This is part 4 of Monday’s session. For a short (70 minutes compared to the usual 90) session, there was so much we talked about. I think we got through a lot because I had written so much and have been processing so much at home on my own. So, Bea was mostly reading and responding as she read, and I was talking in bits and pieces. Anyway, it ended up being a lot. So, onward………
And I’m thinking about relationships because I think my mom is trying to have this much more real relationship with me, and I’m just not sure I can do that right now– and Kat and I are supposed to go to my parents this coming weekend. It freaks me out. I do not want to have a deep relationship with her right now. I can not do it. I’m afraid to be that open with her. Because she didn’t see me then, why would she see me now? Why would she want to? She wanted perfect student, perfect ballerina, perfect gymnast, perfect cheerleader, perfect daughter. She didn’t want me. She didn’t want the broken, crazy, screwed up, hurting girl I was. She wanted the perfect image I was so good at projecting. It’s awful and mean and so wrong, but I don’t trust her. Not like this. But then I think, what if she is needing my support to help her get better? What if she is needing me to listen, to be proud, to do have a real relationship? What if because I am too stubborn to forgive and forget and get over it, I’m hurting the first chance, the first progress she has made in a long time– in forever?
“You don’t have to trust her right now. That’s okay. Why would you! There is nothing in your history that says a deeper relationship is safe. This– these feelings– is normal. Anyone would feel like this,” Bea says, almost instantly as she finishes reading about my mom.
“You would?” I ask, doubtful.
“Yes. I would feel the same.” She’s serious, meaning every word.
I nod. “I can’t…she wants more than I can give. But if she…I mean. Crap.”
“You are not responsible for her. Remember? She is an adult. She makes her own choices, and she has a support system. She has a therapist. She is responsible for herself. You don’t hold the control on whether she heals or gets better. That’s a choice she needs to make.” Bea reminds me.
We’ve been through this before; I feel responsible for my mother’s emotional health, and at one time made choices that hurt me but I believed would keep her from breaking. Bea helped me see that I am not the one in control of my mom and her health, and that those beliefs are old beliefs of a hurting, damaged 9 year old little girl. I’m still working on fully believing that I’m not at fault, that my bad Adrian’s didn’t make my mom sick, and that my bad actions won’t make her sick again one day, but mostly now I can see how wrong that thinking is.
“I think, what I’m getting from this, is you are more afraid of her trying to have a conversation with you about things from the past, hear your feelings or perspective on something, get forgiveness. You might feel comfortable hearing that she saw her therapist, or is doing well, you might feel okay hearing about her day to day experiences, but you are afraid of her digging into the past and asking you to go there with her. Is that right?”
I nod. “Yeah…I can be happy for her…listen…but I can’t..talk…not about me…about her in the past, growing up..”
“Okay. So you can be supportive. And you can be there, for present day things,” Bea tells me. “You might have to let her know, if she goes digging in the past, that you can’t do that right now, that you are working through it on your right now.”
I freeze. My stomach is sick. Bea has worded that as though I am in therapy. So she is meaning, tell my mom I am in therapy? Nope. Even if mom is in therapy, if I tell her I am seeing a shrink, she will decide she is a failure. I can’t do that to her. “No. Not that. I can’t tell her. She can’t…not about therapy. No.”
“Okay.” Bea is calm, and she speaks slowly, thinking as she talks, “why don’t you just tell her that you aren’t ready to talk about those things right now? That’s really enough explanation. I know you don’t want to but if she starts digging, this way you have a plan of what to say, and a choice: you can not talk, or talk.”
I think about it. What she has said doesn’t feel good. But it is logical. “Okay. I don’t like it. But okay.”
“I know. You don’t have to like it. It’s okay to not like it.”
“I just want things back how they were. Right now.” I say, and my voice cracks, turns into a whine as I start to cry again.
“I know. This doesn’t feel good, or safe. Change is so hard. And this change is very unnerving; it’s shaking your whole foundation, no matter how messy or fake it was, it was the story for your whole life. It’s safe.” Bea says. She does get it. But I think she is excited that my mom is changing, healing. I’m excited, too, deep down. I just can’t go there, yet. I still need to be angry, I still need to grieve. I still need to figure out what these changes mean to a story I’ve barely begun to make sense of.