Back In The Therapy Room…At Last!

Wow….so apparently today marks the third birthday of Rubber bands and Chewing Gum! I have a three year old toddler blog! -how on earth did that happen? Honestly, I can’t believe it. When I first started blogging I really had no idea how it would turn out, what I would say, or if anyone would even bother to read it – I certainly never thought hundreds of people would follow me or be interested in what I had to say! Back then, all I knew was that I need to find somewhere to put all the chaos that was swirling in my head and so this space became my online therapy journal…it was safe because it was stored ‘out there’ rather than as some random file for someone to come across on my laptop one day – EEK!

I have always liked to write- needed to write- in fact it’s pretty much the only way I have ever processed my stuff. I guess when you grow up and there’s no-one to listen then it makes sense to purge it on the page before it eats you alive. It’s sad really. I find it so easy to get my feelings down in words here, but expressing them aloud can be almost impossible sometimes. Shame and embarrassment have been my constant companions throughout my life and stop me saying what’s really going on…oh and let’s not forget the system inside that’s comprised of a mini-bus full of traumatised parts!

This blog has really been a ‘warts and all’ account of my therapeutic journey. Often people email me and say how much they have related to what I say here and thank me for making them feel less alone in their own experience. I am really glad that this is the case, if seeing what I am going through helps even one person feel less alone with what are really excruciating feelings then I’m happy.

I frequently get told how brave I am to tell it as it is. I don’t know if it’s brave, really, it’s just honest. If I was brave I wouldn’t publish this under a pseudonym because I wouldn’t be terrified of any one in my ‘real life’ stumbling across it and seeing what a mess I really am and judging me for it.

Because whilst on one level, I am completely sure that these are just human feelings and understandable reactions to lots of trauma (and there should be no shame in that) I also know that most people are not in touch with their emotional selves, society is not ready to open its eyes and see how many people are carrying the weight of several ACES on their shoulders – (I’ve got 7/10!) and would sooner judge people that do feel it all and struggle, than try and understand or have to acknowledge the level of damage there is and and the care that people require to heal.

And it’s not just ‘out there’ that is the problem. Part of the reason I started blogging was because I knew I felt ‘too much’ and was ‘too much’ and couldn’t bring my feelings to my therapist. In my gut I knew she couldn’t handle me. And when I did (finally) show her really how I felt, there was the very real experience of being rejected and abandoned for getting close to the core wound – with a therapist – someone who is meant to understand!! No wonder so many of us are in hiding!

However, I know for a fact that I am not the only one to experience the things I do in therapy…there’s certainly a merry bunch of mother wounded souls lurking here on WordPress and I feel so blessed to have landed here when I did and made the connections I have. Honestly, when it all went to shit with Em in January it was this space and you guys that helped me get through. So thank you everyone x

I could rabbit on and on, gushing, but I know actually all anyone wants to hear about was what happened when I finally got to see Anita in person on Tuesday. It feels nice to be able to write something positive here after so much of my journey being a complete shit show.

So here it is:

I left my last post on a bit of a cliff-hanger (sorry!)…partly because the post was already pretty lengthy and also because I didn’t have any time to write more then. I thought I’d get back here sooner than this, but the last few days have been rammed full with stuff that has left me feeling pretty drained.

I’ve seen a couple of friends (socially distanced) and, honestly, after an hour I felt like I had nothing left to give them. It sounds awful but I have literally been wishing they’d go home! This is so unlike me and really demonstrates how lacking in resources I am right now. I usually have so much capacity to listen and absorb other people’s stuff but yesterday my friend, whom I haven’t seen in 5 months, talked at me for a solid 90 minutes before coming up for air and asking what’s been going on my end. I said I was ‘fine’ – I just couldn’t be arsed to talk and was on empty, and so then she went on another deep dive….4.5 hours in total. Sweet mother of god! I honestly do not know how therapists do it and maybe that’s why there’s a therapy hour!! I suppose at least they get paid! haha.

