Piecing things together

HealingMama

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Updating...

I found a therapist that specializes in dissociation. There has been a bit of a rocky start. I almost blacked out one day. I had another day where part of my body dissociated but the rest of me felt normal. That was so weird. I had a few weeks where after every session for about three days I would be dealing with significant depersonalization and feeling half me, half someone else. I broke through that and have been doing much better.

The protector that was attacking my husband has backed off.
I am mapping my parts. I continue to be very curious to Know The Answer about what sort of system I have, whether "just" CPTSD or something else. Working with myself as a collection of me's has been a huge source of improvement and progress.

Today we connected with a mother part. She is trying to share warmth with us, and with the rest of the world. We have a different part that isn't fully on board with it, and are going to keep collaborating so we can be sure the movements we make are comfortable for everyone in the system.

For my relationship, I am mostly on my best behavior at all times, and my husband is trying to get started with trauma therapy because my acting out in the past has given him trauma responses according to him. I am trying to help him find someone to see. I have stopped having impulsive needs to end the relationship at the first sign of trouble... and now I am trying to hold space and hold strong while his reactive attachment issues come out. It's very hard to do :( I get very sensitive to any sign that he is not seeing the present reality. But now that I am not so anxious and aggressive, we are getting along better. We went on a family vacation that was wonderful (perfect timing too, the destination had JUST allowed proof of vaccine for an easier entry, and it was right before Delta started messing up everything again).

And amazingly, husband and I have been sharing a bed too. It started out of necessity on the vacation but has been sustained mostly without any problems since then. There was a small issue night before last, but we had a good conversation about that last night. We used to not be able to do this, and when we tried again the first sign of trouble I'd throw him out of the shared bed. It's really not surprising he's having a bit of trouble snapping his fingers and being in a different space with me.
 

HealingMama

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Wow. I can understand that, with a new T, it was pretty shitty for the first while, but it sounds like things have changed pretty dramatically for you. In a good way:)
Yes it is really interesting - she has been super focused on everyone feeling safe, having me ask inside how everyone feels about our plans to be sure there is no one feeling left out or like they cannot have a voice. I mentioned the depersonalization to her after like three weeks in a row and she said it sounded like I was entering a space of readiness... I was like wtf whatever that means... and then next time we met I was more centered and we got into the parts mapping stuff. I do not know how she knew that, but either she was right or I was influenced to confirm her expectations.

I got really lucky to find a dissociative specialist that didn't just slap that on their profile and then use IFS with everyone without any additional training. Nobody is against her even. They all feel heard. And because they feel heard I am not driving myself crazy working against myself constantly.

I do not think I have DID, but I am making more progress with this approach than I did with EMDR I think.
 

HealingMama

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Some things I have become aware of...

1. I sometimes have "energy problems" where it is like someone or something has "attacked" my subtle body leaving a layer of sludge or slime, that I can feel the boundaries of. It is usually like clogging up some of my chakras. Yesterday I woke up feeling like this, tried to figure out why (as there can be some mundane life experiences that seem to make this more likely... like talking to people too much on facebook).

I had some idea that this might be dissociated emotions or something. So, I opened up to my system and said ok if that's what this is, let me have it, and then it's like it slid into me and I was feeling different. Clearer, some desire to cry, but not too intense. Other times I've tried this (apparently I have figured this out before then forget it again) when I accept the emotional energy it's come with lots of intense sadness, grief, or fear. I wonder to what extent my hypersensitivity issues are really dissociative issues.

2. Yesterday I attended a virtual discussion group for a book by Brene Brown and we were talking about creativity. I was in a breakout group of creatives who were all sharing their paintings. I decided to share my poetry. I was writing poetry like 20 years ago, and ended up writing a book of poetry for graduate school. Then I had a bit of a mental breakdown and when it was over, I couldn't write anymore.

It occurred to me yesterday that perhaps that host left during the breakdown and that is why I was barely functioning and almost failed out of grad school (which is unheard of, you get a B it's like an F, they usually give you tons of leeway to avoid failing because it is like super horrible for your career). I suspect either the host that was a poet left or there was a part in charge of writing poetry that left or changed somehow. It's like the skills were no longer accessible to me. My personality changed. I had been this very energetic, playful person and she was just gone.
 

