I just finished reading Carolyn Spring’s most recent blog post Meeting Pain With Pain and it gave me clarity about a couple of things.
Firstly… that absolute agony I feel when I accidentally look at Anna when she is resonating with my pain. I could never articulate why it hurts so much to look at her and why it makes me feel like crying. Then I read Carolyn’s words, ‘Now, in therapy, in the eyes of my therapist, my pain is reflected as pain. So there’s no hiding from it now, no dissociating, no pretence: pain hurts. This is the ineffable, unbearable reality of pain: pain hurts.’ And I now realise… I can’t bear to look at her because my pain becomes an unavoidable reality all over her face, it’s confronting and raw. She makes me feel it to the core.
The second thing that Carolyn’s words helped me understand was this… after being in so much emotional pain last night and for most of today, I’ve been so tempted to self harm. I desperately wanted to feel physical pain. She writes, ‘the answer to pain is kindness and empathy. That’s what I need to show myself.’ I realise now that my child has been punished for having needs and feelings her whole life… my knee jerk response to her showing her pain to me is to hurt her!? My child finally trusts me enough to cry her heart out and I’m contemplating physically hurting her for doing that! After reading the blog post and talking with a friend I realised if I hurt myself today it would be like betraying myself. That frightened young part of me doesn’t need to be punished for crying anymore. She needs to be loved, thanked for trusting me with her real and authentic self. And she deserves to be promised that I will protect and look after her and take her to Anna on Saturday to share her pain and have it witnessed and loved.