Thoughts from Therapy #86 – Self Punishment

Note: As usual, this is a long one – usually the posts titled “Thoughts From Therapy” are going to be really long doozy posts to read.

S’ expression was worry and/or concern almost the whole time through our session today.

Hey, I’d be too if I were the psychologist and my client comes in and the first thing they tell me after I ask them how they are is, “I’ve been very suicidal this last week because things have gotten worse for me…”

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Change Is Paralyzing

Change is terrifying.

I think anyone and everyone can attest to this.

No one likes change (not initially anyway) and for someone like me, who has been through a lot of traumatic times in my life, who struggles with separation anxiety disorder and a deep sense of abandonment through various periods of my life, change is downright debilitating. At times, I am so overwhelmed by the sheer notion of change that I am paralyzed with fear.

I don’t fear death. I don’t fear injuries. I fear change. I fear abandonment. I fear above all else, the sting of loneliness that no physical presence can cure – the kind of loneliness that happens only when no one cares about you.

So with the change comes all those fears.

Whenever something in my life changes, I fight tooth and nail to hang on to what I know to be familiar.

Lately, familiarity has been forcefully thrown out the window as a result of many changes in my life. I know as a Christian I should rely on God as my rock but a lot of times, He feels so intangible that it’s hard for me to cling on to him. So instead, I cling on to things I can see, feel, hear, touch, smell – I know it’s fallible, yes, but it’s all I have right now so I’m going to have to go with it.

For one, S has been on vacation for the past 2 weeks and I’ve been really missing him. In his stead, he had appointed J to help mitigate my emotional instability. Last week, he helped me reason through my suicidality and this week, he helped me realize something important about the dependence I have on people (he helped me see that just because someone is no longer there physically in my life, that it doesn’t mean that they don’t still care for me, and that they don’t still have a connection to me – this was very important because lately I’ve been feeling like I’m unimportant in everyone’s lives because I can never get a hold of someone when I really need them. That my messages are often not responded to). Despite having J’s help, I really need S because he provides the familiarity that keeps me functioning despite my emotional instability.

I told J today that in an analogy of a someone trapped in a raging river that’s threatening to sweep them away, that S is actually like the rock in the middle of all that that the person can hang on to. In that analogy, I’m the person that’s trapped in the raging river – all my emotions are threatening to sweep me away. Most times, I contemplate suicide over facing these overwhelming emotions because it’s so much easier to stop feeling. Being swept away would mean giving up – letting the current take me. Having S keeps me steady. I slip time and time again but even if I still have on finger on the rock, I’m still hanging on. S is my rock. And having S on vacation means that temporarily, I have no rock to hang on to. I’m slowly getting swept away. J is like the errant vine that I hang on to temporarily while I try to get back on solid ground. Solid ground will be back next week – familiarity that I need. Every Wednesday, at 10am, I spend an hour with S. I watch him react to what I say, hear his words echoed in my head, feel his warmth and compassion, enjoy his attention and care.

I’ve been packing my things into boxes and I’m overwhelmed by the number of things that I’ve amassed in 4 and a half years of being here in the States. And these are things that I’ve already condensed from my previous moves. So for me to still have boxes upon boxes of things really irks me. I am agitated by the amount of things I have to consolidate – my mental energy being expended on nostalgic reminiscing, and into trying to organize and decide what to keep and what to throw.

I’m going to lose this familiarity pretty soon. I know it’s for the best. I am mature enough to realize that change is good. Yet, the child can’t. The child hates it. The child rued the day she moved from the home she grew up in and lived in for 6 years. She rued the day she moved from the second home she spent most of her childhood and teenhood in. She rues every single day she has to move. She is so deeply dependent on familiarity that any little thing that changes it upsets her greatly.

Anyway, I’m going through a lot of changes – things that I wish could slow down a little so that I can take a breath of air but the river doesn’t flow like that. The river is relentless and if I don’t learn to tread water, I’ll surely drown. I’m learning to tread water. Slowly, little by little, I’m gaining the strength to climb up onto the rock. Eventually, I’ll have enough strength to swim against the current and go to shore. Eventually, I won’t need the rock to keep me afloat any longer. Eventually, the rock will be the very thing that will help me gain enough footing and strength to leave it.

After my conversation with J today, and after learning that people are still there and they still care for me even if they haven’t talked to me for a while because there exist genuine connections between myself and these people, I was able to come home and start packing. I’ve been putting it off for 2 and a half weeks now.

