I am still struggling with the relationship. I feel so vulnerable in therapy. To go back and “sit with the feelings” it is hard to get past the fear, it generally is all I feel in my body, my arm and side going stiff and feeling a band around my chest, tightening. If I press, try to make it stiffer during the EMDR, I get angry. But how that feels in my body, how it differs from the fear, I really don’t know. I wonder if I am detached from the feelings to the point that there just isn’t much difference.
I told Angela that if we get past the fear and then the anger, there is a well of sadness. But thinking about it, I think it is the hurt that I am afraid of facing. I think I need someone I can trust, I need to trust Angela not to further hurt me if I let myself feel that. That isn’t as nuts as it sounds. And it doesn’t help that Karen really hurt me. The thing is, whenever I let my mom know that she was getting to me, if she was berating me for something or punishing me, it kind of egged her on. I mean, maybe it enraged her to see me act afraid of her. I have felt that when I’ve had a dog act fearful of me, like I would never hurt the dog, I had never hurt the dog, and it’s acting scared because I raised my voice, it can be infuriating. But there’s a difference. I realized that if I have a dog that is that sensitive, like my Arwen, then I need to back down and I need to change my tactics because she could not thrive in an atmosphere where I was yelling. So I had to change. I had to understand that this bitch wanted to please me, and if she did not get something right it was because I did not communicate what I wanted to her properly.
Arwen went on to be one of the best bitches ever. I put her in the ring three times for her obedience title and she earned the blue ribbon for each of those legs to get her title. But anyway, in the beginning, see that dog hide when I got the leash out infuriated me. Because I loved her like crazy and I would never hurt her in a million years. And maybe my mom felt something like that when I acted scared.
But my mom did hurt us. Ok, she did not break our bones. But when Brian went to the hospital with a broken collar bone when he was about 11, he had welts up and down his back from where my mom whipped him the day before with her extension cord. That was her tool of choice. When I was eight, I turned eight in the third grade so that is how I know how old I was, Mrs. Hersimaki gave me 42 swats for not getting 21 things done on my lists. When I got home, that night, my mom gave me 20 more with her extension cord. So I was afraid of her. I was afraid of her because she would get mad at times and go after us. She would be mad and say, “Bring me the extension cord!” and then you had to go get it and bring it to her. Or she would say, “Get in this room!” as she stood in the doorway with it in her hand, and you had to go by her to get in that room and she would then hit you several times with it.
So, I am afraid of the hurt feeling. Going back with EMDR, feels like I am back at those ages, and I just don’t feel safe at all. So it sucks. When I told Angela that I don’t like EMDR, she said, “I am aware.”
I suppose I want to be confident, like she knows what is best and is taking care of me in this process. Or I want her to provide the safety I think I need to go back into all that mess. I have been dissociated or detached from the actual feelings for so long that I can speak about it or write about it without feeling anything at all. The EMDR therapy makes me try to experience and process the feelings. And it is hard.
It is hard because week after week I say the same things: “What are you feeling?” I feel stiff on the one side, can’t move my arm. Can’t move my side.
Angela said last week, “… but we are in it for the long haul.” And this week, she said that we all go over things over and over again. I mentioned that I should be over the stuff with my mom by now. She said I have a right to be angry with those who did not protect me, or who hurt me for as long as I need to be.
I feel the same terror of talking about it that I did when I was small. It is hard to separate what was then and what is now. I mean, I can talk about what happened and no one can hurt me about it now. When I was a kid, yeah, they might have sent me to the Jones’ Home, they might have beaten me, or shunned me, or killed me. But now they can’t. And I know that, but it does absolutely nothing to the terror of talking about it. That it feels terribly disloyal too, is another thing.
I make a big talk about not caring if they shout it from the mountain tops, but I am really still scared to death to say what my brothers did to me. I don’t want to hurt their kids. I don’t even want to hurt their wives. Sometimes, because I am so detached from the feelings, I wonder if what they did really affected me all that badly. But what they did changed my entire life. They are the reason I never found a husband or had children of my own. When I was 17, I had a male friend I met at our book shop. He was 32. He took me out a few times, mostly to truck stops where we got coffee and talked about everything. I was in college, so he may have thought I was older. I think when he found out I was 17 he stepped out of my life for 2 years. When he came back, we went out once or twice, and he asked me if it was ok to take the long way home. Ok — I really did not know what that meant. But we stopped at an old log cabin and he got a blanket out of his car and we sat on it, and he started “making out.” I froze and was so scared I couldn’t do a thing. He stopped, he did not force me to do anything. That was my last date. 32 years ago. And seeing my brothers going on with their families, watching their kids graduate from college and move on, really, really sucks. So my parents’ lack of protection, and my brothers and others criminal actions, hurt me bad.
Ok, I’m rambling now. That’s where I am at right now.