Me speaking to me

27 Aug

My last appointment with T (last week) was partially about Robin Williams, as I felt like it was interesting how it had affected me. RW was a part of my entire growing up years, both in film and on TV, and I was sad. Sad for him and sad for his family. But I also found it interesting how people responded–more about his life and his humanity than how it ended–so we talked about that a bit. Then we talked about how I’ve been kind of stuck on watching (or mostly listening) to Frozen. The songs seem to touch me in some way, and T encouraged me to continue to listen to the songs and “let them do what they need to do for you.” I don’t really like the animation–it in fact is rather offensive to me–but the songs are hitting me right now. So any time I have nothing on the television to watch, I put Frozen on and while I’m doing other things, I enjoy the songs. And it isn’t just “Let it go” that works for me, it’s almost all the songs…even though I don’t necessarily know why.

Once we were finished talking about that, we started talking about my previous homework. T has asked me to listen to a couple of specific Miles Davis songs, to see if that kind of music would move me, but again it was a bust. I see music so different from her (and others, I’m sure) because it’s more a “friend” or companion for me. It’s not about the emotions of the song, or even the words…it’s just about the companionship. I always have something going in the house–the TV or music–because I don’t particularly like silence. Sure, there are times when I will be in silence, but most of the time I like some kind of noise when I’m alone. I have tinnitus, and the way I chose to deal with that is that I keep noise on all the time to keep the tinnitus at bay. So television and music is just background noise…company, that is all. So finding the emotion she is looking for just won’t work for me.

We talked a little about the issues I have with eating–thinking about it so much, and how I not only pre-think it, but then I think about it as I’m eating and after I’m eating–and how that was going. I asked her if I’d ever told her about my grandmother. My grandmother loved us all, and was a huge part of our lives. Being the only girl, I got a lot more of her attention than the boys did, which was not always a good thing. My grandmother had her own weight issues, as did pretty much every woman in my family and in my life. As I was really in the hardest time of my life, pre-adolescence and etc, she was learning how to eat healthier and exercise. She went to extremes (which was “normal” for lots of people during that time period) on a low-fat diet, trying to control her cholesterol and blood pressure and weight. She went to extremes working out as well. And she talked about everyone around her, family and friends and strangers. She talked about their weight and how it fluctuated, and she talked about their size and the food they put in their mouths. And I was always overweight, so she put her hooks into me and tried to “help” me. She took me with her to her aerobics classes, and told me I needed to lose weight and eat differently. This went on for years and years. I never lost weight because I snuck food and I ate the things I wanted to eat when she wasn’t around. I hated dealing with her during those years, even though I loved her so much. I wanted to please her, but I hated that she hated how I looked and who I was. As a child, I had no idea that it was HER who had the issues and that she was projecting them onto me. At about fourteen, maybe a little younger, I was out with my grandmother and my mom. We were shopping for bathing suits for my grandmother because she was headed to Florida for the winter and while there she taught water aerobics to her elderly community every day. So she needed multiple bathing suits and she wore them out. So we went to Loehman’s, which if you don’t know, they were a discount store and their changing rooms were just a big open room where everyone could see everyone. We found her a couple of suits to try and went into the room to keep her company while she tried them on. After she bought stuff and we were back in the car, my grandmother immediately starting talking about some of the other women in the room. How heavy they were, how they didn’t look good in what they were trying on and if they just lost weight they’d look so much better.

I got so mad. I was always the good kid, I never talked back and I clung to my mother all the time. I never stood up to anyone, I never gave my opinion because I didn’t want to have a confrontation. Maybe I was younger than fourteen, maybe I was twelve or so, I’m not sure. But I was sitting in the back seat of the car and I said, “You need to stop!”

“Stop what, darling?” my grandmother asked.

I told her to stop talking about other people’s weight. Stop talking about what they look like or what they should or shouldn’t be wearing, or should or shouldn’t be eating. Stop judging them. She had no idea what I was talking about. I told her she talks about everyone like that, whether she knows them or not. And I said to her, “What if you overheard someone else talking about ME like that? That I’m too fat to wear a bathing suit? That I’m too fat to be eating that bagel? That my hips are huge and my thighs must jiggle…”

I don’t think she got it because I recall her saying, “But you just need to lose some weight and you’ll be so pretty!”

My mother looked at me over the seat back–she was driving–and I think she felt appalled. But she said nothing. I told my grandmother that every time she said those things about other people, she might as well have been saying it about me. Then I fell back against the seat and clamped my mouth shut. It’s possible my grandmother may have apologized and said she would try not to talk like that anymore, but I’m not sure if that’s real or I made that up as an adult to make myself feel better. I only know that things didn’t really change, as she continued to watch my food intake and my weight.

T asked me if I had ever told my younger self that it was not my issue but it was grandmother’s issue. I didn’t answer, but apparently I had a look on my face because T sort of smiled and said that it was clear I didn’t believe what she was saying, that it would make a difference. I asked why she said that and she said that every time she talks about being kind to my younger self, I make a face. I told her I didn’t understand how to do what she was suggesting because I AM an adult, and as an adult I understand what the issues were. And how was I supposed to talk to someone (my younger self) who didn’t really exist anymore. And she tried to tell me that younger self still lives inside me and she’s STUCK because I haven’t gotten past those traumas of my youth. I said I didn’t understand how to talk to “my younger self” in the manner she suggested. So she asked me to try to picture that day and picture all the details. Then picture myself as an adult sitting next to myself as a child. And then talk to younger self about how the things my grandmother was saying and doing were HER issues and not mine. That I’m a fine and creative child, sweet and compassionate, smart and worthy.

