Perpetual Past.

perpetual past

 

 

I’m at a bad point in my life in terms of my mental health. This is made worse by reminders of my past. I want to explain this here.

 

When I was at school I was bullied. I was socially excluded. I lived through breaktimes and lunchtimes on my own, stood at the side of the playground, watching others have their fun. Do you have any idea how lonely and humiliating that would be for a child? To not be accepted by your peers just because you’re quiet and shy, and actually willing to learn. I used to have to beg people in my class, if I could tag along with them, just so I didn’t feel so lonely and look like a sad loner. This was again humiliating, and risked rejection. I don’t know if I was rejected – perhaps I was sometimes, but I’ve blocked most of my childhood out so cannot recall. I was always seen as ‘different’ and paid the price for it by not being included.

 

The reason this is in my mind lately is because I feel socially excluded again. Nobody talks to me. I have to practically beg people to communicate with me… to care about me… I feel I’m standing at the side of the playground that is ‘life’, and watching everyone else get on enjoying living it, and I’m all alone, forgotten, rejected, abandoned and merely a spectator of everyone else’s joy. I have to ask for support from people. I ‘cry for help’ on social media, and everyone chooses the best thing to do with me is ignore me. They don’t take it seriously. They don’t realise how painful and frustrating it is to be ignored when you’re reaching out for help, and how humiliating it is at the same time, that I’ve put myself out there, publicly asking for care and support, and everyone can see that nobody is there for me. It’s public rejection. I don’t feel accepted by anyone. Because of my beliefs and also because of my mental illness.

 

I’ve had bad experiences with men, that’s why those experiences are very limited. There was a guy called Joe who was okay to begin with, but then he did the thing jerks do, which is to blow hot and cold. He’d feed me crumbs and I started to see them as slices instead. I would chase after his attention. I would degrade myself, trying to get him to return the feelings I had for him. It was never going to happen. I was just a game to him. I was an ego stroke and entertainment. I would spend so many nights crying my heart out over him… problem-solving with my friends about what was going on in his head, and what to do to ‘fix’ the situation. He’d seem interested and appear to change, only to vanish off the radar again a couple of weeks later… not talking to me for weeks… months at a time even. I kept getting rejected over and over again. I kept forgiving him and letting him back, exposing myself to more rejection further down the line. In the time he wasn’t talking to me I would obsess over the possibilities, for why that might be – maybe he was having troubles, maybe he got scared, maybe I offended him, maybe he was just busy. And ‘busy’ was another thing he’d use so often. The trouble is eventually ‘busy’ started to sound like an excuse. I’d already been through experiences where people said they were too busy… yet they seemed to have time for anyone else but me… he was one of those people too.

 

The reason this is weighing on my mind right now, is that the inconsistency and unreliability he showed me, is being reflected in my friendships. But the trouble is I have come to expect it from those friends. So it’s the consistency of the inconsistency if you see what I mean. It’s replicating the same feelings I experienced with Joe. For instance, I had some issues with a friendship, drifted apart from them, we sorted things and met a couple of times… things seemed like they might change… like they understood how I felt and what I needed, and then it reverted back to how it was before….. it felt like the ‘hot and cold’ ‘breadcrumb’ thing. My hopes became too high, that things would improve but it always ends the same. It really is making me relive those experiences and those same feelings as before. Which then makes me resent the friend for making me feel the same way he did. I’m not shown the level of care I need, so I degrade myself by uncontrollably having meltdowns quite publicly about my feelings, which mimics the levels I went to in order to get the care I wanted from Joe. The trouble is, where I used to problem-solve with friends about it, I can’t do this in this situation, because the very friend I would do this with, is the one I’m experiencing the problem with. So I’m alone in having to deal with it. It’s become routine to go anywhere between two weeks, to two months not talking to them. And the trouble I’m facing at the moment is I’m telling myself I’m done. No more forgiving. No more repeating this, as my soul can’t take it anymore. I’m telling myself to cut them off, so that I don’t have to keep reliving the same shit over and over again. In my head I’m treating them as though they are Joe, and just as he ran out of chances I feel they too are doing the same. And I hate that. I hate that I’ve become like this, but it honestly is like reliving those days, where I kept making excuses for his disappearing acts and lack of care. I’m telling myself there’s a good reason for it – but that doesn’t change the way I feel about it. It still hurts. I still feel let down. I tell myself it’s my fault and I’ve upset them, so feel the same guilt I did before… but then I also feel the same – that communication is needed. And this friend is busy. I know that. I know they have a life I could never understand, as I have no life. I’m not for one minute saying they’re making it up. I know it’s busy. But all I’m saying is when I already am reminded of Joe by this person, and I hear ‘busy’, I hear ‘excuses’, even though it’s not. It’s just a part of the flashback.

 

I had a group of friends. This gave me the support and social life / confidence I needed to get out there and live my life. Disregarding for a moment, the fact one of them betrayed me badly and ruined everything I had, as that’s not relevant to this post (it was the catalyst for the destruction of my life, but that’s another story)… one of them showed me up in front of the others, attacked me and badmouthed me, and I became alienated from the group. I was cast as the villain and people took her side by continuing to meet up with her, without challenging her behaviour and standing up for me. Their loyalty failed. This was very upsetting in itself because when I was at school, about age 12 or 13, I was bullied in front of the class by a girl named Lisa and her minions, and nobody stopped her. Not the people I regarded as ‘friends’… not even the teacher, who asked her to stop once, and didn’t bother once she went back to it. That was bloody humiliating and very upsetting. It showed me up in front of everyone and nobody defended me. So this encounter with my group of friends mimicked that. Nobody had my back against this bully of a friend.

This feeling has been repeated time and time again since… in the last couple of years a ‘friend’ kept attacking me because of my political views. She would pick fights with me and argue very publicly. She personally insulted me off the back of a political conversation, and rather than people saying it wasn’t right, most people defended her! They didn’t have my back. The one who did defend me had to put up with someone disagreeing with her, seemingly defending the ‘friend’. I get hurt, yet I feel since the encounter I’m alienated. I feel my time with that group came and went, because of the same sort of problems.

And then the latest group, where I don’t feel able to join in conversations anymore. Because of another case of political disagreement. I know I’m the outsider in that group when it comes to that. But also my interpretation of a situation (or the situation itself) was that as a result of something I said, they said something in the group and got all the support of everyone, making me feel excluded and like ‘the bad guy’ again. I admit I may have been wrong, but it seemed too coincidental, the timing. Even if things have moved on since then, I am unable to. I feel excluded and like they all hate me.

 

These things just keep repeating. And to be going through all those past experiences totally alone… reaching out for help and being ignored, it’s too much. I feel as though I’m dead. And I’m wishing that I was. I wish I could portray the feeling created by these experiences… I can actually see a depiction of the silent scream, but could never convey it properly for others to see. Sometimes I want to rip myself apart and then rip the very fabric of existence…. tear a hole in the universe and scream into it.

 

I’m not just battling depression, anxiety, BPD, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, grief, loss upon loss upon loss… I’m battling my past. And it’s not a simple case of ‘let it go’. If I could I would, but people keep recreating my past for me. Nothing changes. I can’t forget it because people won’t allow me to by treating me better! The result is I think why bother living life if it’s always going to go the same? I can’t keep feeling the same feelings over and over again. I won’t.

 

My work experiences also keep repeating themselves. I keep facing things that caused me to leave past places. I have to fight to keep going and not let it force me out.

 

Even the transference issue I had at therapy last year was a replication of past issues… I wasn’t allowed to talk to Matt about my feelings and about the issue in order to resolve it and draw a line under it. As soon as they found out about it, three different female therapists would be the ones to deal with me. The one co-running the group with Matt would take over discussions with me. My individual therapist afterwards who was less than helpful, and then another one to deal with the issues I had in the group. Even though I felt I knew what was needed, it was passed off as some misguided hope of something – like I was clinging on and that it wouldn’t help. I’m sorry but I knew full well what I was thinking. And I still to this day feel angry that these women didn’t listen to me. I have been denied a sense of closure by every man I’ve met. This has destroyed my faith in men, has made me close off to them and given me attachment issues. I saw this as an opportunity to change all that. I felt if I could have had one last conversation with him, as a therapist, he could have fixed all those broken parts of me – all those heart-breaking beliefs I’ve been given by experience. He could have taught me that it’s okay to like someone who doesn’t like you back, and that it doesn’t mean you have to feel ashamed, or keep away from the person out of embarrassment. That things can be ‘cool’. He could have shown me that I can be rejected but still respected and wished well personally. He could’ve let me say what I needed to that I never got to say in the past to people… I could have said goodbye and felt there was a line drawn under it all. But because I obviously had to be kept away from him, this therapeutic opportunity was wasted and I feel all the worse for it. I feel I was denied a chance to grow and the chance for things to be different. I feel it was forced upon me, I was ripped away from him with no closure for my peace of mind, and I never got a conversation that I’ve been denied my whole life…

This isn’t me just holding on – look, I’m holding on now anyway, BECAUSE I didn’t get that sense of closure. I’m not healing and I never will, because I walked away with embarrassment, shame, feeling unheard, misunderstood and rejected – just not rejected by him, but the wall of female therapists who protected him, or protected me from him, or whatever….