So now it’s Friday, and I’ve seen Anita again today…but that’ll have to come in a later post. The problem is, today’s session (therapy break dread and young parts in hiding) has kind of erased my memory of Tuesday. I hate how that happens. How is it that the panicked parts that fear being abandoned can literally take the good memories underground with them when they go into meltdown?

Anyway, Tuesday, and the walk Anita and I had arranged didn’t happen. Instead I found myself outside her house at 1pm for a session IN THE THERAPY ROOM! I mean I have been banging on about wanting to be back in the room enough over the last few months but now, completely unexpectedly it was about to happen. And I soooooo needed it.

Fortunately, I wrote some lots of notes (5 A4 pages and I can’t read my writing!!) on Tuesday so I am going to try and piece it all back together which might actually help me regulate myself as I have fallen down a (massive) hole this afternoon. I joked in session on Monday that I am a bit like a double-sided puzzle (which apparently do actually exist – WHY?!) – the level of fragmentation isn’t even funny. I don’t know who holds all the memories of Tuesday but it isn’t whoever is here right now!…but I’d like that part back as she is pretty settled and my system right now is freaking out!

I cannot even begin to explain the feeling of being back in the room with A. I mean, I’ll try, but it’s going to be hard as SO MUCH was going on inside. But hey, lets lead in with a super-boosted dose of hypervigilance in action.

It’s funny. You know when you are aware of EVERYTHING in room, like you can go to a restaurant and clock everything that is going on with other tables, suss out the dynamic and relationship between those other customers, know where at least two exits are, and have a map of the floor before you’ve even sat down?? Well, I must’ve come across as a complete lunatic with A on Tuesday. It took a while to settle because I had to reorientate myself to the room. I noticed all the tiny changes. It’s been 5 bloody months since I was last there and yet it was like playing spot the difference… ‘has that cupboard door been painted?’…FFS!

I guess it makes sense to have this skill because at some point I’d have to have been able to do this (ok maybe not in a restaurant, but at home with caregivers) just to stay safe. But it always amazes me when this stuff happens and I am actually conscious of it. It feels a bit embarrassing because I am sure it isn’t normal to comment on a light switch…my poor brain is perpetually working so hard to try and see if there’s risk.

Anyway, after the ‘what’s changed in the room’ exercise I think I spent a few minutes basically like a broken record repeating how happy I was to see Anita and how great it was to be back in the room (not playing it cool at all!)…all the while other parts of me trying to work out if A was still the same, that things were ok, if it was safe…

Last week, before we had arranged the walk and then ended up face to face, I had asked A if I could send her something in the post before she went on her break. She said it was fine but actually, as it turned out, I got to give her what I wanted in person.

I realise that part of me must be fucking insane to contemplate giving a therapist a gift after what happened with Em at Christmas, but there we are…these parts seem to keep bouncing back and hoping for a different outcome! I can’t work out if they are resilient or nuts!

The first time I met Anita, I was moaning about how bad things were with Em, how she just seemed so cold and distant and almost deliberately trying to hurt me (especially off the back of the skype call after Christmas) . A said to me that she felt like my therapy journey was a bit like an egg – I’d got through the hard shell, and Em and I had been working in the white (for a very long time!), but now I needed to do the deep work, where the feelings are, and that work required love, and perhaps Em just couldn’t do that work with me… it really resonated but stung. I knew she was right but also knew that meant that meant the end of things with Em.

After the session, I was in town and I went into my favourite crystal shop and there on the shelf was an egg, made of blue lace agate. The gem stone relates to communication and specifically the throat chakra as well as tying into pisces (my star sign). It felt perfect. I knew even after that first session with A that I wanted to work with her but also knew that it wasn’t going to be a straightforward jumping ship with Em (mind you I never imagined in a million years it would end the way it did!).

I decided to buy the egg, knowing that one day, when the time felt right, I would give it to Anita as a symbol of the work we were doing…as we moved into the yolk and those deeper, painful feelings that as she said, ‘need a different kind of healing’.

