We discussed this whole question of my feeling torn in two directions in counselling.
On the one hand I’m feeling that I’m still in quite a nice place at the moment and I’d like to focus on staying here and feeling good, trying to drive that feeling forward into the future, with hope, joy and a positive disposition.
On the other hand I can’t ever be genuinely happy until I am at peace with myself and that involves digging up emotions I’d prefer to leave buried. We have done the superficial rational looking at my childhood, what happened, why it happened, why my parents are who they are and how all that has permeated my life beyond the obvious. That has been essential at clarifying why I feel the way that I do and also to stop me from feeling quite as responsible and guilty as I had been. I’m still not free of it but this focus has been a vital first step.
What is left is dealing with the emotional turmoil that resulted. This I find incredibly hard as I have been taught to bury all emotions, especially those that aren’t “nice”. By which I mean that it’s OK to get happy about something, but not to get cross. Either way, one shouldn’t get loud.
This goes some way to explaining why I don’t want to confront my parents and there is debate as to what exactly that means. Can I tell them how I feel without bursting their own protective bubble? I find this very difficult to answer. Am I saying no because it’s the truth or just because saying no is easier. Can I tell them how much I feel they’ve messed up my life without dissecting their own lives for them? I either need to find a way round this need I have have to protect them, either by shucking it off or by saying what I need to say about me rather than about them. And if I do burst their own protective bubble, then what’s the harm? It’d be painful, but at best they might learn something and at worse, well would I be any worse off than I am now?
The closer I get to thinking about trying to have some sort of honest conversation with my parents the more I dig my heels in and stall. I’m having to drag myself kicking and screaming into just thinking about and I really don’t know how I’m going to find the courage to say anything.
I’ve got better at complaining about the little things in life; those that are really inconsequential or not personal. I’ve got better at saying “I disagree with you and here’s why”. I’ve even managed to tell friends that they’ve upset me and not dissolve as I do it.
But it seems such a huge leap between that and having an honest conversation with my parents, either of them. I can’t see any smaller interim steps and I can’t see a way of having a small conversation with them.
On an emotional level I’m also just plain scared of bringing up all that frustration I feel when talking to them. I always end up feeling as if I’m put everything into nice simple over-explained phrases and they still don’t get it and then they turn it round to make it my fault. Then at the end they always say that they don’t really get what I’m trying to say.
I see three steps forward. One is to talk to 1sis about all this. I owe her a conversation or 6 anyway as I haven’t been in touch for a while. Second is to think back to those confrontations and try and revisit them, to bring back those emotions and experience them while in a safe place. Third is to actually focus on what I want/need/can say to them.
As a last comment, I shed one tear at counselling while discussing all this. I get closer to proper tears but am fighting that hard too. But one tear is actually progress.