Closer to the Centre of the Spiral

After talking a bit about changing from two sessions a week to one, we settled in to a continuation of the last session. Anna reflected that she thought I had found it quite powerful just to be able to say what I said and have her not overreact. She said that because of how I was treated growing up, my child part would be expecting her to humiliate me or tell me off. Instead, her reaction was normalising. I agreed with her and we spoke a little about the way my mum spoke to me about sex and how damaging that was. That she always made everything about her. That she had no filter and would tell me and ask me anything and everything.

I said, ‘the session was pretty intense!’ she looked inquisitively at me. I said, ‘I’ve obviously never talked about this stuff before and the way you were with me was amazing, it felt like you came over into my circle, you looked at it all from my perspective. It didn’t feel like me opposite you, it felt like you were in it with me. it was really connecting. I like how you have adapted how you work with me, how you didn’t ask loads of questions coz you’ve learned that doesn’t really work with me…’ I looked at her and she smiled knowingly. I said, ‘you know it was kind of like a second chance… not consciously but I tried to talk about this like over a year ago and…’ Anna said, ‘it was too soon then,’ I nodded and said, ‘but you were very gentle and careful this time, and it felt good.’ She said she was glad and thanked me for telling her.

Anna asked if I wanted to explore anything specific from the session and I told her that I spoke to Adam a bit about not liking when he puts his hand on my head when I’m going down on him. She said, ‘wow, well done! What did he say?’ I said, ‘well we were in bed and he’d started to do it again and I moved his hand and said, ‘don’t do that’ in a lighthearted way. He then said, ‘aw but I love it,’ raising his eyebrow, I’d smiled and said, ‘yeah but I wanna have control!’ and that was it… he was fine with it and I got what I needed out of it. Anna was really pleased and talked a bit more about how we don’t have to share everything with our partners. She started talking about the language we can use when discussing these things. That we can say, ‘this doesn’t feel safe to me,’ or ‘speaking about the reasons why I don’t like this doesn’t feel safe, but I know you love me and I love you, it isn’t anything you’ve done wrong it’s just important that this boundary is listened to.’

She then said, ‘and have you talked to him about why you don’t like it when he puts his hand on your head? Because that seemed like an important part of the reason why you were triggered.’ I said I hadn’t told him. She said ‘do you know why you don’t want to tell him?… you don’t have to tell me.’ I said, ‘yes.’ She said, ‘right’ as if she was expecting that to be all I would say. I went on to say, ‘I feel like I lied to him all these years.’ She said, ‘because you’ve been triggered so many times over the years and haven’t told him?’ I said, ‘no, because I never told him what happened to me,’ she said, ‘that’s not lying though, that’s just not telling something, we don’t have to share everything with our partners. I said, ‘but when we first started going out we talked quite a lot about our experiences and past relationships and me and Adam both had never had a serious relationship before… so…’ Anna said, ‘I think the key word there is relationship though Lucy… what happened to you wasn’t within a relationship was it?’ I shook my head.  She said, ‘when we start seeing someone we don’t talk about everything that’s ever happened to us…’ I said, ‘I just think if he knew I’d kept it from him all this time he’d be so angry with me and want to leave me.’ Anna started to explore that idea with me and I interrupted her and said, ‘I know that’s bullshit, I know, I can hear myself, I can hear it in my head, I know exactly what I would say if it was a friend I was talking to!’ Anna smiled and said, ‘what would you say?’ I said, ‘of course he wouldn’t leave you, he loves you, how could he be angry about something like that, this is just a tiny blip in the great scheme of all that you and Adam have together, you love each other and your whole lives are entwined around each other, this tiny thing can’t threaten that.’ I looked at Anna and she was smiling widely. She said, ‘and do you believe that?’ I felt kind of emotional and said, ‘part of me does, but that’s not the part that’s hurting.’ She said, ‘what would the other part of you say back to that then?’ A small voice said, ‘I’m disgusting and I don’t want him to know that.’ She said, ‘who’s words are they?’ I thought for a while and said I didn’t know. She asked if someone ever called me disgusting and I said I couldn’t remember… ‘they’re my words,‘

I said, ‘the memory is weird though you know, it’s like… what’s it like? It’s like you know those two way mirrors they have in police interview rooms?’ she nodded, ‘it’s like I’m standing on the other side of one of those and I’m watching it happen, and I’m so fucking angry with that girl for not doing anything, she should have done something. I should have done something!’ Anna said, ‘do you know why you did nothing? You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.’ I said, ‘yeah….’ I was feeling quite spacey and eventually said, ‘I think I was frightened of what might happen if I did something…’ she said, ‘of someone finding out? Of someone knowing? But who would you run to anyway?’ I said, ‘yeah I mean my mum was pissed, it was a proper party atmosphere… I didn’t even know where she was… she won’t have noticed I was gone…’ I drifted for a while then said, ‘its like all the parts of me are not connected, they’re so set apart from each other… I’m so ashamed of that part of me, she’s not me.’ She said, ‘I’m so proud of you for talking about this, and you have control over this, you can tell me as much or as little as you want, you know that?’ I nodded. She said, ‘how are you doing with this? How does the pace feel?’ I said it was fine and thanked her for going slow.

I said, ‘I should have done something.’ She acknowledged and asked, ‘how old were you?’ I paused for ages then said, ‘fifteen, fourteen maybe’. She said, ‘you were a child.’ I said I didn’t feel like a child, I was responsible and grown up, I recalled mum getting me to drive the car once when she’d had too much to drink and we needed to take the cat to the vet. Anna then gave other examples of me having to be more grown up than my years, listening to mum talking as if I was an adult friend. Trying to give me perspective on the situation while also showing me how much she has listened to over the past two years.