Anyway, 5 months of online therapy has been a challenge but also our relationship has grown and I felt like before she went on holiday I wanted to give her the egg. The youngest parts of me fear being forgotten about and if there is such a thing, I think this egg serves as a reverse transitional object…instead of me taking something from the therapy room, part of me is left with A. I guess she can hold me in mind, but because my child parts just can’t hold people in mind at all, they disappear, it makes sense that they think that everyone needs something tangible so that they don’t disappear from memory.

I was a bit nervous giving A the egg but she already knew I was going to give her something and had said it was ok…so…I did. And she seemed to like it and reacted positively which was lovely. She said she wanted to give me a hug and then opened her arms and said ‘a socially distanced hug’. It was a nice gesture but also it activated the young part that actually so desperately wants an actual hug. It’s kind of like when you walk past a sweet shop as a kid. You can see, smell, and almost taste what’s inside but you don’t have any money and so can’t get what you want. Ugh.

The parts of me that have struggled to reach A during lockdown felt so relieved to see her sitting across from me in the flesh. It was so good to see her…but then…oh god…that meant she could also see me! And whilst parts of me really wanted to connect (like honestly how I didn’t cling onto her like a limpet when I walked in I have no idea!) there are other parts who are absolutely terrified of being seen, exposed, because to them it feels almost inevitable that when she sees the level of need, and how much connection those parts of me actually require, she’ll do a runner…like Em.

I managed to tell A that I had been worried that coming back to the room because I feared she might not like me anymore, now that she’s seen more of me, but she assured me that we have got closer since we were last together not further apart. This went a long way to settle some of the panicking parts.

We talked quite a bit about how much I fear rejection and abandonment (ha- no shit) – but that it’s not surprising given what’s happened with the therapy with Em. I said I feel like I always waiting for something bad to happen…like I can’t fully absorb A’s kindness and care because I feel like it can’t possibly last. I guess this is also the legacy of my childhood. Nothing ever stayed ‘nice’ for very long as my mum’s mood changed like the wind and so I was always on guard waiting, but also trying to behave in a way that might prevent her from losing the plot.

I told her Anita that I was still mortified about the reaction I had to finding out she’d been on a walk with another client and I couldn’t believe I’d behaved as I had. Anita said she could completely understand why I had felt the way I did and said how it tied into all the stuff about me feeling inadequate and feeling like for some reason I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to be offered that by her. She was so right. The whole thing had felt like a confirmation of how people have to tolerate me but don’t want to spend any more time with me than they have to. I know that’s a very young part’s response but it was massive in the moment.

I talked about the kickback I have experienced over my reaction to it….which has been enormous. The Critic has had a complete field day. I told A that it makes sense, though, because if I am awful to myself then nothing she can possibly say or do to me can be worse…and so in a fucked up kind of a way it’s protective. But man…I wish the Critic would dial it down a few notches!

And then, that awful thing happened. You know, the thing where you are seen and understood and connected and it feels so good and then all of a sudden that young part of you that has been peeking out from behind the sofa, the one who has its face pressed up against the glass window of the sweet shop, who is so love and touch starved and just desperately wants to be closer lands with a thud in the room and everyone else in the system disappears for a minute?

Yeah, that happened.

Then the shame flooded in. And then I dissociated because that level of need feels chronically dangerous and so the walls had to come up. And yet again, I’d protected myself, but actually I’d also totally abandoned the young parts and stopped them getting any of the connection they need because I was so convinced I’d be rejected…even though that’s a clear re-enactment and A has done nothing at all to suggest she would push me away.

FFS.

It was obvious that something had shifted and Anita asked me what the parts of me that are struggling needed in that moment. Ugh. Fuck. Like how on earth do say it? Never in 8 years could I tell Em I wanted a hug especially after the session a few years ago when I was stuck in my two year old self and she said, ‘your young parts might feel like they need to be held but that won’t happen here, it’s my boundary and I won’t cross it. I won’t collude with that young part and you need to hold it for yourself.’ (Oh god … that was rough!) That day I was falling through the abyss and that’s what she chose to say …it wasn’t until January that I even said that I would like her to come closer when I was dissociating…which got a firm ‘NO’ too!

