Confusion

tableI am very pissed off. Maybe rage is a better term. I wish certain people would die a slow and painful death while I watch them scream. Really, I understand murder now.

I don’t like this feeling. I am just surviving it. I’ve tried giving it space, meditating on it, dropping the story line. I’m still full of rage. I don’t want to be this hating angry person.

I did go to group. Kind of wish I hadn’t.

After my last post, I kind of fell off a cliff. I ended up feeling afraid all the time. I called Ron in the middle of the night, and the kid left him a panicked voice mail. (He turns his phone off at night, so it is OK to call.)

He never called back, but he replied to an email I’d sent the previous day. I saw him for an extra session Monday. That helped.

I figured out that in the second last group, when I walked out, I’d switched into a protector/defender part. That part exists to defend me when I’m under threat. She attacks. I tell Ron that there’s no point in trying to do therapy on a protector part, tell her to take people’s feelings into account etc….He doesn’t really buy it. I think what I need is for him to recognize that part is out, and to help me switch out of it. He keeps trying to do therapy with that part and it’s useless.

The Friday session after I walked out on group, I was still in the protector part. It was awful. Whenever that part is out, disaster ensues. So Ron was pretty angry….or withdrawn perhaps. He asked if I was trying to hurt him. I asked him if he felt hurt by me, and he said no. He asked if I thought M was not even human….Honestly, he asked me that.

The whole session, I had the strong urge to run. I was proud of myself I stayed. I knew we weren’t connecting on any level and just needed to get the hell out of there. But I used all my energy to stay. Running doesn’t do me any good.

By Monday, when I saw him for the emergency session, the protector part had gone away again. Different parts spoke with Ron – the kid part crying mightily. The kid part was so upset, she couldn’t talk much. The dark voice, I think. This was a week ago and things have faded. Still, I left feeling sad but not in a crisis anymore. I’ll take sadness over constant fear any day.

The next day, I felt rage, mostly at E and A. Rage burned like fire from the soles of my feet to my head. I wanted to tell E what a bitch she is, A what an asshole he is. If I’d had group that day, that’s what I would have done. I did not want to go and call people names.

By Thursday I’d calmed down somewhat. I still hated them, but was pretty sure I wasn’t going to go in namecalling.

Right at the start of group, M launched into how angry she was with me. I had made a thoughtless comment last session, which she took huge offence to. She’s talked little in group, but when she did, she talked a lot about her BPD diagnosis. So I’d said to her, ‘I thought borderlines were expressive and volatile.’

She talked about how I didn’t see her as a person, just as a label. Then she said I’d ostracized myself from the group, by being negative, nit picky, and some other thing which I forget.

I didn’t say much to this. It’s awful to have hurt someone by mistake. The thing is, this had been something I’d wondered about. Why she was so silent, rarely spoke, rarely reacted to anything.

So I just sat.

M had joined in with A and E every time I’d had a negative interaction with them. She’d always just say some little thing, that she agreed with the other person, and that I was negative for instance. I’d never told her that hurt me.

I wish I’d said it then. She stuck the knife in over and over. I wish I’d at least said it.

Ron said something about how I had to learn to take responsibility.

A says if it wasn’t for Ellen, wouldn’t you find the group did see you?

I say to Ron, it makes me angry when A singles me out as apart from the rest of the group like that.

Ron doesn’t say anything, but A drops that line and says something else to M. A bunch of people tell her how much they value her.

I tried to talk about how rejected and alone the last group had made me feel. No one responded to this. E said I needed to stop the bullshit, this was the last session, and she had things to say.

Maybe because I was so scared and so hurt, my feelings weren’t coming across.

I just remember Ron insisting that M needed to talk about all her feelings, but for me, he said nothing.

So E launched into this prepared bullshit speech, going around the circle saying what she liked about each person. It was a condescending speech she’d worked out ahead of time.

I say nothing for the rest of the group. Two of the members there don’t say anything against me, and say very little overall. The people that still accept me are the most quiet and least groupie like people.

I leave without a word. Going down the stairs, Ron passes me. Our eyes meet and the kid pops out and starts crying. ‘You know I tried Ron, right? You know I came and I stayed…’ I am crying hard.

Ron takes me to his office. It’s hard to get there because I can’t switch out of the kid, and the kid is too upset to walk almost. Ron asks if I am OK crossing the street. It takes a long time to climb the stairs to his office.

