…And 2 months later…

I reestablished contact with my father 2 months ago for the first time in 3 years.  It was sudden and unexpected, but uneventful.  Or, as uneventful as something like this can be.

I visited my father, per his request, only a couple of weeks after we reestablished contact.  It went fine.  He was simply “showing me off” to his employees and colleagues and wanted to impress me.  I’m not fooled by his attempts, but it’s typical for him.

Life just continued.

Christmas Eve.  My father decided that he wanted to “hash out” some of what happened on the day that I told him I no longer wanted to have contact with him.  I asked him why we needed to go over it, since all is said and done.  He told me that he has a major problem with how I treated him.  He said he couldn’t understand what he did that was so bad.

I didn’t, and don’t, have the courage to tell him.. or ask him… if he did what I think he did…or know he did?  Do I know?  Do I really?

“Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.” – Oscar Wilde

I just tried to appease him enough by telling him I was sensitive and the things he would say were too much for me to handle growing up.  It was enough to end the conversation.  Apparently it wasn’t enough to satisfy him for good.

“Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” -Criss Jami

Today, I received a text message from him saying that he wanted to “talk.”  I had a very bad feeling about it, but I called him anyway.

He said we had a lot more to “hash out.”  I asked him, why do we still need to go over the past 3 years?  He said it was because he has such a big problem with the way I treated him.  I explained that I had to do what was right for me at the time, and while I understand it may have been hurtful for him, it also wasn’t easy for me, but it was still the best way for me to figure out who I was, take care of myself, etc.

“We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” -Malcom X

He didn’t like that answer.  He just kept pestering me, asking me how I couldn’t feel the need to apologize.  I told him that it was the right thing for me to do.  He accused me of never telling him “why” I didn’t want to be in contact with him anymore.  I did, partially, but he doesn’t remember.  However I told him that I was terrified, because any time I say anything that he doesn’t agree with, it turns into an argument that ends in a screaming match.

He switched tactics.  He said that it has become obvious to him that there is a major problem with how I was raised.  A dig at my mother, but also telling me that he sees fault in who I am today.  I told him, immediately, that if he is telling me that he sees a problem with who I am as a person today, I will end the conversation.  He mentioned our old neighbor, who used to spank his children (quite often, quite hard), and how his children turned out so wonderful and that they must have been doing something right.

I told him that I will not continue to have someone in my life who keeps telling me that he finds something wrong with who I am today, because I feel more secure in who I am as a person than ever before, and that it was those 3 years apart that helped me define that.  He told me how selfish that was and how selfish I was being.  I said that I am not being selfish by taking care of myself when necessary, and he insisted I was.  I “threatened” him that if the conversation continues the way it was going, I was going to go right back to not talking to him, because I don’t need a person like him in my life.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

He wanted to know why I didn’t “worship” him like my cousins worship their father, who is quite a mess.  He wanted to know what he did that was so bad that he didn’t get the same treatment that they give their father.  I asked him if he has any compassion for me, for the journey that I’ve gone through.  He didn’t answer.  He just said I’m unbelievable.  He said I’m selfish.  Several times.

I told him I can’t talk to him anymore.

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”  ― Shannon L. Alder

No matter how strong I may have gotten, this still rips me to pieces.  It still makes me question everything.  It still makes me question my self worth, my value as a person, my character… all of it.  And even worse, everything that he said, all of his questions, make me question the very basis upon which I’ve built the stronger me.

I feel like my whole self is a game of Jenga, and almost all of the pieces had been put into place.  But now, I’ve suddenly had several key pieces removed, causing the whole structure to wobble and sway and threaten to collapse.  I’ll get over it, of course.  I always do.

And that’s the end of that.  Forever this time.

“As you become your own advocate and your own steward, your life will beautifully transform.” – Miranda Barrett 

 

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A glimpse at parts work

The bottom line is that new T knows I have childhood trauma. And she knows I have something in my background that warranted me participating in a sexual abuse/assault group at the local women’s shelter. So her background on me is quite limited. But even with that limited knowledge, she’s still able to see so many different adaptations I created as a child to deal with my environment. For instance, I came into the session a bit bummed, because I’d just come from physical therapy, and the PT’s furrowed brow when I said I still had a lot of pain made me think that she thinks I should be much better by now. And so I was getting quite down on myself, thinking maybe I’m just imagining the pain, all due to that furrowed brow. And new T pointed this out to me and said that it’s very adaptive as a child so I can immediately look at my dad’s face and see if he is in a bad mood and I should hide or if he’s in a good mood and maybe we could do something fun, which actually did happen occasionally. When she was making these speculations about my home life, she checked in with me several times to see if it all rang true with me. Even if she’s pretty sure she knows the crux of the situation, she’s still very careful to check in with me and make sure she’s getting it correct, and I appreciate that sensitivity from her.

