As the issue of dissociation is very present at the moment my therapist surprised me with an experiment. Sitting in a different chair than usually I was supposed to talk from the viewpoint of my “Detatched Protector”. That is one of the Schema modes and it seems to have “switched off” my feelings for a long time, made them bearable, “explained them away”. Interestingly it wasn’t weird to talk from its “point of view” – in that situations the answers suddenly came easily and clearly. The Detachtched Protector came into my life when I was quite little and every time something was difficult, everytime I would (should?) have felt sadness or fear it came and told me that there were worse problems in the outside world. That there might be time for my worries later on but that this or that was more important first. That I should wait for it to be over. Not enduring it in the sense of finding a way to cope but rather to let it float past me. Because it is not that bad…
Why? Why? Why? My therapist asked that question multiple times in different ways – what was the purpose and why was it the only way to get through things? And suddenly the scales fell from my eyes: It didn’t protect me. It protected others from me. From me. From my feelings, my problems, my needs.
For most of my life I’ve assumed that it would be a burden if I ever needed help. Or that people wouldn’t love me if I stopped functioning. In a family that was perfect at first and then fell apart; where there was too much on one side and too little on the other there was no other option than growing up quickly. And growing up meant: Being rational. It meant enduring things, functioning in order to not further strain the system. It meant that there was no room for the monsters in the wardrobe, let alone the fear of them.
I learned that grief has no purpose as it cannot bring back beloved people.
I learned that anger has no purpose as tantrums only make others not take you seriously.
I learned that fear has no purpose as appearing to be helpless could be viewed as a weakness.
Nobody told me that all this cutting off emotions would only make the monsters wander from my wardrobe into my head. And I didn’t know what methods the Detatched Protector would use in order to keep up appearances. It is so powerful that I still believe the things it whispers into my ear. Since the experiment I’ve been confused, don’t know what is my opinion and what’s just some sick mode.
Now I have to write down what the Detatched Protector has to say when feelings come up. Even though I didn’t have a name for it until now this used to be the part of myself I was somehow proud of. And now I have to wrap my head around the fact that it got me into huge trouble.
Whatever, I can’t seem to find a clever conclusion today so I just want to point towards my last post as this is a matter of the heart for me.
Have a nice Sunday!