Trust Issues

How close I get to men is inversely proportional to how much I trust them.

The more I get to know them, the more of myself I share, the more convinced I am that I’m going to get hurt.

I’m either paranoid… or right.

I can feel myself getting more attached. At the same time all I can do ruminate on all the reasons I shouldn’t be.

I want him to want to be closer… as I run far, far away.

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy

 I’m good at allowing myself into other people’s live, but not at letting them into mine.
This was the main point I took from therapy yesterday.
Therapist says I’m incredibly perceptive when it comes to determining other people’s emotional spheres. I tailor myself to match what I have picked up in another person. She says she sees me doing this quite often. I mirror people well. I don’t even realize I do this most of the time. It comes naturally. Though I do catch myself veering more towards positive stories and spins of experience when she seems to indicate that it’s what she expects to hear. Therapist often tries to explain my feelings on a subject before I’ve finished talking about what it is that I’m saying. Sometimes I correct her, other times I feel like I’ll be disappointing her if I’m not fitting her more pleasant description/expectation. I see how she interprets me, I understand how she wants me to be, I pick up on all the little body, facial, and emotive signals that tells me what she is thinking.
Her point, was that if I’m feeling a certain way about someone, it is often justified, because I am so perceptive and in tune with how other people feel.  Little of my hypersensitivity coming through. I’m hyper vigilant when it comes to paying attention to how people react to me.
This came about mostly because I was fretting about Tech Boy. I’m worried that I may be starting to like him too much. I’m still not sure if he’s ‘right’ for me. I’m starting to get paranoid if he doesn’t text me. He mentioned a female friend’s birthday is coming up and I felt a stab of jealousy (though I didn’t say anything ß— I know better).  I’m worried I’m getting too sucked into this, and I’m not comfortable with myself right now. I don’t know where this is going, or if it’s going anywhere. All the signs point to him liking me, but I don’t like me, so I think I’m projecting my fears onto him where they don’t exist.
I wanted to push away yesterday. Maybe the day before too.
Don’t do it, Snow!
I have trust issues. I’m still trying to figure out how much I can trust him, or if I can trust him at all.  What it boils down to is I don’t trust my own judgment when it comes to trusting other people. I’ve made too many bad decisions, misplaced my trust in too many people and had it come back to bite me in the jugular as I lay bleeding out on the sidewalk. Not that I haven’t made some good decisions. I have, but the good do not outweigh the bad for me. Especially when it comes to men. Sorry guys, I’m sure one or two of you are alright. (Aside: I feel pretty shitty thinking this way after what my boys at work just did – geezus I’m a terrible person). I don’t trust. I do believe people will hurt me in the end. This has been too much of my experience. I am very, very guarded. Justifiably.
However it makes me feel like I’m lying.  I hold back from the people that try to be close to me. I do not share my genuine self because it would make me vulnerable, open me up for the potential to be taken advantage of, and also because I feel like it is too much of  burden to place a lot of the badness that I’ve had in my past on someone. Instead of sharing, I shut down, or re-direct the conversation.
For example: On one of my dates with Tech Boy we were talking about how we felt about living in NY (we’re both originally from out of state).  I mentioned that my first couple years here were pretty rough b/c of my living situation but in general I liked NY. His response was a natural sort of “Well it couldn’t have been all bad”…. “No, I suppose it wasn’t all bad…”, but I wasn’t going to tell him about Evil-Ex. He does know that I had problems with an ex that I was living with in a vague general sense, but I’m afraid to get into the details of just how bad it all was. I don’t want him to think I’m weak. I don’t want him to know how much damage has been inflicted on me. I don’t want him to think I have too much baggage (because this is just unattractive).  I’ve had bad things happen to me and somehow I feel like this will make me a bad person in other people’s eyes. At the very least, it will clash with the impression that I give people of myself. In short, I don’t trust that him to not reject me. So I’m not open about everything there is about me. Since I’m not full disclosure, I feel like I’m hiding things, being secretive (which I am), and therefore not being honest.
Something like that.
If I’m always closed and guarded, it’s going to push him away in a different way. I’m sure he thinks I’m a little closed off. Therapist thinks I need to open up. I don’t need to come out with the worst of the worst, but I should let him in to some of the problems I’ve had in my past.  This will help him understand why I am guarded.
To my credit, I give people a chance ß— Both Roommate and Therapist have told me this. For everything that I’ve been through I haven’t shut myself down completely towards other people. I have in the past, but presently, I’m still trying to meet and get to know new people. I only share what I want people to know of me though. People open up their lives to me very easily (apparently I come across as very open and trustworthy), and I let myself stroll right into their worlds where I can take a look around and judge whether it’s safe for me…. But I don’t actually open up my own doors to them in what I believe to be a meaningful way. I may crack a window, but the drawbridge stays up and I have a few strategically placed snipers looming in the battlements. Overkill.
Therapist talked a lot, but I felt like I was pretty dissociated and floating through a lot of the session. I couldn’t really concentrate on what she was saying. I’ve felt like that the last few days. People will talk to me and it’s a struggle for me to pay attention, to retain the information they are telling me.

