Thursday December 04, 2008
Hello I am confused and need some advice. I have hit a wall and maybe writing to you will help me get through it. I have been seeing a counsellor for over a year and have made huge progress in terms of learning to protect myself, breaking damaging patterns with my family and starting to feel again. Most of my buried feelings and insights about my past come while I am sleeping. I have huge emotional dreams and wake still feeling the situations in the dream. I can then piece it together using the emotions and work out the truth. the past is so scary and painful, my buried feelings can only be viewed clearly through the lense of sleep. But even so these dreams are useful, because they have actually dissolved some of the wrong beliefs I had about myself. I recently dreamt I was being verbally bullied by a man who was a disliked acquaintance (not a real person), I had done nothing to deserve the attack, I was just walking down the street. I felt hurt and sad and played over in my dream different scenarios to defend myself; I could pretend I didn’t care, join forces with others and bully the man, physically attack him, make powerful friends and freeze him out of social situations. But none of these strategies were solutions to the real problem of my feeling really hurt unjustly. So I abandoned the strategies and woke up. I thought about the mans cruel eyes and snarling face, where had I seen them before? They belonged to countless people who have bullied me over the years and who I had to defend myself against. But then I realised and was shocked that the first person to look at me with hatred in their eyes like that, was my dad. I knew that I had problems about liking myself, but a big part of me was in denial about it. I am a bit of a performer and give an act of extrovert self confidence. But the dream was the truth. I believed I was wrong and bad, because why else would my own father hate me so much. I could see clearly where all my defences came from. It took a few days for the realisation to percolate through into my consciousness. But the result was like having a malignant growth I was carrying around in me removed. There is no doubting where these constant background nagging feelings that I am useless, came from, and that they were totally unjustified. I know because I dreamt it and I felt it, I was there again! Anyway about a week later (3 days ago) my dad had a heart attack, just a mild one, and I visited him in hospital. I haven’t seen much of him for 2 yrs, and I ignore his birthdays and family occasions. In the summer I looked at my medical records and found that I was born addicted to Methadone and before the age of 3 had 2 overdoses from drinking my parents medications which I got into, when they were out of it. My father knows that I know the truth and told my sister that uncovering this must be like reading a book that he read a long time ago. He is deeply ashamed about his behaviour, which I think made him reluctant to talk about the past or even see much of me (outside of large family gatherings) He was really nice, loving and gentle to me (more than he ever has been) and we discussed the past, I told him about my dream, he said ”I was a violent vicious animal”. And he touched my face gently and gazed into my eyes. It was all very strange. I almost felt disarmed and vulnerable. I have been very confused and have been drinking and smoking heavily since. Which is obviously about trying to obliterate feelings that threaten to overwhelm me. And tells me that Ive sill got some way to go yet. I think I don’t know where I am anymore. I was happy with my anger and my distance from him. I beleived I didn’t care about getting any love from him, I was past expecting blood from the stone. I had something to blame things on. and now I am in no mans land. Feeling like I should drop my own personal ”truth and reconciliation commission”. Where do you go from here, when your chief abuser puts his hands up and confesses all? I have become so used to being on my own and the status quo, that getting closer doesn’t feel comfortable. It leaves me with a sickly feeling of being overpowered. But at the same time holding on to my rage is not a long term life plan either. I guess this is not one you can really answer. But any advice would help. I just feel like im in unchartered waters. Thanks for reading HM
AM: You write: I was happy with my anger and my distance from him. Then he was nice and you drink a lot and smoke a lot, you feel confused and ask ME what to do. But your body clearly tells you to not succomb again to the old seductions and illusions. Am I right?