I know from my own experiences how long it takes me to heal…. I’m still not healed from anyone else I’ve loved and lost. I know how long this will scar me for. How long it will affect me for. I just wanted a chance for it to be different this time. I didn’t want something from him. I didn’t want anything other than being set free… but by the person directly … by direct communication. I’ve only ever heard through other people or through silence. I deserve more than that. I’m really so upset by this at the moment. It’s the first time I’ve cried whilst writing this post. I just feel so annoyed that therapy should be about helping you, and about change. And they weren’t willing to help me see a change. They expect me to face the same circumstances and deal with that differently. No. I need circumstances to change otherwise I can’t live in this world. Because circumstances have taught me I’m worthless…. I don’t deserve honesty and direct communication… having feelings for someone is the start of goodbye….. I’m a fat, ugly, horrible person who makes people feel uncomfortable because of the intensity of my emotions…. and that men can’t be trusted and will never treat me well.

They missed an opportunity to heal me. If I was in America and paid to go private they’d have allowed it. They’d have cared about doing what was necessary to bring about a change. But since they missed the chance, my life will continue on a loop… nothing will change… I will face the same problems again and again… and there will be no better opportunity to challenge those demons and make things right – it was the most open I’d been and it took a heck of a lot of courage to admit to my feelings to them all… it was all for nothing in the end. They missed it. They got it wrong. They didn’t help me early enough and when they did, they didn’t hear what I was saying. They thought they knew better as they’re the professionals. Nobody will ever give me what I need to heal – a conversation in person… that was the chance. It’s gone now. So I have to keep going through life being rejected and avoided, treated like shit… I’ll probably never put myself out there ever again, because it always ends the same. It’s ironic that the whole course was about dealing with vicious circles, and when I tried to break mine and do things differently, they didn’t allow me to do so. I blame them for not only keeping me stuck where I was, but for digging me in deeper, making it harder for me to ever break out and be free. I’m angry with them.

 

I’m just so sick of people cutting open old scars and not understanding why I’m bleeding and why it hurts so damn much! They just run away and leave me to bleed to death.

 

As it happens I am now reliving my youth… I’m in the same place I was in my late teens…. having only my family…. struggling with my volunteering…. too down and anxious to leave the house…. the worst I’ve been in many years.

 

All I’ve ever wanted was a chance to move forward, but those around me just won’t let that happen. When the chips are down they’re nowhere to be seen. And my life spirals round and round, down into my past and washes away any progress I made. I’m in a much worse place now than I was two years ago. Life has gone to hell. I’m weary of it all. Sometimes I wish I could sleep forever…

 

 

Things I Wish You Said.

These are things I wish people had said to me when it mattered…. this can be from friends past and present, family, bullies, men, or anyone who ever crossed my path and left a mark in my life. The impact of these few words would be tremendous for someone like me. So it’s sad that I’ve rarely heard such sentiments. The fact these things most often have gone unsaid has broken me. A series of imperfect people in this imperfect world, neglecting to be kind or help at all with a sense of closure, have left open wounds all over my body and soul. I know life doesn’t always allow us closure…. but from guys disappearing from my life, to friends betraying and hurting me with no remorse, to nobody saying I mattered to them, to leaving it too late to say ‘I love you’ and never being able to hear it back, to being ripped away from someone I was attached to in therapy… it’s all too much. All I’ve ever wanted was ONE person to prove that there can be a good ending in life. After too much of it I put my final faith in therapy, thinking they’d help me do this. They did not. It was a missed opportunity. So I struggle on with life, awaiting the next hurt, the next betrayal, the next loss, knowing I will never hear a single one of the things I need to hear in order to heal….

 

  • I’ll never forget you. I’ll always remember you.
  • Your friendship means / meant a lot to me.
  • I’m glad to have known you.
  • I miss you / I’ll miss you.
  • I’m sorry. What I did was wrong. Please forgive me.
  • I love you.
  • I care about you / worry about you.
  • I value you.
  • You’re special.
  • You’re beautiful.
  • I couldn’t live without you.
  • You’ve give me such lovely memories.
  • I’m flattered you feel that way for me.
  • You deserve better than me.
  • Is there anything you want to say or to ask me?
  • I lied to you. I lied about you. I’m sorry.
  • I was selfish. I’m sorry.
  • I let you down. I’m sorry.
  • You have every right to hate me.
  • I trust you.
  • I admire you.
  • You matter to me.
  • You’re not a burden, and I’ll kick the ass of anyone who makes you think that!
  • Thank you for everything you do and for being you.
  • I believe in you. I have faith in you.
  • I’m proud of you.
  • I have your back.
  • I don’t want to lose you.
  • I’m not going to leave you.
  • Nothing changes how I feel about you.
  • You’re a good person.
  • You mean the world to me.
  • I’m so lucky to have you.
  • I will help you through this. You’ve got me on your side, we’ll do this together.
  • Your feelings matter most to me.
  • I had feelings for you too.
  • I made a mistake.
  • I never wanted to hurt you.
  • Losing you was painful for me.
  • I wish I could undo what I did.
  • You didn’t deserve that.
  • I wish we could have had our chance.
  • I wish I’d met you sooner.
  • You make me happy.
  • I want you to be happy.
  • You deserve to experience love. I hope you’ll find it soon.
  • I understand you.
  • I want to understand you.
  • I want to learn everything about you.
  • Tell me how you’re feeling…
  • It’s okay that you feel that way.
  • You’re not alone.
  • I wish you well.
  • Goodbye.

A Wasted Life.

wasted life

 

It’s been a difficult day. I spent the afternoon crying, even while writing most of this post. I feel I made the right choices in the end – stepping away, telling family I felt upset, and playing board games with them whilst treating myself to a hot chocolate. Could’ve played out differently. Really tired now, feeling emotionally drained. Here’s what I wrote earlier:

 

 

I carry a heavy burden every day of my life. This is something separate from all the other difficulties in my life. It’s something that dwells inside me, alongside grief, mental illness, interpersonal issues, everyday life. It’s something that not many people could understand. And it’s something I can’t get away from.

 

I’m in my thirties, and I don’t have children. I don’t have a relationship. I live with my family. I love my family… so much it hurts. It hurts me the most, that I can’t give my parents grandchildren. It’s unlikely I’ll be an aunty, so the burden falls on me to be the bearer of grandchildren. But that would require being stable enough and feeling good enough about myself, to get out there and meet people, to find someone suitable to settle down with – even then, they’d have to return my feelings, which has never happened…. I can’t see anyone ever loving me. And if by some miracle I find a perfect guy for me, who loves me, marries me, wants a family with me… how many years will all that take? I’ll be in my forties before then. And what if I can’t have children?

 

Sorry, I’m really upset at the moment. I was in the middle of eating a piece of chocolate before writing this post, and randomly burst into tears while reading something totally unconnected on Twitter … I have no idea what my subconscious was doing, but I reached this place, and I’m in tears as I write this now. I find the topic extremely upsetting.

 

My family have never ever put any pressure on me, or expectations for anything like that. They’ve always made it clear that the only thing they want is for me to be happy. Which in itself is an issue, because I’m not happy. I’m deeply unhappy. And a part of my happiness will only come from making other people happy… knowing that the people I love are happy. The reality is I want nothing more than to have a soulmate, a companion… to not be lonely anymore. To have a best friend for a husband, and to have children of our own. I want that so much. And the realisation that this will never happen for me, is what makes me so unhappy. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me ‘It’ll happen’, ‘There’s someone special out there for you, you’ll find him’, ‘People are having babies in their forties a lot more nowadays’, ‘You’re a lovely person, you deserve love and happiness’…. it honestly doesn’t matter how many people say these words…. they’re empty. They mean nothing in my life. These are things usually said by people who have the very things I lack. Some women are lucky in life. They have their looks on their side. They have confidence. They aren’t as intense, and don’t have BPD. They have great jobs. They have lots of friends. They live alone. They have experience. I have nothing. I have no experience. I have a lot of experience of mental illness. I have low self-esteem, I feel I’m ugly. I feel I’m a mess inside and out. And nobody has shown a genuine interest in my many years of availability. Not a proper interest. They were either jerks or the one guy who was a friend, but didn’t spell it out clearly enough for me at the time that he liked me, so I missed it, I missed him, and my ex-best friend came and swept up the pieces for herself when I was out of the country. Now she’s happy at the expense of my life. I lost everything the moment she went behind my back. Nothing’s been the same since.

 

Even if I hadn’t ended up with the guy, my life could’ve been so different now if she hadn’t done what she did. I’d have still had my group of friends. I would’ve got out more and met more people, built my confidence and have felt less isolated. I would still have trust for people. I’d have hope. So she honestly took so much from me. If it hadn’t happened, six years ago now… I could well have been married by now. But what happened traumatised me, as it sent a shockwave through my whole life – everything changed overnight. And I’ll admit I still hate her for it and can’t forgive her. Not yet. It damaged me and I’ve not met a single person yet, dedicated enough, to help me fix myself.

