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A dream I’ll never belong in

I woke up at 5am to the crushing reality. It is like there is a ten tonne weight on my chest. The breath is squeezed out of me. A gnawing, aching, burning in my abdomen makes it hard to stay still. Yet I can’t move either. My legs and arms ache with all that they are containing.

I need containing. I need soothing. I need all the things I’ve always needed. And the hope is ebbing away. My attachment wound is gaping open and I am bleeding everywhere, and the person who was going to walk by my side and help me heal it is making it deeper and bleed more than ever. I am so aware that if we handle this ending badly, her and grown up me, then my system may completely breakdown and it may take years to recover, if ever. I need her to tread gently and remember the parts are there, that they are young and broken and confused and abandoned. At the moment their pain and mine is completely merged and I am switching in and out and hearing voices inside that are not mine (mostly a lot of hatred for K’s thyroid, and a shit tonne of questions and memories of times with K it is deeply painful to hear). Inside me is just turmoil and darkness and the crushing weight of responsibility because I must keep going, for my daughter.

“I need to be with K because she will make all this okay”. And then the fucking agonising truth that she cannot make things okay, not truly, not ever again. Always a huge trigger for me, the therapeutic relationship, but sometimes so holding and healing and comforting. But now – how will I ever see her and feel safe and contained in her presence again, with the weight of what is ahead bearing down on us?

I am filled with a desperate longing for her, for someone, for something, for Tuesday at 2pm, for May 7th and the beauty of the ride. I want to turn back time. Before I met K I didn’t walk around feeling the permanent weight of all that is missing inside me. Since we started work I have felt the hole in me nearly all the time. A desperate, shameful yearning for something that can never be mine. The song lyrics ‘you’re painting me a dream that I wanna belong in’ have played over and over in my head since December, when K and I had a pre-Christmas film night for young parts watching The Snowman with an open fire and each of us cuddling one of my guinea pigs. I want to belong to her, I want to belong in her life, I want to go with her when she goes away, I want her to take me with her.

And I want to forget what it was ever like to know her becauseย I don’t know if I can ever be me without her again. And I feel so utterly ashamed and ridiculous for letting her become this important to me, for depending on her, for being so broken inside that I let this happen. Another therapist I spoke to on Friday – not L, a 3rd one –ย  said not to let anyone tell me this dependency is unhealthy, that you can’t heal attachment trauma without a secure attachment. She understood the utter devastation for my system and for 24 hours after this I felt validated, but now I hear the voices telling me I’m too attached, that I shouldn’t be so dependent on her, that I shouldn’t need her to help me, that I should be out of therapy by now, self-soothing and managing my pain alone. These are internal voices, but not only. One of them is my own sister, herself a counselling psychologist for the NHS who works with complex trauma and dissociative disorders. The painful irony. This beautiful relationship K and I have built and nurtured over almost 3 years is frowned upon and discouraged by so many. So in part this pain is so painful because it is so secret. When a relationship ends people get it. With this, though it is more painful in many ways because it is a force for good and not the toxic bond so many of my relationships have been, people brush it away. No one wants to see the people so wounded in childhood that they are reduced to frightened children clinging for dear life to the one person who has accepted them and loved them for who they are. No one “normal” can bear to confront the reality of all that brokenness and damage. And we are forced to hide our feelings about a relationship so deep and meaningful and close, because it hurts so much to have something so precious be labelled pathological and damaging.

My daughter is with her Granddad and I am collecting her at 6pm. Pretending for her this time is the hardest thing I’ve had to do as a parent. There is no explanation I can give for this pain that wouldn’t frighten her (no one has died for example) and wound me (“you don’t need to see K anymore anyway, it’s been ages”). I cannot bear to tell her yet. And she will be worried that I will get worse. I don’t want this for her. So I will clean the house up and get some food in. “Luckily” the panic has set in today and so I need to go to get my prescription of diazepam. This will make me leave the house which needs to happen today. Yesterday we cried in bed all day, and then went for a bike ride in the evening with a friend which actually helped and we made it to bed before it all hit again. But 6 hours later and my body woke me abruptly to tell me something is really wrong. And this time it is right – all those flashbacks when I was meant to remind myself the pain belongs in the past…. but this pain is past-present-future all merged into one horrific storm.


