I went on a training day this week about new technology. One of the areas we covered was ‘augmented reality’. I’m not an expert but this to me means looking through a screen (like a phone or a tablet) and seeing something different to what is actually there. Space shuttles, mountain ranges, skeletons… with a few clicks of a button, these appear on the table before you as if they are totally real.
When I was driving home I thought that this is pretty much what is upsetting me about therapy at the moment. Seeing and feeling things that aren’t really there. That can’t really be there.
T was okay on Thursday. I remember very little about the session. I know I panicked when I had to leave and T asked to hold my hand for a bit before I had to go. We talked a bit about my desire to have a baby soonish and how thinking about that has brought up worries about how I will cope with medical interventions etc, and also a lot of grief that she won’t be involved in my children’s lives.
Then I met with GP and we also had a (more detailed) conversation around the practicalities of support I am likely to need. The first step for me with this is to register with a GP near my home.
For over a year I haven’t lived in the surgery catchment area. I’ve been willing to travel and it hasn’t been a problem so far (although I have felt a little bit naughty when lying about my address for appointments)… but if I want to have a baby, I will need a GP near to me.
GP was gorgeous about this. He promised me (and I believe him) that he will always make time for me, that me moving wouldn’t stop any contact but that I would have to be a private client and he would need to inform my new gp of any really important things. That doesn’t matter to me – I rarely see GP for genuine medical things now, mostly I see him because he strengthens my soul. So… We agreed that we would both have a look and see which GP might be a good one for me to move to. He said he would ring or email them before I saw them to explain my background. That felt supportive. I feel like now things are mostly okay it might be easy for someone to not believe me…but I need to be believed, always, because there are so many inevitable triggers in a medical setting and I can fly from calm to hysterical if triggered. Especially by a stranger.
GP genuinely was really gorgeous about it but I could still feel myself going floaty and dissociative. I think I said I didn’t feel like I was there anymore and he offered to talk about something else but I didn’t want to because how am I ever going to have a child if I can’t even cope with someone NOT leaving me? I should have felt the boundary and stopped… I felt horribly lost and panicked and dissociative all weekend and poor GP had many texts from me begging him to stay, to still love me and not to leave me. T had the same. Oops 😦
It’s hard to separate out what this panic actually is. It feels like a terrifying fear that they will leave me… but i know they won’t. I trust them both. It’s more to do with my own children.
It’s no secret that I am desperate for a baby. I’m also totally terrified that I will damage my children as much as I was damaged. I’m terrified I will cause their broken attachments…. that they will end up in therapy for years like me because I didn’t manage to keep them safe. I want to be a mum so badly but I am horribly worried about the damage I might cause. Anyone who’s been abused hears the awful ‘facts’ said about abused children…. how they become abusive adults, how there is a cycle of abuse etc etc. I cannot be that mother. I cannot damage my children.
So much of what we do is based on the modelling we received as infants. The model of parenting I have shown as a child was horrendous. But then… enter T and GP. They have both separately (and partially together, despite having never met each other!) modelled excellent ‘parenting’ with me. All those things I was desperate for as a child (safe boundaries, predictable outcomes, someone to cuddle me, someone to be proud of me, someone to guide me…), they do all that in spades. Working with them has made me a more securely attached person. They’ve made me more stable, more secure, less anxious, less impulsive, more considerate and generally just righted a lot of the wrongs. Not all. Never all. But a lot.
This is my augmented reality now. I am so incredibly blessed to have met two people who give so much of themselves to help ‘parent’ me. Most of the time, I live in my augmented reality world where they love me and care about me and I’m a priority for them and when things are good I run to tell them and when things are bad I run to be comforted by them and generally I am secure. I have this (albeit slightly bizarre) patchwork family that I hold onto and it works.
It’s not real though. They’re not real, not in the way I allow myself to believe. My wedding was a painful reminder of that. I got married and neither of them were there. They were both so lovely and T especially did all she could to be a part of my day… but they weren’t there. And when I have children, they won’t be part of their lives either. Of course they won’t. They’re not ‘real’.
I trust them both. I know that I will hopefully have my baby and I trust that they will both be genuinely pleased for me. I know that when that baby is tiny they would both let me bring her to a session. I know they will both love to meet her. But that’s not what augmented reality me wants. AR me wants them to know my children as they grow. AR me wants them to read my kids stories and take them to the park and tell them off when they’re naughty. AR me wants T to talk to my children about their emotions and how it’s okay to be themselves… AR me wants GP to teach my children the importance of kindness and being respectful. AR me wants them to be an integral part of my kids lives and they won’t. Of course they won’t. I know that. AR me doesn’t, though.
They’ve raised me (they’re still raising me. They probably always will be). But because they’re not REAL, because they’re separated from me by a professional boundary I won’t ever be able to break down… They won’t help raise my children.
My children will have my real parents as their grandparents. I feel sure that they will be good grandparents but they also got things wrong with me that they will never be allowed to get wrong with my kids. There are beliefs that I don’t agree with. They have ways that I won’t follow. But because they added egg and sperm together to make me, they get grandparent rights. The two people who actually raised me from broken, damaged little girl to half-successful adult, wife and hopefully soon mother… They don’t count. They only exist in my augmented reality.
I know that the answer to this is to just be so grateful for person they’ve made me into… And know that they WILL influence my children, through me. Every time I choose to do something my way rather than the way I was shown as a child, they will have had a part in that. And that’s beautiful and not to be underestimated… But it doesn’t make the grief feel any better, and I just don’t really want to hear it. It is similar to telling me I will eventually learn to soothe myself without them. That’s probably true but that’s not what I want… I want them to always love me and soothe me, and I want them to be tangible, real people for my children – so my children are protected from the world so much better than I was.
I feel really shitty because how selfish is that? They’re incredible people who give me so much yet I’m sulking because they won’t adopt me and let me pretend forever? It makes me despise their own REAL children who will get what I want without probably even ever being aware of how lucky they are. It makes me into this hideous, jealous, evil person who I hate.
It makes me angry that nobody saved me when I was young enough to legitimately find a family like my augmented reality one. I know the realistic prospects for children taken into care…. but that knowledge doesn’t help my jealousy for T’s child (T is not birth mum) who’s own children get T as their grandmother. Nobody saved me and that forced me into an adult world where I don’t get to be saved. It forced the family I so desperately want into augmented reality.
T made me absolutely howl down the phone at her this week by telling me she wouldn’t know my children but she would always be by my side. It stung like hell to hear it said so clearly. I should have heard the positive but I didn’t, I just heard the ruined fantasy. I’ve always known it’s not REAL but it hurt all the same.
The rest of the week has passed with many tears and split skin where blades are helping me make sense of emotions too big for me to truly understand. I’ve still got a few days until I see T and it feels unbearable.
I don’t know how to make this feel okay. It feels like an illusion has been shattered… even though I’ve always known deep down. It feels like being left, being abandoned with every heartbeat and I’m totally miserable with it. I don’t know how to explain it to anyone in real life because to them, T and GP aren’t real. They’re faceless professionals. I don’t know how to explain it to anyone who doesn’t have insecure attachments because it cannot make sense to securely attached people. I don’t know what to do.
I’m sorry for being so selfish. This drawing reminded me of me. A little girl wanting the moon. X