Today was another long therapy session. I really just wanted a normal session. I think that’s what I want every time, and it rarely works out that way.
I mentioned the incident that occurred a few nights earlier. My therapist asked me what happened and I explained in detail. I stared at the floor as I told her everything, still ashamed of my reaction that night. Just talking about it was difficult for me. This isn’t the first difficult situation I’ve been in at home. It’s been a concern for my therapist, but I keep insisting that I can make it through.
This was by far the worst yet in terms of the after effects. I was a mess for days. My therapist asked me whose fault I thought it was. I told her it was my fault. I left home. I came here. I moved into this house. Now I have to deal with it. My issues are not her fault. Everything is my fault.
I was struggling to stay present and my struggle was apparent, because my therapist said she could see that it was difficult for me to stay present and suggested we color some coloring pages. I obliged, of course. I noticed myself getting frustrated more than usual over the simple act of coloring. I couldn’t find the right color, so I’d sit there and stare at the box of crayons agonizing over what color to pick as if it were the most important decision of my day. Maybe I just didn’t want to think about anything else. I don’t know.
We started talking about my financial difficulties, and about getting into grad school to help ease the burden. Then she looked up the application on her computer and all of the requirements I needed: the four-question essay, the letters of recommendation, the GRE (which I never took). Nothing is overly complicated but I just don’t have the mental energy to deal with it right now. I don’t have much time (less than 6 weeks) before the application must be completed. My therapist asked if I’d want to take session time to go through some of the things and she can help me with getting everything done. I told her I didn’t know. I was really thinking that if I needed help just getting the application done, I probably don’t belong in grad school. Conflicting.
I was getting frustrated so I tried to change the subject. I talked about a recent conversation with someone close to me, and how it changed how it made me feel towards them. My therapist delved into it more, and started asking why I felt the way I did. I told her I didn’t have much of a choice; I need this person because I don’t have anyone else. I left my family. I’m alone now. Then my therapist tried to remind me that I left my abusive family, the people who hurt me for so long. I told her it wasn’t that bad. I told her I could have just been stronger. I abandoned them.
I started to feel anger building up inside of me. I stopped coloring, clenched my fists so tightly that my nails dug into my skin, and stared at the floor, trying not to think about anything. I didn’t want to feel anything. Go away, feelings.
My therapist came over to sit next to me and asked me what I was feeling. I told her I was angry. Then she asked who I was angry with. I told her I was angry at myself. It’s a common theme for me. I turn my feelings inward. She told me that it was okay to be angry at the people who deserve it. I told her it’s not okay to be angry. She asked why. I told her that anger hurts people. In my mind, I associate anger with abuse. I don’t want to be angry with anyone because I don’t want to end up hurting them. I don’t want to turn into my mother. She told me that anger is a perfectly acceptable feeling; it didn’t mean that I was going to hurt someone, and it didn’t mean that feeling wasn’t right. She told me I have reason to be angry. I can still be angry at the people in my life who failed to protect me, even though they may have apologized for their wrongs. I can be angry at my family, at my father and mother. She tried to tell me there was nothing wrong with feeling angry.
By this time, the anger was building up even more. My hands were still clenched and shaking. My therapist insisted on holding my hand. I told her I didn’t want to hurt her. She said it was okay, she can handle it…to let her take on some of my anger. I just wanted to punch something. I needed a release. I don’t want to feel anger. I don’t want to feel anger towards my mother. But I felt some of my anger being redirected towards her and I couldn’t take it back. Then I said it. The question that has plagued me for years.
“Why didn’t she just kill me?”
“Your mother?” She asked, though it really needed no clarification.
I told her I didn’t understand why anyone would make someone suffer like that for so long. Why didn’t my mother just kill me? She wouldn’t have had to put any more effort into torturing me. It would have been easier for us both. I wouldn’t have to be suffering now. For so many birthdays, I wished for death. But not for her death, for my own. I was never so concerned with anger towards her as I was in ending my suffering.
I felt myself starting to cry, so I turned away until I could push my feelings back down. This is why I didn’t want to feel anger towards her. Once you open that box, it’s hard to close it back up. I don’t want to unleash all of that anger. I don’t have time to unleash all of that anger. I don’t even understand my anger. It goes against everything people are supposed to feel. People are supposed to feel grateful to their parents for giving them life. So why am I feeling anger that my mother chose to bring me into this world? My feelings don’t compute. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. Feeling angry with her only makes me feel worse about myself.
I hate feelings.
I hate her.
I hate me.