After we chit chatted for a few minutes, new T said she was curious to see where I’d like to start after the last session. So I brought up the card I gave her that held a deep seated fear that she would hurt me. I told her that I struggled since the last session with her knowing that and I’d been wondering if it would have been easier to be there and see her reaction.

She said that she was hearing me wondering what her reaction was and asked if I would like to ask her what she thought. So I asked her, and she just said something about how she found it endearing and very brave. She then went on to talk about how she fully respects that fear that she will hurt me, but that she can’t guarantee that it won’t happen. However, she was very clear in saying that if she ever did something that hurt me, it would never be intentional, because she would never want to cause me harm intentionally. And she said that this is where my ability to speak up and let her know when she does or says something that I find offensive or hurtful is important so that we can talk about it.

Before we moved on from that, she asked if I had any other thoughts about the card that I’d like to bring up. I just said that when that thought had popped into my head, I was very aware that it was a dominating thought from this 5 year old me – very vulnerable and scared – but that I’m not sure how much her fear carries over into the rest of me.

This spurred a conversation about parts work. She asked if I’d done parts work before, and to be honest, I don’t really know. So she talked about how everyone has different parts, no matter their family history, but the thing that changes over time is that, generally, those parts needed in childhood fade away but for someone like me with a more chaotic background, those parts are still in play. Basically, she was saying what old T said just a month or so before our last session: “Everyone has some parts, but your parts are a bit more complicated than that.”

Except I feel so incredibly messed up when I hear that. And I actually talked to new T about it. She was saying something along the same lines about my parts being “normal considering my background.” And I just paused for a minute before I asked her what that even means. Does it mean there IS something wrong with me? Does it mean I am on the borderline of having DID, but not quite to that point?

I didn’t ask her all of these things. I just told her that I have a hard time figuring out what I think about myself, whether there is nothing wrong with me, there’s a ton wrong with me, or maybe just a little. She thanked me for sharing my fear with her, which confused me since I hadn’t really stated anything explicit, so I asked, “My fear that something is wrong with me?” And she said yes. I think the more accurate wording of it is that I fear what exactly is wrong with me, and to what extent.

She said that you look at symptoms to determine if something is wrong, and that she’s still trying to figure my symptoms out. I haven’t told her much. And she is quite aware of that. She said that she knows I’m still trying to figure out if I trust her to tell her more about my background, but she told me again that I don’t have to tell her anything I don’t want to, and it is not necessary for her to know everything in order for us to accomplish good work. I just apologized for taking so long to learn to trust. She said that an apology isn’t necessary – that I should praise myself for being careful and discerning regarding who I share myself with.

I got a general sense in this session that she likes me and that she values the conversations we are having. We got in an honest dialogue about different parts of me, and she seemed so enthused that I was willing to do that with her since it’s a major part of her work. She said that some day we can try to map all of my parts. That would be quite tough.. I believe I have dozens of parts. I’d like to do it sooner than later, though, because maybe if I could pinpoint specific parts when they come up, it could open a dialogue with them that I’ve never had before.

These sessions feel so different compared to those with old T. They feel different in a very good way. I feel a sense of hope that new T can help lead me to a better place. I have only had about 6 or so sessions with her but I already feel comfortable enough to bring up questions that I never had with old T. It feels like a safer place to take risks. I’m not quite sure why, but it is.

I’m getting to the place where I feel that I’d like to share, slowly, a few more details about my past with her. Because when I have certain thoughts, images, and feelings come up that are related to something I haven’t told her yet, it creates a bind that is hard to work around. Regardless of the bind, little by little, I do feel that I can share things with her and that she is a safe and very knowledgable person to do that with. It’s a risk I’m willing to take. Perhaps starting with our next session on Monday…

Reflection

I’ve been thinking a lot about the  group therapy session since last week.  There was a lot of positive feedback from everyone, and it’s hard for me to take in.

