Going Back To The Old Me

Before starting therapy, I pretty much kept to myself. My feelings, my thoughts. They belonged only to me, and I didn’t share them with anyone. I was always the shy and reserved one. It protected me. It worked for me. Yet at the same time, it didn’t really work. It might have sheltered me from rejection, but it also ate me up inside. I tried to open up a few times, but just ended up getting hurt. Further reinforcing that it wasn’t safe to reveal the deepest parts of myself.

Even in primary school, I was a shadow. When I tried to make friends, and join the other children, I’d just get mocked, teased and called horrible names. So eventually I stopped trying. What was the point. I still remember the day I got my first friend. I was eating my lunch on a step, overlooking some children playing. A girl came to sit next to me and asked my name. We shared my lunch, and from that day we became best friends. I think she was the first friend I ever had. I was never allowed to go visit her at home though (my dad was very controlling- “only protecting me” in his words- when I actually needed to be protected from him). Then we moved to a new city again, and I never heard from her, or saw her again. I didn’t want to get attached to anyone again after that, and I don’t know if I ever did, as I can’t remember the next year or two.

I went to go watch the sunset on the beach today. It’s one of my favourite self-soothing practices. Usually it makes me feel better. It brings me peace. I feel at one with nature, and like I’m not alone in this world. But tonight I just felt this deep sadness the entire time. At first I didn’t understand why, and just tried to push it away. To be mindful of the beauty surrounding me. And then it came. Memories of the same way I felt so often throughout my life. Memories of moments where I felt so alone, with so much sadness buried deep, but that I couldn’t express or verbalize. Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to show emotions. Both my dad and then step-mother hated any display of emotion, other than happiness. But I was hardly ever happy, so I had to pretend that I was. When I went to my biological mom every second weekend, I watched my step-dad hurt her, and occasionally my little sisters as well. I couldn’t show my fear and hatred toward him. I couldn’t protect them. I was scared he would hurt them even more, and that he’d hurt me too. But he never did. I think he was scared of my dad. He was very cruel to me though. Men (monsters) like him, usually are. He also hated displays of emotion. It was a trigger for him. So there were many tears left uncried. So much hurt with nowhere to go. So many secrets with no one to tell. That pattern has followed me ever since.

It was only when I started therapy in March last year, that the pattern got interrupted. Opening up to my therapist felt amazing. She didn’t judge, she didn’t tell me to “stop being a baby”, or get angry with me for expressing my feelings. She didn’t punish me. I felt safe with her. Since then, I’ve become more open to more people. Only to a certain extent though. I knew what to share, and what to keep hidden. Every now and then though, I’d become brave and say more than I should.

In group on Tuesday, I was in a bit of a manic state (I had been in that state for a few days already). We had the usual “check in”. I was a bit late, as I had to go pick up a friend, so when I got back to group, the check in was already underway. Other than the usual check in, we also had to pick an animal that represents us, and tell the others why we chose that animal. When it was my turn, and started sharing, I got interrupted by one of the guys. He argued with me about the correct name for the animal I had chosen. I was so embarrassed and just wanted to disappear. I didn’t want to make it known though how I really felt in that moment, so I argued back. And then I just shut down and let the next person share. It’s taken me a while to start opening up in group. But now with this, I feel it’s not okay to do that anymore. I’ll still connect to the few people I’ve really grown to care about, before group, during the break, and afterward. But I don’t want to open up during the group anymore.

Jasmine and I spent the day together yesterday. Usually when I’m with her, we speak openly about our thoughts and feelings as they come up. But this time I couldn’t. I pretended that everything was okay the whole time, that I was happy. I have to pretend with the dad and current step-mother anyway, so it’s easy. Easy to pretend, difficult to deal with internally.

I just don’t want to be vulnerable anymore. My blog is my space to be open, but in the offline world, I want to stay away from that. I had a great therapy session on Wednesday. But then on Thursday, my manic phase was over, and I went straight down into the depths. And since then I’ve been feeling this need to protect myself from the world.

My younger parts, especially, have been struggling. They need me to take care of them, protect, and love them. They can be vulnerable with the adult me. They only need me. This song is my message to them. It just seems to fit.

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18 thoughts on “Going Back To The Old Me

  1. This is such a deep beautiful post, Rayne..I loved every word. The guy in group violated your boundary…I hope you wont let him over power you with his own crap though its completely natural to feel you now want to shut down…feeling the feelings you are is such huge progress..that deep sadness will probably always be there you went through and witnessed so much that was violent and painful..❤💙 You are doing SO WELL. ..Love 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. I need to learn to stand up for myself and make my boundaries clear. In a respectable manner, of course. It fills me with hope when you say that I’m doing well. We can’t always see our own progress, so it’s valuable to have it pointed out from time to time. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. drgeraldstein

    It is remarkable that you have gained as much self-awareness in the relatively limited time you’ve been in treatment. There will be a time when the rude guy will meet his match in you, I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s amazing how we can bring so much about our adult selves back to our childhood. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize when this is happening, but you are so tuned in to the connection and how it impacts you now. I like that you don’t pressure yourself into being something you’re not. There are times when it’s best and easiest to pretend, but I feel like that can be a good way to cope when we know there is just so much going on inside. I hate that the person in your group challenged you in such a pointless way… if they only knew how much damage a few words can cause a sensitive soul ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Protection And Running Away – Journey Toward Healing

  5. That guy in the group is a total knob Rayne. I know the feeling of wanting to protect yourself after an encounter with someone like that. I kind of might be inclined to participate in the group in a rebellious way, in spite of the knobber. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of your silence. I do understand you feel hurt though and this activated and emotional flashback reminding you of your past conditioning. Massive Hugs Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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