I shifted in my seat and said, ‘I started to tell you this when we first started working together but it was a long time ago so you might not remember, it was… we were… mum and I were meant to go to the cinema and…’ Anna interrupted and said, ‘yeah, you were in the car with your mum’ I nodded and felt good she remembered. I said, ‘we stopped for petrol, met up with these people. It was a party, like a venue… a work event or something. This guy we’d met had been giving me a lot of attention at the table… remember I told you… and I’d finally managed to get away and went to the toilet. I was there for ages I remember being there for ages, I planned on going to tell mum I wanted to go home.’ I started to feel a bit emotional at the thought of it. Anna said, ‘but you didn’t?’ in a sombre voice. I said, ‘no because… he had followed me to the toilet…’ there was quite a long silence and then Anna said, ‘did he force you to do something you didn’t want to do?’ I glanced up at her kind face and gave a tiny nod. My eyes searching deep into her face for any signs of what she might be feeling. There was a period of time when we weren’t talking but there was a lot happening. It was like she was giving space or acknowledging that I had just finally divulged something I’ve never said before. She said the next few sentences very slowly and deliberately, with a gentle yet slightly louder voice. ‘You were a child, Lucy. It was not your fault. I am so sorry that happened to you, Lucy…. did you hear that? It was not your fault.’ I was staring at the window frame and then said I felt weird and moved to sitting on the floor. Hugged my knees. The inner protector was ramping up, ‘generic therapy crap… this is what they’re trained to say… she doesn’t mean it!’ I could feel the hypervigilance pick up, eyes darting around the room. I felt myself slightly rocking, looked up at her as if to say, ‘can you hear it too? Prove them wrong! Please!’ She was looking right at me. She took a deep breath and said, ‘would you like a hug?’ I gave a massive nod. She has never asked me that before and it felt amazing. (A few sessions ago I asked her why I have to ask for a hug when I know another of her clients who happens to be my friend just gets offered them. She explained a very valid reason – it’s worthy of another post if I haven’t already written about it – and we clarified that if I’m struggling or dissociative, I want her to ask me if I want a hug). I love that she listens closely to what I need and if she can she will meet that need. She came and sat beside me slowly, twisted her body round to face mine and wrapped her arms tightly around me while saying, ‘Lucy, I see you, I’m here with you. You’re not alone. I am so so proud of you. You’re doing so well.’ I couldn’t cry, though it felt like I might burst there was so much emotion in me. I pulled away from the hug and she left her hand on my back for a few more minutes before slowly lifting it off. We sat for a while, silently and then I said, ‘I like that you’re sitting beside me, thank you.’ She said, ‘I like sitting beside you too, you’re very welcome.’

Things slowed down. We sat just breathing next to each other on the floor. I wanted to lean into her but I didn’t. After a while I said, ‘when I went back to school on the Monday, nothing felt the same, I remember feeling like there was something wrong with me, other people would boast about doing things like that and I didn’t understand why I didn’t feel like boasting, it’s like I hadn’t categorised what had happened in the right compartment.’ Anna said, ‘It’s important to remember that perhaps people were boasting about similar things because they wanted it to happen, it was a choice, they wanted to do it… you didn’t have a choice, you didn’t want it. Does that sounds right?’ I nodded.

I said, ‘I’m so annoyed with myself for not telling you what happened. I haven’t said it yet, still!’ Anna said, ‘it’s like that spiral we sometimes talk about…’ she traced a spiral on her leg and continued, ‘we’ve circled round the topic and allowed you to explore how you feel about it without sharing more than you’re ready to share, it’s important to honour that part of you that’s done such a good job in protecting you for all your life. We got closer to the centre of the spiral today and that might be enough for you, or you might want to revisit it or share more. You have control over that. It’s important that you hear me say that… it’s up to you how much you tell me.’

I was looking at the table and Anna looked in that direction too. She said, ‘I can see your keyring shining through your glass of water, the colours all merging together. It looks safe.’ Looking back I can see she was encouraging me to get grounded. I told her it was made from the fabric of one of the slings that I used to wear my children in. I reflected how safe they were when they were carried by me. Anna said, ‘you deserved that safety and security too when you were a child, every child does, but you didn’t have it.’ She said some other things and then brought us back to looking at the colours through the water.

We had about ten minutes to go and just like she always does, Anna brought me back to ‘today’ by asking about my week and any plans for the weekend. I got my third hug of the session on the way out and sat I’m my car for about fifteen minutes with the occasional tear making a bid for freedom.

16 thoughts on “Closer to the Centre of the Spiral

  1. LovingSummer

    I don’t have any words of wisdom or helpful insight, but just wanted to say I’m getting such a strong impression from this post how admirably well you did in this session 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you 🤗 d’you know, I think I’m actually a bit proud of myself for the past two sessions and how much I’ve shared despite it being so very difficult – and I’m reaping the benefits because the more I step into the vulnerable places, the more support and care I get from Anna. And the more she learns about me, the better equipped she is at helping me. Slowly, I’m getting there.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Pingback: I Can Look After Myself – Lucy in Therapy

  3. Pingback: I Cried – Lucy in Therapy

  4. I know this post is several months old at this point, so I hope it’s alright for me to come back to. This is such an encouraging message you’ve articulated here, and i find it so helpful. Thank you for the teaching

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, I’m glad me sharing this helped. I noticed you started following recently, where did you find out about my blog? Do you follow me on insta? ☺️ it’s nice to have you here.

      Like

      1. I started following someone who’s posts you’d commented on, and since I’ve been trying to find people who are sharing about similar topics as me, after just quickly glancing I felt like your posts would resonate with me. I hope that’s alright. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s