A new way of working, perhaps?

I felt like I’d been pummelled since my session on Monday. Between Monday and Wednesday morning I’d managed a total of either 4 or 6 hours sleep. Even two diazepam’s hadn’t knocked me out. My distress was such that my body just forced me out of sleep.

Sienna had phoned me on the Tuesday morning, and we spoke for a good 20mins. It really helped soothe me. We came up with a plan for daily check-ins until this patch evened out and Sienna said she had a space on Wednesday night if I wanted to come in.

The relief of having that structure in place turned off the crisis mode.

Sienna had said that she would absolutely stay close to the little ones as much as she could.

I can’t remember the exact content of that phone-call. It was about 20 minutes long and I know that I felt quite young and vulnerable and completely sleep-deprived – a terrible mix!

I explained to Sienna how rejected I felt about her saying in Monday’s session that she didn’t love me as a mother, that I felt like there was something wrong with me that no one wanted to be my mum, ever. I understand my mother did her best in the early years, that there was love, but the attachment was disrupted probably by her emotional lability and also because I was probably a naturally more sensitive baby and child who needed much more touch and attention than I got.

I’m not sure how we got onto the subject but Sienna brought up the idea of working with these very little ones, and the baby in session. She said maybe we need to use more bodywork in the sessions to reach the littlest ones where the attachment is so broken.

I asked what that would involve. She said I could bring in a blanket to be wrapped up in and she would stay in more physical contact with those young parts. Whatever they needed, even if it means rocking them just like a baby.

She said she was going to consult with a colleague about bodywork, because although she’s trained in it with children of school age, she’s never used it on toddlers and babies.

Sienna said we’d need to contract for it. That it would only be used in sessions and that I needed to know that I had to leave at the end of session. I was thinking, where else would it be used?? And why on earth wouldn’t I leave at the end of session?

Strange comment to make. But I guess she was just thinking out-loud about what and how we do this. And I am not sure but perhaps her mind was running ahead of her to potential issues. Like if I regress too much or something? I don’t know.

For me, I know that bodywork is the key. So much of my trauma is stuck in my body. But also, the deficit in a good enough attachment experience is vital to recover from attachment pain and annihilation. I can only begin to accept the loss of not good enough parenting once I have enough present day experience to close some of the gaps.

I understand Sienna as my therapist can’t be my mother. We can’t recreate exactly that infancy experience. I don’t get a second chance at being a baby. But I do believe that we can recreate some of it ; the mirroring and physical contact; enough at least to fill in those gaps left by broken attachment.

I know this in my soul because I’ve already experienced great healing from having Sienna hug me or hold my hand when I’ve been upset.

Part of me is curious about doing more intensive bodywork, because my body hungers for it. I  am strangely drawn to the idea of being wrapped up in a blanket and rocked. Yet, as an adult, it feels like a cringy thing to do. It’s hard to imagine shedding enough of my adult self to allow that sort of work to be done.

Our call on Tuesday morning did a lot to settle me. The combination of speaking to her, the putting in morning check-ins to support me and the offer of an extra session was enough to calm me down quite a lot.

I spoke to two friends from the bloggy world who have attachment trauma too about the possibility of doing bodywork. As my call with Sienna filtered down through me, I started to have some slight concerns about it. The biggest one being that Sienna takes touch away before I’m ready.

One friend was like “ HELL YES” go for it, this is what you need. And actually it’s not much of a departure from what you guys already do anyway.”

And another friend was far more cautious and suspicious of it and voiced the same concerns I had and made me think of good questions to get clarified and boundary concerns and how trained in this is she? Don’t let her fuck about with something she doesn’t understand fully.

I see both sides. Mostly I am not worried about it because like my friend said, it’s not that much different from what we do anyway, it’s just that there would be more of it, which is what I’ve been wanting and needing for a long-time. So I feel relief that Sienna is suggesting more physical contact.

From a therapeutic standpoint, I know I talk more and the younger parts come out a lot easier when sitting next to Sienna. So, I think that will be really great.

But yeah, I’m also aware of how powerful that work could be and the potential for huge rupture should she fuck it up.

I’m going to leave things there for just now and write a separate post about Wednesday’s session.