 

passing time

 

 

I’ve shut off from getting close to anyone. I have closed off to men. I did meet one recently who couldn’t be more off-limits, but I’d love to use him as a template for who would be right for me. I think my taste in men has improved, and I’m on the right track. The trouble is finding one who is single and that even slightly resembles what I need… at my age most of the good ones are spoken for. And I don’t want to settle for someone who settles for me, if that makes sense…? I don’t want to have to accept someone, because they have no other options left. I guess a part of me feels if anybody wants me they must be desperate. And I don’t want desperate. I want to know I stand out above every other woman for him. I want to be chosen. I want my own love story.

 

I’m just constantly aware of the passing of time. I know they make jokes about a woman’s biological clock… it’s no laughing matter. But that’s not actually what this is. This is more the feeling that I’m going to be alone forever. And that I will never give my parents grandchildren. And they deserve to be grandparents. They’d be amazing grandparents. And I wish I could give them that gift. That opportunity. It hurts me so much that I can’t do that right now…

 

I’m upset again. Because I think about the fact we’re all getting older. We never know what’s around the corner. We never know how long we have in this life. It’s all tied in with not wanting to lose them too. But to think I might lose them having never given them grandchildren… I can hear my heart breaking… And if by some miracle I do get to be a mother one day, but not for another ten / fifteen years… what if my parents aren’t here anymore, for advice, support, and to build memories with?

 

There’s just this permeating loneliness in my life. There’s the reality that if things continue as they are… I have one grandparent left. After that I have my parents. If they go, I have my brother… but he might not live in this country by then. If I don’t meet someone, I will be alone in this world. Nobody could ever understand facing that prospect. And that’s why feeling supported and cared about by my friends matters to me, and when I feel isolated and alone, it cuts me to pieces. Because this fear of being alone is a very strong possibility for me. I don’t have a fear of being alone, as in spending time on my own – I welcome it, I need it otherwise I get overwhelmed. But I do have a fear of ending up alone, and of being isolated and lonely. To me that’s a very rational fear. For me it’s this fear that my life is pointless. What is the point of my existence if I don’t bring children into this world? I know some people can’t or choose not to have children, and I don’t think that of them! But for myself I do, because what else have I achieved in my life? I feel all I’ve been is a burden. I have nothing for anyone to be proud of. I’ve not known happiness ever in my life. I don’t want our line to die out. I want to experience everything others get to.

 

all be gone

 

 

I’ve already had to accept that my granddad never got to see me be happy. He never saw me with anyone. He never saw me succeed. He’ll never be at a wedding of mine. He’ll never meet any children I could have. And that shattered my heart back then. I also have to accept that my nan won’t see it either. It won’t happen quickly enough to allow for that. So I’m just sat watching the people I love age, and die, and I’m still in the same place – worse actually as my mental health has gone downhill… it’s like I’m so desperate to be happy and loved, and to be a mother and have them all meet my potential children, but I’m trapped in circumstances beyond my control… and all the while I’m watching them all slip away. I feel by the time it might happen for me, they’ll all be gone.

 

So when people say it’ll happen for me, I want them to realise it’s already happened for them. They don’t know it’s going to happen for me. And if it does happen for me it’s going to hurt so much if it happens too late to share it with the people I love. I want them to see me happy and loved. I don’t want them all to die, knowing I’m so deeply depressed, hate myself, I’m lonely and not heading anywhere good. I want them to know I’ll be okay. But I’m not happy. I’m not loved. I’m not okay. And I have to live with the guilt of that every day.

 

I’m always told not to put this sort of pressure on myself. But try being me. Try being my age, with my mental illness, with my relationship history or lack thereof, my looks, my achievements or lack thereof, my small but wonderful family and tell me you wouldn’t feel bad for this predicament…

 

I feel like a failure. And I feel it’s beyond my control, because nobody will ever want to settle down with me. So I feel powerless to do what I want to do in my life – to be a mother one day. I do feel I’ve given up before I’ve even tried. But I’m tired. I’m tired of all the hurt. I’m tired of trusting people who end up hurting me. I’m tired of all the games. I’m tired of waiting and hoping. I’m tired of believing it exists for me. I’m tired of wanting people I can’t have. I’m tired of getting attached and abandoned. I’m just done with it all. My past has broken me. Once upon a time I was a good prospect. I was young, thin, full of hope and not so cynical. Then shit happened. And you can see on my face, in my hair, in my body, on my arm, the way I walk, talk and distance myself from people, that shit happened. I can see it in photos, behind my eyes, that shit happened. And I wish we could go back to before shit happened…. before I decided I don’t want to do life anymore. But we can’t.

 

So please don’t say to me that I will meet someone, have children, be happy…. you don’t know that, and it means nothing. Please, instead say ‘I hope you find the happiness I know you deserve’. Hope is at least something. It’s something I have nothing of right now, but saying that it will happen one day, is actually very dismissive of how I  feel at the moment. I’ve got nothing against friends wishing happiness for me, and wishing I had someone to love. That would be a beautiful thing to feel… that it’s wished for me. But don’t invalidate my pain by saying it won’t always be this way. Because in my reality it will. You don’t know me well enough to say that… nobody does.

 

shit happened 2

 

 

I know I struggle with my mental illness, but all that aside, I know I would be a wonderful mum. I know I have the mothering instincts. I know how to communicate with children. I know how to teach them. I know how to have fun. I’m protective and nurturing. I would give my children the world. I’d make sure they lived as well as my family have. I’d model their upbringing on the great upbringing I had. I wish I could have that opportunity to be a mother.

 

It’s something I long to do. And I wish life had panned out differently. I was given life, and in that moment I was born, surely there must have been hopes for my future. There must have been dreams of what I’d be when I grew up, and who I’d meet, and the children I’d have – the family holidays we’d all go on… the Christmases spent together… them watching their grandchildren grow up. Somewhere inside, even if they deny it, there must have been hopes. And I hate that my life has turned out this way. That I’ve let them down. Not only have I not given them grandchildren. I’m still a burden on them. They never make me think this in the slightest, but I feel like I’ve ruined their lives. They should be enjoying their lives now, without me, and I’m still here, like a parasite. I feel I’m holding them back. I feel I’m robbing them of their lives. If I was them I would regret bringing me into this world. And that kills me, because there was a time they’d have been so happy about having me, and I just think if they’d known then, how much of a strain life would be for me, and subsequently for them… would they have bothered being so happy to bring me into this world?

 

I’m sorry, I’m so upset. I can’t stop crying this afternoon. I just hate myself and my existence so much right now. I’m not coping with anything. I don’t know the way forward. It seems impossible. I wish I was a child again. I wish I could get back all those years after I left school, and do things differently. I have so much regret. But things have got too  bad now to be able to use that regret to power me towards what I do want. I’m just paralysed by it. I’ve missed too much, and now there’s nothing left. I don’t know what to do.

BPD & Fixation.

fixation (1)

Hello, and Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had a tolerable one.
I somehow managed to get through it. 

 

Anyway I’ll dive straight in, as I want to talk about something very difficult to admit to. It’s something I’ve often wondered about – whether it’s just me who experiences it, or whether it is in some way an aspect of BPD. Apologies for the length of this, it’s a bit of an essay, but it’s the first time I’m externalising these thoughts.

I had it said to me in the past, by a ‘friend’ who turned out to be rather nasty to me, that I was ‘obsessed’ with a guy. While I accept it probably appeared that way to her, she didn’t know the whole story and had no right to say what she did, in the way she chose to. I knew it wasn’t just a case of obsession. But…. funnily enough I think I can be ‘obsessional’ about people and situations. I just don’t like certain words being used. Odd to say but I actually would prefer it to be referred to as ‘fixation’, rather than obsession. Obsessed creates a negative feeling of shame for me, possibly because of this friend who was quite offensive in her use of the word. Whereas to me, fixated means my attention, my care and my feelings of love are ‘fixated’ on one person. It’s more about the emotions and their direction, rather than ‘You’re obsessed’, which indicates a flaw in me. My friend actually said the words ‘This obsession you have with ______ isn’t normal’ – well, gee, thanks for that. I’m not ‘normal’. I do recognise it isn’t HEALTHY. But that’s not to say there is something fundamentally wrong with me as a person and I am abnormal or bad because of it. I can recognise it as unhealthy and if I could click my fingers and stop it, I would. But I can’t. It’s obviously a part of my mental illness, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one to feel this way about people.

Thinking back on that situation, it may well have been my BPD coming through there. I admit when I like a guy, I can’t stop thinking about him. He fills up my senses. He captures all of my emotions.

 

…………………………..