I also feel like if I get to invested in someone something is going to happen and it’ll fall apart and all go to hell. It’s just a vague sense, nothing specific, but I always believe that if I let myself get to close to someone that is exactly when everything will go wrong. Catastrophizing, maybe?

Anyways, so I’m very attune to people’s emotional spheres. I have trust issues. I expect the worst. But maybe my issues with Tech Boy are a result of my own closed off-edness (ß– not really a word, I know). I’m closed off because I expect something bad, so he’s picking up on the fact that I don’t want to let him in and is therefore respecting my boundaries, which I perceive as him not trying to get closer, when it’s me that won’t let him even if he was trying, and that makes me paranoid and want to push away which actualizes as something bad happening. Is it all me? Or maybe he just wants something casual, light and fun, which is exactly what we have now, so he doesn’t feel a need to dig deeper and it’s just me wondering if there’s more scenery in Kansas (I’m totally stereotyping Kansas here – Sorry Kansas-anites (?)) .  That may not have made any sense.
Open Up, Stay Closed, Open Up, Stay Closed …. It’s not a simple decision. Therapist says small steps. The things I’ve been through are not too much for someone to handle if they’re someone that cares about me. Someone that cares won’t be judgmental. He’s already proven himself to be open to various aspects of my lifestyle that others might shy away from– shady stripper past, my bisexuality (Boring-Ex was super threatened by this), my extreme Geekery with +10 Nerdiness, isn’t threatened by my intelligence or that I make more money than him. I guess it’s time to do exactly the opposite of what I want to do (Push away) and start letting him in to the more intimate details of my life.  Slowly.
Does anyone else find it ironic that I can easily post the most intimate details of my life here for thousands of anonymous viewers to see, but I have the hardest time opening up to one person in real life? Yeesh.

It’s a nice thought anyways.

Some People Want to Abuse You… But There Others Who Don’t

Hello and good morning! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was hectic and crazed but even fun at times. More on that some other time. Today I’m elaborating more on the next maladaptive schema type.

