I was lucky enough to get another trip to M again which also means having another session. Last week, I came across an article about a boy being abused by his father who later killed him and dug him under the kitchen. The part which article narrates “don’t hit me! don’t hit me” caught my attention and although I was not so affected at that point in time, I woke up in the middle of night with those words replaying in my head. It happened for two days.
I preempted my T that I wanted to see her with regards to this because I have been avoiding violence with regards to kids since that one incident where I accidentally saw a documentary on a girl being tortured. The scene and her screaming kept replaying in my head for days and I was either not being able to sleep or that I had nightmares. My mood shifted drastically like I was feeling helpless, angry and sad at the same time. I think this triggered memories of when I was young, I was made to see my siblings being physically punished just so that ‘we don’t repeat the same mistake’. Their screaming would haunt me at night because it kept replaying in my head.
I am actually surprised by her reply. She kept mentioning that it’s because of my need to want to help others that I feel helpless about not being able to do anything. I said that I don’t think that’s the reason because I know I can’t save everyone – that I understand. She then further explained that perhaps I need to think of ways to help them without having to be a part of it.. and I said that I can possibly raise awareness and not sure what else I can do. She kept on emphasizing about my need to help people and that I can possibly volunteer to help children. I told her that no, I am not interested to be part of a children’s foundation etc because I just rather not. And immediately she said well, that’s your preference and went on about how after masters she didn’t want to pursue her career in another country because she prefers home. She said that probably I don’t want to be involved with children because it will affect me. I know that deep down, that is not the reason.She shared that she doesn’t want to work with LGBT group because it is not her interest which to me, I wonder what she would say if she knew about my past.
I felt like she didn’t know what I wanted to ask which is: did my childhood trauma cause me to behave this way? Are these flashbacks as a result of it? And how I do I deal with flashbacks? She said that it’s possible and went on to talk about me being verbal abuse may have resulted it. I told her that no, I have seen my siblings being physically punished and it’s difficult for me to talk about it. Their screaming and pleas replay in my head. Sad to say that she’s not that sharp in picking this up because I mentioned it before about being hit when I was young. If talking about being verbal and emotionally abused isn’t easy, then what makes her think that physical abuse is not present? It is definitely more difficult to talk about. I thought something like this will be considered important information.
She then mentioned that there was a case about this old chinese (muslim) guy who was bringing young boys back home to his house for sex. I was thinking to myself.. why the need to mention ‘muslim’? Kinda ticked me off a bit to be honest. Okay well she did mention ‘chinese’. sigh.
I asked her about how do I deal with flashbacks? How do I deal with the screaming that replays in my head? She said to either distract myself or avoid it. Distract myself by doing something else when I accidentally comes across such articles or entirely avoid it. I said, well I can’t entirely avoid it for the rest of my life, can I? She said, if I were to accidentally read these articles or come across such videos, then I can train my brain to not think about it. I said, well the screaming plays in my head, I can’t stop it. And she said, yes you can if you don’t think about it.
Oh gosh… I’m not an expert but to me that sounds so simplistic. Just avoid it? Don’t think about it? Hmm..I asked, how about nightmares? How do I deal with that? Her reply is that sometimes dreams we are not sure why we get them. Sometimes we dream that we are flying and obviously it is not something we have done or can do. It’s not something that we can explain. Hmm ok….
I can’t remember how we get to the point of bully vs victim. She asked me where do I see myself? I said I’m in the middle – which is normal. She told me to name the traits of a bully vs victim. So bully (aggressive, intimidating, strong) and victim (passive, weak). She said that we will always go back and forth on the pendulum. With different people we will behave differently. For example, a lady is different when she is at work so she is confident and strong to fit in that environment. But once she reaches home, she is a wife and mother so she is gentle and docile I guess. I told her that I used to be a bully in school because at home, I did not have any power to do or say anything so I act out then. I said that I’m still friends with my ‘victims’ and she said that some people need to be in that role because that’s the only role that they know of. Once they leave that role, they need a new identity. Well I’m obviously not a bully anymore.
I don’t know where I am heading in therapy with her. I feel that certain things she is not sharp enough and should be taking notes. At the end of the day, I know that she is also human but really.. not sharp enough. Like for example, at one point, I was frequently doing push ups on my knuckles and it was red and had skin peeling off like I punched someone. I was expecting her to ask me if I had harmed myself or someone considering I have anger issues. But no, nothing from her. M pointed out that it is standard procedure to ask those questions.
I have a few months before heading to M again and till then, I can decide on whether I want to continue with her. I don’t believe that I need another 6 – 8 more sessions to work on things like self-compassion. That’s just too long and I don’t even the capacity to go for sessions. In any case, I am considering looking for a local therapist if my flashbacks come back.