Argh

Can I say I hate this month? I hate everything about it. I feel exhausted and wound up and alone and hopeless and angry and stupid. I hate myself more completely and overwhelmingly than I have in a long time. I can’t think of anything in my life that is going well right now. I am losing my job in 3 months (I have expected this for almost 2 years) because of a lack of funding. I’ve been worried about my eldest daughter and I’ve written about some of the things that have happened over the last few months. I haven’t written about the extreme anxiety my youngest, a boy, has started to experience. He is almost 10 and is having extreme reactions to his fears that start small and end up with him so worked up that he is completely irrational. Eventually he calms down usually with me or my husband holding him but sometimes it takes a long time for that to help. I’m starting to worry he is having problems outside of the range of typical 9-10 year boy ones and am thinking of having him assessed professionally.

I am being triggered and having problems with my relationship with my parents and FOO. Some relate to my daughter and her reaction to them. Last weekend I went on a weekend trip to Las Vegas with my 2 sisters and 6 of my first cousins, all women between 42-56 and related through my mother. The weekend was in parts amazing, fun, wild, and interesting. It was also triggering as we relayed stories of our mothers/father as parents and their shared dysfunction. It was remarkable to see how we reacted and adapted differently to the same events but for the most part none of these people have spent much time reflecting on their childhood, how it shaped them, and how they’ve defended themselves emotionally as a result. Everyone is clear that our parents were abusive in many ways but most people think that how they are dealing with it is the right way to deal with it so everyone else is wrong. This creates a lot of conflict considering some people think avoiding and denial of how they feel is the best solution while secretly hoping their parent dies soon and others want to talk about it with therapists, friends, relatives, and their children. The talkers believe that keeping secrets is what is damaging to us and the avoiders think that what is damaging is acknowledging or recognizing things. It culminated in a screaming and yelling match between five of us (me, my two sisters, and two cousins from the same family who grew up closest to us geographically). The most frustrating part is that I don’t think the fight helped resolve anything. I think everyone finished just as sure they were right about things as before and the other people are wrong. I know that is true for my 2 sisters because they both told me so. I learned some things from how my cousin has been working through her own sexual abuse and talking to her own children about it. But I’m tired.

Then I came back prepared to meet with M and having no shortage of topics to discuss. After a few minutes discussing the trip I told M I wanted to return to what we were discussing before the trip regarding therapy and caring/comforting, how therapy can work better between us, etc. He said okay what do you want to discuss and I couldn’t speak. At first I was trying to put my feelings/ideas into words and they didn’t sound right at all. They were all things I’ve said before and haven’t helped or they didn’t describe exactly what I wanted to say. Then the silence grew longer and M asked if I thought we were interacting during this silence. I said no the silence felt like waiting. He agreed and said that he was waiting for what I told him I wanted to say and he felt like if he said anything he would be interrupting me. I said I understood but still said nothing. As the silence extended I realized that I didn’t feel like I usually do when I can’t speak. I wasn’t upset at M leaving me alone, I wasn’t feeling misunderstood, instead there was an element of “f*** you” to my silence, like I have all this to talk about and I’m not sharing anything with you.

Eventually I told M that I felt like there was no point in discussing my family or my triggers or my children if we didn’t discuss how therapy could work moving forward. I also said that I was keeping quiet because I think the only outcome to discussing how therapy can work will be quitting therapy and so the silence is almost like a holding space cause I’m not sure I’m ready to quit. M said that he didn’t think that quitting was the only outcome of a conversation about how therapy works but he understood I felt that way. He suggested to me in that therapist way, that I was avoiding the end of therapy because I was afraid of it but as a defense I was disconnecting from the process of therapy. I admitted that was true but maybe it was for the best because I’m not sure about quitting and maybe I need to realize that therapy isn’t working and how awful it is before I can quit. He suggested that it wasn’t fair to evaluate if therapy could work by refusing to connect. He said it was a false proof because the conclusion was I couldn’t talk to M and the proof was I was refusing to talk to him. I said maybe I can’t talk to you because I’ve tried and failed so often I’m afraid of the feeling of hopelessness that accompanies those failures. He asked me if I thought the feeling of hopelessness I had during this session was any better.

Mercifully the session finished.

