These last few weeks since starting psychotherapy, my head and the overall therapy process have been feeling somewhat disorganised and chaotic. The same old childhood memories are bubbling to the surface, all at once. The emotions are much the same as they were at five years old.
Childhood trauma has always been a regular feature in my quest for “healing”. It’s like I’m circling an endless maze of traumatic memories, feeling and responding with the exact same self-blame and guilt.
My Therapist, Paul, said that a common issue amongst people who have experienced childhood abuse is guilt. Even if we’ve been brutally and inappropriately beaten for being “bad”, there’s this warped perception that we “deserved it”. Our early developing minds believe it is our behaviour that caused them to be angry; we made them beat the shit out of us.
My own anger and guilt follow wherever I go. All these years I believed this is what stood in the way of having a decent relationship with my parents. Once again, I was in a warren of self-blame; it was MY fault we didn’t get along… my fault for baring the painful scars… my fault for being estranged from them for large chunks of time.
This was a text from Mum last week.
“But you said you would visit Scotland soon.
Well, it looks like we will never see each other again”
Somehow it seems to forget that we’ve been estranged for such a long time. In 15 years, we’ve met for coffee twice in London. It denies the endless problems we’ve had since birth and pretends that a family get together would be a happy event and even a natural occasion for us to enjoy.
Today in therapy, I came to the realisation that the missing ingredient in my healing is that I’m desperate to appease them rather than find peace for myself.
I have carried this weird misconception that healing might somehow improve ailing feelings towards them. Maybe I would like them more… want to spend time in their company or feel good about moving nearer to help them in old age.
Approaching healing with a hope it might make me feel better about my parents is holding onto the same guilt and self-blame that overwhelmed me as a child. What we all fail to understand is that they were responsible for creating their own relationships with their children and grandchildren. It’s hardly surprising that no one is flocking around their front door.
Paul was wonderful at talking me through this realisation. The more he reflected previous sessions back to me, the more I began to feel solid ground again.
After staring motionless at the floor for a few minutes, Paul asked if I was feeling down or a sense of relief.
“It feels like I’m rising from the chaos”