Last night pretty much went almost as bad as it could.
As predicted, my text privileges have been revoked. And the rage that stirs up in me is completely overwhelming. Like… I literally felt like I was going to implode with sheer rage.
Somehow, me wanting to talk about how it feels to me when Sienna isn’t available to me, and find a way through that pain to a place of peace on the matter, turned into an issue about texting. How the fuck did we get there?
Like I told Sienna last night ( spitting mad, bytheway) “ Well, taking texting away from me doesn’t stop the chance of you not being there for me properly or you distancing from me because you did that on Monday IN the fucking session! The issue isn’t text, the issue is my history and my wounds and YOUR process of withdrawing from me near holiday time or whenever your tired.”
It feels like I can’t win. I begin to bring my emotions into session to be dealt with instead of using email or text to deal with it from afar, which is a huge step forward for me, and it results in me losing a precious resource. It makes me feel like it will never be safe to really be truthful about how I feel.
I get it, texting is a shit form of communication. Texting is also a shit way of trying to connect to my therapist. Texting sometimes doesn’t work very well. And texting brings the risk that I reach my therapist at a time she can’t really reply properly and that often brings me pain. And text impacts both of us, because she doesn’t like the feeling of hurting me or me feeling rejected because she isn’t there. And texting also makes her feel like it sometimes interrupts her down-time or something..
I GET IT!! Texting is awful.
I don’t like it much either. Yet I am terrified to let it go. Terrified.
Because as rudimentary a tool it is, sometimes it is better than nothing. Just knowing that I can get some brief input from her if needed, contains me most of the time. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Texting has long been a thorn in the side of my therapist and any therapist I’ve had. They don’t like it, and with good reason. Yet I hold them hostage with it, I defend my right/need to use it. I rigidly grip it and won’t let it go. I will leave therapy before I let go of texting.
I don’t know why it’s SO important, I mean I know why it’s important to me, but I don’t know why I so fiercely hang onto it.
Because the reality is, lately, I haven’t needed texting. I don’t actually use it very much.
I have looked backed at how often I’ve reached out in text. And apart from last week, the time before that was Friday the 9th of June.
Before that, the dates are
Fri 2nd June – following on from a CSA dream on the 31st May
31st May- Horrific CSA dream and subsequent dissociation.
Monday 3rd– 8th May – a few texts swapped between us.
Friday 26th-28th April – few supportive texts exchanged.
20th April- CSA nightmare and young parts write to Sienna.
1st April-5th – Keira aged 6 sends Sienna pictures she’s drawn; fears about the impending break. Supportive texts back and forth over those days.
23rd March- Amelia send a drawing.
21st March- CSA dream need support.
Monday 6th March
Friday 27th Feb
15th Feb – nightmares
So yeah, you get the idea, the texting is somewhat regular but not 24/7. They come in fits and starts. And usually the main reason I reach out is after some pretty horrific CSA dreams. It seems I need support after those dreams and sometimes in the days after, I’ll have young parts come out who have something to say, they upset about the nightmares and they just need a lot of reassurance and support.
Looking at the regularity of the texting, it is more regular than I’d like, but it’s certainly not as bad or as regular as Sienna would like to believe it is.
I don’t text every-time I stub my toe or feel a little bit sad. I am getting much better at holding things for myself, especially over the past couple of months. But when I wake up from a horrifically detailed CSA dream, then I want to reach out to her. I want to tell someone about them now. And the idea that I can’t send a text to tell someone, is excruciatingly intolerable. The idea of having to sit with that all by myself, to stuff it all back in and have no one to tell, just like when I was little invokes so much emotional pain and grief within me that I can barely breathe.
I have very regular CSA dreams and I don’t contact her after every single one, but sometimes some affect me really badly and that’s when I want her help.
It feels really cruel to tell me that she won’t be there for that. Unbearably cruel. And I can’t imagine how bad it’s going to feel to be so alone and triggered and re-experiencing the nightmares and have literally no one to go to. It’s not exactly the type of thing you can tell a lay person is it?