I left knowing that I’m so angry at him but I know my anger is completely irrational and unreasonable and that I can’t be angry at him in person. The only people I can be angry with in person are my husband and kids. Any other confrontation I have is over the phone much like sending M and angry email or leaving him an angry message. Over the last five years I’ve moved from never confronting my parents or siblings about things because I only felt really angry when I wasn’t with them to calling them on the phone to express my anger or disappointment about how they have treated me.

I hate feeling like I have no control over myself. I thought I’d spend the session talking to M about my trip and discussing therapy. I had no idea I would walk into session and just be silent while I had a million thoughts cross my mind and the slightest hints that I felt something other than extremely sad and hopeless. I am supposed to have a session with M tomorrow and I am sick to my stomach at the thought.

So much anger directed at me

M cancelled my session today because of bad weather. I suspected he would but I was still upset when I got his email. I wanted to talk to him about wanting him to respond to something I say and then when he doesn’t respond feeling like I have to stop talking about it. What I didn’t want to talk about was my conversations with my eldest daughter over the last couple of days but we had another painful one tonight.

Four days ago my 16-year-old told me she wanted to talk to me about something. She started by telling me she wasn’t going to university after high school (she just finished a week of exams) and I wasn’t thrilled to hear that especially since she doesn’t seem to have any plan at all. I thought that was what she wanted to discuss but actually that was just her warm up topic.

She tried to stay calm but eventually yelling at me that she was so angry at me that I was overweight and unhealthy (I am morbidly obese and have some physical limitations because of it.) She told me she is afraid I’m going to die young and that isn’t fair to her and it makes her so angry that I won’t even try to lose weight (and I feel like I try to fail at losing weight everyday.) It was painful having her attack me at my weakest point and I struggled to accept her feelings. I told her I knew she loved me and that I accepted and understood that she was angry at me. Then she got more upset because the fact that I accepted her anger made it even worse because I clearly wasn’t going to change how I ate. I told her that It was a complex issue that wasn’t going to be amenable to an easy fix. She says she knew that but she was still angry that I didn’t care about her feelings enough to change. It was a difficult conversation but I thought we weathered it together.

The next night we started discussing my eating and exercise habits and how they developed in my childhood. I hoped sharing with her some of my difficulties would help her understand me and hopefully defuse some of her anger. I talked about my parents incredibly critical attitude where they had me convinced I was fat in the second grade. I stopped taking or eating lunch at school in grade 4 and they didn’t notice. We talked about how my parents but their sons in all kinds of sports but not their daughters. These things weren’t new to her (she has had her own experiences with my parents judgement) but I was trying to describe how events in my life have impacted my view of myself and my eating habits. I was struggling because my daughter knows that my parents were neglectful in many ways but not about any overt abuse.

While I considered what or how much I could say, my daughter surprised me by asking me outright if I had been molested as a child. I didn’t consider lying and just said yes. She was surprised even though she had asked the question. I told her I wouldn’t tell her any details but that the perpetrator was someone who was part of my large family and that I saw throughout my life. I also told her that I had told my parents when I was 14 and they had never mentioned it again and we all continued on like I had never said anything. I don’t think my abuser knows I told my parents and they certainly continued treating him and me the same. I managed not to cry and the conversation moved on to other things that happened in my childhood and early adulthood. After I worried that I might have made a mistake telling my daughter.

Tonight my daughter asked me if she could ask me more questions about the abuse although she knew I might not be willing to answer them. I agreed. She started by asking me if anyone else in my family was molested and I told her I wasn’t comfortable telling her other people’s stories but I told her I thought I was the only person who had been abused that way for years. Then she told me that she didn’t understand why I still talked to my parents. She got really angry asking why I didn’t cut them off when I was an adult, how I could keep seeing them, that what they did (ignoring what I told them) was so wrong she didn’t think there is any grey area. They aren’t good people and why in the world would I continue a relationship with them. I know she was angry at them on my behalf but fairly quickly she also got angry at me for not cutting them off. I tried to explain my attempts to maintain a relationship with all the members of my family but she couldn’t understand. She kept asking me if I knew it was wrong and that came close to asking me what was wrong with me that I could keep seeing them. It was so hard because while I do know my parents were not good parents, I am still not comfortable with so much anger expressed towards them. I feel like no matter what happens my daughter is angry at me. Eventually I told her I was sorry I told her and that made her furious and she called me a bitch because she was glad she knew and it explained so much of her life but she just needed to understand why I didn’t cut them off. Eventually I had to tell her I didn’t have an explanation that would satisfy her because it was such a black and white thing for her that she couldn’t imagine my position.