I packed 3 boxes full of school material and books that I can’t get rid of, and now I’m taking a respite from the overwhelming emotions I’m experiencing. I had a moment of tears when I found the farewell card that my brother had written me 5 years ago when I left Malaysia – my heart felt torn to shred as I read his sweet words – but that was it, just one moment. I know I’m getting stronger. I can feel myself getting stronger. I am crying less lately. I don’t feel as overwhelmed as I did 2 weeks ago. The desire to end my life still lingers and comes out fully when triggered.

Yes, I did cut myself again this morning but that was after an intense trigger and I’d just reached for the hunting knife I’d kept in my pocket. I’d like to believe that I have more sense now – especially after speaking to J. This had happened at 11am this morning. Had I kept my appointment with J at the time that I was supposed to at 10am, I wouldn’t have done it, but because I had to push my appointment back to 4pm, I had no buffer for my sudden fear/anger/sadness. So I reached for the knife. Oh child, I wish I’d paid you more attention. I’m sorry that you felt like you needed to hurt me to get my attention. But it’s okay now. I’m listening. 

I have a much clearer state of mind now. After realizing that things with JS (Ex) were never meant to work out the way I had wanted it to (happily ever after), and that it’s ok that it didn’t, I’m much calmer. When J pointed out that it’s not his presence that I yearn, but rather the connection, and that his connection with me as the greatest friends anyone could ever have is genuine, I realized how selfish and blinded I’d been all this time.

I wanted him to be around – even if it meant that both of us were miserable in the process. That was what happened for years. I refused to acknowledge the fear that I had that was keeping us together. I refused to allow anything other than the notion of happily ever after to exist – even when it wasn’t happy. For the most part, it wasn’t ever happy. I lied to him. I lied to myself. I thought I was happy. I couldn’t figure out why I was always angry. Now I know.

It’s because change is paralyzing. Anything other than the notions that I’ve constructed for myself, I had nothing else going for me. Without this happily ever after, I was just a person struggling with her sexuality and her faith, I was just a shell of a person, I was just the person that tries hard to live up to everyone’s expectations and fails, I was just me. Without JS, I was just sad, and broken me.

I see now that my worth is not tied to anyone. That his worth is not tied to mine either. That just because our relationship didn’t work in the form of marriage, that it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work in other forms. I have learned in the past few months that we’re better friends than we ever were as a couple.

I have also learned that just because I was married to him, it doesn’t mean that it took away all my struggles with my sexuality. In fact, it amplified it and made it all the more apparent that I was merely struggling to appear “normal”. If I could turn straight, I would. I think it’s what I’ve always wanted. To just fit in. To just be normal. The more I realize that I can’t do that, the more distressing it is. Believe me, no one wanted this marriage to work more than I did.

Change has come upon me and I need to accept that I can either be dragged away by it, kicking and screaming, or I can be cooperative, and have a good time with it, while learning important life strengthening lessons. The adult needs to convince the child that it’s ok to choose the latter because the people who matter the most to me, will still be there for me because of connections that are genuine.

The child needs to also realize that her favorite person in the world, S, will be back next week. So calm the heck down, child!

Fear of the Dark

My friends (who also happen to be my coworkers) invited me out for a night of camping today. 

I am glad I came out because I am enjoying myself, not because I like the humidity, the bugs, or the sleeping on the ground, but rather because I got to spend time with people I see often at work but don’t get to socialize much with. 

I wish we could do this without having to subject ourselves to the weather and the outdoors. I’m just very convinced now that I’m not an outdoorsy person. In fact, now, I’m very glad that I never completed the selections program to join the Malaysian military because I think I’d have a horrible time. In retrospect, despite how broken I was by the decision that got me cut from selections, I am actually not upset that I now live a more comfortable life. 

Anyway, besides realizing that I’m not an outdoorsy person, I now also confirm my fear of the dark. As a child, I was terrified of it. As S and I explore my past and traumas, I’ve learned that I’m afraid of the dark because I used to be punished as a child to sit on a stool in the middle of a room and I remember multiple instances where I was all alone in a dark room. Just writing of this trauma itself chills me to the bone, even now as an adult. Now that I’m older, I can tolerate the dark enough and maintain some bravado, but I am still extremely uncomfortable in it. 

