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Will we recover?

Will we survive? As in I/we/my system? I don’t mean survive as in live, I mean will we recover from this? Is healing still possible (if it ever was)? K and I are right in the thick of the attachment work and trauma processing. Pretty much all the parts are attached now. That has taken so long. Weirdly even with the recent rupture, parts are mostly aware that overall she is safe. Perhaps the most hurt are hiding, but it does feel as though the rupture has paled into insignificance – I hurt her (rightly or wrongly, this is how she felt) and she hurt me, and we will be okay – because most parts can see the bigger picture. And the bigger picture hurts like hell, like it is actual hell, because our attachment figure, our mother figure is leaving us all alone before we are ready.

So will it even be possible for parts to ‘transfer’ their trust to someone else? It could take years again, I know, but is it even possible? Or will some of the parts be so traumatised that they are never reachable again? I know that all the time with K won’t have been wasted, but so many times we’ve spoken of therapy being a process and that this is why the thought of her going away midway through is terrifying because there has been so much unpacked and we would need to start again with someone else and go through the same process but with that new hurt to recover from. I get that we’ll go from where we are now, with my knowledge of myself and my system and stuff, but in terms of the attachment work and internalising a sense of safety – we will be starting again. And I have felt myself internalising her and building up, through our attachment to her, a sense of safety in the world and in myself. So what happens when that has developed a little (a lot) with one person and it is disrupted? In February last year I wrote this ‘Things make me feel safe because they remind me of K. And eventually, after enough experiences of feeling safe, those things will make me feel safe and I won’t know why anymore. And in this way I will have a sense of safety inside me, to carry into the world’.

So what happens when the things that made me feel safe instead make me feel heartbroken and lost? What happens when they remind me of loss and devastation and annihilation instead of care and holding and safety? What happens to that blossoming sense of safety I carried inside me? Is it lost?

I’m not sure I want answers to this, because reassurances won’t stop the terror and overwhelm. I don’t want to start again with someone new. I just want K. We all do.

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 because 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 –  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.


No more us

TW for more talk of therapist leaving.

I cannot survive this. This pain is too huge, too unbearable. Everywhere I look in my house are things that remind me of K. Because of the amount of work we have done with young parts, she is everywhere in my life, in my home, in my head. Everywhere there are things she has given us, things we have made together, things we have told her about or taken to show her. There are things parts have written about in our journal that she reads every week. We’ve taken our pets to her house numerous times and young parts write about them so much that they help us feel safe in part because they are part of our work. I cannot bear to look at my pets and remember her holding them, remember her telling young parts who needed her to know just how much we love them that she really does know. There are photos of her dog on my wall, he is my screensaver, before he went to live in Portugal our Friday email would always be about him and what he was doing. The photo of the little Miffy she took on holiday with her sitting on the grass in Portugal is my phone screen saver. I’ve spoken to her on the phone in every room of my house, in the garage, in my car. She’s seen photos of so much of my life. My bike reminds me of her, being in nature reminds me of her because she has so often felt like a blanket I could wrap around myself when I am somewhere she would find beautiful too. The sky reminds me of her because when we feel unsafe or there is a special sunset we picture what it would look like in her garden and we will feel a little safer.

I don’t want to live a life without her in it. I don’t want to have to get used to a life without her. I want her to see who I become. I want her to see who my daughter becomes. I wanted her here until I had internalised a sense of safety from her, until my system was integrated, until I knew who I was. And longer. I wanted her here forever. I thought we had so much time.

I am lost without her. She is the first person I let into my heart. My most ashamed and resistant teen part (Phoebe) wrote only 6 weeks ago in our journal that fuck it, she is attached too now and being away from K HURTS. It took so long and now she is going away and leaving us all.

Until March we had met at least twice a week for two and a half years, with phone or email contact every Friday as well. She is woven into the fabric of my life. Even when my brain erases her and I cannot feel her at all, she has been there.