I’m afraid that I’ve hurt my daughter more than enlightened her and I don’t know what more I can say.

My father calls

I have had a draft of this post I’ve been working on for weeks so I apologize in advance for its length and any mistakes I haven’t found.

The week before Christmas my son handed me the phone and my father said “it’s me, Dad”. I can’t remember him calling me before. Once he called me because he had an episode and couldn’t remember where my mother was or what he was doing alone in the house but I have no other memories of him calling. For much of my adulthood we spoke only when I called my parents house and my mother wasn’t home so my father would take the opportunity to talk to me. Those conversations happened less frequently over the last seven years as I’ve distanced myself from my FOO so I call my mother less often and I share less of my life with either of my parents. He asked me if I remember the conversation we had last spring. I said “I thought you would never mention it again.” Now I need to give some history but rather than go back to our conversation last spring I’ll start earlier.

My childhood

I was sexually abused by two older male family members. They lived with my family and were over ten years older than me. I should make it clear that they didn’t know about each other. They both abused me separately. The abuse started when I was very young and I think ended by the time I was 10 but I’m not sure because I don’t remember much clearly, a few specific incidents that happened in my bedroom or the bathroom. Memories that are like snapshots with no beginning or end just flashes. During my childhood I told nobody what was happening. I was sure it was all my fault and I was to blame. I had a lot of fears as a child. I was afraid of the dark, I had nightmares. I frustrated my parents and my older siblings (I am the fifth of my parents six children).

My teens

When I was 14 years old one of my abusers moved to the city my family were living in and my parents invited him to stay with us until he got settled. It was very difficult. I was struggling with being a teenager, trying to figure out how to be like everyone else when I felt disgusting and my parents were overly controlling. I wasn’t allowed to have any money, go to stores, go out in groups with boys (certainly not individually). They didn’t trust me which added to my guilt. It is ironic that they paid so little attention to me as a child and didn’t have the slightest clue what was happening under their noses but once I passed the age of 13, they were prison wardens. Those rules didn’t apply to family members though. So I spent several months trying to juggle all these different things. My family member might pick me up after school and take me out for a ride or a movie. One night he showed me my first porn movie. Eventually he told me that what had happened between us when I was little (4 or 5 by his memory) would never have happened with anyone else because I started it. He said I was special and he loved me and he hadn’t found anyone else to love like that in his life. It was overwhelming. I was 14 and he was almost 30. I felt so guilty, look what I had made him do. I was confused by his confession and things got even more confusing when he stopped talking to me after and focused all his attention on my younger sister.

Eventually, I told my parents. It wasn’t planned. It happened because another family member told about being abused by a different family member and that is when I learned that I wasn’t the only one this had happened to. My family was filled with offenders and victims and there were hidden layers that I had not glimpsed before. When I told them my father was upset and hugged me and my mother had no reaction. My father asked me why I hadn’t told him before because he was worried when my relative started spending so much time with my younger sister and stopped talking to me. I told him I never left them alone. I asked if I could see someone so I could get help (I was thinking a therapist) and my father said yes we would get help. We went to sleep and when I woke up it was like I had never said anything. We continued to see those family members. I waited for my father to bring it up but he never did. I went to their weddings and celebrated holidays with them. My mother continued to treat me like I couldn’t be trusted. After about a year I admitted they were never going to help me and I was furious but I couldn’t do anything because I was still under their complete control.

As an adult

There is no way to summarize what happened when I was an adult. If you have experienced something like it you can imagine. I was furious but couldn’t admit it because my parents have always told me how much they loved me and how perfect our family is. If I didn’t come home for every family dinner, or didn’t call home enough, or didn’t listen to them, then they were disappointed and made sure I knew it. I tried to put it behind me because it was all over a long time ago. I knew what had happened. I knew they couldn’t deal with it but there was no point in still being angry about it because I was an adult and I could take care of myself. I got married, had three children, remained close to my family. I had occasional fights with my parents where I got angry at how they told me what to do, how to parent my children, and my mother would cry because she had to tell me what to do because she loved me so much. Fighting with them didn’t help, they didn’t change how they behaved and I couldn’t stay away from them without feeling very guilty.