Right now as I’m typing this, I’m sitting by the campfire with my friends. And for a little while, I was afraid. I also feel afraid for later tonight, when I have to crawl into my tent and sleep in it by myself. In the dark. In a tent. In the outdoors. Goodness, I hope I don’t induce a panic attack on myself from thinking about being in the dark. 

I’m also starting to feel depressed again. I often get that feeling when I’m around a lot of people. It’s that sense of disconnection that I get. 

I also received a message from JS (Hubster – I need to change this to ex at some point) that reminds me that I’m no longer the focus of his attention. What it made me feel is unimportant. Even if he tells me that he still cares for me, I find that hard to believe. I want to believe him but I just can’t. He is frustrated that I don’t believe that he still cares for me but as a person with severe abandonment issues, I feel abandoned. Even if that’s not what’s happening, I can’t help how I feel. 

I’m just afraid, I guess. I need S. Speaking to his colleague, J, was helpful last week. But ultimately, it was not the same kind of experience. I feel desperately alone and afraid. 

I think of how I have to move to a new place in a few days and I haven’t even packed yet. I think about how I’m going to be all alone in that basement. And how dark it’s going to be down there. 

When I used to be afraid of things in the past I knew who I could turn to. I used to have someone I could depend on to help me through but I’ve lost that now. And lately, I’ve been trying to reach out for help and support but it’s been difficult to get what I need. I feel my loss even deeper now. It’s very distressing. 

Maybe I just need to stop thinking. Maybe that will help me not feel so much. 

Weathering The Storm

I have a post that I wrote last week that hasn’t been published because it’s only halfway done. It’s probably the only hopeful post I have because since then, my life has taken a turn downwards. 

At this time, things are looking bleak for me and its hard for me to not wallow in the filth of extreme sadness, loss, and negativity. 

My adult self knows that I will get better and knows that I’m strong enough to weather this storm, but my teenager and child selves are terrified, sad, grieving, angry, and bitter. 2 against 1. It’s hard then for me to get back up and stay standing. 

The adult has been reaching out for help and support. She’s trying to show the young ones that they can do it. That I can make it past this seemingly perpetual pain. It’s an uncharacteristic move for me – to allow myself to be vulnerable and to ask for help. It’s also uncharacteristic because my tendency is to always withdraw when I’m in anguish – like the dog that’s injured that hides away to deal with its wound by itself. 

Thankfully, people have been reaching back and supporting me. If I didn’t have this support system, I don’t know how I could still be here because if I’m still struggling so much when I have support, imagine how much worse I’d be without… 

I wrote a group wide message to all my coworkers at the restaurant to tell them what I’m going through. I wanted to be transparent with them and I wanted their help and support because they’re the people I see the most. I was not surprised by the people who did respond and who wrote me kind messages because I knew that I’ve found a group of people who are loving and caring. I was touched by their words and their kind gestures. 

One of my managers even gave me a hug the next time I went to work and gave me a heart-to-heart talk. He assured me that he has my back and that he truly thinks that I’m an amazing person who is strong enough to get through this rough patch. One thing he said really stuck with me. He said, “It speaks volumes about your strength that every single shift I’ve worked with you, you’ve never once showed anyone that you were in any way struggling because you’re always so positive.” 

There it is again. Strength and resilience. Multiple people have told me that I have it. I believe them now. I know I have it. If only the younger selves could recognize that too. 

Some people told me that everything I’m feeling right now is valid. That I should allow myself to feel those feelings because like S said, “the path to healing lies through the anger, and all the negative feelings”. He explained that if I just side step the feelings or suppress them altogether, I will keep myself in the depression. So, I’m going to let the teenager and the child feel what they need to feel – the teenager with her angst and anger, and the child with her pain, rage, and fear. 

I’m expecting things to get worse for me in the next few weeks. I already hurt so much that I can’t imagine hurting anymore but I know it’s going to get worse. So many things are changing for me. It’s difficult to try and grasp on to anything because I constantly feel like I’m slipping but I’m trying. 

I’m trying. 

Thoughts From Therapy – #66 – Childhood Trauma

Since starting Strattera and Zoloft, I haven’t had any anxiety attacks or anything like that in a while now. I mean my mind still goes on overdrive in self-criticism but nothing as bad as it used to be when I was on Ritalin. That said, as I drove to CAPS yesterday, I started experiencing anxiety – not enough to send me into panic mode but enough to make me want to run to the restroom to void my bladder or colon (I hate that my nervous responses are bladder and colon related). I drove slower than I normally do and left home later than I usually would when heading to CAPS.

