Everyday life

I wonder if I need to just discuss everyday life in therapy, and leave parts aside for now. We spend most of the session talking about my life anyway. Could be Ron has better insights on that.

Again I make no small talk to start, and don’t ask Ron how he is. It’s easier, but also, I feel more disonnected. I just launch into my own story. I know he’s listening and stuff. I am kind of lacking the sense that anyone is there though. It’s as if I’m talking to myself. I’m simply using Ron as a sounding board.

We talk about an encounter I had with my parents. How when I went to pick up my son, my father made me a cup of tea while i was waiting. How he wouldn’t sit down with me and talk. As soon as he had the tea, he dashed off to do some task. Then he came back, sat down, then told me I should tell my mother I was there. Which I obediently went and did, and then spent time talking to her.

My father is usually quite social, but since my son has been living there, I feel like he won’t talk to me. It reminds me of the time when he froze me out when I was a child, and it really upsets me. It’s like there’s some huge thing he’s not saying, and he wants to get out of being alone with me for even a few minutes. He has this kind of blank inhuman look in his eyes it seems to me.

Then I talked to my mother, out on the porch. She told me how worried she is about my son, and I listen, and say how grateful I am that he can live with them. I don’t know what else to say – I don’t know how to help him.

Then I took my son to the local coffee shop. He won’t talk much at my parents’ house, so I always take him out. We have a good conversation. It’s new, that he wants to talk to me. He tells me he had a fight with my sister, and we talk about that.

I feel upset from seeing my father when I go home, and find I can’t sleep. Ron tries to figure out what goes wrong. Could I ask him to sit with me and talk, ask him how things are going with my son, for instance? I think about it. I guess I could have tried that. I feel defensive when I see my family – kind of on the lookout for badness. And I’d had in mind how I was trying to be more straightforward with them, as discussed in therapy.

We don’t get much further with it. Ron looks concerned about my son but has nothing to suggest either. Not that I expect him to. We’ve all tried of ways to help and come up with nothing.

I talk about how in my family, my father has always been in complete control. Everything that happens is done to please him. For instance, if there is a family dinner, it’s very important for everyone to do lots of work, help with dishes and cooking and so on, and my father kind of keeps track of who is doing what. My sister is more a part of this whole deal, and when she comes over, she starts gardening right away, as that is a huge obsession for him. No one goes over to sit and talk.

Mostly I don’t help much. I wish the meals could just be simpler, better planned, so there is not so much work. Their elaborate flower garden isn’t really my concern, IMO. I am tired, and I don’t want to go there to work. Plus, I don’t like feeling controlled, and needing to produce in order to satisfy my father. Dealing with the people is enough for me.

We also talk about the meeting with my boss. I say I have major anxiety about him, but that nothing has gone wrong. He is kind. We don’t have much contact anyway. I worry I was so depressed at the meeting, it would have effected him. Ron says how? I say just my energy, it was so low. Ron nods, yes, that can happen.

And that’s about it. Nothing earth shaking. Sometimes I wonder if I actually have parts. Maybe they’re ego states? Because I don’t have the other problems people with parts often have – self-harm, eating disorders, addictions, hospital admissions, suicide attempts. I don’t have any of those. Maybe I have ego states, which are giving me problems, but are not as serious as a dissociative disorder would be? Then also, it would make sense that Ron doesn’t treat parts the way you would for DID.

Anyway. Just trying to cope today. I’ve started doing metta practice instead of mindfulness meditation. I think it’s helping. It’s supposed to be good for trauma. With mindfulness meditation, I just seem to sink more into the pain of it, and it gets counter productive. Metta is more like an antidote. I’ve been reading about it. It’s supposed to feel good. Or kind of. Wishing ourselves well can also bring up the opposite emotions, that are already there. That’s normal though apparently. I’ve never heard it talked about like this before, and it’s interesting. I’m going to try and do fifteen minutes morning and night. I can surely use an antidote to self-hatred and pain.

The other good / interesting thing is I’ve got new coffee buddies at work. I struggle so much with feelings of isolation, but two different people reached out to me and suggested coffee, and so I’ve gone a few times with both, individually. It’s lovely to sit and listen to other people’s stories. One woman has issues with her boss. The other one is like me, doing her own project, which is building a computer monitoring system, so she told me all about that. She is frighteningly intelligent. In a good way.

I am hoping to slowly become less isolated. Metta practice is supposed to help you be more appealing to others also, making it easier to love and be loved. Hope so.