19 thoughts on “A dream I’ll never belong in”

  1. I really want to reach through the screen and hug you/sit with you/whatever it is that might help even if just a teeny tiny tiny amount. The validation from the therapist may have worn out but there is a shit tonne of validation here with me that you can tap into whenever you need. You’re going through hell/emotional torture/blood letting like never before. I am just glad that you’re able to reach out to other therapists so that when this closure is done there is someone there ready to pick things up. Someone who does get this wound and can therapeutically hold you again. Lots of love to you. You know where I am xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you โค I wish you could do that too. I honestly cannot believe how much this hurts, like all my imaginings and perceived abandonments didn’t come close to this. And even when I’ve survived it all she will still be gone ๐Ÿ˜”


  2. It’s so painful. ๐Ÿ˜” Especially the waking up and it hitting you each time. I’m glad you’re getting out the house today and you did amazing to go out last night! All you can do is what you’re doing and take it a minute at a time and slowly get the questions you all have answered and go from there. You know where I am if you need any distractions. ๐Ÿ’›๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒบ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are doing so well with something that is so utterly unbearable… and yet somehow you are bearing it. Everything you feel is justified. You have nothing at all to feel ashamed about. You have built a strong alliance with K and itโ€™s an unfortunate set of circumstances that has led to this. Health, unfortunately, is never a given. Sending you hugs x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you lovely. Surviving the unsurvivable. It’s so hard not to let shame and doubt set in. Like what if I share these feelings with her and she’s like ‘eek, you’re actually way too attached to me and dependent on therapy, it’s good we’re ending…’?? Xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I firmly believe your sister is wrong. We need love to be able to start loving ourselves. We need secure attachments to be able to rewire our brains to internalize that security, love, acceptance etc and therefore gain “earned secure attachment”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, this really helps to be reminded of. I think she is wrong too, as does K (who has got quite angry at the fact my sister finishes with DID/complex trauma clients after 18 months – for her it’s all about distress tolerance I think, which does nothing to address the shame or relational aspects, so it’s symptom management, not healing, as far as I can see). K always says relational trauma, and the resultant shame, must be healed in relationship. I guess it doesn’t help my fears because (funnily enough) relational trauma means I feel ashamed for needing relationship! And I’m still scared K will say ‘yes,attachment is good, but this is TOO MUCH’ (not that she has EVER shamed me or the parts for how dependent on her they are!!).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 18 months is way too short. I agree, it’s just symptom management and distress tolerance. In schema therapy, the therapist commits to at least TWO years (often more…like 3,4,5 years onward) with a Bpd/whatever PD/complex trauma/dissociative disorder client. And the clinician books even tell you that some clients will see the therapist as a substitute parent and that the therapist needs to accept that “limited parental role”. And that some clients never truly terminate even after therapy ends because they’ve healed most of the deep relational wounds. It requires a gem of a therapist. I love my therapist and she acknowledges that she IS in that limited parental role and that I and some other clients NEED it. And I’m not even diagnosed with a traumagenic disorder like cptsd or bpd or avpd or osdd or Did, “just” chronic anxiety from an upbringing of abuse like many of us survivors

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      2. I’m really glad you have that from your T. Mine is also one of those gems, which is why the pain of losing her is so unbearable. There is nothing about the way she is and the way we work that doesn’t feel right for me ๐Ÿ˜ฆ


      3. I’m grappling with a upcoming loss of my T (my life circumstances) and what has happened with your T is literally one of my worst nightmares. On a forum I visit, someone lost their T to death and they’re devastated. You’re doing AND have done such deep, critical, important work with your T. Of COURSE, your system NEEDS her. It’s like life and death for complex trauma survivors like us, whether we’re multiples or not. Relational trauma needs relationships to heal! I know I’ll survive losing my T too but will I truly love? Or will I be a robot shell again, like before I met her…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m so sorry you are going through this. Will you be starting with a new T if you can? I have the same question – I know I’ll SURVIVE, but will I recover or will this loss just ingrain the lack of trust and inability to open up to people and experience connection? I really hope this is not the case for either of us…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I might not have access to a new T. I suppose if I do have access, and I relapse in my mental health, I’ll find a new T. But so few Ts work in the ways our Ts work… It’s like it’s now taboo to love a client… There’s so much focus on hasty patching and then kicking hurting folks back to generating income for a capitalistic society…(my country has a universal healthcare system somewhat like the NHS. Big focus on time limited therapy, solution focused stuff etc)

