There are a lot of changes at the moment, very unsettling changes.
A month ago ‘K’ switched me to fortnightly appointments. At the time she asked me how I felt about it and I said “not great” but she didn’t comment which irritated me, I would have liked her to comment on my comment in some way.
While I had weekly appointments I was struggling with separation anxiety. I was absolutely terrified ‘K’ wouldn’t be there the following week, but it was manageable and I swam along with the flow and coped with the strong feelings.
Now we’ve gone fortnightly the separation anxiety has gone crazy. It’s not really at an easily manageable level now. It is threatening to spiral out of control. I’m not feeling great about things at all. In fact I’m feeling very wound up about it. It’s as if the changes have driven a wedge between me and ‘K’ and I don’t feel I can phone her and say how I feel because the message I’m getting is “I’m too busy, I don’t have time”. I told her last week I was feeling very angry, hurt and frustrated by the changes. I guess I couldn’t have done that if I didn’t feel safe with her. I just don’t feel positive about what’s going on at the moment and that’s really affecting my ability to trust ‘K’.
The main message that switching to fortnightly appointments has given me is “I don’t have time for you.” That is a horrible message that I had so many times during my childhood in so many ways. So it is a HUGE trigger for me.
I know I have several child parts that feel very angry. They feel betrayed and let down. They feel sold out by ‘the system’ regardless of their needs. It’s a system which stinks. It feels like a system which is inflexible. It feels like a system which isn’t about the individual and the needs of the individual. It’s a system which basically sucks.
When I get to see ‘K’ next Monday it will be a month since we did any therapeutic work, which isn’t good at all. My session with her last week was taken up with meeting ‘D’ from the local community mental health recovery team.
‘D’ is going to do some short term goal orientated work with me based around increasing my confidence. My heart sank last week when she said “short term” because I know I need really solid long term support. I meet with ‘D’ again tomorrow to further discuss how she intends to work with me and how she envisages her work with me. I liked ‘D’. She was easy to talk to and I feel I can work with her, although building trust with a new person is daunting. I’m rather frustrated that she’s only talking ‘short term’ work and I hope to get some clarification tomorrow on what ‘short term’ actually means.
In the meantime I’m very slowly building a relationship with the counsellor ‘T’ at the project in town. In our session last week we had a really good discussion of my trip to Plymouth and how I felt about all that happened during that trip. Then ‘T’ asked me how school was for me. I told her how I was a very disruptive loner and did very badly at school. ‘T’ then asked me to give her a summary of the last 25 years of my life. It was very interesting doing that and raised quite a few issues for me.
I noticed how as an adult I’ve been able to achieve way beyond anything I achieved at school. I was a massive under achiever at school, my reports always said “could do better” and I got badly beaten for those reports. It’s no surprise I did so badly at school given that it was drummed into me that “I was useless and would never achieve anything”. But at the same time enormous pressure was put on me to succeed and “not bring shame on the Nicholson family”. I realise now that there was no way I was going to succeed or achieve my potential in that situation.
As an independent adult I’ve achieved many qualifications. My Degree was the biggest shock of all. I know now that I’m not stupid or useless. I was just set up to fail by my family. I was never going to achieve in that family. Outside of the toxic family system I’ve been able to explore my capabilities and discovered I have an incredible intellect and very high IQ. I’ve also been able to receive the encouragement of others and to allow their belief in me and my capabilities to install some belief in myself to go on and attempt things and achieve.
My conversation with ‘T’ caused me to think about all that could have been had I been brought up in a healthy family and been encouraged to achieve my potential. I wonder how my life would have turned out and what I would have become. It’s as if I’ve been held back all my life by the abuse and haven’t been able to get past the long term affects of that trauma on my confidence, health, mental and general wellbeing.
The reason ‘T’ asked me those questions was because, as she put it – “you come across as a very intelligent, articulate, well educated woman which didn’t quite match with such a horrific childhood so I had to find out why that was.”
Wow!! ‘T’ kind of blew me away with those words.
I meet with ‘T’ again tomorrow and I wonder what we’ll end up talking about. I’m looking forward to seeing ‘T’ tomorrow but I realise I have a long way to go before I trust her, that is daunting but I think it will come in time. But I have to admit to myself that I am amazed at how relatively easy I find it to talk with her in spite of that.