Anxiety, Child Abuse, Emotions, Fears, Therapy

Letting it out

One of the hardest things for me to do is cry. It scares me. I feel like something horrible will happen if I do cry. I feel like it’s losing control and if I let myself do it, I’ll never regain control. As much as I know those thoughts are irrational, it’s still the way I feel.

When I saw my therapist on Tuesday and we talked about “The Drive”. I was so close to tears. In trying to stay in control, I was digging my nails into my arm to the point of peeling off skin. I wasn’t really aware that I was doing it. My therapist saw this and gave me a stuffed fish to squeeze. It wasn’t so much doing something with my hands as it was using the pain to keep my emotions in check. I could focus on the physical pain rather than focusing on the emotional pain. I left there completely drained and exhausted from keeping all of those emotions from bubbling to the surface.

I saw my therapist again yesterday and we talked quite a bit about crying. I know in my head that nothing bad will happen in there here and now if I cry. But it feels like the universe will collapse if I do. Nothing about this is rational. But what I learned growing up is still very powerful. The hope I hang onto is that behaviors are learned and thus can be unlearned.

We also talked about safe places where I can cry. Her office is one of them. Unfortunately, my time with her is quite limited now. For some reason, my car feels somewhat safe. I’ve tried hiding in my closet. Sometimes it feels safe and other times it doesn’t.

Yesterday my therapist and I also talked about “Cleaning up”. I didn’t go into a lot of detail because I spent a long time sobbing. I was trying very hard to let my guard down and let the tears come. When I wasn’t sobbing, I was silent. It was extremely frustrating for me because I’m normally a fairly verbal person. I don’t have huge amounts of problems coming up with something to say. But I just didn’t have the words to explain what I was seeing and experiencing and feeling. It took me forever to formulate simple sentences. There were times when I had something to say and I couldn’t get the words past my throat. A large portion of the time, I was screaming “WHY!!!” in my head. I’m not sure what the “why” was referring to. It was just there. And even though it was in my head, it was hard to get that one word out of my mouth.

I left there completely exhausted. Letting some of it out was as hard as holding it all in. Nothing bad happened. The sun didn’t explode. The world didn’t stop turning. The galaxy didn’t fall apart. But it was still frightening.

I sit here now writing this and holding Tedders. I’m trying to get myself ready to go to bed. I can still feel the anxiety in my body. I’ve gone through the progressive relaxation tape three times, but as soon as it ends I tense up again. I want to sleep, but I’m afraid to close my eyes. Writing this has helped, but I’m still scared.

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6 thoughts on “Letting it out”

  1. Don’t beat yourself up to much Hon. You are a step ahead of yesterday. Give it time and you will be able to cry and feel comfort into it! I have problem to cry also, but in my case I think it’s because I’ve cried so much in my life that there is no more tears in me. I know it isn’t true but that it how I feel. Hope you finally sleep well. Hug

  2. It is terrifying to cry. As you do it a little bit at a time, it is possible to learn that it’s safe, and that the universe won’t collapse (or someone won’t find you and hurt you for crying). And I totally understand about using physical pain to keep emotional pain in check.

    I’m sorry you feel scared. I have been there.

  3. Dear Katm

    from what we have read here and the blogs previous to this one you had every right to cry. Your little girl was made to endure way too much and she needs to be held and held safely, in other words protected so she feels safe now. Please give her a gentle safe hug and tell her she never deserved to be beaten or scared or abused. She did nothing wrong.

    peace and blessings

    keepers

  4. I’m so sorry for the delayed response to your comments. I’ve been trying to keep my head above water.

    Nadcesca… I know in my head it’s a step forward. But it really hurts. I had a therapist once make a comparision between treating a burn vicitim and an abuse survivor. The treatment hurts like hell, but is necessary to save the life of the person. I try to hang onto that thought when things get really rough.

    Jigsaw… I try to think of dealing with my fears of crying the same way I’m dealing with my fears of the shower. Exposing myself in small doses to teach myself that nothing bad will happen. It’s also been a long time since I used any sort of self injury to deal with the emotional pain. I wasn’t even aware I was doing it, but I was focusing on that physical pain. Strange.

    Marcy… Thanks so much for the words of encouragement. They always help. I stayed up extremely late because I was afraid to go to bed, but once I was asleep, I was pretty much ok.

    Keepers… I’m trying to convince myself that the little Kathryn did indeed have a right to cry. I guess I know it in my head, but just don’t feel it. I’m trying my best to soothe her, but it’s hard because I don’t always understand what she wants. I sometimes feel so frustrated I want to hurt her because I know she’ll stop. But that’s exactly what my parents did to me. So I know it’s not the right thing to do.

    Maypoles… Thank you. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

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