Thinking about therapy and the concept of fighting the abuser in my mind

In my most recent therapy session, I told my therapist about the latest round of communication from my mother. At this point, she has closed the door on trying to heal things between us. She stuck to her argument that I’m just lying because I’m crazy and there’s nothing I can do to reason with someone who is incapable of believing they’ve ever done anything wrong.

My therapist talked about the recent presentation of an alter that’s connected to strong feelings of anger and thinking that if the mother is alive we’re in danger.

My therapist said something that I found surprising and incredibly disturbing. She said that even if my mother died, nothing would change. My mouth almost fell open in terrified shock because I believe that the second my mother stops breathing my world will be more peaceful. She disagreed. My therapist said that the problem is the mother that lives in my head, not the one who’s alive. She said that the mother who lives in the world can’t actually hurt me in any way but that the mother in my mind is the one that wields the power over me. It gave me something to think about. She said that until I deal with the mother in my mind, I will continue to be hurt. She also said that I have to remember that things in life are still going to trigger me, even if she dies. At first I felt hopeless but that wasn’t what she was trying to say. She wants me to deal with the issues and core beliefs that I have about myself because of being abused. She said it’s a lot of work, but that if I can deal with core issues, I can have power over how I react to my mother and I won’t  be hurt by her.

I just wanted to share that concept of dealing with the abuser that lives in our mind. If anyone has any thoughts, please feel free to share them.


About CimmarianInk

Abuse Survivor Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also known as Multiple Personalities
This entry was posted in abuse, Alters, Child Abuse, DID, dissociative identity disorder, Multiple Personalities, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, Trauma and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Thinking about therapy and the concept of fighting the abuser in my mind

  1. She’s got a point. Thanks for sharing it- as someone who has spent my life hoping difficult people will off and die, I’ve learnt a lot! This will sound horrible, but your mum is only a person, and the hurt she inflicts is what you let her. (I *hate* saying this). Physically, you’re an adult, and she’s going to be a weak older woman now. Mentally, she’s clearly not the sort of person to be reasoning with. Allowing her this level of power over you isn’t actually a reflection of *her* capabilities as they stand now, but of what they were in the past. The only way you will escape is it *you* move on, as it’s not going to just be about her, you’re going to find bits of your mum in other people and situations too. I *hope* you haven’t taken offence- it really is an uncomfortable truth for me too. I’m so glad I’ve heard it here where I have to own my response rather than it being my therapist saying it to me! Thanks so much, again- and *good luck* with your journey!

    • CimmerianInk says:

      No worries I wasn’t offended at all. 🙂 You’re absolutely right, that’s why I wanted to share this point from therapy. It is a hard thing to think about isn’t it? It feels like it’s so much easier if the person would just die but apparently it’s not that simple. The thought that I have to take the power back myself is daunting. It’s nice to know people understand. Thank you.(sorry, I typed this on my phone and it sounds more stilted than it really is.)

  2. Freasha1964 says:

    This makes a lot of sense, Tai. You are big, strong, independent and free from your mother physically. She truly has no hold over you like she did when you (at least thought you) needed her to survive. So, yes, it’s the wiring in our heads that is tripping us all up. Changing the wiring is what therapy is mostly about, I suspect.
    I think I got this into my head the first time I called my father an a__hole to his face in front of my mortified sister. I knew he no longer had a hold on me and indeed, he didn’t do anything to me. He wasn’t as messed up as your mother (he WAS messed up, though, but I think he would have killed anyone who abused me sexually, so he has that in his court), I am sure, so the road is tougher for you.

    • CimmerianInk says:

      I have to say that I was really glad to see that you got to say that to your father. Is that bad? I think I just wish I could do that with my mother.

      • Freasha1964 says:

        No it is not bad. Saying it just was symbolic of my knowing I no longer needed to be the way he expected. I think he even might have laughed… like it wasn’t in anger that I said it anyway, tho’ I can’t remember the details. My sister would. She’s got the memory.

        For you, Tai, I wonder if it would help if you said something to your mother that reflected your honest emotion. What comes first, the peace of knowing you CAN do that, or doing it, and then getting the peace? Seems your T and some of us have been saying that this is now something that is in your mind, not a true danger that your mother poses. You will come to it; it takes time.

  3. Meredith says:

    It’s true, tai; death doesn’t bring resolution. For me, it brought more chaos, more confusion… and no closure. However… and there is a however… closure does come, in time. We move on. We find new lives, new interests, we move beyond therapy, eventually. It comes when keeping them alive to battle with (mentally) isn’t a priority, any more.

    • CimmerianInk says:

      I really hope that becomes true for me meredith, if I’m not too weak.

      • Meredith says:

        I’m sure the work you’re doing now seems never-ending. Even for me, as I get ready to fly out to see my therapist, phantoms seem to rise out of nowhere; bumping in to similar situations can do this. Over all, though, I reached a point–and this was with my “mum”–when I asked myself, “Is this really what you want to be doing with your energy?” It wasn’t. I was tired of letting her live in my head when she clearly doesn’t want to participate in my life, as I am. If I were to be who she wanted, I could be in her life. Well, it’s a miserable life full of drama, anger, secrets… just a bunch of negatives that don’t produce fruit.

