episode 78, it’s getting real.

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Thank you to everyone who has commented on my threads.  I do read them all and take a lot of advice, and appreciate the support.   When I began this journey, I knew I was doing it without a spouse, boy friend, whatever, and the family that I do have can’t really participate.  It is unsafe.  My parents are old and they don’t want to know, and they don’t need to know.  My siblings, well two of them are perpetrators, and the other three are, well, still connected to my brothers too.  So it is painful and unsafe to talk about my healing-journey with family.  I’ve tried to talk to my sisters a little, but anything that might be considered, even a tiny bit discouraging can throw me for a loop.  So you guys are my support system.  I have a couple of other friends who know, but there are limits to what people can hear.  I try to err on the side of the listeners.    

I saw Angela today.  I talked about a problem I ran into this morning — my doggy door was out in the snow, and I had a 1’x2′ hole in my door, that 20 degree weather was just coming in.  I had 1 hour to be on the road for my appointment.  And I had a litter of puppies to feed, their dam, and 10 other dogs that wanted water and food.  I fixed it.  Got everything done, shower, dressed for work, and out the door in time to make it there through the snow, on time.  

So after half our time was used up, she handed me the buzzers and I knew I would be furious with myself if I did not talk about what I wanted to talk about before coming in.  It was so hard.  I asked if she liked me.  She asked what I meant and I told her.  

I told her that for me you either like me or dislike me and there is no in-between.  She asked if there was anyone that I didn’t like or dislike.  And I said, not anyone I talk to for an hour each week.  I told her that if you like me, than I am ok, and if not I am not ok.  We discussed this point as well.  I told her that it doesn’t have to make sense logically, that is how I am wired on this.  And I told her if you like me you want go out of your way to hurt me.  We talked about why its about safety.  

She had told me she will answer, but I might not be satisfied with her answer.  She said she starts off liking everyone.  And unless they prove to be assholes (not sure if that was her word or mine), then they lose their A-standing.  I haven’t lost my A-standing.  I think this part of the conversation was before the bit about feeling safe. We talked about Nancy and transference and how Nancy would not answer this question, but said she approved of me.  And Angela said that was worse because that is really a judging kind of work, and that she did not know what she meant.  She called Karen and asshole — her word, probably when we were talking about feeling safe/not wanting to be hurt.  We talked about not being dependent on the therapeutic relationship, because she could die, and all that.  And we talked about graduate classes, and she stops and says, “you have a look of confusion or frustration on your face.”  She asked me some questions, whether she said anything — no.  Finally she asked if I felt I wasn’t being understood.  I told her I must not be expressing myself well.   I was frustrated because I was emotional and my words would not cooperate with me. 

She told me that I often speak differently and have trouble when we are working on the trauma.  She says that I revert to a child when I talk about what makes me vulnerable.  Maybe that should have made me angry, but it didn’t.  Nancy had said that I was child-like, but that was a hundred years ago.  When you are child-like at 26 is a lot different at 51.  And at that time, I took offense saying she thought I was childish, and she said she did not say that.  But I couldn’t figure out any difference between childlike and childish.  But Angela said that “Do you like me?” is a question a child would ask. 

I thought about that today, and decided I really don’t know what normal people would ask.  Maybe any adult would ask that if they had the balls.  And guts, it takes guts to ask that, after having asked Nancy and Karen and having suffered consequences for asking both times.  So why am I asking.  She asked me, can’t you tell?  I told her I thought I could, but I don’t trust my judgement.  

But if anything I feel relieved.  I asked her how we fix this.  And she said, working on the trauma.  I feel relieved because there are times when I feel insanely needy, and times when I know I will be sorry if I do something, like ask her if she likes me, but I have to do it anyway, and times when I just want someone to be in control, to feel safe and cared for.  Perhaps I want to re-enact what should have been mine in childhood, a time when I did not have to be responsible.  Responsible for mom’s mood and depressions, responsible for my little brother and sister, responsible to keep the secrets, responsible to keep the craziness at bay when at any moment all would fall apart.  So in the therapeutic setting, when I might feel vulnerable, I tend to function at a child-level.  

In moments like these, I am glad I am listed as solongago and not my real name where a search by prospective employers would find exactly how crazy I am.  

Thanks for reading.  I don’t think this one is as light and quick as some of the previous ones, but I think we covered some ground today.  


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15 comments

  1. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m sorry it is so hard to talk to your family about all this. I know how much family can be a triggering topic for anyone. It sounds like you did talk about a lot which is good. You have come a long way. I’m happy Angela is helping you so much. Thank you for updating us. We are always here for you.
    -Alyssa

  2. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m really sorry that it’s unsafe to talk about your trauma with your family. I understand where you’re coming from, and it can be so difficult to come to terms with that. When it comes to telling friends, I feel the same way. I don’t want to overwhelm them. I try to ask them if I can bring it up before talking about it. I do this so that they feel prepared (instead of bringing it up out of the blue). This tip may help you if you ever need to confide in them.
    I’m glad that Angela answered your question in such a professional way and that she was so supportive. I think reverting to a childlike state makes sense given what you’ve been through. You’re right – you shouldn’t have been responsible for so much at such a young age. I don’t think you’re crazy – I think you’re coping with the trauma you’ve been through, and that can be different for each person. You’re working so hard and doing so well.
    Thank you for the update. We’re here for you, and you’ve got this.