HealingMama

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Also, in my last therapy session we were bringing in Mom's energy (my part "Mom") who generates all this warmth and compassion, and I was talking about how that might be the only part of my system with any access to warmth, and we were talking about how I show up with my son... I thought about it and explained it's like I am in a teacher mode. I am emotionally neutral with a mostly kind demeanor that occasionally gets irritated and shows it. Because I know my emotions can be unpredictable I adopt a kind of shell with him so he is buffered from that, but she rightfully pointed out (indirectly) that this is making me emotionally unavailable.

I am working on developing some trust within my system to take those walls down and be more emotionally present, with more of it on the surface so he can feel my love like a warm lamp shining on him. He deserves that. And maybe now that I understand a lot of that intensity is my parts or internal conflict between them, I can be safer without having buffers up for other people.
 

HealingMama

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One more thing...
2 therapy sessions ago, she checked in with us for how it's going, is she doing everything possible to meet our needs... and then asked all that again at the end. I guess she was just doing due diligence in case someone else was in charge of the body or there were different parts wanting to influence my answer. But it just made me feel like I am doing something wrong, if I don't have an answer for what I need her to do differently.

We call me "keeping it together" and I'm a huge control freak so it's very hard for anyone else to really get the "floor" but I am working on it. It would have been nice to realize in the moment she's asking in case different parts are present that have a different answer.

Ok one more, one more thing...

Just noting I do not remember graduating from high school. I do not remember graduating from college with my BA but I have photos of it so I know it happened. I just have a vague memory of feeling afraid of heights because the building incline for the audience area was so steep. And I'm not sure if that was during my graduation or some other time I was in the coliseum.
 
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HealingMama

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Parts in Therapy
Therapy yesterday involved my therapist facilitating a conversation amongst my parts. She asked to hear directly from one of them. I had to immediately transition back to work mode when we were done which was... weird, jarring, I am definitely not blended with her very much during work hours... but it was not a dissociating problem like before which is good.

I am supposed to continue trying to have internal meetings about stuff til my next appointment. I tried that yesterday. I also tried to make more space for the one that came forward in session, but my protector jumped in and kind of sabotaged what I was doing. I am not sure why?? I think maybe because my family was home? Protector decided it was not safe? We are working on making space for the other one to be more forward as she is very emotional, passionate, and has not been given much space by us. She wants to build female friendships. The rest of us are like ew, girls, yuck. But we are aware that we have to make room for everyone if we want to feel a sense of cooperation overall. For a moment yesterday I wondered if the protector was just kind of like hey, since you're listening, I need some space/attention too... but the protector FEELS so uncomfortable when he's out here with me, that I could not really get any clear info.

Having said that, a lot of the time Sam comes to protect a needier part... I can't really tell if it's the one that talked in therapy yesterday or a much younger one, or if they are two different ones or what.

Trying to embrace all of this with less fear. Whether it's "real" or not, it's helping and that's what ultimately matters.
Kit - main fronter, "keeping it together" (aka Kit), intellectualizing, researches stuff for safety
Sam - adult male protector, used to attack my husband, "fight part"
Becky - compassionate part, helps us feel self-love, looks like a 1950s grandmother
XXX - (feeling not to share her name with others) she carries a lot of our emotions. She is the body's age.

Seems like we have a caretaker but I am not sure if they are entirely separate. I don't know if I (Kit) just always blend with them or what. It seems that I am often in caretaker mode.
 

HealingMama

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Triggered tonight. This is what we were afraid of by letting her closer to the front. We felt rejected right as we were innocently enjoying the moment, feeling open and loving and bam! Hit with the reality that not everyone else in the world is having that experience, but being unable to tolerate it.

Sam is trying to help.

We were sitting on the couch having some serious inner turmoil. Couldn't concentrate on anything else as it is distracting having, like, a coat with fighting mice circling around under it. That is what it feels like when they are not of one accord.

I wish I knew how to facilitate a conversation amongst ourselves like the therapist does in sessions.

Ugh I feel so muddy. I don't know who is here or what they want and this doesn't feel helpful.

***** Wants to feel loved, needs others, craves connection, feels big. I made her a playlist. She especially likes that old Paramore song "Still Into You." We in have been rocking out to it the last couple of days. We are trying to make space for her like she wants.

The protector is following her around. I think that is why things felt so weird yesterday, why they broke. And why they broke today.

Petulance is preferable to destruction but neither is ideal.

