Anger with my therapist leads to deeper reflection

I found myself feeling a lot of anger towards my therapist, Kat yesterday.  The intensity of what my body goes through on any day and any night as a result of having recently had this tooth removed on the back of a traumatic head injury at occurred after a time I so needed family support and was once again denied it at the end of my marriage bites me hugely.  I feel like I have giant incisor like wounds from that bite lodged in my psychic flesh and over the past few nights of the eclipse I have been bang awake between 3 and 5 with all these powerful sensations coursing through my body as my mind has struggled to make sense of the tangled up jigsaw pieces of the past 17 years of struggle to find and make sense of my true feelings and find a centre of self in the messy conglomerate of energies within and without which like wild currents and eddies swirl this way and that, at times setting up huge surge like storms of ‘meness’ and then at other taking me down with the powerful centrifugal undertow of black inky sludge drowning me completely and making it hard to draw a free breath!!!

I am angry that Kat didn’t seem to even remember the piece of writing I actually read to her last Thursday, I had to read it all over again and I was feeling so tired,  she is my fucking therapist why can’t she remember, why doesn’t she take the time to read my blog before I go to a session so she can help me a bit, for fucks sake its only one hour and reading three or four blogs to catch up is exhausting because often when I write the feelings are there simmering away under the surface and only emerge when I read them in session which now that I write it just goes to show if she did read it then that wouldn’t happen so why am I getting so mad?  I still am because I have to work so fucking hard at times and there is so much to get through in session.

I do know why I am angry though.  This is old anger.  I have had fuck all help in my life in the way that really mattered.  I didn’t need money thrown at me, I needed a parent who got me, and was there emotionally not one who consistently abandoned me and then told me I was a late developer when I shared I got into sobriety.  Yeah Mum it was all my fault that I drank in a situation in which so many painful feelings were going down that I didn’t know how to deal with in the absence of support, after a major traumatic injury at 17 that I never got any help to deal with later only to be followed six months later by even less care available due to my sister’s aneurysm occuring with all the complications that followed all at a time I was trying to develop and mature.  Fuck That!!!

Yet even as I write this and consider my last post about the poor fit between a mother and child that leaves the child, lost, confused, split off from her body and feelings and lacking self containment and integrity of being I realise that I must accept my mother went through the same with her mother and so just passed down the wound. The anger is understandable that I feel but it wont help me unless I use it to drive a deeper understanding and also to set boundaries so that I don’t open up and share intimate emotional stuff she is likely to dismiss, deny or be confused about herself.

So its probably not really even my therapist I am really angry with but with the entire sad history of a child who came to not be able to understand, express, or even tolerate her own feelings and then became an addict, only to get sober and be told it was the result of ‘character defects’ which just reinforces the scapegoats idea fixee of being the ‘bad’, ‘wrong’ or damaged one, inherently flawed in some way.

I don’t actually remember in the rooms of AA being given any help to understand my own feelings.  I do remember sitting there in meetings and crying my eyes out as other’s shared from such a damaged split off place, full of self blame and self denigration.  It broke my heart in two.  And then in Al Anon meetings I got the askance looks from those trying to whip alcoholic loved ones into shape with their own self righteousness not getting for a moment the suffering or deeper dilemma the person concerned was going through.   I remember not being hugged after a meeting or reached out to after I shared from a deep well of pain.

I know it probably wasn’t their job but I do feel that once our buried feelings begin to open up in sobriety we need some form of encouragement and affirmation from others to assist us and yet even that hope or demand has hidden deep in the centre of it a hope or demand that is loaded with the sadness and longing of deep needs of long ago for the parent’s unconditional love, understanding, mirroring and acceptance of feelings; needs we never got to fully understand or contain.

In the end, as I was discussing with Kat yesterday, perhaps no one now can give us enough to make up for what we lost or never received in the first place.  Such an empty void or space in the place where we most needed to be met, filled up, affirmed, received  must be acknowledged, deeply understood and grieved.  And then we must meet the challenge of finding ways to fill our lives with the good energy of connection and love, learning how to understand, feel and tolerate all our feelings.   Being or becoming the good loving mother and father to ourselves so that ultimately we don’t end up re-enacting our emptiness, wound or anger on others or keep ourselves lost and trapped inside the deep dark desolate place of that emptiness.

