Last week I knew that I was going to talk to Liz about denial. In many ways I see my denial as attention seeking – like I’m wanting Liz (or whomever) to say “of course it happened” or “you’re right, it didn’t happen and you’re just attention seeking”. It feels manipulative to be in denial, like I’m playing games. But then, when I’m in the denial, it seems as if I’m playing games when I say that the abuse happened. It’s an awful place to be in. You have the clarity to see your actions in the past and you judge those actions, every word or behaviour is analysed and destroyed. As a perfectionist, I’m my own worst critic, so nothing is spared.
Liz questioned me as to why this was happening now, when 2 weeks ago I said that I needed to turn and face the past, instead of continuing to run from it. I’m not sure of the answer to that question. I think it is partly due to the stress that I’m faced with – wedding anniversary, disastrous visit from my mother, yearly performance review at work, etc. Objectively I understand that I may be stressed and this is what has caused the denial/lock-down, but I don’t get any sense of being stressed. When I’m like this I don’t feel much of anything, sort of like I’m on auto-pilot.
In order to sort through some of the issues, Liz said that I needed to try and re-frame the anniversary into a new context as a way of trying to move forward. We were nearly out of session time, so this was very much a passing comment. I know what she means, but this year it was impossible to do. I’m not aware of any real reaction, other than losing great chunks of time.
I almost broke through the denial yesterday by listening to Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue, but it didn’t last. As it’s a long weekend in New Zealand, I’m not seeing Liz this week. Possibly the wrong time to have an interruption in sessions, but it couldn’t be avoided.
I’m dreading looking at the dissociative walls again – whether it be to knock them down, or to reinforce that they never existed to begin with. I know that this is not a positive place to be in, but I’m not sure how to move beyond it. I also know that living like this is full of contradictions… How can I be losing chunks of time and not be dissociative? How can I have no personal history beyond newspaper headlines and not be dissociative? It’s confusing and yet meaningless all at once, for when I’m like this, I only live in the present moment with headlines as reminders of what I need to do.
It feels very odd and very normal all at once.