I was trying to delay seeing S as much as possible – which if you know anything about me by now, you’d know that I would never do that since I cherish my time with S deeply. I would never be late on purpose and yet yesterday, I was in no hurry to see him.

You see, the reason is because a week ago (and as he had reminded me on Wednesday), he and I scheduled a session for me to process my first childhood trauma. He told me a few weeks ago that whenever I was ready, that we should delve into that trauma and process it. I had told him last week that I think I was ready. So he instructed me to write down a narrative (also called a trauma narrative, surprise surprise) and bring it to our next session. We were supposed to talk about it on Wednesday but other things came up for me throughout last week so we had to deal with those first. So thanks to that delay, I had requested a second session with him this week.

And yesterday was the day I was scheduled to process my trauma narrative. Hence the anxiety. So this post will talk about that a little – S told me that I’m free to share whatever we’ve talked about with anyone I choose but that I need to keep some boundaries on it since the trauma narrative could trigger unwanted emotions and make me feel unsafe. I’m choosing to share this here and will probably try to keep is as brief as I can.

TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion about childhood sexual abuse to follow. If this topic makes you uncomfortable, please redirect yourself to another link now. I won’t be held responsible for how you react to my post. Thanks. As usual, this is going to be a huge block of text so it might take some time to read through. My apologies.

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Thoughts From Therapy #46 – The Teen VS The Adult

S visibly cringed when I showed him the cuts on my left arm.

“Yeah, the truce is over…” I said, to him. “Something triggered me on Monday and I wasn’t thinking. I just reached for the knife and slashed myself…” Then I tried to minimize it. “It really doesn’t look as bad as it did on Monday…”

We spent the rest of the session trying to figure out why the teen was so angry that she wanted to hurt me. I brought up Q’s theories – maybe the teen is angry at me, maybe the teen is afraid that if she’s fine, then she won’t get to see S anymore or maybe she felt like just one session wasn’t enough to overcome all the years of hurt and pain.

As we talked, I realized that maybe a huge part of it had to do with the fact that the adult felt like “Yep, case closed. We’ve found out why I get so angry so much all the time. It’s the teen and she feels like she’s not heard. Done. Let’s not revisit this anymore” and foolishly thought that that was the end of it. So in her anger for being shut down yet again, the teen lashed out. Just like all the other times that she’s done so.

I realize now that the reason I haven’t done this sooner (this being self harm) is because the adult has always been stronger and has always been able to shut the teen down quickly with guilt and shame. The adult has always been good at ignoring her but since starting therapy, the teen has been growing stronger because S has been helping the adult see the other parts. S has been validating the teen and giving her reasons to be louder.

I told S that the teen wants me to hurt as much as she can hurt me. We talked about my anger for my parents and as we talked more about that, I realized that the teen is very angry at my parents. She wants someone to pay for the pain she’s experienced. Her spite and anger are just so uncontrollable – she wants vengeance. Since there is no way for her to exact that vengeance, she hurts the next best thing – the adult in me. Not only has the teen been physically hurting me, she’s also been emotionally hurting me. She’s been calling me names, taunting me, and making me feel like I can’t keep going. She’s being vicious.

She’s also angry that I seem to be struggling with school lately. It seems like there’s someone she really needs or wants approval from. It seems like the approval she wants is my parents’ approval. There’s something driving our despair and discouragement because of my current struggle with Calculus and Computing classes.

S asked, “Who are you trying to please? ” – the question directed at the teen.

We sat for a few moments in silence. S looked at me. I shrugged.

“Silence. I hear nothing…” I said. She was, just moments ago, vehemently calling me names, telling me I’m so weak and useless, telling me that she hates my parents and that someone needs to pay for her pain. Then when S asked the question of who she’s trying to please, she suddenly shut down.

As I’m writing this, I realize that she’s pouting in the corner. She doesn’t want to talk to me. I’ve been asking her the same question that S did. She refuses to respond.

“I think at this point, the adult and teen needs another truce. The adult needs to check in with the teen from time to time. Ask her if she has anything she wants to say. When she flares up, the adult needs to say, ‘OK. What else do you want to say?’ and be there to listen. What would it be like if you did that?”

It was a hard question because it would mean not ignoring the teen. It means hearing difficult things that I’ve been ignoring for 30 years. I frowned. “Well… It’s definitely something I’m going to have to do…” I said, reluctantly.

