I’ve talked briefly about Allison’s encouragement of a formal safety contract (see Becoming unstuck); well, something happened about a month ago which forced the issue, and a safety contract was written. It has been covering one week at a time and listing the two actions which are considered to be the most dangerous, the reward for keeping the contract, and the consequences of breaking the contract. It is kept simple, and driven by me as a way to try and maximise the chances of success. This week, there was huge resistance to making the contract for an entire week for several reasons… but mainly because there is a big rugby game being played here tomorrow. My reservations weren’t about wanting to break the contract and self-injure; but instead, there was a fear that I would break it, and in so doing, break a promise. The idea of potentially breaking a promise created huge amounts of tension… like lies, broken promises is not allowed.
Allison listened to my fears about shortening the contract, but said that part of the reason to have the contract, is to see what happens when it is broken. That sounded reasonable, so with little thought, and despite the warnings, the contract for the week was sent through to Allison.
The backlash was severe, and immediate. I had again ignored the warning signs, and instead of listening, I rode roughshod over the concerns.
I’ve done this before, and it’s never pretty. In my head, I counter all the concerns with very adult logic… “It will be alright, there’s only three days difference. What’s the big deal?” Implied within that line of thinking is the thought… “Just get over it”. It’s a sign of my intolerance, as well as my inability to accept what is happening in the present, and what happened in the past. It’s telling different ones that their opinion doesn’t matter, and that their feelings are meaningless. It’s another way in which I try to express my need for control…
Whenever I’ve tried to impose any form of unilateral control in the past, there has been an outright rebellion. The control tends to be harsh, and the responding consequences are just as harsh. This time was no exception. I have no one else to blame, but myself. I should have listened. I should have paid attention.
The problem is now that the contract has been broken, there is a reaction to breaking a promise to Allison. Ones within the system don’t want to see her again, for fear of what she will do and say. Others see the breaking of the contract as an invitation to push the self harm to new levels – the contract is already been broken after all, so may as well make the most of it, right? I know that the feelings driving this line of thought are the worthlessness and shame arising from the self harm, but it’s still confusing.
My head is a mess. I’m struggling to stay present.
As I write this, I hear the background chatter… the taunts, the derisive comments, the hatred, the self-hatred, but most of all… fear.
The rugby game hasn’t even started. The tourists haven’t arrived. That will happen tonight and tomorrow… how ironic that the big game should happen on a Friday night, which has always been one of my most difficult nights to get through.
Did I mention that my head is a mess?