Individual Therapy – Ready to begin

thOWWA8YD4Yesterday afternoon was the first individual therapy with Paul since our two week Christmas break. It was nice to see him and felt even better to be getting back into our routine. After a twenty-day gap, my challenge was to get the therapy-head back in gear, so I used the session as a time of festive reflection.

One of the worst tasks at this time of year is sending special ‘Mum and Dad’ Christmas cards. We should forget and pretend by false messages portrayed in personalised cards.

thO9O2E86HIt’s the same with festive telephone calls. We might not speak for twelve months, but somehow Christmas and New Year should be a time when the “children” visit or phone their parents. This may well happen in a happy functional family, but I struggle to partake in the make-believe.

In recent months, therapy has been unravelling a traumatic childhood with both parents at the helm. This year, it seemed two-faced and false to switch from feeling repulsed by their behaviour to pretending they are suddenly wonderful parents for Christmas time.

When I first started therapy, memories of childhood were very traumatic. Recalling them would leave me trembling uncontrollably in a shock-like state. I thought they were the root of all my problems and imagined painstakingly going through each one, searching for healing. There were posts in this blog that put considerable emphasis on a need to forgive the abusers before I could truly “move on.” I believed this needed to be the central focus of therapy. I do not know when that belief changed, but it did.

th06GSCXCDDuring this process, something quite significant happened, but it was so subtle, I barely even notice the change. Apart from my chronic rumination spontaneously ending – I mean completely ending – the guilt and self-blame attached to my parents, seems to have almost completely disappeared.

Yes, my therapy is still about healing from the past, but my parents are not central focus. This is about making peace with the memories and who I am today, but I do not necessarily need to make peace with them.

With all this in mind, I decided not to send my parents a card or to fulfil those traditional festive phone calls. Mum is your passive aggressive master and texts can be her most powerful tool. However, surprisingly, she seemed quite happy to receive a text rather than a call on the two most important days of the year.

I was not being a mean scrooge and neither did my actions carry a tinge ofthUBRKXTZI resentment. Something about it felt right. I cannot say it felt good because it is still sad… tragic… that we have come to this, but for the first time in my life, I was completely free of guilt and self-blame, and that did feel good… reeeeal good.

This year was about acknowledging and owning how I feel. For the first time in my life, it did not matter how other people might perceive me. Something about all of this feels as if we are right back at basics. Ready to begin

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25 thoughts on “Individual Therapy – Ready to begin

  1. Ellen

    Congrats on not feeling guilty anymore. Seems like solid progress. I’ve actually found I now see relationships differently than I did – it’s really a big change for me also. Cheers.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Ellen… It does feel like solid progress, although I still kinda mistrust it. I imagine guilt will raise its ugly head again sometime. I can also sense the difference in your attitude towards relationships… isn’t therapy wonderful!!

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  2. Lauren

    This is so powerful, Cat!! This is and should be about how *you* feel — it’s high time that your feelings be considered. And it seems like it worked for both of you since your mom wasn’t upset (which even if she had been, again, this needs to be about *you*). I’m proud of you.

    (p.s. I’m not changing my blog — laurenafterdark was a blog I had initially planned to start way back in 2010 and for some reason wordpress was using that as my primary. it’s deleted now so all is well, lol.)

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  3. Priceless Joy

    Isn’t it amazing how wonderful it feels when that baggage of self-blame and guilt are no longer our burden? That guilt fellow is mighty heavy to carry. Can’t say he doesn’t jump onto my back once in awhile but I feel strong enough now to throw him off. I feel a peace in your writing that I have not felt before. (I hope I am right about that). I think that 2015 is going to be an amazing year for you Cat! I wanted to also tell you how beautiful the photographs are. Thank you for sharing them with us. 🙂 ((Hugs!!)) xo

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    1. Cat Post author

      Guilt is heavy and I imagine it will jump on my own back from time to time, but as you said, hopefully the strength is there to shrug it off. The absence of chronic rumination is a little odd, but it does create peace. I do hope you’re right about 2015 being a wonderful year. Glad you like the pics, they are of the west coast of Scotland

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      1. Priceless Joy

        The coast of Scotland is beautiful. Do you still live in Scotland? I have seen your strength blossom through the past year. I could see so much of myself in you. I feel sure you will be able to shrug that old buggar off! 😀 Hugs! xo

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  4. mincs1

    Your sentence …”it did not matter how other people might perceive me.” is amazing. It is something I aspire to. Many times I think I am there and then something will happen to humble me and show I still have much work to do. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  5. Hubert writes

    Cat its been a long time! I’m so glad to see where you are right now. It is a good place. Your right on with this post. It is good to be free from guilt and self blame! Man I’ve gone through some bad stuff since deleting my old blog servant word. Everything I have gone through, you have summed up on this post. Man my childhood was full of self destructive guilt and shame most due to my tiny little mother, and a highly over bearing self-righteous and proud family. People can and do absolutely destroy us at times. I wonder if I will ever recover enough to honestly know who I am.

    I pray for the very best year ever for you in 2015

    Hubert.

    Hubertsbest@wordpress.com

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Hubert…. so nice to hear from you. It sounds like we went through similar childhoods. People might destroy us, but they never destroy our ability to bounce back! Hope you’re well. I did try connecting to your blog, but it looks like you no longer have one. Thank you for dropping by

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      1. Hubert writes

        Hi Cat Here is my new blog link
        In my struggles I changed my old blog and forgot the changes I’d made so I was locked out too

        I have been finding out that I have lived most of my life with PTSD, and I have had to completely disown my family I have one brother and one sister left out of the entire clan who don’t try to make me crawl or walk on me. It took so long to understand

        https://hubertsbest.wordpress.com

        Try this link It should work TTYL

        Hubert

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  6. mandy

    This was a wonderful post, Cat. I loved that you were at the helm of the ship at the holiday time–did what you felt right. I remember so many years after I left home, going into the card section of the store when it was Mother’s/Father’s Day or any “festive” occasion, and searching through the syrupy Hallmark cards, all the words that didn’t fit my parents blurring together and me feeling nauseous. I’d buy one, sign it and hate myself for the hypocrisy. I APPLAUD your courage to be in control. Also, I loved what you said about the need to make peace with you, not them. Powerful post! 🙂

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  7. Finding Hope's Sunshine

    Keep going. Glad you got the break and now you can enjoy moving forward. Hey I got a question for you, when you see my last post do you see the picture of the bowl and the tea pot. When I am in the edit phase of the post they are there and then when I go to look at my post they are little x’s. I just wanted to know what others see. Thanks Meghan

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  8. manyofus1980

    Guilt can be an awful thing! I’m glad you did what you needed to do so that your guilt would lessen. You took care of you and your needs. Congrats. That’s never easy. So glad you made it through! XX

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