“Yeah… Do you think you could try that?”

“I’m going to have to…” I said. I can’t deny the fact that I really don’t want to. The same way the teen doesn’t want to admit that she wants and craves my parent’s approval. The same way she doesn’t want to let go of her thirst for vengeance.

After that, we discussed a little about what the teen had said to me after I had cut myself on Monday. I said that it creeped me out how the teen said to me after I had hurt myself, “Good….” and was pleased at the fact that I had done that. When I was later tending to the wounds, I heard her say, “It’s okay. I care for you. I’m the only one who does. No one else cares… It’s okay… I had to do that…” What creeped me out was the fact that this was familiar to when I was a child and would get punished by my mother. I would get caned and later at night, I would catch my mother tending to my wounds while crying, telling me that she didn’t want to punish me but had to because I was a brat. It sounded like what the teen had told me. I freaked out then. It was like the moment when Luke Skywalker went into the cave in Dagobah and saw his face under Darth Vader’s mask.

“Seeing your dark self…” S said, understanding my reference.

“Yeah. I freaked out. I told the teen to get the hell away from me! She hurt me and then tells me she cares? She is the person who both inflicted the pain and then tried to take away the pain…”

“And you remember your mother doing the same…”

“Yeah. I haven’t thought about it in a very long time…. It’s a memory I’d rather not remember. It’s painful because it makes me feel guilty…” I said. It really does because it makes me feel like a bad kid who is such a brat, who has caused my mother so much pain that she had to punish me even when she doesn’t want to. It was all my fault, right? I deserve to be punished.

“Now I know you probably don’t want to hear this right now but to me, at least in my perspective, this is a good sign. That a part of you now recognizes that your mother cared for you despite the pain she inflicted. That was something you were never able to pull out before. This shows me that you’re really making progress…”

Yeah. I didn’t want to hear it. I still want someone to pay. How is it fair that I had to go through years of pain and suffering to just forgive someone so easily? That’s what I really think. And it makes me sound like a horrible person for thinking that way. I told S that it’s much easier to blame that on the teen. To blame it on someone else. I don’t want to own up to it. I don’t want to own the fact that I am angry at my parents. I also don’t want to own up to the fact that they have hurt too in their own lives.

The thing is, I know the truth. I just don’t and can’t accept it. At least not right now. I know S is going to keep trying to remind me of this. I know I will eventually accept it. Just not right now. I can admit that now. I can admit that I can’t accept it. Before, I might just have brushed it off and ignored it. But now, I see it.

Near the end of the session, S asked the hard question he’s been asking me for weeks now, “So how are the suicidal thoughts?”

I never want to answer this question because I sometimes don’t know the answer myself.

“I know this isn’t a good thing… But right now, the teenager is so angry at me that she doesn’t want me to die. She wants to hurt me as much as possible for as long as possible. So if I die, she won’t have that chance anymore. But the adult is exhausted. She wants to die. She wants to just lie down and wither away…”

“So in a way the teen is protecting you?”

“Yeah… Yesterday, I thought to myself, ‘I wonder how high a building has to be for someone to die’… I’ve been thinking about the parking garage a lot more…”

“So you not only have the means, you also have a plan…?” S asked.

I read yesterday on The Mighty’s site (Three Questions That Are Hardest To Ask As A Therapist), that there are three questions that are very hard for a therapist to ask and they are: “Do you want to kill yourself?”, “Do you have plans?” and “Do you have the means to?”, so what he said reminded me of that.

“Yeah… The adult is just tired. I am tired, S. I’m tired of fighting the teen all day every day. I just can’t do this. I can’t do this…” I said. “But… The teen isn’t going to let me die. As much as I want to…”

There was a moment of silence.

“Can you promise me not to go near any parking garages at least?”

“Yeah…” I said, feeling defeated.

Satisfied that I made my promise, S changed the subject to end the session. We were already 5 minutes over the usual time and I know that I’ve been a difficult client lately. He said that he’s noticed that I’ve been coming in for walk-ins every Thursday for the past 2-3 weeks and that I’ve been pulling more things each time we talk. He told me that he’s realized the pattern: that on Wednesdays, during our regular sessions, that I talk about something very difficult and painful, get overwhelmed, lose my shit, and then needing another session the next day. So, he told me something I not only didn’t expect, but was also something that I had secretly wished for a long time.

