In the early morning hours I woke from abuse nightmares. I felt so horrid I didn’t know what to make of the way I was feeling but knew I needed to get it out. I texted my therapist as an attempt to get some of it out, and she responded with 2 times I could come today. That wasn’t my intention, but since the feelings colliding inside felt like a bigger explosion with each passing minute, I took her up on the offer.
I held it all in through a 5:30am run with a friend, children’s annual well check appointments, and a 60-minute round trip drive with the kids to drop off a basket for someone who we thought could use some surprise cheer.
My therapist and I have worked extremely hard to create safety within her office space. It took me over a year to really begin to address trauma. Now, over 2 years later, I am able to walk in and immediately let go of big emotions if they are bursting like they were today.
I did that today–I walked in and pretty much as soon as we sat down in the safety of her closet and my weighted blanket, the terror, sadness, anxiety, fear, and grief came pouring out. There was a point I wasn’t sure it would end, and a point where I was very much my child-self and telling myself “I want to die.” I felt overwhelmed with the big, scary emotions little-me was feeling. But my therapist stayed with me, allowed me to hold on to her, softly reminded me I am safe with her and will be with me until it passes. Suddenly my nightmares turned into rescue scenes: she was there, picking up little-me, holding me close until I wasn’t scared anymore.
Today my inner child was present the whole time. When the panic attack wave and the fear wave and the grief wave subsided, she kept holding on. There was 10 minutes left and we were sitting in silence–my therapist holding ten-year-old-me–and me beginning to feel so grateful she had an opening today and I could let this awfulness out. It felt like I’d emotionally vomited everywhere and I felt relieved. 7 minutes left, and her husband opened the door, without even knocking. I immediately felt like I was in trouble. 10-year-old me froze. I stopped breathing for a minute. My therapist shot up to the door, and upon return I think we were both a bit shocked that just happened. I tried to take the couple minutes left to process the major anxiety that brought up but there just wasn’t enough time left.
So I left, and on my drive home I realized why I was feeling wrong, anxious, and fearful from that event. My dad is a very strong and boundary-less man. A man with a similar build, confidently busting in without any warning, is exactly like my dad’s way of entering my childhood bedroom. My dad rarely knocked and never needed a valid reason to enter. It was his house, after all. Privacy didn’t exist. We were in the middle of “being” in my childhood bedroom (in the closet to be exact), and in the middle of me being so small and fragile, that I think I couldn’t separate that it wasn’t my dad. That I wasn’t in trouble for hiding/crying/feeling/seeking comfort. That the nightmares I was having and had come to release, weren’t about to come true in real-time.
When I realized this, tears started streaming down my cheeks as I was driving home because I suddenly felt like that space–the space we’ve worked so, so, so unbelievably hard for–was damaged. If I hadn’t been ten, or in the closet recovering from a panic-filled emotional dump, it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal. But I was in a fragile space: the space which I can only access when I am beyond certain I am safe. An intruder entered, and I still feel like safety is broken. Adult-me came in immediately with all the positive talk: it’s just her husband, it’s just something he’s dealing with, it has nothing to do with me, it’s not my fault, I am ok, I am safe, I can still be protected and loved here…
But little-me does not feel like returning is the best idea. And adult-me gets it and just wants to hold her instead, away.
So many tears. I don’t know how to solve this.