Typical Presentation of the Schema
People with the Mistrust/Abuse schema expect others to lie, manipulate, cheat, or in other ways to take advantage of them, and in the most extreme form of the schema, try to humiliate or abuse them.  These patients do not trust other people to be honest and straightforward, and to have their best interests at heart. Rather, they are guarded and suspicious. They sometimes believe that other people want to hurt them intentionally. At best, they feel that people care only for themselves and do not mind hurting others to get what they need; at worst, they are convinced that people are malevolent, sadistic, and get pleasure from hurting others. In the extreme form, patients with this schema may believe that other people want to torture and sexually abuse them.
Now. I think it’s important to note that these can be very real issues that are not unjustified. A lot of people suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder have had major trauma and abuse growing up. I think this becomes a schema problem when you start seeing demons in EVERY shadow, not just the ones where it is justified. I’ve survived “friends” trying to manipulate me to suicide, people masquerading as friends to get me into bed, every kind of mental and emotional abuse, lying, manipulations, deceit, isolation, alienation you can imagine, attempted rape, rape, and my ex-boyfriend trying to kill me. Those are just some of the highlights. It doesn’t even touch on the extent of what I’ve been through in my life. I’ve actually suffered through a lot of abuse and my mistrust is justified. However. And this is an important However…. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there that do deserve to be trusted. The doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there don’t want to just take advantage of you or have ulterior motives. There are some pretty decent people. This becomes a schema problem when we impose the problems from the past onto people that don’t justifiably deserve the mistrust.
Goals of Treatment
The main goal of treatment is to help people with the Mistrust//Abuse schema to realize that, whereas some people are not trustworthy, many others ARE trustworthy. We teach them that the best way to live is to stay away from abusive people as much as possible, stand up for themselves when necessary, and focus on having trustworthy people in their personal life.
Patients who have healed a Mistrust/Abuse schema have learned to distinguish between people who are trustworthy and those who are not. They have learned that there is a spectrum of trustworthiness: People worthy of trust do not have to be perfect; they just ha ve to be “trustworthy enough.”
I have to say this is a problem I have. Cognitively, in my brain, I know that this is true, but I still fight with some black and white thinking here. Once my trust has been broken, or I’ve been sufficiently disappointed, it’s nearly impossible for me to regain my perspective and not consider someone untrustworthy. I’m trying though.
With trust worthy people, patients learn to behave in a differ way. They are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, they are less guarded and suspicious, they stop setting up tests, and they no longer cheat others because they expect to be cheated. With individuals who become their partners or close friends, patients become more authentic. They share many of their secrets and are willing to be vulnerable. They eventually find that, if they behave openly, trustworthy people will generally treat them well in return.
Strategies Emphasized  in Treatment
With patients who were abused as children, a therapist must work to establish emotional safety. The goal is to provide a safe place for patients to tell their story of abuse. Most abuse survivors are intensely ambivalent about telling their story. One part of the patient wants to discuss what happened, whereas another part wants to hide it. Many of these people alternate between the two – just as they alternate between feeling overwhelmed and feeling numb.
Cognitively, the therapist helps reduce a persons over vigilance to abuse. Patients learn to recognize a spectrum of trustworthiness. Patients also work to alter the extremely common  view of themselves as worthless and to blame for the abuse. They stop making excuses for the abuser and place blame where it belongs.
Venting anger is of primary importance in the experiential work. It is especially important for patients to vent anger at the people who abused them rather than continually directing anger at the people in their current lives, or at themselves.
Imagery and visualization to create a safe inner place away from abusers is helpful. Finally, patients visualize themselves being open and authentic with trustworthy significant others. The thrust of treatment is first to help patients make the sharp distinction between the people in the past who deserve the anger, and the people in the present who do not; then, to help patients express anger in therapy sessions toward the people in the past who deserve it, while treating well those people in their current lives who treat them well.
Behaviorally, patients gradually learn to trust honest people. They increase their level of intimacy with appropriate significant others. When appropriate, they share their secrets and memories of abuse with their partner or close friends. They consider joining a support group for abuse survivors. They choose non-abusive partners. Patients stop mistreating others and set limits with abusive people. They are less punitive when other people make mistakes. Rather than avoiding relationships and remaining alone, or avoiding intimate encounters and staying emotionally distant from people, they allow people to get close and become intimate. They stop gathering evidence and keeping score about the things other people have done to hurt them. They stop constantly testing other people in relationships to see if they can be trusted. They stop taking advantage of other people, thus prompting others to respond in kind.
Abuse severs the bond between the individual and other human beings. The person is torn out of the world of ordinary human relationships and thrown into a nightmare. During abuse, the victim feels utterly alone, and, after it is over, feels detached and estranged from others. The real world of current relationships seems hazy and unreal, whereas the memories of the relationships with the perpetrator are sharp and clear. The therapist/patient relationship is very important. The therapist is an intermediary between the abuse survivor and the rest of humanity: he or she serves as a vessel through which the patient reconnects to the ordinary world. By connecting to the therapist, the patient reconnects symbolically to the rest of humanity.
Severed. I always feel cut off and separate, severed, but I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it in these terms or even because of the abuse I’ve suffered. Maybe I have and forgot, or just figured it was one more experience grouped with all my others. I sort of compartmentalize the trauma I’ve been through. I stick it in a box and try to bury it in my mental closets. Hide it away. But put in these terms it makes it so much clearer to me the impact that the abuse I’ve suffered has had on me. Abuse severs the bond between the individual and other human beings. I would add that abuse severs the bond between a person and themselves too.  I guess I always kind of think of the abused part as a separate part, and the rest as the protector part. I’ve split myself into pieces. I’m still working through just how big of a deal all of this stuff actually was on me. I haven’t faced it all yet, but I’m starting to recognize where a lot of my dissociation comes from. Why I dissociate the way I do.
Most survivors of abuse struggle with moral issues. They are haunted by feelings of shame and guilt about what they did and felt during the abuse. They want to understand their own responsibility for what happened to them, and to reach a fair, moral judgment of their own conduct.
I still struggle with this. For a very long time I considered myself at least partially responsible for the abuse I suffered. It was my fault for being there, it was my fault for putting myself in the situation (even though there was no way I could have known that it would happen), and therefore my fault for allowing it to happen. It was my fault for not being able to leave because I couldn’t control how I felt. I was in love with my abuser, on more than one occasion, and I couldn’t do what I knew was best for me because I was afraid of losing my heart. I couldn’t control my emotions so I blamed myself for the way {t}he{y} treated me, for what they did to me… but you know what? It wasn’t my fault. It was theirs. I may have been in love, but I didn’t ask to be treated that way, I didn’t want to be treated that way, I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. It wasn’t my fault they were monsters. They made the choices they did because they were bad people, and that wasn’t my fault.  I couldn’t predict what was going to happen, and at the time I wasn’t able to take the steps that have been healthiest and safest for me. I can’t change that. But what I can do is learn from it and not make those same mistakes again. I can make better choices in the future. I can allow better people into my future. I’m still working on it, but it is possible.

