Saturday, 25 April 2009

Make It So!

I saw a Counsellor a few days ago.

My first time.

It is probably something I should have done years ago.

He knew I was going. When I told him, he said that I shouldn't feel any pressure to do things quickly if it would impinge upon my recovery. He didn't say so, but I guess it made him feel better. Confirmed his suspicion that it wasn't his fault, but my unstable mental state that had brought us to this pass.

Ruf too is relieved that the appointment has finally come around. It must be tough on him having a non/pre-proper girlfriend who has been close to a basket case at times. He has been a fount of calm, practical support (most of which was reiterated by the Counsellor) but I know he has been very worried about me.

But this is part of the problem, apparently. My problem. I'm telling you about them. Thinking about them, wondering about the impact upon them, rather than focussing on me. I do that all the time. I try to work out the best time to do something based upon its effect upon the people around me, rather than when it is best or convenient for me.

Over the years, I have been told that I am selfish on so many occasions that I have come to believe it. But, in retrospect, those occasions always seemed to be when I wouldn't do what other people wanted me to and, when it comes to the crunch, it would seem that I am actually not selfish enough when it counts. That I allow guilt to control my actions. And, as a result, I put everyone else's feelings before my own to the extent that I become a worthless non-person in my own eyes.

If someone pays me a compliment, I deny it and brush it aside, whereas I remember every single negative comment whether it was intentional or not.

If this continues, the end product would be someone who is unable to perform any of the functions of a parent or even have the ability to care for herself.

The Counsellor said that to try to deal with such a momentous event, as well as the transition of my children from teenagers to young adults, at the same time as my impending Menopause is guaranteed to be a very difficult period but he does not necessarily predict that divorce or separation would be the inevitable conclusion to our discussions, except that this is what I want. I believe that I need my independence so that I can change the dynamic of my relationship with my children. I want them to start to see me in an environment where their father does not control the financial/emotional key as far as they are concerned. They should see me in control of my own destiny, interacting with people who want to spend time with me and don't continually mock me, even if it is partly in jest. As a person who exists in her own right and not as an extension of someone else.

I did not mention Ruf's existence in the session but I think I need to talk to Ruf himself about the whole non/pre-proper girlfriend status. Maybe it is just insecurity on my part but, although I laugh with him about it and know in my heart how much he cares for me, I think, subconsciously, that it is an issue. I need a label that reflects his feelings not his frustration.

I have come away with some exercises that will help me to relax and stop continually tensing my muscles, as well as a way to assess the difficult emotional encounters of the next few weeks in a more dispassionate way. Accessing my rational, unemotional adult brain rather than the 'desperate-to-please' childlike one that I have been wont to use with my family. I was encouraged to continue with this blog, which has been so cathartic - even if that is something of a cliche these days.

He said he thought I was very brave to have come to terms with and controlled my anorexia and extremely self-aware for someone in my situation. And, instead of decrying his assessment of my state, for the first time, I just replied: 'Thank you.'

I have some more sessions booked for June but I know now that I have to start moving ahead with the flat purchase, even if it does scare the pants off me. Because, whilst things may be bearable now when I am not addressing areas that are likely to be contentious, it is unlikely that this situation can continue for long without deteriorating into the abject of misery of last month.

Even if I don't move in straightaway, I will have my bolthole to escape to when that time does come.

As Jean-Luc Picard would say: 'Make it so...'


Lady in red said...

So much of what you say makes sense to me..........for yrs I knew my marriage was the wrong place for me but I was too afraid to do anything about I know that getting out was not only good for me but my children too.

They like being around a happy confident mum

If you want it to be so.........then it will.

Helga Hansen said...

Well done. I know it must have been really hard. We could be peas from the same pod - always thinking of others before ourselves, reacting the way we do when we are called "selfish" when, in reality, it is the people/person who called us selfish who needs to take a long hard look in the mirror!!

Good luck, and know that I am rooting for you! xx

Anonymous said...


Dark Side said...

I am very proud of you and I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did consulting a therapist and I saw all the self loathing you had in myself prior to my therapy, it has made me a stronger person and I do say No more often nowadays too.

