Let the Therapy Begin

I haven’t been writing or reading of late.  It feels like life is trying to change gear, but I’m currently parked in neutral.

Within the last few weeks, I’ve started the Metallization Based Therapy programme (MBT).  I have one group session each week as well as a one-2-one.

I suppose the beginning of therapy is about recounting and explaining our life experiences, while laying the foundations for unravelling the pain.  I imagine the proceeding weeks will be more about connecting with the feelings and that’s the most difficult part of all.

I’ve started therapy three times over the last 15 years, but have never got past the generalisation.  The first thing to raise its ugly head is always the painful and very confusing memories from childhood.  It seems there is a conflict of opinion between my parents and me.

Both my parents are snobs.  They believe they are better and above everyone else.  They would constantly proclaim,

“We are the best parents”

And

“You are from the best home”

Including

“You don’t know how lucky you are

Tragically, my own reality was something very different.  The conflict of opinion can feel like I’m living in a parallel universe; their version – v – the reality.

My Therapist is called Paul.  The moment we met, I knew he was the Therapist for me and over the first three sessions he is certainly living up to my expectations.  This is what I told him during session number 3.

I am just realising that my mother’s behaviour was very different to when my Dad was around.  He was also a bully and sometimes violent, but it didn’t seem to affect me as much as the memories of an abusive mother.

Mum would always have a short fuse.  As children we learned very quickly to sit and play quietly.  This is something my sister mastered, I was always the rebel.

“You would break the patience of a Saint”, She would say while justifying her actions.

The bursts of violence would see her slipper make contact with whatever part of our body she could reach.  I would often run and dodge the violence, but my sister cowered in the corner and usually came off the worst.  It has taken over 40 years to realise that these outbursts never happened when Dad was at home.

When my sister started school, I was two years old.  Just the age when Mum said my behaviour changed.

“You were a fabulous baby until you reached two and then there was nothing but problems”

All these years, I have tried to fathom what it was that apparently changed my behaviour.  Now I realise it was all about Mum being left to care for, and entertain, a toddler, something she only wanted on her terms.

“You fucking wee bastard, I wish I’d never had you”

Countless times she would scream this in my face whenever I had the courage to step outside those terms.  I can still see the red anger in her face, the venom spitting from her lips.

My “mischief” usually started while she was asleep in bed.  As soon as my sister left for school, Mum would see it as her entitlement to go back to bed for a rest and woe betide me if there was any noise or if I got up to anything I shouldn’t.  For a small toddler, those boundaries are difficult to recognise, let alone understand, and trouble would often ensue.

Her words would cut through me like a knife and they reaffirmed my belief that I was unwanted.  I often heard my parents during full blown arguments, often about my behaviour.  I could often hear her say, “He was a mistake”.

I remember one day she was standing at the window watching for Dad.  I was about six years old and sitting on the couch playing quietly.

“Mum, was I a mistake?”

She thought long and hard, those seconds felt like hours.

“Well, you weren’t a mistake, but you weren’t planned either”

The anger I harbour is tremendous.  Oddly it’s not about the violence or the abusive words, but more about the conflict of opinion.  I’m guessing that healing means feeling the emotion that I felt back and giving myself permission to own it.  Those things really did happen and they contributed to ruining my life.

They say we need to forgive before we can heal and move on

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30 thoughts on “Let the Therapy Begin

  1. sensuousamberville

    We do not always need to forgive to move on, nor to understand or justify. I’m ok you’re ok doesn’t apply either. Just remember you are ok, when you are convinced of this you will have peace.
    You are ok you know. 🙂 It has to come from within though.

    *hugs*

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, I tend to agree about forgiveness. It’s difficult to consider forgiving someone when they can’t admit the damage they created. I also think that forgiveness feels too much like excusing their behaviour and that’s something that feels inappropriate. Sometimes forgiveness doesn’t hold the key to healing. Trouble is, I’m not quite sure what does.

      Many thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  2. Susan Irene Fox

    Oh, sweet Cat, I’m so glad you’ve found someone who will validate your experience. I grew up with a father who lied about his actions. As a result, I never truly believed my own experience of reality growing up. I continue to pray for you, for your wholeness of being,and for your ability to cope with the anger and hurt in ways that will no longer harm you.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Susan… It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. By what you say, I know you completely understand those conflicting opinions/memories and how soul destroying that can be

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      1. Susan Irene Fox

        I do, Cat. Soul destroying is the right term. I completely doubted everything about myself for decades. Sounds like this is a season of healing for you. Embrace it with all you’ve got.

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  3. myspokenheart

    Oh Cat I am so glad to see you are back, I have missed you and was actually wondering where you’ve been just yesterday. Painful memories are hard, and you have a right to feel angry especially when the other person refuses to acknowledge your feelings and recollections. I think you are in a good place, one step at a time is all you can do, but it is much better then standing still (or going backwards).
    ((BIG HUGS))

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    1. Cat Post author

      That’s odd, I was also thinking of you….maybe it was simultaneously. I do try to remember that I have come a long way already. I was in a completely different place this time two years ago…. that can only be a good thing.

