Therapy Dump #4

I’ve been seeing my therapist for over three years, every week. During this pandemic, via telehealth. In this series come along with me through each appointment as I reflect on the session and my progress. 

Tonight was one of those nights where I had so much to talk about it felt like I wasn’t going to fit it all into the session. It seems the last few weeks haven’t been lacking in emotional events. 

A Need for Moral Justice 

I am still struggling with a need for moral justice regarding the series of events that unfolded with my former employer. I found out this week that as I had suspected, my position was taken by a former colleague – a man I knew had his eye on my store. Someone I’d had to set boundaries with early on due to his callous and cutthroat nature.   

The idea that he may have conspired with my former boss behind my back to screw me over hits a deep nerve. Being disregarded and tossed out after the level of dedication I gave simply because I take the Coronavirus seriously has been a hard pill to swallow. 

I am sad to no longer have that job. I feel the pull of defeat and powerlessness at how it all played out. But it’s not the type of sad or defeat you may think, and it is hard to explain. 

I’m very happy with the path that I am, I just wish it had been on my own terms. 

Acceptance of My New Path 

My hubby and I have been taking Door Dash more seriously as an actual means to an end, not just a side hustle for extra cash. With proper commitment by the both of us, we can continue supporting our household financially while having more time to devote to our passions than we have ever had before. 

He and I are both in our forties, we have spent our entire lives making other people rich – no more. We’ve both made commitments to ourselves and each other to give it 100%, the same as we have given other people all these years.

We’ll see where we are in a year from now. 

Acceptance of this new path isn’t free of stress, and it still includes the occasional moment of self-doubt, but I am moving through it and I know eventually this new path will be familiar and comfortable. 

A Couple Accomplishments 

This week I managed a few adulting things related to my recent unemployment situation that, while stressful due to hoops and waiting times, I managed with little issue.  

There will not be a delay in my healthcare coverage which means I won’t miss any therapy and my daughter won’t miss her checkups. Additionally, while we figure out our finances, food will not be an issue either. 

A friend and fellow survivor and I have been toying with the idea of a podcast which was put on hold due to illness; now that we are both back up and moving, we are planning to connect this weekend to discuss next steps. Collaboration is so exciting!! 

Finally, I was approached by a project out of the UK focused on providing information, resources, and support to and about abuse victims. Part of their project is to conduct regular interviews with survivors and experts in the field. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse my interview discussed the lasting effects into adulthood, what I have learned, and how it has shaped me. 

I am excited to share the interview once it publishes next month! 

Parenting After Trauma

These week an interaction between my son and I unsettled me for a day, and has left me asking questions of myself and the long-term realities of my relationship with him.

I had a child at a young age. He is now 22 years old, living with his partner in a city 2 hours from me. He and his father are estranged. 

My relationship with my son, his relationship with his father, the entirety of his childhood was lined with trauma. Whether directly through the actions of his abusive father or indirectly by the effects of my untreated mental illness in the aftermath of my own abusive childhood. Abuses that were separated from the birth of my child by less than 3 years. 

My son didn’t get the best of me during his childhood, but he did get the best I had to give at that time. 

Now, years later, I find myself knee deep in my healing journey and he is finally beginning to face his. No parent wants their children to have a childhood they must heal from; it breaks my heart that this is our reality. 

My son has a diagnosis that accounts for behavioral pattern of extreme mood swings (all being addressed now by a professional) which is very challenging to deal with. He hurls his pain at me constantly, justified in his own mind by a romanticized idea of what our relationship is and should be. Ugh, trauma. He is still at an age where he is looking outward for relief from his grief, not inward. 

It is hard to watch my son suffer; it is also hard to deal with the way he throws blame and shame around. Compound that with my own traumas and emotional triggers and this becomes a rabbit hole for me, my worst nightmare. If ever there were a person to make me feel worthless and less than, it is my child. He knows all the right buttons to push. 

This week, he went full frontal and pushed as many as he could as quickly as possible, then went radio silent. We’ve done this dance before. 

Understanding My Role 

Yes, he hurt me. Yes, for a brief second self-doubt crept in. But I’ve been at this healing thing long enough and I have been through this cycle with him before. I think the worst part of this hurt is the lack of control I have over how he treats me.

He is angry, hurt, confused, yearning. He believes I don’t understand. One day I hope he realized just how well I do. Nothing I say will change any of this now, he is on his own journey.

I don’t accept the blame he threw at me this week; I don’t second guess myself as a mother, especially now. None of this changes how much it hurts when he is like this; when I know he is sitting in his own head hating me. 

The mother in me sees his age, childhood traumas, mental health, and I understand. The trauma survivor in me throws up alerts that this as a dangerous situation where I never know if I am safe from attack.

It’s an exhausting conflict to balance. 

Regaining Control

Today my counselor and I discussed my role in this situation as mom. She helped me recognize where I had control. We discussed and practiced boundaries I can set with him, and things I can ask as a means of encouraging better communication in the future to avoid outbursts.

She also recommended a book for me to read called Stop Walking on Egg Shells which addresses living with a family member or loved one that has been diagnoses with Borderline Personality Disorder. 

Take Aways 

  • I am proving to myself daily that I deserve the commitment to myself and my own passions 
  • I am in control of myself and my own responses, because of this it will get easier for me in my relationship with my son 
  • My continued feelings regarding my former employer and the way things have unfolded are valid, and they will take as long as they need to process – but I will not get stuck in them. 
  • Even in the worst of situations, it is all about perspective

Stay tuned for next week’s post.  
Related posts: read through my previous Therapy Dumps

Closing Comments

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