And So It Begins…Again!

I’ve been wondering when it would happen, when my attachment system would fire up and start doing ‘its thing’ in the relationship between Anita and I. I have had an easy run of it so far and it’s been such a welcome reprieve from the usual angst I’ve had in therapy. Sure, I’ve had to deal with the fall-out from what’s happened with Em but it’s been fine because my adult has attended the therapy sessions and has been able to get a lot of the work done with Anita.

So far I’ve shown her the map, explained the lay of the land, told her what it’s like for young parts and how what’s happened with Em has hurt them, outlined some of the past traumas, pointed out where the landmines are, but we actually haven’t properly set foot out on the landscape yet – we’ve just been warming up around basecamp.

So, I guess it was inevitable. The trek would have to begin properly sooner or later. I think we’ve adequately surveyed the course, we know (as much as we can) what’s out there, but we haven’t had to test yet whether, together, we are up to the challenge of navigating my system. I don’t know yet whether Anita has amount of stamina required to complete the hike. She says she’s up for it, seems to have the right footwear but … what if she can’t do it? What if I’m not able to because I still have blisters after my last hike?

Well, it’s too late now because the child parts have joined the therapy… the expedition has truly begun.


Here we go again…wish me luck.

I won’t outline again what’s happened here, I’ll just copy what I have sent Anita this morning as it says it all. God give me fucking strength…and her, too!

Hi Anita.

I’m feeling a bit anxious about our session tomorrow because something has changed quite significantly for me this weekend, and I think it’s important you know because I have a tendency to hide when I feel vulnerable in this way… but it won’t help if you are in the dark.

Until now, therapy with you has been easy – well not easy!! – but fine, because, largely, it’s my adult that’s turned up (I think!). So, talking about what’s been going on for me has been tough but also more possible because my adult has been able to express it and also, it’s been stuff from outside the room that I’ve been bringing to you.

As much as it’s painful and embarrassing to talk about what happened with Em, I haven’t felt triggered by you or really too concerned about your response because the relationship is new and if things had felt shit or you had responded badly, I would have just left. It’s not that I could have been in a therapy room with just anyone, because actually my system would have reacted negatively had I not felt like I could trust you or you’d felt dangerous to me, but I think that I’ve been so impacted by what has happened with Em and life in general, lately, that I just needed someone there to let off steam with – anyone- and in that respect I have sort of just talked at you, and kept you at arm’s length to a degree.

I don’t know. Part of it is that there’s so much backstory that it feels like there’s a lot to get through and I need to bring you up to speed, and so it sometimes it feels like I am unemotionally recounting and reeling off events just so you have some idea of what it’s been like for me. But I am also aware that I am really avoidant.

I find it really hard to get in touch with my emotions. It’s like I know bad stuff has happened and it has affected me but I can’t seem to access the emotion behind it when I talk about it with people. I am good at the rational, logical stuff – it’s a kind of protection. I feel safe being detached. Maybe it’s because I am not really seen, it’s almost someone else’s life…I don’t know.

I often begin our sessions by moaning about work, the virus, racism, the shit government and how disappointing I find society in general, because that allows me to stay in one piece when I know underneath there is a whole world of pain waiting to be uncovered. I suppose part of me wants you to see something other than the hopeless pit of need and chaos that is inside, because so often when I reach out to you from outside the session and ask you for something it’s from that other place – where I feel out of control, and small, and like I am disintegrating. And I am really aware that that part has been too much for Em. I guess somehow, I want to prove that I am not as worthless as she has made me feel and try and show enough of the unbroken parts so that you might actually want to stay.

I’ve really appreciated how you’ve responded to me in the time we’ve been working together. You’ve been so accommodating and understanding and somehow what you say seems to settle the parts that are struggling. And that’s great. BUT because you’ve been so kind and caring stuff has started to shift inside. I’ve had a couple of dreams this last week – and you’ve been in them…and so it begins!… They’ve been fine. You’ve been warm and present which directly contrasts against all the dreams I had with Em where she would physically, violently push me away anytime I tried to get close to her.

