I’ve been lax with my days in therapy. Yesterday was an odd day for me. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do the stress has been almost a physical weight slowing me down. Around 2p.m. yesterday my boss sent me an e-mail to see him at 4p.m. to go over a presentation I’m preparing and give me a 6 month performance evaluation. I was instantly paralyzed, I could barely think, barely force myself to move. You would think the world was coming to an end, which I would have preferred, b/c seriously, zombies I can handle. For as busy and productive as I’ve been I could only imagine the awful things he could say; not productive enough, not good enough, too slow, why don’t I know everything yet. My brain whirred a thousand miles per hour while my heart seems to take forever to beat up in my throat. As it turned out it was more a handshake and congratulations I’ve been here 6 months. The only critique he had for me was that I should get out in the shop more. Done. It’s never as bad as I fear it will be. Never, and yet I can’t stop myself from thinking it. When I sat down in Therapists office I was still all locked up and tense from stress and could barely think of what to say. It took me almost 45 minutes to really be able to hold my end of a conversation.
Though it wasn’t much a problem. She talked for ages about studying psychology and things to be aware of. She was also very focused on reassuring me that this space was a safe space for me. It’s the developing the therapist/patient bond I think. I feel like I’m failing her here. Most people can probably come in and develop a trusting relationship real fast. I know I still hold parts of myself back. I’ve been in Protector mode for a while now, my walls and defenses have been very up. I am having a very hard time allowing anyone to be close to me. And rightly so I should not allow everyone close, but I recognize that there are people that do deserve my trust, like Roommate, and I even have a hard time letting her in and maintaining a connection. Therapist asked me what I was afraid of that makes me shut down that way. What causes me not to trust where cognitively I know I should? What instances can I recall where people have betrayed my trust. Of course the first people I thought of were those like Friend or Evil-Ex or the One I don’t talk about, but she said No, those are guys and the reasons I have for not trusting men are a different kind of mistrust. That stems from a different place. She wanted me to think to my female friends and understand where this may have stemmed from. I haven’t had much better luck with female friends than I have with male friends. All the petty instances of girls being catty and turning on me floated out of my head and I remember one friend that I was very close to when I was 12/13 years old. I remember very clearly that I had been suicidal, just understanding what cutting did for me, and needing friends that I could share my problems with. We’d been friends for ages, talked for hours every day, but when I let her in on the darker parts of my mind she drew away. We talked less and less and one day when I asked she told that she couldn’t be as close to me because I made her too sad. And who could blame her really? Too young to understand, too young for that kind of responsibility. But for me, I took a lesson from that. One that just compounded all the perfectionistic fodder that was already beaten into my brain. If I’m not perfect, people will leave. If I show the imperfections, I won’t be good enough. So I learned to hide myself away. When I was younger all the bottling turned to rage and exploded outward, now I turn it in. Therapist wants me to remember to step back. When a situation presents itself where I feel my defenses or walls coming up, try to recognize that this is occurring, and draw what comes to mind so that I can better visualize what I am feeling in relation to the reality of the situation.
She also said that when someone has such a strong Protector mode that it’s an indicator that one or both of the parents did not do enough to shield me from some kind of threat. I get angry thinking about this because my parents were never intentionally hurtful. My dad made us over achievers, he pushed me to the point of nervous breakdowns and suicide though I don’t think to this day he understands the level of stress he placed on me. Therapist believes that somewhere I feel like my mother let me down because she saw how hard I was being pushed but never tried to intervene. I don’t know if she could have though. She wasn’t around so much when I was growing up because she worked nights and slept during the day so I never really developed a strong bond with her. By the time I was old enough to express how I felt I had developed this mentality, this fear of failing. That I cannot be less than perfect or I will not be good enough for anyone. I cannot trust people to hold my best interest. I had no one to rely on but myself. I know my mom would read my diaries and I never trusted her after that, but it was even before. Maybe I was just an independent child, or suspicious in my nature, that I did not believe I could trust because all the things I wrote in my journals I wrote because I could not tell anyone else. I had already lost my ability to trust or maybe I never learned how to trust in the first place. Hm, I’m not sure. My memories are fuzzy if I have them at all. Something to think about for sure.
Homework: Create a timeline. Call my mom and talk to her. Talk about all the times growing up that we did things together, when we started doing craft type projects, major events in my life that she took part in, starting when I was very young. This will help me reform memories, see my mother’s perspective, and hopefully form a stronger bond between us.
The thought of this is daunting. Talking to my mom for any length of time is exhausting and often infuriating. Not for anything specific that she says persay but she always manages to make me feel like she’s asking too much. Information that I would gladly share freely with anyone else suddenly feels intrusive to tell to her. I recognize this and now it’s something to try to work past.