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy

 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.

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.

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – 4

Monday was a good therapy session. Again, not one I got incredibly worked up over but productive none the less.
We talked about how my recent trip home to see my family affected me, how it triggered me.
My mom especially. My dad doesn’t seem to have an incredible interest in what’s going on with me. He really doesn’t engage me or start conversations with me unless I start talking first. I wonder if this is because my issues make him uncomfortable. Hm, I’m actually just realizing this as I type. My mom however starts talking to me the second I’m within sight and does not shut up. She automatically inspires the most irrational anger in me. I know this is a byproduct of my growing up and probably because she was so ‘interested’ in my life. Instead of talking to me, she’d search for my journals and read them.  I don’t trust her at all. She’d then talk to me about it, tell me of her disapproval (to be fair a lot of that disapproval was justified) and sometimes ground me for things that I did, instead of talking to me and helping me go about things in a better way. Act more appropriately. It cultivated my mistrust of her. That she takes such an interest in my life now still makes me very angry, because it feels intrusive to me even though I know she just cares. Trigger.
I was very closed off to them, to everyone. I refused to talk about my feelings, I refused to ask for help, I refused to get help. Since I was 12-ish for sure. Even before this though I was afraid that asking for help would mean I wasn’t good enough, would be a sign of weakness in my abilities. This is a direct result of how critical my father was. Anytime I did any kind of art he would ‘critique’ it. Not in a mean way. It was always directed as a means to help me ‘improve’, but I get overly happy when he does praise me and I need to keep inspiring this so I push myself harder.
This translates into how I am now. How I need to do things for other people that make them happy, that they’ll praise me for. It’s why, despite the fact that I can be mad at Friend, and really don’t like wife, I continue to cook for them because I know it’s something I’m good at and they’ll show their appreciation for it. This is especially necessary for me because my father was such a picky eater. He only likes a few select foods so when I would make new things that I liked and the rest of my family enjoyed he would either not try it or only try a little bit and let me know that he didn’t like it. I’ve always told myself this was simply because he didn’t like a variety of things, which he doesn’t, but he has never been encouraging. Even when I make new things when I visit he always comments on how ‘it stinks up the kitchen’. Those few times though, those few rare amazing times when he has liked what I made were my proudest moments. Since he was so critical, he never just placated me, I absolutely believed the compliments he would give.  Especially when I cook, when Friend or my other friends tell me they really enjoy what I make I am filled with an extraordinary sense of happiness that I am appreciated, while at the same time I don’t necessarily believe them. Amusingly the only one I really believe is Friends wife. I ask for criticism or how I can improve on some things (I cook meat dishes for people even though I’m strict vegetarian and have no idea what meat tastes like). She’s the only one that critiques me, though she is also very impressed with my abilities and has enjoyed everything I make for them, but she’s also one of the only people I believe. (She often tells people that ‘Haven makes vegetables taste like food’ or ‘Make whatever you want it’s going to be good.) Heh, but that I seek criticism and that’s the only thing I truly believe is obviously a direct result of how my father raised me. Trigger.
We didn’t talk about my brother. That my sister is the only one in this world that I truly connect to makes her my strongest base. I was horrible to her. I took out a lot of my anger on her and she was afraid of me. Until one night I came home and saw that she had been cutting as a direct result of the pressure she felt from our father. My entire relationship with her changed that night. She was afraid to talk to them about how she felt. She was always the angel, I was the devil. As a result she felt overly pressured, incapable of doing things that would possibly make them mad. I fought with them constantly and ‘didn’t need their approval’. Clearly I rebelled against them, but they’d never abandoned me for all my horrible behavior so I was able to convince her to at least sit down and talk with them so they could understand that she needed something different. Which she was able to do. We bonded over  something so ingrained in us, understood each other on a different level than we had before and realized that we could lean on each other when we needed help. She’s my best friend in the world and I would do anything for her. I love her with everything I have. I mistrust my parents, even now.