I still feel guilty sometimes but I very rarely go back on a decision...good luck

Edge said...

We/I'm a year and a half into a very similar situation (On the Ruf side). I can tell you it's a long, slow, frustrating process. She as well was victim to a controlling, critical prick who constantly, over years, tore her down so as to deal with his own insecurity and inability to match up to her. Easier to bring someone down to your level than to raise your own. We still have a long way to go but treating her with the respect she deserves as a woman and person has promoted dramatic changes in her persona. I think your ruf understands. It will be difficult for him as well but the key is support, support, love, love and the respect to let you deal with the process and do it your way. Many times I wanted to proffer advice, express anger, tell her she was going to get burnt by showing her guilt, letting him see her weakness, etc.....but I am convinced that she had to do it her way to get to where we are now. I kept repeating to her something someone told me long ago during my will eventually become very clear, very clear. Our motto now is "the best revenge is living well". I think the discovery of the real you will have you living emotionally well regardless of who is and who isn't in your life. She tells me, I didn't leave him for you, I left him for me. That's the way it has to be for you to respect your own decisions. Kids? It's the quality, not the amount of time spent with them. To them it will also become very clear.
Best to you

Casdok said...

Takes a lot to be honset with yourself and to act upon it. So good for you even though i am sure its not easy.

having my cake said...

Thank you to everyone who commented above. It gives me much courage x

Eve said...

I've followed your journey for some time now, absolutely bursting with empathy wanting to say something, somehow!?! Buried beneath all your fears lies an abundance of untapped strength. Permit yourself to break down the crap, it doesn't belong there, never has, and has hung around for far too long. Please believe in yourself! x

having my cake said...

Eyes/Edge, It would be really helpful to hear more about how it is from the man's pov, if you could gmail me...?

Eve - Hello and thanks for your support x

Kyra said...

As my therapist says: self-care is not selfish.

Bravo to you and hugs, too.


Polar said...

My Dear, Caring Friend,
We are Cheering you on, along with Ruf!!!
Let us look at 1 good thing about the Flat Purchase....
With your pants Scared Off...Ruf can get some nice Photos,for us, and also he will have better access!

Hugs & Kisses to you!!!

Redhead Editor said...

First, take care of yourself. The rest will follow. I am so proud of you. Sending hugs across the ocean.

Cate said...

Good for you! My friend always says a therapist is the best possible friend. They give you his/her undivided attention and everything you say is always kept in confidence.

One thing I also learned is that they very rarely judge much of what you say. My therapist knows about T and did not reprimand me as I had feared. Instead it became a point of discussion - what attracted me to him and how he makes me happy. Because that is what they really are there to do - help you understand what is going to make you happy and stop feeling guilty for wanting happiness.

Cate xxx

Rachel Noy said...

Jean-Luc is always right!

Mr. Nighttime said...

Choosing the right counselor can make all the difference in the world. I consider myself fortunate that when I was in therapy, I had someone that truly knew how to talk to me and when to validate my feelings, not belittle them, (as I have seen some counselors do) and provide me with the tools necessary to carry on with life.

PTSD from too many things I saw as a field paramedic, the loss of my closest friend in the world, dealing with the aftermath of almost dying, all this and more, including the disintegration of my marriage, though this last thing appears to have stabilized.

It sounds as though you have chosen well, and keep at it. You need to be good to yourself before you can be any good to anyone else.

Clare said...

Well done for going to the counselling! I've had therapy myself too, sometimes it was really hard work but looking back I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did for myself. It helped me understand ME!

Be kind to yourself and good luck.

nitebyrd said...

What you've said sounds so much like what goes on in my head and what I've done over the years.

I want to "Make It So!" as well.

having my cake said...

Hey Guys, I think Ive been very lucky in that the computer chose him for me. Let's hope things will continue in the same vein when he hears about Ruf. Thanks for sharing so many positive outcomes of counselling. I was very uncertain as to whether it would be worthwhile but I have high hopes now and am looking forward to the sessions which start in a couple of weeks.

Trixie said...

Just catching up are so brave what you are doing, remember that. And you are doing the best thing ever. It will all work out in the end, the kids will survive.

You will survive!!!!

And you'll finally be truly happy.