I’ve really been grateful to you for agreeing to work with me and helping me try and deal with the fallout of the therapy with Em ending. I have been conscious that I don’t want to mess things up and I want things to work. I do want to invest in the relationship but I don’t think I would have been devastated if you said it wasn’t working or you wanted to refer me on – until now.

Yesterday I was ironing and I felt a voice inside saying, ‘I miss Anita’…it was my seven-year-old self. So it’s no longer, ‘I need to talk’, it’s ‘I need to talk to you and I miss you’. And that has changed and unsettled everything because the child parts are really vulnerable to being hurt. So now I feel stressed because I didn’t expect this to happen, not yet, anyway, but it has. And I guess I need you to know about it because now that my attachment system has been activated in this relationship there are parts who are wanting to interact with you but who are terrified. It means that I am now going to be looking for rejection and abandonment, it means my defences will also be up trying to protect those parts that so desperately need to be seen from being seen, and it might mean that I end up dissociating a lot… even saying that fills me with shame…

I didn’t want this to happen, especially given that we are working remotely because I know that distance triggers feelings of being abandoned and being untouchable and I don’t want you think I am a basket case and dread working with me. Unfortunately, because of what’s happened with Em, I know that this next bit isn’t going to be an easy ride for us. I don’t want to make you feel like I am testing you all the time, but this is probably what it will feel like. As the various parts come out each of them will need to work out if you are safe…so it can feel repetitive. I get it’s all part of me but it’s like having an additional nine pairs of ears listening in on our conversations and what each of them hears and needs at any given time can be really different.

So, there we are. I’ve lit the blue touch paper and let’s see what happens. I feel nervous and anxious for having sent that. But I’m all in now, not running from this stuff, not that I did with Em either, but let’s see how it’s responded to tomorrow. I am braced and ready for rejection…!! Let’s hope she continues to be the Anita I think she is. I guess we shall see. Perhaps it’ll feel different to her now that the young parts are attaching to her. Maybe she’ll feel smothered and understand why Em likened my child self to a tick…

Best not go there, or I’ll wind myself up into a panic.

Deep breaths.

31 thoughts on “And So It Begins…Again!

  1. easetheride June 28, 2020 / 2:02 pm

    You have the power to make it through this! Attachment can be a beautiful thing if it’s fostered in the right way and I have a feeling Anita is the one who is going to help you break open everything you know about yourself and dig deeper. It won’t be easy, but I think you’ll find it’s worth it. I hope that her response to the letter is helpful for you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 28, 2020 / 2:10 pm

      I’m nervous. I didn’t think this stuff would come up so quickly. It’s been so nice having ‘non stressful’ therapeutic interactions. But now I’ve got child parts that want a cuddle!!! And that’s fine. But not possible on screen. It’s almost like her telling me that she wanted to hold and comfort my young distressed part the other week has been heard by that part who is now like ‘yes please’ and it’s not possible. Really hoping there’s no boundary talk in the morning. 😳😬

      Liked by 2 people

      • easetheride June 28, 2020 / 2:19 pm

        Your child parts have been protecting themselves, but they are responding to Anita’s consistency. It’s only natural. You deserve to feel what it’s like to get that need met.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Lucy King June 28, 2020 / 2:21 pm

    I hear you are worried that the child parts are too much and you’re afraid that you’re going to get hurt and be rejected. It’s not gonna happen! Anita has got you! This is going to be so healing for you 💕

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 28, 2020 / 2:25 pm

      I bloody hope so… I’m bloody anxious. I know she won’t reply to this because it’s so ‘big’ but there’s a part of me thinking ‘now I’ve shown her what’s there she’s repulsed and that’s why she hasn’t responded’ … oh my inner shit is so fucked up! 🤣

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lucy King June 28, 2020 / 3:08 pm

        I just know in my heart she’s going to be so proud of you for sharing this with her. This is where the work is. I understand the fear though… I’m living some sort of weirdly parallel existence with you.. we will get through this RB… one agonising step at a time!