 

 

 

 

 

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Illustrating Nightmares

Trigger Warning for trauma dreams…………………

I had a really awful dream. All my dreams are awful pretty much, but this one has really stayed with me. I felt quite distressed when I woke up, yet now, I don’t remember the dream.

The little girl was me. Yet, it was like I was watching someone else or a film.

I’ve illustrated it to try to process it and what it meant. It’s taken me hours. In my therapy journal.

But Yeah, I’m pretty much back to dreaming about dead children.

Sienna says it’s a metaphor for my splitting as a child.

The following image are very scary and sad and potentially triggering so please consider whether you feel okay to keep scrolling.

Part 2 – ” Not like…”

….. Continued from Part 1……….

 

 

Sienna continued to talk.

“ The little ones can lie and cry think they’re dying or they can actually realise that a relationship is a two way street. And they have to make an effort too.”

WTF was she even saying? I literally had no idea.

I said in a small tearful voice “ I don’t know what that means?”

Sienna said “ Well, it certainly doesn’t mean expecting other people to be the only one to attach.”

I said again quietly “ I don’t know what that means.”

I was utterly confused. What was she saying to me?

Listening now, I “think” she’s saying that the little ones need to come forward and attach to Sienna or to others, they can’t stay far back from Sienna or not come to session and participate in the relationship and expect that Sienna can do all the attaching… or something? But I’m not sure.

Sienna said, “ I know, I get that, that you don’t understand right now.”

And then in her best firm “ I’m reading the riot act with a small and gentle voice” way she said…

“The loss is hard. But it will pass. But they have to do something different themselves.”

I lost my patience. I raised my voice “ LIKE WHAT??”

Sienna said “ Come to the session.”

I said quietly “ They DO come.”

Sienna said “ Make themselves known, because I don’t always know who’s here. Bring their ideas of what they’d like to do or play or be.”

I said in my huffy child’s voice “ No.”

Sienna responded in a softer tone “ Why? What’s stopping them?”

I wouldn’t speak but I was thinking “ umm… maybe cos anytime I criticize you, you get nippy and angry?”

Keira was there last week. Other smaller ones have been before, she knows that, so WTF is she talking about?

I just sat silenced. Sobbing to myself. Not looking her way. Swinging between the teens surly anger and the child parts utter confusion and fear and sadness. Everything felt unfair and confusing as hell. I kept switching between the teen and the really little child parts. It was a lot to deal with.

Sienna said softly “ It’s lonely in there, isn’t it?

I nodded.

I could feel myself both heartbroken and wanting to shut Sienna out, pissed off with her firm words that didn’t even make sense to me. And I felt blamed that the child parts won’t come out sessions when actually…. They do come but it’s very very hard to be seen. Some were formed as insiders, they were never designed to be out in the open, or to play or want things. They were born to cope and to allow Sirena to go on living and looking normal. So it feels really hard to them to suddenly be expected to have opinions or ask for things or have needs.

And none of that is helped by Sienna’s continuous fuck ups and meltdowns. It isn’t fair to put all the responsibility on us.

After more silence Sienna asked “ I wonder what the little ones are replaying without realising they are replaying something that isn’t real. Do you understand what I mean?”

Nope. I shook my head.

Sienna explained “ Well when you were little, you were a little girl in a house whose parents relationship started to breakdown and it would happen for years before they finally split up. And you’d be a very lonely little girl sometimes. With nobody seeing your needs. And I wonder if the little ones are re-enacting that without realising that this is a completely different scenario.

Yes, any rupture is going feel like the original thing but it’s actually not. It’s a re-enactment. They can come out any time they like, it’s a different scenario.”

The child replied “ When you come out you get angry.”

Sienna said firmly “ No. We’ve already been through this, and we know now that they have to come to session because outside, I’m not in the right place or frame of mind outside of session. It has to be contained. There’s no containment outside a session.”

“Reeks of bullshit to me” thought the teen.

Sienna said softly “ They’re just children. They don’t need to stay hidden. And I wonder if they just want their mum, which is what most children want. And their mum isn’t available. And that’s the grief. But the grief will get better. The grief will learn to be held.”

The child was crying and said “ They have to die.”

Sienna replied “ They don’t have to die. They so do not need to die. They are stronger than they think. My God, Sirena has survived. The teens made sure of that. But those little ones who are holding onto that grief are re-enacting an earlier time.”

