therapy-processing patterns in relationships

so i mentioned that in therapy i came to some painful realisations. we discussed my ongoing relationship issues. long story short, i am in a long distance relationship with my partner who lives in a psychiatric residential facility in illinois. i’ve known my partner for 15 years and we’ve been going out for 10 of those years. its complicated by the fact we both have did. and we both are abuse survivors. basically in therapy this week i came to the realisation that in this relationship i am the caretaker. and my needs arent being met. its all about my partner and what she needs. and it has been for a long time. eileen said i was acting like her parent, and that it was more of a parent child relationship dynamic instead of an adult to adult relationship. i know she’s right. it doesnt stop me feeling sad or guilty though. i told eileen that i had mentioned to my partner on saturday when we talked on the phone that i really needed to talk to her about our relationship. thats hard because we dont have any privacy when we’re on the phone. so we settled on writing a letter to each other. i am nervous to see what she’s going to put in her letter. she said to me that she hoped i was talking to eileen about things. and i have been. the fact that she is aware enough to say that means she does have some level of awareness of how things are effecting me. which is good i suppose. i really need to look more at my patterns in relationships though. because even in other relationships, with family, and other close friends, i tend to be a care taker. i tend to overlook my own needs and wants. i tend to make the relationship all about the other person. its not surprising that i would do this. i had no good role model growing up. i have a pretty disfunctional family. they have very inappropriate emotional responses. its either denial, anger outbursts, or other behaviours that are not good like abusing alcohol which my dad does, avoiding conflict which my mom does etc. i suppose the fact that i am working in therapy on these issues is a huge step. coming to the realisation yesterday really made me think. i dont want the relationship with my partner to end, but i dont want things to stay as they are either. however she is really not in a position to offer a lot as far as relationships go right now. her circumstances just dont allow her to be available in the ways i want her to be or need her to be. so what to do. i suppose both of us writing to one another and being honest and open and putting our true feelings down on paper about the relationship is a good start.

Dissociating during therapy, when blank parts come through

i’m sitting in eileens office. i’m quiet.
hi, she says softly. i smile and say a quiet hey.
how are you today? uh, oh, ok, i think, i say slowly.
that doesnt sound ok to me she observes.
oh no, i think. she knows. she knows whats going on. now i’m going to have to talk. i am scared. i dont want to say anything. i dont want to be here. i just want to run.
just notice, she says. notice your body. how does it feel? is it safe to be here with me? do you feel safe?
i mumble yes it is safe.
how do you know, she asks, what does safety feel like? how do you know its safe in here.
i’m not sure. i just know. i hear your voice. i hear the clock ticking. i smell the nice scent in the room. i feel the warmth of the room, its all safe.
right she says. ok. so you feel safe. so is it ok for you to be here with me? is it ok for you to stay here, tell me what is happening?
parts are panicking, I say. some of the kids are panicking.
what is that panick about? she asks gently.
I dont know eileen! Its been there all morning. And last night too. Its getting worse and worse!
then I start to feel emotional. sadness, mixed with frustration. fearful, angry, but very very sad too. then all of a sudden bang. nothing. everything goes blank.
are you with me? she gently asks. Carol anne? come back to me? What’s happening?
if only I knew. If only I could get the words out.
I stare straight ahead. I am really dissociated. I frantically try to come back. I reach for her hand. She takes my hand and squeezes it. Carol anne, you are going to be ok, whose scared? Whose this, is this carol anne?
Sort of, I say but really I am not sure. I am too dissociative to know. Everything is getting on top of me. I just feel spacy and triggered.
Can we let the parts know it is ok, I am here, you are safe, I am not going anywhere, Eileen says softly. I am really invested in this work we are doing. I’ve been working with you all for a long time now. I want these parts who are panicking and coming through to know that it is safe and I am here for all of you even them. You dont have to do this alone. I am with you, supporting you. We’ll take this journey together.
I start to shake. I think it is others reacting to what she is saying. a mixture of relief, happiness, and still some trepidation floods through me.
she is here and she is not going anywhere. she is invested in this work we are doing. i dont have to worry! i am not going to lose her.
i dont think these parts know me, she says softly. i am eileen. i am your therapist. i’ve been working with you all now for almost four years. we’ve done a lot of good work during those years. but maybe you havent been part of it. and now that you are, it feels risky. i get that its hard to take a risk. i really get that. i understand your position.
this seemed to calm the parts down a lot. she got it. she understood them. that made them happy.
and it allowed me to let my guard down. and after that, we managed to talk about the hard stuff I’d been avoiding. And the rest of the session altho intense, was great.

carol anne

realisations

today in therapy i came to some painful realisations. i’m not ready yet to discuss them but i hope i can soon. just to say that i thought there was something inherently wrong with me and with the way i relate to people. eileen put my mind at ease though and now i feel much better and i even feel some way normal. i just have some fucked up patterns when it comes to how i relate to others. especially my intimate relationships.

the police interview

the interview with the police went well. the two officers who came to my house were very nice. they told me they were specialists in interviewing people who have difficulty making a statement to the police. they reassured me that i didnt have to go ahead if i didnt want to. that they werent there to pressure me into talking. that if it was too much for me and too stressful that they understood. i told them that because of the did i was very stressed and anxious about talking to them. it helped that they’d read the report that dr. barry did before they came to my house. so what we did was this. i didnt go ahead and make a statement. instead they wrote a few lines saying that it was too stressful for me at this time due to my did and due to the fact we were really fearful of our abuser. then after they wrote that one of them read it back to me and i signed it and we left it at that. i am happy with the outcome. they had told me that if they investigated that it could possibly go to court and i’d have had to give evidence in court. there is no way i could do that. i know for a fact that it would cause switching and a whole lot of stress. so i think i did the right thing for now. they told me that in the future if i need anything to go directly to them. and if i changed my mind in the future the file would still be there but for now it wont go any further. that is a relief to us.

apprehension about tomorrows visit from the police

well tomorrows the day. the day the police come to interview me about what happened. about the sexual assault that took place a couple months ago. and i am scared. i dont know if i want to talk to them and make a statement. two females are coming to my house tomorrow at 3 pm. i suppose i’ll see what they have to say, what the next step is. that much cant hurt. i’m very fearful though. fearful of being hurt again. and also fearful of the police. we’ve had bad experiences with the police in the past. a couple of years ago when something similar happened to us we told a police officer and she acted like we were lying. so we dont trust the police. maybe this time it will be different. right now all the thoughts about the night of the assault, all the memories and thoughts of that night are swimming around in my head. and i feel so triggered. i am trying to hold on to the belief that eileen has in me that i can do this. i can get through it. i can use my coping strategies and resources and i can manage to pull it together enough to talk to the police tomorrow. i hope she is right. right now i’m having serious doubts about my ability to do this. i’m trying to blog and distract. i’m trying not to overthink things. but its night time and nights are the worst for me. i hate the night time and everything seems much worse during the night. if anyones around i could use some virtual support and hugs.