Missing the framework.

9 days to go.

Nine days until I see my therapist again.

Do you know what’s surprised me this holiday? I’m not really missing HER, per se. I am not the usual pining yearning puddle of neediness.

I have found that I’ve struggled with just not having the framework of therapy. The psychological aspect of just knowing I don’t have that safety net must be sub-consciously worrying me because my bad dreams increased and my mental health definitely took a dip this week.

I’ve had a lot of observable growth in the past few months so to be honest, I feel quite disappointed by just how much I need my therapy. I can see how quickly I’d descend back into depression and quite significant dissociation without it. That depressed me.

I suppose if I was to look at the positives, they would be that my attachment issues have receded enough to make a 3 week break cope-able with. I’ve had moments of “ ugh”. But not the dragging, time-has-stopped aching for my therapist that I used to get. So that’s something.

This week has been tough. And for the first time in a long time, I actually felt depressed. That low level muted nothingness that depression brings, persistent low mood yuckiness.

I know it’s related to Sienna being away. And it gives me a glimpse into life if I didn’t have therapy. And I HATE that after all this time, I still really need that person, that place, that thing, to keep me on an even keel.

I’ve really missed her presence. I see how little I have in the way of supportive, positive relationships.

I think the problem is that my needs are that I absolutely need a strong presence in my life to guide me and regulate me, I need a parenting type figure still and no normal relationship with other adults can give me that.

Arghhhh it’s too depressing. ☹

I don’t want to need that. But I do need it.

And I’m assuming I won’t need that forever, I really hope not.

I don’t want to live with a deep need for a strong parental presence, I need to heal so that that need no longer exists. Because honestly, this week in particular, I’ve felt bereft and like my life is empty. I felt this empty nothingness open up within me and it just felt so painful and vast.

9 more days…. Sigh.

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UGH! Your Email sucked!

14 days to go.

Therapy breaks are the worst.

Actually, I am doing pretty fine on this break. I don’t feel much yearning to be there. I don’t miss Sienna much at all. There’s a sense of things feeling a tiny bit “blah.” But it’s nothing like the agony I used to feel about breaks.

I am able to hold onto the fact the Sienna is still alive and safe (mostly). I still hold space for her within me, I know she’s okay and I’m okay and we are connected still.

I can’t believe I am even saying that, because it’s a skill I never used to have and couldn’t imagine how I’d ever get to this point. I’m still not sure how I did get to this point, there isn’t a step by step manual. I guess it’s just been time and repeated experience of her going away and really coming back. And enough nurturing and repeated positive messages that finally found a place to reside within me.

Before going away, Sienna promised to check in by email a couple of time through the break. She offered. I was surprised by her offer. But I doubted she’d remember.

I’ve got to admit it was in the back of my mind as this small niggling concern that it was just another thing she pledged to do but forgot about, and that it would create a mini meltdown from me about her forgetting.

When Sienna promises something or at least, when she says she’s going to do something, and then forgets she said that or changes a plan – cos she’s soooo forgetful at times, even though there’s no malice, or ill-intent behind it….. I get very upset.

The child parts hear everything and when she says she will do something, they take it as gospel that that thing will happen. And when it doesn’t… they meltdown.

It’s something I need to remember to speak to her about because it’s happened a few times.

So, yeah, I’ve been doubting Sienna would remember that she said she’d check in with me over the holidays, especially since she’s on faraway holiday. Part of me doesn’t care about hearing from her, I don’t need it and I’m doing fine.

But a small part of me still hoped to hear from her.

And today I got an email.

A one liner. Desperately disappointing.

I wasn’t expecting her to write war and peace, but FFS…. her one line was depressingly dull.

” Checking in. All here’s well, hope things are with you too.”

My heart sank. It wasn’t what I wanted. We hadn’t talked about what her check in would be, or what I’d like. We should have, on reflection.

Do I sound like a desperately spoiled brat? I feel like one.

What I would have liked was ” Hi Sirena, writing from sunny __________. Have been to *tourist destination X” and had a lovely trip. Hope you are well, not long until I’m back and we can meet on the 16th. Thinking of you. ”

The thing is… to explain to those who don’t understand (though many who read this blog and have similar issues to me will.) Any communication with my therapist is activating. I literally have a hyper-vigilant response to any email or text she sends, regardless if it’s good bad or ugly.

Even a lovely warm communication activates my fight flight or freeze responses. Communication costs me dearly. It’s a risk I’m willing to take most of the time because the rewards of a warm communication that help me feel safe and wanted and connected are just too tempting.

What I am learning though is that getting that feeling through electronic communication is extremely difficult. And actually, maybe the benefit doesn’t outweigh the risk.

Because too many times, the email or text doesn’t help me. And all I’m left with is anger and confusion and suspicion and an over-wrought sympathetic nervous system that is working overtime. And I find it very hard to calm down from that.