I started therapy at 38. My presenting issue was my weight. I was morbidly obese and I couldn’t control me eating. My parents had been telling me my whole life how unhealthy I was, how I overate, how I was lazy and didn’t exercise like my siblings. When I was pregnant my father told me I was hurting my children by bringing them into the world with such an unhealthy and damaging environment (he meant my obese body). I told M about the abuse when he took my history. I told him I was over it and it didn’t affect me. I said bad things happened to lots of people and this was mine but it was in my past, not my present or future. It might have been believable if I hadn’t broken down into uncontrollable tears during that speech. It was the first time I had talked about the abuse in decades. I went home that night and sat in bed crying, while my entire body shook.

When I was 40 my eldest child (a girl) graduated from middle school. When she excitedly showed my parents her dress, my father told her it looked like it was too small for her and she would have to avoid all sugar and treats until after graduation. At the graduation, my mother spent 15 minutes before the ceremony telling me how fat I looked in my dress, asking if I had gained weight, and acting like she didn’t believe me when I said no. I decided I had to confront my parents and tell them they weren’t allowed to comment on the weight or appearance of me or my children. It lead to a huge fight. Why was I so sensitive? couldn’t I hear some advice? that is just how people their age and nationality talk about appearance, it isn’t insulting. When I wouldn’t back down my mother switched tactics and started to cry and tell me how much she loved me and she was sorry for anything she had ever done that had upset me or I had been hurt by because that was never her intention and how could I believe that of her. That fight led to individual phone conversations with each of them later on.

During those conversations I told them I was angry at them for doing nothing about the abuse when I had told them about it 25 years ago. My mother said “what do you want me to do? say sorry?” and then explained there was nothing to do because the abuse was over by the time I told them. My father told me that I didn’t understand how complicated and difficult it was for him because the family members were my mothers’ family and not his. He told me he didn’t know what to do and that I hadn’t told him when I was a child. I was glad I told them I was angry but their response was all about them still.

Last spring

It has been 2.5 years since I spoke about the abuse on the phone and we’ve never mentioned it again. I’m talking to my father (on the phone again) about my asthma and he starts to explain how it is caused by my obesity and how I became obese because of my eating as a child. I disagree with his story and tell him so. He gets angry and tells me that if I were a reasonable person I would listen to what he says. I get so angry I see red and I tell him he doesn’t get to call me unreasonable. He doesn’t get to tell me what I do wrong as a parent or a person. As far as I’m concerned he failed me by doing nothing about the abuse and so I don’t want to hear his opinion about anything. I say he lost the right to speak to me like he knew better than me when he did nothing to help me as a child. He says I didn’t know what was happening when you were a child. I say I was still a child at 14. You were the adult and you found it difficult. Imagine how much harder it was for me. My father switches and says he doesn’t know what he can do to help me but he is willing to meet me to discuss the abuse in my childhood “once and for all”. He doesn’t know what good it would do but he will do it. I am surprised and tell him we should discuss it in the future. Then I didn’t hear from him until just before Christmas.

Back to the present call

My father says I’ve been thinking about our conversation last spring and I want to set a date to meet to discuss it. I don’t know how it will help or how we could meet. I ask him if he is calling because my mother isn’t home. He says yes and I realize that if we have this conversation we have to do it without letting my mother know about it. He starts to get emotional and talks about how he is getting older and he doesn’t know how much time he has and he doesn’t want to leave this unfinished between us. A lot of different things go through my mind, like did he find out he is sick, why is he asking now? I have to leave the room because I am sitting with my three kids at the beginning of this conversation so I start to head for some privacy and by the time I get to my own room the conversation has switched.

Now my father is telling me about his life. He is talking about his young adulthood when he went away to school and wasn’t married. He talks about his childhood in another country. He tells me how unhappy he is because he has nothing to do and my mother won’t do anything he wants to do. They usually go away every winter but she won’t go where he wants to go. She has turned down three ideas and he is miserable. He talks for 45 min with me saying very little. I’m trying to figure out how this went to talking about me and my pain into his memories. I’m torn between feeling angry that he seems to have forgotten me as he talks on and on without even needing me to say anything and feeling sorry for him. When he first said he wanted to talk about my childhood there was a part of me that was so happy it was like I was finally getting my heart’s desire. Another part of me was so worried that he was upset and worried about dying. I wanted to tell him it was okay, I was okay and we didn’t have to talk about anything about him. Then I was angry that he was ignoring me again. It was so disorienting, like on of those funhouses where the floor isn’t flat and you can’t seem to walk.

