That’s Enough 

My first session back with A was good. It was better than I expected after three weeks of separation. Apparently, because I initiated the separation, it was easier to come back to. It was also nice that the very first thing that happened was a huge hug, followed by holding me at arm’s length going ‘look at your tan! I’m jealous’ – almost the way you would be embraced by a friend after a long separation. Completely unprompted, moments like that reaffirm she truly does care. 

We talked a lot about my trip. One thing that I haven’t really mentioned here, was although the trip was awesome, I struggled a lot with both memories of my family (we travelled there when I was young), dreaming about them every night, and grief. Sometimes knowing that I’m better off doesn’t do anything to change the sadness or grief when faced with what once was. 

And I cried. I kept crying. I rarely cry like that. Everytime A tried to encourage it or mentioned it was safe I would freeze and stop, but inevitably it would surface again. I lamented that it all came up on my honeymoon and she was like ‘whens the last time you had that much time and space to really feel?’

After I left, I realized part of the reason I freeze when someone realizes I am upset is I’m so afraid of hearing the words “that’s enough”. The few times I remember noticeably crying hysterically, after dealing with my brother, a parent would inevitably appear to hold me and soothe me. And I remember feeling secure in those moments. But then – even though I was not done feeling – there would be a “that’s enough. We’re done crying now” followed by instructions to go do the dishes or help clean up or whatever. These are fuzzy memories but the message is so clear to me – you can have emotions on our schedule, to a point we can handle.

After my session last week I was reflecting and wondering why it is so hard for me to allow myself to feel with A. I trust her, I’m more securely attached to her than I have been with anyone else in my life, she has never turned me away even when I’ve said things about being jealous of her children or played out old patterns by lying. She has never told me to leave or asked me to change. 

When I was meditating later, and nursing my emotions, and trying not to drink, the “that’s enough” memories came up. Memories of being held and comfortable and secure followed by abrupt “that’s enough crying, move on now”. I don’t know why I’m remembering this now or why I didn’t think of it before (and I’m starting to learn not to question what comes up in this process), but it makes sense. 

No wonder I have attachment issues. 

I’m afraid that showing my emotion comes with a finite amount of support. And when is A going to run out? When is she going to tell me “that’s enough, you can’t cry in therapy anymore”. When is she going to abruptly stop supporting me, and which emotion of mine is the one that she is going to shut down? 

When is she going to say ‘thats enough?’ 

That’s what I’m afraid of. That’s why I can’t cry the way I desperately need to cry. 

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11 thoughts on “That’s Enough 

  1. I have also worried/wondered when E will say, “Okay, that’s enough now.” In fact, last Monday when she was setting up to ask me about what I wanted to do, I thought she was about to say we should start meeting less often, and I was consciously preparing myself for that. And even though I was wrong, all week long I have hung on to that sense that it’s a precarious, temporary connection. She will get fed up at some point.

    As the oldest child, I don’t know if I was told exactly, “that’s enough now.” But I was told, “you’re the big girl, you need to help your mom,” or ” your mom needs you to be strong,” things like that.

    I have fantasies about resting my head on E’s knee while she runs her hand through my hair and says, “oh, there, there, go ahead and cry, you feel so sad, don’t you?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is uncanny. It’s almost like our sets of parents were raised the same way. My mum was particularly bad at this as I got older, and there still seems to be time limits on my grief or pain, according to her. I’ve learnt to take my own time and that I can cry, and I’m still working on accepting that there isn’t a time limit. X

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  3. I can see how confusing that would be as a kid, and even now. And wondering when A will be like them and tell you to stop. She won’t. She’s not like that. It’ll take time to see it, but she is safe and she can handle the depth of your emotions.

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  4. Oh my God PD I could have written this. I had the same situation – being held but then being told “that’s enough” or “I’m here but I only have ten minutes” and them getting up and leaving while I was still sobbing. It got to the point where even being held isn’t comforting because I’m anticipating the moment when the person will leave.
    I am so sorry that you went through this too. So, so sorry.
    Sending a hug ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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