After Sienna’s email, I felt my heart sink. Disappointment setting in. A bit of anger at her crappy one lined attempt at what? Connection? It wasn’t connecting at all so what’s the point?

How could she not know that those words are no where near enough to help with connection or reassurance?

And worse than that…. my response only serves to make me feel bad about myself. I feel like a selfish brat for not being grateful that she took time to email. That she cared enough to make the effort during her time off, to think of me and to want to try to help me.

So today, I went from feeling fine, settled, calm and okay. To reading her email and feeling disappointed, hurt, angry, suspicious, frustrated, spoiled, ungrateful and generally pissed off.

That isn’t good is it?

I had a huge body response to her email. All the energy just drained out of my body, I felt nauseous and dizzy and shaky. It felt like when you get low blood sugar.

I couldn’t even stand long enough to make my lunch, my husband had to do it. Now I have been unwell with a Fibromyalgia flare anyway so I’m sure that reaction was in part to do with that. But before I read Sienna’s email I’d been feeling alright. But I think my body just can’t cope with strong emotions right now because it’s already so weak from the Fibro/Lupus flare.

I am not sure why I had such a huge body reaction. My body’s reaction was actually far bigger than any emotions I was feeling.

Part of me thinks I should just email her and say that I’m okay and ask her not to email again. I just get too activated and the pay off doesn’t seem worth it.

But I also feel scared to ask for that in case next week I’d be glad to hear from her. And the little parts really want a connecting email. And the hope that the next one will be warmer is so great that cancelling right now would mean they lose hope and that in itself could send me into a spiral.

It’s all so bloody complicated isn’t it?

How a simple email with good intentions could be so laden with danger for me.

I’m trying to keep myself on an even keel. But I can feel this hangover from feeling so disappointed.

And I leave you with a picture of little me having a raging meltdown! hahahaha.

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Oxytocin Cocktail. Hit me up.

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I was reading tonight about a client who’d gone through many years of 3-4 times weekly psychoanalysis. She wrote about how after around 8 years at that frequency her maternal transference, all the longing and tears of not having her therapist as a parent and all the drama that comes with maternal longings has finally been resolved.

She said she could sit with her therapist now and not feel any of that stuff at all and how lovely it was to just view her as an old friend almost. Someone she’s just very comfortable with.

It is nice to hear that the mommy stuff can be resolved with enough time. But a thought struck me – “ I don’t want to not feel the transference, I don’t want it to go away.”

I do NOT enjoy the pain of maternal transference. I do not enjoy the agony of wanting to merge with my therapist and her not allowing it. I don’t enjoy longing for the safety of her all the time and not being able to access it when I need it. I don’t enjoy being plunged into the depth of despair when I am triggered by her temporary lack of attunement or by her absence or perceived rejection/abandonment.

Maternal transference is hell on earth.

But the flip side is the heavenly bonding moments. The warmth and caring, the cuddles, the mothering to fill the gaps that were left by my birth mother, the protective anger she feels when someone has done wrong by me and the gentle advice she gives me, the education on all things I missed learning first time round. The joy of hearing her say she’s proud of me or that she loves me or the little tears that escape her eyes for both happy and sad reasons. The warmth and security of her stable influence in my life. The moments we share that leave me floating on a big oxytocin cloud, a huge big “ I love her” fest.

I don’t think I want to lose that. Ever.

Is it possible to keep that? I don’t know. I won’t know until I get there.

I do know that there have been a couple of rare moments in the 3 years we’ve worked together that all my parts disappeared. I was just one. An adult. And as such, I viewed my therapist as just a normal human being. Someone just as flawed as the next person. I didn’t see a golden light around her, I didn’t have her on a pedestal and I no longer had much need for her.

And I didn’t like it much. I liked not having the bad side of transference. But I really missed that delightful innocent love and blissful oxytocin hit. I missed the intensity of the relationship. I felt a bit empty and sad.

Luckily (or unluckily) all the parts and all the maternal transference gradually flooded back in.

I am guessing we maybe grow out of needing that intensive mothering. We get to a point we are filled up enough to go out into the world and develop other relationships.

But it makes me sad to imagine seeing her as just a normal human. And to not feel that motherly-ness, that safety in her presence, to not feel filled up by her attuned responses. I don’t want her to be reduced to “ normal”. I like her just where she is – on her pedestal, glowing in warm safe light.

If I had a choice, she’d always occupy a very special place in my heart and in my life. She would be someone I could return to, she would always be “ home”. And when life got too real, too exhausting, too stressful, I could go “home” and be a child for a while and find my center again before heading out into the big adult world again.

I have no idea if it’s possible to keep that feeling or whether it’s linked to very young under-developed child parts who really need that right now.

 

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