in. She was dressed in jeans and a jumper. She said that they were having a casual day because they have been on holiday and that she was catching up with emails. I thought that she had got back last week but maybe not.

She asked me how I was and I told her that I was anxious which was true. Anxious because I shouldn’t be there was what I didn’t say. She asked me some questions and I told her that I had been experiencing feelings relating to the past. I couldn’t connect but I gave her that. I told her that I had felt sad.

“What you would do if you felt like that?”

“I would do things differently because that is what you are expecting me to say and do.” Can you sense the anger? She would have known how I had been feeling if she had read my journals.

“I don’t want you to tell me what you think I want to hear. I want you to be honest with me.”

“I feel really uncomfortable and I want to leave. My instinct is to just run away.”

“Why do you feel uncomfortable? Is it the emotions? The fact that you’re now feeling these emotions shows me that something is changing.”

“It doesn’t feel safe. I’m not entitled to these feelings. I should just move on and forget about them, but I know that they won’t go away.” What I wanted to say was, “It doesn’t feel safe because you’re not prepared, I shouldn’t be here and I don’t know if you can handle this.” I didn’t feel able to say that.

We did some exercises to get rid of the fear. She adjusted my sitting position.

“How does that feel?”

“I feel vulnerable because my body language is so open.”

We did another set of exercises and I stopped a few times because I just couldn’t do it. She encouraged me to continue. It did work but I was determined not to show my emotions. Even during the hypnosis part of the session. I nearly let go but I couldn’t. She wasn’t there with me. There was still that feeling inside that I shouldn’t be there and that overshadowed everything.

“Do you often sit like that when you feel so emotional?”

“I guess so. Sometimes I lie on my bed in what is more or less the fetal position.”

“It’s like you’re trying to make yourself as small as possible so that you can’t be seen. How do you feel now?”

“I feel a bit better. I have managed to bury the emotions a little now.”

“It’s not about burying the emotions. It’s about changing your body position to change the fear response. We’re not going to push the emotions down. We’re going to deal with them.”

I feel awful and disgusted with myself for interrupting her when she was busy though. I wanted to ask her if I had got the day or the time wrong. I couldn’t handle the answer though. It hurts. I’m not even worth her checking her diary for in the morning. I had could have got back into my car and driven all the way home and it wouldn’t even matter. She wouldn’t even know that I had been there. I nearly did and part of me wishes that I had. I had turned up ready to face the emotions but she wasn’t prepared for that. She was validating, but once a session starts like that, it’s very difficult to pull it back; I’m sure many of you will agree.

I don’t consciously know why I am so triggered by this. It did trigger me last time but her friend had died so I didn’t go on about it. I expected her to be ready for work after her holiday and she wasn’t. I feel so alone. The message it gives me is that I’m not good enough and that nobody will ever want to be with me and there for me. Maybe it’s because I don’t pay her as much that she isn’t bothered about being prepared, or the fact that she has had to deal with me for so many years. There were lots of storage bags in her kitchen – she closed the door when she realised that it was still open. She is probably selling her house and moving further away. My next session is 5 weeks away because she can’t do the 1st November. Five weeks with a week with my mother in Ireland.

But do you know what I am going to do? I am going to email her to apologise because it’s the only thing that I can do. Apologise for being a burden and for turning up unexpectedly. I was bad and I’m sorry. I wanted to get the most out of the session because it’s only once a month. I had so much to say that I had written down and that time has gone.