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

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“Daddy, Please Just Stop, And Notice Me.”

Right now I feel like a fragile little girl. A frightened, lost and heartbroken little girl.

I quit my job yesterday. I decided to stay until the end of the day though. I wanted to finish everything up and tie up loose ends, so that the manager wouldn’t have to do it the next day.

I didn’t tell my dad, because I was afraid of his reaction. I knew he wouldn’t take it well. I wanted to clear my head and organize my thoughts first, because the state of mind I was in wouldn’t allow me to communicate coherently.

True to form (he’s always felt like a stalker to me), he caught me and asked me why I wasn’t at work. He had also sent me a message earlier today asking whether I was at work, which he has never done since I started the job. When he caught me at home, I was thinking of lying, but decided to tell him the truth instead. That I quit. That I couldn’t stay until Friday. That I had had enough. I was drained. I am drained. He didn’t say much, but what he did say, and his tone of voice, told me that he was pissed off. I knew he would ask me about it later in the evening.

And he did. He didn’t shout (at first), but he wasn’t very nice either. He made me feel small. The more I tried to explain things to him, the more he went on, as if he wasn’t hearing anything I was saying. Lecturing me. Growing more and more agitated. At some point I just stopped trying to explain. I can’t remember some of the things he said, I just kept disassociating and being transported back to my childhood experiences with him. Not once did he ask me how I was feeling. He just kept telling me, over and over, how he felt. I was already feeling so depressed and overwhelmed. The emotions that had plagued me for most of the day. I really wasn’t in the mood for this. I told him that I want to talk about this some more, but could we rather please talk about it tomorrow because I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I told him that. Yet he carried on, repeating the same things over and over, everytime getting more and more angry. I started feeling so sick, that I thought I was going to throw up. I held my head in my hands, but he didn’t stop, just kept going on and on. Like he couldn’t see my distress. Or he just didn’t care. I wanted to yell “Please, just stop! Please, please, please!”

I tried to just get him to understand me. To really hear me. I eventually got so desperate that I mentioned that I feel like just giving up on life. In that moment, I was hoping that he would see just how serious this is. How bad I’m feeling. Bad enough to be considering suicide, and actually telling him that. Being that vulnerable with him. But he just yelled at me and said that’s stupid. That I know I’m just being stupid. I wanted to say “daddy, notice me. Please help me.” But most of all, “Daddy, please listen to me. I need you to be my hero right now. I need you. I was a hero for you when you were in that dark place. You should know how dark that place can be. Please be my hero now. Please just love me.” But instead he just said that, and told me to get over it. How do I get him to just understand a little bit at least? But how can he understand when I try to tell him and he doesn’t want hear it?

I don’t want to get into everything he said, but I’ll mention this… He told me that I do one thing for a year, and then drop it like a hot potato. That’s true. He mentioned a few other things. I wanted to laugh and tell him that he’s mentioning some of the symptoms of BPD that I struggle with. I’ve tried to explain BPD to him, but it’s like he’s on some other planet and I can’t reach him. If he had really listened to me when I tried to tell him what BPD is, he would have known. But he didn’t.

He also told me that everytime he tries to talk to me, I shut down. What he doesn’t realize is that me shutting down is a protective bubble that keeps me ‘safe’ from him and his words. Because they hurt. They rip my heart out. And those times when I really need to talk to him, he just wants to watch TV and says he doesn’t have time. But he has time to watch two series a night? I’ve tried talking to him so many times throughout my life, but it was always a lost cause. I told him tonight that I’ve tried to talk to him so often about things that are bothering me, how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking, but he either gets angry (he hates it when I express emotions – it seems I never learn), or turns everything around and the conversation turns to his feelings and life. I told him that I understand that, but sometimes I also just need him to listen to me. He then kept defending himself, and once again it was all about him. So I shut down.

I felt like that child and teenager again who just wanted his love. Even with all he’s done, and how I hate him so much most of the time, he’s still my dad. And I don’t know how to let go. Why I keep expecting things to be different. I guess I’m still looking for him to give me the kind of affection I’ve always wanted from him. The affection a child needs. Not the kind of ‘affection’ that only hurts and confuses a young child.

I just want my therapist right now. I feel like that little girl who desperately wants her mommy after a stressful event. Who needs her mom to comfort her and calm her down. Like you see in movies. Where the child has that one parent they can turn to when they’ve been hurt by their other parent. I don’t feel capable of soothing myself right now, but I know I have no other choice. It’s not the same though, and it’s so hard. Especially when you feel so young and fragile.

