Therapy Dump #19 – My Go-To is Avoidance

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

I haven’t been very good at keeping up on my Therapy Dumps recently. I know in the late summer is was a depressive funk – recently though, it has been avoidance.

It’s enough to talk about the topics in therapy, after the session is over I’ve been packing shit up and leaving it sit.

Forgiveness … is a No for Me

Recently I have been facing off with the betrayals of my father and my emotions surrounding him. Forgiveness has come up. Letting go, moving on, all that recovery and healing stuff.

It knocked the wind out of me a bit. I felt pressure to make a decision and my emotions became overwhelming. I was so grateful to my Instagram community for talking out forgiveness with me.

I understand what it means on new level now. I feel how tired I am of being hurt, angry, and disappointed. Letting go of all of this sounds wonderful, but forgiving my father isn’t in me. I don’t feel it and I am not going to force it.

I learned quickly that there are no wrong answers when it comes to forgiveness; it’s a very personal part of each survivor’s journey.

I told my counselor last night that right now I need to leave this particular part of my trauma healing where it is right now. I leveled it up a little bit – but this is a marathon, not a sprint.

I need to let these new awareness and connections settle a little bit. I need to shift to a new area of processing.


The Story I Need to Own

I recently made the decision to reconnect with a family member after nearly four years of estrangement. She is my sister’s mother.

I moved in with her when I was 17, and she became the last adult to abuse me before I was put out to make it on my own.

Not speaking to her for the last four years has made it very easy for me to avoid any thought about the abuse I went through from her.

Not surprisingly, this recent reconnection, coupled with my level of healing and awareness – has made me very aware that she is one of my abusers. I am angry and hurt by her, and now I am interacting with her.

It is forcing me to face this part of my story, and as my therapist told me last night, to own it. When I looked at her with confusion she pointed out that even in that moment I was depersonalizing the story as I spoke. I talked about a teenager, not “me”.

I’ve always said I think I have an easier time telling my story because the people in it are dead, or thousands of miles away and estranged. Now I am faced with owning and speaking a part of my story that the abuser, and my family will likely hear.

I feel a whole gamut of emotions around this: pensive, anxious, alert – but all empowered and certain; it is time to speak this truth.

As November Approaches

The week previous to my session was relatively uneventful. Got some work done, connected with friends, rested. It was a nice change from recent weeks of hyper vigilance, sleep interruptions, and intense emotions.

I even got some serious adulting done.

As we move into November, a month ripe with trauma anniversaries for me, I don’t feel as ill equip to handle it as I have in years past. I am still prepared, and mindful of my needs but it’s nice to feel lighter going into this month, while also holding awareness of my memories.

I am feeling a new warmth in autumn this year as I watch the season change, the leaves fall, and the earth getting ready to sleep.

I can feel myself healing.

What I Learned

I learned last night that I slip into avoidance easily, without awareness. Literally. When it was pointed out to me in real time last night I was a bit shocked, but what I realized feels like progress.

During my years of dissociation, I created my own version of reality. I think most of us do. As I have worked on my healing, reconciling reality with the world I have created in my own mind has been challenging.

As I reflect on last night I realize even within my healing itself, I continue to create realities in order to move through all of this – and as I continue to take ownership of my story I keep forcing myself to reconcile reality with what I have created for protection.

I’m not quite sure yet how exactly to stop slipping into avoidance, I really do struggle to realize when I am doing it – and I do it so casually. I think new understanding of my process helps (which I have gained), and constant reflection and mindfulness.

More to Come

Another connection I made last night that felt like electricity when it happened was the connection of how my sister’s mother makes me feel, and how I felt towards my father in the short time we reconnected before his death.

It is another aspect of my story that has unlocked itself for further exploration – so stay tuned.

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