Monthly Archives: September 2014

Responsibility and guilt

There’s a memory of happenings that I feel totally responsible for and guilty over (well, ok, there’s a bunch, but one in particular I can’t seem to get out of my head right now). It’s an easy one to see and know that I should not be feeling guilty over it. It’s relatively easy to see I had zero say and zero participation in. It’s something I witnessed. It’s something I had no clue at the time was traumatic for the other person. It’s something I know I only realized how awful it was in hindsight, as an adult. Yet I can’t shake the guilt over it. I feel incredibly sad over it. I feel like I should have had the (adult) presence of mind to stop, to protest, to voice concern over, but I was little. I think back on it and think I must have known it was wrong on some level. I want to think that I knew I should have stopped it and told the adults why they were wrong. But in reality, I couldn’t have had much say, even if I had the knowledge (which I highly doubt I did because it’s not developmentally appropriate for that age). While I was lead to believe I had power I truly didn’t have for so much of my life, I couldn’t have known better at the time. The culture was that fear and aversion are the best teachers; they bring the best results. The voice in my head says I should have known better because I knew personally that those are horrid ways of learning (even if I couldn’t think of it in those terms at the time,  I knew that pain was unpleasant, and pain there was worse). I should have known… but how could I have? I was not one of the 3+ adults in the situation. I wasn’t even 6 yet. How could a kid, even armed with the knowledge that pain is a traumatizing teaching tool, have more say over a situation than the adults?
So I stood by and watched. I didn’t understand the implications at the time. I understand it in hindsight, and only with my adult learning, so why can’t I shake the guilt? Why do I still feel responsible? No matter how many times I tell myself it wasn’t my fault, I can’t help but feel horrible for standing by and simply watching. I had no control over the situation. I had no influence. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault, but I can’t shake feeling like I should have done something.
I know it has to do with earlier teaching that I should have more power. I know it’s because my mere presence was expected to stop other abuse, but ultimately didn’t. I know that wasn’t a fair expectation. I can hear De and Dr. C telling me it wasn’t my fault, that it was an expectation no one should place on a child. I can even picture TL saying the same thing if I told her all this. I can hear my professional self understanding this and saying it to the clients I worked with, but for some reason I can’t swallow it for myself. I can’t shake the guilt…
the guilt doesn’t feel as bad around the things that happened to me because others are always worth more. I was expected to protect this other person in other situations though (even as a kid), so the expectation is there around this all that much more (I was expected to have power I didn’t have, and I was expected to be protector). And I failed. It was an unfair expectation, but I failed. Over and over again in life, I failed. Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s the combination of compounded failures and the unreal expectations that makes this harder to leave behind. That, and that failure to protect myself was ok because others were always worth more than myself. Sacrificing myself, my wellbeing and safety, was ok and expected for the safety of others… and I failed miserably at it…

How do I get the emotions to match the intellectual knowledge that the guilt isn’t mine to bear? How do I get the feeling of failure to abate? How can I let go of the responsibility?

Advertisements

Random stupid question

Do you really have to love yourself before you can truly love others?
I resent it when I’m told that I can’t love others if I don’t love myself, because I don’t feel like I love myself, but I can certainly feel genuine and deep love for others. It’s invalidating to hear that statement when I know I deeply care for and love many people…

Thoughts?


Imagine dragons – demons

Love this song. Specifically the chorus. Fits me.
Don’t get too close, they bite.

(Emphasis added)

IMAGINE DRAGONS
“Demons”

When the days are cold
And the cards all fold
And the saints we see
Are all made of gold

When your dreams all fail
And the ones we hail
Are the worst of all
And the blood’s run stale

I wanna hide the truth
I wanna shelter you

But with the beast inside
There’s nowhere we can hide

No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide

It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

At the curtain’s call
It’s the last of all
When the lights fade out
All the sinners crawl

So they dug your grave
And the masquerade
Will come calling out
At the mess you made

Don’t wanna let you down
But I am hell bound

Though this is all for you
Don’t wanna hide the truth

No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide

They say it’s what you make
I say it’s up to fate
It’s woven in my soul

I need to let you go

Your eyes, they shine so bright
I wanna save that light
I can’t escape this now

Unless you show me how

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide
Don’t get too close
It’s dark inside
It’s where my demons hide
It’s where my demons hide


Hauntings

image

Can’t shake this image, and a feeling of terror followed by intense sadness… can’t place it either. Not sure where it fits or what it fits with… trying not to write a story over it. Trying to let it be. Not really liking where is going… kinda left TL a message about it. We’ll see where this goes by Saturday.


