It’s Different

Last night’s group session was nice. I was in good spirits going in. Saw the OT I used to have sessions with, and it was so nice seeing her again. I went up to her and gave her a hug. I can’t believe I did that! But I’m glad I did. The attachment is still there. Dammit. I miss her. I didn’t know just how much until I saw her.

For the check-in’s, we did something a little different. We split up into two groups of five, and did the check-in with those in our group. That suited me well. There were two new girls in the group and they happened to be in mine. So when I shared, I was still terrified. But I managed to overcome it and actually shared something that I wouldn’t have mentioned if we had done the check-in’s as usual with the whole group. And I managed to say everything that was on my mind regarding that, and felt I communicated it pretty well. Go me! With only four other people I had to share with, it was the perfect balance between stepping out of my comfort zone, without it being too overwhelming. The therapist leading the group asked how we found it doing things this way. It seems I was the only one who preferred the split groups. I hope we can do it this way again though. Maybe after enough of those, and becoming more comfortable with it, I’ll slowly start being able to open up to more and more people at once.

Something else also came up last night. But first, a little back story. In a comment on one of my posts regarding my attachment to D, someone said I should try opening up to her and telling her how I feel. So, after about a week of giving it some thought, I decided that even though I’m scared to do it, I’m going to anyway. Life is short, right? So I reached out and opened up to her through an email. Then, at last’s week’s group I asked her whether she had received my email. She had, but said that she wanted to read it through completely before responding. Cool stuff.

It’s been more than a week now, and I haven’t heard anything back from her yet. Obviously, my paranoid and insecure self doesn’t like that very much. I found myself thinking “stupid, stupid girl, you shouldn’t have sent that fucking email”. But fuck that. I sent it, it’s done, and there’s nothing I can do about it now. So I allowed that thought to just float on by, and away it went. Sure, it crops up from time to time again, but I know how to better deal with it. After all, for all I know, she might just have been really busy, on leave, etc… There could be a lot of reasons for not having received a response.

Back to last night though. Sometime during the last part of group one of the other ladies was talking about some meditations that D had emailed to her. I had also asked her to send it to me. But she didn’t. So when that lady mentioned that she had gotten that email, I felt this stab of pain. I brushed it aside and tried to focus on what she was saying instead. There was no way in hell I was going to allow myself to think about that and feel that emotion right then. Hurt? Confusion? Embarrassment? Shame? All of the above. Dissociation, my friend… Welcome.

The rest of the evening I kept telling myself it’s okay. I kept trying to deny those feelings. Because they were from the young part. I’m an adult, I’m healing. I can’t still be struggling with this inner child thing. But I’m fed up with denying things that demand to be out in the open. So I let it out. You know that look on a young child’s face when they get hurt, and you can see they want to cry, but they’re trying to be brave? That’s the image that came into my mind… That little girl was me. And I just cried, from that very young place. The adult me understands (well, sort of), but that little one’s heart is hurting, wondering whether she was bad and that’s why she doesn’t want her. That little one will latch onto anyone. She’s so trusting. She keeps reaching out. D seems to satisfy some deep need and longing. The adult me is content and secure in my relationship with my therapist. But for some reason, my inner child is drawn to D. I wish I could figure out why. Because if I know the reason, then maybe I can deal with it somehow.

As an adult I know things aren’t always what they seem. There’s probably a good reason she hasn’t sent me those things, or replied (Of course I was hoping for a reply, but not expecting one). But the little one doesn’t understand. She can’t make sense of things the way the adult me can. She can’t rationalize. So when I’m in that young mode, the adult doesn’t exist. It literally feels like a completely separate part. And I can switch so quickly between the two sometimes that I don’t even realize the switch has happened.

I’ve been dealing with feelings of rejection and abandonment by two significant connections, so I’ve already been in a vulnerable place. So this one just compounds the issue.

Somehow though, I’ve been dealing with it pretty well. I say that because usually I’d be a complete mess. These situations cloud my perceptions of every other relationship in my life, intensifying the fear of abandonment, and making me want to push everyone away. It ramps up my paranoia. But for some reason, this time, these situations haven’t been able to spill over into my relationships with Elizabeth and my therapist. I feel very secure and content in these two relationships. As mentioned in one of my previous posts, I had a moment where I felt disconnected from my therapist. After writing that post, I sent her a text letting her know how I feel. She sent me a lovely text back, and I felt secure again. All it took was one little text. My relationship with Elizabeth is progressing at a comfortable, steady pace. Which is so very different from my previous relationships. It’s wonderful.

