Touching My Own Void (final)15th January 2006

I realise I have always longed to be approved of, celebrated and be part of a loving family.  I have clung onto other families deluding myself I belonged, but on major days I was not invited, I had fantasised I belonged.  I have always found the world a painful place, the way I interpreted things in a way, but not everyone meant the things I thought they said and then I am told I am wrong and this just adds to my self loathing and actually it is how I feel. Always being wrong or feeling I am wrong never , never feeling loved, it is crap.

I have also to give up the fantasy about my mother and as my therapist says, it takes courage.  I do not have a mother, I have a woman who gave birth to me, but she does not mother me.  I now have a biological mother and I have been looking for a psychological mother my entire life.  The to will have to be seperate people and I have to stop going back to my mother expecting her to be able to mother me, she cannot and it damages me everytime.  I have to give up the fantasy that my mother can give me what I need if only I am good enough.  How can I be good enough for a woman who does not like themselves that much?  The venim that has come out of my mother’s mouth towards me has almost destroyed me and it is also a constant rejection as I constantly try to get her to love me.  I have now given that up too.  I have not ever been able to see it objectively, now I am learning.  if someone critises me, I am wrong, until now I have not ever been able to grab the concept that is is about them, that is why I have found the world so painful.  It started when I was so young it is not surprising.  I am now learning to find my voice and to be heard, not bollocked for every expression of emotion I had.  I said to my therapist that it feels like I am tumbling out of control, falling into the abyss and we both agreed that the rope had been cut.

However, she also said she thought it had been cut a long time ago, when my mother left when I was three, I have been in the void ever since, I think she is right.  I began to sob and my time was up, I looked at her and she said I have to go, thank goodness I was off to my first group session, it is all so much to take in, I felt like my heart was breaking, but it is a good breaking.  The fact that I had to leave her sesson straight away was really hard, I felt rejected all over again, no hug, no nothing just time up, somehow this was always a problem for me, having to leave and be alone with all that pain did something to me which felt really rejecting.

After I left my therapists I had a little time to pass before I went to my first group session, I sat in the car and gathered myself and drove to the meeting place.  I walked in and felt quite comfortable.  I sat down and one of the other members was there, I had obviously not met any of them before and we started to talk.  It felt odd to me because I was really interested in making polite conversaton i just wanted to be with me for a while.  It was not long before we were called to the room.  A nice light room and I sat by the window at the the far end of the room, it soon became the focal point as I was one of the new ones and they asked me to tell my story.  I was so grateful that there were therapists in the room, this was something I found very hard in recovery group meetings, I needed there to be supervision by a trained counsellor and here I was.

I began to look around the room and feel eternally grateful for what I had, a wonderful son, a car, money to pay the meter, a great home and I felt ready to take this leap.  I realised there and then how far I had come.  I told my story briefly of how I have been sober for 4 years and then started drinking again three years ago, actually it was almost four, and what I had not bargained for ws the shock of the people around the room.  They were scared and told me so.  How can you be 4 years sober and then drink again? I am struggling with each day.  I said that night became day for me and that black became white and a major crisis in my life took me back to the bottle and I have not stopped since……….I also said I am scared myself.

I was not prepared to tell them exactly what  had happened but I said that I thought I could cope with it and I could not.  I also said that I am so grateful that I have decided to get help again.  The meeting went on and we shared our experiences and as others did Ibecame more and more grateful, I have not lost my child, I am not brushing my teeth with vodka and I am not so physically ill that I can barely walk, all because of alcohol.  I am not feelling smug, I am feeling sick, humbled and I realised that this is serious, I want life.

As I left the room and got into my car I felt shell shocked.  I began to drive home and thought of all the times I had gone to recovery meetings all those years ago and how grateful I am to the handful of people who helped me, who stood by me and who really understood me when I did not understand myself, I was so shut down.


I drove along the country road with my music blaring out and thought, go get your future, it is over, the trauma is over, this is your story, your recovery and how you have been blessed, helped and how you have a duty to write the book and help yourself and other people.  The lack of funding for people who have nothing is a disgrace.  I realise this is why beginning to write about the time from 1996 makes so much sense.  I was not aware until then of  anything, and still struggle today but from then it is all retrospective.

I am grateful every day now for all of it.  As I peer through the shaft of light that is round the corner, will slowly get to the other side.  I am learning I let myself down and punished myself just like they did, I choose to learn to love myself as I am being loved and this is very exciting.

Touching My Own Void (cont-2)

The next day I went to my therapists and could barely wait to get through the door to tell her.  I had realised that I have to change, staying the same is too painful for me and really it is not an option.  I did another thing which was interesting, I decided to dress up, with a hat, which I love to wear.  As I put it on in the car, I realised I felt very uncomfotable and did not know why.  the it came to me ‘who the hell do you think you are, what do you think you look like?’ I know in the past I would have taken it off, but not today, I defiantly put it on and said ‘fuck you’ to the voices inside my head that kick into action the moment I try and look good. ‘Here she goes again, attention seeking, trying to look lovely, blah, blah, blah, blah’ and on they go, I call them the committee.  Is it any wonder I barely got out of bed? Should I breath in or out now, just so you fuckers stop critising me, the fact that I have the audacity to get up, breath in and out pisses them off, they begin the moment I become conscious, sometimes even before I have opened my eyes, they are in for attack………..So today, I choose to wear a hat and take a deep breath. T

I was nervous as I anticipated some judgement from my therapist, of course.  I then reminded myself that she celebrates me, I had to talk myself down from feeling so sick inside with nerves.  I rang her doorbell and she opened it, she looked lovely, as always.  Hair brushed, lovely clothes and make-up.  I sat down and looked at her and said ‘ I have to tell you this, you look lovely and I have dressed up today, I am expecting you to be horrible and I decided to risk it anyway’……her face lit upas she said I am so glad you did, you look lovely too, so we both look lovely I said, it is very uncomfortable for me at the moment.  It used to be you who looked lovely and I look like shit………you look lovely and so do I, how cool is that!  I realised three and then that whenever I have displayed my creative dress sense I had been critised, by my mother or my step-mother or my older sister and some other woman to be honest and it terrified me, but not anymore, I have become aware and it starts now.  It is ok, I am allowed to look lovely too and you are not going to shout at me, put me down, wow.

