I need to stop hiding

Therapy lately has been a huge challenge. Not long ago, I would write a post after almost every session. It’s been months since I’ve done that and I’m not entirely sure why.

After my abuser became a father, I didn’t know what to do or how to be. I couldn’t figure out how to process what I felt around my new nephew, the abuse, or my brother’s seemingly bright future. It all felt like too much.

My response was to generally close down. In the past I’ve been good at this; firmly shutting everything and everyone out helps me feel safe. On the whole, letting people in opens me up to feeling, to getting in touch with my emotions in a way that has often felt very scary.

Withdrawal is however a lonely place to exile myself to. I’m already feeling hugely isolated from my family of origin, as they celebrate the arrival of the baby together, so this defensive behaviour has left me with even more loneliness.

Being cut off has led to my sessions with J frequently feeling like wading through treacle. We’ve been through cycles like this before, and she’s incredibly patient with me. But it feels like such a waste of time to sit there growing increasingly anxious in the silence while she waits for me to find some words.

That’s how my sessions have been for quite some weeks now. I guess I haven’t been writing because I haven’t been shifting anything in therapy to write about. But I think it all feeds in; not speaking, not making eye contact, not writing, etc. It’s like one big feedback loop of withdrawal behaviour that continuously reinforces itself.

For this reason, I decided to try starting some step work from my CoDA program. The rationale was that it could still be just me engaging in it, so it felt OK. I began working on Step 1, answering the questions in my handbook, and so much came up. I could’ve written on it for days.

That led to a change. I tentatively took my step book to therapy with me, intending to use what I’d written to fill the painful silence with J. What happened was that I managed to talk about some things in a new way. In fact, managing to talk that much at all was an amazing relief. My sessions since then have been easier on the whole, I’ve spoken and remained to some degree open, and only dissociated a little.

This all reminded me that I must keep writing. It’s an amazing tool for recovery – being able to sit alone and self-reflect in an ordered way. It is so far removed from the destructive rumination that happens instead. So I am attempting to return to my regular blogging habit this week. We’ll see how it goes!


Photo: Eric Sonstroem, Creative Commons. 

12 Comments Add yours

  1. bethanyk says:

    I’m so glad you are writing. I find it so cathartic. I start to write and I will have a break through, an epiphany, a realization, an understanding of myself. I am glad you shared this because I’ve been a little stuck myself and have an appointment Tuesday and didn’t even know where to begin. I think I will write down some thoughts to help me focus on the appointment. Really, thank you for sharing.
    And I’m so so sorry to hear about the abuser being a father. I remember when you wrote about that and to see it written again just furthers the outrage I feel, the just blown away emotion, of something like that existing. I am sorry you have to go through that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thanks for the encouragement. I hope writing will make your session today easier.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s great to hear that you’ve managed to break through that block. I totally agree how helpful writing can be in getting thoughts out of your head and into a place where you can organise them and discuss them. Looking forward to reading more about what is happening for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Yes, I think writing has been a key part of my recovery and a great tool for therapy. I’ll endeavour to keep it up this week!


  3. dbest1ishere says:

    I hope that you are able to keep writing…you are very good at it. I find it very helpful in expressing my feelings to others here who understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      I agree, it’s helpful and I get so much support from the community here. And thanks for the compliment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good to have you back Laura. NOW something really has shifted: I know it has, because you’re doing something different and breaking the cycle xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thanks Serena. I hope you’re right x


  5. jamivee says:

    I think it ebbs and flows. I have periods where I feel the urge to write several times a day and can go from that to not wanting to write anything for a week. I have noticed that when I stop writing, or meditating, or exercising… basically when I stop anything that I normally do to nurture myself…I have an emotional setback. I’m glad you found something to give you a fresh perspective and get you back to work:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      I really get that too. As soon as I stop expressing myself I go out of contact with the good stuff in my life. I know it’s also tough to keep doing what’s nurturing when you’re struggling.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. myambivalentexistence says:

    I’m glad you are finding therapy helpful again. It’s really frustrating to feel like you are wasting time and money and not accomplishing anything :/ Good call on working through your work on your own and then taking it to therapy with you !

    Liked by 1 person

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