“Not okay squared”

This isn’t going to be like my usual posts about my therapy sessions. I barely remember yesterday’s session, so there is no story to tell, no words to recall and put on a page.

I was numb driving to therapy, there was no nervous feeling, or anxiety. I wasn’t calm, exactly, or if I was, it was that strange ‘numb, this isn’t really my life, nothing is real’ kind of calm. Even walking into the office wasn’t hard.

When Bea said hello, that’s when it became impossible. I’ve never wanted to run away and hide as much as I did in that moment. I was shaking as I took my snow covered boots off, and shaking as I took off my coat and sat down on the couch. I was trying to move as fast as I could, standing was too exposing. I sat quickly, curled in a ball, but I didn’t bury my face right away. I couldn’t look at Bea, could barely acknowledge her.

I don’t remember what she said, or if I said anything right away.

Eventually, I had to set down my tea, and hide my face. I think this was when Bea said that it was obvious to her that it was written from the perspective of the little girl. I asked why. She gave me an example of something I had written, said that was very much how a child thinks, how a nine year old would understand things. But I’m really not sure if that was when I had to hide my face, or if it was before that.

I can’t remember the exact conversation, but Bea said something about how for her nothing has changed, but I might feel that the relationship has changed. I couldn’t make sense of that, couldn’t deal with it. I ignored it. Did she mean that me letting her read it didn’t matter to her, wasn’t a big deal, even though it was a huge deal to me?

There was a conversation about feelings. I feel gross, bad, disgusting, ashamed. The ones I couldn’t say were worthless, inadequate, dirty, broken, evil. That I hate myself. She wanted me to describe “gross.” The idea was to make “gross” a thing, more separate from me, so I could start to get some distance, a break from feeling like this. I tried, but it was just words– just me following along, still trying to play the part of the good girl. I’m so detached from reality; it’s like I’m locked in my head, caged in by all these bad feelings.

There was a conversation about the parts of me; good me, bad me, authentic me, the little girl. I think I tried to explain that the little girl is part of the bad me, not separate and that the bad me is the real me. Bea had some kind of sudden understanding, but I think it was shrinky and I don’t remember what it was. I think she asked if I always feel like the bad me, all the time, or if there were times I felt like the good me and forgot about the bad me. I didn’t answer, I don’t think. How do I explain that no matter what is happening, what I’m doing, I never feel good enough, never feel like I deserve the fun, happy, kind things in my life? How do I explain that I am so careful, so, so careful to never let the bad me show, to hide who I really am, and that it’s always in the back of my mind that I need to maintain the facade of the good me or people will see the real me and despise the person I am? How do I explain that even when I’m being authentic and connecting with someone else, I’m still on shaky ground, having to watch how much I say, be cautious, never ever let the other person get close enough to really see the truth of who I am? There’s never a time where I am fully relaxed, where I can stop worrying and shut off the part of my brain that reminds me to never, ever slip up, to never ever let another person that close?

At the end, I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t bear the idea of lifting my head and letting Bea see me. It’s kind of like when small children believe because they can’t see you, you can’t see them. That’s how I felt. Regardless of the fact I knew Bea could see me, it felt like as long as I couldn’t see her, she could not see me. I couldn’t tell her that, though, and so I struggled to sit all the way up. Bea said something about how it seems it’s hard for me to leave therapy sessions. She said it can be hard to have all the ugly stuff out on the surface and have to go back to the real world. Leaving, and going on with my day isn’t hard. I’ve spent my entire life hiding behind the carefully constructed facade of being okay. That’s second nature for me; no matter what is going on I can appear to be okay. It’s the picking my head up and letting her see me that’s hard. It’s hardest on the days when I’ve exposed something that feels so shameful to me that I wanted it buried forever. And there is so much I’m ashamed of. She doesn’t know this, though, because I don’t say anything about being ashamed. I’d never even said the word to her until a few weeks ago. I finally did tell her I was having trouble lifting my head because I didn’t want her to see me– or something to that effect. I know I said something, because she left me alone in the office for a few minutes so I could get myself together. I was really tempted to bolt out the door before she came back, but I waited. She had said she really wanted to say good bye to me face to face. Even though I waited, I still couldn’t look her in the face. I just wanted to run, to get away as fast as possible.