Out here in the world, my husband is just a normal human who is doing the best he can. He's trying to meet my needs, from the set of skills he currently has, and at the moment he is also sick. Perfectly reasonable that he is imperfectly attuning to me. Some of my parts cannot cope with it right now though.

The level/frequency of affirmation and validation we want from others is a bit beyond reasonable expectations. But it is also ok to want and expect some affirmation from your spouse! My needs are normal and valid and really and truly, easily met.

It's also ok if days end imperfectly sometimes.
 

Aliana

New Here
Trying to work on more body awareness and awareness of when my perception or stage changes.

Tonight I was reading a bit about structural dissociation of the personality and for some reason was able to have a felt sense of grief.

I think the parts that hold my pain realize I'm trying to not be so avoidant about it.

Grief really hurts.

Also my experience of my husband is all over the place as usual. Is he safe or unsafe. I don't know. I do know he really hurt me today. He belittled my attachment issues. I told him leaving conflicts unresolved before we go to bed messes up my attachment and he says putting his socks on the wrong way messes up my attachment and "don't give [him] that shit." Such a crappy thing to say.

It's not the first time. Sometimes when we are disagreeing I'm able to link my behavior to the triggering of my father's death and he acts like I'm trying to manipulate him.

He wants to make me think he supports me but then he kicks me when I'm down. And then wants to pretend nothing happened.

Anyway. Back to the grief. Grief is so heavy. It makes me want to just sleep. I am proud of myself for being in my body better. I am used to floating a bit outside of my body.

I joined this forum in 2017 and have been absent for a long time. Avoidance sets in and I stop trying to do my work. Hope I can keep going this time.
About your husband this thought came to mind;

Do your statement that your attatchment gets difficult when not resolving arguments befor bedtime really a statement, or is it a demand? It sounds like your husband actually feels like you are manipulating him. Beeing respected when we say "no" is important, a supporter must also have the freedom to put himself first. If his experience is that he is being manipulated, then that is a big issue that the to of you need to adress. If he does not trust you he can not be the rock of trust in your marriage.

Would writing down a list of specified commitments between you two be helpful? I din not belive anyone can be "trusted" as to have responses se want all the time and never disappoint us, but trust can be built by honoring agreements.

You are going through a hard time now, getting in tutch with emotions and handling them from a long time ago. Offcourse you need your husbands support, so it is important that he understands what you need and are given the opportunity to reflect om that to see what he himself need to be able to be a good supporter.
 

HealingMama

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About your husband this thought came to mind;

Do your statement that your attatchment gets difficult when not resolving arguments befor bedtime really a statement, or is it a demand? It sounds like your husband actually feels like you are manipulating him. Beeing respected when we say "no" is important, a supporter must also have the freedom to put himself first. If his experience is that he is being manipulated, then that is a big issue that the to of you need to adress. If he does not trust you he can not be the rock of trust in your marriage.

Would writing down a list of specified commitments between you two be helpful? I din not belive anyone can be "trusted" as to have responses se want all the time and never disappoint us, but trust can be built by honoring agreements.

You are going through a hard time now, getting in tutch with emotions and handling them from a long time ago. Offcourse you need your husbands support, so it is important that he understands what you need and are given the opportunity to reflect om that to see what he himself need to be able to be a good supporter.
Hi thank you for asking your question.

I think that the statement is a statement, but of course there is implied the desire to fix or change it. I am an emotional wreck when conflicts are left unresolved. That happened last night also, and today I feel like garbage.

You are right at times he has felt manipulated. He is usually pretty open about that. I have felt like that sometimes too, about his behavior.

I have definitely not respected his "no" consistently. My abuser did not understand or respect boundaries, so I never learned them and try to learn them now.

But, last night I also did just go to bed. In the past we would have been up too 2am trying to discuss something or actually arguing over it.

We both have ADHD, and I have dissociative parts that can show up for him inconsistently and illogically, so I would say that recording agreements to honor is a recipe for disaster as we would both not remember, or not be consistent, or I would agree but my system would not all approach things the same way.

My husband has done a good job at supporting me overall. I have had unrealistic expectations of him at times. And we still have different ways of dealing with conflicts, but we are going to do some more couples therapy for that.
 

HealingMama

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Going to a party tonight to see some friends I have had for... What... Almost a decade. That is the longest amount of time I have kept abt friendships. I know them from back when I was a martial arts almost badass.

