My dog, Sprout, is absolutely petrified of loud noises. Thunder, fireworks…he hates all of it. On stormy nights like tonight, he shakes violently and will make sad little whimpers because he just can’t control it. He’s too scared. So I’ll call him to me and he’ll scurry over and latch himself to my side and look at me with big eyes as if to tell me just how scared he is. So I just cuddle with him, trying to make him feel protected and safe – at least as much as I can. I always feel a pang of sadness seeing him so distressed over something that I, the logical, rational, reasoning human, know can’t hurt him. But I always know that the fear of those loud noises is very real to him.
Sometimes on nights like these, when I’m trying my hardest to help him feel safe, I wonder if this is how my T feels sometimes. I’ve been shaking in her arms before – several times, actually. But thinking of it just makes me feel pathetic and childish. When I think of it I just wonder, how could she stand it? How could she not see it as a complete overreaction or just plain theatrics? I wish I could cherish her care in those moments, but I can’t. I wasn’t the one in her arms. The scared, hurt child was. All I feel when I think of those close moments with T is a squeamish self-hatred for being so vulnerable – or at least pretending to be vulnerable.
That squirming feeling keeps me from being completely open with my T sometimes. I will occasionally hesitate to tell her how much pain I’m in, because it’s hard to handle her care. When I first started working with her, if she said something too caring, even if it was just a compassionate tone when she said a mundane word, I would dissociate. My head would spin, my eyes would lose focus, and I was gone. I can now stay in the room for the most part, but not losing control through dissociation means, to me, that I’m choosing to feel her care even just the tiniest bit, and that feels forbidden. It feels selfish and egocentric and manipulative.
But for the child parts – that care from T is food for the soul and spirit. It’s nourishment that those parts are longing for and will never stop wanting. Their need has grown since the anger for my mother came to light. Those small parts aren’t angry with my mother, but they understand why other parts of me are angry, and it makes them feel emptier than they already were. Thinking that my mother didn’t know and was completely oblivious to everything…apparently that had been enough sustenance for a long time, but it’s not anymore.
I want the comfort of my T so much right now. Except I don’t know if it’s really me who wants it.