I do wonder now, though, if we end up alone with no life partner and disconnected from so many friends due to the wounds we have carried driving so many away from us in misunderstanding how sweet can life be?  Can we really fill ourselves up from the life font or spring of spirit that was meant to flow within and through us and can that be enough?

Its obvious to me now that the hyper sensitivity that so many of us feel who were not met or received in the needed ways, grew larger in the absence of such love and care.  The burden of our so called ‘over sensitivity’  needs to be understood and we need to make sure that we don’t blame ourselves while at the same time learning to take responsibility for the wound we carry in terms of taking care of ourselves, learning to be open, vulnerable and honest to ask for what we need rather than demand it or get shitty when it doesn’t just come automatically.

We also need an awareness of the real failures of others which came from the limits of their own capacity to be fully embodied themselves, a wound that seems to plague so many in a technologically driven modern society that has grown increasingly removed from the natural and soulful elements in vibrant earthly life.   To begin to feel that love means that we open ourselves body and soul to the soft caress of the sun on skin, to the luxuriant feeling of sea water on flesh, to the sheer love that shines in our dog’s eyes as he runs to great us, to the joy of feeling our free spirit express its bounty through dance, movement and song.

It surely means we open up again to try to find the love and containment we missed from a loving mother’s arms in places and spaces where it does exist.  And it also means that we as ones who have been damaged and know the cause and consequences of such disconnection and damage make a stand in a world where sensitivity and depth is so often not championed.  For the pain our souls have suffered has perhaps highlighted for us how essential such an earthly connection to life, feeling and nature is and to the deeper realisation that the wound to the mother that leads to severing from body and deep feeling is one we end up enacting on the earth and ourselves over and over again if we don’t fully face, feel and speak for the painful and agonising consequences of its loss or absence.

Burn clean

The good thing about just being able to get your mess out there on the blank open page is that you get to see the convoluted workings of your own mind, emotions and insides.  That is how I am feeling today on the back of an inner conflict which sparked a lot of old trauma imprints.  I saw what it stirred up and then when that was out there I could look a little deeper to expectations that I see I have been carrying and are perhaps not at all realistic and the part others played in reaction to things I was doing and choices I was making and living out of unconsciously.  I then got to feel a bit ashamed about some stuff I posted.  But I am going to be an adult and just cop the feelings and keep it out there.  Others can see quite clearly that by no means have I got it together in any significant way.  That like everyone out there I really struggle on a daily basis with just being human, and keeping an open heart and mind.

I am still in many ways working my way out of the slimy sludge of my family of origin which was a family of great trauma too.  Its taken me some years to understand this.  In later years all of the female side of our family have struggled with physical, mental and emotional health issues due to faulty mothering.  I had a very deep insight and vision the other day in therapy when I was sharing a poem about my body and longing with my therapist about the wounding replayed in my last relationships.  As I was reading it I had a vision of a deep vortex spiralling down beneath my feet and swirling around inside the flow of the vortex were my mother and my ex partner’s mother and lower down their mothers and then their mother’s mothers and so on an on and on.  I was sharing with my therapist how I believe this vision was about both the vortex of trauma that Peter Levine speaks of as well as the spiral cadeaucus of the DNA helix that we all carry.

I feel we have all been collectively for some time living out this deep mother wound.  By some kind of coincidence yesterday I turned the television on to see a documentary about a woman aboriginal artist who was speaking about her sculptures of the Black Madonna which is a healing figure showing up in a lot of dreams collectively at the moment and is dealt with by Jungian analyst Marion Woodman in many of her books which centre around her work with those who have had deep mothering wounds..

Marion has worked with many people with addictions and eating disorders.  Her work focuses on the w0unding of childhood abandonment and other mother issues that is manifesting globally.  She speaks a lot about conscious femininity and also about the wounding of the patriachal age that we are coming out of and suffering the consequences of. It is very much evident in how our addictions run us, how woman are mistreated and how the soft feminine side in men also struggles to express and live.  It is also reflected in the way we as the human race abuse the planet and fall out of relationship with our own inner cycles. Could we be collectively struggling with the outworking of a deep wound of collective PTSD which is asking us to heal and become more conscious of the forces of love and hate that manifest in and through our conflicts, bodies, cells and lives?  This is Marion’s idea and it resonates with me.