In our session today, my therapist said that I don’t give myself enough credit for things. That I give other people and things the credit. Something to that effect. And that’s true. So, I’m not saying that it’s entirely because of these two relationships that I’m handling all of this so well this time. I have grown and changed. I have made progress. I am doing well. But having these two strong and stable connections is also contributing to my ability to deal better with this situation. Connection is powerful, and definitely helps us cope better with life.

So I was hurting last night, and still don’t feel good about it, but I’m not obsessing about it the way I would have in the past. It’s different this time.

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Scared Of Losing Them

I took my step siblings out for dinner last night. My stepmom and the man who calls himself my dad went to the casino again (an every weekend thing- they’re there again tonight).

I don’t have a close relationship with my stepsister, the way I do with my stepbrother. While having dinner last night, my stepsister was in a happy, childlike state (which is rare). We were talking about random, silly things, and we had a good time. At one point, just before the bill arrived, I looked over at her sitting across from me, and realized… I really love her. That scared me. It still does.

She reminds me so much of my first stepsister. The sister who ran away. For 13 years I had this entire stepfamily, and then in one day, I lost all of them. Just like that. There one minute, gone the next. It was as if they hadn’t even existed.

I guess I’ve subconsciously been keeping an emotional distance from my current stepsister because of that. Although it’s not the only reason. I’ve told her a few times though that if she ever wants to talk, that I’m here for her. But she’s never needed me. And I’ve been okay with that.

Lately, my abandonment fears have been acting up again. Sure, they’re always in the background. But sometimes for certain periods of time, they come out in force. What set it off? I haven’t figured that part out yet. I don’t even know when it started, just that it’s been a while already.

I told my therapist (and I wrote about it in my previous post) that I’ve been feeling disconnected. From her. From everyone. Seeing her again in our session on Thursday, I felt a little more connected to her again. I saw that my insecurity that she was pulling away from me, was unfounded. That my insecurity wasn’t an accurate representation of the state of our relationship. It was a projection. She wasn’t the one pulling away. I was pulling away from her. It’s not my intention though. I don’t want to pull away from anyone. Yet, I feel like I am. I’m not sure how to stop it. Or if I even want to. I’m just really confused.

I’m scared. What if I lose my current stepfamily too? I’ve already lost four families, people I grew to love. I’ve been to way too many funerals. And it all still hurts. Some of the losses feel more raw than others. I wish I can say that I won’t have to deal with another loss. But unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life, and loss is inevitable.

Maybe if I don’t love anymore, people will stay. Maybe if I disconnect, it won’t hurt as much when or if they leave.

I feel as though there’s not much left of me. All those I lost have taken a piece of me with them.

First Love

Lonely tonight.

I had her.
I lost her.
She let me go.
She broke my heart.
My first love.
A love I never experienced before or since.
There were others I thought I was in love with.
I wasn’t.
I was just infatuated for a short while.
I had been fooling myself.
But with her it was real.
Unexplainable.
Painful.
Beautiful.
What if she was the one?
My only shot at true love.
My last.
Now meant to be alone.
Forever.

Love heals? No, love destroys.

Female Attachments

Having written about attachments these past few weeks, I got to thinking about my tendency to get attached to women. This is an emotional and deeply personal post which I’m a little nervous to write.

My parents got divorced when I was between the ages of 3/4.

I have no memory of anything that happened between them before they got divorced. But I remember the moment my dad took me from my mom. I was screaming and crying, but my mother was a shell. She was emotionless. She wouldn’t help me, and just stood there. My dad wasn’t exactly gentle with me during that moment. He didn’t care that he was hurting me physically and emotionally, as long as he got what he wanted. I blocked this memory, or to be more exact, I suppressed it. It would surface every few years, then the process would begin again. After that moment, everything goes blank.

The next thing I remember is being in a new house, with a new “mother” and baby sister (my now ex-stepsister). We were in a new city, far from my hometown. My biological mother was then also living in the area, just across the street, with her new boyfriend. My first memory of him is also during this time. I remember running to my mom’s place one day, and her telling me that I couldn’t stay there. I had to go back to my dad’s house. I didn’t want to. But she took me back anyway.

I don’t know how long we stayed in that area. We moved a lot throughout my childhood and early teen years, with every move taking me further and further away from my mother. I don’t remember much from my childhood. Just scattered pieces here and there. I know I went to my mom every second weekend, and I remember instances of my dad and stepmom telling me that my mother gave me up, that she didn’t want me, and them using that as justification to get me to not go to her for the weekend. But even with all of that, I wanted to see her. So growing up, I believed my mother didn’t want me. That she gave up on me. That she didn’t really love me. That’s what they wanted me to believe. But when I was with her, she wasn’t like the woman they painted as a monster. She wasn’t the most attentive mother. It was almost like she was afraid to bond with me, but I have a few memories of her playing with me. Then, when I was 8 years old, my first little sister was born (half-sister). I’d see her with my sister and she was so gentle and loving toward her. I instantly loved my baby sister, and loved taking care of her when I was at my mom on her weekends. But it still felt like I wasn’t connected to my mother. She still felt like a stranger in a way, and even more so when my sisters were born.

