I find this kind of experience incredibly difficult to understand. The two group leaders seldom recognise when I am struggling, or maybe their professional opinion doesn’t believe a rescue mission would help.
During last week’s group, I wanted to discuss losing faith in myself, but as the other members were talking back and forth, I started to feel that their issues were more important, more interesting, than mine were.
Whenever this type of experience unfolds, it feels as though my body transforms into a cold dark shell, with no feelings, no emotions, or a voice, almost like watching myself from behind. The inattentive nature of the Therapists only adds to that sense of exclusion and I feel worthless.
Maybe I need someone to connect with, ask questions about what I think and feel in that moment. I am either ashamed or too vulnerable to ask for help – again – because it sounds as though I’m being a selfish brat, demanding undivided attention, and expecting everything to ‘revolve around me’.
When we were growing up, my sister and I didn’t have an opinion or a free will. My mother used to bemoan, “You had a strong willpower that was difficult to break,” and, “It’s always got to be about you.”
Mum and Dad are both narcissistic type people and “perfect” in every sense of the word. Their way is the only way, which they enforced with violence and intimidation throughout our childhood and emotional blackmail into adulthood.
While my sister learned to comply early in life, I was always the rebel and ultimately became an easy target of all three of them. I suppose it was safer for my sister to join forces with the abusers, so I grew up with a strong sense of those three against me, and nothing much changed with time, other than their tactics for exerting expectations.
I talked to my Therapist Paul yesterday. It’s becoming quite clear that there’s a strong connection between the relationship I have with my narcissistic parents and the experiences of feeling excluded in groups.
I told Paul about my secret lifetime belief in my own heartless selfishness… “I am a selfish man who is inconsiderate of other people’s needs and `wants everything to revolve around me.” I have carried this distorted guilt around for too many years.
So, how do I resolve this? This is what group therapy is all about. It represents our mini world where the problems we encounter are similar to the ones we experience in our personal lives. The theory encourages an open discussion about my feelings and as I begin to change within the group, so do my relationships with people on the outside. I only wish it were that easy.
Tomorrow morning is group therapy and for the first time in nine-months, I am dreading it. I don’t trust or connect with these group Therapists, so I cannot be certain of their support if I flounder. Nevertheless, if I want to challenge these demons, then I need to find my own voice to break down that painful sense of exclusion.