I have just been reading a book called The Inner Voice of Love it is an interesting book which speaks of how wounds can run us and of how healing happens through our wounds being tended to lovingly and recognised. In one chapter the author, Paul Ferrini says its pointless to say positive affirmations, it is far more powerful to acknowledge where our negativity runs us and in fully feeling and consciously acknowledging it, release it.  He speaks of how we can run everywhere with our wounds looking for love, stuck in victim consciousness and forgetting that only being love, feeling love for ourselves in all our dark and light brings us back to love.  When I read this book which I have had for over 12 years I feel set straight and deeply refreshed in some way, sometimes I feel close to tears or tears well up in deep recognition which seem to wash my hurting soul clean.

Its funny that I named this blog at the outset Burn Clean and along the week of writing and rewriting I have come down to this idea of a soul being washed clean by deeper recognitions that come out of lovingly tending wounds.  Burning and burning something only ends in a pile of ash.  Maybe the water put on those ashes of spent anger turn the ash to clay and make them somehow workable.  These are metaphors I have used in a poem a while back which I will link to in this blog a little later.  I get anxious to post my posts often and later like to refine them.

Today I am feeling a little lonely and sad. My Mum was hospitalised today for the second time in emergency due to a problem with infections in her legs. Today it was my sister who stayed with her, the other day my Mum asked me to leave the hospital and get on with my own life.  I cried a lot.   “Please don’t push me away.”  I said.  It is coming up to the time of year I was pushed away over seas after my father died.  She expressed pain that her wounds are affecting me.  “But isn’t that love?’  I asked.  I did end up going and it may have been for the best as I had therapy that afternoon.  In the end Mum got a taxi home.

Today my sister stayed with my Mum. I need to remember my sister got more support from my mother than I ever did, from the earliest time I was pushed away and maybe that is my fate.  Maybe I should stop fighting it.  Being pushed away, left alone led me to addiction. I am now 23 years out of that.  Painful mother wounds linger.  My male female relationships have all ended, the last around this time of year too.  But when I feel the impact and the loneliness, you know what?  In some way the pain burns clean. When I cry I recognise the wound that goes back over many generation and did not just happen to me but to my ancestors too.

Maybe this fate is one I must carry and who knows if the future holds another love, another chance at connection for me and another chance to heal the wounds with someone where our defences against hurt don’t end up pushing us both away.

One thing I do know, though, as long as I connect to my own deep soul I am truly never alone. I am truly connected and I know I matter, to life, to love, to me and as much as I long to matter to someone else I know it is something I cannot demand but must flow naturally if it is meant to be.

The heart’s fire


The hearts fire

Burned me til I could not stand


Y0u spun me into a whirlwind vortex

Of the primal deep


It wasn’t only yours

Our fires knew each other

Here two souls met

On a deep  crucible journey

That led us to the heart’s chamber

Where two fires

Burned to so much to the ground

But something beautiful now

Is growing from these ashes

I understand more

Of anger’s ways

What you were trying to say

What I could not hear

Due to my own deafness

My ears and eyes are open now

My heart is aflame

With love

That has no beginning

And no end

I wont forget you


Or the lessons you taught me love

Understanding will burn

In the place anger and pain once lived

And I will know a deeper truth

In my heart

I could not live then

On getting lost

I tend to get lost without realising I have become lost.  I might not make any sense to some.  It can take a while for me to see that I am slowly loosing a boundary, beginning to empathise deeply with others but then moving deeply and projecting myself into their world, perhaps seeking attention, recognition or affection.  I am noticing lately that a part of me rushes forward energetically with a desire to get connected to that person very quickly.  This is when problems can start for me as I tend to invest them with a lot of power and put myself behind the eight ball.  It is a very subtle dynamic and it must be a sign of my emotional growth and recovery that I am beginning to notice that this is what I do.