I didn’t want to be at home with my dad and stepmom. There was shit happening there that I’m not going to get into. But I also didn’t want to be at my mother’s place with my stepdad. He was abusive towards my mother, and even (very rarely though) my sisters. I think he was too afraid of my dad to hurt me. He did hurt me emotionally of course, with how he treated my mom. He’d even hit her when we were in the car, driving somewhere. When he was angry, he’d put his foot down on the accelerator, and speed past all the other cars, taking corners at a frightening speed. Threatening to kill us all. My dad did the same thing (my mom sure knows how to pick them). So I didn’t feel safe anywhere. I didn’t feel like I belonged. Like I didn’t have a home.

It would only be much later (in my late teen years) that I would learn the truth about what my dad did (and threatened to do) if my mother didn’t let me go with him. And when I found this out, through my mother, and two other family members (not just from her side of the family), my mother’s reaction the day I was taken from her, made sense. My connection to my biological mom is one of friendship. I do love her though. I just don’t feel that mother-daughter bond with her.

My stepmom was a cruel woman. She didn’t care about anyone but herself and her daughter. But then again my dad preferred my stepsister too, which was made evident time and time again. I was always the odd one out. They would go to her sports matches, but were always “too busy” to come to any of mine. I was good at most sports, but I gave them up quickly, because I didn’t see the point when I didn’t have anyone cheering me on. I guess I shot myself in the foot with that one. I should have carried on without needing their support. I should have been able to be my own cheerleader.

I used to pretend that I was switched at birth, and daydream for hours on end about getting found and rescued by my birth mother. I would always use actresses that I saw on TV, to take on that role in my imaginary world. It seemed safer that way. They would never leave me. I searched for a mother figure in everyone who showed me the least bit of attention. But I’m not looking for a mother figure anymore. I know, and have accepted, that I’m never going to have that. I have a mother, and even though it’s in a different capacity, she’s still my mother. All I want now are stable, healthy relationships. Relationships that will help heal the trauma and abandonment, and the patterns that have resulted from it.

So my experiences with men, starting with my dad, have limited my need for them. I don’t need a father figure, I don’t even want one. In this situation, some people would also look for a father figure in the men they date, but it didn’t happen that way for me. I don’t want a replacement. I have what I have, and life carries on.

In light of all of this, I now understand myself, and my patterns, better. I can see why it’s so easy for me to get attached to women. Even though it’s not with everyone, and it’s rare that I do get attached, it still happens. Now I’m left with a few questions. Will it always be this way, or is there a way to release myself from all of this? And most important of all… should I do away with all attachment? What’s healthy, and what’s not? I don’t know how to navigate this.

Attachment: Here We Go Again

I’ve gone and done it again.

I got attached to someone else. My psychiatrist.

When I first met her, that Friday that I booked myself into the clinic, I can’t remember most of our interaction. I saw her four more times after that, and didn’t know what to make of her. So there wasn’t an instant attachment, like I had with my therapist the first day I met her.

Then, yesterday, everything changed. I went to a DBT program that the clinic organizes for previous inpatients. As I was signing myself in, I felt a presence behind me, and heard a voice. I turned around and saw my psychiatrist. She smiled warmly at me, greeted me and asked whether I had an appointment with someone. I told her that I was there for the DBT group. She smiled again, and told me that she’s proud of me, which caught me unawares. She asked me to walk with her, and started asking how I’ve been, what’s been going on in my life, etc. I was surprised when she asked me about something I had told her in one of our sessions a few weeks ago. Surprised because I didn’t think she’d remember that so clearly. Especially since she sees a lot of patients.

Eventually we got to her office, and she announced me to her assistant (who I really like- she’s awesome), with a “look who I found”. It’s nice to be remembered. The instant my psychiatrist touched my hand, that was it. I became attached to this woman, right then and there. My vulnerable child self emerged, and I could feel her hunger for love and care. Psychiatrist had just done something that made her feel warm inside and cared for, and she wanted more.

The three of us spoke for a few more minutes and then Psychiatrist had to leave to go see patients. But before she left, she told her assistant “take good care of her”. She left with a gentle touch on my arm. I didn’t want her to go, and the vulnerable child felt so sad watching her leave, thinking that she might never come back.