But it was only the second time I’ve ever shared my entire story with anyone – the first being with my therapist.  I’ve never told my story in that kind of “condensed” version where I can see all of it laid out in front of me, from start to finish, and can follow my own transformation along the way.  So when everyone said I was strong, there was this small part of me that could actually see where they might be getting that. That thought did not occur without recourse from the rest of me – because it’s a clear violation of my rules to think positive things about myself – but I’m not immediately shoving the thought away.  Because it helps me handle things in the present better as well, if I think of myself as strong and capable and able to make it through.

I was the only one in the group that hadn’t told my story to really anyone before, so several of them also seemed surprised at how I told my story.  They said they could imagine everything as I explained it and that it seemed like something they’d read in a book.  This scared me at first, and still does a bit, because it worries me that I told it too well, like I have this elaborate – but fake – narrative in my head about all of these things that I think happened.

But I was truly touched at how supportive everyone was to me.  I’d apparently been a bit of a question mark in the group because I’m the quietest, but a couple of them said they’d been looking forward to hearing my story because I hadn’t shared a whole lot prior to that.  I’d thought that my therapist was an exception – that, other than her, no one could accept me entirely knowing everything.  I thought that I’d somehow just tricked her into liking me despite everything I’ve told her and saying complimentary things to me.  So to hear it from several people, all of whom now know a good majority of my story, is a new experience for me, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it yet.

I’m reflecting on this, because I know that, in group tomorrow, they will ask me if I had any thoughts/feelings after sharing last week.  And I have thought a lot about it, but I’ve been more consumed with work and then my knee injury, which has turned into a never-ending saga.  Most recently, my PT thought that I might have a partial ACL tear due to this one test she did where she pulled on my lower leg, and it pulled out further from my knee compared to my other leg.  Upon visiting my orthopedist (who is actually a Physician’s Assistant), he says that he thinks it’s just a “natural difference” between my knees.  I don’t know anything about knees, but that sounds like a bunch of s***t to me, and I’m so tired of hurting.  It’s been over 3 months now, and I still can’t walk without limping.  I’m meeting with an orthopedic surgeon next week, and I swear if he also says he thinks it’s a natural difference and doesn’t pay attention to the slew of other symptoms I tell him about, I’m going to go bonkers.

But it’s back to work for me for now.  I better get used to the 6 and 7 day work weeks – they’re going to be around until about September.

Catching Up – Part I

onelovelyblogawardWell, I’m finally getting around to going back through the three awards this blog has received and will go through the processes for each of them.  I’m an awful person for not doing this a LOT sooner – I’m so sorry!  Considering this may be a marathon post, including a bit of an update on stuff going on, I may break it up over the next few days.

First of all, I’m reeling with my T’s confession last session – after the first meeting in a month due to the holidays – that she’s tired and getting older and that she’ll be retiring in the next year.  I reached out to all of the wonderful people on Psych Cafe about it who helped me try to make sense of all of this.  I had been, and still am, wrestling with whether or not I have it in me to stick it out for the rest of the time she’ll be working, just because I’m so afraid of the pain, and it’s hard to see the point.  My first instinct was to run in the opposite direction.  In some ways, I did that in the middle of the session, because when she first started talking about retirement, I completely numbed out, put up that wall, and kept things on the surface.  T probably thought I was mad.  Honestly, she looked defeated to me.  I don’t know why…I don’t know what’s happened, but she looked tired and defeated, and so I felt like it was my duty to not add anything to that.  And I feel like that should be my duty going forward: that I should stop now and make sure I’m not preventing her from retiring whenever she wants to.

Truthfully, I may actually be mad at her, which would be a first.  I’ve always had such endless patience and tolerance for her, just because I’ve been so appreciative that she’s still here and listening to me.  The reason I am mad (maybe) is partially because of the timing.  A couple of sessions before we had our month-long break starting in December, I shared details of the abuse with her – horrible details that kick up endless amounts of shame – and I was terrified that she’d be so disgusted with me that she couldn’t even look at me.  In those last two sessions, I kept asking her if she was disgusted, and she said no.  Fast forward a month to our first session back…We had been talking for only a few minutes before she brought up her retirement.  She told me that she’d seen her month away as a “break” in her contract with me, especially because of what I’d shared with her before the break, and because I’d been worried about her hating me or being disgusted with me and then she just left for a month.  The thing is…I could tolerate that, and I did.  But now with talk about termination, I am left wondering if that month allowed her to realize that she actually is disgusted and can’t stand to work with me anymore.