I never thought of my therapist as a mother figure before, but right now, I’m not sure how true that is anymore. Maybe subconsciously, I have been. Is this even possible? Or maybe it’s just now, tonight, that she’s taken the ‘mommy’ role in my mind. Because as far as I remember, this is the first time since I’ve started seeing her that I’ve felt this way. Maybe the little girl inside feels like she needs another parental figure to step in and tell her it’s okay. That she’s loved. And right now, Therapist seems like that person.

My heart is hurting so much.

Being My Own Friend

During my therapy session yesterday, I was highly annoyed with myself. I told my therapist that I feel I should be better by now. That I should just get over everything and move on. She told me that I’m very harsh on myself, and set very high expectations. That’s very true. I’m my own worst enemy. My harshest critic.

Then I got to thinking. I’ve read articles before on treating yourself as you would treat a friend. Back then it didn’t make much of an impact on me. But now I get it.

If a friend tells me that she’s a terrible person because of something she’s done, what would I tell her? I’ll tell her something along these lines:

“I can understand that you feel like a terrible person. But you’re human. We all make mistakes. The good thing is that we can fix these things. And those things we can’t mend, we learn from them. Simply by you admitting to what you did and how terrible you feel about it, you’re actually showing me the opposite. If you were truly terrible, you wouldn’t have been feeling this bad about it. That tells me that you have a good heart.”

Now what does it sound like when it’s me that’s done something I’m not proud of? It goes like this:

“You stupid idiot. Once again you fucked up like you always do. You’re the worst person in the world. Can’t you ever do anything right? You deserve to feel terrible about yourself. You shouldn’t even be allowed to live.” Yes, that’s really how I talk to myself. Black and White thinking in full swing. I would never talk to a friend like that, so why shouldn’t I show myself the same courtesy?

I learned a valuable skill from my therapist yesterday, which works great in the context of this post as well. I was going through one of my insecure phases and wondering whether I really can trust her completely. “I don’t want to be here today”. “What if you don’t really want to work with me and you’re only staying because it would be unethical for you to drop me?” Those kinds of things. After 6 months with her, I had hoped those insecurities would be non-existent, but that’s not the case. Just when I feel closer to her than ever before, and am enjoying that wonderful connection, it’s not long until I find myself pulling away and falling into the insecure, negative place again.

Yesterday, instead of reassuring me the way she sometimes does, she made me work this time. I suppose there has to be a balance. She can’t just always reassure me without showing me how to change my own thought patterns and reach conclusions for myself. That being said, she still managed to sneak in reassurances, and didn’t leave me completely alone trying to work through this.

She asked me these kinds of questions for each of the negative thoughts I was having (she encouraged me to look at the facts):

What is the evidence that she’s trustworthy?
What evidence is there that she’s not trustworthy?

What evidence is there that she doesn’t like working with me?
What evidence is there that she does like  working with me?

This ‘little’ exercise took a while. She really makes me work hard, and sometimes it feels like my brain just wants to explode. Not to mention my rage at having to spend so much time on something that seems so trivial at the time. Afterward though, I see just how valuable it really is, and I’m grateful for it. I have so many cognitive distortions, and negative patterns and habits that I’ve developed over the years, so of course it’s going to be hard to train my mind to think differently. I need to be kinder to myself. I need to be my own friend.

I can use this skill to be a better friend to myself. When I start feeling like a failure, a waste of space, or whatever my mind comes up with, I can practice this technique.

“I’m a failure.”

What evidence is there to suggest that I’m a failure?
What’s the evidence that I’m not a failure.

This stuff can be used for anything. Thank you psychology. Thank you therapist.

I’m going to practice being kinder and more gentle with myself, and talk to myself the same way I would to my friends, and other people in my life. If I find myself being harsh, I will re-frame it and ask myself what would I tell someone else if they feeling the same way.

We deserve to be our own best friend.

The Highs & Lows of the Therapeutic Relationship

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but have tried to put it off. It feels like I’ll be walking out into the street naked. But I have read similar posts by a couple of other people, which was a great help and comfort to me. And since this is part of my life, if someone can relate and not feel like they’re alone, that can only be a good thing.

Let me start with a quick background on my first meeting with my therapist.

Sitting in the waiting room, my heart was racing. And suddenly, there she was. Calling my name.

Following her, I felt strangely safe. I don’t remember ever feeling safe with someone right off the bat. Actually, there aren’t many people I feel safe around in general. But I digress.

When we sat down, that feeling remained. I was nervous and anxious, yes. But something else was also happening. Something I still can’t explain. She somehow managed to get me to open up and reveal certain things in record time. I felt an instant connection. And that was it. She had me.

Now, let’s rip this band aid off.

