I haven’t written about this session that happened 2 weeks ago because I needed time to digest it and keep it for myself I suppose.
“ Did you bring your story books?” Sienna asked.
I smiled “ Yes! Do you want to see them?”
I had bought new children’s books as Sienna had suggested a few times that she read to my young parts. I’ve secretly wanted that for SO long but the shame of it put me off asking, so I was glad when she suggested it.
I brought the books out my therapy bag along with my dream journal. Sienna started with my dream journal which had fresh nightmares to read about.
Keira had been close to the surface all last week and she was still close by. I think because I’d been so very unwell physically my usual barriers were down and I was feeling floppy and attachment-y and vulnerable and I don’t have the same energy to keep the alters further back.
I sat back on my sofa, and snuggled under my cover whilst Sienna read my most recent dreams. As I settled back and had a minute to decompress while Sienna read my dream journal- “ The Book of Doom”.
I felt Keira take over.
I wonder if Sienna knew or sensed it because as she talked to me about my dreams she spoke with Keira directly?
“ I get a real feeling of loss and self-hatred and a feeling that you’re bad through and through. But it’s not you who’s bad, it’s the people who are around you. You’re just a little girl who wants to read stories and be like every other little girl. You think there’s evil inside you but it belongs to someone else, it’s not yours. And we are going to find a way of getting it out…. Deal?”
I nodded and smiled.
Sienna added “ Cos you’re not evil.”
Keira started talking about the evil that lies in her tummy.
Sienna explained to her that it isn’t her evil or badness, that it’s other people who’ve put that idea in me. That evil is perhaps shame but it’s not my shame it’s theirs.
She said softly “ You’re not bad or evil or shameful. You’re just lost…. But I see you.
Keira nodded. She liked that Sienna can see her.
But as Sienna talked a bit more, it became a bit much for Keira and we became slighty fidgety. Sienna changed her attention to the new story books.
“ So what’s your favourite book?” She picked them both up and held them up.
“ Which one Keira Bee, which one do u like best?” I love her cute nickname for me. No idea where she got it from though!
I told her “ I haven’t read them yet! I was waiting to look at them with you.”
I said “ Can I lie down? I’m really tired.” I didn’t really wait for an answer, I just slid down the sofa under my covers, resting my head on the soft arm of the sofa.
Sienna said “ Of course you can. Do you want me to read them? Do you want to choose or do u want both?”
Sienna asked “ Do you want teddy over?”
“Which one do you want? Or do u want them all?”
I laughed – “ them all”.
Sienna dimmed the lights and I was cosy and ready to hear a story.
Sienna read the Big Big Sea. It was a short story about a little girl who goes to the beach at night with her mum. The illustrations were beautiful. One the first page I exclaimed “ Vee looks like her!” (My 3 year old alter)
Sienna said “ Does she? Ohhh?”
Vee’s hair is shorter and maybe a bit younger but yeah Vee looks like the girl. I wonder if that’s why I picked the book?
I don’t know what happened but halfway through the book I started feeling like I wanted to tell Sienna to stop reading but I couldn’t.
I have read the book since and I have no idea what made me so upset about it.
At the end of the book Sienna said of the story “ It’s very powerful isn’t it?”
Keira said “ I don’t like it.”
Sienna said softly “ No, I didn’t think you would. But maybe your mum and you did something similar sometimes before things turned sad.”
She talked more about the book and how maybe it was a good book in a way as it helps us acknowledge what is missing.
“ I don’t want to!!!” I cried. “ I don’t want that book.”
I/Keira wanted to rip the pages out in anger and disappointment.
I said tearfully and a bit pathetically “ I thought it be a good book and it wasn’t, it was a terrible one.”
I lay on the sofa crying. Feeling heartbroken and pitiful.
Sienna said “ Maybe it’s the right book. But I know it’s so painful.”
Honestly, there’s nothing overly emotional in the book I have no idea what triggered it. The story isn’t even that good to be honest.
