My mother on the couch

Two posts in one day – aren’t you lucky? I’m having surgery tomorrow so will probably be unblogworthy for a few days, and didn’t want to leave you with nothing to read! 😉

So, next up in the big week was a double session with my regular therapist – with my mother.

My main aims were to get Mum to understand what I’m going through; to understand the past from my perspective (I was a child, damn it – I wasn’t able to rationalise it in the same ways she perhaps was. I grew up thinking I was inherently bad; that it was all my fault; etc etc); to understand the impact my father has on me now; and to understand the impact she has when she’s constantly critical, negative and sarcastic towards me. Just a couple of aims there. Nothing too big, right?

The session didn’t get off to a great start. Mum denied that she’s negative or critical; said that I am just overly sensitive. This may be true, but there are always two sides. We talked about specific examples – the way she does and redoes things around the house (eg, the washing) being a classic . Apparently she thinks this is “helping”; whereas my perception is that nothing I do is ever good enough. Just like when I was at school and my 90% exam results were greeted with “where’s the other 10%?” Hmph.

So, mid stream she started laughing at me, and mocking me. I couldn’t believe it. I completely lost it. I was shaking with rage and sobbing my poor little heart out. So much so that I ran out of the room (much to everyone’s surprise, including my own). I hid in the bathroom for about half an hour where I sobbed hysterically and tried to calm down. (Thankfully no one else came in – quelle horreur!)

Eventually I made my way back to T’s room, knocked and said, “Can I come back in?” T said “No, I’m not finished yet,” in a gentle but cheeky way. I knew she wanted to have a crack at Mum on her own, so was fine with that, and headed outside for some fresh air.

Thankfully I was only mildly hysterical at that stage, because who should I see coming across the road? Bloody Stone Therapist, that’s who – aaarrrggghhh!!! That was the last thing I needed, let me tell you. So I scurried back into the waiting room and sat with my back to the door, iPod on, waiting for my therapist to come and get me.

She finally did. I’m not sure what went on while I was out of the room, but I think my therapist got through to Mum in some ways. Or my tantrum did. Or a combination of the two. Mum seemed to have realised that some of the ways she’s behaving towards me, and her expectations (now and in the past) haven’t always been appropriate. Wow. We agreed we’d try to stand in each other’s shoes and be more sensitive of each other’s needs. Double wow.

She also admitted that she understands the impact of my past, in its full horror. And the impact that my father continues to have. Stated categorically that she loves and cares for me, even if she doesn’t always show it. Triple and quadruple wow.

After Mum left, my therapist said she thinks Mum really is trying; that she really does love and care for me, it’s just beyond her current skill set to know how to deal with this or what to do; and that it will be up to me to lead the way.

It was an odd session, but I felt quite good afterwards (despite my lil tanty). I can see that Mum is reflecting on it, and we have both been trying since then – it’s a little hit and miss sometimes, but at least it’s a step forward. Even when she’s being downright offensive and annoying I have been mostly able to step back and tell myself that she loves me and is only trying to help. That alone can diffuse the situation. A little less sarcasm on her part would be nice, but there’s no magic cure, I suppose. At least it’s a start.

A big week, all ending quite well. I’ll admit I find this a little strange – I’m just not used to it, although I think I might actually like it. 🙂


5 thoughts on “My mother on the couch

  1. That is awesome, that the session turned out so well and that your Mum is trying, and even beginning to understand! I’m so happy for you. I know it isn’t easy, but I’m happy that she’s willing.

    I’ll be thinking of you Monday, too! (((K)))

  2. Whew! I’m glad your T got to have a crack at your mother without you in the room … my guess it that it was pretty helpful, as far as T telling her a few home truths.

    Good luck with your surgery. I’ll be thinking of you.

  3. Good Luck Kerro,
    I’m glad you can go into surgery without upset from your sessions! See you on the flip side…

  4. Survivors are always being accused of being too sensitive. Been there, had that done to me a lot. Invalidation never helps, it never heals.

    I’m glad that you and your t were able to tell her what your experience is.

    I think it is more important that she show through actions and words that she loves you rather than you having to keep telling yourself that.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  5. Pingback: Old dogs and new tricks « Kerro’s Korner

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