The Queen Of Avoidance

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It’s no secret that when it comes to expressing difficult feelings – or even positive ones like the ‘L’ word – in therapy I can sit on my throne, The Queen of Avoidance, for weeks or even months (years!!!) on end not really saying what’s going on for me! I think I frequently come over as aloof, stand-offish or perhaps even cold and unfeeling – because whilst I can be ‘feeling all the feelings’ inside, I’d sooner sit in stony-faced silence than admit that I like you, care about you, or say that you are important to me. Considering how much I hate the still face experiment it’s kind of funny that I sit with my poker face glued on so much of the time in therapy.

I’ve spoken at length with my friend (who kindly drew the illustration above) about this, she’s one of the few people I have truly let into my inner world, and have lamented how sad it is that to me it feels more dangerous to express love than it does to express anger or rage in therapy. Revealing and communicating loving feelings feels so risky. I guess because when we do that, the armour is off and the protectors are standing down. When we express love we are wide open and vulnerable to being hurt and this is even more the case if the feelings being articulated are coming from a young part.

Whilst it’s what I crave, it’s also not surprising that I avoid this kind of emotional intimacy. We all want to be loved, need to be loved, but there have been a couple of significant times in my life where I have finally built up the courage to tell someone how I feel and it’s gone badly. I am programmed expect the worst, ‘you’re too much’ or to get no response at all – especially after growing up with a mother who does not show any warmth whatsoever. And so any time I enter the arena of feeling the BIG feelings and wanting to express them, it triggers those really painful feelings of rejection and abandonment and so I’d sooner say nothing at all and sit in my own discomfort rather than be negatively judged or rejected by the other.

It’s funny, I saw a tweet months ago that I sent to Anita at the time which said:

All I ask is for you to get to know me on a deep, intimate level while I resist and obstruct your every attempt to do so.

And this absolutely nails it. Queen Of Avoidance! I tried so hard to break this pattern with Em but actually working with her cemented my fears and doubts about being unlovable, increased my levels of dissociation, and crushed the youngest parts of me… which is unfortunate to say the least.

Wow – that’s a massive understatement!

I’ve been working with Anita for 8 months now. I see her twice a week so I guess we must have had about 60 sessions over this time. I noticed towards the end of June a shift in how I felt with A. I guess it was around then that the child parts who had been so much in hiding after being so badly hurt by Em attached to her. And of course this signalled the start of ‘react like a baby to the slightest thing’ time. It was like having a scab torn off and the open mother wound exposed again.

Once the young parts (including the teens) activate in therapy it’s a whole other world of fun isn’t it? And when I say ‘fun’ I really mean ‘shame’!

A has been nothing short of amazing with me in the time we have been working together. I know I am not an easy client to work with (another massive understatement!) but she’s been so calm, consistent, and validating of my feelings that it’s hardly surprising that since returning to face to face sessions it feels more intense. After months working online, and having had the break, being back in the room feels so nice. I feel more seen and more connected which in turn settles my system down.

Only it also does that other thing…SHAKES IT UP!!

Argh!

Because A makes me feel safe when I am with her it activates all the attachment stuff and young need. Like I feel so grateful to her for what she does for me but now it feels like all the little ones are wanting to rush forward and hug her especially after the break – stampede style!

The children inside have all been left unattended for so long that it’s a shit show. In January the little ones were abandoned, screaming, and the teen part was left babysitting. She had no idea what she was doing and basically spent the food money on litres of coke and sweets to bribe the little ones to shut up- and now the littlest ones are hyper but also overtired and need a story and to be put to bed!

This last couple of weeks has been really hard going. I have barely hung it together in my adult life and it’s massively impacted my internal system. Everything feels overwrought and I feel like I am spread way too thin. My resources are massively depleted. My nervous system has been off the chart…and generally it’s felt really awful. Like I have wanted to cry but haven’t been able to let the tears come – although crying is not something I find very easy. Apparently the average woman cries 3.5 times a month…I barely manage that in a year even when I have been terminated my by attachment figure! I have felt like I have wanted to self-harm but haven’t…but because I haven’t gone to my ‘go to’ coping strategies there has also not been any release.

I think I have come over as a complete basket case in my sessions. Manic and repetitive. I’ve done nothing but moan. And then underneath the immediate everyday life stuff there’s been this swirling terror that I don’t talk about, can’t talk about, because I just can’t hold that too and keep going with the day to day.

I feel a huge panic in my system that any minute A is going to go. Part of it is I think COVID dread. I am really worried about us ending up in lockdown again and not being able to see her… but this then spirals down into the feeling of her being ‘gone’ like properly gone. And I guess this is something to do with what it is like working online for the young parts. I think the preverbal stuff is really difficult to work with online and so because that littlest self can’t really get what it needs on screen it feels like its been abandoned… I dunno I need to think more on that.

Despite everything feeling massively precarious – being in the room with A has been the glue that has held my pieces together lately… or, maybe the scaffolding around my renovation project. And getting a hug at the end feels like the parts of me that are crumbling are momentarily held in place before I go back out into the world and try not to disintegrate.

I outdid myself this week after my session. I felt so seen and held that I sent A a message afterwards – basically saying just that…but then ugh…I rounded it off with a GIF that said ‘p.s I love you’.

