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Insecurity, Hot On The Heels Of Vulnerability

Therapy is hard sometimes.

And yesterdays session was one of those.

I’m always open during my sessions, and trust my therapist with things I can’t ever speak to anyone else about. She holds my secrets.

But this one was particularly difficult for me. For some reason it felt like I was more exposed than ever before. I’ve told her lots of things, some worse than what I revealed to her yesterday, I think. Yet, this just felt different. It was the hardest thing I’ve told her so far, and I don’t know why that was the case. But she was amazing, and made me feel safe and comforted in those moments.

I can’t even remember what brought it on, but at some point during the session I had a damn panic attack. It was horrible. She was with me every step of the way though, something I’ve never had anyone do for me before. So I’m glad she was there, and not somebody else. She knew how to handle it, and she was gentle and kind, and I got through it.

It was a hard session, but I felt cared for during most of it. But then at one point it went horribly wrong. I took everything as an attack, a judgement. And all I wanted to do was shut down. Disappear.

I felt so fragile. I just wanted her to understand where I was coming from. But it felt like we were on opposite ends of a mountain. I was (metaphorically) yelling things at her, wanting her to really see and understand where I was coming from. And she was yelling things at me from the other side of the mountain, and I felt like she couldn’t really hear me. I felt invisible.

She was pushing me. She told me I need to be pushed sometimes. That she was trying to motivate and encourage me. Whenever she’d tell me that in the past, I would agree. But I realized yesterday that the truth is… I actually don’t need to be pushed. How could I expect her to know that, when even I didn’t realize it until yesterday? I can’t. I need a gentle touch. I’ve had enough “tough love” in my life, and it’s never worked. While it may work for others, for me it has the opposite effect. It makes me feel really low, invisible and even worse about myself. When someone is gentle with me, that encourages me. That motivates me. That pushes me.

I’m not blaming her at all. I’m not attacking or criticizing her. She’s still a hero in my eyes. She’s still up on the pedestal, and in my opinion the best damn therapist there is. I just think we’re both still learning how to work with one another. Every relationship is like that. Figuring out how best to deal with each other.

Seeing that the time was running out, as usual made me feel horrible. I hate it when the session is over. I always wish it could go on a little bit longer. I hate goodbyes. I felt angry, and expressed it in a crappy way. My therapist rightly pointed out that ending sessions makes me anxious, and that I was trying to push her away. I don’t want to push her away, so I don’t know why I still do.

As the session was drawing to a close, we discussed how we felt about it. I realized that I can’t really express my feelings when she asks me my thoughts on the session, and I stumble over my words, because I usually only truly know how it felt to me a little while afterward. My mind seems to work that way… Slow. I need to analyze for a while first. I was happy to hear that she thought it had been a good session. That was reassuring and comforting.

I was going to carry that with me until our next session. Knowing that I have nothing to worry about. Then, this morning, I sent her a text, setting up our next session. And that’s when it went downhill for me. Reading things into every omission. Most of the time she ends a message the same way, by telling me to have a good morning or afternoon. But something was different today. Something so simple. Like also not asking how I was. Ending the next text with something that just felt so impersonal. Small little things that shouldn’t affect me. But those small things brought the insecurity out in full force and I felt so incredibly hurt and confused. And that intensified with the email she sent a little while ago. Most of the time our communication feels warm and soothing. This time it felt so impersonal and distant. Clinical. As if we were strangers. I keep telling myself that she’s just really busy or tired, which is the most likely scenario. I think this insecurity was caused by the after effects of being so revealing yesterday. I always tell her about things that she said that upset me, and most of the time I had just read the situation wrong. She handles it so well. So I’m hoping that once again this is the case.

But still, I can’t shake the feeling that she’s disappointed in me. I hate being so damn sensitive.

I still feel vulnerable and ashamed from yesterday. The remnants of the shame I’ve always felt about that specific event but that I would quickly push down? Because it’s one of those things that I barely ever wanted to admit to myself, and pushed away whenever it would surface. But I feel like maybe I shouldn’t have told her that after all. I’m feeling very insecure about it. Insecure in myself. And most of all… Embarrassed. Exposed. Vulnerable.

And then the thought came: What if she didn’t believe me? What if she doesn’t like me anymore?” Where is all this insecurity coming from? And why do I still feel so fragile? Like the tiniest thing will just rip me into pieces.