In his office, Ron and the kid talk for a while. I manage to switch out. I say a few words, but nothing about anger. I am completely confused. But I’ve switched back, so I can drive home OK.

It seems kid parts need so much attention, what I really think, or what the adult me really thinks, gets completely lost. We never do talk about the dynamics that go on in the group, or how I wasn’t allowed to express feelings, but M was fussed over like a drowning kitten.

Ron doesn’t see it like that.

I cannot remember much of my Friday session, because of the way it ended. Ron said he wanted to know what all parts of me were feeling. Which felt good, that he wants to know.

I didn’t say what I’ve said here. I explained how I hadn’t meant to insult M with my comment, that she’d talked about her diagnosis a lot, she seemed to have no problem with the label, but I could see it could be hurtful and I’d be more careful in future.

Ron said it was not about being careful, but about an attitude. Or something.

The thing is, I was in a protector part. That part has a bad attitude by definition. I don’t say this however. The discussion is kind of vague….I’m afraid of this whole topic. I feel I need Ron very much and I don’t want to alienate him any more.

Ron says I need to call on a mothering part of me to help me when I feel under threat. Because my own mother was too scared to protect me as a child, I don’t know how to do that.

Fair enough. How do I do that.

Towards the end of the session, I start to switch around so much I get completely confused. I tell Ron I don’t feel well. My face and feet start to tingle, and bang, I’m in a traumatic memory. Someone is assaulting me, I’m a tiny child, I choke and cry and I am terrified.

Ron moves forward to sit closer to me and tells me I’m OK, it’s a memory but I’m sitting in his office and I’m safe.

The memory recedes. I find Ron’s closeness threatening, so I ask him to move back, and he jumps back. I’ve never felt afraid of Ron before.

I catch my breath, trying to slow my breathing back down. I tap my feet and my legs to feel them. As soon as I can, I get up and leave.

I suppose the stress of my feelings brought on the flashback.

So everything is very confused. There’s never time to actually go into what happened in group, because parts and memories keep getting triggered. It’s frustrating.

It’s been difficult getting it together again.

Yesterday I did go and see a movie, Before Midnight. Julie Delpy is my hero. She plays a very very smart and creative woman, negotiating her relationship with her husband. They talk of masculinity, and she teases him by imitating a star struck dumb chick, telling him how wonderful and intelligent he is, and he preens playfully in response. It is too too funny.

I wish I was Julie. Of course she is a movie star and beautiful. But I wish I could articulate as she does. And of course people love her and listen when she speaks. Ah well. In the movies, battles are entertaining, and we wish we were in those battles. Not our own, sordid, crappy ones where we are inarticulate, can’t remember how we feel or what we think, where people mostly don’t care to listen, or just don’t care.

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29 comments
  1. Tilda said:

    I care to listen, and am so sorry you have had such a terrible time.
    At least you did what you intended, and went to the final group. So hard though.
    And I have to say, I loved your opening paragraph!
    Be gentle with your self.

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Tilda. I did follow through and I’m glad I did. Running is a habit but it doesn’t help.

      So you know this feeling too then? 😉 Your concern helped. take care

      • Tilda said:

        I don’t really know that feeling of rage, and probably relate more to running. I find it difficult to sustain anger long enough to get murderous thoughts, but it would probably help if I could ~ I just really liked seeing you express your anger for those horrible people!

        • Ellen said:

          Maybe if you tried group therapy, that would help with sustaining anger. He he. The feeling of needing to run is so strong sometimes, all I can do is resist it. I can’t do anything else at the same time. thank you

  2. I would guess the protector part just needs to feel safe again. You’re probably right that it won’t help to encourage her to see from someone else’s perspective. That isn’t her job. Someone else does that.

    I’m not surprised that your group went badly. BPDs tend to destroy group therapy. Most psychotherapist will not recommend group therapy other than groups specifically designed to address BPD issues for that reason. They are extremely manipulative in groups and play people against each other or grab all of the attention for themselves. Blaming you for the intensity of her feelings about a thoughtless comment is pretty typical BPD behavior. They don’t take much responsibility for their own emotional welfare.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about group or what happened in group.

    On anger. I know how you feel. I didn’t like feeling like an angry person either.

    • Ellen said:

      Exactly. Or the system would need to feel safe enough to withdraw her ‘services’. Her whole job is to attack and defend – it’s almost funny trying to teach her to be caring and sensitive. Like trying to teach Rambo to use his words.