 

The next part I talk about is really hard for me to do, because I fear judgement and exposure of my ‘craziness’. I worry people will get the wrong idea about me and run with it, rather than hearing this for what it is – a confession to try and help others not feel so abnormal and ashamed. I don’t particularly want to talk about this, although doing so might remove the burden I feel, hiding such a hideous feeling part of me from the world. So please respect what courage it takes to admit to this:

 

…………………………

 

The last man I was fixated on, we were never ‘together’ but he was stringing me along, messing with my emotions and I was his ego stroke basically. I don’t know if he really didn’t know this, or if he did and it’s what gave him his kicks, but despite how shit he would make me feel sometimes, I felt like I was in love with him. That’s why when he hurt me it broke me and I ‘overreacted’… in his opinion… because I cared about him a million times more than he cared about me. I don’t think he cared about me one ounce.

There were many times we’d fall apart and not speak for months – well, he certainly didn’t speak to ME anyway! But we’d fall back together. He obviously got bored of his latest ‘conquest’ and wanted an ego stroke, and me, being naïve and totally inexperienced with men and also having low self-esteem and a mental illness, I was a prime target. So I’d always go ‘running back’ to him. Whenever we drifted apart, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I would cry most days about him. I would go on his social media and because he had a public profile, I could see what he was up to. I would seek out pictures of him. I would look at those whom I knew were his closer friends, and if their profiles were equally as public I would look at theirs too, to see if I could find out anymore about how he was, what he was up to. I would collect the photos together and sit looking at them – not in a psycho kind of way, but to cause myself pain and heartache. I was in almost constant pain anyway most of the time. But having these sessions where I looked at photos and listened to sad music, it allowed me to experience the pain in a way that made sense. It nurtured the heartache. I know what I’ve just said likely doesn’t make any sense to you, but it did to me at the time. In a way I was punishing myself over and over again, for not being good enough, and for losing him….. In reality it was actually his loss, not mine. But I couldn’t see that at the time.

I knew he was into racing, and his team would always do well. So whenever there was a race I’d watch the final results online and cheer him on. But he never knew this. This was purely for my own emotional benefit. I would feel proud of him. But he’d never know this. I know it makes no sense, but it fulfilled a need in me at the time. I wasn’t ready to let go of him. He was ripped away from me. I hadn’t made the choice. So I needed to decide when to let him go. I needed to feel in control of that.

…………….

With the latest man I fixated on, I’ve done things quite similar, only we never had a ‘relationship’ of any kind, only a brief ‘professional’ one. But I felt an almost instant attraction to him. He’s nothing like the previous guy whatsoever. Maybe that’s why I liked him.

Even after seeing him once or twice, the times in between seeing him were agony. I physically hurt from missing him. Hence realising I was dealing with transference more than anything else. I spent days crying and feeling sick from not seeing him. I couldn’t sleep or eat. Life seemed to stop. I lived from week to week for seeing him, and dying inside in between. So my answer to that became ‘Look him up!’ – I thought that would stop the sadness and pain, if I could see evidence of him online.

I looked online, I ‘googled’ him… any way I could learn more about him, and feel ‘closer’ to him than reality would allow. I found out enough to know we had quite a bit in common, though a couple of major differences. From what I learned and pieced together with other observations / assumptions, I concluded that he’s very intelligent (more so than me…enter feelings of inadequacy), creative, musical, quirky / individual, funny, respectful, possibly a little nerdy, doesn’t know how attractive he is, he’s compassionate, caring, an attentive listener, sensitive, conscientious, trustworthy, emotionally available and not afraid of commitment, given that he’s married and having a child. He appreciates poetry and writing. And he plays music.

This led me to discover, through looking for photos / videos of him (because I missed him and needed to know that although he’s gone from my life forever now, I can still see him and feel connected, until I’M READY to let go!), that he was in a band of sorts and wrote songs. I had a listen, and now one of the songs he wrote is stuck in my head. It’s driving me mad now actually – it’s on a constant loop, it’s really catchy and cleverly written. I even burst out singing bits of it occasionally and have to stop myself. It also turns out that someone who was in the band with him, is actually also in a band with someone I went to school with – someone who was best friends with my brother and in a band with him, and who also happens to be the first guy I ever had a crush on. Spookily small world! And a bit funny that both the first and last guys I had feelings for were both in different bands with this one guy. Something poetic in that for me….

I also do the same, looking at photos, listening to depressing music, and crying my heart out. I guess it’s a part of grief for me. It’s the way I’ve learnt to cope with losing someone from my life. The trouble I have is if I do this at the wrong time, the emotions will flood in and overwhelm me, and lead me to harm myself, so I try not to allow myself to do this too often.

……………………………………

 

I was reluctant to share this information as some would quickly shout ‘STALKER!’ at me. But to me ‘stalking’ would be taking the information I learn and using it to contact him or turn up where he’s likely to go. This is not something I would ever do. I am respectful of his space, his privacy and his life. I’m only accessing things that are publicly available. And I’m only doing it to work through my own emotions…. either to hurt myself or in an attempt to heal myself, by stopping the despair I feel from losing him prematurely. When I’m in intense distress, just knowing he’s still alive, and remembering him helps, yet at the same time I admit it does also hurt… to know he’s there, just out of reach – if I wanted to I could contact him, but I’m not silly. I know boundaries, I fear rejection and I’m just not that person.

 

raw

 

I am no threat to him or his personal life. I keep myself to myself. Even with what I’ve found out I still don’t know very much about him in reality, and never will. I’m fine with that. Obviously I would’ve liked to have known him better. I would love a friend like him, but I understand the reality is we’re eternally nothing to each other. I don’t know details about where he lives or where he works, and even if I did it wouldn’t mean a thing. I’m a very ‘inactive’ person when it comes to what I find out about people. I’ve always been an online detective, even with a friend in the past who I found out lied to me about something major. I don’t use the information to do anything. It just helps things make more sense to me. It helps me move forward. Or I use it to model what I like / dislike about people generally.

In this case, I know what I want in a man in the future. I know 100% it cannot and will not be him. But I can still admire qualities in him and use that to better my own future. Likewise, things I learned about the previous guy helped me to see him in a different light, that eventually helped me move on, and now I know what to avoid in a man, and I know how I deserve to be treated. I’ll only very occasionally look at his profile now, but just because I’m a nosey cow! And whenever I see anything I feel nothing for him, only disgust at how he treated me. It’s wonderful to be free. Last year I hardly looked at anything to do with him – I had far too much on my plate anyway, and that distance from information / pictures / memories etc released me from his spell. So I do know this fixation with the latest guy will go in time. I do need to stop clinging to any scraps of information I find on him, but again that will happen in time and I’ve got to be the one in control of that. It’s all still incredibly raw, so if this is a part of what I need to do to get over him, I have to allow myself to go through it, and not beat myself up for it.

It’s very hard to do that last bit…. because my morals tell me what I’m doing is wrong. It’s NOT normal. It feels like a violation of someone’s privacy, yet at the same time if it was private it wouldn’t be accessible on the internet – just like people could be doing the same towards me as I speak – someone could be reading what I write on my blog, without my knowledge… they could be looking at any accessible photos of me. If this is done because someone knows me and has feelings for me, but they realise it can never be, and it’s only to feel closer to me or to hurt themselves – as much as I wouldn’t want that for them, it would be okay, as they can only see what I choose to make public. If however they’re gathering that information with the intention of stalking me, contacting and harassing me, making me feel uncomfortable or to otherwise mess with me and hurt me, then that would be ‘stalking’ and would NOT be okay.

While I admit that some would think of what I do as a couple of steps away from being a stalker, I assure you in my case I’m not. For one, I’m too lazy to be a stalker. I’m too shy to be a stalker. And I DO know right from wrong, and hate to do anything wrong. What I’m experiencing now is ‘admiration from afar’ and ‘breaking my own heart over and over again‘… nothing more. Give it a few weeks / months and I will stop looking, I will hopefully begin to forget him, that’s my aim, and I will move on. For now this is what I need. I don’t have a shut-off valve, where I can magically stop thinking about someone. Life would be so much simpler if I did. I need these little windows to be able to appreciate his existence, until I am in the right place to release him from my heart. If I had these taken away from me now, I would fall apart. I would not be safe right now, especially as I’m unsupported.

My anxiety in talking about this, is that someone will read it, know it’s me talking about him, notify him, and he’ll make it so I can no longer see anything about him anywhere. This will drive me to despair. It’s bad enough to have lost him forever. To know that I can never communicate with him. But the thought of someone reporting what I’ve said here, which it’s taken a lot of courage to share, and denying me the ability to heal my broken heart in my own way and my own time, leaving me completely cut off, with thoughts that I’m despised and a bad person, I honestly couldn’t live with myself.

Believe me, I already feel like a terrible person… 1. For having these feelings for him in the first place. 2. For telling people, including him, about these feelings. 3. For being unable to let go of him, and clinging on to any reminders of him, wherever they might come from. I don’t need to be made to feel any worse.