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  4. mm172001

    Some of my biggest problems as well come from my belief/interpretation of my childhood or what little I remember vs their’s. I understand where you are coming from.

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  5. Cate Reddell

    I was a mistake too. I was also an embarassment to my mother both in pregnancy and birth. There was never any hesitation in her telling me that. She would say the same thing today if I gave her half the chance. In spite of all the years of therapy I still struggle with her words. It’s not what mothers are ‘supposed’ to say, is it? Hmm. I think you’re right. The forgiveness will bring the healing. What it won’t do is cause us to forget and actually I need to remember so that I be careful what vulnerable situations I put myself in. Good on you, Cat for getting into this therapy. I hope through it you can find that path to healing. It will come.

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        1. Cat Post author

          Neither do I know where to begin with that one, Cate. However, after years battling the same thing, I am more inclined to think that perhaps “forgiveness” isn’t appropriate in some cases. I struggle with it and feel that the act of letting go is more about validating the memories/subsequent feelings and maybe even about forgiving ourselves

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  6. brokenbutbeingrepaired

    Its so good to see you back around, Cat.

    Am so pleased that Paul seems to be helping you to validate some of how those early experiences impacted on your life.
    Am not sure I agree with “they”. I wont ever forgive the people who harmed us, but am finding that acceptance is a more realistic aim than forgiveness.

    Learning to feel how you feel, and to accept that you have a right…a need to”sit with” those feelings is something really important and it looks to me that you`re doing a great job.


    xxx
    * sends you a gazillion "welcome back" hugs *

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you for the welcoming words and hugs! I tend to agree that forgiveness isn’t always the way forward. Validation and acceptance can go a long way

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  7. mandy

    Cat, I’m so glad to see you embracing your therapy and that you have a therapist you truly connect with. I relate so much to what you’ve written. So many of us were unwanted, in the way. Your final sentence about needing to forgive to truly heal struck me, as I’ve always heard that, too. And recently, I spent some time, making that attempt. But as I’ve been studying about rape culture, I’m allowing myself to believe that forgiveness isn’t necessary, unless its something you truly want to do. For me, the guilty party should be asking for forgiveness. (But what do I know–I’m a work in progress!) I’m just so glad to see you back here!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hey Mandy. Recently, I have looked long and hard at forgiveness and have also come to the conclusion that it isn’t entirely necessary for healing. Somehow “forgiving” feels like it continues to give the “abuser” too much power over how we process the pain. It also feels like excusing their behaviour. Lovely thought provoking comment. Thanks, Mandy

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      1. mandy

        I agree completely, Cat. I’m glad I wasn’t out to lunch with my intuition. I’m finding it rather empowering to come to that conclusion.

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  8. RisingSong

    I am so sorry, Cat. As a mother, her words hurt me to the core. Two of my three children were surprise babies…beautiful surprises that I could not imagine my world without. Everything in the world is not planned. I hope you can see yourself as a beautiful surprise, if not to your parents, to those whose lives you have touched…to us readers who have surprisingly found you and have been helped and inspired so much by you.

    “…healing means feeling the emotion that I felt back and giving myself permission to own it.” I think this is so important, especially giving yourself permission to own those emotions. This is something that I have recently been practicing myself, and it fills me with a tremendous sense of control. It is empowering to own emotions that have been robbed from you by denial.

    I am so happy to hear that things are going well with Paul. I hope you will be able to continue in your therapy and healing path.

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  9. Borderlion

    I can relate to the abusive things your mother said to you and the parallel universe feeling. I’ve never confronted my family but nonetheless they are always feeding me the idea that I was lucky and things were fine, I was the only cause of any problems. I was the problem child.

    I don’t know about forgiveness being necessary to move on. So far being angry with them is what has helped me to start to stay alive. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive them and I don’t think I want to.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I am quickly coming to the realisation that forgiveness is not in the equation for “healing”. It doesn’t feel important/appropriate. I think owning those memories and trusting our own reality is more helpful than apparently excusing some unacceptable behaviour.
      I’ve read a couple of your posts and could always relate to your own experiences of being at odds with family opinion. It feels infuriating. That anger is probably what holds me back from ‘healing’

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  10. chromegurl

    A good therapist is like gold. I am happy for you.

    I am in a similar thing with my mother- except that instead of being not planned, I was sorely wanted. Desperately so. And when my mother finally had me after 10 years of infertility, she was damn sure going to have the child that *she* envisioned. I was controlled to the point of emotional abuse. I was going to be the perfect daughter (in her eyes), come hell or high water. It was suffocating.

    So I empathize with you in that forgiveness is hard to come by.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Your experiences probably mirror my sisters. By 12 years old, she stopped going out with friends. Mum always expected us to sit on the floor and play quietly. My sister sat on the floor painting and drawing until she left home at 18years old.

      The anger is suffocating and more than likely holds me back from healing.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment

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