I managed to ask him if he was worried about his health or had received bad news and he said no but at his age it could happen any time. I suggested that he write some memoirs while he was stuck here for the winter because it was something he could do without my mother’s permission or help. Then I started to get off the phone. He said he would like me to make time to meet with him in January because it would have to be after the holidays. Only after the call did I realize that he had managed to dig up this just in time for our huge family gathering where we would all pretend to be happy and nothing bad has ever happened. It wasn’t easy. Now I’m avoiding answering the phone because I’m not sure what I want to say.

New Year, same old, same old

I had my first session of 2015 this morning. I have had a busy holiday season with a lot of family events. All my siblings came home for the holidays which meant a week with far too many events. I managed to decline some invitations which helped me decrease my stress. I also avoided any direct conversations with my parents which was important because the week before Christmas my father called me which almost never happens. I’m working on a post about that for another day. I managed to enjoy shopping with my teenage daughters and buying presents for my children.

M didn’t go away for the holidays so I had 2 sessions a week with him through December. Starting the week before Christmas I talked about my FOO during my sessions. I started with my conversation with my father, and continued with my holiday celebrations, my siblings and how we all regress when we spend time in my parents house. I felt alone even when I was in a house full of people. I have always felt like a stranger in my family. I am the odd man out, the “sensitive” one who overreacts and wants to discuss how I feel. It is the complete opposite of how I feel with M and I missed him quite a bit between sessions. I told him so in an email earlier this week.

During this morning’s session I ran out of stories about the holidays and my family because I haven’t interacted with them since Monday night. I slipped into the familiar place where I had a lot of different thoughts but I didn’t know what to talk about. M asked me if I felt like I missed him because for the last few sessions I’ve been speaking freely about things and not feeling stuck in silence. I didn’t think of it that way at all actually. I know I was speaking freely but I don’t feel like we worked through my feelings about him and therapy. It felt more like an intermission to me. A few sessions talking about what was happening right now in my life. M told me the sessions felt quite different to him. The conversations don’t link up for me. M obviously prefers me talking more. It didn’t help me talk more today. Instead I cried more and felt like a failure. M tried to ask me questions about what I was feeling and then about if I thought he was interested and cared about my feelings. I just got more and more confused and by the time the session ended I was exhausted and felt hopeless and miserable and that is very familiar for after a session.

Dante’s Limbo

Martha Crawford’ latest post (Suspended) starts with this quote from The Inferno of Dante.

“We are lost, afflicted only this one way;.
That having no hope we live in longing” I heard
These words with heartfelt grief that seized on me

Knowing how many worthy souls endured
Suspension in that Limbo

~ The Inferno of Dante, Robert Pinky translator

Her post is a complicated and beautiful discussion that I would encourage anyone to read (I’ve read it a few times already) but I am going to talk about the first two lines of the quote above.   I “live in longing” and reading those lines made so much sense to me.  I long because I am lost and I have no hope.   Lately I’ve been longing for things from M.  Things that would prove to me that he cares,about and that the relationship between us is safe .  Therapy with M has helped me become aware of my longing and the incredible pain that comes with longing for me.   Longing is painful in so many ways.  Many times I’m ashamed of what I long for, ashamed that I feel constantly like I don’t have enough.  Sometimes the longing is painful because I am longing for things I can never have.  Like when I called my parents this week and my father talked at me for several minutes.  My father started by asking me a question but very quickly he launched into a lecture about all the things “you guys” .do wrong.  “You guys” is shorthand for his six children who are a great disappointment to him.  While he rants he says things about me that aren’t even true for me.  He attributes characteristics and actions of my siblings to me (and I’m sure he does the same thing to them) .  I used to get upset and interrupt him explaining I didn’t think or do what he was talking about but it never made a difference.  This time I sat silently and noticed how long he could talk without any input and it went on for minutes.  My coworker started talking to me assuming I wasn’t on the phone anymore and that is what stopped him.  

I have always wanted my parents to care about me, to “see” me as a separate person, to be interested in what I think or feel but they don’t.  Even though I am middle-aged and a parent myself I am still hurt when my parents demonstrate once again that they aren’t the parents I long for.  They never will be and even if they could be different now it is impossible to make up for a childhood and most of my life when they weren’t.  I think that is what I’m really longing for from M.  I want the kind of “seeing” and interest from M now that would make up for a lifetime of my family not seeing me and of course that is impossible.   So I live in longing and limbo, unsure what to do or say, what would make a difference to the emptiness that is the centre of myself.  I keep trying to get someone or something that will fulfill all my longings and only occasionally can I realize that there is no magical thing or person that can do that.  I can’t hold onto that awareness for very long because it is so painful.

