Last week I had two good sessions. The first was with my weekly ACA workbook group. The second was with my therapist.
In the workbook group we were reviewing Step 5 and talked about how “hurt people, hurt people”. This reminded me of a discussion I had earlier in the week where I looked at how I feel better when I know that M (or anyone else who hurt me) is not doing well. The crappier they are doing, the better I feel.
As I delved into this a bit more, I began to realize something new. I had known that M was a direct parallel of my dad (they’re far too similar not to be). And I knew that my continued attachment to him was out of trying to work out issues with my dad (among a few other things). What I did not know (until now) was that, not only was working out my dad issues on M, but I was also trying to get vengeance for my mom. If I could one up on M, hurt him, or just stand up to him, then I would be doing so to reverse the wrongs my father did to my mother. Talk about enmeshed.
I’m so tired of having such a strong attachment to M. He’s not even in my life, yet he’s with me all the time. I want to be done with all that, so I asked myself “What the hell is this crap I need to work out with my dad?”
In my therapy session I went into that question and what came up quite rapidly was my father’s rage.
My father was known by family, friends, and co-workers as a man to be respected and feared. He had a strong opinion and was fearless in expressing it. When angry he annihilated everyone in his path. As a child, in these moments, I would disappear. I disappeared a lot. I would go into fright mode (also called susto) and try not to be seen. Like most children in these situations, I detached from my body.
In the safety of my therapists room, I re-membered what it was like as a child, hearing my dad’s rage. How frightening it was how I would look to my mom for safety, but she was too busy disappearing herself. My therapist reminded me that as children, we can’t conceive of our parents being “wrong” because we depend on them to survive. So instead, we make ourselves wrong.
It’s no wonder I didn’t get a stable sense of who I am. It’s no wonder I always feel disconnected when I feel cornered. It’s no wonder I walk around feeling like I’m already dead, but that my body doesn’t know it. It’s no wonder I keep looking to M to right all those past wrongs.
Knowing all this doesn’t make my attachment to M go away, but helps me to understand that I’m not inherently flawed and very human. It gives me clearer path on that yellow brick road.