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It's ok to feel down. It is a natural response to the amount of stress you are under and the nature of what you are dealing with.
What do you feel is bothering you the most?
I wanted to talk with Linda more about what happened the other day with the flashback or whatever and what all this means. All she asked was if it has happened again, whether it involved things that I kn0w happened or those things which I don't think happened, and whether I called Dr. M. But that really scared the crap out of me, and I am on edge about it.
She asked me what I had more on my mind this week - things with my parents or the other stuff. I said the other stuff, mostly, and then we talked the whole time about my parents and sister and about some of Linda's experiences. But that is frustrating, because she kind of goes back and forth with her overall opinion and I feel like I've gotten so much further on that issue with you. I don't believe she thinks that affects the way I dealt or am dealing with the other as much as you tell me it does. But I suspect that's because we haven't discussed it as much as you and I have, and when she and I are discussing it in person, I don't have time to think about things and so don't say as much, and also, there's limited time.
And I feel terrible about my neediness and how I go about getting what I need, etc. and I don't know - it just makes me feel like a loser. I was serious about how it makes me feel. But then you say those feelings are wrong. And I don't know if I should believe you when you say my reactions are normal, considering my relationship with my mother and then what happened. Because you may just be trying to make me not feel bad about it.
And I am really upset about that and really upset about the flashback thing and really upset about these feelings I'm having about the incident itself. It's too much.
I know I am being moody and whiny, and I'm sorry. I am just overwhelmed again.
Deleted because a repeat
No need to apologize. You are allowed to feel moody and upset. That is what I am here for- to help you find ways to feel better.
I will not ever tell you something just to make you feel better. I can understand why you would feel I was not telling you the truth or at least stretching the truth. You are struggling with what you learned as a child and what is normal. You have a good grasp on what is normal but it is still a struggle to go against the messages from your parents. You were taught these things when you were most vulnerable and it became part of your belief system. You were able to break free of it some when you turned to teachers and other adults for affirmation, but it is still an internal struggle for you.
It feels overwhelming to experience these feelings after so many years of repression. But you are coping very well. You may not feel like it but from my perspective you are doing great. The conflict you feel is the adjustment to the new thoughts and feelings you have about your childhood and the trauma of the incident. All of it is mixed together and your mind and feelings are working overtime trying to sort it out.
Keep up with your relaxation exercises that we talked about. It's important that you have a way to keep yourself calm while you work on your feelings and thoughts. And try some of the other ways to relax that we talked about. Journaling, talking about how you feel using the feeling list, eating well and taking time for yourself are all ways to help you feel better.
Shay,Thanks for asking about the seminar. I learned a lot so I'm glad I went. But my butt was so sore after sitting for such a long time I was happy to get out of there!It is just fine that you have a therapist that is your mother's age. It is actually a good thing! You picked her not only because you felt she was a good fit for you but because you probably unconsciously felt comfortable with her because of her age. You are surrounded by people your mother's age, which tells you how deep your need is to be cared for maternally. You and Linda can use this to help you explore this need. You basically identified one of your own issues without even realizing it. I know that you feel bad. This is not easy. If it helps, what you are experiencing is normal. People often feel worse before they feel better because they are digging up painful feelings. But burying them is worse. They will still be there and you will still have to deal with them along with the defense mechanisms you use to cope.You might want to think about letting yourself feel bad. I know that does not sound appealing, but pushing yourself to feel better is only putting a lot of pressure on yourself and making you feel worse. It also uses up a lot of your energy. You expect that you should get over this quickly when it is not something that is healed so fast. I suspect that you are so uncomfortable because you were not allowed to feel emotions as a child and when you did, you were abused or punished. That would create an aversion to feeling emotions. You have a lot of abuse from your childhood and you went through a horrible trauma. That takes time to unravel. Here is a link to someone describing the therapeutic process:"There is no smooth, fast road to recovery. It’s a process that’s full of twists, turns, and the occasional backtrack. Sometimes, what originally seemed like a straightforward problem turns into a more complicated issue. Be patient and don’t get discouraged over temporary setbacks. It’s not easy to break old, entrenched patterns."This describes the process very well. Allow yourself time to take care of you. This does suck, Shay, big time. I know. But you will feel better eventually. As long as you keep facing how you feel and working on it, you will recover. And you will find that once you recover, you are amazed at how much better you feel and the insight you gain. You will be able to handle your problems easier because you have the coping skills. Things will be clearer and you won't have your past interfering in how you see things. I've seen it happen many times. Plus, you have your faith which will make your journey so much easier to reach. God is taking care of you. And He won't let you feel this way for no reason.
I am sorry to hear that you have to go to another funeral. Was it someone close?
Let me know how your sleep study goes tonight. Hopefully they will find more answers for you.Kate
It just feels so wrong being moody ad upset all the time. Although I can be a royal b**** sometimes, I am generally a really positive person. But I appreciate that you are trying to help me fid ways to feel better.
