The Boy won’t go home. He has evidently gotten permission to stay at my house until Saturday. A part of me wonders how do these things just happen to me? A part of me is dumb-founded at my passivity in the face of life sometimes, maybe especially here. I remember the day there was a miscommunication about vegetables and I ended up with four bundles of wilted ferns, because I just kind of didn’t care. It was like, “Well, what is going to happen if I go along with this?” The farmer got to go home, I guess, about a dollar richer. I gave the ferns to a friend, which might not have been such a great thing, because by the time I thought of what to do with them, they were looking even more pathetic. She probably threw them out. Anyway, nothing bad happened. I spent four times what I ought to have and wasted some vegetables. It was okay. I think there are times I am curious about life.
I feel really stressed about the whole thing, the whole matter of the Boy and whether I can cope with this presence in my house all week, and with all of the emotions it brings up. It’s different than C, and that’s interesting too. It’s different with C, because C I have this commitment to her. In her case, I would be thinking, “What effect will this have on her? Am I going to be able to cope? Because I can’t not cope. I absolutely have to be reliable (or at least that is my opinion). I can’t promise her things I can’t deliver. Everything I do for her must be thought through. I do think about what effect my responses are having on the Boy, and I am kind of trying to think things through because there is some of the same stuff going on, but I am playing it more by ear. Maybe just because I don’t know him that well and I have to play it by ear. I know he must have trauma of some kind, or he wouldn’t be in my house all week. He wouldn’t get a worried look on his face when I leave the house. He wouldn’t say, “But you’re coming back?”
Anyway, I am just trying to process this, what happened, how I ended up with a 12-year-old fourth grader in my house for a week and what I feel about it now. It’s really, really hard. Just the connection stuff, I imagine. Nothing goes through my head particularly, but all night long, I was afraid. My stomach was knotted up, and I couldn’t un-knot it. I did sleep, but not well. Then I woke up late, and there was no time for me to process anything before it was time for me to make pancakes for C and for the Boy. (It’s hardly fair not to make pancakes for him too.) So my head is just kind of a jumble now. No time to unravel anything. When I am afraid, I shut down emotions. That interferes with thinking. Emotions and thought work together, and if I don’t have proper emotions I can’t really think properly. I also can’t remember shit. Little details get lost, and it becomes very effortful just to get through the routine of the day. I can’t remember things, because emotions are connected to thinking and without them, stuff just doesn’t happen.
I have not felt exactly real in a while though. I feel very “not me.” I have been thinking the reason for this is that, when I am fearful, I adopt a self-image that has more to do with my parents and the past and with the person I needed to be for them, and it doesn’t at all match who I am now.
I have also been thinking that when my relationship with C developed, I really wasn’t operating at full capacity, feeling-wise. I am still not, but I am in a much better place. So with C I did try to understand what I was doing and why I was responding to her the way that I was, but I couldn’t quite do it. It was almost as though my whole mind were behind a veil. I couldn’t communicate inside myself about things or interpret what was going on in my mind or being communicated through my actions. The Boy’s reaction to me recalls that, because it’s the same process and also different in some ways, maybe just because I know.
I remember when I began to have that impulse to want to touch C. I didn’t know what it was. It’s simple enough, but I couldn’t understand it, and I think that was because of the shame. The shame that happens with disordered attachment isn’t the shame that might go with normal things a person might be ashamed of. It is a shame about existing. So it got hidden in a child part who wanted to sit in her lap. That was the impulse. But it was just a desire to touch, which is a part of being human and having relationships and feeling close. And it is like being a child and wanting to sit in a lap. It’s almost like that was the last thing I could remember about the desire to touch.
I think there was this other layer added on because she was feeling so many things that I didn’t realize she was feeling: I couldn’t interpret what she was feeling. However, I do think I was aware she was feeling something without realizing I knew that and without being able to understand what those feelings were. The day I felt most like touching her, she was the student selected to raise the flag, and after assembly she was attaching the rope to the flagpole. I walked by her, and had that very strong feeling of wanting to touch her. In retrospect, I realize she was aware of me. I was always looking at her, and she never looked back at me, so I never realized she was aware of my eyes on her or that she had a feeling about it. I walked by her, and she felt something very strongly that at the time I didn’t realize she felt. My brain was telling me what I felt in response to her feeling about me. It probably was something like what was in my mind: “I just want to cuddle in your arms.” It was something very intense, and also something very split off and not integrated, so that it might have taken the form of a child’s thoughts.
I was walking down to the neighbour’s house to find the messenger, who turned out not to be home. I realized as I was walking down that I was in Vulnerable Child mode, and that the expression on my face was probably very innocent and childlike and it might not be the expression I wanted to wear on the way to a student’s house. It made me realize that in times of stress I do split still. That is still happening to me, but then my awareness of it in that moment is a change.