T is back.
When I sat down she asked me if I wanted to be angry or sad. I smiled – but said neither. Or maybe nothing? Everything felt awful and numb at the same time. I knew that we only had this session and one more before our next gap because of my wedding. 100 minutes altogether. Then 95…90….
I’m finding it hard to remember all of the rest of the session. I was so aware of Little and Sass both being present, as well as adult me. T asked me what I needed from the session and I kept saying I didn’t know. She understood – adult me needed time to chat and reconnect, Little probably could have done with an hour of cuddles, whereas Sass probably needed to have a massive tantrum, shouting and screaming and crying. So who wins? T told me I choose as I own them all… but I don’t really. Mostly it feels like they own me.
So we did a bit of everything. Adult me talked a little about how hard these few weeks have been. Sass got to complain about the unfairness of life and how cross she was about being abandoned (and how much she despises T’s kids, despite them probably being perfectly nice people…). And Little got her cuddle.
I talked about my fears that I’ve done the wrong thing with therapy. I know that if I hadn’t done this work, I would ultimately have killed myself so I know that therapy has been literally life saving. But I worry that for Little and Sass… maybe I sold it to them wrong. I feel like maybe I promised them, myself, that T would be able to right the awful wrongs of my childhood. That T would smooth over the cracks, she’d tick the boxes that were left unticked for me as a child. T can never be my mother (she won’t adopt me, which she says is impossible because I’m an adult but deep down I know she wouldn’t if I was a child either, and Little IS a child and so feels this as a very deep personal hurt). The damage is done and T can do much, but she can’t erase that.
We talked about the unfairness that this brings. It feels awful – beyond awful, torturous, agonising, a daily small death – that the gaping hole cut open by all that loss cannot be filled. It feels unbearably unfair that my ultimate therapy goal is that I will learn to be okay to be left. When I said this, T said that it is more about me learning to be okay to leave her, like I managed for a few weeks last summer. That made me cry though. I don’t want to be able to learn to leave, either. I want to stay.
It feels unfair that when adults become aware of a child alone, they would find a parent. If the child’s parent couldn’t step up, they would look for a substitute. We would let that child call the new person mummy and hopefully the adults would do everything in their power to enable that child to find a new safe person. But because I’m an adult, because nobody looked closely enough to spot the abandonment when I was a child, the expectation for me is that I learn to live without. I have found myself a safe person, but I’m an adult so I don’t get to start again. The expectation is that I will learn to live with the loss. I will learn to live without.
(I’m not going to lie, knowing one of T’s children is not biologically hers makes this a million times harder. I live with a constant sense of not being good enough. I know the logistical reasons, the logical answers and the difficulties even when children manage to find a new safe person…but I cannot truly hold those feelings. They are totally overpowered by the belief that maybe if I am good enough, like T’s kid, she’d let me be hers. And then, by being hers, I would never hurt again.)
T asked if it is okay for it to be good enough. When I’m less raw, good enough is MORE than good enough. I only have to flick back through this blog to be reminded of all the ‘good enough’ things T does. She’s loving and giving and kind and warm and I have so much evidence of that. She has filled me with so much goodness. She is more than good enough and sometimes, her support and connection is good enough for me to be okay. Today it’s not, though.
Times like this cause an almost indescribable feeling. I can be close to her, we can talk or sit together or hold hands and I can listen to her heartbeat and she can hold me tightly and in times like now, it doesn’t satisfy the gaping void. It doesn’t satiate the curse of the previously abandoned child. Driving home tonight I was ranting at my best friend and between us we agreed that the only way I know this feeling would be calmed is if I was cocooned by her. Encased. Surrounded. Protected from everything else around me because nothing could reach me without passing through her. She could never leave me on my own because we would be merged into a fantastical hybrid which would ensure she could never leave. Like in the womb, E said. Yeah. Just like that.
There is no way of that fantasy becoming possible. I sometimes get close, when I cover myself entirely in T’s blanket and my whole world becomes a stunning shade of green and I think of her and I feel safe. I always have to come out eventually though, and of course, she isn’t really there. Really, I’m just a kid making a blanket fort, trying to find myself a person who I can call home.
Leaving was really awful. I wasn’t present anymore and everything felt cold and my ears were ringing and T was asking me to describe her diary to me to ground me and bring me back to her. She must have gone to get her diary and I couldn’t listen properly but I know she was trying to give me times we could talk. In the end she told me to just hold on to the knowledge that she could make some time for me every day this week if I needed it. I don’t know what I need right now but that has been helpful tonight. She told me earlier in the session that this isn’t for me to overcome by myself…we will work through this together.
I got home and then burst into hysterical tears when asked what I wanted for dinner! I eventually settled for squashed banana on toast (because Little remembers that as a happy meal daddy used to make) and now I’m in bed crying my eyes out.
This too shall pass and we will get back to a place where good enough is genuinely good enough. What I wouldn’t give tonight, though, to be cocooned within her. To feel, even for just a few minutes, like the lost child who has a found their new safe person to call home. There is nothing I wouldn’t give. x