I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes and on the pillow. It seems my body continues to release in my sleep what I can’t find during the day.
That centre part of me is constantly present, aching, like a wound that appears closed over but is infected inside. It throbs and won’t be ignored.
Every email I have had from A has come with a flurry of insults from inside my own head. Mostly self-criticism, but also intense criticism of her. I was doing laundry yesterday and actually speaking out loud to it, going “I get that you’re mad and hurting. I get that you are upset about something but you’re not winning. You are not going to push A away. And you are not going to convince me that self harm and alcohol are the answer. It’s okay that you’re mad.”
And so I thought, maybe if I write to it. Maybe if I write to it it will quiet or be subdued because I get married in 6 days and all I can do right now is think about this ache and cry in my sleep. I am sad and my fiancé is concerned and this isn’t how I want to be feeling right now.
Dear inner me/critical voice/small angry child/shame/a very loud part of me making life pretty hard right now,
Hi. I am acknowledging you. You are hurting and lashing out. Things have changed – and I know that feels scary, I know that you are terrified. I know that every time in our life many years ago that we chose to trust – it backfired.
I know we haven’t really trusted since.
I’ve realized we don’t even trust fiancé the way we chose to trust A last week and I’m so sorry that there wasn’t some better way to prepare you for that trust. I didn’t even know I was going to trust her in that moment.
Trusting her and letting her love us goes against everything you stand for. It goes against everything that kept us safe. And I need to tell you that I love you. I love you for keeping us safe and that will never change. My love for you will never change. This trust doesn’t replace you. It doesn’t make you irrelevant. It gives you a rest you sorely need, so we can learn what proper cues should set you off. You’ve been working overtime for 28 years, rest. You are not going to have to go away – we need to change the scope of your alarm system.
You got us through high school and university with straight A’s. You got us safely through living at home. You got us out of the house at 18. You got us good jobs and help handling money. You found us fiancé and eventually, learned how to trust him as much as you could.
Do you remember that? Do you remember hating him? Throwing laptops and books and glass picture frames and being so afraid of letting someone love us for who we are. We are not bad or broken or all of those things you think we are. His love proves that. He is still here. And I know we haven’t forgiven ourselves for a lot but he doesn’t hate us. But he forgives us. And he isn’t going anywhere. And that’s because eventually you let him in. Yes it’s hard sometimes but it’s been good and you’ve quieted down. It helps that he is stubborn. And when that quality of his infuriates me in every day life I remember how he was the first person to stubbornly love us even when we didn’t want love or our actions implied we didn’t deserve love. Because we do. Everyone does. You do.
A is stubborn too. I know we are about to try to push her away but I believe she won’t go. You rebel at that fact because everyone else left. And our parents don’t know us really and never sat with us through grief and loss and anger.
This is a different kind of love, an attachment kind of love. I know that you are afraid of it, afraid of A. And I know what happened last Wednesday where we let her see us as we broke down crying and unable to get air – I know that was very scary for you and that it upset you.
And that’s okay. You can be upset. I welcome you and I honour you because you got us here. You were so critical to our survival – and I thank you. And you can throw as many fits as you want about this. And I will listen.
But let me tell you two things that I won’t do. I will not self harm. And I will not stop talking to A.
So I will acknowledge you and give you room and I will be sad with you and I will listen to your rants about how horrible we are and that this is the worst idea. You need your time in the spotlight too.
But we are doing this. And we are doing it with A. And we are doing it as healthily as we can. So you tell me what you need. And I will witness you and your pain and honour how far you’ve gotten us.
It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.
I love you.