It feels like I have been struggling all week. I get kind of stabilized and then I lose it and I am not sure why. I mean, I am not sure why this week feels harder than last week or the week before.
There is something in what happened on Sunday that feels very painful though and maybe that is some part of it. It doesn’t make sense, actually, but it hurts so much I find it hard to even think about.
It is when I was leaving. I told C to walk out with me. I didn’t realize she was also leaving the hostel—I might have guessed that she was, because she had just gotten dressed, but I didn’t think about it. I pulled her by the wrist, and I said, “Walk out with me.” I don’t know what she said then. She might have said wait. That hurts though. It’s not the part that hurts the most, but it does hurt.
Her skin felt so good. I suppose I am feeling the vulnerability of that. It felt so good, because it is C’s skin. I know what her skin feels like, and when I touch I recognize it as being hers, and I think the recognition is painful in some way to me. I think it has to do with continuity. Hugging her is not like hugging anyone else, because it is her. I know what her body feels like to hold and I know what her body does when I hold it. I know what it is expressing to me when it does different things.
Anyway, we walked out, and I could feel her shifting into Detached Mode. I could feel the stiffness in her body, and a sense that was something like rage. I was walking very close to her and she lifted her arms to do something with her hair and when she did that, she bumped into me in a way that felt like a push.
The thing is, though, that she was walking with me. She was struggling with her feelings of fear and distrust and anger, but she was walking with me. Sometimes, I have this feeling that I “ought” to feel hurt by what she does or that I “should” feel rejected. But I don’t. I was walking next to her and I could feel how much she wanted to push me away, literally, physically wanted to push me, but she went on walking beside me and the sense I have instead of being hurt is how valued I am, and I think that’s what is making me struggle so much. It is so difficult for her to cope with what is going on inside her head. It is so painful and so difficult, and she is trying so hard because the relationship with me is so important to her.
I think I have been struggling, because I don’t feel confident I have a right to interpret my world in my own way. The ways her behaviour might be interpreted by someone else would be very different, and I know that, and I don’t feel I have the right to my own view about it. I don’t feel I have the right to feel very honoured by what she is doing or to believe that she is working so hard to cope with what is inside her because she values the connection with me. There was a point when maybe she controlled her behaviour because I am an authority figure, because she was worried about what other people will think, but now I don’t feel it’s about that. She is controlling her behaviour because she values me and she doesn’t really want me to go and she doesn’t actually want to hurt me. There are times when she is angry at me and she says hurtful things to me—when I told her we had called her mother, one of the things she said was that at midterm, she will go to some other place, she won’t stay with me. Actually, I don’t think her family will consult with me about where she goes at midterm. Maybe they will, but I think she will just be given instructions. Anyway, the point is really that not staying with me at midterm doesn’t hurt me, but she could say things that would hurt me if she tried harder. She said it to hurt me, because she was angry, but with a little more effort she could have found something much more hurtful to say.
She wants to hurt me because she is in pain, but she doesn’t want to hurt me because she loves me and this restraint she exercises when she is in so much turmoil inside is as expressive of how much she values me as a different child constantly reaching out to me.
In popular, we have the idea that we might make someone fight their demons for us or that somehow our love can save someone and inevitably it turns out to be untrue. The person always loses their battle with addiction or whatever it is. Love is never a strong enough motivator. I suppose I am putting her behaviour into those terms, but that is what it looks like. She is trying to cope with what is in her head so that she can have a relationship with me and so that she does not really push me away. It won’t be enough if I cannot help her cope, but there is just something so profoundly moving about seeing someone work to maintain a connection and a relationship when it is so clearly difficult.
When we got to the gate and began to go in different directions, I hugged her. I probably kissed her hair. I usually do. I said, “I love you,” and she said, “Okay, go now,” in hoarse, wounded kind of way. It was clearly hurting at this point, and she could not reveal her vulnerability in her words. She couldn’t say, “I love you too,” although she says it when we text. She had said it before I came up. So I suppose that’s something else I need to interpret in my own way, because I don’t feel rejected by her being unable to reveal her vulnerability in her words. It felt to me to be in her body and in her face. What I saw was, “It is hurting so much that you are walking away from me. As soon as I can’t see you, I worry what will happen to you.” The pain is not because she loves me: it is baby trauma. The fear about what will happen to me is not love either. That is also baby trauma, but the baby trauma gets activated because of the care between us. And I have just never felt cared about like this. Never in my whole life have I felt so much care.