There is already a huge hole because I can feel she has and will have to pull back from me.

I need her to help me hold this today and she can’t. She is not here. And very soon she never will be again.

Even if I can survive this, learning to live a life without her is just too hard. There is too much grief and loss and pain already in my ever-present past. This is a loss too many. I want to wake up and this be a bad dream, not something that happens to me.

Total Annihilation

I cannot keep going. I am not sure when I have felt so completely and utterly done. I am signed off work for two weeks. I am scared of the space but also so completely incapable of work that this has to be better. I cannot hide this storm. It is too big and devastating.

Part of me wants to pull it together and get back to doing the things that keep me well-ish, to show my daughter that I really was just tired by being fine tomorrow, to care for myself the way people tell me to, to not let my relationship with a professional bring me to my knees. I just don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to keep going. Every minute by myself feels like torture. Young parts are screaming. The baby (Hope, K named her, though we are pretty short on that right now) keeps taking over and screaming and screaming. The baby and young parts’ pain is impossible to be with – their pain being too huge for me to consciously bear is the reason I split into parts in the first place.

And other parts just don’t want to pick up the pieces and begin to face a future without K. We were never going to have a forever ending. Believing we were, ultimately, working towards an ending was getting in the way of me doing the work two years ago. The pain of one day losing her was unbearable. So she told me that sometimes when the work of therapy has been particularly deep it can be appropriate for there to never be a permanent ending, that after the intense work of therapy is done there can be a transition to something else – not friends, but something – like doing yoga or something like that. So I settled. A little. As much as I ever have been able to. Every so often there has been utter panic and desperation about her going away, and she has soothed it by saying she has no plans to go anywhere and that she wants to spend the rest of her life in the part of the world we are in. Last August she said she would give me a year’s notice if we needed to end because of the depth of the work we are doing. And her partner, who I know and have done yoga with, is now in Portugal and there are plans for me to go there to his yoga centre. Last time I panicked that she would move away she said even if she were to one day give me notice and move there (which she doesn’t want to do), there is the centre there and a little cottage at the side, so we would have “options”. It wouldn’t be the end of us.

So since then I’ve had in mind that ‘we always have a year – always, until the day she says otherwise’. And I hoped I would be in a stronger place and more able to cope with it by the time it happened. I hoped I wouldn’t need to move to another therapist and could keep something vaguely therapeutic going with her. And I completely understand that she intended to give me this notice period, wanted to do this, and that she can’t because everything has changed and she is very unwell. She has done nothing wrong but this does not stop the pain.

I have spent most of the time since October 2015, when I first realised she actually understood me and could help me, terrified, on some level, that she will go away. She has told me she is here and I have sobbed that I don’t know how long she will be here for. In some ways it is a relief to know how long I have left of her. Except it isn’t. It is just gut-wrenching, soul-destroying, annihilating pain. And she may have to stop work sooner than Christmas – that is the reality. Her health is failing and she doesn’t know really if she will be able to work for another 6 or 7 months.

And I know how much she will be hurting, to know she is causing me this much pain. I know how much she cares for me, I know from the things she has said that our relationship is so important to her too, that it is not like this for her with other clients – she has told me and shown me how much I matter to her, consistently for nearly 3 years.  She has never let me down (recent rupture aside). She has arranged email sessions whilst she was on holiday, talked to a distressed alter at the weekend when she couldn’t get a grown up part back and didn’t know what to do, emailed me from the bottom of her garden under an umbrella in the pouring rain when her wifi was down and she had no signal near her house, supported me in my career and poured her pride down on me for every achievement, big and small. She has been there for me in every way she possibly could be because she wanted me to feel safe. And when she hasn’t been there for me it has been because she has wanted to support me to build my own strength. Everything she has done has been with my best interests in mind. She has done more for me than anyone else and I don’t want to cause her more pain by showing her how much her going away is hurting me.