I just wasn't sure if what you said about my hanging around older women to get what I didn't get from my mom was normal, and your statement that the sexuality issue was normal, too, were true. Because if it is something I need to resolve in therapy, how can it be normal? And how can it be normal for me to be trying to gain maternal affection or whatever from older female friends when I am 40 years old be normal?
I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean when you said that the fact that Linda is my mom's age was actually a good thing. Can you explain this more?
I also am not sure what you mean when you said: "You and Linda can use this to help you explore this need." Can you explain this further, as well? How would we use that? Also, I'm not sure if Linda makes the connection yet. I have for a while now. As soon as we started talking about how my mom was not totally emotionally "there" as a mother should be (and Linda and I had discussed that before, when we talked about why I didn't tell them what happened and their reactions when I did, as well as how she responded when the thing happened to her daughter), I gathered that my being drawn to older women must be related to that. But Linda hasn't really said anything about it. Except she asked how P was with me, and asked if it was hard for me to get used to such an affectionate and loving person. I told her no - that I really liked it. But we also talked about it a little when I told her I was confused and had been confused about my sexuality.
Do you think that my sexual confusion comes from what happened in college or how my mom was or a combination?
I do understand what you said about my picking her, in part, because subconsciously I felt comfortable with her because she was a female and my mother's age, and I think you are right. And I understand what you say about the fact that I am surrounded by people my mom's age and that this tells me how deep my need is to be maternally cared for. But is that healthy? And am I unintentionally being manipulative because I subconsciously "want" something from P and my other older friends? And isn't it a bit unfair of me to expect - whether consciously or unconsciously - my friends to act as a mother to me? Linda, of course, would have boundaries, but I can tell you from experience that others don't. Like P. - her instinct is to be maternal, in general. I am actually younger than her kids. So she does act maternal to some extent with me. In a lot of ways - like doing my ironing, cooking for me, etc. (don't get me wrong - it's not a one-way street. I do other stuff for her that she can't or doesn't like to do). But also, when I am sick, she is very caring and takes care of me, and if she hears me have a nightmare, she will wake me up and will hug me and sit there with me until I calm down. And when I am upset, she is very caring. And I have to say - I like that. It is nice to have her treat me that way. And I'm sure it is because I never had that. But now that we're talking about all this stuff, I wonder if that's healthy or fair to her. I love her. She's been my closest friend for the last 8 or so years. And her family treats me like family, which is nice, since my whole family lives across the country. But should I change the way I interact with her?
It does kind of help to know this is normal to feel this bad. But it doesn't make me feel a lot better. I have worried since this happened about my being "normal" and especially since I started therapy. I'm not sure why that matters to me - except that if what I am going through is typical or is normal, then I can rely more on you and Linda and Dr. M's experience. It's not like you guys have not seen it before or know about this kind of thing. Can I ask you something? Have you ever had a therapy client who had a similar experience to mine? If so, how did she deal with it initially, and how did things turn out? I know everyone's different, but part of it has got to be what actually happened, right? So, have you ever dealt with someone who went through a similar thing?
Linda keeps telling me that I don't understand how severe an "attack" this was and how violent and stuff, and that it was much more than a r***. Dr. M told me all sorts of things she has heard from people - stuff with animals, ritual abuse, etc. (she said this when I asked her if she thought it was common for guys to use foreign objects). I know things could have been a lot worse, and I know it would be so much worse if it had been someone I knew or trusted or if I had been a child or if it had been long-term abuse.
But I'm not sure whether it makes me feel better to think it could have been a lot worse or not. On the one hand, it makes me feel a little better knowing that people go through similar or a lot worse things and end up being fine eventually. But on the other hand, when Linda says it was really bad, it makes me at least feel that it is not so pathetic for me to not be over it. I don't know.
I know you say burying the feelings is worse --- but from my current perspective, it seems that things were much better and easier to handle when the feelings were buried. The nightmares, it turns out, were a small price to pay.
I also understand what you are saying about letting myself feel bad. Your explanation makes sense. Is it kind of like if it all is allowed to come out, the pain won't last as long? Like pulling off a band-aid? But I WANT to feel better. I don't want to feel bad anymore and feel so negative. Anymore, when I'm feeling this bad, I am unable to act like everything is great. I find it harder and harder to hide my feelings from everyone else. I can do it in spurts (like - I'm not going to show it with clients or in court or something), but I find it takes so much energy, that when I am not in that kind of situation, I find it difficult to totally hide things. Is that normal?
