C told me in a chat the night before last not to call her again. It’s too painful. I said the pain goes away little by little. I don’t think she really responded to much I was telling her. She kept saying some variation of “never” when it didn’t make actual sense as a response.

I didn’t call her for a while after that. I let it be. Actually, there wasn’t any cell network for a while and later her phone was switched off, but I didn’t try again when she might have had signal. I don’t know if that was helpful or not, but basically I was tired.

I forgot to mention before that happened, following a much nicer phone conversation, she was very angry and posted very angry things on Facebook—perhaps about her boyfriend. She said “she” but English isn’t her first language, and pronouns are hard. Later, she posted an old picture of herself with her grandfather, looking like happy baby.

“Build up the core” I thought.

A therapist told me that once. When the work is really difficult, you try to strengthen the core personality. C needs a sense of herself as loveable before she can integrate how it felt to be unloveable by her parents.

So I thought it was a good thing.

Later, I was thinking about this, because I tried chatting with her and didn’t get any response, posted some things on her wall, and got some likes, but no direct interaction. I know, intellectually, this is because the shame is so great that’s all she can manage. She can’t manage anything that exposes her to contact more directly, because it triggers too many intense feelings of being bad.

It really didn’t feel good though. Or it didn’t later, as I was thinking about it.

I started to wonder if she’s just playing me. I felt she’s happy, she has the attention she wanted from me, and now I have been discarded.

I thought about why that was going through my mind for a while—I just let that feeling be for a bit—and I realized I am watching a TV series about a serial killer. Distrust has been activated by this other, unrelated thing I am doing. The serial killer was manipulating a young, female accomplice, and I was thinking about C. That’s basically confirmation bias. I am feeling distrustful, and whatever goes on in my mind while I feel that way will render distrustful kinds of knowledge. All of our brains work that way, but it matters more because so many of what goes on for me is this intense trauma material. The switches in my head between points of view aren’t gentle. They are extreme.

C really loves me. C doesn’t feel anything—she’s just playing me. Extreme, because my emotions are extreme, and emotions really do shape our thinking.

Anyway, I let that be too. Just the distrust of C, and feeling discarded and used. I began to have a very strong felt sense of what it was like to be little and lonely and for the loneliness to feel like it will absolutely kill me, and feeling also that doing anything to get the approval and attention and interaction with my parents is going to be worth it, because the loneliness is so terrible. I had the sense too, of how helpless I was, of just being a helpless baby who can’t even properly move—can’t crawl, can’t sit up, can’t do anything to create interaction with anything on my own other than cry and crying is dangerous or pointless. And I had an incredible sense of the depth of that helplessness. I had a feeling of lying somewhere, totally helpless, just waiting for something to happen. Being sad and lonely and waiting.

There is so much abuse that happened later, but sometimes I feel what happened to me before I was even 6 months old was really enough to do this to me, to cause this amount of pain. The rest of my childhood didn’t even need to happen. My infancy was enough.