And now, even a day later, I’m left feeling alone and disconnected and ashamed. I’ve written and deleted over half a dozen emails to Bea. Some saying I’m going to quit therapy, some asking her if she is angry, if she is going to leave me now. Some I’ve tried to explain what is going on in my head, what I’m feeling.

In allowing Bea to read the thing I had written, I let her into my world. I let her get way, way too close. Sure, I’ve told her things I’ve done, and we’ve talked about other bad memories. Those are always, always edited down, sanitized in a way. I make them bearable to share, never sharing the rawness of the original memory. This, it, was raw, not sanitized, it was real and came from the part of me I hide.

I thought if I could make a leap of faith, trust in how she has treated me in the past, trust that she has been there, trust that she was telling the truth when she said nothing bad will happen; I thought if I could do all that, and allow her to read it, then I wouldn’t be alone and this “not okayness” I have been living in for the past month could maybe start to get better. That’s not what happened though. This is worse. This is “not okay squared”.

I don’t know how or if I’m going to be able to go to therapy on Monday. I’m afraid to go back. I don’t know how I can; I’m not sure I can live through the discomfort of being around someone who has seen the real me. I trusted Bea more than I’ve ever trusted anyone. Before six months ago, nobody, not even my husband, got closer to me than the pretend me, the good me. Now, I’ve let a few people get to know the authentic me, and this…..this letting Bea see part of the real me. It’s too much. I couldn’t behave like an adult, not even a tiny bit, yesterday. I’m ashamed of my behavior, and the worst thing is, I know if I go on Monday, I’ll probably behave exactly the same way.

I’m afraid I’ve shut hubby out, completely. He asked me what was wrong yesterday, he tried to engage me, and when that didn’t work he tried doing things for me. I refused all of it. I’ve been detached from Kat, playing with her, talking, telling stories, but I’m not really here. I can’t think straight. I’m numb and blank, yet somehow completely overwhelmed. I’m afraid hubby is going to leave, because I’m so far from okay and I’m completely closed off from everyone and he doesn’t want to be in an emotionally disconnected marriage. I’m afraid I’m destroying any kind of healthy attachment bond Kat and I have managed to build in this last year.

My chest feels tight, there is a heavy ball of sickness and dread in the pit of my stomach. Above that, butterflies dance anxiously. My whole body feels tense. There are tears behind my eyes, begging to be released. She’s too close now. This isn’t safe. I can not handle this. And I’m terrified because the person I would talk to when I’m not okay is Bea. I can’t reach out to her, not now, not now that she really knows something about how bad and toxic I really am. So I’m alone. And that hurts.

Why do I always destroy everything?

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14 thoughts on ““Not okay squared”

  1. During the years I saw Raymond, I never once could relay one detail. I just couldn’t do it. It took years, past any years in therapy with him or anyone else before I could disclose the rot inside that was not mine.
    Being led to cooperate in your own abuse adds even more hell as if that were possible. When I buried the details, blaming myself, I buried me. You are getting ‘it’ out. It’s all his, everything, no matter what.
    You are unburying that little girl and the woman you are. It doesn’t feel like it at the moment, but soon freedom will come, a lightness.

    What ever ‘it’ is wouldn’t change anything for me about you. It wouldn’t change the opinion of those who know and love you either. You are the uppermost person who needs convincing. Time to let yourself off the hook… : )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alice, trusting someone with something so big is terrifying when you have spent most of your life hiding it, expecting that you will be judged and rejected if you reveal what happened. This is your chance to teach those hurt, vulnerable parts of you inside that some people can be trusted and that what happened was his fault.

    When my system acts in a way that is actively not in my best interest currently, Mama Bear asks me how acting that way would have been helpful in the past and how is today different? What can I do now to help my insides understand that they don’t need to do the old, harmful behavior?

    You deserve so much better than to be trapped in the memory of what it was like to live with that secret as a child. Your now is so very different. You have people in your life you care about the authentic you and want to know the real you. You can chose how much you want to reveal and when, but they are there. You feel alone right now, but you are not actually alone. (That last was a very difficult lesson for me to learn, myself.)

    Sending many, many thoughts of strength and support.