“I was thinking that maybe, at least for now, you might benefit from us meeting twice a week… You’re really progressing well and I don’t feel like you’re as tense today as you were last week, but I think you might really benefit from seeing me again another time in the week…”

“Well I know that I’ve been coming in here a lot lately and I’ve been asking myself if I’m becoming indulgent…” I said, feeling  slightly insecure about the offer.

“Well, I know that you’re not one of those clients that I’ve had before who after a while, I realized were just blowing smoke up my ass… Pardon my language… Every time you’ve been in here, you’re not just here to hang out and chat…” He responded. It made me feel a little better. “We sometimes do this depending on the need – you’re certainly not the first client that we’ve done this for and I think at this point, there is a need…”

I know I’ve been depending on him heavily lately and I’ve been needing him a lot more than I have ever had. Seeing him twice a week has kept me sane while my life has gone insane. I think if I hadn’t seen him so often lately, I might have succumbed to my own desires to give up.

I agreed, feeling myself blush as I did so because I felt embarrassed to admit that I needed him. It was also unexpected so I couldn’t control my physical reaction. I have a hard time admitting that I need people and want people to care for me so I never would have asked this myself. It was nice that he offered me this extra care.

I look forward to seeing what tomorrow’s session will be like – for once, I don’t have to force myself to walk to CAPS for a walk-in session. I don’t have to ask to be seen.

Speaking Up About Suicide

I posted about suicide on Facebook a few minutes ago. I was hesitant to hit “Post” because not only does the word “suicide” come with its own trail of stigma and judgments, I also have new friends on my Facebook (most of them my co-workers at the Math Assistance Center – a place where I often look very rational, cheerful and can sometimes even come across as ‘happy’).

I was afraid. I think I’ve talked about this before on my blog somewhere. I’m afraid of the judgments of people that I don’t often interact with – sure we all chat when we’re at work but never in depth – and I was afraid that because of the lack of background knowledge, that I would be judged as “crazy”.

Then as I thought about it more, I realized that suicide is a topic that needs to be addressed. As a self-proclaimed mental health advocate, I knew that if I didn’t say something, then who will? Will people continue to suffer in silence? Will I continue to suffer alone?

So after I thought that, I wrote this post while attaching an article from The Mighty:

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Speaking Up

Here’s a link to the article in case anyone’s interested to see what the author had to say about the topic of speaking up about suicide: No Shame In Suicide

I don’t feel particularly strong for doing what I did but I think it’s precisely because I’m not strong that I did it. I’ve been ashamed of my suicidal thoughts and feelings for long enough. Though I’ve never actively hidden my self-harm scars, whenever I see them, I do feel a twinge of shame and I do wonder what people think of the faded lines on my arm when they see them.

Anyway, I hope that despite my emotional burdens and struggles, that I can go back to being a mental health advocate again. I’ve given that a rest since my suicidal thoughts have amped up but maybe I need to quit feeling sorry for myself and start to work hard at learning coping mechanisms again.

S reminded me of a mindfulness exercise that he had taught me a long time ago but had forgotten – it was to visually put all my troubles and the troubling things that we’ve talked about into a container which can be something as simple as a box or a treasure chest or a crate, anything really, and then locking the contents away in his office until next week when we can open the container back up and resume our work. I tried to do that this morning while the “teenager” was lashing out in anger but failed to do so while S was staring at me. So I’m going to have to try that again.

I also need to stop blaming S for how I feel because I know despite how much I love him and admire him, that a little part of me dislikes being pushed out of my comfort zone to try learn new ways of coping that’s not self-harming. I need to stop blaming him for how horrible I feel because he’s not only the person who’s always on my side but also the person who is very actively helping me process my thoughts, emotions and struggles. How I feel is a result of the therapy work – a result of exposing shame and vulnerabilities and just because he’s the one who’s helping me peel back the layers of pain that I’ve hid myself in, doesn’t mean that it’s his fault that I feel the way I do. I recognize that but it’s so much easier to blame others than it is to recognize and own up to my own failings.

This morning, during our session, I owned up to the fact that when I say that the “teen” is making me angry, the “mother” is being critical, and the “child” is being afraid, it really means that I am angry. I am critical. I am afraid. S asked me what it felt like to own up to that. I told him that it sucks. I think that was why the “teen” lashed out – that’s why I think I lashed out. I was angry for being so exposed. I was so angry that I wanted to hurt myself because I felt so ashamed for being so vulnerable.

I realize that now. I hope S will forgive me for my belligerence and stubbornness.