Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy

Yesterday in therapy felt pretty useless to me (though after finishing typing this up, clearly it was not). We talked about the fact that I don’t attach to my mother and that my abandonment issues may have begun from the fact that she went back to work too soon after I was born (my mom was the primary provider. My dad worked hard, but it was my mom that had the traditional 9-5 job, or 10p-6a, as the case maybe). That I was displaying abandonment issues as early as 2.5 years old when my mom went into labor with my brother and I was inconsolable because I was afraid she wasn’t coming back. Of course when she did come back I was fine, and promptly asked her to return my brother…. I wanted a sister. That didn’t pan out (at least not for a couple years).
Therapist tried a Role Playing technique today. We were talking about my trust issues with my mother and why I don’t connect to her. The missing connection probably stems from what I just mentioned. When I was older, around 12/13 years, she began violating my privacy and reading my journals. Not even my thoughts were my own. What should have been a completely safe space for me to release my mental workings, turned into a vessel that was used against me.  I’ve never trusted her since.
Therapist: I want you to think of reasons your mother would have done this.  Why would she have gone this route to find out information about you.
Me: Well, she was asleep or at work all the time when I was awake so she didn’t see me much. She missed out on a lot of my life because she was providing for our family. By the time I was 12/13 I was already beginning to shut down towards my parents. Since I was incommunicative and it was probably becoming increasingly obvious that something was wrong with me, it was the only way she could think of to find out and understand what I was going through.
She would read my diary. Yes, I did a lot of things I shouldn’t have done. Smoking, drinking, messing around with guys/girls, sneaking out, vandalism, shop lifting, eating disorders … I wasn’t ashamed of what I’d done. I was ashamed of my thoughts; that I would think to do these things that weren’t ideal. Weren’t perfect. I didn’t think my actions were wrong, I thought there was something wrong with me for wanting to do these things. I tried even harder to hide all the bad parts of me, bury them inside where no one else could see them. When other people saw these things, there were repercussions, disapproval. Things that weren’t acceptable. I, wasn’t acceptable. I couldn’t stop how I was, so I hid me instead. Unfortunately this had the same effect as compressing a carbonated liquid. At the first good shake I was ready to explode. Eventually I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
If I was having problems, it meant I wasn’t perfect enough and nobody could see my imperfections. Those were their own shame. She violated my privacy and saw that shame. I still feel this. The act of making me feel ashamed for my rebellious nature, instead of trying to find a more constructive solution, left me with a complete lack of trust towards her, and towards myself. I already knew I couldn’t trust my own behavior. Now I knew I couldn’t trust hers either. She needed to let me come to her. Of course, I wouldn’t have. Catch 22.
I believe I should be perfect. I believe everything I do should be perfect. Or at least the best that I can do. Anything less means I’m not trying hard enough. I’m not doing well enough. I’m not good enough. And that means that I have something to be ashamed of.
I don’t know how to change this thinking yet.
Me: She didn’t mean to do this. She cared about me. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t in danger. That I was okay. Which I wasn’t. But she went about it in the wrong way.
I think it’s actually a pretty neat exercise. It’s very much, putting yourself in the other persons shoes and trying to come up with a perspective that they might have had. Put in this way I can understand what would have motivated her to do this. It doesn’t make it ok, but at least there’s some understanding.
Therapist is really positive. She keeps telling me what a joy I am to work with. How thoughtful and self-aware I am. I, don’t handle the praise well. I grin and bear it, but I don’t like it. I don’t believe it. It’s embarrassing to me. I don’t know why doing a good job, being what someone considers ‘good’, is shameful. I’m just going to let her down I think. Or since I know the extent of my inner nature better, she just doesn’t know how rotted I am inside. She’ll find this out eventually and be disappointed. It’s easier for me when she doesn’t praise me. It makes me want to pull back to a place where I can’t let her down. Which is too bad. We’d actually been talking about my blog and my process for many of my posts. How I’ll read or research something, write out my thoughts on it, write out how I relate to it… is a very insightful process. She’s proud of me for putting so much effort into understanding myself. She even said if there was such a thing as a prognosis for personality disorders mine is very good.
We talked about my bulimia more, which frankly I’m tired of talking about it. I did manage to stop myself from binging and purging after Lady Friend left Saturday. That was a good moment. However, I made dinner for Friend and his wife on Sunday and I couldn’t control how much I consumed.  I was fine the whole day, relaxed, gave myself time to get stuff done in a stress free time frame… until the end and I started to skew my timing when I had to run out for an ingredient I forgot, then it pushed back the baking time, which pushed back the dinner time. Time, time, who’s got the time? He helped me fry some stuff up while I got the rest of my prep done which helped. Of course this also means that I don’t feel like the dinner was entirely mine. Stupid, stupid. Only one minor glitch in the outcome of the whole meal, which was wonderful,   and I still was so stressed out thinking that it wasn’t good enough. Despite the praise I get from them and that I can taste for myself that things turned out deliciously. I think I take too much on. Instead of doing 4 courses, next time maybe I’ll just do 3. I’m not superwoman. I need to remember this.

3 comments on “Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy

  1. I do this too. When people praise me I shut down and hide from them. It literally hurts me when someone says/thinks good about me. She's not the only one who is proud of you. 🙂

  2. I find it so difficult to relax my perfectionism. Cut yourself some slack, you're doing sooo well. Your forgiveness towards your mum is really a credit to you. No wonder your therapist is proud.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s