My Therapist was on sick leave for three weeks. The group therapy is still each Friday, however, an uncertain break from Paul, so early on in the programme, was a little unsettling. The uncertainty almost drove me out of my mind, “would Paul really come back”? I couldn’t be sure.
So far, my overall experience of the programme is very positive. In the first few weeks, I was able to delve into some old wounds with Paul and then reveal a “secret” part of myself.
I first started this blog without really looking at others. The initial intention was simply to write. There were never any expectations of becoming part of a community, let alone gaining a small audience of readers.
I can’t even recall those early posts. What I do remember is finding other bloggers who are brave enough to share very personal and extremely difficult parts of their lives. Their courage and humility have been life changing and inadvertently set me free from my own secrets.
One year on… 83 post and 2,035 comments later… I’m in a very different place. While it’s liberating, breaking the silence to face those demons feels terrifying.
Paul’s back and during this week’s session, I struggled to find my feet again and remember what exactly we had been discussing. I didn’t want to be there. I’ve been comfortably detached from the pain.
It didn’t take Paul long to suggest that the uncertainty I struggled with in recent weeks, is similar to childhood. Was it really sexually abuse? Did our parents really emotionally and physically abuse us? Is our family really dysfunctional? Can I really come to terms with this soul destroying conflict of opinion?
When we were growing up, fear, terror and beatings were so regular, we didn’t know any better. It never occurred to us that there were actually other children who didn’t fear their parent’s. Mum would regularly bombard us with manipulative statements, “you don’t know how lucky you are.” “You have the best home….best parents….clean bed and food on the table….”
On other days, her verbal diarrhoea would turn sour, “You fucking wee bastard…” “You will burn in hell for being a bad boy…” “I’m going to put you in a home for bad boys…” If we hurt ourselves playing, she would proclaim, “That’s God punishing you for being bad…”. To an adult, those statements are cruel and ridiculous, but for a child, they are very real and carry an enormous conviction of guilt. Beatings were one thing, vicious words quite another.
Subsequently, I was always at odds between her version of reality and my own. We still harbour similar differences and that’s probably why the strained relationship exists only by basic text and email. Not only is it difficult to forgive someone who can’t see the truth, but it’s near impossible to pretend it didn’t happen.
Towards the end of my session with Paul, we then touched on my issues with detachment. Hiding away from the world in the last 15 years, is my way of detaching from all the painful emotions.
Of course, I didn’t intend for it to become as extreme, it was only a tactic to avoid further heartache. Today, there’s a deep sense of regret that the past was allowed to define the person I became.
During the session, I started to experience these strange sensory flashbacks, which I kept to myself. They stayed throughout Friday and Saturday. There were no specific associated memories; only a familiar mix of painful emotions. It felt similar to tuning a radio into a particular station, only this time, I am tuning into the horrors of the past.