I am beginning to realise it all stems back to my primary relationship with Mum and Dad and my early bonding experiences which were unstable and subject to lots of changes and chaos.  I also have an experience of being very small and alone and looking around for someone and finding no one.  Accidents would then happen, or I would get bored and get up to mischief.  I would also get very confused.

One other deeply primal imprint I think concerns my older sister’s romance and marriage which took her away overseas when I was only 3, she was the one person who spent consistent time with me, and later, as as teenager, when she returned she took me for holidays.  Mum and Dad always worked and never took any time off apart from 2 weeks at Christmas, but even then everyone was older and I was left in the car alone for hours while they went into the golf club for drinks.

When Judy returned we had lovely holidays together but only for a week or so and as she lived in another town I had to go home then, I remember being so sad and wishing something would happen so I could stay with her and her family.  Later she drank a lot and was encouraging me to drink too, from my early teens onward, it wasn’t a very healthy dynamic.

Anyway I am now becoming more and more aware on a bodily level of a deep void and hunger within me from these times and from the fact my way of coping was to look to addictions as a substitute.  I see I carried that hunger most especially into my last relationship and my pain over parental disconnecting and emotional abandonment was played out within it.

A lot of grief is around and within me over the current period.  I am becoming aware of father hunger, which has been raised by making a tentative connection with someone at a group meeting on the weekend.  I had asked for the person’s number and he had given it to me.  I wanted to call but I was very aware of not connecting from a place of hunger and emptiness, especially at a painful time of year connected with my Dad’s illness and sudden death, as well as with my sobriety birthday.

Yesterday I found myself on You Tube listening to old songs from the 70s, the time of my adolescence when Dad and I did connect sometimes and crying and crying and crying. And I cried a lot today after receiving a text from my new friend telling me of meetings he is going to over the next few days.  I felt so raw.  I felt so scared to connect.  What if I cry?  What if I break down?  In my mind are all the memories of being abused by my narcissistic ex when I broke down then, it hurts so much to think of how mean he could be.

Funny how the Higher Power works though.  Yesterday just after listening to 7 or 8 of my favourite 70s songs, my sister’s youngest son rang me.  We had the most honest and connected conversation.  I was able to tell him what I was going through about Dad and even cried about my ex’s treatment of me. I told him how much I have been beating myself up lately too.  He just listened and understood.  It was so healing to talk to him.

I feel sure all of this grief is perfectly natural. In a way it is a big blessing to be able to feel it.  Last night I watched a documentary made by UK rapper Professor Green on his father’s suicide.  Prof G. was looking for reasons his father, who was an inconsistent presence in his life, may have taken his life.  What he found was so sad and moving.  What came out of this doco for me though was, that in the end he just needed to cry, all the seeking for answers and reasons of course was necessary but not the essential work of healing.  The need to feel his feelings around it was more important.  He finally managed to tap into them with a therapist toward the end of the programme.

When I feel into my own grief, I feel my soul entering me more fully, or me entering more fully my soul.  I guess I know I wont lose myself any more if I can just stay present and recognise what the prospect of getting close to someone can trigger for me.  I hope I wont get lost again, but that for as long as I need to I can get lost in grief, at least for as long as it takes to heal.

The terrible impact of low nurturance

There is a book that I ordered from Amazon quiet a while back and it was recommended to me by a therapist.  Born for Love :  Why empathy is essential and endangered.  I haven’t read it all yet but I am very interested in the chapter No Mercy where authors Maia Szalavitz and Bruce D. Perry lay out the case of a teenage junior prom guy who invited a disabled girl to his party in order to rape her and make fun of her in front of her friends.  Perry is trying to get to the bottom of how such a horrendous lack of feeling and empathy for someone could develop in a person raised in what seemed to be a ‘good home’.

It is clear that Ryan, the guy in question, is a sociopath and Szalavitz and Perry go into his background in detail.  Raised by two affluent and successful parents, his mother’s idea of nurturing her baby and child was spending one hour a day with Ryan.  The rest of the time Ryan’ care was farmed out to a succession of nannies, 18 in all over the first 3 years of his life.  By 3 Ryan had become a ‘good’ child, he no longer cried or showed any distress.  He was clearly the victim of disrupted attachment and so had learned from a very early age that if he wanted to survive he must repress all need for attachments.  Why not? As soon as he got close to a nanny she left, his way of coping was to learn to ‘be good’ and need no one and to look to things for comfort.  Later in life he developed a bullying style.