        Nevertheless, the decision to move on didn’t happen until I’d had a chance to think it through, have someone help me to understand attitudes and behaviors that felt so destructive, and that took time.

        It’s okay to hate the world you struggle with. You need to validate how the experience affected you. You’re trying to take responsibility… but you can only take responsibility for the way you feel. You can’t overhaul, bury, or disassemble your mom or you won’t understand the dynamic that is so crazy-making for you.

        When my dad died… I freaked out. Because I never knew where he was, or when he was going to show up… and what he was up to when he did show up… I felt really vulnerable because once he died I really, really had no idea where he was, or why he was cremated with only a memorial service (not our family style), and no one would talk about him after that. No one. He could still be alive, for all I know, though I doubt it.

        See… that’s the thing. You’re not going to get validation from your mom about your situation. You’re not going to get support, either. So go ahead and get mad. Get really mad at the absurd life you now lead because you have to use your energy to recover from all the destruction (that didn’t happen, so no one is sorry for you…) and it takes a long time to realize how many things you do are linked to all that imprinting, then figure out your dysfunction, what you want to do with it, etc. Eventually, I just thought, “ENOUGH! You do not deserve this much time and attention from me! You’re a brat, and you’ve always been a brat… so go away. I’m not playing with you, anymore.”

        And, I didn’t. Strength builds in increments. Pay homage to the strength you’ve developed, already, and someday… it just won’t matter. It just won’t. Life is too cool to hang back and say, “Yeah, but I have issues…”

        Whatever your issues may be, they don’t look like your mom’s. They look like you issues, and somewhere, you have a map, a compass, and keys to managing the issues… or freeing them… or whatever.

        Okay. Too long. Sorry.


      • CimmerianInk says:

        Wow, your reply was really powerful meredith, thank you for that. I really appreciate you talking about your own experience with this. It sucks that death doesn’t fix things but I’m going to have to accept that and work with what I can do.

        Your comment wasn’t too long, it was great.

  4. castorgirl says:

    Hi tai,

    I think I’ve told you about how I imagine my father being at my bedroom door??? I’m sorry if I haven’t, and am getting more confused… but your therapist is right… until we can reframe our abusers within our minds, they will always be there, like some ghost.

    I haven’t seen my father in any meaningful way in about 20 years, but I still regularly imagine him at my bedroom door, or sitting on my couch when I come home late at night. He will always have that hold on me, until I can get him out of my head. He doesn’t need to be alive physically to be in my head… I don’t even have to have contact with him, it’s all about my reactions to his memory, and the actions of the past. It’s about living under those old rules and fears. Until we break those, that’s where our abusers are going to stay. You see, when we break those rules, we’ll be able to pass our respective parents on the street, and they won’t effect us. They can be alive and not have that hold over us. It’s within our power to make that happen.

    It’s not easy, but it can be done…

    Take care,

    • CimmerianInk says:

      That’s painful CG. I feel bad for you and for me. I can’t imagine ever being able to see my mother without having some sort of horrible reaction. I can’t even pretend to know how it would feel to see someone in your bedroom door like that. I’m so sorry. What do you do to try and get past those rules and fears?

      • castorgirl says:

        We heal… we learn new ways. We talk about it; we increase our soothing skills; we challenge the things we were told in the past about our worthlessness; we learn that we have worth independent of other people. You are a friend, writer, caring, creative, wife…

      • CimmerianInk says:

        Yes, challenging things we were told in the past about worth…to me that’s a huge part of conquering all of the damage. A lot of problems come down to our feelings of self-worth.
        Out of curiosity, do you say such lovely things about yourself that you do about me? I mean that in a nice way which I want to make sure I say because you can’t always tell with writing. 🙂

      • castorgirl says:

        I plead the fifth on that one 🙂

        When you only hear the negatives, and never hear the positives, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of believing the abusers press about you. That press is not true, and needs challenging. Sometimes outside perspectives help with that.

      • CimmerianInk says:

        Ha! Nice try. The fifth indeed!

        Hmmm…I guess I’ll just have to be one of many outside perspectives. 😛

  5. Bay says:

    Wow, Tai, that’s really strong stuff, but I guess she’s right. We have a lot of fantasies about our abusers dying and getting out of our life, but I guess maybe that wouldn’t really change too much, like Meredith said, maybe it would even bring us more chaos.
    Hear your hopelessness that not even her dying would free you, but at the same time, it makes us realise that our abusers don’t really have power over us anymore, and we *do* have the power to fight the abuser in the mind *and* win. Gonna take a lot of time and effort, but somehow I prefer the idea that it finally just depends on us, and not some outside influence.
    Thanks for sharing this, lots of food for thought.
    Take gentle care,

    • tai0316 says:

      Hi Bay,

      I know what you mean about preferring that the power be with us instead of them. It’s a scary thought but also one that gives us some control if we believe we can overcome everything else.

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