Ouch.

So whilst I knew exactly what I needed in that moment, and for the last gazillion years, the idea of saying it only to replay the old narrative (not because I am untouchable but because of COVID) just felt ugh. Anita asked me if it was too hard to say.

Errr…Yes!

I was beating myself up inside as well as having the young parts having a significant meltdown. It’s agony when this happens.

I managed to say something like, ‘I’ve been here before’…and man, how many times over the years have I been in that god awful lonely space, regressed into a very young child part, desperate to be seen and held, but being trapped because Em would never come anywhere near me? A said, ‘And I’m guessing it wasn’t ok last time?’…

At that moment, remembering all those excruciating times sitting with Em, I massively dissociated, not just a bit. I could feel myself go. I felt like I was being pulled out the room backwards by my hair. It was hideous. I managed to tell A what was going on for me and somehow she brought me back. I don’t know how she does it but having lost hours of my life in the dissociative fog in the therapy room with Em it amazes me how (relatively) quickly I can get back to A. Maybe it’s because there’s lots of parts who believe she is safe and not deliberately out to hurt me.

I was able to tell A what was going on inside. How part of me was raging at myself for being so silly. Like I was in the therapy room, with A, after all these months which is what I had wanted for the longest time, and it felt soooo good, and now that I was there I was getting hung up on something I can’t have. I said, “It’s not like I can’t have a hug because you’re deliberately withholding, it’s because of the situation, but my child parts don’t understand this at all. To them it just feels like more of the same, ‘I don’t work that way’, ‘you might want that but I’m just your therapist‘… Adult me understands what’s happening but the youngest parts just don’t and it really hurts. But then there’s the other part who believes I don’t deserve you to be nice to me and every time I take a step forward I get yanked back into line and it’s disconnecting and painful and it makes relationships really difficult.’

Now for anyone that has been following this blog a while you’ll see how massive that last paragraph is. To actually verbalise the need to be held after what’s happened in recent years is huge. Like massive.

Anita then spoke to me about how she works with physical touch again and how if it feels right she offers hugs and how nurturing they can be. And I know this. I get it. But ugh…when? And again my brain switched into the that space where it tries to make sense of a situation but fails to – like I can get a hair cut and have my hairdresser right by me for 90 minutes, do an hour of body work that involves physical touch throughout, and yet it seems that touch seems so out of bounds in the therapy room where we are actually at our most vulnerable and most regressed states and need it.

My brain was hearing was saying as, ‘we can hug one day’ and that was at least a bit containing. And then she said that she knew how I have been keeping myself safe (I mean how many times have I ranted over the last few months about safety and how I don’t go out except literally to get my hair done?!) and she said she, too, has been very careful and that she wouldn’t offer a hug to everyone and she wanted me to hear that but that she was fine with hugs if I wanted that now.

Anyway, we talked A LOT about all kinds of things, trauma, neglect, still-face experiment…you name it we covered it all! And then it was time to go. We’d run over – A commented how quickly the time had gone. And it really had flown by. I said how great it had been to see A…because it really had. We’d done a lot of work but it felt fab. Anita said that it’d been really nice to see me too and asked if I wanted to resume face to face when she’s back from holiday in September.

Err. YESSSSS!

And as I got up to leave I asked for a hug.

Yes, my friends, I actually said it!

And A’s response? ‘You are most welcome to a hug’.

And then it happened. And honestly I could have cried…it was so nice. I know I hung on for ages and somehow when I let go I found myself holding her hand…I felt a bit dizzy and spacey afterwards. It was as though the impact of being held, properly like that after years and years of needing it but instead being left, refused it, and it compounding the feeling of being unlovable and untouchable released a huge amount of trauma in my system.