I am scared to take this pain to her. I am scared because if she thinks to continue working with me is causing me more harm than good then she is ethically obliged to end our work. I don’t think my system would recover from a sudden termination.

I want a good ending. We have so many open boxes and I want to finish emptying some of them so I can close them, and decide with her how to take the rest with me to someone else. I want to take something solid and permanent away. I want there to be more than pain and abandonment and rejection and annihilation left of our time together. She has been such an amazing therapist. She saved my life, literally. I’m just not sure I can go back each week and have this pain re-triggered for 6 or 7 months. She is triggering the original pain, but I wanted to process that with her by my side, not at the same time as feeling the unbearable pain of losing her. I don’t feel strong enough to face both these things together. The pain is bigger and more terrifying than anything I have ever known, both the real here-and-now pain and the pain I know is ahead. And I have no time and space to lose myself and find myself in this work. I must be a mum through all this.

I need a mum to help me through this, but that is why I am having to go through this in the first place. I don’t have a Mum. Just someone I pay to be a bit like one, sometimes, but not really because she can leave me. I am motherless and the person who has been more like a mum than anyone I’ve ever known is leaving. The day I’ve dreaded since the attachment began is here.

I genuinely do not know what to do. The days stretch ahead, just an eternity of blackness, interspersed with things I must do because I am a parent. Sometimes having to pull it together for my daughter is a lifeline, but right now it is too much. Being with her hurts. Being alone hurts. Being with people hurts. Everything hurts and I just want it all to stop.

Not even blood

I just cut up my legs. Fuck this. Three years of therapy and here I am. The same self-harming mess as when I started. Only worse, because now I know what drives me to this. It’s not some abstract pain, it’s the real pain of not having a mother. All this time I’ve paid someone to be my mum and fill me up and let me play pretend and now she is going away BECAUSE SHE CAN. She can leave me. She can walk away. She will be sad but it will not break her. It will not leave her with another hole she cannot fill. My soul is already broken. Why was I ever stupid enough to think it could ever be any different? Why did I let myself love and trust and be cared for by someone who is not mine?

Another summer of hiding. Hiding my skin, hiding my pain, hiding all I could have been and never now will be.

The rest of my life hiding a loss that is more than I can bear.

Not even blood can take away this pain.

Can’t survive this

I cannot survive this. I cannot survive the loss of K. I cannot get all I need and want from her to sustain me for the rest of my life in less than 6 months. This pain is going to kill me. I cannot survive. I can’t.

Please let me die.

It doesn’t matter that she made a mistake or is reducing my session time. It matters that she is ill and she is going away and from December I will never see her again.

She is the mother I never had and always needed and I have 6 months of working with her and then we will say goodbye and never see each other again. And I will be in her heart forever but she will not be part of my life anymore and I will not be part of hers. She will never get to hear who we all become. I will have to live the rest of my life without her.

It is like losing my Mum but worse because K is warm and good and honest and sees the best in me.

I cannot survive.

Even blood cannot wash this pain away.

I want to die.

I want to die.

I want to die.


I have never felt so alone in my whole life. There is literally no one to reach out to who I can go and be with, to just sit with as this knowledge floods through me and the realisations hit. There is no one in my real life who has any idea of the magnitude of what I am trying to take in.

I am losing my safe person, my attachment figure, the closest person I’ve ever had to a mother, the person who knows all of me and has stayed and held hope for me through the darkest times of my life. In six months, if we work till she goes, we will say goodbye and never see each other again. I am losing her.

She’s going away

K is taking a whole month off in August (no contact at all) and then taking 2019 as a sabbatical away from psychotherapy to focus on her health. So we will be reducing to 90 minute sessions from the beginning of July and ending our work in December.

I’m in shock, basically. Even though I kind of knew she was heading towards this. It hasn’t really hit me. Even though  I’m crying it hasn’t hit me.