Eventually I sat up and said “ I thought it was going to be a nice book.”
Sienna said gently “ And you got a bit of a fright there, hmm?”
After a bit of talking, Sienna suggested we try the new book. I wanted to but what if it made me feel bad too? Made me feel the loss of that mother/daughter relationship again?
I said “What if it’s a bad book too?”
Sienna suggested she read it first to find out. I agreed.
Sienna sifted through the pages, smiling at some parts.
She nodded at the end of it and said decisively “ Okay, we are reading this one.”
She turned the book back to the beginning and propped it up for me to see the pages.
Sienna said “ This is from me to Keira, okay?”
Sienna read the story of a grumpy little fox named Small, and Large – little’s parent.
Small says “ I’m a grim and grumpy little Small and nobody loves me at all!!”
Sienna said to me “ Who does that sound like, hm?”
I said “ Keira.”
Sienna nodded her head and smiled and continued.
Large replied “ oh Small” said Large. “ Grumpy or not I’ll always love you no matter what.”
Sienna turned the page and said “ Is she listening? Is Keira listening?”
I nodded and said quietly “ uh huh.”
Sienna continued through the story which was truly beautiful. And made all the more special because I knew Sienna was reading it to me and meaning the words.
I loved the story.
Sienna closed the book and whispered “ So it doesn’t matter what you think, Sienna still loves Keira!”
I smiled. I knew she was alluding to the fact that I had told her the previous week that Keira worried that Sienna didn’t like her.
Keira said “ And u even love Sofia when she’s being an angry crocodile!”
Sienna laughed. “ Yes!!”
She added “ So see, just because, sometimes, u drive others insane, doesn’t mean we stop loving you. Cos that’s love, that’s life.”
Keira said “ but there could be that one time that I do something to make you stop.”
Sienna explained as simply as possible for Keira “ But when you love somebody, you don’t stop loving them just because they’re really bad to you. You might not like their behaviour or you can’t understand them but it doesn’t stop you loving them.
And it shows when it hurts that that love is still there. So you can’t really switch that love off is somebody Is doing something you don’t like. You just don’t like the behaviour, you don’t dislike the person. And people aren’t perfect and Keira isn’t perfect either or Sofia, all of you… they think they’re not loveable but they are. They just can’t see it yet.”
Keira said “ But they’re leave-able.”
Sienna thought for a second. “ Not because of them though, not because of anything you did. You mum left because of her own stuff.”
Keira sobbed as Sienna spoke about my mum.
Eventually, the session wound down. The conversation quietened.
Sienna yawned. She apologised and said “ Oh, sorry, it’s all these dimmed lights and stories making me sleepy!” She laughed.
I laughed too.
Sienna said jokingly “ What would you do? If I fell asleep? Would you tuck me in?”
Keira said “ Yes! And I’d give u my special covers and my teddies.”
Sienna laughed gently at the idea.
The rest of the session, Sienna and Keira played with the teddies and read nursery rhymes on Sienna’s phone. It was super cute.
It was such a lovely session. It was important. Really important in it’s sweetness and it’s genuine love and affection.
To hear Sienna lovingly read to Keira and to explain love to her was a memory I’ll treasure forever.
It really secured Keira in her attachment to Sienna, made her more sure of the realness of the relationship and the real love that was there and reciprocated. That is what is and was important – that Sienna loved us back, that her love is real.
And best of all, the secure feeling lasted a good couple of weeks, which for me is an absolute miracle!
The oxytocin flushed through me and sustained me for so long and it felt wonderful and magical.
I’m starting to feel that our relationship is real and sustainable and there no matter what. It’s hard to trust that it’s real and enduring or rather it’s hard to put down the hypervigilance and expectation that it will end spectacularly and suddenly. There’s parts of me that feels like if I put the hypervigilance down, then the shock of abandonment will be so much worse!
Yet I do feel the enduring nature of our relationship. That maybe, just maybe this person loves us enough to stay.