It seems that for me, being vulnerable opens the door for insecurity to enter. Sharing something very personal and difficult is a major risk. Even when it’s sharing it with someone you trust very much, it’s still daunting.

I so desperately want her to believe in me, but how can I expect her to when I don’t even believe in myself? As she pointed out, I have a habit of giving up too soon, of quitting. Which is the truth. I’m surprised I’ve managed to keep this blog up for so long. I’ve only had one person in my life who believed in me, and would tell me that often. And knowing that, I always did my best. One positive voice drowned out all the negative voices that kept telling me that I’ll never amount to anything. That I couldn’t do something. But her belief in me, pushed me to do and be my best and not give up no matter how hard something was. That person was my grandmother. My best friend in the whole world. The world that crashed down around me when she went away. After that, something changed. No longer did I have her encouraging voice, and the negative voices gained a powerful foothold. And I let it.

Scared. Insecure. Did I share too much? And why does it feel like my heart is breaking?

I feel this incredible need to beg her to stay. Like a child holding onto her parents legs, begging them not to leave.

Maybe she should walk away. She’ll have to do it though, because I won’t be able to.

I just don’t feel worth it anymore.

Am I still worth it to her?

The Familiar Taste Of Poison

This song represents a few different things for me.

We long to be free. But during agonizing, vulnerable times, we’re unable to resist the pull.

The Familiar Taste of Poison

“Drink the wine, my darling” you said
“Take your time, and consume all of it”
But the roses were only to drain my inspiration
The promises were spoiled before they left your lips

And I breathe you in again
Just to feel you underneath my skin
Holding onto, the sweet escape
Is always laced with the familiar taste
Of poison

I tell myself that you’re no good for me
I wish you well, but desire never leaves
I could fight this till the end
But maybe I don’t wanna win

I breathe you in again
Just to feel you underneath my skin
Holding onto, the sweet escape
Is always laced with the familiar taste
Of poison

I don’t wanna be saved
I don’t wanna be sober
I want you on my mind
In my dreams, behind these eyes
And I won’t wake up
No not this time

I breathe you in again
Just to feel you underneath my skin
Holding onto, the sweet escape
Is always laced with the familiar taste
Of poison

A familiar taste of poison

BPD & Attachment

Those of us with BPD have unstable patterns in relationships. Until I started therapy, this fact didn’t even appear on my radar. I was living it, but not consciously aware of these patterns. It was only when I started therapy that it was brought to my awareness. I see it play out in my relationship with my psychologist as well.

One of the criteria for BPD in the DSM IV is:

(2) a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

This is also known as “splitting”, and is a common defense mechanism for those with BPD. In one article I read, the author referred to us as being emotionally 2 or 3 years old, with a lack of object constancy. Object constancy usually develops between the ages of 2 and 3, and is a normal developmental stage in early childhood that those of us with BPD haven’t quite mastered. What is object constancy? Out of the Fog puts it this way:

An inability to remember that people or objects are consistent, trustworthy and reliable, especially when they are out of your immediate field of vision.

You can read more about this on their website.
http://outofthefog.website/top-100-trait-blog/2015/11/4/lack-of-object-constancy

This is how this looks for me:

I become so attached (obsessively so) to anyone who shows me an ounce of care. They become my whole world. Then, it starts. One little word, one small action, and I feel it all crumble down around me. The feeling that I’m being abandoned or rejected is all consuming. If I don’t hear from someone for a while, I start believing the worst. No longer are they this perfect hero, but now just another person who has rejected me, or is going to abandon me. So I withdraw and push them away. After all, it’s better to pull away myself than have them walk away.

I adore my therapist, and after almost 5 months she still has that place on the pedestal of my mind. But there have been occasions where I’ve found myself withdrawing. Wanting to push her away. She refers to it as “push-pull”. If I don’t hear from her for a time, I get extremely distressed, and I find myself trying to erase any trace of her from my mind. Anger. Pain. But never hate. A few minutes or hours later though, she pops back into my mind, and I long for that connection to her again. It’s extremely frustrating.

I wrote this letter to my therapist last night. I wasn’t going to even send it to her, but I feel it perfectly represents all I’ve written about in this post. So I’m publishing it here.

Dear (therapist),

I don’t mean to be a burden. I don’t mean to doubt you, your words, or your reassurances.

