The Early Years

Therapy, session 2 – Preparation for EMDR (Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing). Reflections.

Around 7/8 years old, staying with my maternal grandmother during a school holiday

What brought me to seek therapy at the age of 49 and 3 years 3 months into my alcohol free life has become clear. First, let me tell you it’s not coming from a place of self pity, or brokenness. I finally feel powerful and strong enough to face this stuff and I’m coming to it with joy really, just a sense of wanting to tie up some loose ends and complete my midlife awakening.

I’ve had over three years of not pushing my emotions and feelings back down with a substance. They were bubbling to the surface in an uncontrollable way… tears, tears and more tears. ‘Oh it’s my hormones’ is what I kept telling myself, a convenient side step from reality because they weren’t irrational tears, there has been a rawness and deep sadness behind them. Besides, my hormonal episodes look a lot more like ‘Don’t fucking touch me or come near me.’ and ‘You’re breathing too loudly, please stop!.’ and telling my beautiful innocent dogs to ‘fuck off and stop following me around the house you fury little bastards!!’….honestly the noise of their claws, no… nails? What? What do dogs have at the end of their toes, I mean feet… fuck it you know what I mean. (I think it’s claws but that sounds too cat like). Well the tears I have now are something different. They are the tears and sadness I have been holding in and pushing down every since I can remember; they are the anger, the frustration, the loneliness and the fear.

I have always cried a lot, at tv programmes, adverts, music, sad stories, other peoples misfortune, but not my own stuff. I never spoke to anyone about how sad I felt growing up without a father. How difficult it was being almost an only child, because of the age gap between me and my siblings, with a mum who was emotionally unstable, worried and anxious most of the time. How the constant worry over having enough money and getting by, cast a shadow over us.

By the age of 14 when my periods started I told my mum I wanted a hysterectomy as soon as I was old enough. Quite frankly the business of having children looked so fucking stressful I didn’t want anything to do with it. I wasn’t joking, growing up and having kids seemed to me to be one of the most worrisome, heavy and inconvenient things that could happen to a woman. Then in my late 20’s nature took over and having a whole and happy family of my own became my driving force. This time maybe i could get it right, i had to. I would make it happen.

Yes there were happy moments and good times in my childhood, of course there were… but the over riding belief I had was that I was an inconvenience, that my presence and the need to feed and clothe me was making life difficult for the person whom I loved most in the whole world. What’s more, my darker emotions were not welcome or allowed… only smiles please. Keep smiling, keep laughing, keep it light, don’t rock the boat or the boat will go down and then where will I be?

I adored my mum, it was just her and me for a lot of my childhood because there was almost a decade between me and my two older siblings. She was my rock, but my rock was unstable, it was fractured and I had to tread so very lightly and do the best I could to keep it in place. To ensure that I didn’t step too hard and find that it broke underneath me. That was my job and it became my way of life.

The question in today’s therapy session then was ‘what is the block, the thing that is holding you back from reaching your full potential?’ or words to that effect. My answer: ‘feeling that everyone else’s happiness is my responsibility and should come before my own’.

Preparation for EMDR, to come up with an image of a person/creature/character who represents Nurture another for Protection and one for Wisdom and to imagine my ‘container’ a place where I can store something out of reach, where it will be safe and I will be safe from it. This was harder than I imagined, I drew a blank on my nurturing figure but for protection it was easy… my big sister and our rescue dog. I’ve settled on the Greek Goddess Gaia for my nurturing figure, why not hey – lets go BIG!! I love the name Gaia, earth goddess, mother nature… it is perfect… and oh hello, new tattoo idea springing to mind. Finally for Widsom, damn thats hard, Sir David Attenborough perhaps, nah – I bet he’s busy providing wisdom left right and center. Tara Brach then, she is so soothing, centered and calm. She is wise, my kind of wise. If you don’t know Tara Brach’s work here is a link to her guided meditation the RAIN of Self Compassion which was new to me this year, I have my Addictive Behaviours Coach training and Kate and Mandy of Love Sober to thank for that introduction. If you’ve never done a guided meditation or pass things like this off as ‘woowoo hippy shit’, don’t. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. If you are interested in helping yourself to feel whole in any way, this kind of practice is so worthwhile.

So there we have it, I’ve got my A team ready to go! Bring. It. On

Since i started writing this post i had a parenting moment that i was able to bring this awareness to. I made my 16 year old angry, which is actually pretty rare. He spoke to me later and apologised, I kissed his forehead.

“You know, i don’t mind if you get angry with me, it’s ok. I know you love me. And, just so know… you are entitled to all of your feelings you don’t ever have to hide them. If you need to slam a door and play loud music for a bit that’s ok. It’s just a sign that we still have something to work through. I will be here when you’re ready, loving you like i always do.”

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