 

I'm not for one minute saying I can excuse this behaviour because perhaps it's an aspect of BPD, but%2

 

I’m not for one minute saying I can excuse this behaviour just because perhaps it’s an aspect of BPD, but if it’s something that is actually quite common in people with BPD, then perhaps I don’t have to be quite so hard on myself and can see it as a part of my illness, rather than something ‘bad’ about me as a person. I know I’m a ‘good’ person… whatever a good person is! I know I’d never hurt a fly… literally. I would never wish to cause anyone upset, pain or make them uncomfortable. I’m a peaceful person. A private person (though I have started speaking out about mental health a lot in the last year or so, so it may not seem this way). I have boundaries and respect boundaries. I have a lot of empathy for others. I’m not a dangerous person, or a scary person. I’m not into harassing people. I’m not into breaking the law or getting in any sort of trouble. Even when I harmed at the therapy session I was more concerned with apologising, how it affected the therapists, and whether I was in trouble. I didn’t care about me! I’ve never been in trouble, and I never want to be.

So anything I do is always aimed at me. My self-harm is about me. My anger is taken out on me. My fixation on someone I’m emotionally attached to is about me, my inner experience and hurting myself. I am slightly masochistic and seem to be most ‘comfortable’ when in emotional turmoil. I know this is something I have to work on. I don’t snoop on people to get closer to them. I do it to FEEL closer to them, internally, though the reality is I’m no closer and eventually feel further away, as I witness them continuing their lives whilst I’m the one stuck, hurting over them. I said I’m a ‘good person’ I never said I’m not ‘messed up’…!

My belief is that this is an aspect of BPD… and it would make sense. We feel emotions intensely. We ruminate. We experience issues with attachment and abandonment. So if we feel strongly for someone… attached to them, then losing them will make us claw after any last remnants of them, as it feels like an abandonment… like they’ve been wrenched away from us and we were powerless. That’s the biggest troublesome emotion for me at the moment, the powerlessness. The despair we feel without them leads us to desperately seek out reminders of them, to ease the pain of loss, and to feel we still ‘have them’ (even though we don’t), until we decide it’s time to let go.

I admit when I feel I love someone it’s probably more intense than the average person. I’m not a smothering kind of person though. I very much respect personal space and time, and I actually NEED time alone. The thought of having to be attached at the hip to someone for the rest of my life, fills me with pure dread! But when I fall for someone I fall hard. I don’t feel these sorts of attachments to just anyone. Just the ‘lucky’ few. It’s rare. It has its positives. If the person returned my feelings I would be a fully committed, passionate, romantic, affectionate partner to them. I’d give them the world. It’s just unfortunate that I develop these attachments to people I can’t have, or those who are wrong for me and abuse it.

It’s a horrible feeling being this way. I feel like I’m too muchtoo intense to function in society. I think I’ll be alone forever because 1. Nobody will ever be attracted to me. 2. My mental health is too difficult for anyone. 3. My love is too intense it’ll scare anyone off.

And knowing that I get like this – that I get these strong emotional attachments, fear abandonment and quickly develop strong feelings for people who could end up hurting me… it makes me shut off from the world. It makes me not want to meet anyone I could fall for… to not put myself out there. Because it does feel like a flaw. And the emotional rollercoaster you go on when you form one of these attachments is sickening and potentially deadly. I have felt like ending my life because of these intense attachments. They make me feel very unsafe. So that’s why I don’t put myself in a situation where this might happen now. That’s why the attachment I formed at therapy took me by surprise and messed me up. Because I had planned to not feel that way about a man again, not anytime soon. I thought I was safe. And then I met him. And now I wish I hadn’t.

 

Remember_

 

Anyway I’ve got a couple of appointments starting next week, to talk about things like this I suppose. Two sessions won’t fix this, but I’ll take what I can get and see where it leads me. Can’t get much worse than it is right now. Hopefully I might learn a little about why I get so attached to people like this, and have difficulty letting go.  I don’t know if I’ll ever learn a different way of experiencing emotions… less intensely, or if this is my lot. I just hope one day I can find someone who can tolerate my love for them. Right now I don’t feel worthy of anyone.

Poem: Longing.

Longing

I long to be the chair you sit upon, and give you support;

The ground you walk upon, and be your destiny;

To be the cup you drink from, and quench your thirst;

To be the food you sink your teeth into, and be your nourishment.

I long to be the phone at your ear, and whisper sweet nothings;

To be the touchscreen, and feel your fingers’ caress;

The pen you hold, and give voice to your feelings;

To be the rain on your face, and bring you new sensations.

I long to be your gravity, and keep you grounded;

To be the four walls you live within, and keep you safe;

The bed you lie in, and keep you warm and at peace;

To be the strings you strum, and play our melody.

I long to be your mirror, and show you the beauty of yourself;

To be the water that cleanses you, and wash away the pain.

I long to be your dreams at night, and be your escape from reality;

The arms that hold you, and show you you’re loved.

I long to be the hand you hold, to let you know you’re never alone.

I long to be your sanctuary, and make you feel at home.

I long to be the air you breathe, and give you life.

I long for all this… trading places with the one you love… your wife.

 

 

——-

This was inspired by my feelings of transference. I know people would think this isn’t healthy, but I assure you I remain firmly realistic. I know what this is, and what it isn’t. I know he’s a therapist. And what’s more I know he is spoken for and I am no homewrecker, no matter what my poems might suggest.

It’s simply a way of expressing such overpowering emotions in a constructive way. It’s an outlet. If I bottle these feelings up they’ll become worse… I know… I’ve done that too many times. Letting them out and being creative with it, turns a painful emotion into something to be at least a little proud of.

Thinking of him brings out the poet in me. It brings out the romantic in me. I can write about love as though I know what it is… even if I’ve never truly experienced it… even though this isn’t ‘love’. It draws the words out of me.

The way I see it, he is my muse. If he came into my life for nothing else, it was to inspire me to start writing again. And for that I am thankful.

Because poetry saved my life, and has kept me sane for more than ten years now. But after a very difficult year or so, I lost the knack.

My poetry rarely comes from a happy place. It’s a way of dealing with difficult emotions for me, so pain, depression, grief and unrequited love are the inspiration for most of my work. However, when overloaded with grief, pain and depression it can be hard to find the words. So I’ve suffered with writer’s block for months now, only writing a poem or two in remembrance of my granddad this year… but I wasn’t proud of them, as they didn’t flow freely.

But this transference… these unrequited feelings… they’ve woken something up in me. For the longest time now, my mind has been on grief, loss, depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm – all the doom and gloom stuff. I haven’t had any interest in men. So to have that interest awoken, it’s cut through the doom and gloom and allowed me to open the door to poetry again.

Going forward from here I hope to write more freely about other feelings too. Some doors are easier to open than others of course. I’m scared to open the flood gates on the loss I’ve faced this year, and really let that grief flow out. But I’ll take it a step at a time, and test the water.

I have so much creativity flowing through me, I need some way to let it out. And if it helps my mental health at the same time, it’s a win-win.

xxxx

Values.

It’s World Values Day, so I thought I’d compile a list of things that I value, and like to see in myself and others. Sometimes I stray from my values and forget what I’m about. This leads me down a path I regret going down, but everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we choose to recover from them that matters. If we hold on to our values, the things that guide us along the right path, then as much as we may bend, we’ll never break. We’ll always be who we are at heart. These are the things that matter to me:

