My check-in on Friday morning.
I was feeling okay. But I had received another text from the narcissistic family member again, this time including pics of them with someone whom I HATE and who hates me right back! WTF? Why would you do that?
In a fit of pique, I had text Sienna with one of the photos and a mini rant about it.
She didn’t reply.
Recently, she’s been SO good at responding to me and has been working so closely with me that it was a bit of a surprise to not hear from her.
But it drew my attention to the fact that my rage has the potential to be very uncontained for the next while as I start really feeling it and working with it and that could spell trouble for Sienna and I, the same way the level of grief being released did. Because my need increased alongside the grief and when she couldn’t meet, then BOOM I switched to fear and rage and we’d rupture… especially if my outburst co-incided with Sienna being a bit tired or overwhelmed or busy.
I do not want that again.
I think I might have mentioned it to her before but I’m not sure. But I started to think that in order to avoid a rupture, it might be safer for me to have a space I can write to her but not have a reply from her.
I’m at the stage in my therapy where I don’t really “need” in any desperate way, a response from her. I don’t need safe connecting so much anymore ( or maybe just at the moment, who knows?)
But the felt safety of our relationship means that I can tolerate more space and I can tolerate not getting a reply to my writing or texts.
The reason the blog I had set up just for her and me fell on it’s arse was because I wasn’t ready for SO much space. And it was started in response to Sienna pulling away from me all her support and proximity very quickly. So, the blog felt cold and uncaring and utterly isolating. I wasn’t ready for the level of space Sienna was creating, it felt punishing.
But now, is different. This is a different time, I have developed a lot since then and our relationship has deepened and the trust grown.
Right now, for where I’m at, is my need to write out my rage, I need to write it TO her in the moment of my rage outbursts or even just the abuse stuff, I need her to know. But I don’t need her to reply all the time. I’m okay with not hearing from her. Writing and knowing she’s going to read it feels enough.
The reason I’m okay with that space is because I trust that when I need her, she’ll be there when she can. I trust we have a real relationship based on love and care.
And the level of real-time support has been excellent. I’ve had the option of daily check ins if needed for about 2 or 3 weeks now. I’ve had an extra session – offered without me asking. And Sienna has replied to my texts – not that there’s been many to be fair.
So I decided to ask her if starting the blog again is something we could do. I explained why it would help me and that I was foreseeing this next phase I am entering being really hard for me to contain at times and that while my need isn’t necessarily for a response, there is a need to be able to tell her things as they arise. I told her she could read the posts when she felt ready and able to without intrusive texts and times that didn’t suit. I told her how I wanted to avoid her feeling burnt out. This stuff needed some containment and I was aware things had slipped a little in the few weeks re the texting boundary that has been set up.
She said she was SO proud of me for thinking that way. She sounded really proud to be honest. She agreed to the blog idea and said it sounded like a great idea. She said I was showing great self-containment or something to that effect.
Like I said before, the check in was so positive.
An hour or so later I happily went to bed for a nap because I was feeling tired. And 2 hours later woke up from the bad nightmare. In my panicked state, I fired off a text to Sienna saying “ S, are you there? I need you.”
The teen part of me was terrified and badly needed to speak to Sienna about the name she’d learned in her dream.
That was yesterday at 11am. And I still haven’t heard from Sienna.
And I don’t know why.
Adult me is okay with it. I recovered on my own from the dream. And whilst it would have been better to have spoken to Sienna, I managed to self-soothe and ground by myself.
I know that this week she was away on a business trip on Wed and Thursday. I actually spoke to her on both of those days. And I know she has a head cold, she sounded pretty tired on Thursday, though a lot brighter on Friday morning.
It might be that she’s felt exhausted and just turned her phone off to recuperate. It might be she never got my text, because that’s happened a couple of times recently, that my text has come in 2 days later or something.
There’s probably good reasons for it and it’s okay. I am okay.
Yet the old wounds I have the make me feel shame at her silence. That her silence is actually disapproval or a sign she’s sick of me etc etc.
And I have felt the teens rage about it. The old rage and mistrust about getting no reply. I am struggling now and then with their rage about it.
Sienna’s silence feeds into the teens general mistrust of adults. They feel huffy and combative. And hurt, I guess. That they reached out in need and their needs was rejected.
Adult me is carrying all of this pretty well, I can feel the teens grumbling, but it isn’t up front, they aren’t taking over, their emotions are quite distant, in the background somewhere. There’s plenty of adult here to hold all of me.
But I still feel unsettled by it. I keep checking my phone and I’ve started worrying something’s happened to her.
I could just text again, to check. But I’m scared her not replying to me is deliberate… that after our conversation yesterday that she’s not replying to uphold a boundary? But then I think that I’d hope she’d know something bad had happened for me to have text that just 2 hours after saying that I was going to start writing non urgent stuff in a blog. I hope she’d realise that a teen or child part desperately and legitimately needed her.
I just don’t know.
When I feel the teens anger, I also feel like I have to listen and validate their anger but also keep in mind how amazing Sienna really is and has been, and how supportive she generally is.
The teens anger at Sienna for not replying makes me feel guilty, and like the teens have no right to feel angry at her when the strong evidence is that Sienna has been working really hard to support me recently.
It’s like that saying “ Your good deeds are written in sand and your bad in stone.”
That certainly seems to be the case for the teens with Sienna… or anyone really.
They forget all the good the minute something not so good happens, and they never forget the bad deeds someone has done.
And that’s just so unfair.
I guess I’m writing about this because I want to give the teens space to be angry, to reassure them that it’s okay to feel how they feel without having to act on those feelings. Because feelings aren’t always reality and missed texts aren’t always about punishment or games or anything bad. Sometime a person just isn’t in a place to be the caretaker in that moment, or maybe that person is unwell, or maybe they don’t have signal where they are, or maybe my text never got through for some reason or maybe there’s a million reasons why.