Before he even started kindergarten the emotional part of his brain had become stunted and began to function abnormally…his capacity for empathy was underdeveloped and immature (he was selfish), it was disorganised (he got no pleasure or soothing from reciprocal relationships), and ultimately it was non functional (he was incapable of being empathetic).

Lack of consistent care and nurturing in the first few years of our life strongly affects both the development of our brain and our emotions as well as the development of empathy within us.  These actions actually affect the presence of neurotransmitters in the brain such as oxytocin and dopamine, both essential to mood regulation, bonding and our capacity to self soothe.

Being subject to a number of broken bonds or severed attachments in Ryan’s case was extreme, the many broken attachments set up a stressful environment in Ryan’s brain that had a clear impact on his later life, together with other environmental factors concerned with his parent’s disconnected emotional style which placed value only on externals.

Perry and Szalavitz outline research undertaken by a colleague of Michael Meaney, director for the Programme for the Study of Behaviour, Genes and Environment at McGill University in the United States which shows how early life events affected stress responses in rats.

Meany’s research focused on mother rat’s nurturing style and found that those rat mothers who showed greater affection and soothing towards their offspring actually decreased the stress response within their offspring’s brains.  To make sure it was not just a case of genetic transmission, Meany used a trial group of rats born to low affection/nurturance rat mothers and fostered them to high affection/nurturane mothers.  The trial group’s brain chemistry and behaviour was positively affected by the nurturing behaviour in a way the non trial group’s were not.  The results as outlined in the book show clearly that the way in which we are or are not nurtured does affect our brain chemistry and development and in addition it causes changes in our DNA.

Outlined in the book are the other factors that contributed to Ryan developing such a ‘cold’ personality.  The affluence of his family environment, coupled with the a string of consecutive broken attachments, the sense of entitlement passed down by his parents, together with the idea that money, status, physical and intellectual prowess, and power placed him far above others were other contributing factors, meant he developed into a person who was financially rich but emotionally impoverished.  In addition his parents also failed Ryan, excusing his bullying behaviour when it was bought to their attention, failing to teach him that others, no matter what their status and intelligence level deserve respect, love, care and empathy.

Does Ryan deserve our empathy?  I will have to leave the answer with you.  Certainly his behaviour was inexcusable and he was punished for it, but by showing the very real forces in his background Perry and Szalavitz make a number of interesting points and conclusions while deepening our insight into the factors within which lead to a lack of empathy.

They conclude:

We ignore the emotional needs of our children at our peril.  Mix child illiteracy with an individualistic culture that promotes competition instead of collaboration, add a melange of electronic media that can be isolating and violent and can reduce time spent socialising, and you create a world where empathy is threatened…. a society where everyone is just bit less connected to each other, where we all find nurturing one another just a bit less rewarding.


Unhooking from the Narcissist : Our journey in the Wilderness

I am not as preoccupied with narcissists and narcissism recently as I was for all of those confusing, painful years when I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on with my last romantic partner and my families responses to my own grief and emotional pain over years.

Learning about my own emotional neglect from childhood which I have shared about in other posts helped me to see how I was set up for this kind of relationship by an unmet and unfulfilled pit of emotional hunger and need.  Finally finding myself a completely emotionally available therapist who is capable of 100 percent empathy has helped me enormously and without this I may still have been left alone starving in a lonely cold wilderness of confusion, repressed anger, thwarted longing and self blame, which is where a lot of us carrying these kinds of wounds end up.

In the past  I have thought of this situation as being like a hungry dog starving for scraps and yesterday I read just such a description of the same thing on another blog.  Reading about other people’s struggles to unhook, the utter pain and desolation of finally recognising that we are powerless to effect any change or get much in the way of recognition from those whose love, attention and respect we longed for I am filled with compassion, but a part of me also is anxious for them to unhook, knowing the back lash that comes when we try repeatedly to engage and point out what is happening to them.  In the long run frustration and the bitter pain of repeated disappointment and outrage is the bitter medicine we must swallow in order to learn how essential it is for our emotional health and sanity to unhook.