I/the teen said “ No they’re not.”

I didn’t agree with Sienna’s version of things. She’s talking about something she has no idea about because she doesn’t have attachment trauma.

Sienna paused and then replied “ I can’t force them to hear them. I can’t force them to believe me when I say they’re really important to me. I don’t love them as a Mother….. but I LOVE them as a human being who can see children in pain.”

Oh-My-GOD!!!!!

She really said it. Dropped the bomb. “ I don’t love you as a Mother.”

The rejection, the massive sense of being stabbed in the gut with a truth so awful, was more than I could bear.

I simultaneously felt deep pain and huge anger.

I said immediately “ I don’t want that.”

 

I don’t want her “ I love you as a human” bullshit kind of love. She can stick it.

Sienna replied “ There’s nothing else.”

And I raised my voice “ Well, I don’t want that!”

FUCK YOU SIENNA!!!!! FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU!!!!!

I was devastated.

I said “ So… don’t tell me stuff like that.”

Sienna said “ Well, I will tell you because you’re grief. You are experiencing that loss that’s the most painful loss ever.

It’s okay to feel how you’re feeling. But it’s not okay to let it overtake your life.”

She doesn’t get to tell me what’s okay and what isn’t. Fuck you Sienna.

I said “ I don’t care.”

Sienna said softly “ I know you don’t care. Not at this moment. – But I care.”

I said quickly “ NO you don’t.”

That always bugs Sienna when I say that. HA! Payback.

She said annoyed “ I CARE.

I retorted sarcastically, using her own words against her “ oh, do you care as a human?” I sneered and shook my head.

Fuck you Sienna. I don’t want your version of care.

Sienna took a moment and then said “ I care on many levels. But I can’t care as a Mother….”

I interjected immediately and shouted at her “ DON’T…. STOP saying that to me.” I fucking heard you first time.

Sienna replied, “ Well that’s the bit that hurts.”

I was utterly heartbroken.

I said “ Well if you know it hurts, STOP saying it. Why would you say something if you know it hurts?”

I can’t even explain the amount of worthlessness I felt in those moments. All my brain could do was replay that one sentence over and over..

“ I don’t love you as a mother. I don’t love you as a mother, I don’t love you as a mother.” I couldn’t hear anything else.

Sienna replied “ Because it’s the reality.”

I was bereft. I felt sick and worthless and pathetic and ashamed to have to be told “ I don’t love you as a mother.”

I felt completely beaten and defeated. I was dying from the humiliation and rejection.

I said quietly “ Just leave me alone.” I folded in on myself.

Sienna waited a minute then said “ Actually…. I probably won’t leave you alone. Cos these little ones need to know, even if they’re in denial that it’s not just a mother/your mother, than can provide enough. – I can’t provide what you wanted but you can learn that other types of love and attachments are good enough. Won’t be perfect because perfect doesn’t exist.

You do really well to cope with that grief. But I hear that you’re not really coping at the moment.”

I wanted her to shut up. Her voice hurt me. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say. I hated her.

Sienna said “ Use your journal again…”

I said “ Noooo. No. Leave me alone.” I couldn’t bear listening to a single word she had to say. As if anything she could do now could take away the pain she’d just bestowed on me.

It was fucking un-asked for. I didn’t need to hear what she said about how she did or didn’t love me.

I sobbed quietly into myself.

Sienna got up and brought over some tissues and sat down next to me.

She tried to give me a tissue. I turned away. “ NO, I don’t want it.”

I didn’t want anything from her. I wanted her to get away from me.

She forced it into my lap and said with a bit of humour “ take it for your snotty nose.”

I said all child-like “ I DON’T HAVE a snotty nose!”

She said “ You do. Take it.”

It was a humourus moment amongst all the pain.

I just cried and cried.

Sienna said very gently “ It’s so painful.”

Er… yeah, slow clap for the genius to my right.

I said sobbing “ Why do you hurt me all the time?”

I don’t know what Sienna said to me because it was so quiet.

But she said something about so that I can learn that she can’t give me what I think I need but she can give me something else that is still safe and secure and consistent.

The child sobbed and sobbed. And my heart broke.

I asked for a hug. Sienna enveloped me. And spoke quietly to me until the end of session.