This may be unrealistic, but that little voice inside me, that gut reaction, is telling me that maybe there’s at least a kernel of truth in that.  And what if there is? She’d told me two or three months ago that she had no plans for retirement and that she didn’t want to kick me out, and as someone else pointed out to me, that may have been true at the time.  But I’ve just started to come to trust what she says and take things, with her, at face value.  And this shattered that.  Trusting her when she said that she didn’t want me out was the first time I’ve really chosen not to over-analyze what she says and just accept it, and that’s just not going to happen again.  It’s not her fault, though.  I’m just messed up like this, and I’m starting to think that I always will be.

All of that being said, I’m going to try to face her on Thursday, despite the shame I’m feeling about everything, including the grief I’m already feeling over this inevitable loss.  I have no idea how it’s going to go, and I have no idea what I’m going to say.  What I do know is that I will be crying…So I’ll need to make sure I have my waterproof mascara on hand that day.

On that note, let’s get on to something happier.  I have three awards to acknowledge, but I’m going to start with the one given to me first, which is a horribly long time ago.  Bourbon is the wonderful person who nominated me for this award, One Lovely Blog, and I feel awful for not doing this sooner.  Thank you, Bourbon, for this incredible honor…This was my first award, and you were/are so gracious in acknowledging this blog back when it was just a little fledgling and I had no idea what I was doing (wait…that shouldn’t be in past tense.. :)).

The Rules:

1) Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2) Share seven things about yourself.

3) Nominate ten blogs you admire.

7 things about myself:

  • I’ve ridden horses my entire life, and actually won a World Championship at the APHA World Champion Show in 2003
  • In high school, I was the Vice President of the FFA.  Yeah..that was an interesting point in my life
  • Friends is my all-time favorite show.  My favorite character is Phoebe. 🙂
  • I hate math and typically don’t like numbers, but my job is actually as a Financial Aid Counselor at a unviersity, and I actually kind of like it
  • I’m a leftie
  • I love to go on long drives
  • I like almost any type of music and am a sucker for anything with a beautiful melody and good bass

Ten blogs I admire:

Living While Healing – An inspiring blog about healing from Complex PTSD and all that comes with it

Tales of a Boundary Ninja – Just an awesome blog that gives hope to me and many others that healing is possible

Tales of a Crazy Psychology Major – I was one of these until recently…This is one of the first blogs I started reading

Getting Closer – A friend from the forum I mentioned above.  I’m always amazed at how brave she is in facing everything head on

Defying PTSD – Not to mention that I love the song “Defying Gravity” and think of it every time I see the name of her blog, I also resonate with many of her words

Tesseract – One of the most inspiring blogs – simply because I hope I could be even a tenth as brave as she is in dealing with everything she’s facing.

BuckWheatsRisk – Yet another survivor of abuse..She posts about many things including narcissism and how it hurts others, which greatly resonates with me

lost inamaze – Although she hasn’t posted in a while, this another one of the blogs that I started reading when I first joined here and has always been a source of inspiration for me and many others

Chewing Taffy – Another friend from the forum.  She’s a beautiful writer and person..

SparrowInTheSnow – Last, but absolutely not least, I love this blog and its writer for her candidness in sharing day-to-day struggles and triumphs that I relate to so much

Thank you again to Bourbon for the award.  I have two others to get to, so check back in if you’d like to read a bit more of my babbling. 🙂

A letter of thanks

I’ve been with my therapist through 2 previous holiday seasons, however I’ve never made any sort of gesture, not even a card.  It’s not that I haven’t been appreciative or didn’t care enough to make a gesture – I have just been uncomfortable showing that kind of affection.  Well, this year, the impulse hit me to give my T a card.  At  first I thought I’d just give a card with a couple of words on it, but I later decided that I wanted to write a letter to her.  I keep swinging back and forth between thinking I’d like her to read the card and letter while I’m there to thinking that I’d rather chew off my own arm before I’m there for that.  I think it’s going to be something I’m going to decide in the moment.  Anyway, this is what I wrote to her:

“T-

I don’t really know how to even begin to thank you for everything you’ve done for me since I first walked into your office more than 2 years ago.  It might sound like something straight off a corny daytime soap, but you have quite literally saved my life, probably a few times over.  You’ve saved my life in many figurative ways as well, and for both of those things, I will be forever in your debt.  You’ve shown me a sort of kindness that I didn’t even know existed, and it took me a long time to believe that it was real and genuine (sorry :)).