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 28, 2020 / 3:11 pm

        I really really hope so. I can’t help but think of all the times I opened myself like this with Em and it just fell flat. I really hope A can handle this. If not, I’ll be leaving! Ha. That’s the one good thing to come out of this situation – a bit of empowerment! Parallel existence… yes! Eek!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Lucy King June 28, 2020 / 3:16 pm

        Oooh but A is so very different from Em in almost every way possible. She will help you explore all of this and she will not be frightened off by your need for closeness.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. behindapaintedsmile30 June 28, 2020 / 4:12 pm

    I don’t think it’s quick! I think that you have taken your time and not rushed through the grief about what happened with Em. I’m sure that the younger parts have been listening in and assessing Anita’s responses.
    I agree with everyone else that Anita has got this. You were very clear in your initial email to her about what you need and she seems to be very accepting of the parts. Of you are anxious though, it’s very vulnerable. Hang on in there! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 29, 2020 / 7:44 am

      Ha. Yes. I suppose six months of 2x a week isn’t all that quick really! It just feels fast because I’m so slow to trust and enter into relationships fully! Yes… this has definitely happened because of how Anita has been – the young parts have seen so much evidence of her care and ethical attitude that she feels safe… but today we’ll find out. I want to cancel because I feel sick with anxiety. Proper ptsd response. 😅

      Liked by 1 person

      • behindapaintedsmile30 June 29, 2020 / 11:28 am

        You did it in your time and that’s the most important thing! I totally get the anxiety. I have a session later and can’t leave the country because I have the therapy shits! 😂 I hope the session went well and that Anita was how she has perceived herself to be. xx

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 29, 2020 / 11:37 am

        Oh bless you. Therapy shits are the worst! Just be how it is for you. Your T is safe and can handle whatever you bring her. Anita was great. I love her x

        Liked by 1 person

  4. lavenderandlevity June 28, 2020 / 7:44 pm

    “I find it really hard to get in touch with my emotions. It’s like I know bad stuff has happened and it has affected me but I can’t seem to access the emotion behind it when I talk about it with people. I am good at the rational, logical stuff – it’s a kind of protection. I feel safe being detached. Maybe it’s because I am not really seen, it’s almost someone else’s life…I don’t know.
    I often begin our sessions by moaning about work, the virus, racism, the shit government and how disappointing I find society in general, because that allows me to stay in one piece when I know underneath there is a whole world of pain waiting to be uncovered.” –> I could totally have written that. I am a master at spinning “processing that shit happened to me and affected me” into a global treatise on the state of the world, a litany of examples spoken like voiceover narration (that *did* happen to me but I’m reciting in such a way that they sound like just another set of evidence submitted by myself as the prosecutor against “the system”) instead of actually feeling the emotions again behind what I’m describing. I have called it looking at my memories through glass, because they can be there, but be so remote feeling when things aren’t in crisis that it’s easier to get emotional about a book or movie than it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 29, 2020 / 7:48 am

      We’re all cut from a very similar cloth on here aren’t we?! Yes yes yes – all of what you say. I’m like David Attenborough – skilled at effectively narrating … but I hold it for myself and I need to feel held by someone else so I can let go and see what comes. Fucking covid has totally shat on this being able to happen. I think we may be another 6 months or more until face to face and then actual physical contact … jeez I feel like I may be waiting my whole life for a hug 🤗. Hope you’re doing ok. Xx


  5. Bourbon June 28, 2020 / 11:35 pm

    I relate to this so much. I almost felt like I’d failed when the attachment stuff with K switched on, away from just adult. But it means healing is truly beginning and I’m proud of you for going there again x

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 29, 2020 / 7:37 am

      Ah thanks. I’m absolutely shitting myself about today. I feel sick and anxious. It’s nuts. I want to cancel the session and hide. Because… I told her I miss her… it’s horrific getting these strong reactions to normal feelings!