I did feel Sienna’s genuine care for me. I heard her say that she is offering another kind of love and attachment. But not a Mother’s love.

And that plays into such huge rejection for me.

The way Sienna loves and cares for me is so often very much enough. It’s generally pretty maternal in feeling and actions and I’ve always known she isn’t my mum and can’t be.

But to hear it said by her SO explicitly just rip my heart out.

Why doesn’t she love me like a mother? What’s wrong with me? Why did no one ever want to be my mum?

How can Sienna do so much loving and reparenting and NOT love me like a mother? Because the parental way she looks after me make me love her like a mother.

I don’t understand it.

I KNOW she’s had maternal transference. I know she’s pulled to mother me. So how can she NOT feel a mother’s love or motherly towards me?

It makes me feel so worthless and heartbroken and ashamed and vile and utterly un-loveable.

I think these are child questions… but I keep thinking

“ What’s wrong with me? What did I do wrong that she doesn’t love me like a mother?”

“ Why do her daughters get to have her motherly love but not me? What’s do they have that I don’t? Why are they worthy of her but not me? What did I do?”

“ Why does no one want me? Why does no one want to be my mum? Am I really disgusting?”

I went home and couldn’t stop crying all the way.

I sent Sienna text telling her I couldn’t hold the pain. I took a Valium and went to bed. I slept two hours and had an awful night. I took another Valium and I just couldn’t go to sleep.

She sent me a text the next morning to say that maybe I should go to the Dr’s if I’m so distressed or feeling like self-harming. She said she was struggling to know how to help me in that moment.

It always scared me when she says she doesn’t know how to help me.

I sent a short text back saying no to the Dr’s.

20 minutes later I text again and I explained that I’d switched into a child part last night, and I was experiencing her deep pain and feelings of annihilation. That I wasn’t suicidal or anything. That I’d contact family if it got that way and asked if She could just help me hold this young one who was just so broken-hearted and rejected that no one wants to be her mum. I asked Sienna if she could just stay close to her.

Sienna phoned me back and we had a 20 minutes chat which helped a great deal. The young one spoke to her. Cried. And adult me and Sienna talked about attachment work.

Sienna said she thought we needed to do more body-based work to help the very young ones. She suggested bringing in a blanket and maybe introducing more physical contact for them. Even if that means wrapping them in the blanket and rocking them back and forth.

We spoke about the baby and my experiences as an infant and some things that happened to me.

Sienna said she’d do more reading and consult with a colleague about how to go about it. And we’d talk more about it together.

She arranged that we do morning check ins and was able to offer me a second session the next evening.

I called her on Wednesday morning for my check-in. And told her I’d be there that evening. She said she’d done some more reading and we’d talk more about how to go forward that night.

I was so glad that I was able to go for an extra session because I had no idea how to get through the week feeling so distressed.

I will write up my next session soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART 1 – ” NOT LIKE…”

*This session write up is HUGE!!!! Get a coffee and settle down for the long-haul. It’s split into 2 parts. And I don’t normally do trigger warnings but these ones contains heavy attachment discussion which is hard reading. So be warned if you’re feeling a bit fragile.*

 

It’s been an intense and curious week for me. It’s taken me a while to process how I feel.

Monday’s session has propelled Sienna and I down a new route of sorts and is with all new things, the first steps are tentative and anxiety provoking for me.

When I arrived to my Monday session, I’d had a rubbish weekend of ill physical health.

“ You look tired.” Sienna said.

“ I am tired.” I replied quietly.

I can’t remember what I was feeling that day, but I was in a quiet, sort of insular mood. I felt mildly sad but for no reason that I was aware of.

Sienna asked what I was thinking. And I looked at her perplexed and said “ I don’t know, my head is blank.”

Sienna quipped “ That would be a change because it’s usually got lots of chatter going on!”

I smiled and nodded. I felt detached and lacking energy.

Sienna smiled said “ I like Keira’s drawing that she sent me of us drawing together.”

I frowned, briefly unsure of what she was talking about but then remembering.

I said “ She liked it. (drawing)”

The young alters have been showing up a lot lately. It’s not necessarily obvious to either me or Sienna. And they’re not often present enough to make themselves known. But they’ve been in the vicinity, and they’ve been hearing it all and their needs have been so present to me that I’ve often felt pretty vulnerable in sessions. Yet there’s also a strong protective adult or young adult who is absolutely front and centre who feels such distrust and anger towards Sienna that she can’t and won’t stand down and let a young one with their innocent and simple needs and thoughts come through. It’s been exhausting.