In this quest it helps enormously to have somewhere we can go to vent the pain.  The narcissists in our life won’t hear us, and in fact we will be blamed or made to feel ashamed for trying to point out how their lack of empathy is wounding us.  This does not mean that we should not express how we feel to them.  Their response to our attempts to do this may make some change, in some cases. In other cases we will be hurt again and our quest to be heard will fall on deaf ears.  Painful as this is it will show us who and what we are really dealing with and help us in the boundary creating process which is our first line of defence against investing in further painful relationships where old patterns are repeated.

In her book on emotional neglect  Running on Empty, therapist Jonice Webb helps us to learn to develop the skills of  connecting with and learning to express our emotions.  Tapping into our feelings is the most important tool we have to deal with the painful consequences of being raised in families and by people where true emotional expression of all the feelings of our true self were not permitted or blocked in some way.

Jonice recommends that when we have any painful emotional encounter we need to speak about it with someone and unpack the feelings.  This is where I do believe sites and blogs which give us air time are so important, most especially if we are struggling in the wilderness alone and without close friends or a good therapist.  We need someone as we cannot heal totally in isolation and there is a saying in recovery circles “we are only as sick as our secrets”.

I was helped in my own recovery online at a very critical time of pain when I found an wonderful blog by an adult child of narcissistic parents late in 2013 who was a long way along in her own healing process.  She kindly published a poem I had written about the past most recent painful relationship with a narcissist on her own site and then recommended I start blogging myself.

I was deeply unsure how my writing would be received but I made a tentative beginning and when my oldest sister died I was so grateful to have a place I could pour out all of the grief.  At that stage I was struggling to find a good consistent therapist.  I was carrying a huge bag of unresolved trauma and rage, much of it turned in upon myself for feeling I had failed in not recognising how stuck I had been in unhealthy relationships and how poor my own inter personal boundaries were.  I had a lot of work to do to learn to love and forgive myself for wounds that were compounded and were never my own fault in the beginning.

I feel so blessed now to know I am a long way along the road of healing.  I can now recognise red flags.  I am able to set boundaries.  I have made several attempts to express and process my pain with family members.  The first reactions were typical of narcissists but in the end when I held my boundaries my experience has been that there have been some changes.  My only remaining sister actually apologised to me a year or so ago.  Other attempts to address pain have not gone so well and I have been blamed, but by holding firm and refusing to engage in their ‘change back’ tactics I have been able to unhook.  I can now even laugh at things that would have sent me into a rage just over a year ago. In short I feel I have reclaimed my life and my energy through the tough process of mourning, raging, being confused, spun about then reconnected at a deep level with my own emotional truth.

I am very proud of the fact that I have managed just over a month’s break now from my therapist.  She has been sending me a little email every week, which is what I asked for when she left.  I am getting very excited as we will be meeting tomorrow afternoon and there is so much to share with her.

I think this break has been important as I have had so much loss, there have been so many times others have walked away from me and there has been no way to process that pain or resolve things.  Katina’s return after this break will be a reminder to my soul that leavings don’t always necessarily result in endings.  Thought I know in time my therapy will end, I will always have the good Katina inside me, that fully loving consistent presence that my mother could not be due to her own wounds and history.  I cannot fully express how this relationship has helped me.  It is easier to unhook from what is unhealthy when we have a healthy place to go, that is what I have learned.

Family scapegoats who carry the rejected feelings get sent out into the wilderness, or we have to escape there to find some kind of safety and connection, even if it is only with ourselves and the terrible pain of our w0unded and torn about insides.  In that wilderness a lot of healing can happen for us if we seek it in the right places (and we may have to go to a lot of wrong places on that journey too).

