It’s not about the emails

I saw A this morning. I explained the reaction I was having to this situation with my husband and my Mom. How incredibly triggering it has been for me. How difficult. 

I told A I felt like a child. I felt like I needed to protect my Mother. I read her the post from yesterday and she said I have incredible insight into my own situation. She said I am reacting in a childlike state – as if I’m the centre of the universe and their actions are all about me – but she also said that was okay. 

“And it makes sense. As children we believe we are the centre of the universe – it’s necessary, ifs how we make sense of things – as they relate to us. It’s why abused or neglected children believe they deserve it – adults around them misbehaved and they had no context. All you knew was taking care of the people around you – you were forced to grow up long before you were emotionally or developmentally ready to be an adult. So it makes sense you would react as a child to this. It makes sense you feel like it is so out of your control.”

Me. “It’s hard to be an adult at work when you feel like you’re six and simply want to throw a tantrum

Her. “It is. It fucking is hard.” (I love when she swears). 

It was in the middle of this session I realized that it isn’t about the emails themselves, it isn’t about the rules – it’s about the fact that if nobody is talking to me about it – it means she doesn’t need me anymore. 

My role, my job, was to protect my Mother, and now I am not needed. And I wonder how long I’ve tried to keep that need for me alive, despite disliking it. I need to feel needed by her – so much of my worth and identity is tied up in it. And it hit me today that the reason I am upset is because she isn’t involving me. She doesn’t need me. And my husband doesn’t need me. 
I don’t know where I fit in when I’m not refereeing – when I’m not needed.

A went “wow, what an insight. And I imagine it’s so difficult when so much of your worth is tied up in being needed. So much of who you believe you are.

Me. “It’s all I’m good at

Her. “I’m going to challenge that. I’ve seen evidence to the contrary.

A pause.

Me. “This touches into that inky black pool of grief, A. She doesn’t need me. I want to do all these things that I did before – apologize, soothe her, be there for her – and she doesn’t need me. My first instinct when this went down was to leave my husband and go back home. But she doesn’t need me. I’m not needed.”

Her. “It will, at some point, feel freeing. But right now it feels scary and unknown… it feels upsetting, I can see you trying to process this. You made an incredible insight today. It’s going to take time and that’s okay. A core part of what you believe about yourself has been challenged.

Me. “You know how people who are rescued want to return to where they were tormented – they feel more comfortable there? Or abused animals don’t want to leave the cages they were in? What we know is easier. I feel like the door has opened and I could go out, but why would I? Why would I leave what I know?”

We talked for a while longer – talked about our relationship and wound down. I had to go to work and it wasn’t the right time to dip into the inky black pool. We will pick things back up on Thursday. But today I did realizd it’s not about the emails… it’s about the fact that my Mom doesn’t need me and I don’t know how long it’s been since she did. But it challenges everything I have ever known about myself. It makes me grieve at all the time and energy and stress I took on when I didn’t have to – but I didn’t know that. I grew up believing one thing and now I’m discovering another. 

When I started the session I was a mess – emotionally all over the place. And eventually, I had my insight, and the emotions are now concentrated… like I solved a puzzle. They are there and tight and concentrated and it is painful and uncomfortable, but at least I understand them. The door to my mental cell has opened and the shackles are undone, but I’m not ready to leave. I’ll figure out how to leave, but not just yet. Not just yet.

But it’s not about the emails. It is about so much more than the emails.


15 thoughts on “It’s not about the emails

  1. This is some incredible insight, and I agree with A that it will serve you well, even if of course the changes and benefits aren’t automatic. Little by little, you are able to see more clearly how your childhood really was, and how the deficiencies brought you here, with your current challenges.
    Amazing work, PD. Hoping you can find moments of comfort even during this really difficult and scary time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rachel – it simply hit me when I was sitting with her. Sometimes I hate her silence, and sometimes it lets me really tune into an insight like that. The first few times we saw each other I actually emailed her and told her she wasn’t allowed to ask me to sit in silence anymore… I’m still puzzled as to how she got around that.

      I struggle to separate the current situation from the past ones, but I’m getting better. I also have no idea how this husband mom thing should be handled, should I be involved?

      The idea I’m not responsible for her emotional well being feels nuts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My first thought is that you need to be seen, in other ways than just being needed.
        Being in control = nothing bad happening, that one makes sense. It is hard to learn we can’t control everything.
        Does feeling seen always = being in control?
        Also, it seems like you feel like you don’t have power. Having control gives you power. So the question might be, how do we get you to see your own power, and see it consistently?

        Liked by 1 person

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