Sienna said “ We can do it anytime, the two of us.”

I smiled. I liked that. I do want to do more of that… more of letting the child parts move around freely.

I knew I wasn’t talking much. I was much quieter than usual, much less animated. My energy was low. Inside, I experienced a cycle of Sad- Angry – Detached. Over and over. Every single time I felt sad feelings rise, I immediately felt a very physical pushing away of the sad and an instant flash of anger to replace it. Everytime it happened, I could literally see it in my head like a scene – a teenager pushing against the sad feelings, and supressing them like a wall she had to push back. It might have been Lauren who is 14.

She is cynical about Sienna about her care, and about therapy in general. She hates therapy and doesn’t think much of Sienna either. She has been around before and she refuses to engage with Sienna at all. Lauren is really angry at me for exposing us all to the dangers of trusting someone whom we are just a job for. She “ knows for a fact this is going to turn to shit. And it’s fucking dumb to rely on this person.”

Sienna asked “ Is Keira here tonight?”

I had to check inside myself. Feel for who might be imminently present. No, Keira wasn’t there. Someone else. Lauren…

“ Erm….. no. I don’t think so.”

Sienna persisted “ Who is about tonight?”

I laughed. Busted. Sienna was onto me, her, us…. She knew it wasn’t the usual ME who came to therapy. She could tell someone else was there.

I shrugged “ I don’t know. People…”

Lauren wasn’t prepared to declare her presence.

Sienna didn’t push it.

She asked “ What would you like to do tonight?”

I shrugged. God, I had so little energy. So little thoughts.

I handed it back to Sienna “ I don’t know. What would you like to do?”

Sienna smiled slightly, not taking the bate. “ This isn’t my session.”

I laughed.

She said “ I suppose I’m curious to know about how we can make sure you get to say the things you need to say. I know you said a couple of weeks ago that since the rupture you’ve been finding it difficult to say the things you need to. Do you remember talking about that?”

I shook my head. It wasn’t Lauren who’d said it. I was a young one. And so it was very hard to remember what was said, yet as Sienna spoke it was familiar to me and I knew what must have been said because I/Lauren know and recognise those thoughts and feelings.

Sienna asked if there was any sense of that tonight? Of feeling like there were things I wanted to say but couldn’t? And if there was maybe we could try getting it down on paper tonight.

It felt like a sort of attempt to push me into bringing stuff to sessions, a mild extremely subtle rebuff of the child parts starting to talk to her again by sending pictures they’ve drawn through text.

I have no idea if that’s where she was going with that. It’s just that that’s how it vaguely sounded to me and immediately my defences went up.

I didn’t want to draw anything I had to say. Not in front of her.

I didn’t speak. Just shrugged and looked away. I sat listening to all my parts jostle for room. I experienced all their feeling simultaneously and I tried to filter them, find what was being said and what was needed and also trying to work out what was expected of me by Sienna or what was best to say or not say.

After a few minutes of silence, Sienna said softly “ Where have you gone?”

I stirred. Looked at her. Shrugged.

“ What are you thinking? Is there something there that’s being held back?”

I pondered. How do I explain what’s happening for me? It’s hard to explain to someone what co-conscious living is like…. How all the parts can talk but not in words… in feelings and although it feels like words to me, and I understand the conversations going on… somehow it doesn’t translate into verbal language.

Like, you know when you have this really elaborate dream and you wake up and you try to tell someone about it and it all makes perfect sense and seem chronological until you try to use words to describe what happened and suddenly, your words fail you and the dream doesn’t even make sense and even though you remember the dream perfectly and in your head it makes sense, as soon as you try to put it into words, it gets lost and becomes a jumble? Well that’s what I experience with the alters all moving around inside.

Sienna asks me “ Is there something up there that’s being held back?”

I think to myself… “ fuck where do I even start with that?”

Sienna asks me if it was hard to come tonight. I tell her “ A bit.”

Sienna asks “ Is it hard sometimes to come because there’s not much to say or because it’s still hard to come?”