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    • I just wanted to add that you aren’t going to destroy your marriage and the bond with your daughter so quickly. However, just saying something like, “I know that I’m saying the obvious, but I’m having a hard time with some therapy stuff right now. I wish that it was something that I could talk about, but I just can’t” would go a long way towards hubby not feeling shut out. When I have found it impossible to say such a thing out loud, I have used email and just explained that it’s too hard to say anything at all right now, but I don’t want to shut him out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Those are good questions….. I understand, intellectually, that this is a chance to change my behavior and see that it is okay. Being able to actually reach out and do that, to sit with all that discomfort? Its a whole nother thing that is terrifying. Thank you for the thoughts of strength and support. xx

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  3. I just wanted to say – you’ve done something really hard in therapy. Now give yourself a chance to rest and recuperate. Let yourself be distant for a while. It really isn’t going to wreck your marriage, your relationship with your child, or your therapy, if you need some distance in order to deal with overwhelming feelings. Don’t beat yourself up for needing that. It sounds like you’ve putting huge extra demands on yourself that you don’t need to make. You likely need to give those hurt damaged parts of you love and care and support right now. Just peaceful reassurance that all is actually well.

    And sharing tough things in therapy tends to make my life more difficult also, in the short term anyway. You’re not alone.

    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I finally took my daughter to swim, which usually helps me feel better. It’s the best I could do to take care of me, and her.

      I’m sorry things get harder for you when you talk about tough stuff in therapy, but it is so nice to know I’m not alone.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My heart goes out to you. I have been in the place you are in now. You have not ruined anything You have this impulse inside of you to evolve and to grow. An impulse to reach your fullest potential otherwise you would not have signed up and made this commitment to go deep within and share your deepest feelings with another person. Sure you have let her close and that is really scary. You have let her see what you hold deep within. I could not look at my therapist either when I revealed what I thought was my evilness but I kept going. Somewhere deep inside I think I new that this darkness I was in would eventually lift and it has. I have people that fully know me. I fully know myself, my essence. I feel so alive after years of wishing I was dead. There were times when I did not think I could endure the suffering and darkness. My therapist bore it all. She let me evolve in front of her. She supported me and knew why I could not look at her but deep inside she had proven to me that she was safe.

    These times were hard for my husband. He did not know what to do with me. There was emotional and sexual distance. Somehow we grew stronger with it. We have a very vibrant marriage now and we are both evolving into our greatest potential. Our love and bond is deeper than ever and we are both our real authentic selves. My becoming my truest self has allowed my husband to explore his essence and find new freedom.

    Know that you are not alone. Other people have walked this path of darkness to new freedom. You will find the strength to persevere in your heart.
    By the way. I quit therapy weekly but I never missed an appointment and I went 3 days a week.
    You have done the hard part. Revealed yourself to another person and she has not left. You can trust your intuition. You knew she was safe to do this with. Otherwise it would never have happened.

    Walking with you.
    Janet

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    • Thank you for sharing this. It does help to know I’m not the only one who can’t face their therapist, or who pulled away from their hubby. It seems impossible that this will end, or somehow get better. How did you manage to keep going to therapy and sit with your therapist? The anxiety and fear I have right now is huge. I’ve thought about emailing her, but even that brings giant waves of panic. I feel like I’m really stuck down this rabbit hole, and don’t know which way is out.

      It’s nice to have you walking with me. xx

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  5. N says:

    I handed my therapist an extract from my diary last month. Sitting in a room with someone, knowing they know the very things about you that you’ve spent your life trying to hide is terrifying, but, for me, it’s beginning to pay off. I felt physically sick going to therapy the next day and my therapist remarked that I was leaning away from her and had almost curled into a ball. Having someone know everything and realising that they aren’t going to reject you is a strange feeling, but feeling accepted by someone else can really help you to move towards accepting yourself.

    It’s normal to be anxious about disclosing something so intimate, but it won’t be this difficult forever. Give it time.

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  6. I know what I want to say but I can’t quite find the words. But maybe that’s what I want to say, that you are so “locked in your head” and so “trying to explain” that you lose yourself and your feelings. The words to explain are just that, words…the feelings are all there even though they make you want to bolt. I hope today’s session brings you connection and more peace. I’ve been thinking a lot about you ❤

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