My therapist went on leave at the end of May, and we resumed our sessions the week before last. I’ve always had issues with therapy breaks, but this one was particularly hard. I wasn’t in a good place so the timing just made me feel that much worse. But I got through it.
The first day back, while waiting for the session, I saw my therapist talking to one of the receptionists. A doctor came up to her and welcomed her back. They were soon joined by someone else. Hearing everyone welcome her back sent a wave of relief washing over me. But not just because she was back.
For some reason I had been battling paranoid thoughts while she was gone. Thoughts that she wasn’t really on leave, but just needed a break from me. I told her this last week, and as often happens, felt so silly that I had entertained those thoughts. But it was real for me during that time, and I had a lot going on, so I tried not to judge myself too harshly.
Due to this, and other recent experiences, I’ve realized that I have deep trust issues. And looking back over my life I can see this so clearly. I struggle to believe that what people say and how they are around me, is genuine. The other thing I struggle with is understanding that what someone has said one day might still be true the next. For example, if someone tells me that they care about me, I might believe them in the moment, only to feel anxiety a little while later. Do they still care about me? What if their feelings have changed? A lot of the time, nothing needs to have happened in order for these thoughts and anxieties to arise.
The one I’m struggling with at the moment is the situation with M. My services are still on hold with the company I was freelancing with, and I don’t have another client, so haven’t been able to contribute to the rates and taxes these past two months. When I first moved in, M didn’t want me to pay rent or any of those things. But I felt better at least contributing something, so I did. Now I can’t do that. I still buy things we need for the house, such as groceries or cleaning suppliers as and when I’m able to, but still not as much as I’d like to.
I’ve told M that I feel like I’m a burden to her these days. She doesn’t see it that way. Her husband passed away last year, and she says she likes having another body in the house. She also enjoys my company, and sees me as a daughter. That I’m far from a burden. When I first moved in, we agreed to always be honest with one another, and if there are any concerns or issues on either side, to raise it as soon as possible. So even knowing all this, I’m struggling to believe that what she says is how she really feels. I’m worried that she’s just saying all of this because she doesn’t want to hurt me or something. I know I need to look at the facts in order to overcome this way of thinking, but sometimes I’m just not sure what the facts are, or whether they really exist. It’s frustrating and confusing. I don’t like questioning people’s words or their motives. But yet it feels like such a deep thing and not something I can just instantly stop doing by making the decision to do so.
I also know it comes from my experiences with people and situations throughout my life. I’ll share a few of these.
My first stepmom (of 13 years) would be so nice to me in front of my dad. I would think that maybe she had started to like me or even love me. But then when my dad wasn’t around, she would continue treating me badly and bullying me. She’d say something in front of my dad, but then say the opposite to me the next time. So I never quite knew where I stood with her. With my dad too. He would say one thing, but then the next day he would deny having said that, or telling me (or us) that he didn’t mean it that way or we heard wrong. It was all very confusing.
There was also the situation with my mother. I would see her two weekends a month. My dad and stepmom would tell me that my mother didn’t want me, which was why I was living with them and not with her, and try to discourage me from going to her. They would tell me things about her and things she apparently did or had done. There was never a good word toward her. But when I was with her, even though I didn’t feel that motherly bond or connection, the things I saw her do and how she treated others and me, didn’t fit into the picture of what I’d hear from my dad and step-mom about her.
Then there were the countless other women my dad dated and those we moved in with. When the women (and children) weren’t around, my dad would tell me all sorts of things about their relationship that I didn’t need or want to know. He would also tell me all the problems that these people had with me. I hated this, because they never told me these things to my face. With each new woman I tried to go in cynical. But they would be so nice to me and deep down inside I would think that maybe this time, this woman, would be that mother figure I had always wanted. That would all go out the window when my dad would start with his gossip. I would switch between believing him, and being confused when these women seemed to be nothing but nice to me. When they eventually broke up, my dad would tell me it’s because they couldn’t accept me and had a problem with me. Never mind the fact that he was very irrational and a bully toward them. He would never mention that. It was always just about me.
My dad seems to be the common thread in all of these, but there are other people and situations that he had no part in. So yes, it makes sense that I have these trust issues. I just wish I could get over them and that they didn’t have an influence on my relationships. But at least I’m fully aware of this now and can do the work necessary to start to fix this. And that’s where therapy can help. My dad once asked why I’m still in therapy. It’s been more than 2 years already. I’ve asked myself that same question. But just as our environment and experiences form our personality over many years, it makes sense that it can take years to heal and change.
Trusting someone is difficult. But so is not trusting them. I hope that one day I won’t have that little voice constantly throwing doubt at everything people say.