I think to myself what a stupid question that is. Of course I have things to say. How can she not know that.

I feel strangely rejected by her question. I feel misunderstood and I start shrinking further away.

After a few minutes Sienna says “ What are you thinking?”

I say “ I’m just listening” and point to my head to indicate that there’s chatter.

Sienna asks “ What do you hear?”

I search inside.

“ Just conversations in my head.” I laugh briefly, embarrassed because it sounds so weird.

She asked if I wanted to share them. I told her it was hard to articulate what was being said.

Sienna was curious as to why they don’t/won’t share what they’re thinking and saying. She asked if it was that it was things they’ve never shared or was it that when they spoke, they didn’t get received in the right way?

Both, I thought to myself.

I forced myself to push through the resistance I was feeling. I pushed against the dissociation that was luring me into a “ not responding place.” It was hard because it’s so tempting, it feel warm and my body feels frozen in place.

I say “ I think the teens are really angry and the young ones are upset or sad or something. So I can just sort of hear………. And feel all of that going on.”

Sienna asks “ What are the teens angry about.”

I hear them respond inside “ At you, at fucking YOU! You hurt us. You can’t be trusted. We hate you. No body fucking cares about us. And you lie and pretend you do, fuck off with that shit.”

I say “ Life.”

That seemed like a better answer.

Sienna thinks for a moment.

“ There is a lot to be angry about in life – in the world in general and also how people treat us in relationship. And I suppose if their stuck in that place, then they don’t realise that your life has moved on and there isn’t that integration.

  • And you can be historically angry about stuff. About the past.”

I don’t say a word. I feel irritated. She knows what this is about. This isn’t about being angry at all the world’s wrongs. It isn’t altruistic anger about world injustices. This is white hot anger at Sienna and all her fuck ups.

I just let her talk cos I can’t be bothered correcting her.

She continues “ But I suppose there’s that element of knowing that it’s all in the past now. But they don’t really feel that, do they?”

I listen. Annoyed. I shrug in answer.

Sienna says “ I wonder what it is they want. Do they want something changed? Do they want acknowledgment from someone? Are they just angry people or is there specifics to the anger? Cos that’s hard to live with.”

I listen to the inner teens respond angrily and bitterly. “ What do u think we want? What do u think needs to change huh? YES we want acknowledgment from you that you’ve fucked up hugely. That you have caused huge damage to us. And no, we are NOT “angry people” we are just sick of being shit on!!!!”

But I say nothing. I can’t even be bothered to voice what they’re saying.

Sienna asks “ Is it Sofia or Mia?”

I don’t know. It might be but it seems a whole lot more bitter than what any of those two are. I really hate that I don’t always know who It is talking.

Mia is 13, stroppy and dramatic and sarcastic but not super bitter I don’t think. And Sofia has calmed down a lot lately. She is the one who has protective anger and comes up when threatened.

But I really think these are new parts. New-ish. I think it’s Lauren and some others.

Sienna asks “ What makes a difference for them? Do they sit there angry on the inside all the time.”

I say “ I dunno.”

Sienna asks me “ And what would help for you, Sirena, tonight.”

Hearing my name caught my attention.

I say slightly annoyed “ I don’t know.”

Silence opens up. I can hear the ticking of the clocks, reminding me that time is running out and this session is shit.

I desperately want to save the session but I have this block. I sit listening to the angry parts and the more reasonable adult part who is willing me to push through, to speak, to communicate.

Sienna asked if I’ve done anything in my journal. I nod and she asked to see it.

I know she’s going to see that hard art works, the letters written by young parts who wrote “ Dear Sienna we are broken, goodbye.”

I watch her out the corner of my for her reactions. She doesn’t look happy. Not angry, but serious and maybe concerned or sad. Not sure.

She says to me “ So, how can we reconnect with these little ones?

I shrug and she goes back to the other pages.

She seem my illustration of Girl, 10. She looks at me and says “ Did you self-harm?” I nod.

“ This week?”

“ Last night” I say.

She asked if I was okay. “ You haven’t done that for a long time or have you? I say no.

“ Was there a trigger?” I shake my head, no.

Sienna asks if I know who it is that self-harms. I half shrug, half nod.

“ It’s not Keira is it? No, it’s not Keira.”

“ Are you okay? I nod.

