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Posts Tagged ‘teen’

Trigger warning- references to teen sexual abuse and a part’s way of dealing with such

So, I have been having a very hard time over the last several weeks. I have been dealing with difficult material in regards to my father in addition to some anniversary effects related to my grandfather. What I haven’t mentioned so far is that my dog has developed untreatable cancer. She has a 6 inch tumor in her right lung that has metastasized to multiple organs. It is a very aggressive form of cancer and she doesn’t have long to live. There is an immense amount of grief over this impending loss in our household.

Therapy has been difficult. I have been encountering resistance from some parts to going to therapy. I hear wails of, “I don’t wanna go!” when I need to get up and get dressed so I can go to my sessions. As a result, I have started to be one or two minutes late regularly, sometimes even three or four minutes late, when in the past I have always been there when the previous client leaves her office. In addition, parts have been throwing up barriers more often, making it harder for Mama Bear and me to connect.

Last weekend, I wrote something which I sent by email to Mama Bear. It got to the core of what I am most ashamed of about my experiences with my father. I won’t go into all of the details, but if I can trust my mind, my dad continued to have sex with me until I was 15. At that point I was completely aware of how horribly wrong it was, but I also felt that I had no choice in the matter. I also was at a point developmentally when I was at an age where my body was more ready to feel sexual feelings and I normally would have been dealing with sexual thoughts and urges. A part of me seems to have developed to deal with the impossible stresses of everything that I was dealing with in regards to my dad in combination with the biochemical developmental stresses. For her, my father wasn’t my father, my father was ‘Him’. She didn’t think about what was going on, she just felt the sensations, because none of the rest of me could tolerate the terrible tension between the mental agony and the physical pleasure when my dad had sex with me at that age. It wasn’t always pleasurable, but he could make it very much so.

It has taken me years and years to get to the point where I can begin to look at this part and what her role was. From ‘my’ broader, more experienced, more compassionate point of view, I can start to see how such a part would have developed and how her presence would have helped to hold the rest of me together. Even with her there, bleeding off some of the strain, things could be almost unbearable. At the same time, though, my mind wants to reject the very possibility of her existence and say that it just seems like something out of a sick fantasy.

Once I told Mama Bear about this part by email, I fell apart even more. I remember that I called her over the weekend because “there is a part that you haven’t met in person yet who needs to know that you will listen to her.” My sleep deteriorated to an even worse state than it had been before. I felt like I was wandering around in a dissociative fog with a constant underlying layer of terror.

I got to my session 5 minutes late that Tuesday, which is later than I have ever been, unless I am in another appointment that is running late or something. The reason that I was so late was because I had been dealing with a swirl of parts that desperately did not want to go to the session. I walked into the session still partially in that dissociative swirl. A corner of me noticed that something seemed to be kind of off with Mama Bear, but the rest of me was caught in that swirl and ready to talk with her about the sleep issues which where making me feel pretty desperate.

The session was kind of odd. We made some progress, but I never felt fully there the entire session and that corner of me felt that something was off with Mama Bear the entire time, even though that part was far enough back that I couldn’t have articulated the concern at that time.

That evening, though, I became more and more certain that something was terribly wrong between me and Mama Bear. I was sure that she was angry with me about something. Then I realized that I was certain that I had either completely disgusted her with what I had emailed to her or that she had decided that what I had said was so unbelievable that she was going to turn her back on me. I was sorry that I had trusted her with what I had written and certain that I had messed up our relationship. I felt terribly alone and started to think that I wouldn’t even be able to ever see her again. Writing this out now, I can see how far fetched these fears were. For one thing, after I sent her that email, when I spoke to her on the phone, she reassured my parts that she would talk to absolutely any parts that wanted to talk to her, no matter what they had to say. She knew what she was freely committing to. Even if she did not believe that things happen exactly that way, she has said before that confusion in parts isn’t a reason to reject them, it’s another reason to help them.

However, on Tuesday evening, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I was too caught up in my fear of abandonment. I was thinking clearly enough to recognize that my thinking was distorted, though. I realized that I could either check out with her whether there really was a problem or I could let myself become more and more miserable and certain that things were over with Mama Bear.

I did the right thing, I sent her an email, although it was late enough that it didn’t reach her until the next morning, right before she left for work.

“I wrote a whole long email that was mostly about other things which I’m not sure whether to send or not.

I also asked a question in a much more sophisticated way than I’m going to now. Am I on trouble? I feel in trouble. Something feels wrong with you and did in the session. Some part, I guess a protector just wants to hide myself away from you because I’m afraid that I’m being rejected.

And I’m sorry that I’m so much trouble, that I can’t just be quietly cooperative and easy to deal with.”

Her response was:

I just got this and can not respond further right now other than to say no; you are not in trouble with me. I think that is what you were asking. You may be upset with me for redirecting the discussion when you were unable to speak. You are not sleeping well and there are other ways to help you, other than to go deep into all the parts.

Her response helped. At least I had her assurance that nothing was terribly wrong, but I still had the feeling that something was off.

A bit later, she texted me:

C, this may be an opportunity to ask adult/present self whether I was being hurtful.. If not, bring some reassurance to the child.

To which I replied:

Hi. No you weren’t unkind. But something felt off the whole session. Can believe it was from….. My disorientation from dealing with so much inner turmoil from the get go.

And her final reply:

OK, we will discuss more. For now, use your adult/present self to help yourself calm. And, yes, much going on for you. Come as much…..on time as possible so that we have as much time as possible.

Aha. There had been something. She had been bothered to some extent by my being late. Mystery solved. Normally I would feel ashamed for “getting in trouble” about something like this, but this time I was able to look at it and see it as a normal, everyday problem. It was a relief to have it be something that I could relatively easily do something about. After all, I agree with her that we need every minute of each session. Ideally, the sessions would be 15-30 minutes longer.

I had indeed correctly sensed that something was off, but I was so primed by the huge shame topic that I was ready to attribute any relational issues with Mama Bear to what I had shared with her. The reality was that what I had shared had not created any problems between us from her side, but it certainly had created problems from my side. While the rupture between us had been a perception that pretty much was all in my head, it still had been painful and left me feeling less secure in my relationship with her.

I could either stay where I was and wait until the next session to try to get things on sounder footing again, or I could take a chance and share some of the thoughts that I had previously written out and see where that took me. I have the luxury of having met Mama Bear over 20 years ago and while the work that we have done over the last 3 years is far deeper than anything we ever did the previous times we worked together, I have seen time and again that she has my best interests at heart, despite whatever my parts might fear. I decided to take the risk.

For some reason, Mama Bear decided to write back more than she normally does. We used to get into trouble with my misinterpreting her email responses, so she decided that it would be best to keep any meaty responses to our sessions. This time she responded to each point that I made though and her genuine affection for me and wish more my well being came through clearly. Somehow, that response just eased all of the worries that my parts had left. What I had told her really hadn’t changed the way that she felt about me. My fear was that I was going to be left all alone with my shame, but the reality is that I am not at all alone.

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