After many years of being in therapy off and on I am so happy that I have found such a good therapist. He has been helping me clarify my relationship problems and I am seeing things in a new light. I have also been spending a great deal of time thinking about things (one thing that being disabled gives you is plenty of time to think! That can be good or bad).
The fact is that people scare the crap out of me. I don’t make friends easily. You see I think I am going to ruin their lives. From an early age I was always “making” my mother cry or get mad, but I never knew quite what I did that would cause that extreme reaction. Mostly what I did was simply talk at the wrong time.
I also have an almost clear memory of her putting me and my sister to bed, and I was talking to her while she tucked me in. I don’t remember what I said, but she got this shocked look on her face and started crying and ran out of the room. My sister said “See what you did!”
Perhaps guilt is why I do not remember what I said, I have blocked out some childhood memories where I only remember parts of what happened. All I know is that I wasn’t saying anything with an intent to upset her and her reaction mystified me.
My mother obviously had problems, but having gone through bipolar depression myself I do not believe that she suffered from depression. Overall her moods were okay, except when it came to dealing with me.
When I started school I would not talk to anyone because I figured that they would hate me, because if I was not good enough for my family how could I be good enough for anyone else? Of course that was a self-fulfilling prophecy and I got the label “retard.”
My fear of people is now 100% worse because of having bipolar disorder. I have created my share of havoc with it although I am dealing with it better now.
It doesn’t help when my brother-in-law chimes in “No wonder you have no friends!”
Ironically when he said that I had done nothing to him but that is a story for another day. The point is that it hurt, badly.
The reason I have few friends is not because I don’t care about others, as he implied. It is just the opposite. I often feel like all I have to offer to others is pain and misery. And that is also why I have not dated in years. And now I am disabled with fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue so somehow I doubt that I would be a fun date.
I know, at least intellectually, that I am more than my illness and more than my worst qualities. But that has not reached my heart yet.
My therapist says that I remind him of a sun-burnt person who is always desperately trying to make sure no one touches her in a crowd of people.
However he is helping me to understand what went on in my family and the ironic fact that my mother actually loved me, but did not know how to show it. I will write about that in another post. The point is that hopefully I can learn to let go of the shame that I have accumulated. Shame is actually different from guilt in a very subtle way. Guilt says “I did a bad thing but I can correct it”. Shame says “I am a bad person and nothing I can do will ever change that.”
It is the shame that leads me into suicidal ideation, although I have promised myself to not go down that road again, mainly for my father’s sake. He spent so much time listening and helping me during the bad times and it would be a betrayal to him to do myself in. He is also proof that I am lovable, even when I don’t feel it myself. His love has sustained me.
I wonder how many of you identify will what I have said. Please share. 🙂