And I never thought about it until you said it in your post today - but you are right -- - thinking I need to feel better is putting a lot of pressure on me. And I DO feel like I should be over it quickly (over it already), and it stresses me out that I'm not. It just makes me feel more weak. But I guess it makes me feel a little better to know it's not healed so fast. But could you tell me what "not so fast" means, in terms of time? :)
And I also agree that this is probably even more uncomfortable to me because feeling feelings, let alone expressing them, is counterintuitive to me. I'm not used to it, and it feels wrong. But I am getting to the point now where sometimes I don't have a choice. And it DOES take a lot of energy to fight it.
It seems weird for you to talk about "abuse" in relation to my childhood. Linda has never used that word. She is getting stronger and stronger in her opinions of my parents' emotional health and treatment of me, but I don't think she's used that word. Would you really consider my childhood as "abusive"? Do you think it was mild? Severe? This is so strange to me. And I don't want to blame my mother or father or anyone else for anything in my life - I have a strong sense of personal responsibility - but all this stuff you have been explaining certainly explains a lot. And it makes me feel not as bad about things I wanted when I was younger and even want now that I thought were unreasonable, selfish, or just abnormal.
I know God is with me. But I sometimes feel like I have to do this on my own because I got myself into this mess and need to get myself out. I know that is not His nature. But that's how I feel sometimes. And thank you for explaining how things will be when this is all done. It sounds like it will be kind of like when I went on the ADD meds - this fuzziness in my brain, which I never even knew was there - was all of the sudden lifted and things were much clearer. I walked around for a week thinking "I can't believe this!"
The funeral was not for someone close. In fact, I had never met him. It was the son of one of my friends from church. He was only 39 and had some rare disease, and he died within about 6 months. He lived in CT, and this was a memorial basically for the family. I feel so bad for his mom. She's a great person and I know she must be so heartbroken.
The St. Patrick's day music thing went fine today. It was kind of fun, actually. We went to eat after and so it took almost all day. C kept saying that he thought I should hang out with them all day, so I wouldn't have time to be worried about my sleep test tonight. I tried to tell him - several times - that I wasn't really worried about it. The first one was so much better than I thought it would be, and I wasn't too worried about this one. But it was a nice thought.
That's where I am now. I have wires all over me, but they haven't hooked me up to the machines yet. Fun times! Speaking of which, I need to get ready because they'll be in to hook me up shortly.
Thanks for everything, and I will check in with you tomorrow.
By the way -- what was your seminar about?
Your parents were emotionally abusive. Without knowing exactly what they are like in person I have no way to know how abusive they were, but from the things you told me it sounds like they were at least moderately abusive. To punish a child for expressing emotions, to make fun of them and to not supervise them as teens (including allowing them to break the law) is abusive. It may not be a jailable offense (except for the alcohol use) but it certainly was harmful to you and your siblings. Abuse does not have to involve physical pain to be called abuse. Emotional pain is often just as bad, if not worse.
Your need to be around older women is normal. There is nothing wrong with you responding as a human being to get your needs met. Everyone does it. Some people do it in a dysfunctional way, like an alcoholic or sex addict and others do it in a passive (not harmful) way like you do. There is nothing wrong with you that is different than anyone else. You just learned to punish yourself for it because of what you learned as a child. Allow yourself to get your needs met for now. Don't treat P any differently. As you work through your issues, you will come to see your relationship differently if you need to.
I have worked with many people who have gone through traumas. Not like yours exactly, but similar. Many people were raped as children, some by family members. Others were attacked by husbands or boyfriends. Some feared for their lives. Everyone reacts according to the coping mechanisms they have. And the support available to them at the time. Personality is also a big factor. Some people become dependent on others, some become angry and resentful and others turn to alcohol or drugs.
You don't have to hide your feelings from everyone. While taking out your feelings on people is not the best way to handle it, showing that you are upset or down is fine. Everyone has good and bad days. And most people find that acceptable. As long as you are not hurting anyone else, you can feel anyway you need to.
You probably feel you need to get over this quickly because of the anxiety it brings up for you. Picture this: one child is allowed to have a cookie after they eat their dinner. Their mother helps them get the cookie and some milk to go with it. She smiles at the child and let's them run off to enjoy the treat. Another child wants a cookie after dinner but instead of getting help and a smile, they get slapped and punished. When both of this kids grow up, the one who had the help and smile enjoys his dessert. The other child refuses dessert and gets mad when anyone suggests a cookie. This is a simple scenario but it describes your acceptance of your own feelings. Feelings are not ok for you to feel and the chance to avoid them or make them go away quickly makes you feel better.
I hope your sleep study got better after the nightmare. Any news yet on what they think or do you have to wait for the doctor?
The seminar was on DSM diagnosis. There is a new manual coming out so everyone is confused as to how it will affect diagnosing.
I will be out for a while until tonight. My son is going to a birthday party and it's on the other side of town so it'll take a while. I'll check in later if I can.
Hope your Sunday goes well!