Acceptance Accepting things and people as they are. Not trying to change them. Acceptance does not mean agreeing or liking something. It’s just about saying ‘This is the way it is, like it or not’.
Being accepted by others. If you’re my friend and can’t accept me for who I am, what I like, and my mental illness, then move along.
Accountability I am responsible for my actions and my words. If I hurt someone I apologise for it, without blaming it on someone else.
Appreciation It’s important to show people they are appreciated for not only what they do, but for who they are.
I need to feel appreciated, in friendships, work, and family life. People will always do more if they feel appreciated.
Being Valued Everyone has something to contribute in life. We are all valuable. Showing people I value their friendship, their support, their time… is as important as them showing me they value me too.
Belonging Making people feel included. And feeling like I fit in somewhere. It gives me the feeling I have a purpose. Too often I believe I’ll never fit in anywhere in this world. Belonging is important for self-esteem.
Caring Caring about other people. Showing that care in my words and actions. Making others feel loved, and like they’re in my heart and thoughts.
I need to feel that emotional warmth in return. Caring can be in the form of a hand on an arm, a hug, a thoughtful letter, a kind gesture, asking after someone. The world needs more caring.
Commitment Committing my whole heart to one person. And if I say I’m going to do something, I see it through. I expect the same from others.
Communication If there’s a problem, talking about it. If I have feelings for someone, telling them. If I need help, asking for it. If I miss talking to someone, just talking to them. Keeping in touch with people, to maintain friendships. This works both ways though and I expect good communication from others too.
Compassion Understanding the emotional needs of others, and that their actions may have been driven by those emotions. Realising we are all human and doing the best we can.
This goes for me too. I need compassion, from others and from myself. Compassion and forgiveness often go hand in hand.
Courage Being brave. Trying my best. Stepping out of my comfort zone. Challenging myself. Doing things that aren’t necessarily easy for me, but staying strong anyway.
Others having the courage to say important things to me. The courage to admit to mistakes. The courage to admit their feelings for me. Courage to give me closure.
Creativity Creativity is my life. Writing, playing music, art – these are my strengths, and I value them. I appreciate these talents in other people, whilst accepting that not everyone has a creative streak – people have their own individual gifts, and creativity is mine.
Decency It costs nothing to be a decent person. It’s even better to be a ‘good person’, but being decent is easy. Just treat people well. Mind your manners, be polite, don’t hurt people. It’s not rocket science.
Dignity Everyone deserves dignity. People should be treated with respect and discretion. We all want to be treated like adults, and have our privacy respected.
Empathy Putting myself in the shoes of others. Feeling with the heart of another. Knowing how they would feel, because I have felt something similar, so I can relate to them on an emotional level. Trying to understand someone else’s point of view. I often experience pain at the sadness and pain of other people… like someone else’s emotions physically hurt my heart. This is empathy. Understanding how my emotions, actions, words impact on the feelings of another person. Those without empathy cannot understand that they hurt people, and will never apologise.
Fairness Life isn’t fair. That much I have learnt. But if I can be fair, that is progress. For instance I am a fair person – if someone admits to a wrongdoing, apologises and makes it right, I will forgive them and move forward. This is my fairness. Fairness is still having your boundaries, yet accommodating other people if they matter to you. Balancing interpersonal needs, with personal rights.
Freedom Freedom of speech. Freedom of thought. Freedom to form my own opinions and not be judged for them. Freedom to do what I want, within the law, and within social boundaries, and to feel how I feel. Freedom to be who I am. To not be told what to do. To not be controlled.
To allow others to have their freedom. To give people their own personal space and respecting it. No matter how much time I want with them, respecting they have their own life, as an individual, and they need the freedom to live that life away from me too.
Friendship Friendship covers many of these other values, like honesty, loyalty, caring, appreciation. Friendship is give and take. You have to give as much as you take from the friendship. It’s a two-way street. To have a friend, be a friend.
Gratitude Saying thank you, for whatever has been done. Giving thanks for a person’s friendship. Gratitude can be shown in the returning of favours, by a card, flowers, or just a simple thank you – it can go a long way.
Harmony People getting along, without the need for conflict. People often squabble over petty stuff… people are always bickering. There’s no need for it. It only breeds negative vibes. I value harmony. This does not mean avoiding discussing issues, but knowing there’s a time and place for it. And around other people is not that time or place. Nurture good vibes.
Helpfulness Random acts of kindness. Doing a favour for someone with no expectation of reward. Offering your services if you know you can be of assistance, just to show you care and want to make life easier for someone.
Humility Not needing to boast about successes. Living a quiet life, away from the spotlight, not needing recognition for recognition’s sake. Not thinking you’re bigger, better or more important than you are. Living within your means and not needing the best of everything. Expecting nothing, assuming nothing. Just getting on, making do and being down-to-earth.
Independent Thought Researching by myself, and reaching my own conclusion. Having my own views and opinions and having them respected, whilst respecting that others’ views will differ from mine, and that’s fine. Not following the crowd. Not being a social justice warrior and just wanting to appear like a ‘decent human being’. Actually listening to how I feel, and putting that ahead of appearances. Not being a sheep.
Individuality Being myself. Loving my quirks. Being proud of my differences, my odd hobbies and interests. Not being like everyone else, and having my own set of beliefs, morals, values and personality traits. Not changing to be like everyone else. Cherishing the differences in other people too. Noticing their quirks and adoring them for simply being who they are. It’s beautiful to be unique in a world where everyone’s trying to be the same. I was bullied at school for being ‘different’. I thought I had to change. But my individuality is what makes me who I am, and a better person to know. I’m proud to be different.
Inner Strength Resilience. No matter how many times I am knocked down, I pick myself back up. I fight the urge to harm myself or give up on life. I dig down and remember all the times I got through things I didn’t think I could. I look after myself, build myself back up and carry on living. This is inner strength.
Integrity Having strong morals. Knowing right from wrong and sticking by it, no matter how tempted I am to go against them. I have high morals in terms of relationships. I expect to be wooed and courted. I am not a casual dater. I have let those morals slip once or twice in the past, but thankfully only slip, not completely let slide. So I now have renewed morals. I believe in the ‘girl code’ where others haven’t towards me. I have a horrendous conscience that batters me daily, so I do my best to avoid doing anything wrong.
Kindness Saying kind things. Compliments. Picking people up with words. Giving a thoughtful gift. Showing your love to someone with a gesture or words.
Knowledge Knowledge is power. Educating yourself about things you don’t understand. Read, research, discuss. Learn all you can about a subject… the more subjects the better. We can never know too much.
Loyalty You are either 100% loyal or not at all. There is no halfway. Loyalty is having the back of someone you care about. Standing up for them. Protecting them. Putting their needs ahead of someone else’s. Showing them that you are on their side. Not backstabbing the people you claim to care about.
Nature I value the natural world and universe. I hate all the cars, buildings, roads… we’re destroying this world. So whenever I see a natural setting – forests, seas, mountains, fields, and can see animals in the wild, I feel happy. These are the things to cherish about the world. Whilst others value cars, money, handbags, clothes and alcohol, I value what life has gifted to us… nature. We need to protect it.
Openness / Honesty Say what you mean. Mean what you say. If you feel something, say it, tactfully though. Don’t hide things from the people you care about. Don’t deny, avoid or lie to them. Be upfront. If there’s a problem talk to them about it directly. Don’t lead people on. Don’t cheat or deceive anyone and mess with their emotions. I try to always be honest. Sometimes I’m a little too honest and can’t shut my mouth up. But it’s never in an unkind way. I just find honesty too cathartic and don’t know where to draw the line. I hate lying and I’m rubbish at it. Being honest is so much easier.
Patience In a world that wants everything now, now, NOW, it’s nice to be patient, sit back and wait your turn. My life is a game of patience. I’m still waiting my turn, even now. Yes, time is running out, but that fact doesn’t make things happen any faster. I might as well fill the time I’m waiting with other things. That’s what life’s about – the journey, not the destination.
Perseverance Never giving up. If one way doesn’t work, find another that will. Don’t be disheartened if you fail – if you want something bad enough use your creativity to find a better, more effective way. If you want something you have to work hard for it. It’ll be worth it in the end, with the sense of achievement.
Pride Being proud of yourself for your achievements however small, but not needing the approval and praise from everyone else. Personal pride. It’s also important to hear that others are proud of you. It’s the nicest feeling. So if you’re proud of someone for something they did, or didn’t do, say it. It builds people up.
Protection Defending those who can’t defend themselves, including animals. Standing up for those we love. Wanting to shield them from the harsh, cruel world we live in today. Being prepared to give your life for the ones you love.
Recognition Give credit where credit is due. Find out who was responsible for a success, and praise them for it. Don’t take credit for someone else’s effort.
Reliability Knowing you can count on someone, and trust their word. If they say they’ll do something, knowing that they mean it. And being that sort of person, who can be trusted to do what they say. Showing up for work, not leaving people in the lurch. Being someone others can depend on. Not letting people down.
Respect Treating people in a nice way… and accepting their personal boundaries. I respect my elders, but will not tolerate being disrespected by them. If they expect my respect simply because I am younger, no matter how they treat me, they will learn my respect for my elders is changeable. The world needs more respect. We need to treat each other better.
Spirituality Thinking of myself as a spiritual being on a human journey, rather than a human on a spiritual journey. My spirit is separate from my body. I need to respect both my body and my spirit, but when I find myself unable to love my body, I must love my spirit. It’s who I am. When I die, my spirit will live on. I must nurture it and learn as much from this life as I can. These are my beliefs. I accept others don’t hold these beliefs, but I expect them to respect my beliefs and not mock me for them. I must do things that lift my spirit, and help it to grow. I must be more concerned with who I am on the inside, rather than beating myself up for what I lack on the outside.
Stability Someone like me needs stability. I need stable relationships with others. I need consistency and predictability. I don’t cope well with change. I accept it happens in life, but where possible I need to seek out stability. This is what I will seek in a future relationship, someone who makes me feel safe and comfortable. It will calm my mind and emotions.
Support Supporting others in their darkest times. And seeking support from others when I need it. Being a shoulder to lean on, but knowing there’s someone to lean on when I’m struggling too. We need to support each other in life. It’s the only way we’ll all make it through this life.
Tolerance Accepting different views, beliefs and ways of life. We don’t all have to think the same as each other, but we do have to tolerate the views of each other. For instance people cannot claim to be tolerant because they like people of a different race, and are ‘anti-racist’… this indicates they are INTOLERANT of those who hold racist views. Tolerance is living your life by your beliefs and principles, and not needing to change anyone else’s beliefs and principles. By all means if someone is being abused because of the colour of their skin, then defend them! Condemn the abuse. But to say that all people have to like people of every race, religion and sexuality otherwise they’re bad people, that is intolerant. As long as we don’t externalise such feelings against other people, we are entitled to think whatever we want. Tolerance is accepting this. No amount of challenging someone’s beliefs will change their mind. It’s not our job to do so.
Tranquillity / solitude Peace and quiet. I crave it. I need it, to recharge from existing in this hectic world. I need quiet time, on my own. I don’t want to feel like I’m alone, but I do need to have time alone, for the sake of my spirit. It’s nice to not constantly need someone else there too.
Trust Knowing I can count on people not to hurt me, or do anything to cross my boundaries and values. It’s important to be trustworthy, and to trust. I’ve been too trusting, and been burned too many times, that now I don’t trust many people at all. If we were all more trustworthy, there’d be fewer people isolating themselves due to lack of trust. If we want to be trusted, we have to prove we are trustworthy.
Wisdom Using our emotions and our logic to arrive at wise decisions. Learning from our experiences. It’s good to listen to the wisdom of others, as they’ve learnt from their own experiences, but many people, myself included, need to learn the hard way…. experience builds wisdom.