The group was really good, but near the end we had to lay on the ground for some meditation. After a few minutes of that, I suddenly felt this overwhelming sadness. I felt my vulnerable child self becoming activated again. I started crying (I’m glad no one would see me), and just kept thinking over and over again “I want Psychiatrist and Therapist”.

Why do I find myself getting attached to someone because of a simple, caring touch? It’s not like that with just anyone though. And never with men. I can feel when it’s genuine and there’s a measure of care. And that’s when it happens. It’s an amazing feeling, but at the same time it’s terrifying. It’s just one more person to worry about being abandoned by. But I can’t stop it from happening.

My therapist is still my favourite and most powerful attachment. I’ve got a session with her tomorrow, and I can’t wait. She sent me a voice note last night, just as I was getting out of the car to go to group, telling me that she’s proud of me. I had reached out to her and told her that I’ve been struggling with abandonment issues a lot this past week or so, and I was in a young and vulnerable place. I told her I was forcing myself to go to the group, even though I didn’t really want to (I’m glad I went). It was so nice hearing her voice again, and I always love hearing her say that she’s proud of me. So I got two “I’m proud of you” messages yesterday. It felt good.

I’m seeing my psychiatrist next week Friday for an hour. But I don’t want to see her only then. It feels like a lifetime away.

What the hell is wrong with me?!

Lashing Out

Dear Therapist

I lashed out at you when you were three minutes late for our session. I know it’s not an excuse, but I wasn’t in a very good place, so those three minutes felt a lot longer. Thank you for validating that it’s a big deal for me, and for your apology. I know you’re only human, and these things happen. You’ve been consistent since the very beginning, so I feel a little embarrassed for being so upset today. I’m so sorry.

I remember what you told me. That whenever I apologize the way I did today (over and over again), that you feel as though I regress to a younger age, expecting that I’m going to be in trouble. I didn’t realize until now how big that statement actually is.

When you said that I’m lashing out at you, and I thought that you were getting upset, I panicked. I panicked because I was so afraid that I would lose you. I backtrack so quickly, and apologize as soon as I suspect that you’re getting mad. Because I feel myself flinching on the inside. Like a child who knows what’s coming. Who feels like she’s about to get hit. But I know that’s what happened in the past. That it’s not what’s happening today. I only realized after our session that this is what happens to me in these moments.

There are two reasons that I usually apologize. The first is that I genuinely don’t want to upset you, because I care so much for you. The other is due to fear of abandonment. I get so mad at myself, because you’ve proven time and time again that you won’t abandon me. And I feel that I should stop worrying about that. Yet it still happens from time to time.

Sometimes I feel that I need to act out to a safe person, because I can’t do it with anyone else, so I bottle up those intense feelings, that rage I may be experiencing. And it just sits there. Or I take it out on myself.

I don’t do it on purpose, or to upset you and cause a conflict. In my mind, I’m not lashing out at you, but rather to you. I feel a little upset now. Therapy is supposed to be a safe space, but I feel I have to contain myself in sessions as well. I’m not sure who I’m mad at. You or myself? Or both of us? I also feel that I don’t have the right to be feeling mad about this. It doesn’t serve any purpose.

Thank you for being here for me yesterday. I really appreciate you, and everything you do. I value this special relationship.

Love,
Rayne

Just A Burden

Being ignored. The story of my life. But do you think I’m used to it? No, it still fucking hurts.

I’m the odd one out. I’m the one whose voice doesn’t matter. Who doesn’t get asked whether I want to do something with them… Only to find out that day, from my uncle (not even them) that they’re going away for the day or weekend. I won’t always want to go with, but sometimes I would like to… And I would appreciate just being asked at least.

Trying to have a conversation, but getting interrupted by someone else, and suddenly it’s like I don’t even exist anymore. And they want to know why I don’t want to spend much time with them. Seriously? What’s the point when I’m either ignored, talked over, get mocked, or subjected to listening to inappropriate things. God help me when I try to express and tell them how it makes me feel. Showing any negative emotions, and it becomes a shit storm. I get yelled at and made to feel like a nothing.

I know I’m a burden. I know I’m an adult. But in those moments I feel like that past child all over again. I’m supposed to be part of this family too. But I’m always left feeling ignored. They even forget I’m around sometimes, and aren’t ashamed of admitting that. Oh man, I feel so loved and special.

It’s not just family either.

But you know what? I just don’t give a fuck anymore. I’m not going to ask for what I want or need ever again. I give up.

I’m not human. I’m not a person. I’m just a burden.