It sounds like there was a lot of information this time from your sleep study. It would feel so weird to have someone watch you while you sleep. I think you are brave to go through it not just once, but twice, especially since you knew you'd probably have a nightmare each time.
Linda being your mother's age is transference on your part. You are transferring your need for maternal care onto her by picking her subconsciously for her age. This is good because you can bring this issue up with Linda and talk about. How you see Linda is a good indication of how deep your issue is, along with the other material figures in your life.
How you were treated as a child affects you in how you process your emotions. It is not a measure of how much you were affected but rather how you process your emotions and how you see your life.
You may want to try looking up emotional abuse/ emotional repression instead of mother issues. It may get you more results.
It's ok to feel bad. If you feel down and someone notices and becomes irritated, that is their issue. You may also want to think about whether or not that is actually the reaction you would get if you expressed or if it's the reaction you expect because it is the response you got from your parents. You may be transferring these feelings on to others. It's something to pay attention to.
Speeding things up is not the best way to deal with how you feel. You want to be sure you work your issues through rather than just try to get to a manageable phase and quit. It can backfire and cause you to have a resurgence of your symptoms.
I hope your rehearsal went well! Talk with you tomorrow,
You're welcome! I am happy to be here for you.
The situation with telling Linda about the maternal issues is completely up to you. This is not a "have to" or something you'd have a set back on if you didn't bring it up right away. It's an observation that you can do whatever you want with. As long as you are aware of it, that is most of the battle. Insight can help you work the problem yourself as well.
But if you choose to tell Linda, you could just say "I've noticed that I seem to be surrounded by people older than me and I wondered about that" or something similar. I think Linda does see it. She may just either want you to notice it (your own insight helps) or she doesn't feel it's an issue that needs addressed right now.
I highly doubt that Linda would ever stop being the person she is if you talked about this issue. She would approach it like she approaches all of the other issues the two of you discuss. Therapists expect to deal with a wide range of issues, even things that shock most people. And I'm sure Linda has heard almost everything in her time as a therapist.
What makes you feel that not facing your fears makes you a wimp? That belief reminds me of what your father said to your nephew when you visited, as if somehow feeling overwhelmed with emotions makes you a weakling. If you chose not to do the sleep study, that would have been fine too. It might have made it harder for you to explore the nightmare issue, but it does not devalue you because you are afraid.
People are a balance of logic and emotions when they are emotionally healthy. And that is the goal of therapy. It's to help you use your logic and emotions in healthy ways so you can get the most out of your life. Right now you feel emotionally driven because of what you are working out. Other times you may feel that way is when you are in mourning, or you are in love. Accepting that you have both feelings and logic and using them appropriately is when you will know that you are ready to leave therapy.
Go with your feelings when you have them. Don't try to hold them back. You will end up feeling better when you let yourself express your feelings rather than punish yourself for feeling them.
It's good to face your fears but sometimes people are too overwhelmed to push themselves through the fear. The idea here is that you are ok either way. If not facing your fears was harming you in some way, then it would bother you. You would present as someone with a phobia or anxiety. But you don't have those issues so not facing a fear here and there is not an issue for you. Everyone needs to evaluate what is good for them at the time. Judging yourself according to what your parents taught you is only going to put undue pressure on you and make you feel worse.
Therapy helps you explore the issues that hold you back from feeling good about yourself and others. It treats symptoms that interfere in you ability to enjoy your life, such as your nightmares for example. It also helps you reshape old dysfunctional beliefs and work through them so you can get satisfaction from your life. That includes helping you find ways to address the emptiness left by the abuse from your childhood and teaching you better ways to get what you need from family and friends.
Only you can make yourself happy. A love relationship cannot do that. It may feel that way in the beginning when you fall in love, but eventually if you are not an emotionally healthy person you will find that the relationship falls apart. A relationship can add balance to your life. Most people want to have a mate. It can make you happier and ease your stress to share with someone else. But it's not the answer to emotional problems like some people feel it is.
You will be able to find a balance to your emotions once you can work through them. Right now, the scales are tipped because you had so many bottled up feelings from your childhood and trauma that it has become a focus. Your nightmares took the lid off and now your feelings are overflowing. But as you work through therapy, the flood is reducing. Once it stops, you will find a balance between logic and emotion.
There is a lot of emotional abuse going on in relationships and in childhood. I'm glad you could find some information to fit your childhood. Your sister may have bullied you, but what she did she learned from your parents, who encouraged cruel behavior. That doesn't mean you can't be angry with her, but understanding that she was caught up in the same abuse that you were might help you work it out better.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop is often an issue for abused children. They are so used to living on the edge and not knowing when they will be hurt that they become hypervigilent or over analyze things. What you feel is very common.
I'm glad you chose to let yourself cry last night. Anger, frustration and sadness are very valid reasons to cry!
Talk to you soon,Kate
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