I love my therapist.

As in love love. I sometimes have to stop myself from just saying the words “I love you”. Sure, I might say “I have this crazy obsession or attachment to you”. Those are the words coming out of my mouth. But those aren’t the words I really want to say.

I’ve been reading Life In A Bind’s blog for a while now (have started from her first ever post and working my way to the latest – still a lot to go, but amazing stuff there), and there’s a post that I could really relate to, as with a lot of her other posts. I want to quote a paragraph that pretty much sums up how I feel about the therapeutic relationship:

Whether the feelings relate to a friend, a partner or a therapist, the intensity of an obsessive attachment has brought me, repeatedly, both the most intense highs and the most painful lows. It seems to me that therapy, in particular, is a cruel form of unrequited love in which attachment can be necessary for healing, but the boundaries of the relationship may serve to make the obsessional nature of the attachment even more painful.

You can find the rest of the post here (I also recommend the original post she links to as she describes the topic of obsessive attachments so perfectly and beautifully):
http://lifeinabind.com/2015/03/16/memory-monday-waiting-to-fall-bpd-and-obsessive- attachments/

We have a therapeutic relationship. My mind knows this. But in my heart she’s also a lot more. I don’t know what or who exactly. It seems to shift and change constantly. There was only one occasion where I knew exactly who she was for me in a specific life event, which I told her about during one of our sessions. The rest of the time I have no idea. How do I love her? Well, I suppose all the ways you can love someone.

I was also relieved to discover that I’m also not the first person who has to stop themselves from phoning, texting or emailing their therapist constantly. Most of the time I succeed in resisting that temptation. The rest of the time? I just can’t help it. Sometimes it’s as if someone else has taken control of my body, and I’m powerless to stop it. I feel like one of these children in this test:

How can they do that to the poor child? He/she desperately wants that marshmallow, but must fight a great internal battle to resist eating it. Sure, it’s cute and funny to watch. But to actually live it? Not so much.

Boundaries suck, and I don’t care how necessary they are. I hate them. Which is probably why I’m terrible at setting them… I feel there’s always certain situations where they should be broken. Boundaries shouldn’t be black and white. Where the hell is the grey in all this?

During one of our sessions we spoke about the motivation behind my actions. For example, what was my motivation in sending a specific email? What did I want or expect from her when sending it? I actually found that quite profound. It really made me think and question my motivations. Which is something I’m finding myself doing quite often now. I only recently realized another one of my intentions for the majority of my communications with her outside of our sessions. Over and above my other expectations of course. To make sure she’s okay. If I receive a reply, I know she’s fine. If I don’t… I worry about her until I next hear from her. Writing this right now, something else came to mind. Is it totally just for her? Yes, I care about her. I want her to be happy, healthy and safe. But I think there’s a selfish reason thrown in the mix too. If she’s not happy, healthy or safe… that will mean… Here’s that word again… Abandonment. And here I thought I was just a very caring person. Self image… Blown. Damn. This writing process just threw me my first revelation. Not one I like, but maybe necessary.

Moving on. I’ve always had this overwhelming urge to protect those I love and care about. I once chased down a guy, tackled him to the ground, put my hands around his neck and told him if he ever did anything like that again I would kill him. All because he threw a stone at my little sister. Well, I feel justified… it almost hit her in the face. My therapist is only the latest in this delusion. I call it a delusion because I can’t even protect myself, so how do I expect to protect others? Logically, I know she doesn’t need protecting, but that’s not the point. What do I need to protect her from? I can’t tell you, because I don’t even know myself. Maybe sometimes from the very person writing this? One day, she jokingly (I hope) said I seem to be a superhero… And now I fell into that trap again. Oh if she could hear me now. But seriously, if I think of anyone hurting her, whether physically or emotionally, I feel I would rip them apart. I’ve done Muay Thai, MMA and Krav Maga, so have a good set of skills I could use for this purpose. Yes, I secretly am a superhero. 😛

The past couple days, I find I’m trying to find someone to “replace” her with. Someone else who I can turn my obsession over to instead. Why can’t things just feel normal? Why must everything be so damn intense or agonizing? Why do I feel the need for an attachment? Why do I get these obsessions? I would love to be rid of that. Yet at the same time, I actually don’t. It’s like a drug. Along with a comment from the above mentioned blogger, one of my best friends told me that at least this is a ‘healthy’ attachment. That if it wasn’t her it might be someone who’s not good for me, as I’ve been in the habit of doing through the years, so I should just accept how I feel instead of trying to fight it. Maybe I must ask my therapist what she thinks about this. It does make sense I guess. It just doesn’t stop the guilt and shame.