  1. I try to do both mindfulness and meta meditations. I also had a tendency to get overwhelmed by the mindfulness practice until someone suggested labeling each of the thoughts, feelings, images, whatever that go through your mind very basically and then letting it go. I don’t go into content, just a quick label, one or two words is best. For instance if my session the day before comes up, I think, “remembering yesterday with MB.” If I catch myself fussing about a problem, I think, “worrying”. It respects the fact that thoughts go in and out of my mind all of the time and I’m not trying to force me mind into being quiet, instead I’m giving it a chance to start to relax. With practice, during a session, I will go from thoughts zinging around at the beginning of a session to a point where they are coming at a much more relaxed pace, with moments of peace. Sometimes it feels like it helps to open up more space in my mind.

    I find meta to be really useful, as well, although sometimes it brings up too much resistance for me.

    I hope that it continues to help you! It’s funny that you brought this up because I have not been following through on my meditation practice lately, but I had done so this morning. 🙂

    • Ellen said:

      We are obviously cosmically connecting. 🙂 Hope so anyway.

      The labeling sounds really helpful. Great to hear how mindfulness is helping you relax in sessions. That would be wonderful. I am finding metta really helpful right now. I just feel so much turmoil, I can’t bear the mindfulness, though I can grit my teeth and bear it, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s interesting I find it so helpful right from the start, when according to this book, many people do not like it much at first. I think for me it’s like pouring water on thirsty plants, which is parts hungry for love and acceptance. They long for love so very much, and it’s hard to get that for them, but this way feels doable to me.

      Who knows – I get on meditation kicks, then lose interest. For now it’s helping. Any small nurturing steps are good.


  2. I think the treatment for ego states and DID is more or less the same.

    If you can’t take care of the parts after session and he can’t take help you with them either, then maybe it is best to leave it aside for now. But that is the work that is really helping.

    • Ellen said:

      I didn’t know that. I actually know little about ego states – I will look them up though.

      Yeah, I was thinking of telling him trauma stuff and parts stuff is off limits for a while, until I figure out what is going on. But as you say, that’s where the payoff lies. And actually, I’ve gotten over it, kind of, and am not doing too badly this weekend. I do feel as if I had a pain in my gut though, a phantom pain. But other than that, I’ve recovered.

      I obviously want to avoid triggering trauma when that is not going to benefit me, but is just horribly painful. I don’t just want that – I need that to be the case.

      Thank you Ashana.

      • I don’t know that much about ego states either. I have ego states. They act pretty much like people, but a professional would call them ego states. From what I can tell, it’s a continuum. The difference is only in degree.

        Take care.

        • Ellen said:

          I looked up ego states. It depends a bit on what you read, but it seems like ego states are used in a type of therapy – transactional analysis, and everybody has them. It’s a way of looking at a personality – child, adult, parent parts. It doesn’t seem to correlate much to repressed traumatic events.

          I know for sure that what I have, not everybody has. But, hey, this was a fast google search, nothing more. I’m sure there’s more to know on ego states.

          You don’t think you are DID Ashana? I’m surprised, because if anyone ever had the background to develop this, you seem to have.


          • I don’t think I do, mainly because I can usually get through the day and know almost everything that happened in it. The time I lose is at most minutes, so enough is accessible to me that I have a sense of continuity. Yes, I do have the background for it. I also had a lot of love and support that probably helped me to cope immensely.

            • Ellen said:

              That’s really great and fortunate. I never lose time either, which is why I believe I have DDNOS, which actually now has a different label. Losing time would just be a complete nightmare IMO.

              It’s all confusing to me, because I just don’t feel what I went through was enough to cause this disorder, compared to yourself and many others. But, whatever, I have to try and cope with what I ended up with.

              I’m so glad you had the love and support, and were able to draw up every drop of it to see you through those desperate circumstances.

            • I am always reminded that I had no idea about 9/10 of what was so very, very traumatic until about 3 or 4 years ago. The stuff I remembered was quite bad enough, but I just didn’t have a clue I was being trafficked, let alone trafficked by a serial killer who murdered at least 7 of my friends.

            • Ellen said:

              Amazing how our minds help us survive.

            • It persists. 🙂

            • I should add that I don’t know that all of the amnesia for trauma is deliberate or in order to help us survive. I just think we really can’t remember stuff that’s too overwhelming to think about.