It’s hard to always live by these values. But it’s what I strive for. Or want to strive for. Nobody’s perfect, but it’s what we aim for that matters. These are my values, some matter more than others, and some overlap. You may have different values, and that’s perfectly fine. Nobody’s values are better than others. However sometimes our values aren’t compatible, and that’s okay. That’s why some people instantly click and others can’t get along, no matter how hard they try.

Your values are personal to you and are there to guide you on your own personal, spiritual journey. It’s good to check in on them from time to time, to make sure you’re living the way you want to live. And to make sure those around you are compatible with your values and respecting your boundaries.

Make a list of your own values, to discover your boundaries. I’d advise making a shorter list, of the main ones for you. I’ve made a longer list, to give more examples, but my top ten would be: Caring, Communication, Empathy, Humility, Individuality, Integrity, Loyalty, Openness / Honesty, Respect and Tolerance. These are the things I wish to show to the world. But also the traits I would admire in other people. They will help me make the right connections in my life, and to be a better person all round. I know I have work to do. But at least now I know where that work is needed.

xxxx

The Truth Of Transference.

adventure

 

Forgive me, this is a very long post. But it’s about transference, and it’s the first time I’ve experienced this and have spoken about it properly. If this subject interests you then have a read, but no worries if not – it is a lot to read!!

 

 

Here’s the truth. I’m not okay. I’m not coping. I want to have another breakdown and be given permission to avoid life for a bit. I rushed back into it. I’m even putting on a strong front in therapy now, as I don’t want them to worry or kick me off the course and abandon me. I’m joining in more now, and it’s taking so much effort to do so. I’m not strong enough. They now know why I harmed myself two weeks ago, and we’ll now ‘draw a line under it’… in other words it’s my issue and I’m on my own with it. It’s taking real balls for me to continue attending the course after everything that’s gone on. I hope they realise that. It’s hard. But my recovery is more important to me than anything. That’s why I’ll force myself to get through the whole thing.

But the issue isn’t resolved. It can’t be. It never will be. So every week I have to go through the same shitty feelings, feeling sick and having pain in my heart….

So here’s where I discuss transference. Simply put this is when you’re led to believe you have feelings for your therapist. These feelings can vary from person to person, depending on their past issues and unresolved feelings. Some people grow attached to the therapist and see them as a mother / father figure. Perhaps they were neglected or abused as children, and the therapist fulfils what the parents never did. Others experience negative transference, where they feel angry towards the therapist, if they seem to represent something from the past. Other times people experience erotic and romantic transference, whereby they think they’re falling for the therapist, and see them as a potential partner.

Whatever the case, it is a very distressing experience. I’m going to be talking about romantic transference, as that’s what I’m experiencing. It is very hard to talk about, but that’s why I’m going to do it, because it’s obviously something that needs to come into the light. I’m keeping it in the dark due to a feeling of shame and embarrassment. But I think so many people experience this and don’t talk about it for that reason. Consequently it makes us all feel very isolated and as if we’re strange for having these feelings. We need to talk about it, and bring the subject into the open, to feel less alone with it.

This is a heavy burden for me right now, and I’ve decided to write it out, to see if it helps lessen the load. But just know this is one of the hardest things for me to write about….

 

 

* Names have been changed *

 

When I started my twelve week course of group therapy, I didn’t know anyone who would be attending. This filled me with immense anxiety – going to a new place, with new people, not knowing a thing about anyone there. However I remembered the names of the people running it, after my individual therapist told me. To ease my anxiety I looked them both up online just to see what they looked like, so I felt I’d recognise someone there, and I could tell what they might be like (not that you can judge a book by its cover of course!!).

The first thing that struck me was that *Sarah looked very much like one of my old best friends, who betrayed me badly and messed up my whole life as a result. I thought that might be a block in going to the group, as it might stir up those old feelings of pain and hatred.

The next, was seeing *James. I thought ‘Oh shit, he looks young’. I had imagined he might be an older, less attractive man. My first thought was ‘How am I going to be open and honest about my problems to a young man?‘… and then I thought ‘Don’t get feelings for him. DO NOT get feelings for him’.

And what did I do? Yep, I went and got ‘feelings’ for him. Really quite rapidly. I walked in the door, he said hello, and ‘Oh crap’ my mind went. The first session wasn’t too bad, although I did bawl my eyes out in a room full of strangers, which was embarrassing. I told them to ignore me and carry on, but James stuck with it and spoke to me, and used it as an example to everyone else.

Other people felt a bit hostile at times about the therapy, and I felt for James and Sarah, having to cope with that on their first session. I strangely felt protective of them, and wanted to make an effort so they knew I appreciated what they were trying to do.

I went away, and that first week was mainly just a feeling of embarrassment for my emotional outpouring, so that emotion took up most of my headspace. But I spoke to James at the start of the session to ask what happens if during another mindfulness exercise, I get transported to an upsetting place and can’t get back. He made some helpful suggestions about grounding, breathing and stepping out if I need to.

I also had to ask at the end about the vicious circles the whole course is about, as I wasn’t sure I understood it properly. I felt more of a connection with James than with Sarah, as although he’s a man he seemed warmer than her. So I asked and he sat down with me after the session and looked through my folder. I felt embarrassed for him to see my vicious circle surrounding anger, and self-harm. And then one about rejection. He seemed to understand my issues more after that, but I feared judgement.

At one point Sarah left the room, and it was just the two of us sat together talking. I looked round as she left the room and as I looked back round I started blushing, so kept my head down. I liked the feeling of being alone with him. And this was quite an alarming feeling really. I knew nothing could or would happen, but oddly I wanted it to. I think because it’s ‘taboo’… it’s ‘forbidden’ it created a sense of excitement. And that’s a long-lost feeling for me. I hoped to God he didn’t notice me turning red! I imagined things that weren’t there. I imagined a change in tone when Sarah re-entered the room. I imagined the way he said my name after I thanked him. I know that. I had gone into fantasy mode, where I see signs that aren’t there. Thinking about it now, I reckon I’ve been there before, several years ago. Only then, I honestly believed the guy was stringing me along. So at least I had the ability to see it this time as something different.

From that moment on I knew I was in trouble. From then on I would spend all week thinking about him. I would feel physical heartache from MISSING him. I wanted to be in his presence. I would fantasise about him. I would think of him leaving his wife for me! Yes, he has a wife. And he’s going to become a father. Hence my extra strong feelings of self-hatred and guilt for having these feelings, as I’m no ‘home-wrecker’. I’ve beaten myself up relentlessly for feeling how I do. I remember hearing that he’s going to have a baby, and it felt like a stab to my heart…. as if the wedding ring wasn’t enough of a red-flag! It was a peculiar feeling, to feel jealous and to wish I stood a chance of winning his heart. I had met him two times! It was overpowering though. Intense. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I wanted to learn more about him. I wanted to see him and talk to him. And yet… at times I couldn’t even remember clearly what he looked like!

That was when I knew I had feelings for a feeling, not him. It wasn’t necessarily about him. It was about what I wanted and needed. I’m talking about it in the past tense, as if it’s not something I’m still going through – I am. That’s what makes it so hard to understand.

Now, I did Psychology A Level. I have had many years of mental illness and researching all about mental health, to help myself. Plus there have been mentions of it on TV shows over the years. So I know that the term I needed to research was ‘transference’. I knew this was what I was experiencing, and I wanted to know how people cope with it.

Upon looking it up, I was surprised at just how many people have experienced the same. The general consensus was that it was actually a GOOD thing. A healthy sign that you’re healing, or ready to heal. The advice given by the majority was to talk about it with the therapist. You have to understand that nothing can come from disclosing it. It’s not to get some validation or reciprocation of feelings, as that will never happen. It’s off-limits. Obviously depending on what the therapist is like, they might even transfer you to another therapist if they think it will get in the way of your recovery. Or they might help you through it. They might help you understand why you’re feeling the way you do, and help you see what you can learn from it, about yourself and how you relate to your past.

The research I did was very positive, and I decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone and admit to it, early on…. to nip it in the bud, stop it in its tracks and make the most out of the course. It filled me with the worst anxiety I’ve had. I came up with a plan of how to approach it, easing the idea in, so that he realised I just wanted to be rid of it, and that I understood what transference was. But as much as I appeared to be skirting round the issue (when in reality I was building up to finally unburdening myself), James was also skirting the issue in his questioning. He probably thought I didn’t want to actually say what the problem was. Now the problem is he’s not my individual therapist. So really I shouldn’t have followed the advice from online, because most of those people probably transferred onto their individual therapist, who they see every week and can work through the issue with them one-on-one. I don’t have that opportunity because it’s a group session, and not about dealing with individual issues. So I knew I might not have time to work through it with him. I just wanted it off my chest. I already felt trapped with it, BECAUSE I couldn’t work through it with him…. yet I had to attend the group every week, filled with these distressing feelings. I felt trapped.

