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Author Topic: Working Through Therapy and Recovery from uBPDxw  (Read 229 times)
mama-wolf
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« on: September 19, 2019, 10:40:39 AM »

I have found myself struggling in the last several therapy sessions.  There are things I know I need to talk about with my T, but just can't seem to get myself to open the door.  Over the past year or so, there has been enough to address in session in the form of uBPDxw's inappropriate behavior and other concerns. That has allowed me to avoid getting into the deeper stuff, but obviously that keeps my overall healing process kind of stuck.

I thought maybe if I post some of the themes here, it will give me enough of a nudge to at least acknowledge them in my next session.

Disclaimer:  I recognize intellectually what is wrong with these.  I just can't internalize that awareness, can't get rid of the feelings themselves, which is of course why I'm in therapy.

  • I go through this cycle of reading or thinking about what I should talk to my T about, then freaking out about it, beating myself up (either over the topic itself or my fear about bringing it up with my T), efforts to distract myself, and then once things settle down I start all over.  Vulnerability is terrifying, and the inner critic remains vicious.
  • I'm fine reading about things like emotional abuse, trauma, difficulty with vulnerability, abandonment issues, avoidant attachment style, the therapeutic process, and attachment to your therapist.  But when it comes time to talk about them, I go on emotional lockdown.  Reading about them lets me keep them at arms length.  Talking about them with my T makes them real and connects them to me, touching some emotions I don't even quite recognize, much less know how to handle.  I still struggle to accept that I was emotionally abused by uBPDxw, that I have experienced some kind of trauma from that, that I am full of fear.
  • It really hurts to want what I can't have (a healthy relationship) so I need to be OK with not having one and being alone.  I'm not attractive, physically or otherwise.  No one I would want to be with would want to be with me.  If someone did want to be with me, then it must mean something is wrong with them, and/or they just want to use me.  This has all resulted from the two relationships prior to my marriage, and has been especially ingrained thanks to my 15-year relationship with uBPDxw.
  • I don't want my T to be proud of me (as she has indicated before regarding progress she has seen).  I'll just end up disappointing her--many times over.  I don't to get close to others--including my T--because eventually they'll realize I'm not worth the effort.  This is from a lifetime of different painful experiences and shame, the full extent of which I'm not even sure I know, and what I do know of I barely want to even acknowledge.
  • It's all well and good to have friends and build a social network, but friends are there until they're not, until something more important comes along.  It's a limited commitment.  This is fed by many experiences over my life were close friends just don't seem to have time for me...even just to spend a little time together, much less offer support in a difficult time.  And one particularly close friend who I knew for several years and then she completely ghosted me.

So, all of this rattles around in my head between sessions...over, and over.  I do what I can to battle it on my own, but it just sits there, beneath the surface of my intellectualizing.  I know my T is there to help me.  I trust her more than just about anyone in my life.  I just haven't figured out how to make myself take that leap of faith in her and open that door just a crack...

mw
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Harri
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2019, 12:24:35 PM »

Hi.

What if you print out what you just wrote here and bring it to your T to read?  That will open a door, even if just a crack.

I know it is hard to take a risk and be vulnerable.  Very hard especially after what sounds like a lifetime of blows and feeling bad about who you are at your core.  Unfortunately, the only way I know of to be able to change all of that is to take a risk in spite of your fear.   

Sounds obvious and unhelpful right?!  Frustrated/Unfortunate (click to insert in post)  Truth is not always eloquent.   

What do you think about printing out your OP here?
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mama-wolf
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 12:45:00 PM »

Hi Harri, and thank you for the response!

What do you think about printing out your OP here?

That thought is a little too overwhelming at the moment and makes me a bit panicky.  I do appreciate the suggestion though, and will try to give it more thought over the next few days...

mw
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gizmocasci

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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 05:25:46 PM »

Hi.

What if you print out what you just wrote here and bring it to your T to read?  That will open a door, even if just a crack.



agreed. i used to/ and still have an easier time writing things down than speaking them vocally. i am more vulnerable and open now than i used to be, but i also think bringing in what you wrote down would be a huge step for you.

best wishes

r
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I Am Redeemed
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2019, 07:38:10 PM »

Hi mama wolf,

I also had the thought of you bringing the list for your therapist to read. If it is too much for you to give her the complete list all at once, perhaps you could break it down and write out one thing at a time for her. You might also tell her (or write it down) that the complete list makes you panicky so you will be bringing in one thing at a time.
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2019, 02:55:32 PM »

It is normal to be reticent about wanting to talk about things that have really hurt us. Recovery and dealing with trauma is like peeling an onion. First we uncover one thing that causes us pain and feel relief, and then comes up another underlying pain. At some point, which can be a long time, we start to feel better most of the time, though it does seem to be a work in progress continuing to feel less pain while feeling better and better as we start to attract the kind of people and experiences we deserve when we feel worthy of them. Keep up the good work! We are here to support you and admire your courage in going forward while being a great mom to your children in the most difficult of times!
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mama-wolf
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2019, 07:15:49 AM »

Thank you all for the follow-up replies...