  3. I can so relate to what you wrote and being dissconnected and dissociated and wondering if anyone knows what to do when I’m there but not really there and does anyone even care. I like your thoughts on ego states and hmmm, who knows. I’ve never heard of the metta practice and will check into that. Great about coffee buddies 😜💙

  4. Rachel said:

    There is a lot in here, in a good way. In a self-reflective and processing kind of way. For some reason, I balk at the idea of you setting aside talking about parts because Ron doesn’t seem able to deal with it. That seems to me that he isn’t meeting you where you are at, or understanding where you are at. I don’t know exactly, but I would be saddened to think of you dismissing parts that feel in need of attention. Perhaps there is another place to get the parts what they need, aside from Ron. That could be the case. And just because he might not be able to assist, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve assistance. If that makes sense.
    Glad you had some solo time with your son. It sounds like he appreciates seeing you. You dad sounds like a piece of work.
    Also nice about the new coffee buddies. Those sound like really positive connections, and perhaps having something like them to look forward to at work can help offset some of the anxiety about the boss.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, I definitely need to deal with parts somehow. Not sure how I’ll go forward. My father is something else. To outsiders, he can appear like a wonderful human being, but he’s not. Anyway.

      Coffee buddies are great. Hope to keep those connections going – one of them has mysteriously disappeared for the last week and a half. The boss is OK. I’ll bet he’s got his hands full trying to learn his new job.

      Thanks Rachel.

  5. On another note, maybe your father has become uncomfortable because you have become someone he can’t control. You don’t provide narcissistic supply either.

    • Ellen said:

      He’s never been able to control me much actually – it’s one reason he has been so negating. Right from childhood, I fought against his control. And lost, obviously, because he has the rest of the family controlled. Anyway. It’s one of the core components of my personality – I resist control as much as possible. Cheers.

      • It is likely the reason you are more intact than your siblings. (It sounds to me that you are.)

        • Ellen said:

          Could be – hope so. 🙂

  6. Cat said:

    I always feel really selfish if I don’t enquire after Paul’s wellbeing, although I do try not to ask because then I feel foolish for making pointless small talk, but I do relate to the “sounding board”

    Reading your interaction with your dad always reminds me of my own, that tenseness in the air, the discomfort in making eye contact… it’s horrible, but I am unsure about Ron’s suggestion about sitting down to talk… is that possible? Does Ron miss the point in this? That would probably be one of the most difficult things to do under the circumstances and history of the relationship/interaction. Even if you did pluck up the courage, is your dad someone who might respond? I doubt mine would.

    • Ellen said:

      Exactly – me too.

      Yeah, I’m not sure what Ron is saying in relation to my family. I’m supposed to ‘not stop myself from talking’. The thing is, I’m not that aware, especially in the moment, of what i’m stopping myself from saying. I’ve told him my dad wouldn’t respond well. He says the speaking up part is for my own benefit – that I’ll feel better about myself after, not so much to benefit our relationship, as that doesn’t seem likely. I’m not sure how to do it to be honest.

      Thanks Cat.

      • Cat said:

        I know exactly what you mean about not being aware when you’re actually in the moment of stress contact with your father. I doubt my dad would respond rudely but I am certain the interaction would be uncomfortable and could never make me feel better. I suspect you feel the same. I think Ron misses the focus of this one, sometimes there are no answers or resolutions, maybe it’s about just learning to accept it for what it is, which is enormously difficult, I know

        • Ellen said:

          Yes, the interaction would be uncomfortable. I’m not sure about this at all. My history with my family is maybe different from yours – I’ve avoided them mostly. They do not pursue me at all. They’re much more likely to starve me of attention than to intrude. It is all very distanced. So if I now try and initiate a little more honest conversation, it would be a big change, and I don’t have the fear that they would be intrusive. So I have accepted having this distant relationship up to this point – it’s not that difficult for me. I don’t expect anything of them.

          But then Ron thinks I’ll feel better in myself if I try to talk to them. And, I’m not sure. It is possible.

          It’s obviously a puzzle point for me! Thanks

          • Cat said:

            The history is different but the dynamics with dad as an adult is very similar. Maybe if you initiate conversation for your own benefit rather than to build a relationship, then I can appreciate why Ron might think this would help you

            • Ellen said:

              Yes. I don’t have hopes of any individual relationships getting better, because my family is like a system, they all reinforce each other. But if it would help me, it would make sense to try something a little different. Maybe.

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