This morning I stubbed out a cigarette on my own skin because I wanted to feel something. I wanted to feel anything but sad. I was trying to shake myself up in preparation for going to the office and functioning externally as though I am a normal human being.
Walking to J’s for therapy today I tried to clear my head. It’s about a 30 minute walk from my house, and I always use that time to think about what I might want from my session. I noticed even before I arrived that I felt distant from J. I felt like something was sitting between us, and that something felt like the content of a post I wrote a few days ago. I called it ‘I hate my therapist‘.
It’s new to me, telling someone what I don’t like about them. I was scared of verbalising it to J, but at the same time I need to feel close to her. I can’t have that negativity and resentment getting in the way. So I took a deep breath and I told her.
For the first time ever, I confessed that I always over-attach to people in positions of power who show some care towards me. It started at secondary school, when I first had memories of being abused. I latched onto a teacher who noticed I wasn’t OK. I obsessed about her and lingered in hallways hoping she would see me and ask how I was.
That behaviour re-emerged periodically throughout my education, and after that it happened at work. I had a wonderful line manager who was really paternal towards me. I wanted to befriend him, to find a way to include him in my personal life as well as him being a colleague. I got jealous when he went out for lunch with my other co-workers. It is such a horrible feeling.
It really felt like an awful confession sharing this with J today. I shared it with her because I know I am over-attached to her and I hate how vulnerable it makes me feel. I dread and catastrophise about her quitting her job and abandoning me. When I am with her I feel so young and fragile, and that part of me needs her desperately. She can’t function on her own. She doesn’t want to have to be on her own anymore.
This wasn’t a new conversation really. I’ve told J numerous times that I am terrified of her leaving me. I am scared that without her I will simply implode. She asked what I needed to hear from her. I didn’t know. I felt like it wouldn’t matter what she said, that fear would still exist. I guess what I need to hear is what she tells me all the time; she is here for me, she will continue to be here, I am important to her, she has hope for me.
From this distance those words are meaningful. They are real in black and white. Logically, I know J isn’t lying to me. It just feels impossible to absorb the message. To take on board that compassion and hold onto her reassurance.
Photo: Peter Gronemann, Creative Commons.