Just thinking about it makes me cry. And I feel so grateful to have found A who seems to be willing to work with me in the way I need. Thank god.

36 thoughts on “Back In The Therapy Room…At Last!

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 22, 2020 / 10:48 am

      Thanks LS. It felt great. I’m massively behind on reading posts so I’ll catch up on your stuff later. Hope you’re doing ok x

      Liked by 1 person

      • LovingSummer August 22, 2020 / 11:23 am

        Yeah, I’m anticipating I’ll fall behind a fair bit too this week as I don’t know what my mobile reception will be like and there’s no wifi.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Lucy King August 22, 2020 / 11:51 am

    I’m so so glad for you that you had that session and that you asked for a hug and got one. I know exactly how you felt because I felt that too when being hugged by Anna. Also the way you described Anita helping you back to the room when you dissociated… also very familiar to me! I don’t suppose Anita knows any therapists in Scotland 😂 💕

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 22, 2020 / 12:29 pm

      I feel like I’ve really landed on my feet but actually despair that I put up with what Em insisted was best for me for so long. It was like she had a vision of how to treat people like us but it’s so out of touch. There have to be some great therapists up in Scotland. It’s all in the relationship and not necessarily in the training. Go find a human being who is prepared to get their hands dirty and meet you in the pits of hell and hold your hand. I’m catching myself up with blogs over the weekend and I saw what happened with L… great conversation but reality check of knowing she doesn’t work how you want is tough. Sometimes I would connect with Em and try and convince myself that it was enough and that I didn’t need touch and for her to be more present with me. Sending hugs x

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lucy King August 22, 2020 / 1:49 pm

        Thanks RB. I’m really so pleased for you that you finally have what you deserved all along.

        Just had another session with Linda. We worked on some deep child stuff and it was very painful and upsetting. She held it for me and guided me through. I’m in a weird space just now. 🌱

        Liked by 1 person

  2. skinnyhobbit August 22, 2020 / 12:39 pm

    Omg omg omg. I remember when I first asked my T (lets call her C…) for a hug… I was dissociated then I was bawling that I’m too disgusting to touch…

    So I get a goodbye hug. Which I appreciate LOTS. But/And she won’t move closer or touch me other than that goodbye hug even though I find touch grounding… She thinks it’s dangerous because I’m vulnerable and I might come to expect touch from other therapists… I respect it but….the younger me part doesn’t understand and just feels rejected.

    Now due to covid, we haven’t hugged for ages! (though I am glad I can see C in-person!!!! I couldn’t EVER do telehealth in my abusive home and even though I’m safe now, my internet is shittyy)

    I really hope Anita can give all of you and your parts what they need ❤ ❤ ❤

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    • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 22, 2020 / 1:17 pm

      I have more to write on this topic as I had a session yesterday too. I completely understand how complex this all is. I’m glad you have been able to get hugs at the end of session but also appreciate how not getting them in session would be hard. It does feel so rejecting when they stay away when you’re crying out for holding. Sending hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. skinnyhobbit August 22, 2020 / 12:43 pm

    Oh crap WordPress ate all my paragraph spacing but YES it is INCREDIBLE that you were able to tell Anita yous needed a hug! MASSIVELY awesome! I’m stoked for you all! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sara August 22, 2020 / 2:39 pm

    My heart feels so happy for you. Being fairly new to WordPress, I spent some time recently reading your previous posts and gaining a sad understanding of your past therapy relationship. It is so heartwarming to read this and feel how much you are now getting what you need in therapy. It has also been personally helpful for me as I am finding myself at a crossroads in my own therapeutic relationship. Thank you for sharing. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 22, 2020 / 3:17 pm

      Ah thanks Sara. It’s certainly been a bumpy ride getting to this point. I stood at the crossroads for years- stuck. It’s so hard when attachment processes are so deep at work. Thanks for coming along for the ride … fingers crossed things keep moving forward! I hope things your end resolve positively one way or another xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sara August 22, 2020 / 3:34 pm