So I am leaving for my session in twenty minutes. It is at 2.45. I am a nervous wreck. Shaking and have hardly managed any work. I am going to have to work Saturday. That is okay though. What is not okay is for this to happen again. I have things I need and want to get done at work for the sake of my future career. My career is important to me, it grounds and steadies me, gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment, it gives me financial stability, and in my work I am making small (and quite big sometimes) differences in the world. I want to be able to focus more on it. I am sick of spending so many days in survival. I am good at getting it together enough to get done what I absolutely need to even when in crisis, but over the summer I have to be more driven due to less externally set goals. I want to be able to do this. I don’t want someone else to have this much power over me. I am on 5 year probation in my job and I have targets and also things I want to do. I don’t want to be an anxious wreck because of someone else. I grew up with that. I don’t want it anymore.

So these are the things I want to hold in mind as I prepare for my session:

  1. A break from therapy may be a good idea so I can take a break from being triggered and can focus on work and my daughter and summer-time stuff and getting my immune system under control. So if K suggests that (based on her health needs) then I will be triggered for a few days but I will be okay.
  2. I am good (brilliant in fact) at taking responsibility for my part in things and in the past have gone to session fully prepared to apologise and acknowledge my mistakes, but this time I genuinely feel she was in the wrong to call me in that state and I am not going to let go of that just to ‘save’ our relationship.
  3. I NEED to learn it is okay (aka safe) to tell people when I am hurt by them and when I feel they’ve let me down without them getting angry, upset or going away. This has to be part of the work I do in therapy and if K can’t provide that then this is a deal-breaker for me (and as Amber says – knowing I need this is in therapy shows how much I’ve grown!). She has not shown me so far, consistently at least, that she is able to do this (hence why I emailed in the first place I guess) so my concerns here are definitely legitimate. We’ve had some ruptures where she has let me down and seen this and apologised, but me telling her (twice, I think) have been definite sticking points.
  4. I was BRAVE to tell her how I felt that day, and to do it in a non-triggered and non-ranting way was a huge sign of progress.
  5. If K and I stop working together it may take months, even years, of grieving, but one day I will look back on all the wonderful work we’ve done together and remember her as the first person who noticed the parts and provided them with safety. It will not all be lost, even if it feels that way at the time.

I’m not getting ahead of myself and assuming any of the above will happen, a large part of me thinks we will be fine and young parts will learn to trust her again, but it is important for me to remember and hold on to my truth and what I need from therapy at this time,and to remember I am paying a lot of money and putting in a lot of energy and I need to get out of it what I need long-term, even if that means a choice that hurts like hell in the medium term. And also that my worst case scenario is something I can handle, even though if and when it happens it will feel like I can’t.


Tomorrow, and beyond…

I am really dreading therapy tomorrow. I am so close to just not going at all. I’ve never felt like this about going to see K before. Even when I’ve kicked off via text or email and had to face her, or we’ve had a shitty session the one before and I’ve struggled to contain it all till the next session and been worried she’ll terminate me, I’ve never been this apprehensive. There’s a great big ball of dread in the pit of my stomach, and my chest keeps clenching when I think about going. It doesn’t help that I am totally exhausted and spaced out after the events of Sunday and definitely don’t need another awful and triggering session.