      I don’t know much about BPD. I wouldn’t go so far as to say M destroyed the group. Your comment really helps though, because I hadn’t realized just how manipulative this lady is. She was the youngest person there by a decade, pretty, and played the hurt and damaged maiden to the hilt. She did manipulate, very quietly and effectively. No one has ever said an even slightly negative thing to her the entire two years. Personally, I was afraid it’d send her into an episode – cutting or another attempt. So I tiptoed around her. I think people with that condition do get others to tiptoe around them. These are new realizations for me.

      I actually think I have some borderline traits myself, but manipulation isn’t one of them – it’s quickly changing, intense feelings plus intense fears of abandonment.

      Ron is philosophically opposed to diagnosis and labels, so my comment really irked him as well.

      I know in a few days I’ll be able to stop obsessing about group and what went wrong. That time hasn’t yet come though! Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. laura said:

    hi Ellen,
    great job getting the confusion down in writing! I think you were likely doing a fine job in Group, and that’s why Ron didn’t say much to you there. I wonder if Group had been like this one all along, if he’d have wanted to pull the plug on it…
    Letting things come apart in his office I’m sure is the route to healing. Welcoming all the parts and the feelings, observing carefully.
    “I don’t want to be this angry person” is part of the story – and resisting the anger. Be that angry person for as long as it takes to pass.
    hang in there…

    • Ellen said:

      I wonder. Sometimes I think that everyone being ‘triggered’ like this is actually a good thing. It’s hard that it’s all focused on me though.

      Yeah, it’s good to sit with the feelings. I was worried I’d be abusive, but that didn’t happen. It’s a very uncomfortable state for me – rage.

      Thanks for your perspective.

  4. What an experience this has been. 😦 I have only been in groups that were specifically for sexual abuse/rape survivors, so the goals were very different. I’m sorry that it became so difficult to gain anything positive from it.

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Cat. I’m still evaluating. I’m sure I did learn things. It’s difficult to judge when I’m still in the emotional fall out from it all.

  5. Ruth said:

    Protective parts are powerful and use rage as their weapon…at least that was my experience. Interesting for me the protective part calmed way down when the needs of the other parts were addressed. My thoughts is examine your reaction to the group in relation to what does this say about your life? What characters in your past match up with behaviors that you reacted to? I noticed that the people I reacted strongest to reminded me of someone from my past and it was helpful to examine my reaction but not their behavior. Their behavior was just a trigger from something else. The rage you describe is what I call Lake Rage, the massive amount of emotion that was buried because I was raised in a home where anger was unacceptable behavior. When I found Lake Rage, I was terrified I would hurt someone, maybe even myself. My counselor helped me process all the anger and the hurt, fear, and frustration that fueled the rage. You are doing amazing work. Hugs to you, it is rocky but the passage is worth it. I am now on the other side of Lake Rage. You can do this just a bit at a time. I still get angry but I can usually articulate and express how I feel now…it took a while but it feels good to say what I mean and feel it.

    • Ellen said:

      Lake Rage – ha. That is the feeling. I kind of know that the group people aren’t the sole cause of my anger. But it sure feels as if they are. I’ll have to think about who they reminded me of – it’s not that clear. The one woman who reminded me a bit of my mother, was actually not one who was against me, and I don’t feel any rage towards her whatsoever. I guess it’s complicated. I think a lot of it was I triggered them, then I got enraged by how they treated me in response? Not sure if that’s even making sense. Anger was unacceptable at my house also. Thanks for the encouragement Ruth.

      • Ruth said:

        I agree you did trigger them but it was something in their behavior that triggered you…. consider the possibility of being blamed unjustly, jumping to conclusions and making accusations about you that are not what you meant or true, assuming that your response means something other than what you meant…any of these sound like possibilities….These are just pieces that I picked up from posts you have written. I could be wrong on all accounts but that is the advantage of you writing about it…you can go back and reread what you said when one of the other parts is in control and from their perspective. Hugs. Keep on going, your progress may feel slow but you are making progress.

        • Ellen said:

          Those possibilities all seem true Ruth. Thank you.

  6. Grace said:

    I’m sorry it was all so painful for you 😦 I’m glad it’s over though… still very brave of you to go.
    Take care xx

    • Ellen said:

      I think it was kind of brave also. thank you Grace. xox

  7. Cat said:

    Oh Ellen, my heart does go out to you. I haven’t been following your blog for long, but think it’s not such a bad thing that the group is over. Perhaps you will be able to work through some things with Ron in the coming weeks.

