I just want to tear off my skin

I’m fighting to stay present, but it isn’t working. Dissociated is the only way I can get through this conversation. I’m pretty sure that it was only a few minutes ago that Bea and I were chatting and I was present. But then she picked up my notebook and flipped to the writing about what happened after Kenny was done playing with me, and I was instantly far away.

This session is so foggy, but the little girl has the distinct impression that Bea isn’t rally here. Oh, Bea is in the room, but emotionally, she feels far away. Of course, I have to wonder who was far away, me or Bea?  

There were conversations about the body things I’d written, or at least I think there were questions asked by Bea and answers given by me. I know I responded with some form of information, because Bea asked me several times to just “notice that” or to “sit with those feelings”. Trying to pay attention to whatever it was did bring things up, I know it did, and yet I can not remember for the life of me what was brought up. 

All of this led to a confused adult Alice, an angry and betrayed teenage Alice and an abandoned little girl Alice. This I do remember: it ended like this.

“I want two tear off my skin and never let anyone touch me again.” I answer. The question was the result of one of those *notice this* directives, followed by *what does that bring up? What does it feel like to notice that?* The feelings I’m describing are real, but my voice has no emotion in it whatsoever. I’m a robot. I’m a robot without a body. Or at least, I don’t feel anything. 

“The emotion in your voice doesn’t really match the intensity of your words,” Bea says.

“Because. I can’t feel it and say it. Then it is much too real.” I shake my head.

“Could we try an experiment? What if you tried to say it with some of the feeling there?” She asks. 

I shake my head at her. No. Just no. 

“Would you like me to say it with some feeling in it? And you can see how that feels? You can tell me if there should me more or less intensity in my tone.” 

“Okay.” I don’t know why I agreed. I suppose the adult Alice was feeling curious about what it wild be like to have the intensity of her feelings match her words. 

I think I asked for a blanket then. Maybe it was earlier in the session. At any rate, I hid under my blanket. 

Bea gave me a warning that she was going to say my words, and then she repeated them. She sounded like she meant them though. She let the words and the feeling sit between us and then she asked me what that felt like. 

I shrugged. In truth, it was a bit overwhelming and it made my feelings very, very real. Hearing emotion with those words was really scary for the little girl. 

Bea waits, but when I don’t say anything at all, she gently asks, “Did that feel a little bit out of control?”

Maybe it did. Maybe it felt wrong to have Bea saying those horrid words. Maybe it felt like all the feelings were going to hit me at once and I’d not have any control over them. The little girl felt so vulnerable and exposed hearing Bea say her words. The teen wasn’t going to stand for it. As snarky as she could, she said “Well, if it bothered me I would just tell you not to say it again.”

And Bea took that as a sign of growth or something. She was so excited. “So you are in control, and you can see that you have a choice right now.” Then she asked me to really let that idea sink in, to notice what that felt like to have a choice. That’s when things started to go downhill and the little girl felt as if Bea didn’t want to deal with any of the little girl’s bad feelings and Bea seemed far away, and I was lost. I’m still so lost. 

6 thoughts on “I just want to tear off my skin

  1. I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time. I have been in your shoes and I know deeply the struggle and pain. It does get better and you do once again feel happiness, freedom and a sense of peace with the past. You just need to walk gently and be really compassionate with yourself. The process hurts so badly but you are doing a great job walking through it all. My thoughts are with you. Keep writing.


    • This process is really painful. I suppose the upside is all the yuck doesn’t constantly overwhelm me at home anymore, and I’m really living my life and enjoying it more than I ever have before. But when these painful things pop up, it’s enough to knock you over. Will it always be so easy for the memories to drag me under? Thanks for keeping thoughts with me. 💕


  2. DV says:

    It’s so frustrating when your therapist interprets your numbness or neutrality as being okay with something when on the inside you are screaming. Keep being honest with Bea about how you are feeling. She seems to have always been good about adjusting the pace or her approach once she understands how distressed you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it is so frustrating and hurtful for numb to be interpreted as being okay. In the beginning when she didn’t really know me, this happened a few times, but it doesn’t really happen anymore. I suppose that is part of why this has been so hurtful. I did end up bringing the hurt and mad feelings to session, and she said it was on her, not something I did, that my feelings were legitimate and her attunement was really off that day and she was sorry. Thank you for the reminder that she has always listened and understood in the past.

      Liked by 1 person

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