Because I do.

So what am I left with after sending that? Well, I feel embarrassed, ashamed, and like I want to run away. My protector parts are ready, my armour is on, and my avoidant self is back online. Like what was I actually thinking? Why on earth did I bloody open myself up to being hurt amd rejected again?

I feel sick inside.

And this is what’s really depressing. Surely it should feel ok to tell someone that they are important to you and love should not feel bad. But this is where my wounding is and I feel like I’ve just run back into a burning building and it’s hurting like hell…which is kind of ironic given how burning myself was a go to method of self harm!

23 thoughts on “The Queen Of Avoidance

      • skinnyhobbit September 22, 2020 / 10:30 am

        I did! She won’t reply to texts (but will reply ro some emails) and because I’m scared of rejection or her changing her mind (as she has said before she does love me in a parental way), I texted so I WON’T get a response…

        I am so glad you sent your post to Anita and that she replied she loves you!!!

        Tbh after T told me she loved me, my attachment system really calmed down though i still wobble. It’s like it built a strong foundation that really helped until my lost loved one (former chosen family) ripped it up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum September 22, 2020 / 12:34 pm

        I’ve missed this. What happened? Which post is it? I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been hurt by your chosen family. Sending hugs xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyhobbit September 22, 2020 / 2:44 pm

        Hugs. I password protected the 2 posts about it so I don’t think it shows up on the Reader.

        You can email me for the password and the links, if you want? It’s been really tough even though T has been amazing. ❤❤❤

        Like

  1. LovingSummer September 20, 2020 / 11:15 am

    It totally should be okay to tell people how important they are and that you love them, but I’m exactly the same as you in that regard. And the crying! I find it incredible the average woman cries almost once a week. I am not even sure I cry once a year! Though, like you, I feel like it sometimes, I just don’t get the tears out (sometimes deliberately but other times I’m incapable even if I wanted to).
    I also totally get your concern about another lockdown. I couldn’t bear it, having to go back to Skype all the time. I am hopeful that, for as long as businesses are open, we can have therapy in person though. The question would be whether therapist feel safe to or not… argh! Can’t let myself go there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum September 20, 2020 / 4:08 pm

      I sent A this blog this morning and she text me such a lovely reply. I’ll have to write a catch up post when I get a minute. I am chasing my tail massively at the minute so everything is chaos. I think I don’t cry because I have learned not to. What’s the point in crying if noone ever comes? I learnt that a very young age and so it’s a very slow process getting back to feeling feelings and expressing them in a normal way rather than a maladaptive way. Hope you’re hanging in there. I am so out of loop with blogs xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • LovingSummer September 20, 2020 / 4:45 pm

        I am so pleased you sent it to Anita and even MORE pleased she gave you a lovely reply. I’ll look forward to reading it when you post it.

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum September 21, 2020 / 2:08 pm

        I’m so busy at the minute that I think my first possible window of free time is next Saturday!! Ha! Jeez! Hope you’re ok x

        Liked by 1 person

      • LovingSummer September 21, 2020 / 2:21 pm

        Oh… talk about keeping us all in suspense! 😂
        (I’m doing okay thanks)

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum September 21, 2020 / 8:38 pm

        I feel like the 8 years of rejection and abandonment from Em mean I’ve earned this love in the hardest of ways. I wish I’d met A years ago or left Em much sooner . Being with A is so healing X

        Liked by 1 person

      • LovingSummer September 21, 2020 / 8:41 pm

        You’ve MORE than earned it after what you’ve been through, for sure 💜

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum September 21, 2020 / 8:45 pm

        It’s nuts how easy it is to feel safe and cared for by someone who is safe and caring. I feel my defences are way less potent with A. There’s a long way to go but I’m hopeful. My young parts are in massive attachmenty zone right now so this week will be loooooong!

        Liked by 1 person

      • LovingSummer September 21, 2020 / 9:51 pm

        It’s so good to read how you’re doing will all of this and how amazing Anita is for you. What a find!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Lucy King September 20, 2020 / 2:33 pm

    It’s such a slow and delicate process, to allow those most frightened, vulnerable parts come out of hiding when they feel ready… after being so badly hurt time and time again. I have every faith it will happen, it just takes time. Soooo much time!

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum September 20, 2020 / 4:13 pm

      It really is. I think because I have so recently been burnt in this area I am really scared. It’s nothing Anita has done. She is incredible. But after Em it’s little wonder parts of me are worried that everything will go to shit. However, I sent A this blog this morning when I wrote it and she has sent me the most lovely message back that I am so settled and happy. Just also devastated that I spent to long with Em feeling so unworthy and unloved and believing it was me that was the problem. Hope you’re ok. x I’ll catch up on blogs tomorrow when I have the afternoon free! xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lucy King September 20, 2020 / 4:42 pm

        I’m so delighted that she sent a lovely email back! It’s nothing short of what you deserve. You really had to endure so much unnecessary heartache and shaming from Em. xx

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum September 21, 2020 / 2:10 pm

        I’m really seeing how terrible it was with Em the longer I’m with A. It’s so nice to be genuinely seen and cared for and to be loved. Em just didn’t have it in her. ☹️

        Liked by 2 people

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