In part I think the dread is because the rupture has dragged on so long – two whole weeks since that awful phone call – but it is also because I’ve never felt I’ve needed to ‘confront’ K about something she has done before. In the past, and we’ve only had about 4 or 5 ruptures in nearly 3 years to be fair, I’ve been aware that I lost my shit and over-reacted, so it’s been kind of easy to go in and take responsibility and hear how she experienced me/whichever part was kicking off. And she has always apologised for getting things wrong in the past too, when she has. This time though, it feels different – I still think that she did the wrong thing, 100%, by picking up the phone to me and behaving as she did that day. I still think she should have contacted me since to apologise. And now it is complicated because of the fact she has a flare-up of her Hashimoto’s, and I had that awful situation with the young person last week, and then obviously a hugely traumatic time on Sunday which also brought up a lot of grief around being motherless. My whole system is so in need of comfort tomorrow, to just be somewhere safe and let out all the fear and pain and grief from Sunday. I am still so shaken that it is possible to experience that much pain in my body for no ‘real’ reason. And it doesn’t seem to be coincidence that I have been under so much emotional and mental strain and then the sickness bug hit and wham – my nervous system went into overdrive. That really frightens me a lot. I’m used to high levels of pain, more in the past than lately, but I do still get horrific headaches and full body pain fairly regularly, but that was something else.

So what I need and would normally be holding out for getting from K tomorrow, in therapy, is comfort, validation, a chance to tell my story and process all that happened. And a chance for young parts to cry and tell her how frightening and awful the pain was, and how stressful it was not being taken seriously for most of the day, and how distressing not having our mum was. Young parts want a story and time in the garden and to forget how much she hurt us because all that matters is that she is still here and we are okay. And yet that doesn’t really go hand-in-hand with repairing the biggest rupture we’ve ever had and needing to assert myself and tell her all the reasons she hurt us all, and all the things I don’t know how we can come back from. I can see myself just going in and crying a lot. And I am wondering whether I can ask to park the rupture till next Tuesday, if I can handle doing that, if it would even work, and if it would be possible to have any kind of connection with her despite it being in the room anyway…

And the bigger thing I am wondering is whether therapy is the right path for me at this point in my life. I am aware that I’ve really struggled but also that I’ve had two 5 out of 5 days in the past two weeks, of my own making. I just wonder whether I would have less ups and downs without my attachment/mother wound getting constantly re-opened in therapy, and also whether I am more capable of weathering the storms than I realised? I HATE being depersonalised all the time, for that to stop is my biggest hope from therapy, but maybe now is not the right time to be doing the work to bring that about. I am a single parent, I work full time plus in a job I love but that is full on, and therapy takes so much of my salary that despite working so hard we are still short of money and my debt is mounting and mounting. Without therapy there would be less financial worries and more money for things that reduce stress (e.g. a cleaner) and/or are fun. I do want to to do this work, and I do want to do it with K, but right now I am honestly wondering whether life wouldn’t be easier without therapy, and whether I’ve come as far as I can go for now. This may well be a very clever defence mechanism kicking in…. The weekend was another very real reminder of all she is not to me (but also that I now have good support in my life – real and online – that is not her and that got me through a very tough time). I guess time will tell. I feel I would gradually disintegrate without therapy, but also that some of the hurt I’ve endured the past two weeks would also be a thing of the past too. I’m not sure I would get triggered the same way if I attempted dating, and I do understand a lot more about how I feel and react in relationship now. Despite how far I’ve got to go in therapy still, I am aware how far I’ve come (though at times during this rupture it has not felt that way at all!). It helps to think this through and to know I have a choice over staying in therapy now, as it doesn’t always feel that way when parts are so in need and adult me struggles so much to contain everything. I sometimes feel I have no choice but to stay in therapy. Right now I am just not sure what is best for me and my system, and so I am just letting these doubts and wonderings be there.

In the meantime I am also trying to stay with the dread and reassure myself I can handle whatever the session/K throws at me tomorrow, and that whatever happens it will soon be over. Hopefully she will have spent time thinking through how to repair this and her role in it. Hopefully I won’t be on the receiving end of her anger again, as I think that would just finish me off after how traumatic and horrific the last few days have been. Hopefully we can come back from this. I’ve spent a lot of time the past week in particular really noticing how much great work we have done together and how much amazing, healing time the parts have had, and so I guess I am going in with gratitude for that as well, and I hope she isn’t going to burst my bubble (like when she called and I genuinely thought it was to apologise and offer support – how wrong was I then?!).