I am reading this scientific book that just shows us that we’ve already learned so much … in therapy, outside of therapy. We’ve made so much progress in so many areas. We are able to be there for each other these days, which is amazing. We try and regulate ourselves through this “being there”.
We still have a long way to go, which is especially obvious when we get triggered into an emotional flashback. Those are harder to handle for us because we have a hard time recognizing that they’re flashbacks. Whereas a visual flashback is “obviously” in the past, an emotional flashback feels as if the very big feelings we HAD about very bad things happening THEN are adequate feelings for NOW when only small transgressions might have happened.
For example I can name a specific incident that happened not too long ago: I was sitting in the car with my mom and my boyfriend behind me. My boyfriend was feeling playful and tugged on my neck, which hurt very badly and caused me to positively YELL at him to STOP DOING THAT! I was SO angry and my mom and my boyfriend looked at me questioningly; nobody knew what the hell had just happened.
I can now place it as an emotional (and also physical) flashback. The pain in my neck had triggered memories when that pain was connected to other in my then child-body life/soul-threatening pain. I needed to stand up for myself QUICK and STRONG to protect myself! Only: nothing of the sort was happening in the now. And I didn’t realize that was what was happening so my protective anger exploded all over the place and the child that was terrified inside of me was not comforted.
But every now and then we’ll realize what is happening and CAN comfort the children within and try to regulate our emotions that way.
The hardest I think is still the anger for us and I realize that now – yet again – after my boyfriend told me yesterday that he has “anger issues” because of what is happening right now in his life, which is perfectly understandable. But I was astounded at how little he explodes and how aware of it he is.
Very often we are still not aware that our anger is not appropriate to the current situation. Or someone inside reacts explosively, while whoever was only co-conscious at the time doesn’t experience it as intensely as it in fact was.
When our anger surfaces it is still connected to so many instances in which we’re still terrified internally. So many “children” (ie parts of ourselves) that aren’t being comforted, that haven’t realized yet that those situations are over and that we are safe now. But I think, bit by bit, child by child and part by part we will get there.
We have already come so far. We can conquer these memories by being there for all the kids inside with our adults parts, lovingly, acceptingly and compassionately.
I am so happy our therapist has been able to teach us some of this. I also realize that I am starting to see her more as a person these days. Remember, I made a post about this a few months back, about having a hard time seeing her as a PERSON? Well, it’s starting to happen. We’re starting to realize for example, that not all her advice is good. And that that’s okay. That we can take her advice and weigh it in our mind against the situations we’re facing and what WE think would be best, and then come to a conclusion as to what needs to be done. And all this without having to once think, “God, she’s a terrible therapist! What terrible advice she gave!” Lol. Yes, that would have previously been something we would have thought (and sometimes we still do).
We are realizing that she is a person, too, with her own wounds, her own pain to carry and confront, that she doesn’t know everything and cannot possibly always have the right answers for everything. That she, too, is a work in progress, as are we all.
But we are willing to learn from and with her. She is able to guide us really well through the labyrinth of our dissociated mind. And I appreciate that about her a whole lot. Her compassion towards all of us has been like a compass in our mind and heart that we can reach for whenever we’re confused about how to react to something happening within.
We’re learning so much. And it’s amazing! And the best thing is that there is STILL so much to learn! And with each step toward being kinder with ourselves, more compassionate in our answering of our own needs, the stronger we feel.
We’re starting to feel alive again. The numbing, too, had its purpose and it served us well through many traumatic instances throughout our life. I am actually wondering about that, as I can feel some parts/headmates wanting to shut down again, in case the boyfriend gets deported or worse things happen to him. And I am just observing right now. I am not sure yet, whether a shut down will be needed or whether we would be ready to embrace any pain that might come …
And I think it’s okay not to have an answer to that yet, and it is definitely a good thing to be aware of. So I am trying to hold this space for the people inside who feel the need to shut down and shut out all the anxiety and worry and real fear of the future, and I try to be there for them, letting them know that right now it is safe to feel, and it is safe to be alive, and we don’t need to numb ourselves right now. And I will try to be there for them, and I know I’m not the only one inside to do so, should things get very, very bad.
So we – guess what? – breathe and focus on the moment and on the feeling of safety, here in the country side, with our dogs sleeping soundly next to us and snoring (lol) … with hearing the breeze in the whispering of leaves outside.
We are safe.