C has been silent for the last 2 or 3 days. The last time she had any communication with me, she wanted a recharge and I was in a meeting at the time. I told her that. We had been negotiating (or I had been trying to negotiate) over how much I will recharge her in a week, because I had been giving her however much she wanted for the last few days and I could see this was going to get out of hand. I had visions of there being lots of work to do at her grandparent’s house, but I don’t think there is. I think she is pretty much at loose ends and bored. She wanted to help them plant rice, but I am guessing they already planted the rice—that they hired people to help them plant it, perhaps, and since it is just the three of them, there is not that much to do now. I mean, there is not that much cooking, not that much cleaning. If her family were there, there would be more work. She would have little ones to take care of, more dishes to wash, more cooking, more cleaning up. They aren’t there, and I think there is very little to do. I don’t really know why the other cousins aren’t there, but it seems that they aren’t. I think it is very different from other times she has been there, because no one else is around, and she is probably very lonely.
It was a hard exchange for her, and I think by the time she got to the last request for a recharge, she had entered into a despairing state of feeling entirely, totally rejected. She gets like that when she pushes me. I show up anyway sometimes, after she has said “don’t come,” and she looks absolutely haggard and old, and I think the feeling she has inside is total despair.
So she has been silent. I text her and she doesn’t answer. Sometimes I ask for a response, and sometimes I don’t and either way she doesn’t answer. But I keep doing it, because maybe it helps. I know she is scared to not be with me. We have the same trauma and I am scared not to be with her. She must be scared not to be with me. Her grandmother is there—some caretaker is there of some kind, but I still think it is different, and that she is scared anyway.
I mostly tell her I am still here and we are still connected. Sometimes I say I am not angry at you for any reason. Sometimes I tell her she is not bad. I am kind of throwing darts into the darkness and hoping something hits.
I got home the night before last night around 8:30 perhaps. I ate 2-minute noodles and went to bed, totally exhausted. Yesterday, I felt really sick. I am getting over a cold or something, and that might be the reason, or it’s kind of bus ride hangover with all of its attendant triggers: I didn’t eat breakfast, because although there was supposed to be breakfast at 5:30, the dining room was locked and looking totally abandoned. We stopped finally at 10 or so, and then had “lunch” around 4:30 in the afternoon and by then I kind of wasn’t hungry anymore. Then the young man who does things like load the bags on top of the bus and take stones out of the road as necessary was standing very close behind me, so that his hips or god knows what part of his body was rubbing up against my shoulder and it totally scared me.
I really just lay down all down. I had a flurry of energy when I woke up and unpacked mostly, and then lay down and felt really quite sick.
In the afternoon, I began to text C. I don’t know what made me think of doing it, but I just sent text after text, and although she didn’t answer me, it did feel that there was a connection between us. I can’t even remember what I said to her. I suppose I talked to her about her feelings, and why she might feel very angry at me: it seemed to me in moments that she was very, very angry. I told her how special she is to me, and how I like it when she is her authentic self. I told her to try to let herself feel in her heart the love I feel for her, and to let herself have some of that feeling of connection and warmth.
I felt close to her, really very close, throughout the whole one-sided conversation. There were some points when she stopped reading, and then after a while she would come back. I think she might have gotten flooded, but it’s also possible she just got called away from her phone to do something.
I did the same thing in the afternoon today. I talked to her about why she might be feeling scared and I told her it is a memory of her mom leaving her. I told her when she was little she thought it was her fault her mom left her, and she thought if she could be good, her mom would stay with her and want to be with her. I talked again about her being very special to me and about her uniqueness and that I feel happy when I see her unique self showing.
It’s doing something to me to send her texts like that. Yesterday and today, there were long portions of it when I found tears streaming down my cheeks. I felt so much warmth for her and so much love and care, and I think that feeling is what frightens me so much. That is what triggers the feelings of grief and sadness so intensely, this feeling of warmth and connection. I feel like she needs that connection, and I am pushing through my own sadness and grief and also fear to give it to her. You can’t really fake warmth. You have to feel it in your heart, so I am feeling it, even though it hurts. I think that is what is happening. I am integrating, because I have to in order to take care of C.
I felt rejected though. I started to really want a response. I wanted anything that would give me a read on how she was doing, and so I just asked if she was okay. She didn’t answer, and I felt rejected, and then I felt worthless. And I began to think I have to feel this. In order to integrate, I have to feel this. I don’t need to pile a list of my shortcomings onto it or act on it by punishing myself, but I need to feel the emotion of it. These things are memories, and I have to be able to feel it. There is actually no other way. This happened to me. It was my experience, and I have to be able to feel it. I can’t go on pushing it away forever.
I kind of did. I don’t think it is going to be easy, but I did let myself feel it a little. Not that I haven’t felt it before, but that was in some other, dissociated way. I can’t really explain the difference. I know there is one Maybe just that I felt it without fighting it or joining a kind of dogpile on myself. I just felt it.
I felt extremely vulnerable when I let that feeling in. It’s a perception really—someone else’s perception of me. Worthlessness is this little fragment of memory of how someone else saw me. And inside me, it feels very, very scary, because someone who finds me utterly without worth can do anything to me. They can smash my head open and not be bothered by it. That was the feeling I had, of this intense vulnerability, like someone could really, really hurt me. And that makes sense. When my parents devalued me, they abused me. They abused me very, very badly, and it was intensely frightening. There were many times when I absolutely thought I would die. It makes sense that being devalued would be linked with fear.
I don’t think it has to be linked with a physical fear: if your parents devalue you and rip you apart emotionally, what you lose is the help you need in coping with life. I think that can be just as frightening, but for me it is linked most strongly with physical fear. It is really this sense that I could physically be smashed or torn apart, and I think that’s because it nearly did happen.
I know that integration takes time. I am going to have to keep feeling this worthless feeling and the fear that goes along with it, but if I can let it in and cope with it, it is going to get better, and I will not need to be afraid to show my real self to people anymore. I won’t need to fear rejection so intensely, because it will no longer be paired with this sense of my head getting smashed open. I will have only little feeling, little sadnesses that maybe that person is not available in that moment or doesn’t particular like me, little fears that I might have said or done something that another person might not like or approve or that I might fail. Not these big “operatic” ones (I think that’s a very apt word for the trauma feelings). Just little ones.