  6. LovingSummer June 29, 2020 / 6:04 am

    Woah, RBCG! This tells me you’re letting Anita in more; up until now she’s been kept at an understandably safe distance emotionally, but I get a strong sense you’re beginning to move to the next level which is letting her in a bit more. I can totally understand your attachment fear of that, but it’s such a positive step therapeutically though. I think it shows how resilient you are, that even with such terrible, crushing blows, you don’t stay down. And yet, because it feels automatic, and even out of your control, I bet you wouldn’t dream of taking any credit for that!?!
    I know this feels scary and of course it does after everything you’ve been through. Of course it does. But as your blog reader I see it as such a huge and positive ‘next step’, one that Anita will be so ready and expecting from you, you’ll handle this together. 🤗 Hug for all the worried parts that might fear for their safety.

    Liked by 4 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 29, 2020 / 7:41 am

      Thanks LS. I’m absolutely terrified. I could barely sleep last night and woke up feeling sick with anxiety. It’s awful. I know if this gets handled ok it’s a big chunk of the work and it’ll mean starting to heal but my recent template of having feelings for a therapist has not gone well so I’m just scared stiff that she’s going to react the same as Em. Thanks for being supportive. Xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • LovingSummer June 29, 2020 / 7:47 am

        What you’re going through and how you’re feeling is completely understandable, still hard for you and I’m sorry you got little sleep over it. How long do you expect to have to wait for contact? Would Anita be likely to email you today and when’s your next session due?

        Liked by 3 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 29, 2020 / 7:52 am

        My session is at 10. I’m anxious because she didn’t respond or react at all to the message and usually she does. So I’m now panicked that she’s freaking out. I suspect she’s actually just waiting to talk it through properly as it kind of requires a decent length response but a, ‘it’s all ok and we can talk about this properly tomorrow’ would have gone a long way. It’s the weekend though, so I do appreciate it’s her time off. Got to maintain some boundaries. It’s just the fact that the blue ticks on WhatsApp were there almost immediately .. ugh. I wish I was normal!!

        Liked by 2 people

      • LovingSummer June 29, 2020 / 8:06 am

        Not at all abnormal! I’d be exactly the same! I genuinely think they don’t always get it (the urgency) and then, if Anita is anything like Guy, when they do get it touch it’s a huge relief to find they’re still the same person and still wanting to offer support in whatever way they can.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Me June 29, 2020 / 11:19 am

    The best thing I did after all the pain A caused was to straight away own these things – who I am and how my system works. It doesn’t make it less cringy but it definitely makes it less painful and easier to work with. Well done for sending such a clear email x

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Eliza June 29, 2020 / 6:53 pm

    I’m in awe of your courage in sending that to her. It’s also interesting how everyone reacts differently to the fear. I hope today was good….. sending strength and peace…

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum June 29, 2020 / 8:52 pm

      Ah thanks Eliza. I feel like I literally have nothing to lose now. I was cautious and held back a lot with Em and it got me nowhere- I was still too much for her. I’m not wasting another 8 years of my life taking it gently. It is what it is and she can either work with me or she can’t and I’d sooner know now rather than later! Today was good although I can’t remember much of it. 😆

      Liked by 2 people

      • Eliza June 30, 2020 / 5:44 pm

        Good for you!!!
        I’m glad it was good 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  9. CB June 30, 2020 / 4:05 pm

    I know this stuff is scary but it is really encouraging and the start of all your parts having a different experience and a healing and loving relationship. It made me think that maybe young parts have laid Em to rest a bit (after that shit text!) and have started to see that A will be able to meet their needs if they open up to her. I’m sure she responded beautifully yesterday and I really hope you are feeling less anxious about the whole thing now at least – even though it will be a bumpy ride, when it is only ourselves who shame us, not our Ts, it really is survivable, and there will be some lovely moments for all the little parts (and you!) as well I’m sure xx

    Liked by 3 people

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