    I completely understand your rage. I can spend days ripping people apart in the confines of my own brain. It is mentally and physically exhausting, but so difficult to turn off.

    M was clearly projecting her inner anger onto you. I am at a loss why Ron wouldn’t pick this up. It always sounds like you are the scapegoat and come under fire too often. That’s why it is best it is over.

    What I hope you can take away from all this is the fact you did not run. That is a huge achievement and one-step closer in the right direction.

    • Ellen said:

      I’m glad it’s over, but wish it hadn’t ended on such a sour note. I think we could perhaps have worked things through. These scapegoat situations can calm down again, once I’m aware of the problem, but there was just no time. But I won’t lie to you – I’m relieved it’s over.

      Ron is extremely attached to M, that’s always been very clear. It actually really hurts me that he actually agreed with her and thought I meant that M was ‘inhuman’ because I used that label. That’s just bizarre. I care a lot about what Ron thinks and that really hurts.

      I do take pride in the fact that I faced them down. Thank you. 🙂

  8. catherine said:

    ouch. ouch, ouch, ouch. so sorry it has been so painful. i also have borderline traits, but am not BPD. i just go into emotional overwhelm very quickly and have a hard time regulation my emotions. i’ve just started a DBT group specifically for emotions, i’ll let you know how it goes. i’m a big believer in multiple approaches/skills… still seeing sharon and doing that traditional psychotherapy work, but also doing some very practical stuff, too. are you taking many photos? maybe if the weather isn’t too hot we can go for iced tea/photos in the park one day next week?

    • catherine said:

      *regulation. gah. too hot to type.

    • Ellen said:

      Painful is the word. Searing pain. That is the borderline trait I have also – overwhelming emotions which change fairly quickly. Plus severe fear of abandonment. I worked my way through a DBT workbook one time with a T I saw for a few months. I think a group would be better – it’s hard to put things into place all by yourself. I think I could go for an educational / supportive type group myself right about now.

      Yep, still taking some fotos. The park idea sounds good. Either an evening when I’m working from home, or on the weekend. Thanks Catherine

  9. Gel said:

    Hi Ellen,
    Wow, that all sounds painful and disappointing to have your group end that way. I don’t have anything helpful to add. I do resonate with what Ruth wrote. I too have noticed that when I have an big reaction to other people it seems that it’s touching something painful and unresolved from the past even though it doesn’t feel that way in the heat of the moment. Maybe as you get further from this somethings will emerge and make more sense.

    What Ruth wrote, that it’s “helpful to examine my reaction but not their behavior”….clicked for me. I can focus on someone elses behavior that wronged me and miss what I’ve done that contributed to the “problem”. It may be true that how they behaved was wrong or hurtful, and I have a right to protect myself, but sometimes I stay focused on that instead of looking at my side and so I’ve often shut people out with a feeling of righteousness but then end up alone.

    Right now I’m confused about anger and rage….I’m at a stage where I feeling my anger more than I used to but most of the time when I let it out it feels like an awful impact. And when I’m around others who express anger it’s frightening and often it seems like anger expressed aims to inflict pain. Yet you’re not suppose to repress anger either. My best recourse has been to take it else where…express it but not towards the situation where it rises. That is helpful but cumbersome. And it hasn’t helped me in the heat of the moment when the anger rises. Maybe it’s a stage I’m going through and later it will make more sense. It does seem to me that when I’m angry I don’t think clearly anyway.

    Oh well thanks for listening.

    It does sound like there is more strength in your writing lately….standing up for yourself. You are now beyond the group…it’s a new phase. I hope your one on one therapy with R gets better now.

    • Ellen said:

      Hi Gel,
      Well, if you’re in a group and the majority of them are expressing bad feelings and anger only towards you – it’s enough to make me angry even without triggers. However, murderous rage is likely a result of triggers, it’s true. It’s true I don’t really see what I did to cause this. Probably Ron will tell me, and then I’ll get really mad at him.

      The way I see it, anger is a signal that something is wrong, something is hurting you, and you need to figure out what it is and take action if needed. Ideally, you’d be able to say it right there as it comes up. However, if it’s grown and is full of repressed anger from the past, it becomes out of proportion to the cause, and expressing it will cause damage you don’t want. I think expressing anger appropriate to the situation is ideal and honest.

      I’m glad you’re seeing some strength. I feel like crap but as you say, distance will help me. Take care.