My list of about five bullets expanded to about eight in the days following my original post.  In trying to follow the sound advice of you all here, I have managed to write down two, which I will take to my appointment with my T later today.  I thought I would start with:

1) Not wanting my T to be proud of me, and
2) Lack of faith in my friendships

I'm going to try to talk about these myself, but will have the piece of paper with me in case I find that I can't.  Still spikes my anxiety, but I know I have to try to take it a little bit at a time.  These seem like a logical place to start, because I think they'll lead into discussion of the others in future sessions.

zachira, thank you especially for the encouragement.

mw
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mama-wolf
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« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2019, 12:01:28 PM »

Just a quick update that I actually managed to touch on most of my list in session today--without breaking down or going into a complete panic.  It started with discussion of my lack of faith in friendships and just progressed from there.

My T only took us a little deeper on a few things that I think she felt it important to address in the moment.  When I mentioned codependency as one of the topics I have been reading about (as it can factor into relationships with pwBPD), she made a point to tell me she does not think I am codependent, with some explanation about why not.  When I told her about my belief that people will realize I'm not worth the effort, not attractive, etc. she addressed recognition of my low self-worth and how it factors into various areas.

She is very adept at keeping the discussion flowing, giving me multiple opportunities to add or pull back.  So we hit a lot of topics, and now I know my struggle is going to be not getting overwhelmed by the doors we opened.  But it's progress...

mw
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Gemsforeyes
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2019, 05:28:53 PM »

Hi Mama-

I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time with this.  It feels like a few of us “old timers” on the board may be entering an emotional spin cycle of sorts... where we “thought” we were doing ok;  but we’re feeling pretty off at the moment.

I’ve come to realize (I think, maybe?) that for so long we were not ALLOWED to really have our feelings.  Everything had to stay stuffed down... we had to THINK, stay on high alert, keep life in check, protect everyone and everything.  OUR feelings couldn’t matter.  But now, after some quiet time has passed.... BOOM.  And we don’t rightly know how to feel our own feelings.  Don’t know how to own them, state them, or fully feel them.  Like we almost have no rights to them.  We’ve deeded them to an “other”.  You’ve got to deed them back to yourself.

Friends... I’m betting that you’ve always been the girl with all the “answers”, the wisdom.  The “go-to” girl.  Not using “girl” in any derogatory fashion, just keeping myself young here.  When anyone needed or wanted anything, you’d drop what you were doing, whether a convenient time or not, and listen to your friends in need.  However... now that YOU are lonely and in need and perhaps not currently the life of the party, some so-called friends have disappeared like dandelions in the wind.

Mama, my friend... through a part of this process, I’ve looked closely at what some of my “friendships” really consisted of... not much for me.  For them?  A LOT.  But not for me.  As long as I was the happy idiot and hosted music nights with food, singing, laughter, had money to spare and stuff they could borrow.. all was good.  But with my sadness?  Nope.

Sometimes the learning is unbearable.  Ignorance truly IS bliss sometimes.  There are days I would like to be the happy idiot again... but I’m not.

And neither are you.  There ARE good and decent people to be friends with.  New people.  At times we’ve got to clean house in more ways than one.

And your T?  Yea, Mama... I finally told my T that I wasn’t being honest.  I wasn’t lying, I just wasn’t telling her how badly I was feeling.  We become so adept at hiding our feelings that they cannot see.  We HAVE to tell them.  Healing takes work.  

Your T should be the person who will NOT use your feelings against you.  That’s a long-held Fear, I know.  It’s okay to loosen your grip on that one, Mama.  And you are far more BEAUTIFUL than you know.

Warmly,
Gems
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mama-wolf
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2019, 08:53:46 PM »

Hi, Gems...good to hear from you!

... where we “thought” we were doing ok;  but we’re feeling pretty off at the moment.

Yeah, I think you could describe it that way.  I think it's just because now there is finally some internal "space" opening up...space that was once so occupied by all the chaos from uBPDxw.  With that starting to quiet down (at least for the moment), I become preoccupied by feelings I would rather not explore and don't know how to handle.  But I have to explore them if I want to get unstuck, and I need my T's help to navigate them.

Friends... I’m betting that you’ve always been the girl with all the “answers”, the wisdom.  The “go-to” girl.

I don't know about having all the answers, and never was life of the party...but you're right that I tend to be the stable one in the group.  The calm, has-it-together, pretty unflappable, and no-drama one.  My T says that if I'm always presenting that way to my friends, they'll eventually figure I have it all together and--through no real fault of their own--they won't think I need any support. 

And of course, some of them just might be the kind who would evaporate once they sensed a true need...I wouldn't know since the later years of my marriage isolated me pretty well from friends.  The few friends from before my separation that I'm connected with now are at least still here on the periphery, but with any of them it'll be a long process of determining if they're truly safe for me to connect with in a really meaningful way.

