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.


4 thoughts on “Storms

  1. It’s really you that wants it; it’s the disavowed part of you that you are struggling to integrate. And when you feel pathetic, think about how easy it is for you to feel patient with your dog. Your T KNOWS that your fears are REASONABLE ones based on real experience, which makes it even easier to understand and be patient with your feelings. I’m sorry about the loss of denial around your mom; these are difficult truths to face. But facing them will set you free.

  2. Oh, bless you for your post (and your blog!). That squirmy feeling is so real for me, too. I have such a mind loop around this stuff. I get so upset *about* getting upset, I feel like a bad person for having feelings and needs, I don’t want anyone to see them, then people coming towards me/caring for me when I’m feeling upset makes it worse because, HELLO! I’m a bad person here, I don’t deserve all this good stuff, it isn’t real, it’s a trick, you are tricking me into accepting what you are just gonna take away. ACK! And then, if I can get out of identification, when I come back to real me, I feel such sorrow that this is how life is, that this is how life was, such guilt that this is how life is for the people around me, and this is it’s own kind of trigger. 😦

    But I agree with AG. When I think of my children, of their needs, or when I picture them married or in relationships, I want them to never be afraid of their needs. I don’t care if they need a mango foot rub on Tuesdays because Venus is in the third house of Capricorn or something. I want them to know themselves, I want them to advocate for themselves. Because they are so worth it. And so we are. HUGS.

    1. 3M – it helps to know that someone else is familiar with that squirmy feeling. I used to always feel so weird that someone being nice to me and expressing care (even if I could tell that it was safe) was almost too uncomfortable to take. And for the most part it still is, but it’s so nice, for the most part, to be able to start to be okay with feeling that care from T.

      Gosh, T and I have talked about needs so many times. She still has to repeatedly tell me that it’s okay to have them. I don’t believe it quite yet. It’s wonderful about your children. All of the things I believe about myself are things I’d never ever want for another person. It’s funny (not really) how our thinking gets distorted like that.

      Thanks for reading, 3M!

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