I had an optimistic moment. Yesterday evening, C called me, told me she couldn’t come to my house, because there was a program at school and also said don’t send messages because I am giving my phone to a friend. Fine and fine. Then I found out there wasn’t a program a school and she responded to a text at 9 pm, so I thought it was off and off.
I sent messages throughout the day, not really knowing if it was a good idea or not. Just that I wasn’t mad at her. She didn’t respond, as frequently happens, and I didn’t think too much about it.
Around 4, I sent another one. I felt kind of more grounded sending it, and this time someone responded. I’m not Chimmi. Sorry for the misconception.
She does this sometimes, actually. She says she isn’t Chimmi. But she continues to kind of sound vaguely Chimmi-like. This time, I didn’t have a clue whether it was her or not. But I had an idea as the wave of optimism hit me that it was about having contact. I got a response, and I was reacting to that. I thought, well, I’ll just ride it. It beats terror and despair.
I realized I hadn’t eaten anything for a long time. Maybe for 5 or 6 hours, and I didn’t feel like cooking. I went downstairs and bought ten minute noodles. As soon as I got outside and saw children playing, I felt exposed. I felt exposed and bad. I went in the shop, bought the noodles, and felt worse. I got back into the house and I thought my mind lies to me. It lies to me continually, because it’s just kind of riding on the wind. It reacts to a positive experience and says there is hope for me. A minute later, it decides there isn’t. I felt suicidal, and it was like my mind just tells one lie after another. How do I even know what is real?
One thought I had all day, in the back of my mind, is why C pushing me away? I push VP Ma’am away because she stresses me out when I am in vulnerable emotional states. I know she will hurt me, and I am scared of her, and when I feel vulnerable, I can’t cope with the fear on top of everything else. Is that what happens to C?
I send C texts regularly since she has her phone with her. How do I know how she receives them? She doesn’t reply. If she stops reading them, I stop writing them. That I see as a boundary. That means I look at the last thing I said, and I try to keep in mind that whatever I said might have pushed her over the edge with something. But how do I know this is a healthy relationship for her? I am wobbling around, doing my best, and I don’t know what the real effect is. How do I know it’s not just intrusive and scaring her, the way VP Ma’am is intrusive and scares me?
Some of them I know are little parts being sneaky, and that might be scary for her.
I flashed back to various therapists in the past and things they have said to me about me. There was one who said, “I think there are parts of yourself you don’t want to see.” Indeed there were, but I don’t think he meant it in a neutral way. There were the therapists who talked to me about anger, and passive aggression. Am I randomly mean like VP Ma’am is? I wouldn’t know, would I? I would be in denial.
I was making my noodles and thinking I am just insane. This is insane. How do I know how anyone really feels inside, when my mind lies to me? I thought how long can this go on for? How long will mind lie to me based on my most recent interaction with the world? Or will it always be like this?
Ok, there are some perceptions. I have been aware for a long time that, whether C pushes me away or not, she nearly always feels a little rush of pleasure when she sees me. Somehow, I can feel that in her body. When I came to meet her on Sunday, she sent me a text as I waited outside under a metal umbrella for her, “Come inside mom. M waiting.” And I know that felt tender. That was her full, “adult” self and she felt tenderly towards me at that moment. Why would she feel tenderness for me if my texts feel intrusive to her? She is pushing me away today, because it felt so good and it feels really, really shameful to feel so good.
I don’t have that feeling for VP Ma’am. She scares me. Occasionally, we have nice, connected conversations and I feel she understands me and I understand her, but most of the time she feels angry or scared and it is hard for me to be around so many intense emotions when I have my own to deal with.
Then I realized I don’t quite think VP Ma’am is bad either. I think she could stand to be nicer to people, but it’s possible she is finally learning that herself. I don’t like her random harshness or her controlling nature either, but it’s mainly that I can’t cope emotionally with what it does to me. If I didn’t have trauma issues, I don’t think it would scare me.
But I do think my parents are bad. My mom had her reasons for behaving the way that she did, but I think it was wrong. It’s unfathomable to me that she did the things that she did. I don’t know what she ought to have done, given that she did seek help and it didn’t help her, but I think she was a dreadful human being.
Maybe that’s what this is. There are bad people in the world. I feel sorry for my parents, but there is some kind of line, and they are on the other side of it for me. They were bad. And I think it’s possible that once that idea that there really are people who are bad, who are really and truly evil, you have to start wondering what does that? What makes someone evil and how do you really know that you aren’t?
The other thing is that things seem so uncertain in my mind—about what reality even is—because I shut down all of the emotional information about it. When you do that, you can kind of make up whatever explanation you want to. It’s the emotional information that makes me understand what effect I have on the people around me. I get worried I am only attending to certain bits of it—well, aren’t we all? But I can tell you that when I went outside and began to feel exposed and bad, the children playing outside weren’t looking at me. It was my awareness of myself, not their awareness of me.
I am the one who believes I am bad.
Of course, the hard part of this is that my father was sociopathic. He was superficially charming. I think I might be superficially charming. It’s part of disordered attachment. Please like me. Don’t kill me. Like me. Please.
And I have no idea what my real motives are. I mean, I think I have good motives. Doesn’t everyone? But C’s class teacher says she seems like she feels cared about. Last year, after I adopted C, IT Ma’am said C is like someone enlightened—meaning her whole demeanor has changed. Yeah, it does feel that way when someone cares about you.
The truth emerges when you can feel. When you can feel, you can also feel other people’s feelings, and you can feel when you cross their boundaries, when they are uncomfortable with what you have done, and when they are pleased with you. It’s not a completely accurate way to do things, but it is more accurate than just making things up when you can’t feel anything.
The other thing is that I feel so terrible because this really was the case at one time. I really was without value to my parents. My needs weren’t considered. I wasn’t important. I didn’t matter. I wasn’t seen except as a target. I wasn’t heard. I think it continues to haunt me now in part because I don’t realize that.
I don’t know if this makes sense to say, but there is something about the past being over and done with that makes it permanent. My childhood is over. My relationship with my parents is over. I was not of value to them, and I will never be of value to them, because those things cannot change anymore.
I think the present is more confusing to me because the past does intrude, but I haven’t known what the past was. When I feel treated as though I am invisible now, I don’t quite realize that happened. My emotions aren’t knitted together properly for me to understand emotional material that way, and I don’t realize this is the past. I just think, “What is this? Why do I feel this way? It doesn’t make any sense.” It does make sense. I was worthless to them. Your kid doesn’t end up in street prostitution if you value them even a little bit. They don’t end up in pornography. We aren’t powerless over predators in our society, not entirely. But you have to care. My parents really did not care about me. Neither of them did.
I have been angry at them for a long time, but the reality of their neglect has never completely sunk in.