And anyway, it’s her I want in those times.
I can’t bear this, guys. I can’t hold the level of pain this abandonment evokes in me.
I feel like she’s totally abandoning me. I feel like my history of being emotionally and physically abandoned is being replayed. That she is choosing to allow me to suffer.
The grief I feel is gigantic. The loss and the feeling that I am too much is drowning me; That my feelings are so big and overwhelming to people, that they need to put space in to save themselves from it, from me.
And it leaves me with a huge dilemma of how do I ever take any of my feelings to her ever again, because anytime I do it results in the loss of something. I feel like I get punished.
How do I trust Sienna after this?
How do I do this level of work with everything it triggers within me, knowing that I have no support outside of the session?
How do I remain open and connected and constantly striving for healthy attachment, with someone I don’t trust. How do I push through my attachment trauma
Ugh, that isn’t what I am trying to say. I can’t get the fucking words out!!
Basically, I don’t know how to remain connected and attached to Sienna and do this intensely triggering work, in just 6 sessions per month.
There’s two triggers that happen in therapy for me. Firstly the historical trauma stuff that I first came to therapy to deal with. Talking about that stuff naturally brings up intensely painful feelings and memories and trauma doesn’t just fit neatly in a little one hour therapy- window box. It seeps into every aspect of my life.. that’s why trauma is so devastating. It leaks into everything and incapacitates me to the point that I stop living fully. It can’t just be opened and put away at will – I wish!
The act of telling, the act of having my history witnessed, the act of me being seen is triggering and terrifying and it impacts the rest of my week.
The attachment stuff we work on is the biggest most overwhelming aspect of therapy that triggers me so badly. It’s the one thing that puts my entire system into overdrive, and full on fight or flight mode. It’s the one thing that really drives the chaotic and undesirable tantrums and problematic behaviours.
I have to push through all of that in order to stay connected and not shut down. I feel like I am being asked to do this really painful thing (stay connected, stay attached, stay emotionally open, stay emotionally vulnerable) when every system in my body is perceiving huge threat over that and its natural way to shut-down the danger is to close off, detach, get away from this thing of fear; the relationship.
And texting has been instrumental in helping me to build trust and stay open and not run away. It has allowed me to see that Sienna is still there, that she’s not the danger. That she is safe. And she hasn’t ran away. And when she attends to me and gives me the attention and soothing that I need when I am panicking about being open and connected and vulnerable, it allows me to rewire my brain and settle my somatic trauma responses. It’s like each time she helps me during those moments, it helps build another little bit of learning, another little bit of synapse grown in my brain which will help me learn that attachment isn’t a threat.
And sometimes texting doesn’t work. But when it does, it’s priceless. And now it’s being taken away from me.
It’s like I’m being told that my trauma isn’t important enough to merit that support. That no one cares that for me, being in therapy IS traumatic, that I am in the middle of severe trauma responses that last days and days that are caused just from the act of being in relationship.
No one cares. I am supposed to tolerate that on my own. If I was an army veteran with PTSD trauma responses and I was in a hypervigilant flashback for days, crouched in a corner of my living-room, sweating, ready to fight the enemy to the death, thinking I was still in some war-torn hell-hole….. who would leave me like that? Who would ignore that?
If simple reaching out, a simple text would bring that army veteran out of it within minutes instead of leaving him languishing in terror for days, a week even, wouldn’t someone do that? Wouldn’t someone allow that text if it helps?
Yet because my trauma is attachment and my war-torn hell-hole is the terror of feeling attached to someone who could hurt me or leave me, and my hyper-vigilance makes me freeze, not fight or crouch in a corner… I don’t deserve the help, or the intervention.
I might write up my session, but it was so bad that I’m not sure I have it in me right now to even listen back. All I want to do is retreat from everyone and everything. I want to shut this shit-show called therapy down.