I'm sorry you're experiencing similar friendship woes.  You're right that sometimes it feels better not to know that the friends you think you have aren't really going to be there.  My T talked some today about knowing some friends as the "fun friends," the ones you can go out with, or go on a hike with, but you don't necessarily get into deeper connections with.  She said that for someone like me, it takes a long time to build any real closeness, and any friends that I may develop that with have to be willing to be in it for the long haul to do so.

Your T should be the person who will NOT use your feelings against you.  That’s a long-held Fear, I know.  It’s okay to loosen your grip on that one, Mama.

She is that person...I know she is.  It's just hard to take what I know and truly feel safe.  I think we made some progress on that today.  I would normally have been a mess of anxiety talking about some of the things we discussed.  There was still some anxiety, but it wasn't as bad as it has been in the past.

And you are far more BEAUTIFUL than you know.

You are very kind...thank you.  All the best to you as you wrestle with some of the same demons.

mw
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Harri
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2019, 08:32:00 PM »

I am glad things went so well.  It is great that you stepped out of your comfort zone with someone you trust and that she proved worthy of that trust.   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

It's a day later.  How do you feel about it all today?
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mama-wolf
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2019, 12:23:56 PM »

It's a day later.  How do you feel about it all today?

I'm finding this pretty hard to answer.  I can say I haven't ruminated over what we discussed like I have after sessions in the past.  I have a tendency to process for a few days, which I am doing, but on a slightly different (less anxious) level.  Mostly just...thinking.

Aside from acknowledging a lower level of anxiety, answering how I feel is difficult.  I think I'm still trying not to feel...I'm still intellectualizing a lot.  If I start to consider any sense of relief or reassurance from the session, that actually starts to ramp up my anxiety, so I stuff it down.  I'm pretty sure that's because the positive feelings strengthen my attachment to my T, which remains very scary for me.  I recognize why that is...again, intellectualizing...it's just hard to overcome.

There is some frustration.  My T pointed out that I seem to be searching for data (based on my reading about various topics), that I'm trying to connect that data to what I have been through to find my "story."  This should probably be a good thing, a sign of healing, but I hate it because I recognize it as a reference to trauma recovery.  I still struggle with acceptance there, so it sets off my inner critic...the whole "how could I have let myself get into that situation?" (so blind) "why did I allow myself to be treated that way?" (so weak) "why did I stay so long?" (so stupid) "why am I letting it affect me so badly?" (so needy) "suck it up buttercup" (get over it already) cycle.

Plenty to cover in my next session on Monday if I can manage to bring it up!

mw
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2019, 04:01:09 PM »

Hey MamaW-

That inner critic.... “so blind, so weak, so stupid, so needy”.  GET OVER IT ALREADY!!!!!!”  Whose head are you in?  Oh yea, OURS!

My T calls it “trauma recovery”.  She says I never healed from what my exH (NPD, 19 years) did to me.  She’s right, it’s his awful words in my head.  Not my uBPDbf.  And I’ve been out of that marriage for 8 years now.  But no, I didn’t do the work.  I stuffed it down like everything else.  I thought I was “strong enough”.  But it haunts me now.  Again and still.  Even when I’m awake.

So Mama, perhaps consider... try NOT to fight your T.  Try to help her help you.  She’s the one who will NOT weaponize your words or feelings against you.  She won’t tap into your vulnerable places to hurt you more.  She won’t sneak back to your exW and tell her what you’ve said.  Or how you feel, how badly you’re hurting.  It’s okay to let someone in there (I’m trying too).  I’m trying to convince myself.

Maybe THIS time... YOU are worth your effort.  It’s probably always been for others.  Maybe this time is for you.

Warmly,
Gems



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mama-wolf
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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2019, 12:16:37 PM »

That inner critic.... “so blind, so weak, so stupid, so needy”.  GET OVER IT ALREADY!!!!!!”  Whose head are you in?  Oh yea, OURS!

Yeah, that inner critic is pretty brutal.  I do recognize her now, but she's still got a lot of power.

But no, I didn’t do the work.  I stuffed it down like everything else.  I thought I was “strong enough”.  But it haunts me now.  Again and still.  Even when I’m awake.

It's important work, I know.  And it really is work.  It's hard.  I can relate to thinking you're strong enough to do it on your own...that's typically my approach, and the source of significant fuel for my inner critic.  I'm glad you're working through it now, and I hope you get more and more peace from that day by day.  I hope we both will.

So Mama, perhaps consider... try NOT to fight your T.  Try to help her help you. 

It’s okay to let someone in there (I’m trying too).  I’m trying to convince myself.

I'm trying, I promise Smiling (click to insert in post)  I do struggle with feeling like there are too many "doors" open now from recent sessions.  It's an internal battle to let them stay open and rely on my T to guide us from there.  For the most part, about the best I can do is show up to session, let her set the direction, and try not to shut down or dig my heels in.

On a lighter note, I had this thought the other day that it kind of feels like Steve Trevor with the Lasso of Truth (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBL15El6ujI).  To be clear, I know it's not my T forcing the truth out...it's me fighting myself.

mw
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