I could only tell myself that it was my grandmother’s issue, not OUR issue. Then I cried, and I asked T if I could go home and write this instead of saying it out loud. She said “sure” and asked me to email it her before our next session. I think mostly because our time was up. I still haven’t written it, but I will. I just don’t know how it will work for me or how it will make a difference. But I always promise to try things…and if they work that’s great. If not, I will try the next thing.

Anyone else talk to their “younger self” ? Does it help you?


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6 responses to “Me speaking to me

  1. joeyfullystated

    August 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Yes, I have talked to my younger self. She’s pretty amazed at how we’ve turned out. That part was much easier than talking to other people about stuff. Some people tend not to see the healing potential in recovering from the past. These people are easy to spot, because they’re fond of saying, “The past is the past, let it be.” While I generally agree, I think it’s much wiser to use adult faculties to move through the past, because often our feelings in childhood can be seen anew, and that is extremely helpful!
    For everything we are, we cannot blame our parents or those who victimized us.We must accept personal responsibility for our choices since, but we must also accept the fact that we are molded by our experiences. Otherwise, why do therapists always go back to childhood? Because that’s where we start.
    Once you’re aware of the “damage” done, then it’s much easier to move forward and away.

    Your grandmother loved you, and intellectually, you know those were her issues, and it wasn’t fair to carry that burden. Letting yourself actually feel the depth of shame and confusion you felt as a child is not harmful to her at all, and takes no love from your relationship with her, but it will heal you, and make you love yourself more.

    On a lighter note, Miles Davis is great cooking music. Mmhm. πŸ™‚

    • meANXIETYme

      August 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm

      I don’t see an issue with looking at things in my past as an adult–and in fact I can do that pretty well–it’s figuring out how to heal the younger me. I just don’t get it (yet) as to how that works. I’m not discounting it, I just don’t understand it. I can tell you very easily how much my grandmother loved me (she’s gone many years now) and how all those things she did were HER problems now that I’m an adult. As an adult I see her struggles, but I don’t see how I can heal a younger me that doesn’t exactly exist. I can’t quite wrap my brain around it. πŸ™‚

      But like I said, I’m going to try it. I’m willing to try and I will give it my best.

      And thanks for letting me know about your experiences.

  2. April

    August 27, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Not that I have necessarily talked to my inner child, but I have come to accept that what happened what my interpretation of the event(s). The interpretations of a child. I still have a few issues with certain family members, I’m trying to let it go. I can’t change them. I can only go forward with what works for me. Unfortunately, that meant distancing myself from them.

    • meANXIETYme

      August 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Obviously as a child I could not cut these people out of my life. Now, I speak my mind to my mother and she accepts what I have to say. Do I think she thinks I need to lose weight? Probably. Does she tell me that? No. My grandmother passed away years ago, so that is not an issue anymore. And as an adult now, I would also speak my mind to her. As a child, I was not brave enough to speak up to either of them. It took me a lot of years to get over being a momma’s girl and a good-two-shoes who did everything she was told and always went by the rules. I’m not always perfect at it, but I’ve gotten better. And if you don’t like what I have to say, that’s your issue not mine.

      But yes, I know what I saw was my interpretation of the scenario as a child. What my question is how do I go back and tell that child that I was okay just the way I was, when that child is not physically here?

  3. April

    August 27, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Some of what my therapist suggests to me makes no sense, but I keep it the back of my mind. Eventually, the ridiculous exercises she suggests to me will make sense without going through the motions. Meaning, I don’t always follow exactly what she tells me to do. I let it rattle around my mind to see exactly what she is trying to get me to see or understand about myself. Does that make sense? It kind of makes me ‘assess’, recognize it for what it was, understand how it affects me today, and change what I have the power to change–which is usually how I think and feel about myself.

    No, the child is not physically present, but the feelings of that child remain a part of you. I’m not a professional, and I don’t understand why they have us do some of the things they do. However, I have learned a lot about myself, and what I’m thinking, and how it triggers either anxiety or depression. Like I said, I’m not 100% compliant with my homework, I almost analyze my therapist to understand why she would ask me to do such odd, or out of character exercises.

    • meANXIETYme

      August 27, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      Yeah, I chew on everything, too. And sometimes I get it and sometimes I don’t. A lot of this is really painful stuff for me, so part of me feels I’m resisting BECAUSE it’s so painful. So I’m trying to push past that part of it.

      I’m definitely going to try the exercise she’s given me. If it works for me, that’s fine. If not, then I’ll have to try something different. I’m not adverse to trying, it’s just more difficult for me when I don’t understand it. I’m so much a WHY person, that I know it often gets in my way. I’m trying harder to push through things even when I don’t or can’t figure out the WHY part.

      Thanks for your thoughts. It’s helpful to me to hear other people’s experiences.


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