For the past two days I haven’t been able to get the idea out of my head that maybe you’re angry with me. That maybe I did something wrong. Knowing that I can’t ask you that question. Thinking that if I contact you and ask you that question that I so desperately want the answer to, that you’ll get angry and put up more boundaries. Thinking that I’ll have to wait to see whether I hear from you, or if you show up, to know whether my fear is just another projection.

I don’t want to be like this. It’s hard for me. Excruciating would be a more accurate description of the anguish I feel. It’s like having a knife twisted, pushed and pulled into my heart and stomach, over and over again. It stops for a little while, only to start up again when something triggers the abandonment fears. I don’t mean to constantly want and demand your attention. I hate it as much as I fear you do.

You’re not doing anything wrong. You’re doing everything right, and more. It’s me. My mind can’t quite grasp that when you send me an email, or text message one day, that it’s equally valid a few days later. That you haven’t changed your mind. That you still care. I’m trying hard to change that. You should know though that I hold onto those kind gestures, and look at them, reading them again whenever I’m missing you. They keep me going. They keep me strong.

I’m sorry for being too much. Even though in my own world and life, I never feel like I’m enough.

How do I tell you that you’re my life line, when I’m terrified that revealing that will make you pull away from me… Fearing that I’m too dependent? Would it be okay if I told you that if it wasn’t for you, I don’t think I’d be here writing this letter? I don’t think I ever told you this…That first day I came to see you…I had decided that if our meeting didn’t go well, and I thought you couldn’t help me, that I was going to end my life. That you were my last attempt at staying alive. The others made me feel hopeless, that I couldn’t be helped. That I couldn’t be saved. Perhaps that’s why I’m so attached to you. Why I feel this bond with you. You saved my life that day. You saved my life a few weeks ago. You save me when I’m unable to save myself.

Thank you for all you do. Thank you for caring for this woman who’s still a little girl inside, working on growing up and soaring. Becoming the woman I can be.


Rayne

Parts Of Me

Today was one of those days where I wanted nothing to do with my therapist. All I wanted to do when I got her session confirmation text message was to cancel it. What stopped me? The different parts of myself all bringing their own voices to the thought. Arguing back and forth, pulling in different directions.

I’ve recognized 4 distinct parts of myself. There’s the little part, the one that’s terrified of having the connection to therapist cut. That’s scared whenever she needs to be away from her, and can’t bear “goodbye”. The thought that therapist will disappear and isn’t around anymore. Who doesn’t understand why she has to go and leave her all alone.

Then there’s the insecure girl (she feels about 8 years old). The part that doesn’t quite know whether therapist can be trusted. That isn’t sure whether she’s cared about. That’s scared of the connection she feels. She’s also a little scared of therapist herself. She’s the shy one.

There’s also the rebellious and angry teenage part. She feels like she doesn’t need anyone or anything and that she’s better off alone. She longs for connection, but afraid of it. To her, connection means getting hurt. So she pushes people away. She uses anger so that she doesn’t feel the pain.

Lastly, there’s the adult part. The one that knows therapy is valuable and helping her move forward, even when it’s uncomfortable and hard. The one who truly values and cares deeply about therapist. She knows the connection is a healthy and necessary one. She likes learning things about herself that she maybe wasn’t aware of, and wants to grow and become the best version of herself.

Sometimes all these parts of myself seem to collide into one big confusing mess, and other times there’s a dominant one that seems stronger than the rest. The teenager was especially active this morning. She had built up walls around herself. But once again, a few minutes into the session, my therapist somehow managed to pull those walls down. Broke through the resistance and fear.

So while the teenage part was the dominant one, the littlest part was panicking about not seeing my therapist today, and the adult part was providing the rational thought. I didn’t cancel, I showed up to the session. Then it seemed it was the teenager and the child competing against one another in the first few minutes before and during the session.

Why do I feel this need to pull away? I figured this out right before the session. I think it’s because of the current situation. I have to go 2 weeks between sessions for the next while, and that’s really difficult for me to cope with. In other words, I hate it, and I don’t care if anyone says I’m overreacting or being silly.

It’s not just in the therapy relationship that this happens though. It seems to happen in my other relationships as well when I really sit down to think about it. Although the littlest part doesn’t seem to feature with anyone other than my therapist, and my wonderful friend, Imani (sorry for pushing you away the past few days).

