Ruthie grows up

Ruthie grew up. After the temper tantrum yesterday, the baby talk disappeared. Not entirely. She had two ways of thinking in her head, baby talk and normal language, and she kept choosing the latter.

“Am I still Ruthie?” she asked me.

“Do you feel like Ruthie?”

She thought so. She wondered if she had blended with someone. “Does it feel that way?” No, she just felt different inside.

She felt worried I wouldn’t take care of her anymore if she grew up. I had to reassure her. I will always take care of you.

“You’ll still help me find my teddy bear when I lose it?”

“Of course, I will.”

Of all the parts, I feel the most protective of Ruthie. I wonder sometimes what will happen with this when it registers more deeply that this is me, that I am being protective of myself. I can’t adopt a grit-your-teeth-and-get-through-it approach to anything anymore, because Ruthie is there, and I can’t do that do that to her. How could I?

What will it be like when I can’t do that to myself?

Ruthie still regresses if something frightens her. She feels scared, and the baby talk comes back. It’s not a stable change. It’s sort of both here and there, still mixed and waiting to solidify into something.

Anyway, it was an interesting day.

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3 thoughts on “Ruthie grows up

  1. Cat's Meow April 15, 2015 / 10:27 am

    It’s funny the ways that our minds find to deal with things, isn’t it? You are ready to start to deal with some of the most vulnerable and needy aspects of yourself, so Ruthie is finally able to show up. But even though you intellectually know that they are your own needs and vulnerabilities, you cannot yet Know them as yours.

    My personal example today was realizing that even though I am still terrified of exerting my personal power to help myself in an open way (trying to talk about it just turned me into a shaking mess to my astonishment), I have been acting in ways that protected myself from my father since I was in college. I just had to pretend to everyone (including myself) that they had nothing to do with protecting myself from him. I can act on my behalf, as long as my brain finds a way to hide from me that I am doing so. Actually, I am better about knowing that I’m acting now, I just have to hide any power from other people, but for many years I couldn’t know why I was doing what I was doing.

    Resourceful things bent on getting us to survive, aren’t they? Even if some of the adaptations go badly awry now.

    • Ashana M April 15, 2015 / 10:48 am

      I think Ruthie showed up because I didn’t have 50 other issues to contend with. Separation anxiety, which was so much of things, was way down on the list of priorities of things to deal with, but still so difficult.

      It’s interesting to have things show up in parts, because it’s like this fossil. I know exactly how things were for me when I was very little because I have this talking, walking, breathing version of myself at that age. It makes me immensely more compassionate with myself.

      One thing is that I get the same feelings and thoughts as she does, jut not on the same occasions–there is not a clear-cut, “this is a Ruthie feeling” or “this is an Ash feeling,” but they get processed and expressed in a different way depending on the part, so it’s not a simple matter of not being able to know that I feel those things or have those needs. I got the separation anxiety too. But it feels different when I get it, or when Charlie gets it, than when Ruthie gets it. The part is more the lens rather than the feeling or the thought itself. The same experiences seem to need to work its way through a few lenses before there’s real resolution.

      The other thing is that I’m really aware now that someone needs to be calm and able to act helpfully. It need not be me, but someone has to.

      Ruthie pops out when I’m feeling a lot of distress, especially physical distress, so when I was feeling really sick, I started to realize it was easier just to say, “I’m too sick to get the medicine. Can you help mommy take our medicine?” Oh, of course she could do that. But someone has to have it together enough to keep acting, as if the wall has to be there to keep the feelings from getting overwhelming, but you can stand on any side of the wall.

      It makes sense what you say about your dad. Knowing you were protecting yourself would have activated fear, which would have paralyzed you. So, yes, you can protect yourself as long as you don’t get so scared you are paralyzed. Keeping yourself from knowing what you are doing short circuits the fear.

    • Ashana M April 15, 2015 / 11:38 am

      This is probably worth its own post, but I can see now why separation anxiety needed to be split off: It would have been dangerous for me to seek out my own mother for support and comfort most of the time. When it was really necessary to seek out adult help, I would have needed to not feel too afraid to do that. So the desire to reach out and the fear of doing so needed to be kept separate. I think what this did, though, is I never learned at a cognitive level how to internalize an attachment figure as a stable source of support. Learning how to do that seems to be what led Ruthie suddenly grow up.

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