I never feel like I get to finish one things before the next thing happens

I’m feeling awful. I had the third session with M where we talked about the big fight I had with my husband. Initially I appreciate talking to M when something difficult happens to me. I don’t think about what to talk about and whether it is worth talking about or if it is going to be helpful. I may not describe all the details but I always feel like M hears me and understands what I am feeling. He normalizes my feelings and actions. Later as we continue to discuss something I start to worry that he isn’t being honest about what he thinks. Last week during my second session I told him more about my fight with my husband, the big one and the follow-up discussions we had. I expressed how frustrated I was with how my husband communicates (or doesn’t more likely) except when he gets very angry. All of a sudden I realized that I probably sounded like a complete bitch to M. Why did I think that? Because I had spent thirty minutes recounting various repetitive fights I’ve had and the things I’ve done to try to change things between my husband and me and M hadn’t said much at all. He didn’t say or do anything except not really respond much beside saying things like “that sounds very difficult or frustrating” or “I can hear how you are trying”. I pretty much stopped talking and started wondering whether I was doing all the same things as I was accusing my husband of doing.

One of the things I was thinking about today during my session was wondering if M and I were going to go back to the discussion we were having before the fight with my husband about whether I mattered to him and how I felt like I didn’t. I had written him a very honest email and had hoped to discuss it in person but it had got side tracked after I started talking about the fight with my husband. Today I left his office feeling frustrated that I couldn’t force myself to go back to that topic and that I didn’t think talking anymore about the fight with my husband was helpful. My husband and I have an appointment to meet with a marriage therapist this week. Tonight my eldest child dropped a bombshell on me by telling me who she is dating and her feelings about her own sexual preferences. I had suspected what she told me for a while and was almost prepared to have the discussion but still feel unsure of myself. Parenting is so hard and it drives the fight with my husband and my difficulties with M out of the forefront of my mind. So I always feel like I don’t give anything the attention it deserves and I keep falling further and further behind.

When is complaining okay?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of the word complain is ‘to express grief, pain, or discontent’. I think everybody must complain at some point in time and that it is a necessary part of communicating. It has a lot of negative connotations to me. It suggests complaining without purpose, being too sensitive or difficult.

Last week when I was talking to M about how therapy works and how much I wanted a plan for therapy I told him that I thought that telling him sad stories about my childhood was just complaining. I told him that I frequently fight the urge to tell him things because I thought everything I said was whiny and stupid and pointless. I meant I’ve already told him that my parents had narcissistic traits and didn’t care about my feelings needs. They were at best emotionally neglectful and sometimes quite mean and abusive. I know that it damaged me so how many stories do I have to tell (or remember) that demonstrate their parenting style. I am always remembering more things and wanting to talk about it but I don’t know why. Complaining about my parents won’t help me move forward and do things differently in my life, will it?

A couple of days after my session, I had a fight with my husband. It started with me trying to talk to my husband about how hurt I was by his actions (or inaction in this case). There is no point is describing what hurt me because I am trying not to get caught up in judging which of us was “right” in this case. I used “I statements” like they encourage you to do in order to communicate. I said I felt hurt when …. and I felt ignored when … My husband reacted like I had said “you are the worst husband in the world” and almost immediately bit my head off. When I defended myself and tried to restate things he lost his temper and said “all you do is complain, complain, complain…you don’t know what it is like for me to try to live with ..” My memory gets foggy but he added something about me making him miserable. Since then I have been trying to figure out what the difference is between “complain, complain, complain” and expressing my feelings.

I spent my first session this week describing the fight and asking M whether one could express their feelings without complaining. He talked about the importance of expressing your feelings when you are in a relationship with someone so that they can understand how you feel and the importance of listening to the other person’s feelings. He said he thought complaining to the person who hurt you was very different from complaining to a another person about what happened. The first was an attempt to repair the relationship while the second was venting. It makes me wonder about therapy though because I am not telling the people who hurt that they hurt me. Instead I want to tell M that I’ve been hurt.

I will be talking more about complaining with M and with my husband. I don’t want my husband to be thinking I just complain all the time and make his life miserable but I can’t ignore how I feel. It seems like a very difficult line to walk.