In that wilderness many of us come home to the starving child or ravenous hungry dog inside of us that needs so much succour, nurturing, feeding, empathy, self soothing and healing.  And hopefully in that wilderness we find other scapegoats too, those who understand and mirror our wounds, those who help the wounded scapegoat to recognise they we not ugly ducklings but a beautiful swans still seeking that true family and place of belonging which is the true home of our soul and can only be found deep within and in fecund rather than desolate places.

Too much to cope with alone

How many of us go through a breakdown because we are given too much to cope with?  There is one platitude I hate when I hear it.  It says God never give you more than you cope with.  Bad language alert %%$£””  that is fucking bullshit!

We breakdown or breakthrough because we are loaded with something that is too much for us bear and in addition those of us who suffer with a so called mental illness or diagnosis may have actually have been overwhelmed by unrelenting trauma.  I was reading about this the other day in a book on BPD.  Certain individuals are faced not just with one trauma like say a death or abandonment, some also have an accident of some kind, an illness and a death.  Guess what a few years ago I was coping with abandonment from the ending of a relationship with an abusive narcissist, a sibling attempting to take her life, a mother undergoing trauma following a botched surgery, root canal therapy to repair a faulty tooth amongst other challenges.  These were just the last occurances in a life of trauma that started when I was very, very young when I had emotionally unavailable parents and started to suffer different kinds of injuries which culminated in an massive smash up at 17.

Unrelenting trauma you betcha!  And I am only one of many.

What is actually described as mental illness is often just really a result of a trauma of some kind that we have not had adequate support or resources to deal with.  Healing requires we find support and resources to soothe the suffering.  For those of us emotionally abandoned or left alone this means a caring loving attachment with a consistent emotionally healthy person who can be there for us.

In my own case as a recovering addict I only began to know that addiction was a symptom or indicator of an attachment disorder about 4 years ago.  Addiction was a way I tried to mediate the effects of broken or dysfunctional attachments which were either absent, inconsistent, disordered.  I was also attached to people with their own issues, my eldest sister (my most significant attachment) was medicating with alcohol too.  Later the medication give to deal with the fall out made her an unstable person to look to for emotional support.

In the AA fellowship I befriended someone like my Mum who was inconstant too and too wounded herself to provide reliable attachment.  She did her best but was downright cruel after my marriage ended and I was living alone in isolation having convinced myself this was the safest way to go so as to never be hurt by a human being again.

Lots of attempts at therapy followed when my pain finally showed me I was in deep trouble.  The hint of abandonment would make me run and I chose some therapists whose depth of expertise did not extend to the ability to provide consistent loving mirroring and attachment for me.  Or if it did and there was the threat of a leaving. I ran.

This pattern healed for me last year when my therapist who was going on a months leave thought it was best for me not to be left alone over Christmas and the anniversary of some of my worst trauma.  I was referred to the therapist I see now and in her I found finally the person who would provide the consistent help I needed on my terms not hers alone.  WE have been able to negotiate the latest break which has involved her being away for a month.  I am handling the break better this time.  Before she left I was able to tell her (Not in a tantrum but in a soft way) that I was angry she was going away and leaving me and that I was scared to be alone.  She was able to mirror me and unpack the related wounds this leaving reminds me of and she was also able to help me to trust that I do have the capacity now to be there for myself.

This blog was prompted by reading several blogs today, one on recovery from BPD another a personal experience of someone’s struggle with mental illness.  It is a reminder that we cannot heal alone.  That in order to heal we need new and healthy relationships.  It is also written out of a desire that those out there who struggle don’t beat themselves up but keep looking for sources of support and nurturance that are consistent and loving and will help you to heal from the burden of all you went through that took such a toll.

I will close from a quote I read to day on the following site written by a man who has recovered from Borderline Personality Disorder.  I believe it applies not only to BPD but to other mental health issues as well.

My own experience and research suggests that the single most crucial thing for recovering from borderline states in a long-term, dependent, loving relationship with somebody. It could be a therapist, a friend, a family member, or some combination of these. Feeling safe and loved by others for years is what enables children to become healthy adults, and it is also what enables once-borderline adults to become healthy adults. There is no substitute for internalizing the self-soothing and self-organizing functions of a loving, mature outside person. As I described in an earlier article, I experienced these healthy relationships for the first time with my therapist and a few key friends.