I haven’t been sleeping well and when I have been sleeping I’ve been having really awful nightmares. Haunted houses, Evil-Ex and his asshole friends behind me, catching up to us, taunting me, somehow getting ahead of me, us having to get through a door they’re blocking to get to a room beyond… But we did… I hate those kinds of dreams. Tech Boy at work following me around, being sweet as I wrap things up even though I tell him he needs to stop it and leave me be. He kisses me on the forehead fondly.
Therapist asked me what I think the dream has to do with. Usually when I have nightmares with my Exes back to back like this it’s when I’m starting a new relationship. Which is what I’m doing now with my New Lady.
My dreams are always highly symbolic and tend help me work through my baggage and fears. I think I’m just a little afraid of letting in someone new, of course, because of the past abuses I’ve had to deal with. The nastiness of Evil-Ex and before, but then again, there’s the reminder of Tech Boy and my other relationships that things can be sweeter. And I’ve had time to get to know my New Lady for a while now and she’s really wonderful. Our pasts are similar too in many ways so I know she would never do things like that to me, because she knows what it’s like to be hurt like that. She’s someone who would put the needs of someone else in front of her own, which is what she makes me want to do for her.
I have a hard time internalizing people. I have a hard time trusting people. It scares me. What’s more I have a difficult time conceptualizing that people internalize me. This also scares me but in a different way. In a way I don’t know how to believe, even though I want to, and half the time I simply don’t think about it at all as a possibility. It just doesn’t strike me as something that happens unless they tell me they have.
Growing up I never believed I could trust anyone. I never believed I had anyone to rely on, to lean on, to trust. If I needed something I took care of it on my own, never asking, never trusting, never confiding. I earned everything I needed or I went without and I never asked for anything else.
Earlier in our session Therapist had talked about dissociated communication and the origins in families.
Growing up communication with my family was a mess. It wasn’t my parents fault. Well, on some level it was. I never learned how to express the bad feelings properly. I was never taught how to cope adaptively with the sad feelings, the bad feelings. I was only told to hide them, to bury them, to repress them. I’ve told you guys this before. My mom was never really around growing up. She worked 3rd shift, so she worked nights and slept during the day. My dad was home, but I don’t think he really understood that it was okay to let me be sad or angry and not shut me down. He had an abusive, alcoholic, military father. I don’t think he was in any way like his father, not really, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some transference in how he learned to communicate. I was an extremely sensitive child and anytime he told me to toughen up or suck it up it was how his dad used to talk to him, and I took that to heart. It stung like hell and before long I was afraid to show any emotions whatsoever. I know he didn’t mean it to affect me the way it did, he didn’t know it would, but it did. All I knew was to bury and repress. Keep the bad things inside. So I did. Until I was older, and then I started to burst at the seams and Act Out. Rebelling wildly. We were always yelling. Always.
I don’t think Therapist really realized the extent of it. We don’t talk about my childhood much. She doesn’t think it typically helps. But I told her that. I told her how when, by the time my grandma died, I was 6 or 7 (? Somewhere in that age range) I had already internalized the idea that I wasn’t allowed to let people see me cry. I used to see my grandma every Sunday. We would go to my grandparents house and have dinner and play games and have cookouts, go sailing, or to the beach every weekend, when I was younger. I knew her very well. I couldn’t express my sadness though. Not in front of anyone. I had to be strong for my brother and sister. I remember locking myself in my closet to cry. Alone. That was the only place it was okay. I haven’t cried at a funeral before or since.
Therapist was sad for me. I’m much better about it now. I’m learning now to express myself properly, to not repress and bottle so things don’t become so pressurized they need to explode. I know full well where the origins of my shutting down comes from though. I’m not sure Therapist realized if I knew though.
She does recognize that I’m someone who is incredibly intuitive. Intuitive of myself and of others. I pick up on others feelings and emotions very easily. Therapist thinks it’s a gift to be able to read and adjust to the needs of other people so easily. I’m not sure I agree with her. I think it’s a burden often. Too much of other peoples stuff mixing in with my own stuff is simply overwhelming. It makes me shut down. Shut down more than I already used to. Fortunately I don’t do this much anymore. I’ve learned to cope properly at this point, at least with most things.
What’s more Therapist thinks I’m a little afraid of people internalizing me. Maybe I am. It feels like a lot of pressure when they take me in. Especially if they become attached to me too quickly. I don’t trust when people attach to me too quickly. I don’t understand how people can like me so much. I’ve been told too often and too much that I’m not good enough. But my own thoughts are starting to change on that too. Even the nasty ruminations I have are beginning to change. They’re stronger and in my own favor. I build trust so slowly though. And it takes me so long to really internalize people. I can’t even fathom that people remember me. It’s the exact opposite of narcissism. Instead of believing you’re constantly the center of attention, it’s merely a sense that you’re alone floating without a tether, hoping that the people you care about remember.
I hate it. It’s terribly lonely. It’s no wonder we so often crave the company of the people we care about. The process of internalization and building trust properly can happen though. It just takes time, often a lot of time, and patience.
Which is what I’m working on at the moment with my New Lady. I like her a lot. When I’m with her I’m completely in the moment. I don’t feel dissociated. I do find myself having a hard time saying no every now and again, but it’s rare, because we actually have a lot in common, and it’s typically frivolous stuff. Therapist thinks this will be a good point of growth for me; To learn to say ‘no’ in a healthy way, without having to fear rejection. In general though I don’t feel like I’m being someone entirely new or different. Not even much different. I don’t generally feel like I’m mirroring or projecting just to make her like me. I’m being true to who I want to be, and she seems to be more than happy with that. She still feels like a passing presence to me when she’s not around… but that’s to be expected. Most people do until they’ve been in my life for a significant amount of time or until we’ve had some kind of extreme bonding moment. Time. It’s important to remember for myself that it takes time. I can’t rush it or it will only make me lonelier and frantic. Emotions and relationships take time and you can’t rush either.