I saw Angela on Wednesday, which is my usual day, at my usual hour. Preceding this, I wanted to talk about the fear that she will chuck me. I did. And I did not wait until there was 5 minutes left of the session either. She asked if this fear of rejection or abandonment happens anywhere else. I said no. We talked about getting fired from my job, but we couldn’t really correlate the two. It seems like it is just in the therapy/therapeutic relationship that I get attached and then my fear of being rejected seems to take over. We talked about what it is — validation or complements. And then we did some more EMDR, and we went with a Bobby-memory, and I got all tight on the one side, she says that I was injured on that side during one of the incidents, and that is what my body is remembering. Ok.
But I have been thinking about this since then. I’ve been thinking that I get to a certain point in therapy, and then I shift my focus from me, from what I should be working on, and refocus onto the therapeutic relationship. I am thinking maybe as I get closer to the core problem, I shift to avoid going further down into a place where I am afraid of what I might lose even more by continuing in that path, if that makes any sense at all. I mean, if I continue to work through and uncover more of what happened to me, will I lose my family, and if I lose what support I do have there, then can I trust the therapeutic relationship to help me to feel that someone somewhere cares about me.
I sound like such a weenie. I am 51 years old, and I shouldn’t be so needy, so in need of other people to give me permission to breathe. Right now, I have parents and my sisters and my little brother and I kind of fit here. If what I am doing in therapy shakes this foundation, I am afraid that I will lose myself. I think I may be protecting myself by avoiding the painful stuff that might take a toll on what relationships I do have. And so I am flipping over to obsessing about the therapeutic relationship. I am thinking that until I feel secure there, I can’t go further. And I think I am testing it.
And then I started thinking about what I might find if I continue that is so scary. I mean already, I have solidified the feeling that my grandmother’s husband was a jerk by uncovering a repressed memory. But I find it strange that I repressed that at all. Maybe not so strange after all, though. I remember one thing, but there are other things there too. I mean, I am remembering more stuff. But he’s a creep, was a creep, and I didn’t have to live with him or anything.
And I start thinking about my Mom. I love my mom. But I think some of the stuff that she did harmed me, without her actually trying to harm me. And maybe if I hadn’t already been sexually abused, maybe what she did wouldn’t have been as harmful. My mom was sexually abused by her father terribly, and it continued until she was married when my mom was able to say, “I’m married.” Then he stopped. She was 17 when she got married, and had Bobby when she had just turned 19, Brian before she turned 21, Lynn when she was 23, and then me when she was 25.
She often said by the time she was 25 she had four kids age five and under. Neither of my parents had high school at the time, and my dad couldn’t read, and was an alcoholic. She was a victim of sexual and physical abuse as a child. She never got any help. She went through terrible depressions, 9 months when I was about 5 months old, where she couldn’t get out of bed. Than when her brother was murdered, she was suicidal and I was the one that she kind of used — that did terrible damage. My mom used to swear like a truck driver. She spoke the way her dad did all the time, from little on up. She called the boys bastards, mother fuckers, and pricks. She called the girls, cock suckers, fucking bitches, and slutty pigs or filthy sluts. “Nigger” was a term of endearment for her, we are white, but when we would outsmart her on something, or something like that, she would call us a nigger.
I wouldn’t call my mom particularly racist or anything. She grew up in the ghetto, where little black kids would walk around with bird droppings in their hair for days. She told me this. Later when she was pregnant with my little sister, coming home from work down town, she was attacked by a black man. She fought him off. She wouldn’t let us be bussed, so she got us all into the Lutheran School, and then moved us out of the city.
She made sure we were within walking distance to good schools. My mom wasn’t a bad person. ln fact, she took $3 dollars each form my oldest brother and I to get piano lessons from the church organist, and our science teacher. That may not sound like much, but she used food money for that. We were that poor, but she did things for us that she had to sacrifice for.
And on the other hand, she had no boundaries whatsoever. She was never concerned about nudity, or walking in on us, having us wash her back when bathing, no privacy at all. And she would tease and poke body parts to a little ditty that might have been ok for a 2 year old, Titty, Titty, Belly Button, Wiener! and laugh as she poked the corresponding parts, until I was probably 8 or 9 and just wouldn’t get close enough. It’ so embarrassing. I don’t think she intentionally tried to harm. But a lot of the way she related to me was sexualized, I mean, the names, and the teasing like that.
It kills me because it is so disloyal to even think this stuff, when this is the most important person in my life, who has done so much for me. When I went back to college to get my BS, my student loan was held up, and I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to start, and she said, “you’ve been accepted, and you’re in, the rest is just money, and she let me put it on her visa until the loan came through, she went down there with me to register, she sold me her car. When I was going to the first three years, she provided a car. Ok, I was a kid then, I started when I was 16. When I was just 17 I wrecked her car, and I had the sheriff take me to her work, and I told her, and she got the insurance on the line and had me out and driving a replacement vehicle that night. The college I was going to was 40 miles away, so I had to drive. I wrecked another car when I was in my third year, and she took me off her insurance. I was going to the branch that was only 12 miles away, so some days I car-pooled and some days I rode my bike. But throughout the years, she has been very supportive. In fact it was very hard to leave home and get on my own. And still, I have her discover card in my pocket and have put my dog food and propane on it.
I don’t want to do anything to hurt her or my dad. I made them dinner tonight. My dad helped me take the puppies to the vet today. I am so afraid that working on what happened to me is going to change the relationship I have with my parents. Maybe that is why I get to a point in therapy and then jump the tracks. Maybe typing this here will make it easier to talk about this on Wednesday. When I was in Jr High and High School, I used to imagine being the kid of one or other of the teachers, being able to go home and work on my homework and share what happened at school, and have them read the stuff I wrote. And I got into that transference with my first therapist in my 20’s.
My mom was tough. I came home from school and was responsible for my little brother and sister, had to make the dinner so my folks could get home from work and eat and then go to college. (They got their GEDs after Bob finished HS and they both started college.) I then watched my brother and sister until they got home at 10:30pm Monday through Thursday. If I got a babysitting job, I took Mark and Lisa with me. And Mom took half of everything I made. Half up to $40/week, for room and board. I cooked, I washed the dishes too. I would leave when my parents got home because I felt I should be able to go for walks and stuff. Then I would come home and watch TV, until 2AM, then I would start homework. If I did go to bed before cleaning the kitchen I would hear my mom’s bed springs, and jump up, run downstairs, get the coffee going clear the table and be wiping it when she made it downstairs. She’d beat me out of bed if I didn’t.
On the other hand, she didn’t care about me going to school. She would keep me out if one of the kids was sick, so I could watch them. She would call up the steps in the morning, “Are you going to school today?” and I would say, “maybe later” and that was ok. She didn’t care about my grades because they were good enough. She wouldn’t even look at anything I did. She was busy watching TV, or doing her own homework. They were my grades, and they were my responsibility. She never helped me with any homework, even as a little kid, she just said there was nothing the teacher could give me that I couldn’t do. My brother taught me to tie my shoes so I could get into kindergarten, and he taught me division. Other people’s parents were different.
I mean, she was all about college. She made it possible for me to go. And she made sure we were near enough to good schools. I suppose I got mixed signals about whether she cared or not about school. Work, yeah. That she was all about. She even picked me up one day from work when I had a medical issue.
I am sorry that this is all mixed up. I am mixed up. It just keeps coming full circle, and I feel terrible for even thinking some of the things.