        💕

        Like

  5. droppingintome August 22, 2020 / 9:16 pm

    eeeeeeeeeeeeeee omg this is the best news i have read since … idk maybe last year 😂 so fucking thrilled for you and YOU made this happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 22, 2020 / 9:35 pm

      Ha… thanks!! I mean 2020 has been a bit of a turd so far as years go but I am so pleased with myself for being brave enough to say what I needed. I really feel as though A and I are going to crack my stuff. I’m on a two week break now and the young parts are having a big wobble! Hope all ok with you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • droppingintome August 22, 2020 / 10:35 pm

        i know any amount of time on a break feels like eternity. hang in there

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 23, 2020 / 6:07 am

        Will do… I think I’m struggling partly because life resumes in a big way in Sept. I think I’ve overcommitted myself a bit work wise so I feel stressed! So it’s a double edged sword- attachment stuff is live but equally going back to therapy means my life ramps up 😖

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Eliza August 22, 2020 / 9:46 pm

    This brought me to tears. I hope writing it out helped you, too….

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 22, 2020 / 9:55 pm

      Writing out helped me reconnect with all the positive feelings and safety I feel with A. Yesterday’s session was much less connected because I’d gone into protect myself more with the break starting. We were able to talk about it and I still got a hug at the end so it’s significantly better than anything that’s happened with Em before a break! 😅

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  7. easetheride August 23, 2020 / 5:00 pm

    First of all, happy three years! Crazy how fast the time has gone for both of us! I love what you said about this being your online therapy journal, I certainly feel the same way.

    I also know what you mean about writing being easier than speaking your truths. While I’m struggling recently with it, I’ve also always found before now that I can convey what I want to do much more clearly through written word. It’s got to be something about the way our brains work.

    I think I’ve said this before, but I hope you know that you are not too much. Em was the exception, not the rule. We all level with you here and understand exactly where your feelings come from.

    Anyway, I haven’t even read the whole post yet, but I just want to say you’re fabulous. I can’t wait to hear how it went with Anita, but it seems from the comments like it went super well! I’m glad you have her and I’m glad we have you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 24, 2020 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you 😊. Can’t believe we’re three 😂!!! I am slowly learning that it’s Em and not me… the more people I open up to about it the more the message is clear. People are horrified by how she behaved. I just wish I’d got out on my own terms sooner rather than the tangle at the end. Anita is so good for me. She is so open and real… and my system loves that after years of guessing games and closed doors! X

      Liked by 2 people

      • easetheride August 24, 2020 / 9:39 pm

        I did end up reading the rest of your post and I’m so thrilled for you that you were able to get what you asked for. To be assured that your needs are normal is so important! I hope for Em’s sake she engaged in some real supervision where she could be informed that she treated you horrendously.

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 24, 2020 / 9:46 pm

        Ha…. pigs would sooner fly than her see she did anything damaging or unprofessional. 🤬… but it’s led me to find my voice and ask for what I need with A. I’m not going to sit and hope for something that never comes anymore no matter how well I behave. Balls to that. I cannot believe what I tolerated. Ugh.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Chloe Ronan August 24, 2020 / 3:07 am

    I’m so glad you had a good session with A and that she gave you a hug. It makes me so happy to see therapists who are able to see the benefits of touch.

    I have an amazing therapist but she does not do any form of touch. I briefly brought up my desire for a hug in one session but spoke about it from a place of knowing it was not an option and how I just wanted to air that it what was going through my head. I have come to accept that I would get it from my T but it is something that I really want to talk more about as I really do believe that hugs can be helpful for those with C-PTSD and developmental trauma. I want to be able to talk about it without feeling like I am making a case to try and persuade her as that just seems desperate on my part and makes me cringe and feel even more needy than I already feel. I’m not great at articulating my thoughts on why I think it will help or how I just know it would. I don’t think it will change her but I want to get my point across as it is something I feel strongly about. I don’t want to talk about it until I am able to articulate it or back up my thoughts.