Writing all this makes me feel ridiculous. But then… wait, I hear a voice… I DON’T CARE how I sound!

Letter To A “Friend” – Living With BPD

I wrote this to a friend a while ago in a moment of anger, but never gave it to her. I thought I’d share it here, but add something more positive at the end.

Dear “friend”

You think you know me. But you only see what you want to see. You only see what I allow you to see.

So let me give you a glimpse into my inner world.

Do you know how it feels to hate yourself so intensely that you hurt yourself because you think you deserve it, and constantly put yourself down, because the thought of being good to yourself seems like a right that only other people have? That you’re not worthy of this life. You’re like a ghost walking through this world. Never feeling you belong.

Do you know how it feels to be empty? Completely devoid of feeling? A bottomless pit of darkness? It can also feel like there’s something inside you that you don’t have access to. A locked room, with the key nowhere to be found. It can’t be reached. It can’t be touched. It can’t be felt. Only the sense that it’s there makes it real. And when you’re not feeling empty, you feel too much, too intensely. Imagine a small cut. Now take that cut, pull the skin apart, put your finger into it, widening it, opening it up. To you the cut remains that small cut. To me, that cut feels like it is being poked and prodded at constantly. The emptiness, or feeling too much. Which is worse… A flood or a drought? They both bring great turmoil and devastation. Can you imagine living through those two natural disasters, and just when one is over and you think everything is going to be fine, you’re hit with the other? This is what goes on inside me constantly. Welcome to my reality.

Do you know how it feels to have death on your mind every day for weeks at a time Planning, preparing to die, but unable to go through with it. But deep down inside you fear there will come a day where you won’t be able to stop it from taking you over completely. Resulting in total finality. Most days a fight just to survive. A fight to hold on. To be so tired of fighting, that death seems the only way to get rest and be free from the torment of a seemingly worthless existence.

Do you know how it feels to become so taken over by another human being that you can’t escape them? That you long to be a part of them, one with them? Even a few days without them feels like an eternity, and it feels you’re so much a part of this person that if they leave it seems there would need to be a surgical procedure to remove them from you completely. That you’ll never be whole again. That your very survival depends upon this person. The thought of the person ever leaving you is enough to make you do things you normally would never do. Go against your values. Yet constantly feeling you’re not good enough. That the person you’re with can’t possibly love you, because you’re so defective. But still desperately holding onto to them.

Do you know what it’s like to be walking around when you’re suddenly transported out of your body, watching everything going on around you as normal? Voices are like whispers, whispers you can’t quite hear or make sense of. You feel completely alone. You don’t feel real. The world around you doesn’t feel real. It’s as if you’re sleepwalking.

Do you know what it’s like to not have a clear sense of who you are? What is that which you took on from other’s, and what is really you? Taking on other’s emotions and feeling them as if they were your own? To not know what you’re really good at. To constantly compare yourself to others and feeling you’re not good at those things you thought you were good at? To change your career path because you are so convinced it’s what you really want, when it’s actually something you’ve never enjoyed, but went down the path because you took on someone else’s desires.

Do you know what it’s like to be turned into a whiny, tantrum throwing toddler when you’re under extreme stress, or you’re scared and panicking? You feel unable to control yourself. You feel you need someone to just slap you or speak to you calmly to help you remember to focus and breathe. Then feeling hopelessly embarrassed and ashamed once the waves of emotion have calmed down.

Do you never lose your temper? Do you always treat people perfectly? Have you never felt any of these things, if only for a while and to a limited extent?

So before you judge me… Think about how you would feel if our roles were reversed. Then tell me again I’m over-reacting. Tell me again to “get over it”. Can you?

Your friend,
Rayne

P.S. Now that I’ve mentioned the Black, let’s shed some light on the White:

I feel happiness to a whole other level. Euphoria I’ll call it. A state of such intense bliss and excitement, it feels as though I’m flying high above the earth and nothing can bring me down. I can do and be anything. Nothing and no one can hurt or harm me. I’m invincible.

When I love, I love completely. I give all of me. I’m compassionate, empathetic, intuitive and can sense your emotions better than you think. I know when you’re feeling sad, even when you try to cover it up, and will do anything to make you smile again, to lift you up.

I’m adaptable, and can blend into any environment and situation. I’m resilient and strong, and rise out of the deadliest fires like the mythical Phoenix.

I’m here, writing this right now. And for that, I can be proud.