While writing this post, I could hear the word all too well… Transference, transference, transference. But the question is… Who, what, where and why?

I was questioning my motivations regarding therapy as well recently, as I currently find myself in a very uncomfortable position. Unable to set a date for a next session due to financial constraints (we’re currently working on sorting this out at least, and I’m on a job hunt). It feels like a loose end not having a date for a session. Bad enough is the fact that even a week without seeing her feels like months. Now with this added complication, I feel horrible and hopeless thinking it might be weeks or months before we can resume our sessions. So I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel this way. The only conclusion I can come to is that yes, while I am slightly obsessed with my therapist, and love just being in her presence, I also know that healing can, and is, taking place. Even if I felt nothing for her, I would want to continue and have as many regular sessions as it takes. I arranged an appointment with a Clinical Psychologist because I was in a desperate place, and I just couldn’t go it alone anymore. So wanting to get help came first. Loving my therapist is a bonus (or a curse, depending on how you look at it). By the way, for those of you who see your therapist twice a week… I’m jealous.

In closing, despite the fact that I would love to know more about her (everything actually), and have her as more than a therapist (I’m pretty sure we’d be able to be friends – don’t get any other ideas – I’m talking to myself here too), I still think our relationship is pretty perfect. As she says, we work well together. Such true words. At the end of the day, I feel supported and cared for. And, for now at least, the joys of this relationship far exceed the frustrations.

Art Of Feeling

I recently came across some powerful and beautiful digital artwork by an artist who calls herself DestinyBlue, and decided to share some of my favourites.

These images represent my own feelings so well. I’ll name the images as the artist has, and the images will link to the page you can find on her official website. There you can read what inspired her to draw it. Her stories. I’ll then add my own interpretation… What each image represents to me.

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Paint your Wings

Having negative feelings towards myself… Seeing myself as bad, dirty and evil, I sometimes feel the need to prove to others that I’m a pure and good person. An angel, if you will. Maybe I try to convince myself of that too. There’s also a longing to go back to a time before ‘the fall’, as I call it. To regain innocence. To start over. Or to have never existed at all.

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Mute

We’ve all had moments like these. Feeling terrible, but smiling and pretending the sun is shining. This image perfectly represents the story of my life. Wanting help, wanting someone to notice the real ‘me’ beyond the smile. Being ignored or yelled at when trying to express feelings. Eventually learning to keep it locked away instead. Unable to express the emotions I was drowning in.

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Last Piece

When I read DestinyBlue’s description of this piece I was pleasantly surprised by her words in the second paragraph. Years ago I had written something that said the same thing, just in a different way. Her intention for this was for it to be a positive representation. But, as we all know, everyone interprets things differently. To me, I see it as the puzzle that is me. Trying to fit pieces of myself together, without really knowing who ‘me’ is. Sometimes it feels as though a piece fits, only to find later on that it actually doesn’t, and ruins the rest of the image. A constant searching and re-building.

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Sew Closed my Soul

I’m pretty sure there’s never been anyone who’s never had their heart broken in some way. After each loss in my own life, I’ve felt the need to stitch up  my heart. Two motivations: 1) Close the wound, stop the bleeding 2) Don’t let love in anymore. But who can resist love? Connection? It seems to just happen. And when you least expect it. It’s like an obsession. It is an obsession. It’s perfect. Until it’s not. But in the end, every little bit of love is worth it.

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Imprint

The previous image and this one make up a set for me. Every person I’ve ever met has left an imprint on me, whether positive or negative. Whether a healing presence, or destructive force, they’re all still a part of my soul. Right now, this image represents someone specific… Someone who is currently a powerful presence in my life and heart. My therapist. She’s left a great imprint on me… A case of transference perhaps? I don’t know if that matters anyway. Along with this connection I feel towards her, comes a familiar overwhelming fear. Abandonment. Rejection. She’s reassured me before that she’s committed to this process with me, but I fear that now that she knows me better, that might change. That she’ll decide I’m just not worth the trouble after all.

This is my favourite image, and perfectly shows how a person may leave, but their mark on us never disappears.

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All Wrong

Disconnection. Between her feelings and her body. A sense of watching the emotions, the brokenness from a distance, yet it still being a part of her. This is something I have struggled to explain properly even during my therapy sessions. It seems words aren’t sufficient to convey the exact meaning, as I can’t describe it here either. A concept in my mind that I can’t quite express. It’s frustrating. This last image and even the title that the artist has given it, represents where I find myself at this very moment.


There are a few more of these that I connected with, but decided to only share these few.

You can find the rest of her exquisite work at: http://destinyblue.deviantart.com/