  3. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Solongago,
    Thank you for continuing to share your healing journey with us. Angela did a wonderful job of answering your question. She addressed your need, remained professional, and helped you understand yourself a little better. I certainly would not call you “crazy” or even consider it as a label for you. You have been through a significant amount of trauma and you did not receive the help and support you needed. It is understandable that your trauma is expressed at the age levels they happened. It is good to hear that this information is helpful to you and provides you with some understanding. You are doing awesome work and you are so resilient!
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  4. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,

    Thanks for updating us. I want you to know that I don’t think you’re crazy. You’ve dealt with a lot of abuse in your life and I personally think you are dealing remarkably well. You’re working every single day to recover from what happened to you. You’re fighting back against the abuse, and that’s amazing. Stay strong. You’re making so much progress!

    Marissa

  5. Kayla Volunteer

    Solongago,

    We are always here for you, and I’m glad we can be a support system for you. Reverting to a childlike state really resonates with me because I tend to do the same thing when I feel vulnerable. I don’t really understand it, I think it’s because the emotions and trauma stem from childhood and our brains are locked in that memory in a way. Learning to process these emotions from childhood as an adult is difficult, especially since many of the memories are deeply emotional.
    It sounds like Angela is a good fit, and that you’ve been making a lot of progress with her. I’m glad to hear it’s working out and that you feel comfortable asking her vulnerable questions. Have a good week!

  6. dzreid Volunteer

    Solongago,
    I am honored that you return & provide updates. I don’t think any story of abuse is easy to talk about. I know I sure did my share of “avoiding”. I think avoidance is easier sometimes than to actually deal with the issue. I’m glad that you are sticking with therapy. I think. in my opinion, acting or talking like a child while discussing abuse, might be a way your mind is choosing to allow you to work through the tough parts because you were a child when the abuse happened. Keep on keeping on! You will make it as difficult as it is! I think as far as asking if your therapist likes you is normal. I used to think that if someone was being nice (therapists especially) then they must want something in return. Your therapist might have a weird way of helping you through, but maybe in her way she may think it’s being helpful. Hang in there.
    Dawn

  7. sam Volunteer

    Solongago,
    I’m so sorry you don’t have the support system in your family that you deserve, but you are staying so strong and should be proud of that. I’m glad that sharing with us had been helpful in finding that support, and we are always here for you.

  8. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming back to share with us, and I’m glad that sharing anonymously is helpful! Let us know how else we can support.

    Erin

  9. Megan Volunteer

    Hey solongago,

    Thank you for the update! I am glad that we can be your support system and that you feel like you can come to us. Working through trauma can be very hard work and it takes a lot of bravery and resilience to start it and continue doing it, so don’t forget to acknowledge how great it is for you to stick with the trauma work even when it gets hard sometimes. I’m really proud of you for that. It is interesting the revelation you have come to this week in therapy, and I think recognizing your tendency to revert to child-level in therapy sessions will be a huge step in continuing the recovery process. You are right; you definitely covered some ground.

    Keep up the good work. You are doing amazing and I hope you have good week!
    Megan

  10. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Thank you for updating us on your journey. We are here for you and i hope you can continue to stay strong and positive. we care for you and know we always here for you!

  11. colton95 Volunteer

    Feel free to share whatever you want to share. We are here for you, we care for you, and I hope that you will continue to stay strong and positive!

  12. zelda Volunteer

    I’m glad to hear that you’re still in therapy with such a supportive person. I hope things continue to work out. Even though your family isn’t there to support you, we are all here for you! Take care, Solongago.

  13. musicislove

    Hi solongago,

    Thank you for coming back and I’m glad that AVFTI is a part of your support. It’s great that you have support outside of family since they haven’t been a good source of it. I’m also glad that it sounds like you had a good session with Angela today, it’s good that you were assertive and talked about what you wanted to when you saw her. Wanting to re-enact what you should have had in childhood is a completely understandable desire because you’re right, you shouldn’t have had to be so responsible and to have gone through what you did, you should have been able to be a kid. I look forward to hearing from you again and I hope you have a good week.

    Delaney

  14. Jess Volunteer

    Thank you for the update, Solongago. It’s great to hear that you’ve found support and that AVFTI is a part of that, as well as your friends. Sometimes, one of the hardest parts of healing is realizing that the support we thought we had isn’t healthy. It’s great to hear that we have helped you in supporting you through your journey. These conversations you’ve been able to have with Angela seem to really be beneficial for you. I’m glad this therapeutic relationship seems to feel healthier and more helpful for you. Keep bringing up the things on your mind and discussing them with her. Processing is super helpful.

    In the meantime, if you need anything else, you know we are always here for you! I hope you have a positive week, Solongago.<3
    -Jess

  15. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, Solongago. Thanks for the update. I think it’s great you’ve found where to find support when you can’t go to family. A lot of us can’t rely on family and have to find other people to reach out to. It’s not the easiest to put yourself out there especially after being so hurt by your biological family. But in my experience a “chosen family” can be so incredibly supportive and help me realize what kind of support I actually need. I think it’s great you’re able to have these conversations with Angela and feel relieved afterwards. It’s not easy doing what you’re doing, you deserve to be proud of yourself.