Thursday’s session certainly didn’t go as planned.
What I really wanted was for Keira to have time with Sienna. I am aware that she really needs that and also I am aware that the younger parts are so well protected by me that they don’t often make an appearance in the therapy room – except when extremely distressed. And the problem with that is that by the time I/they are extremely distressed, no therapy work can be done with them, it’s just a matter of consoling and containing them.
I want to start to bring them to session and for them to play, and to build a real relationship with Sienna. I want therapy work to start with them. I want the work to be contained and supportive and productive, and not the dramatic hugely dissociated “outings” they have. I want them to come into the present with me and Sienna and learn that the trauma stuff is gone now.
So, with that in mind on Thursday, I hoped Keira’s picture and letter to Sienna the day before would be a way into that new work.
By the time I arrived at my session on Thursday, I knew I was in a very adult place. And sitting with Sienna on the sofa or cuddling her seemed….. awkward. I didn’t feel I needed it. It felt regressive. And I felt embarrassed about it.
I knew Keira really needed it. I was prepared to try for her sake and I hoped that if I went and sat with Sienna on the same sofa that maybe Keira would “switch in” and adult me would go further back. I realised that in order to let the child parts come out, I might have to suffer some embarrassment or awkwardness, that I might have to do childish stuff to entice them out.
But as I sat there, I half-prayed that Sienna wouldn’t offer because it honestly felt so cringey. But half of me hoped she would offer because I was too embarrassed to ask and I knew Keira needed it.
Sienna did not ask or offer. We spent the first 40 minutes of my session talking about random shit. It felt like Keira’s drawing was the elephant in the room. I felt disappointed and confused about why we weren’t taking care of Keira’s needs?
Finally, Sienna did bring up Keira’s picture. She said she’d loved it. I said I’d brought it in and I handed it to her. She looked at it. My heart-beating big thuds… feeling embarrassed that essentially Keira’s picture was showing her wish to have a story read to her. That she’d depicted her and Sienna sitting together.
Sienna asked “ Who is the woman in the picture?”
I blurted out incredulously and surprised that it wasn’t obvious “ YOU!”
She said, “ Yeah, I thought that, but I just wanted to check for sure.”
Why are therapist’s so fucking dumb sometimes?
Sienna had clocked that inside my bag was a huge book. The bag was zipped up so she must have seen it at the beginning of session. – It would seem they have eagle eyes when it suits them, yet when a picture lays out a message in very clear terms.. suddenly that’s difficult to decipher!! #eyerolls
She asked what the book was. I brought it out. It was a book of fairytales with my favourite stories from childhood. It was inscribed to 6 year old me, a birthday present. She asked me what my favourite stories were and I showed her two of them.
She flicked to the pages. I left the room, went to the toilet, thinking she could read the stories in peace without me there.
When I came back she didn’t really comment much except to say it was a beautiful book and in such good condition.
She didn’t ask why those stories were significant to 6 year old me. Why did I pour over them, time and time again?
I don’t know… the whole session fell flat on its arse.
It was fine, for adult me. Adult me was okay. But Keira had wanted to come and even though adult me couldn’t quite let her, despite wanting to… I just couldn’t ask for what Keira needed. I couldn’t open up that conversation. I needed help. I needed Sienna to take the lead on this, I needed to know it was okay. But it just felt like there was never an opening… no space made for Keira to come out.
I mean, I gave her Keira’s picture, which explicitely asked in writing for what she needed and the picture depicted Keira and Sienna reading a book AND I brought a book of fairytales – Join the fucking dots Sienna!!!
To be fair, Sienna did ask ” Is that what she wants? To be read a story?” And I shrugged and said “I don’t know, maybe. ” And I quickly launched into something else related in a bid to get away from the fear and shame of it all. I quickly moved on to the other subject as a way of moving away from the possibility of Sienna actually offering to read me a story… pure embarrassment. So maybe it is my fault. Though I don’t get the sense that Sienna was going to offer it anyway but who knows?
I left the session very confused. And disappointed. Keira was sad and whining “ Why do I never get to come out in session? I wanted time today. I was supposed to sit with Sienna, why didn’t she let me?”
And by the time I got home, the teen parts were starting to stir, protective anger rising up and sarcastic dialogue by the bucket-full. I had to tell them to “ pipe the fuck down.” I really can’t deal with anymore drama or anger. Their protective fight mode isn’t helpful right now and it just makes us all feel worse.
I really don’t understand what happened in that session. I don’t get it. Why didn’t Sienna try to communicate with Keira?
I don’t know if Keira would even have come out anyway, I did feel very adult and unable to sense how near or far Keira was. And my embarrassment and shame maybe was a barrier to Keira coming out. But to just not try? Why didn’t Sienna try?