I didn’t want all of this to go unsaid, but I think it would have if I didn’t write it down, because I don’t have the guts to say all of this out loud.  But I didn’t know if you could tell how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, and some sort of thank you seemed like the best gift I could give right now.  Part of me feels like it’s pretentious to assume that this could mean anything to you, but obviously part of me hopes it does.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

-K”

I was too afraid to say the “L” word.  I’m still confused about that anyway, so I decided not to venture into that territory yet.  I’ve never been good at things like this, but I hope maybe this can be somewhat meaningful to her.  I will either give the card to her today or later, if I have another session this week.  After this week, we won’t have a session for about 3 weeks, and then she’ll be gone for another 2 weeks at the end of January.  It makes me worry, because of course after weeks, maybe even months, of not having any trouble with suicidal thoughts, I started having them again over the weekend.  Everything is so horribly overwhelming right now, but if anything it’s made me more thankful for my T’s support.  I’m glad I’ve found a way to express that to her.

Another update and a tell-all

Hello, everyone. I’m sorry about my absence lately – it has been a busy and emotional time. Right now, I just need to type out some stuff, because it’s interfering with my ability to think and do my job. It may not help, but it’s worth a try, right?

Last night I had what ended up being a 2 hour session with T. We had scheduled a session at 5 so I didn’t have to miss work, but she normally doesn’t work after 5, so the timing of it was an exception. She wanted to do it after work, because we were going to allow for more time for me to share more details with her about the abuse, which I’ve basically never done, and she didn’t want me to have to go back to work. That ended up being a good decision.

It was dark and rainy by the time I got there, and the first thing I talked about was my work situation. I’m technically considered a temporary full-time employee at my job, but my job is actually stable – it’s just the stipulations around being temporary that are killing me. No leave time, no benefits, and, at some time during any 12 months of employment, mandatory 31 consecutive days off with no pay. I had been told when I was hired in May that they were looking for someone who would stay on as permanent. I thought my position may be up in August, so I talked to my boss at that point, who told me that my status as a temp was through next May, however there may be a chance I could become permanent in November.

I talked to my boss at the beginning of this month, who told me that I likely wouldn’t even have a chance at becoming permanent until next June, because they can’t officially make a position available until then. Right now, I’m doing double the work I was originally hired to do at the same pay. I will be losing my health insurance in the next few months. And now the 31 days off is inevitable. All of that hit me at once when she said that about June, so at that point, I started to get emotional. I ended up in tears for the rest of our 20-30 minute conversation. She was very empathetic and asked questions about what was going on for me lately. She seemed shocked at what was going on (I only told her about breaking off contact with my father – not any specifics as to why), because I am known around the office as always being that person with a smile on their face. She said I’d been doing great work, especially with what was going on for me, but that her hands are tied right now. I told her I understood, but I’m just not sure what to do right now. Temporary unemployment benefits are a possibility during those 31 days off, however I won’t even be able to file a claim until I’m off of work, which won’t be until sometime next year.

So I relayed all of this to my T, who, like me, seemed maybe a little surprised that I ended up crying in front of my boss, but then again wasn’t surprised at all. We talked for a few more minutes, and then made a kind of rocky transition into what we were there for. She wanted to lay down some ground rules before we got started. She wanted me to keep my eyes open as much as possible, to look around me and remember where I am, and to look at her and remember who she is. She asked if there was anything she could do to make the office safer first. I could feel my cheeks get hot, because part of me felt like I was being scolded for not always doing those things before, but I pushed it away and started to talk about some of the nightmares I’d been having.

***Potential CSA triggers***

They’ve all involved my father in some way. Sometimes as a good person, sometimes as a bad person. My thoughts were scattered, though, so I didn’t stay with that long before I went on to talk about some of the physical sensations I get. I normally gloss over those or don’t even mention them, but seeing as T kept reassuring me that she can take care of herself and that I can tell her anything, I pushed myself to go into more detail. Which then led into the memories themselves.

I’ve never shared specific details with her about those memories. I’ve never been able to. I shared a bit, and then got to a point where I started to be vague again, which T noticed and reassured me once more that she can handle it and that she has ways to take care of herself no matter what I tell her. So I went into slightly more graphic details, but couldn’t continue for much longer. At one point, I could tell I’d said something that slightly shocked T, which unsettled me. T gave me a moment and asked me if I wanted her to ask questions. I asked her if she had questions, and she said she did, but that it only mattered if I thought it would help me. So I said okay. I gave answers to things that I would never have been able to tell her in any other form of communication other than a nod.