Sienna goes back to my journal “ And who is it that wrote that note to me – Dear Sienna, we are broken now, goodbye. ?”

I say “ Keira maybe?” I don’t actually know. I just know it was someone very young.

Sienna says “ I don’t think it is Keira. I don’t think so, it doesn’t look like Keira. And Keira came here last week and had a good time (drawing).”

She finished looking through the page and said “ They have to come to session though, those little ones.”

I didn’t answer. They do come… all the time, I thought to myself.

Sienna asked about why I self-harm. She asked what purpose it served for me. I say something that I can’t pick up. But I feel defensive. Angry in fact.

Why am I angry with her? I wrote it in my journal that I’d done it so obviously she’s going to ask questions! But nevertheless I feel anger and defensiveness.

Sienna says “ Because, I don’t want you to self-harm, you know that. I care, you’re too important…”

I think to myself “ UGH DON’T START with the you’re important shit. It isn’t true. Stop lying.” I felt manipulated.

Sienna carries on speaking unaware of the rage within me.

“ I understand when it gets too much and overwhelming it’s soothing or takes some of that feeling away. But I don’t want to feel…. Or have to resort to that.”

I sit still. I say nothing.

Sienna asks “ What was going through your head? What were the feelings that were so intense.”

I say sullenly (teenagery) “ They weren’t intense (lie) , I just wanted to.”

I felt petulant. I was blocking Sienna and I knew it. It was deliberate. I felt an anger rise up. That she doesn’t get to dump me and make me cope on my own through the week and then tell me she cares or that she doesn’t want me doing it and act like the caring therapist. She doesn’t get to tell me about how I choose to cope in her cold fucking absence.

Sienna said “ IS it the teenagers?” I nod.

Sienna says “ I remember you telling me that they think it’s a good thing because it allows you to…. Umm… act out if you like, and that acting out only harms you and not anyone else. But they forget that it harms everybody inside you and it’s not good for Sirena and it’s not good for the people around you.”

I think to myself “ I don’t care.” But I kind of know better than to use that attitude with Sienna so I don’t say it out loud. LOL

Sienna asks “Were they angry or just fed up?

I say quietly “ don’t know.”

Sienna said “ Sorry they felt so bad, whatever was going on for them.”

After a long silence and me looking blankly at the wall ahead. And feeling overcome with emotions that I couldn’t voice. Sienna said “ Do these little ones need a hug? Would that help?”

Part of me said “ Finally! She offers. She hasn’t offered in such a long time and yes they absolutely DO want a huge.”

BUT alas, my teenage pride wouldn’t admit to it or allow it. So I shrugged.

Sienna says “ It almost feels…. It’s hard to get a sense, but it almost feels as if…. They want the attachment – the broken attachment from years ago which is understandable, because that’s where the pain is. But they also have to learn how to live with a much less – cos no one can ever give them that original attachment – it’s almost like the bereavement, the loss of never getting that back, but learning how to move through that and getting through the other-side of it. It will always leave a loss, bereavements always do. With a loss of a significant attachment.”

I felt confused as to why she was talking about this. I didn’t want to. I don’t want to hear about how I’ve lost something forever and ever thanks very much.

I wish Sienna had stopped talking but no, she continued to deliver her pearls of wisdom.

“ But they can have another sort of relationship, a different attachment.”

Tears build. Anger builds, hurt builds. I think to myself “ Shut up Sienna. Shut up. I don’t want to hear this.”

I didn’t even really understand what she was saying to me.

Sienna continues “ They’re not lost and they’re not forgotten…

“ They’re not lost to me or forgotten. I know they feel like that. But they are not forgotten.”

 

 

A small teary voice from me says “ They’re dying.”

Sienna repeats “ They’re dying?

They have meet the whole process half way. They can choose to do something different.”

I don’t understand what she means.

Sienna muses “ I wonder which part of the anger of the teens keeps them stuck.”

I interrupt “ WHY are the teens always getting the blame all the time?”

Sienna said “ They don’t always get the blame.”

“ They do” I say huffily.

Sienna replies “ It’s not about blame, it’s about a state of being that’s not just about the teens it’s about anybody when they’re angry, it leaves you stuck. And actually they could go on, despite all that’s been, despite all these people that were in you life that didn’t understand you or who hurt you, you can live your life.