  10. Casey said:

    I read your blog, but don’t usually post. I can relate to your anger and to your rage. I commend your efforts at trying to gain healing for yourself. I think your group sessions were incredibly harmful. To me, it always seemed like their method creates more trauma. It’s like being thrown in with the wolves. Yes, it does bring up your protective parts so they can be visible, but then you are left to deal with these largely on your own. And it seems like group therapy is meant to break you to fit into society better.

    Personally, I think it’s cruel.

    You need a different approach towards integration, a more compassionate approach. One teaches you how to hold your deep pain with tenderness.

    Though I’ve been in a couple of different kinds of therapy, most of my healing has been through reading and researching on my own, and listening to different therapeutic approaches on audiobook format. Therapy is just because I really don’t have friends right now, so I am going to therapy to have someone to bounce MY ideas against (I’ve been careful to choose therapists that are more client-centered and open to learning WITH me, not feeding me their own single-minded approach).

    I have listened to a lot audiobooks lately. I like Jungian psychotherapists Clarissa Pinkola Estes a lot. She uses myth and storytelling. Three of my favorites are The Red Shoes: On Torment and the Recovery of the Soul and Warming the Stone Child: Myths and Stories of Abandonment and the Unmothered Child, as well as her Women Who Run with the Wolves. For me, I love the imagery contained in these myths and stories. It appeals to me a great deal, perhaps because I am a very Nature-oriented person anyway. Your local library might have these audiobooks that you can check out. The Women Who Runs with the Wolves is inexpensive to download as an mp3 on Amazon ($1.78 for the mp3 format).

    Another approach I like as well is Inner Bonding

    http://www.innerbonding.com/page2.php

    She has a lot of free resources you can print out, and sometimes some free downloads. But you can learn how to develop your loving inner adult to care for your wounded parts. And, ultimately, you’ll connect with a source of Higher guidance (it may be “God” or another spirit-being, or just a sense of connection with the Universe – whatever you can identify with).

    If you go under the Learning Center tab and click on the Free 7 Day Course, you can download a pdf that describes in detail the process of inner bonding.

    And, though I haven’t tried it this approach, I know of an online friend who had severe DID (had 77 identified parts) and found integration through shamanic healing (you can check local health food stores to see if they know of anyone in your area that does that). For many, that approach might be too “out there in left field”, but if you think about it…there are parts of us really do respond well to deeply spiritual/mystical approaches, because it touches places in us that traditional psychotherapy approaches just can’t.

    I’ve also really liked Tara Brach’s Meditations for Emotional Healing as well as Jack Kornfield’s Guided Meditations for Difficult Times. These are very gentle, compassionate approaches to handling our suffering. And yes, if you want to heal, you have to face the pain you have been carrying with you all these years. But you can’t do it without strengthening a part of you that can do what no one else can do for you – give you the tender mothering you need through it. Through imagination and visualization, you’ll be able to strengthen that part. You just need a way to get to that point.

    You can try any of these, or none of these. I am just offering some very different approaches that might appeal to you. I don’t know. See if your library carries any of these titles. They might and you can listen to them for free. I wish I had the money to buy a whole bunch of them and give them away to people that need the kind of deep compassion and trauma healing that I was looking for but not finding with traditional therapeutic approaches.

    I’m still in the process of healing, but I feel more capable of holding my own pain than I ever was. I’m able to be the mother to my wounded inner child that she needs. I’m developing a deeper self acceptance for all of my emotions – even the really dark ones – the almost murderous rage I sometimes felt – but through these practices, I find that I don’t have as much rage as I tend to the pain I am in. And I’m able to handle the tears when they come by myself, and they pass through me more quickly and are not followed by suicidal thoughts like I used to when I was just buried in pain that seemed to have no end. It does have an end. And I can lovingly give myself the care I need after the grieving.

    I recommend the audiobooks more than reading, because of listening to these stories and meditations are so much more powerful. I know Jack Kornfield’s voice is so, so comforting and soothing. It’s not just what he says, but how he says it that has so much of an impact.

    You can couple these audiobooks with physical modalities, too – like yoga.

    Anyway, I wish you all the best on your journey. Don’t give up on yourself. Keep searching for healing. Keep looking for the ones that feel right to you, not that helps you conform to others…

    Casey

    • Ellen said:

      Hi Casey,
      Nice to see you on my blog. I don’t agree that group is meant to make you fit into society better actually. Maybe a skills training group would do that. This kind is supposed to help you work through your issues. Anyhow. Not sure it did that.