I struggle with inconsistency around social situations. Knowing them as long as I have, knowing that I've fought with both of them and they are still here, I am less likely to be triggered than in new social situations.

But.
Just to be on the safe side, I attempted to have an internal meeting about this. Let's have a good time and be sure the more social parts are out here.

In other news, I am doing another yoga teacher training. This one is specifically to learn about yoga philosophy applied to mental health. As usual I am too busy and avoid having opportunities for downtime that isn't scheduled so integration of the info is a bit eh... But I am glad to be doing it. Better to have a project with positive consequences than no project > fear triggers, can't hide from myself triggers > acting out and switching and protectors everywhere because we don't know what else to do with that. Sometimes we hyperfocus on meditation and such.

Also, my abuser has been in and out of the hospital. I have had thoughts like eh, so what if she dies. I had a fight with husband a few weeks back because he was so upset at the possibility of giving his parents covid but didn't care if he gave it to me. He was like but they are my parents! And you have health issues but you're healthy enough to survive covid.

I had to explain to him that the idea of naturally caring if your parents die is a bit foreign for me because I don't think I'll miss my mother very much. She's just been a parentifiying victim full of insatiable needs, invalidation, criticism and triangulation. My sister has been arguing with her lately for not taking responsibility for being so critical. I told my sister our mother is a narcissist, sis. She probably CAN'T do that even if she wanted to. Sis said eh you have a point.

I stopped expecting that a long time ago. She can't handle facing how awful she's treated us. She doesn't understand why we aren't trying to spend time with her constantly now. Whenever we tried, for a long time she was just harsh, critical, demanding, jealous of our husbands, had to be the authority on things, etc etc. She complains that we don't invite her on vacations. Well I tried to do that but it was just me, a woman with mobility issues and a preschooler and I do not recommend that. I was an anxious mess managing both of them.

I think I can handle being around her like that because I accepted the reality that she's basically another child. She's not actually a mother the way I think of them. She's never been able to meet any of my genuine human needs, and now that I don't expect her to ever do that I can engage her the way I need to for a sense of safety which is gray rock, grounding, and being like water.... Sometimes strategically agreeing with her on something. I give her the illusion of a relationship. Because at the end of the day, she didn't choose to be that way to me. If she could actually feel it, she would feel badly about it. It isn't her fault she was raised with trauma of her own that made her like that.

The only time we tried to discuss her in therapy, that is when we almost blacked out and half the body was numb for like a really long time. System said nope!

Hope everyone has a good weekend!
 

HealingMama

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I named the system Harmonic Resonance. Our therapist said it sounds like a great, respectful name.

It's really weird thinking about respecting something that is really parts of myself. It is weird thinking about considering the wants and needs of people in my head. It is weird learning how to have meaningful, respectful conversations with myself.

I named the system Harmonic Resonance because this all has such a somatic component for me. It's like different musical scores. And how each part, if we work together well, can adjust its music a little bit until all the musical notes played together make something beautiful.

Earlier today I was reading an article about communication with "difficult" parts because I wanted to understand how to partner with and negotiate with this protector part better. And he just came out here toward the front as I was reading and I attempted to have a dialogue but of course I feel like I just made it all up. I offered for him to stay out here with me to hang out around my husband outside the context of a threat response situation thinking maybe it will help him not assume my husband is a threat so much, and he will back off and let this other attachment oriented part actually try to get their needs met. My protector was cool with it.

Then the goals of the day shifted a little, hubby suggested some intimate time, and with this protector out my face changes, my voice changes, my body language changes. It isn't exactly conducive to sex. I'd already made an agreement with the protector to let sex happen anyway if it came up in conversation while he was out here, but my husband was reacting to the part's presence in a way that was killing the mood. He was feeling that I was not really up for intimacy. Which if you could see how I act when he's forward, you'd say it makes perfect sense. It's not exactly a nonverbal greenlight to get close! (But that's ok bc that is what he is here for. To create a red light for closeness.)

So I said ok husband, give me a minute. Then I just asked inside if we can reorganize things to send him back inside so my husband can experience a better situation and he agreed. It was that simple. Next thing I know I sound like myself, my voice is back to normal, I'm able to generate the sort of "a little bit chipper" energy that my family is used to, and I'm really thankful to see that I can negotiate with him because for a long time he just took over everything and I understand his reasons for that, but this approach feels like it will work out well for us.
 
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