I get incredibly anxious when my sister is late getting home. I need her to be there to feel grounded. Safe. To the extent that I don’t want to go back, be there at all, if she’s not there.
Therapist doesn’t seem to be worried about the fact that I needed to have a couple drinks to deal with the barrage of questions and interest in my life that the rest of my family inspires (holiday gathering at my relatives – all of my relatives, both sides of my family). I see my family so rarely that when I do it’s practically nonstop questions and explanations. Fortunately ( I think?) my mom’s side of the family isn’t very interested in me. I was always so rebellious, so different, that they never took an interest in me. I don’t think I talked to them at all except for my aunt telling me I looked really good and lost a lot of weight (she hasn’t seen me since I was on the Symbyax that made me gain weight).  That was nice. The rest of my family though is very interested in my new job and my mental state. I can only deal with so much. So much attention is overwhelming. So I have a couple drinks to calm down. I knew before I went over that I’d be drinking though. Therapist is much more worried about my bulimia. I’m usually very good at keeping this under control. Until the holiday gatherings start. I’ve never had trust issues with my dad’s side of the family. I actually think I connect to them better than my parents. I’m  really not sure what the exact trigger here is. My parents? My mom’s side of the family? The questions? My bulimia has always been a form of control for me, so I know it has to have something to do with feeling out of control. Why the rest of my family would make me feel so out of control is still a mystery to me currently.
Note:  Identifying those issues that trigger me is the first step in figuring out how to avoid them and control them in the future.
Emo moment
Then we talked about my Abandonment issues and why Friend going out made me so ‘unhappy’  (read: hurt, anxious, depressed, jealous, left out, unnecessary, afraid). The real problem here is that I do feel like if he has more people around he won’t need me as a friend anymore. That I won’t be so important to him. That he’ll reject and abandon our friendship. Therapist is beginning to worry that our friendship is holding me back. That he triggers my abandonment issues is not healthy. I cling to our friendship too strongly. I do forsake going out on my own to meet new people because if I do I won’t be able to spend more time with him. If I go out more our friendship won’t be as strong. He will find other people. I’ll be replaced. She wants him to tell me that he doesn’t want our friendship to end, that he won’t leave me, but he should encourage me to form new, healthy relationships outside of our friendship.  That {six} years down the line we’ll still be friends. I have no way of believing this though, because I’ve never had close proximity friendships that have lasted this long in (though I have had friendship that lasted much longer than this).  I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m ready to open myself up to anyone new yet. I’m tired of being hurt. I don’t think I can do that again right now. Therapist thinks I should though.
Homework: Stop being a hermit. Get out more, outside of going to Friends’. Cultivate new relationships.
Therapist also breached the topic of wanting family, what I thought motherly qualities should be. Not that I want to have kids, but what qualities do I believe a mother should have, and how would I display these. If, if, I were to have kids, how would I demonstrate these qualities, blah blah blah.
Point:  It’s a helpful exercise to understand where I think my family failed. How I wish they had done things differently with me. 
Finally she asked about what I’d been drawing lately. Mostly I’ve been drawing my next tattoo. She was a little concerned about this because it’s so large (will hit me under my breast, down my entire right side, and over my hip). She asked me if we needed to talk about it in further sessions. I told her ‘no’ I would get it regardless. She laughed at my ‘rebelliousness’.
Update on this Friend Abandonment issue; when I was over Monday out of nowhere he did say that I should pick up the activity and join them in the future. This made me too happy and my mood improved for the rest of the night. Then my paranoia kicked in that he’s reading my blog which would make me incredibly unhappy and probably (probably? Geezus) pissed off. Bleh. I want him to include me because he enjoys my company, not because he feels obligated to me. Then I remembered that he made this offer before I’d posted about it, so my paranoia is completely crazy and entirely composed in my own mind, but that still didn’t stop me from having a small anxiety attack.
So yeah, productive day in therapy. Long, long post. Again, sorry about the day switching for this.