Messing around

I want to sell my art, so I’m trying to make more stuff, stuff that I would be ok selling, and that people might buy. To that end, I thought I’d play with some inks. I’ve had some of them for almost 15 years without using them often, so I don’t really know how to use them (Windsor-Newton drawing ink set). Others I picked up 2 weeks ago, so definitely don’t know how to use those (Liquitex acrylic inks). I think it came out ok though, at least the flower (cut it off the page with the butterfly, so will need to mat & frame it to look like anything)… I definitely need to practice more, but it is fun. It’s kinda like the markers in terms of getting the color I want by layering. I hadn’t realized that till this play session. Now that I have a better idea of how to work them, I may be playing more often…

wpid-wp-1411954786964.jpeg

 


I think that went ok

TL had gotten the message I left, and we tried to talk about it. I managed to shut down and not really be able to communicate much, but I had the stuff I had written to her printed out and she read that. I was pretty checked-out most of the time. I do remember though that she summarized that a lot of it had to do with not feeling heard. I hadn’t really thought much about it all in those terms, but it clicked when she said it. Most of it does really have to to do with feeling like I’m unable to effectively communicate with others… I really don’t remember what else she said, or what I said, but we agreed to spend all of next session on the stuff in my art journal. She said she didn’t want to insult me last week by getting her interpretations wrong about it, so she didn’t want to keep guessing at the time. I on the other hand, couldn’t get past my walls to be able to speak about any of it and would have been happy for any interpretation she attempted. Now that that’s cleared up, hopefully next week will be a bit more productive on that front. I will try to tell her what it’s about, but if I can’t, she is ok telling me what she thinks it means, and I am ok correcting her as best I can when needed.

One thing I didn’t quite put together when starting with her is that they generally do therapy only for about 3 months then reevaluate, and often refer out. I guess we were supposed to be done by those standards, and here I am just getting started. Oops. o_O

I think we also talked about the concept of being overwhelmed. She wanted to know what it was like, what it felt like, but I don’t think I was able to put words to it. My head kept going blank and I couldn’t think of anything to say. I know at some point during that conversation we switched topics because of how overwhelmed I felt in the moment. She had asked how I feel about Likert scales: did I like them? Did I hate them? (apparently, some of her clients have really strong feelings one way or another about them). I don’t feel strongly about them either way, but if she finds them helpful, then I’m fine using them. That’s how she figured we should change the topic: I rated my feelings of being overwhelmed at a 9 out of 10… I suppose in reality it was maybe only a 7 or 8 since I wasn’t totally dissociated, but at the time it felt really high. Though maybe I’d rate complete dissociation at a 10 or higher? I’ve been known to rate myself off the scale when things get really bad because my presentation doesn’t always match how bad I’m feeling inside. Like that Ani DiFranco song Studying Stones, “using all of my will/to keep really still/still, even on the inside/…I’ve cut all of the pertinent wires/so my eyes can’t make that connection/I am holding my breath/I am feigning my death” (full lyrics at the end of this post), I’ve mastered stillness… it also describes dissociation pretty well, and that disconnect that has become second nature over the years. I have become the queen of understatement when it comes to emotions within myself, so others often have a really difficult time reading me. The only way I know to give any indication of how intense things are is to rate emotions off the scale when they are incredibly intense. It’s a crappy way to communicate, but I have not learned how to safely let the masks down to show even a hint of what’s going on inside…

I left feeling compelled to apologize over and over again to her; for voicing my needs, for being difficult, for not being able to trust her yet, for existing… I didn’t really know all of that was behind the apologies at the time I left session, but I was able to point out that I felt compelled to apologize to her at least for communicating about the transference and everything that was in the journal entry she read. She said I didn’t need to apologize for anything. I hope some day I can take that to heart.

:deep breath: here’s to waiting another week to get further. It’s all so painfully slow. :/ (Though this week was the first week in about a month(?) where I feel ok after having left. I don’t feel any pressing need to explain something further at this point, it’s just waiting to get to the stuff that she already knows about. I was checked-out leaving, but not in a bad way. I think I was just processing the session, trying to integrate what I consciously remember with the stuff I can’t pinpoint off the top of my head. ).

And now those lyrics I promised:

“Studying Stones” by Ani DiFranco

I am out here studying stones
Trying to learn to be less alive
Using all of my will
To keep very still
Still even on the inside
I’ve cut all of the pertinent wires
So my eyes can’t make that connection
I am holding my breath
I am feigning my death
When I’m looking in your direction
‘Course numb is an old hat
Old as my oldest memories
See that one’s my mother
And that one’s my father
And that one in the hat, that’s me
It’s a skill I’d hoped to abandon
When I got out on the open road
But any more pent-up emotion
And I think I’m gonna explode
There’s never been an endeavor so strange
As trying to slow the blood in my veins
To keep my face blank
As a stone that just sank
Until not a ripple remains
I am high above the tree line
Sitting cross-legged on the ground
When all of the forbidden fruit has fallen and rotted
That’s when I’m gonna come down’Course numb is an old hat
Old as my oldest memories
See that one’s my mother
And that one’s my father
And that one in the hat, that’s me
It’s a skill I’d hoped to abandon
When I got out on the open road
But any more pent-up emotion
And I think I’m gonna explode


Therapy in T-4 hours 5 minutes

And I haven’t slept well. Insomnia kicking in again this past week, though not as bad as it could be. 4 hours is still double what my average is when things get really bad.

I’m anxious about session. I brought up the concept of this negative transference via message, and now I want to run from it (and TL). I keep thinking she is mad at me and disapproving. I don’t know how to shake the feeling. I’m pretty sure it’s all related to the past, but knowing that isn’t helping ease it. I just want it to be 10 am already. I want to face this and see if I can figure out if it’s as bad as I fear… at the same time, I want to run and hide. I’m desperately seeking this safe place that doesn’t end up feeling safe because of the triggers. Then I spend the next week trying to get over all the stuff brought up but not adequately addressed in the hour…

I don’t know how to effectively do this right now. I don’t like the “getting to know you” phase, and I like it even less when it drags on for months.