Hit Pause, This Feels Wrong

I talked to my therapist today about the struggle around intimacy I’ve felt in my relationship. I told her how I’m really not angry I just feel a bit lost and miss the feeling of connection on that level. I immediately burst into the tears that were just barely contained this morning.

She summed it up perfectly by noting that she imagined, given all the things she knows about from the the years we’ve been working together, that I must be feeling abandoned. Part of it is the newness of the relationship, we’re still fitting together so withdrawal feels very big and scary. Once it was stated that way I could see how it certainly triggers old programming — the numerous times in childhood and into adulthood I’d become attached to someone they would either change & hurt me or we’d move away & I would lose that connection. It feels so big that it is very hard not to feel like it is my fault regardless of being assured it isn’t.

What I’m also finding really difficult is that being reassured, reminding myself of my accomplishments, sometimes doesn’t make me feel better. In the rush of relief there is also a flood of absolute grief and the shaky realization of just how much shame, guilt is in there. CK made a point this morning to remind me that the distance we feel right now isn’t anything I’ve done and I felt tears heat up my eyes. Same as when AM makes sure I know he is OK, that he isn’t angry with me. I’m just shaking inside with relief and the realization that I’d fallen back into preparing to be punished. Yes, it is so good and helpful to hear these assurances from my loved ones, but it also seems to expose a raw hurt that I’m not entirely sure what to do with.

My therapist gave additional suggestions to my idea that I should distrust my first emotional response. She said I should just hit pause in those moments so I can really check in. She also thinks that in that pause I need to remind myself of my accomplishments, how those things are true and whatever rush of anxiety or fear I’m experiencing is based in the bad information I was given as an impressionable child. AM commented that I can also remind myself how I’d felt afraid in the past and needn’t have been.

I finally voiced the anger I was feeling. I resent that the rest of my life will be filled with moments where I have to question myself, rein in the emotional response, and correct it. Like having to do some chore, vacuuming, at unexpected moments, for the rest of my life. Yes, with practice it will become easier, but it will always be there and it is so damn unfair. In these feelings I hear my 11 year-old voice, sobbing out the words, “This is so unfair!” to an angry mother who refused to hear any other viewpoint, would not hear any words I spoke.

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