Our session this week went very quickly. I could not believe how quickly the time went. When I thought we’d only been talking for about 20 minutes ‘K’ checked the clock and we’d been talking for 45 minutes. That really disorientated me. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief at how quickly it went. I never got to go where I wanted to in the session because of that and was really annoyed about that.
Having said that we did have a good session!
I talked about getting through my mother’s birthday and the letters I’ve written to Sheila as well as to myself. We discussed how I felt about those letters and how I’d processed many very painful emotions and memories.
‘K’ pointed out to me that although I felt like seriously harming myself during the weekend I didn’t and I turned it around by writing those letters. She stopped me in my tracks saying that. I realised that how I perceive things, such as my coping and survival skills, is really skewed by the effect of the abuse upon me.
Some of my coping and survival skills are good and positive. Up until now I’ve looked at my surviving as being just that – surviving – and often it doesn’t feel good that all I’m doing is surviving. I don’t feel all that positive about it. But some of my surviving is actually good and helpful. What I need to be able to do is to separate off the positive surviving skills from the shutting down surviving that I often do.
That’s not going to happen overnight. I guess the first step is recognising that, which I have done.
After the time check I moved on to talking more generally about how I really feel about my childhood and I began to talk about the abuse in a way I haven’t done before and using language I’ve not used before. Up until now I’ve talked about the abuse happening to me abstractly but I began to really personalise it. As I did so I heard myself say “I felt like fodder, being passed around their paedophile friends the way I was”. As I spoke those words inside I felt ouch, that hurts, that really hurts, while outwardly showing no reaction at all and at the same time looking at ‘K’ trying to gauge her reaction to my words. She just looked at me unblinkingly. I expected to hear “you can’t speak about yourself like that, you weren’t an animal.” Instead ‘K’ said “that is appalling, to put a tiny child through that is terrible”. I felt enormous empathy coming from ‘K’ towards me and could find no words, instead I just nodded.
With that we were out of time. I muttered something about “well I wasn’t able to go where I wanted to today”.
‘K’ countered that with “but you were able to talk about the abuse in the way you needed to and that’s what really matters.”
I realised that when I think of my childhood I don’t see myself as a child but rather as a ‘thing’, an object with no form because that was how I felt. I also realised I had verbalised that for the very first time.
I’d had no intention of doing so but it was a huge breakthrough.
It’s funny how things work out. If I’d been able to go where I wanted to go in the session in the way I’d wanted to chances are I’d never have said that.
I intend to build on that breakthrough in our next session and seize the opportunity to take a risk and go a little deeper knowing ‘K’ is safe and is willing me to go there with her but is not going to force me to.
‘K’ said as such just before I walked out the door.
Her final words to me were “I’m not going to allow you to avoid going there but I’m not going to force you to, I know you’ll take me when you’re ready and truly know you’re safe.”