I was oddly unemotional while I was telling her things, and then I would become emotional afterward. Anytime she said any kind words to me, it’d cause another burst of tears. At one point, I wrapped a blanket around me, because she suggested it might help that feeling like I was going to explode with emotion. Oddly, or maybe not so much, when I I had the blanket around me, it beckoned even more tears, and I probably cried harder than I ever have in her office. I still did so while making the least amount of noise as possible, which we also discovered the reason for last night.

T was wonderfully supportive and told me, regarding my worries that she would find me disgusting, that there wasn’t “room in her heart” to be disgusted with me. She admitted to being disgusted with my father, but never with me.

The reason she had suggested having this “tell-all” per say was because I’d never shared, in detail, any of that with anyone. And she said it would help take some of the power away from those memories if I share them. It may have done that, and maybe I’ll be able to feel that eventually, but right now, I’m still reeling. I can’t concentrate, and I must be dissociating because there’s a slight sense of things being unreal. My emotions are up at the surface and dangerously easy to feel.

Maybe it’s because I’m slightly out of it, but I think maybe it did help to write all of this down. All the while listening over and over to the beautiful instrumental song “Heroes” by Michael W. Smith. Maybe I can make it through this day.

The inevitable truth

I think I mentioned a while ago that I was thinking about going on a vacation over my birthday.  Well, for various reasons I never did.  But I am now, and I’m excited. Except for a couple of things which I’m just going to set aside for now so that I can enjoy the trip.

In the last post, I explained the growing situation with my parents.  Well, I had taken the situation as an opportunity to break off contact with my father.  I explained to my mother that  I was not going to try to patch things up this time.  She told me that was fine.  I just didn’t think that I would have needed to ask her not to patch things up for me, but apparently I should have.  Because now I’m back at square one.  Maybe even further back.

I got an email from my mother a few days ago saying that she didn’t think my father would be angry with me anymore and that he won’t be asking for an apology from me anymore.  I was suspicious.  So I called her and asked her what she did.  She said that she explained to him that I am simply an immature kid who needs to have a mature adult to show me the appropriate way to act.  Hearing this made me a bit sick to my stomach, and I felt a quick burst of anger flow through me, but I didn’t say anything.  She said that she doesn’t actually think that about me but that she was just telling my father “what he wanted to hear” to get him off my back.  I don’t believe her.  She so easily lies to him, in elaborate ways, that I see absolutely no reason why she wouldn’t be doing the same thing with me.  My therapist agreed with me…unfortunately.

I feel defeated.  My attempt to do something that I thought was healthy for me has now been interpreted as immature – something a kid would do.  Like a defiant teenager acting out against a parent for no legitimate reason.

I didn’t say anything to my mother about what she told him, because nothing good could come of confronting her about it at that time.  So I let it lie.  But when I was in therapy the other day, I started talking through the situation and came to a realization.  I have two options.  Either I stay a part of this contorted, abusive, dysfunctional web that is my family, or I break off from them.  I no longer have the option of breaking off from just my father.  As long as my mother is enmeshed with him, if I want to cut contact with my father, I’ll have to do it with both of my parents.  My mother, despite her faults, does try hard to love me, and it seems unfair to her for me to punish her for his behavior.  And that’s exactly what I’d be doing if I cut contact with them.  My T pointed out to me that my father is essentially using my mother as a weapon against me, because he knows that if she’s angry or upset with me, that it makes me feel guilty.  So even if I stay in contact with her, it’s still like he has a way of getting to me.

As I was explaining this to T, I was speaking somewhat matter-of-factly.  She asked me if I realized what I was saying and kept trying to remind me of the gravity of the situation.  I feel resigned, because some part of me knew that this was always going to be the case, no matter how I tried to get around it.  My T then started talking about the fear I’d felt the last time and that it seems like immediately after I have any contact with my father, in any form, I have serious internal repercussions.  She seemed to talk around what she really wanted to say, which was: no more.  Keep him out.

She’s right, I know she is.  Maybe the timing is right.  T and I had a wonderful conversation last time, one that affirmed my trust in her and reassured me that she’s in this for the long haul.  I know for sure that I have someone to support me if (when?) I take that step with my parents, because it won’t be easy.  I may not do it today, or tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ll make it through another holiday season with them.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy a nice four days off from work and the first vacation I’ve had in 6 years.  Happy Thursday, everyone!