Sometimes therapy still feels really confusing. Sometimes I wish there was just simple transference going on, instead of all these different relationships because I have so many parts. You have a relationship with all of the alters – even the ones you’ve never met have silently watched you, and your relationship with adult me and other parts filters down to them. And as you pointed out yesterday, there are multiple relationships going on inside of me as well. The parts are watching me, modelling me, and they learn from our relationship – you and I – and how I am in the world too. It is hugely confusing sometimes. And other times it just is now, and trying to make sense of it all is not something I feel the need to do. Sometimes now therapy just unfolds the way it needs to, but today I feel stuck somewhere horribly painful where I wonder if I am just prolonging my agony by keeping doing this work.
Some parts want you to be their mum and sometimes I wish it were that simple – straightforward mummy transference. It’s not though, there are parts that find that idea completely weird and unappealing. Sometimes our relationship feels more like that of equals, collaborating on my healing together. Sometimes I want guidance on parenting from you and other times I am so little that it feels completely weird to be talking about ‘my daughter’ with you. Sometimes I want you to be a terrible mother whose children never want to see you, other times I need to know you are a good mother so I know you would have been ‘good enough’ to us if you were ours. I need you to be the same in the world as you are with us in therapy, so I know you are ‘real’ with us, but we also hate that you might be how you are with us with everyone. Sometimes it is reassuring when you talk about teenagers and I know you know what parenting them is like, but for teen parts it is painful knowing you have had teenagers of your own and that those teenagers are yours, whereas they are not. They are not anyone’s. So we want you to be close to your children, to have been there for them in the way we needed because then we can trust you will be here for us, but we also despise knowing that you have people of your own that you are excited to see and are there for in ways you cannot be there for us.
Sometimes therapy feels ‘enough,’ more so now than it ever has before, but other times it becomes so painfully apparent that it will never truly be enough to heal us the way we thought, many years ago now, that we could heal. The painful truth is that even when we have healed, we still won’t have a mum. We are motherless, me and the parts, and at times that feels more than we can endure. There is nothing there to salvage. The end of all this journeying will be to have accepted that and to be able to live with that empty space inside us without doing mad things to avoid it.
You are not our ‘go to’ when we feel bad anymore, we don’t get caught in that painful push/pull place of needing you and being scared to contact you at that same time, but we are not free from those bad feelings. We are not well yet, but we are more stable. I know you always said you would want to do this work with us even if we were stable, that you knew that some parts might be scared if the frequent (near-constant at the beginning) crises ended you would go away. You’ve proved that isn’t true. We trust you now. And yet it is hard to be able to hold it all myself. It is hard needing less from you. There is still so much work to do but it is different now. Mostly – today it feels like an echo of the past inside of me, but I know it will pass and it didn’t occur to me to contact you to help with this.
Sometimes it feels magical that we are individuating and becoming more central in our own lives, but other times it is actually terrifying to be growing away from you. Sometimes the distance and space is comforting because it means our wellbeing is not dependent on you in the way it once was and we can restabilise before we see you. Sometimes knowing we wouldn’t die without you is reassuring, but other times we miss how important you were. Sometimes our own life takes up more space than you do, and other times there is too much space without you being so central. Sometimes I feel I’ve internalised you so much that I can feel you all around me, but when I am dissociated and cut off I can still find I have no sense of who you are. The only difference is knowing that we will reconnect and that nothing has changed for you.
You will always be my attachment figure, the person who taught me what safety feels like, but you are not the person who should be in that role and so you are never really mine. I know I’m not losing you yet, I know we have many more stones to unturn together and many more miles to walk beside each other, but young parts want you the way they always have and they don’t like this emerging independence. I want to get better but I don’t want getting better to mean losing you. You said yesterday how much we matter to you, all of us, and I know that is true. I know you’ve not worked with anyone else for as long or as intensely as you have with us, but I cannot ever matter to you as much as I need to. No one can, no one will. I love what I have with you but it still hurts sometimes.