She then began to smile and I asked her what se was smiling at…’I am smiling as I am so enjoying watching you grow’. I really did not know what to do with that!  We went on to talk about the fact that I too can have lovely things.  I no longer have to be Cinderella.  It runs so deep, they put me down, got me out of the way, I lived away, banished to poverty and now I am on my way back up, I am so grateful.

Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Intensity Disorder…what’s worse? Week 4

I would like to start this week’s entry by thanking the people who have taken the time to contact me personally and share their experiences and to encourage me to keep going.  Thank you so much for your kindness and support, it helps me not feel so alone.

This week our lesson was Communicating………….when you are in a really chaotic place! Well, at the moment, this is not going to be possible for me, something else for the tool kit!  I have been really struggling with this course to be honest.  I find it very hard to be so detatched from my emotions to be logical about them. I also find it very hard that we are so rushed, there is little time for exploration of how we actually feel and that the facilitators are so target focused that we are basically ticking boxes to say how we feel, and barely have time to talk about it. This taps right back into the reason I am actually on the course in the first place…….my feelings not being heard and validated!  They do try, I have to give them that, but there are at least 5 out of 9 of us who really need some extra support.  Fortunately for me, my friend pays for my private therapist, without that I would be in a very, very different and very scary place.

I have challenged my Psychologist about this problem within this model of treatment for those with Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Intensity Disorder, neither descriptions are particularly palitable, only to be told that this provision is cheap and that the funding is not really available for therapists to support us whilst we are going through what can really only be described some days as a living hell.

Distancing, communicating and expression are not on my radar when it comes to me feeling like my whole world is falling apart, I just need a hug to be honest.  All this head stuff is really counterproductive in so many ways, when it is on its own. I spoke to someone on Friday who very beautifully put it that it is my little girl who is stuck and needs support, love and nurturing to come out….that is what they call my illness! When I share my pain and am dismissed, invalidated, because someone is rushed or doesn’t know how to help, I feel shut down and it is excruciatingly painful for me.

I had a really good example of how this effects my life and I have realised a lot from it…………this week I had arranged to meet a friend at 1pm……….she was still not at mine by 1.20pm and I was really in a bad state, I had to hold onto the sofa and was sweating so badly, I felt so totally disorientated for a good 20 minutes. The pain in my head was almost unbearable. I  eventually calmed down and called her and was pretty passive aggressive, which is not helpful.  When she arrived at 1.45 I said that I really understand that she has lots to do etc but please would she call me to let me know she is going to be late………….I got the most beautiful supportive response, ‘If that is important to you Penny I will do my very best, I know I am a bad time keeper etc etc!!!  This is the difference, someone who takes responsibility and who I matter to.  It was a huge risk for me, I was scared I would loose the relationship, that she would shout at me and tell me to shut up and what is my problem, she is here now……….totally invalidating my feelings and that would be it.  I had that my whole childhood.  My mother was always late and I would wait for her for hourse, sitting on the stair, no phone call nothing.  When she arrived I would say I have been waiting for you for so long and was really upset, the response………….I am here now, what’s your problem!  That is why I am so ill, terrified of speaking my truth and splitting off.

One thing I have learnt, it takes two people to heal and I am so grateful that I have that support around me today, because it has taken a long long time.

Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Intensity Disorder………….what’s worse? Week 2

It has taken me almost a week to process the information from the session on Tuesday.  We discussed Filters, which somehow put so much into context for me.  I have talked about it, thought about it, made a video talking about it and yet, the understanding still seems to come and go.  When it comes back, it feels like I have learnt it all over for the very first time.  In summary, filters are our view of the world, based on our childhood and earliest experiences, that is what the world is.  It seems to be that the level of negative experience in early childhood has a far more reaching impact on our lives than I first knew.

The last week has felt like a great big metal ball on a chain swing, rather like they use in demolition of buildings, has come along and smashed down a great big thick brick wall inside my head, from the inside out.  I am on the inside of the wall, in the corner wondering what the hell is going to happen next.  I feel more vulnerable than  I have been in a very very long time. I am having to put one foot very slowly in front of the other and my response to things is very very slow………………for the first time ever……….I just don’t know. I really do not know and it is scary and exciting all at once.  It feels like I have just woken up to be told that everything I have ever known is not at all as it is, that actually it is anything and that my view of the world is all it is, my view, and that where that has come from is why it is my view!

Really realising that all my reactions are down to childhood abandonment and very early levels of trauma is a huge amount to take in.  I am grateful for this opportunity to do the STEEPS programme,  and I am begining to see what the great teachers talk about when they say, change the way you think and you will change your life…………..!!

The video below is one I made on this subject, it really does take time to get to grips with all of this stuff