That fact that she didn’t feels rejecting.
The only thing I can think of is that she sensed the adult, and she knows that I’ve said that when I’m in my adult, things are safer for me. I am in the present, and happy and cope so much better. So maybe in light of how horrendous things have been lately, maybe she didn’t want to rock the boat. Maybe it’s hard for her to know what’s best right now. But she could have asked… prodded a little bit.
Sienna always says that she can’t get near the young parts, that even when she gets a glimpse of them, I whip them away. That they are so well defended. That I am so well defended that she often can’t get to them. To me. That there’s just this huge wall and often she can’t see or feel what I am thinking or experiencing. I don’t let her see, I don’t let her in.
She says that with other clients she can always see their inner child, she can feel their experiences. And she can eventually reach that child. But with me there’s just nothing. And when I sit there, she can’t get a sense of me, of what I’m experiencing.
I don’t really understand that. I know I can be hard to read at times. But I feel like my child parts have often been to therapy- albeit very distressed.
And I guess I feel really sad that I am so well defended, that she can’t get a feel for them.
What I do know is this;
Sienna has spoken to them on the phone. She asked me once if I remember a child part talking to her on the phone one day? I said no.
She said that she had sent them to bed. To go cuddle in with teddy’s and wait for my husband to come home. Because she knew I was a child and it was the best way to keep me safe.
I also know that she has spoken to a lot of traumatised parts in email and texts. It seems like they feel safest communicating that way. From far back. Face to face is too much for them. They won’t come to session.
But she has taken away all of that. She has taken away their voice. And so they don’t speak to her anymore.
I feel really angry about that. She took away their voice.
It feels like since last year’s rupture and this most recent one, more and more has been taken away from them. She’s made it impossible for them to connect with her. Even writing this, I feel the anger bubbling up. Rage, even.
This rupture isn’t over. It might be on pause right now. But it isn’t over.
And so that’s where I am this week. Desperately trying to stay away from all the feelings about the rupture so that I can remain in a safe adult place.
I need a break from the terror and abandonment and rage and feelings of sheer impotence at boundaries I don’t want. I can’t be in touch with those feeling and keep myself safe.
So, I am staying in a calm adult place but the mask is slipping. Underneath this coping adult place, I am beginning to be more in touch again with all those feelings and I dread it. I don’t want to go back the rupture. It hurts too much. It puts me in a bad place.
But it’s also really hard staying away from my true feelings. It takes tremendous energy to do that and I feel like the real part/s of me are being denied. Ignored.
I feel so sad. The sadness is building as I realise that there’s really no one for me. There’s no help coming. I am my own saviour. And I keep having this dialogue internally, that I am our family. I am the one who will get us out of this.
I know that’s what everyone wants me to think. Where I am supposed to be. That ultimately it’s all down to me. But sometimes I am just not able to. When the younger parts are more present they aren’t at an age to look after themselves, it requires input. Input I don’t have from Sienna anymore.
I feel depressed about this. I feel like giving up on everything. I am not sure why I am even bothering with therapy anymore.
When I think of all the things I want to say to Sienna, all the things I need to express, need answers for, all the things I need from her….. it sends me back into the rupture and I want to avoid that because it isn’t a safe place for me to be. But what then do I do with all these parts who feel abandoned and lost?
I feel like Sienna’s boundaries, her new lack of availability is sending my parts back into being hidden. It is forcing me to adapt again… the way I’ve had to adapt to everyone else in life. I’ve had to surrender my needs and sacrifice my voice and my hurts in order to make life more peaceful for everyone else.
I am now in a position of trying to be okay with something I’m really NOT okay with. I feel like I am back to being invisible. Of not mattering. Suppressing all the parts, all the memories, all the feelings, everything that is me is being buried once more.
And if I have to do that in therapy, then what’s the fucking point of going?
I have parts who need a lot of support. I feel like I am left holding them by myself and because I am unable to, my only other choice is to suppress them, hide from their emotions, not give them too much space, not acknowledge too much how they’re feeling because it’s the only way I can keep in an adult space, the only way I can stay safe and not be driven insane by the complete lack of support.
I can’t even listen back to my sessions and write about them because I risk sending myself into a triggered state. I am just constantly treading water, doing my best not to drown. But not really getting anywhere, not gaining any ground, not moving in any particular direction, just treading water in the same spot, concentrating on not going under.
I’m trying so hard to stay on an even keel. But it comes at such cost. And it’s making feel so hurt and sad and alone. I feel so lost in therapy.
I have no idea where we are, what we are doing or what the way forward is.