So when he didn’t give me the space to say what I needed to, and suggested I speak to my individual therapist about whatever was troubling me, I felt powerless. I’d had my decision taken away from me. Not only that but I felt even more trapped, because I still had to carry on with the course – returning to the group after the ten minute break, where I’d spoken to James, and not made any progress.

This feeling of powerlessness, feeling trapped, overwhelmed with emotions and feeling stupid for doing the wrong thing, made something inside of me snap. As James went back into the group and I followed him, I decided I couldn’t face going back into the room, unable to focus, and with all those other people there. I excused myself, said I’d be there in a minute and went off to the toilets.

There I broke down in tears, and made a stupid choice to harm myself. I had prepared for things going very wrong, and had a tool in my pocket, to harm myself with. Unfortunately I was so desperately upset and broken that I wasn’t in my usual mind of damage limitation. I usually contain it, and most of my wounds are deemed ‘superficial’. But I was lost in a moment of feeling unable to carry on with life. I didn’t want to die, but I honestly didn’t care at that point I made the cut. Anyway it ended up being the worst self-harm I’d ever done. Sarah ended up treating me with my own steri-strips, but advised me to go to the hospital. So I did.

When I got home from the hospital I was angry. I was furious. I was raging… that I was made to feel that powerless that I resorted to self-harm. I blamed James. This was probably an aspect of the transference… from times when unresolved issues with men led me to self-harm. I wrote it all out, as I just wanted to scream. Just a day or two later I switched to blaming myself instead.

That was a long, painful, exhausting week. I couldn’t sleep properly. I was going to have my dressing changed every couple of days. I didn’t have an appetite. I kept having flashbacks, very vivid ones to what happened. I felt so ashamed that Sarah got involved. And I felt so guilty that I did it straight after talking to James, and he was told what happened, so probably blamed himself. I still can’t let go of the shame and guilt even now.

I knew it would be hard going back again, knowing they’d likely talked about me, and what happened. I apologised to each of them, and James actually said he’d learnt from the experience too, to be more direct in questioning. So there’s positives there, but this was before he even knew what the problem was, so it shows he went away and thought about it and the role he played. Which increases my guilt. He didn’t make me harm myself. I’m the one stupid enough to have had something on me to hurt myself with. He wouldn’t have known. I feel worse for James than I do for Sarah – and she had to actually see the wound and fix it for me! But it’s more embarrassment with her. But with James I feel bad for making him feel bad. I hate to hurt anyone.

I picked myself back up and threw myself into the therapy course, joining in more. I had given James and Sarah something to read which explained why I did what I did. In it I explained about the transference, but said that I don’t want to talk about it now. It’s done and dusted, and not such an issue anymore. I lied….. Well… I didn’t LIE as such – it was true at the time I wrote and gave it. But now it’s crept back in and it’s overwhelming.

Just this morning I was crying at the thought of the end of the course, and knowing I will NEVER see James again. In fact I’m welling up again as I write this. It’s crazy. How can I be so attached to someone I only met a month ago? But I have realised this too, is part of the transference. I’ve had a think about it today and come to the conclusion that I have been abandoned by so many people… so many men that I cared about have just disappeared on me. They gave me no closure. They didn’t appreciate my feelings. They just vanished, leaving me with so many questions and unresolved feelings. They made me feel worthless and like I didn’t matter…. didn’t exist. They taught me that if I like a man, he will leave me without a word. I will lose him from my life… forever. And I don’t cope very well with ‘forever’ or ‘never again’. It’s too scary. It’s too sad.

So the thought of never seeing James again. I can’t bear it. And it’s making me relive that feeling of losing someone I care about, and can’t imagine my life without.

I have so many different emotions coming up from knowing James, and I wish I could work WITH him to work through those emotions. I feel jealous… when I had my incident, Sarah was the one who came looking for me, and has spoken to me since. But when someone else in the group went off, James went to check on her. This made me jealous. I also felt a tinge of resentment this week towards Sarah for dealing with me and taking charge of speaking to me, rather than letting James be in on it too. When another member didn’t get on with their therapist, James made an appointment with him, but when I said I didn’t feel comfortable talking to my therapist about the issue I had, he didn’t suggest that for me. This stirred up feelings I had in the past, where guys would treat me differently. They would have time for their friends, but not for me, they’d always cancel on me or not make time for me. I notice other members being ‘flirtatious’ with James (in my opinion), and it makes me angry with them. And it makes me feel shit about myself. I feel like they’re ‘competition’, and that he would never pick me over them. Nobody ever picks me over anyone else. Nobody would even pick me if there was no longer even a choice! Of course all of this is putting aside the fact he’s married, and a therapist, so it’s not even an issue! There is no actual competition because he’s not available. But it just wakes up these emotions and memories in me.

I love every little thing about him. I can’t even begin to explain all the things that melt my heart. He’s quirky. He’s different. He’s got such a soothing voice in mindfulness exercises. I added one to the list this week – his cute, dorky laugh… it made my heart smile. But you see, I feel BAD for feeling this way. You’d think that feeling emotions similar to admiration and love, and appreciation would be a good thing. But for me it’s hell. When you know it’s unrequited… when you know it’s impossible and hopeless, it’s horrible. And to know as well that it’s not even real. It sucks.

I feel so embarrassed to admit how I feel towards this therapist. But I guess one piece of achievement I have to take from it, is that if I had to say it out loud, I wouldn’t say ‘I’m in love with James’. I would say ‘I feel like I’m in love with James’, and there IS a difference. I know that I’m not. But the feelings I have are mimicking that sensation of loving someone… of being attached to someone. And knowing it can’t be and that I’m going to lose him soon, is breaking my heart, like real heartbreak.

Transference is about the past. I’m feeling this because of my experiences with men. But also because of what James as a therapist represents.

He is a man, who, as part of his job, listens to me…. understands…. doesn’t judge…. is supportive… is sensitive to my needs and feelings… respects me…. But of course these are traits necessary for the job he does. I have no way of knowing what sort of man he is away from work. He might be just like the rest of them! But I was likely attracted to him for these traits, as my experiences with men have been lacking in them. I have been hurt by men, and they were not very good men. They seemed to be the opposite of what I imagine James to be.

But also to add another layer to the transference…. James seems like a ‘nice guy’. And the last nice guy I liked, I had pictured settling down with him. I needed him. And I lost him. I lost him because I didn’t have the balls to speak up and tell him I liked him, until it was already too late and he had been swooped up by one of my supposed ‘best friends’ behind my back. So now, being in the presence of a ‘nice guy’ who embodies everything I’d need in a man, and knowing that he’ll never be mine, and in a few weeks it’ll be another loss of a good man from my life, that stings like crazy.

It’s very complex, and conjures up some extremely painful emotions. But something interesting that’s come to me today, is that originally I saw the transference as a BLOCK to my therapy. A distraction. Now I realise it’s actually an important part of the therapy. It’s just knowing how to use it to my advantage and get the most out of it moving forward. I don’t know if these therapists are geared up for helping me with that, or if that’s something for the future.

I do wish I’d just stuffed it down and ignored it. But at the same time I know I shouldn’t regret things, as it felt right at the time. And it’s shaping my character, strength and understanding of myself. Do I wish I had more support with this? Of course. But there’s not enough out there. Nobody can spare me the time. So that’s why today I am becoming my own therapist, and trying my best to understand this transference, alone. It’s all I can do for the next two months.

Understanding that it’s transference doesn’t mean it isn’t killing me every day. It really is. I keep crying today. I’m not looking after myself properly. I’m depressed even more. I feel ill. And I can’t cope with life in between sessions.

I had Sarah suggest to me that if I’m struggling too much then I can stop going to the group right now, and maybe do something in the future. But what she doesn’t understand is I WANT to do the therapy. It’s LIFE I don’t want to do. I’m happy (well, as happy as you can be when dealing with very heavy, upsetting topics!) at my therapy group. That 1% of my week is one of the better times. It’s the 99% of the week that I struggle with. Giving up on the course would be giving up on life for me. It would be admitting I’m not ready to have help, and I just want to self-destruct. It would be allowing me to destroy myself. It would be dangerous now. So I will push on, to learn as much as I can and put the skills into use. I just hope the therapists realise how hard I’m having to work to just be there. I’ve not felt such intense feelings, both good and bad, about one person so rapidly. And it’s distressing.

 

Have you ever experienced transference with a therapist? Feel free to share your story below, so that we can all connect with each other and realise we’re not alone in feeling this. It’s the silence and secrecy about transference which brings the shame and isolation. There’s nothing to be ashamed of – it happens for a reason. It’s just working out what that reason is.

 

Take it easy xxxx