      I like your approach, and I’m amazed you can do so much on your own. A peaceful, tender and compassionate attitude are great things. You’re reminding me that there are other resources out there for sure. I actually have the Jack Kornfield CDs you mention. I really like one of the grounding meditations. I had difficulty with the forgiveness, loving kindness ones. One problem was I had difficulty thinking of a person I love who loves me….I just don’t have that. I’ve read a book by Tara Brach also. What she says makes sense at the time and then I forget. But it’s a good idea to download some meditations.

      I do believe in a type of Buddhist philosophy, though I don’t talk about it much. Sitting with pain, dropping the story line, accepting myself with compassion. I have to admit I’ve never considered shamanic healing!

      I think for me it’s necessary to heal in the context of a relationship. My therapist is nothing like a friend actually, and is not a substitute friend really.

      I am disappointed with group, but not totally sure I’m sad I tried it.

      Thanks for sharing some of your own story, and for all the suggestions. I will look into those links. I appreciate your perspective very much. Take care

      • Casey said:

        Good morning Ellen,

        Perhaps the intention of your group therapy is not to make you fit into society better. I’m glad if you did find some benefit from it. In mindfulness, every experience can be used for our practice. I know I have PTSD, not just from childhood, but by being married to someone who had a long time binge drinking problem.

        I know I have a deep need to feel safe before I can explore my issues because it turns up so much anger, which covers so much deep soul pain. I would hesitate using group therapy, unless it was with a uniform group – all PTSD survivors. I lived with two narcissistic persons (my mother and oldest sister) and someone who exhibited a borderline personality (my younger sister) and I can pick these same behaviors anywhere. I would definitely be hostile, at least on the inside. It’s in my benefit to steer clear of those types of personalities until I have more of my own solid ground to work from.

        I agree that it helps to heal in the context of a relationship. But don’t exclude the most important relationship there is – the one you have with your self… in all its manifestations.

        I have relationships all around me that constantly trigger me – my own highly sensitive and intense daughters, my husband with his own dysfunctional background and coping strategies, my family of origin that I try to have some kind of relationship with, if only to provide my daughters with a sense of where they come from. Even my neighbor’s have triggered stuff in me, as their kids and my kids clashed, the mama bear came up in me.

        I want to assure you in my own ongoing recovery, I got worse before I got better, though (and I still backslide from time to time). Honestly, the part of me that carried all my rage was very, very destructive. As therapy turned up some stuff, I acted out in all sorts of harmful ways, and acted-in too, in between sessions. I had to ask one of my therapists – a former opera singer turned humanistic psychologist – if she was certain I was not borderline, even a so called “high functioning” one. She assured me that no, I wasn’t. That what I was experiencing was complex-PTSD triggered behavior.

        Still, labeling the behavior itself doesn’t really matter, in my opinion. I still bought books on my own about people’s experiences with borderline, bipolar, and dissociative identity disorders. I wanted to know I wasn’t alone in dealing with this stuff. Since people aren’t in the habit of talking openly about their struggles in real life (which I think would go SUCH a long way towards helping each other feel normal instead of crazy) and they hide behind masks. Reading about the experiences of others put my own experience in perspective and more importantly, how they found solutions (or didn’t).

        And the truth is, as a result of my research, I have more compassion for those who struggle with bipolar, with borderline and DID. I stayed away from judgmental literature and turned toward compassionate ones. Kay Redfield Jamison for bipolar, Marsha Linehan for Borderline Personality Disorder (both who had the disorders they were studying), RD Laing for schizophrenia, Thomas Szasz, who has said one of the most amazing things:

        “Only after we abandon the pretence that mind is brain and that mental disease is brain disease can we begin the honest study of human behaviour and the means people use to help themselves and others cope with the demands of living.”

        And the best part of all, many, many of these compassionate psychologists do use, or would use had they known about it, mindfulness and loving kindness practice.

        There has been rapid change since the industrial revolution. We humans have been expected to adapt to every single one of them whether we want to or not, whether they are truly good for us, or not. But many of these changes and demands aren’t beneficial to humans or the planet. And if we are 1) sensitive and 2) not lying to ourselves or numbing ourselves out like most people do, we find ourselves in really deep pain.