There’s still a lot of anger that’s not resolved.”

I was crying a lot by now. I didn’t like what she was saying. I always hate when she talks that way. As if, we are making a choice to not move forward. As if it’s as simple as changing my thinking.

I still have a lot to work through and process, so how can I live my life unaffected if I haven’t gotten to that level of work yet?

And also, part of making the choice to move forward in my life and not be affected by my past depends on me being able to let go of the hope that I’ll somehow get what I missed out on in childhood. And to approach that level and depth of utter despair and feeling of annihilation is going to take years of bite-sized acknowledgments.

Sienna today talked about it being a grief. But she literally has no idea the sheer magnitude of that grief. It’s different from any other loss, or bereavement.

Accepting that you lost your chance at experiencing and having parents who loved you unconditionally is utterly harrowing. It’s not just the emptiness and the space a human leaves behind when they die – which is bad enough to feel. But developmental trauma – accepting that you lost your chance to be a fully whole human being, and no one ever rescued you from that, no one ever wanted to be your mum. No one loved you unconditionally and without exception or ever will again, no one ever wanted you enough to complete your neurological pathways properly or teach your nervous system what safety is or what real genuine love feels like or to teach you that you are truly seen and worthy of connection and warmth and time spent or to give you enough mirroring and empathy, no one ever wanted to or ever will finish cultivating me and sew up those gaping holes in my soul and in my neurological development….. it’s utterly crushing. Getting near that fact is…… apocalyptic.

Developmental trauma, attachment trauma, it’s not about grief, it’s literally an un-finishing of self. It’s the fact that you are an un-finished human and those holes in our development are left gaping wide open and we feel those spaces inside of us as colossal eternities of absence, of great yawning deaths, over and over again. We feel literal gaping life-crushing emptiness, blackness and physical pain.

Our brain literally didn’t wire properly because we didn’t get adequate nurturance. Our brains aren’t the same as someone who got to finish their development with good enough mothering. And we were forced as babies to build new neural pathways to bridge the chasms of pain that those holes left behind. The ones we built were to protect us from the life-threatening torturous agony of missing pieces of mothering  that an infant and child must have to form into whole humans. We walk through life literally half-finished. Just because you can’t see the gaping black holed wounds, doesn’t mean they don’t exist or that we can’t feel it.

So to suggest we need to move on and accept NEVER getting those holes filled up, is to suggest we walk about for the rest of our lives with heavy painful, terrifyingly awful emptiness and death-like nothingness.

It’s like a death-sentence to hear a therapist suggest accepting that level of trauma and damage. It is to suggest that a client spends the rest of their life in agony. Real agony. It’s a loss of hope to accept that no one will ever be the mother you needed. That no one will ever care enough about you or for you to help you mend those holes that ripple through your entire being. That you are simply not worth the admittedly tremendous effort and hard work it would take to mend wounds that could potentially kill you if you find you can no longer hold that level of pain and emptiness anymore.

 

You know, if as a baby, your bones didn’t get what they needed to grow, or in the womb your heart didn’t form properly or your spine twisted or any other process you need to live without pain failed…. Then you wouldn’t be expected to live a life of pure agony and have no corrective surgery if it was available. It’s the same for attachment trauma. It’s an injury, it affects your brain, your neural pathways, therefore your thinking, feelings and behaviour. And there is a cure of sorts. And that is finally getting some of that attachment work done. The chasms can be filled in. You just need a very special human being to do it with you.

 

Anyway… I’ve completely digressed. Back to my session….

UGH…. What came next was awful.

Take me to oblivion.

Is there a pill you can take as needed that numbed you out so that you don’t feel anything anymore, just for a few hours?

The thing with diazepam is…. It puts me to sleep which is great. But during sleep I sort of wake for a few seconds and am aware of the crushing pain.

Maybe the dose is too little? It’s only a tiny 2mg.

I want oblivion. Not forever, but a few hour of nothingness.

Ugly

What else is there, when grief encompasses you but to paint it out and wait for the pills that will put you into a deep slumber to take effect.

Ugly, painful, tarred grief, oozing out every pore. And a feeling of death being the only way out from it. Total annihilation caused by broken attachment.

An ugly painting for ugly feelings.

” You have my tears”.