    My T says I’ll find other safe relationships, that it isn’t just her. But even with a loving partner and a deeply beloved “chosen sibling” (family of choice), I still need T to be my parent figure. Like I wrote to a friend, even adult children need their parent(s) sometimes. And T has been more of a parent as my therapist than my entire large extended family for the whole of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel really sad reading this. I agree there are so few Ts who even understand the NEED to work how ours do, let alone who have the ability to do so. I am lucky in that I at least can pay (just about) for private therapy (if I don’t lose my job because of what this ending unleashes in me) so perhaps have more chance of finding someone. But having already spoken with 3 I know that we will get nothing like what we get from K.

      I’m really sorry you’re going through this loss x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hear you. I can’t remember how I found your blog but I hear the anguish you express. I’m lucky too, to have found my T…I’m in public health system and fortunately my first real therapist understood I needed depth work. Ts like mine are hard to find in public health though there are a few. I’m even asking T if she knows fellow psychologists who work similarly because I’ve friends with DID who can’t afford private or they tried private and couldn’t find the T they needed.

    I hope you don’t lose your job though I understand nothing can fully predict the effects of such a painful ending…

    I’m afraid I’ll never find someone like my T either. I hope somehow I can internalize her…that my bad memory will retain precious times with her forever. My T has said she won’t forget me, and I know unless I get dementia, I’ll always remember how she made me feel.

    Will you still be able to keep in touch with T even if no longer therapist and client? It’s not the same I know.

    Going to slowly read the rest of your blog! ๐Ÿ’™

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you can internalise some of her too.

      I dissociate so badly and sometimes lose all memory of my T between sessions, so I’ve always been frightened that when we ended I would be left with no memories or sense of her. I’ve seen in the past few days that this seems to be unlikely and that is some small comfort.

      I’m not sure if we’ll keep in touch – you’ll see from my other posts what the plan was, but that has changed now. I feel as though ending before we are ready will mean that superficial contact would be too painful, especially if my alters/parts didn’t get directly acknowledged anymore which is what they are used to.

      Will you be able to keep in touch with yours? X


      1. I have a really bad memory though I am “present” in sessions. I have huge memory gaps of years in my life and my memory is like Swiss Cheese… I forget so much of sessions, forget how time with T felt like… I used to feel literally nothing even in sessions.

        I have a suggestion: Can you record sessions with T’s consent? Admittedly I didn’t ask her consent and it was a long time before I told her. She didn’t tell me to stop though she wasn’t pleased. It helped a lot when I was learning to trust her because my brain would distort things into sinister ways and I would get angry and guarded, fearful and suspicious. But with the recordings I can hear things again and realise she didn’t mock me at all but was gentle and kind… It helps my “inner child part” too and my “detached protector mode”. Her voice is grounding when I’m experiencing emotional flashbacks.

        Maybe she can do some guided grounding / imagery exercises and record them? Maybe some words for each of your alters? Your T seems very, very, very giving.

        (I want a letter from my T but I dare not ask)

        I’ll be able to email my T but she won’t always reply. I need to open up about how important she is to me. She knows some of it because she reads the journals I print for her but I really struggle to talk about it because of intense shame.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s so hard. The shame is so hard to deal with. We used to have a lot of recordings K had made us, of her reading stories and messages for the young parts about holding us in her heart and us being connected and things. But my phone lost them all which was so sad.

        I’m not sure she’d agree to me recording sessions but I’m hoping we can record another message so we have it to keep.

        I often forget sessions too, it’s really frustrating. It’s like someone has erased it as soon as I step outside. And I get the twisting and distorting thing too – like I think back over something she said and it changes from something kind and loving to something said with frustration or contempt. I hate it, as I’m sure you do too. It’s better now, it happens less often definitely.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Damn, it’s so sad you lost all those recordings because they sound so sweet, connecting and lovely. I store mine on Google Drive so I still have them when I had to get a new phone when my old one broke.

        I hope she’ll agree to recording other messages for you all to keep.

        Yes! It’s like sessions are erased once I stop out. The twisting and distorting are better now…hsppen less often, definitely.

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