        We all have our issues from childhood (some people have mild ones, some people have severe ones), but so few are actually turning to the very hard task of self-reflection and healing. Technology and substances are readily available to numb and avoid the deep insecurities we have of not being good enough or loveable enough. And most people who think they know how to love, really don’t. They think they do, they pride themselves on it, but as long as they both remain unconscious to the myriad subtle ways they try to control each other, it isn’t love, it’s possession.

        I’m glad you have some of those resources already. I’d encourage you to keep exploring that area if it appeals to you. It will help you recognize what love really is. And what reality really is, too.

        And even though I’ve been in active recovery for about four years, I’ve heard it can take a very, very long time. But there are newer methods to speed up the process (some feel EMDR works for them, others feel body modalities like somato-emotional release (an advanced cranio-sacral therapy) or myofascial release. There are many, many trauma therapy professionals who believe our emotional trauma becomes trapped in our bodies. These modalities help and all of them are noninvasive and gentle.

        I research a lot into the field of neuroscience and trauma recovery because for me, talk therapy doesn’t work so well. It never really has. I’ve had to take matters into my own hands and find out for myself what’s out there.

        About the Buddhism (or any kind of Eastern spirituality). It is hard for us Westerners because we’ve been conditioned to trust Western science and religion.

        It’s normal that the things that come up while exploring some spiritual teachings might create inner conflict with one or more of our parts (and it’s okay to set the material aside for another day). I got really pissed off at Eckhart Tolle (well, not him, per se) for a while because I thought he was just being rude and arrogant and I think I through the cd box across the room. But I returned found it cleaning one day and I decided to try it again after I understood more about myself and Eastern spirituality and my ego was loosening it’s grip on me. I was much more open to what he was saying and not taking everything personally (something I used to do a great deal).

        I can understand the pang(s) of sorrow you might be feeling if its difficult to find someone outside yourself you love who also loves you.

        But I can tell you this: There is no one outside yourself who will love you as much as you need to be loved. There is no one up for the challenge of re-parenting and providing the deep acceptance and tenderness you need. And if there was, you’d at first be greatly relieved, then greatly indebted to that person, then perhaps become even addicted to that person. And if that person leaves, or dies, then you may become extremely bereft and maybe even worse off than if you didn’t have that person.

        The secret is this: The one you love that loves you unconditionally and for the rest of your life is already here. You CAN cultivate a loving Adult inside. She is inside you, waiting to be ‘born’ in a sense, though perhaps she’s always been with you watching over you. You can get what you need from that loving Adult. Even though you may not recognize it, your parts love you, and very much. Everything they do, from indulging in any mildly unhealthful or majorly self-destructive behavior that feels good on the surface to stepping in to protect you at the first sign of being threatened happens because they don’t want you to feel any more pain from abuse or neglect.

        And if you are not in a relationship now, that is great because the work you are doing now will put you in a great position to be able to love authentically and recognize authentic love when the time is right. You won’t give yourself up for love. You won’t abandon yourself if faced with the ‘red flags’ in potential partner that you should steer clear of because you will learn to recognize the subtle forms of control and abuse and learn to pass on it. You’ll be making choices to lovingly share yourself with someone who won’t hurt you. And you’ll share from an abundance of your own self love, not from emptiness which many, many people do (and don’t even know it!).

        Ellen, I have confidence in you. I know you can find your way, albeit stumbling at times and going down blind alleys that you have to back out of again. If you listen deeply to yourself, learn to cultivate self-trust, and believe in your own intuition, you’ll know how ask yourself what it really takes to be loving towards yourself and find the answers and to act in ways that are in your own Highest Good all the time. I know this because we ALL have this capacity. We just were taught not to trust in our own experiences.

        What a wonderful adventure awaits you. 🙂

        All the best,

        Casey

        • Ellen said:

          Thank you Casey. That’s such a lot of distilled wisdom. I liked Kay Redfield Jamison’s book as she’s such a good writer. I like reading about other’s struggles with mental health, especially if they’re good writers. William Styron’s memoir comes to mind too. I haven’t read the Linehan book. Have you read A Shining Affliction? That’s also by a psychologist who struggled with DID/ dissociation – a favorite book of mine. I find this all interesting.

          I’m definitely taking your thoughts on board. Thanks for writing so thoughtfully and sharing your story too.

      • Casey said:

        And also…forgiveness will come when you are ready to forgive. You don’t start with forgiving others before you can feel love and healing in yourself. It is something that cannot be forced, but it will come naturally as a result of your own personal growth.

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