    Do you have any tips on how to verbalize how it can be helpful to those of us with CPTSD? How it has helped you ? You are so good at putting your thoughts into words which is something I really struggle with both verbally and in writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 29, 2020 / 8:49 am

      Hi Chloe, Sorry it’s taken me until now to reply. I clocked your message when I was out but didn’t have time to respond at the time and suddenly it’s the weekend again and I am aware it’s been several days since you commented.

      I completely get how difficult it is, the hug conversation, when you get the strong sense that it’s a no go. It took me years to skirt round the edges with my last therapist and she shut it down so quickly that I could never go back to it for shame. However, I realise now that was another episode which said more about her as a therapist than my having an unacceptable need. We did ought to be able to talk about anything in that room. I think a discussion on the need for closeness and physical proximity and touch is really important. Trying to say how the youngest parts feel, ie when they are feeling disconnected and unsafe, words just don’t cut it because a lot of this stuff is preverbal and it needs a different kind of approach. I don’t know if you follow my friend Girl In Therapy UK here or on instagram but she put up something other week about touch hunger….and it makes loads of sense and I think it what loads of us feel.

      I think the real difficulty lies with being in a grown up body. I am not saying that any of us ‘choose’ or ‘want’ to be little and refuse to act appropriately and ‘want to get that time back’ – it’s not that at all!! .But when we are dissociated that is what it is – thrown back into another era and with the coping skills of a child of that age. Asking an 18month old child to imagine holding itself just doesn’t work. We need a different kind of support and care in those times.

      I was wondering what stops you saying to your T, ‘my young parts long to be closer to you, and when I am dysregulated I would really like for you to come closer to me and maybe hold my hand or give me a hug’…. for me it was always shame as Em was so cold but not all therapists are like that!!!! THANK GOD! And I have found it much easier to talk to Anita about my need for holding from the beginning because I feel like I have hidden so much of my need in the previous therapy and still got dumped! May as well be honest, I figure. The hugs feel very connecting. I bombed a bit on my last session before the break last Friday but the offer of a hug at the end left me feeling safely connected.

      Also, if hugs turn out to be a no, what about asking for your T to bring in a blanket or a soft toy that you could have? You could wrap yourself in it, or hug it – and because it’s something she has provided it might feel connecting – sort of transitional object…might she consider this?

      Thinking of you. It’s certainly not easy. But thank you for commenting and keep in touch – sorry for the essay!! x

      Like

  9. Q August 25, 2020 / 4:20 am

    I am very, very glad for you, RB. You deserve this sweet care from Anita.

    Reading about it is a bit painful for me though bc it reminds me that, as great as E has been to me in multiple ways, her refusal to provide comforting touch when I’ve been desperately in need remains painful. She says it’s an ethical issue but I continue to believe it’s a therapeutic mistake with C-PTSD. And I will always feel sad and maybe a bit angry that it’s not available to me.

    There I go again, making it all about me! It’s just so strong still, my hurt about it. But it is beautiful to see that some therapists feel comfortable including touch in their professional practice. I can see how it supports you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum August 29, 2020 / 8:59 am

      Hi Q. I completely understand how reading this must feel. We have both struggled with the no touch thing for years and it’s so painful. I mean for me it has been one of the biggest ouch areas in therapy – feeling unlovable, untouchable, etc. It felt so rejecting. I know that’s not what it is but lack of touch has really keyed into that. I am so sorry the E doesn’t offer this to you. I don’t really understand what the ethical issue is? I think if safe touch is contracted for and discussed it’s not a problem. I think for CPTSD it’s essential. I knew in my heart and gut that this is what I have needed for years but the attachment to Em was so strong. Well, you know the story. I guess the one thing I would say is that E is more attuned in other ways than Em ever was so it’s not like you get no holding at all – emotionally. Em was just neglectful really. Sending you so much love and a huge hug. I am catching up with blogs over the weekend and will see what’s been going on with you. Painting the house today … avoiding feelings about the break!! x

      Liked by 1 person

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