When you begin to see a therapist, one of the first things they want to talk about is your childhood. They want you to tell the story of your life from the beginning, or where you first have memories. It helps them understand where you came from and learn of any traumas you have experienced along the course of your life. I understand the need for it, but when you have had six therapists in 11 years, you get tired of telling your story from the start. Now, whenever I have a new therapist I am just very upfront:
"My parents divorced when I was five. No, I'm not scarred from that. It was the most normal and healthy life. My parents were beyond amazing at co-parenting. No need to spend time on it. I grew up with two loving step parents. I played volleyball and took dance lessons. As a child I suffered from anxiety. I put myself on my first diet when I was in sixth grade. Had an unhealthy high school relationship, started restricting my food, went to treatment, and here we are today."
After 11 years of therapy, you become very in tune with yourself and where your issues lie, and I know for a fact that my childhood is not one of them. Has my life been perfect? Not at all. I have had my share of heartbreaks and trauma, and as a result of that I have developed the ability to easily shut people out of my life. My go to coping mechanism is this: Get them out of your life before they can cause more hurt. It doesn't matter who it is, family or friend. If my heart feels threatened, I go into fight and flight mode immediately and burn the bridge.
In each phase of my education I have had one or two best friends. In elementary school I had one best friend. Then in middle school we grew apart so I found two new best friends. Again, once we got to high school we drifted apart, partly because I transferred to a different school. Then in high school I got another new best friend. We were two peas in a pod. Totally inseparable. We made some of the best memories together in high school. Then college came, and you guessed it, things changed. She moved away to school while I stayed home to focus on maintaining stable health. I envied the college experience she was having. She was living away from home, making new friends, going to parties. Everything I wanted to be doing myself in Tennessee. I would visit her some weekends, but I always felt out of place. I wasn't in on the inside jokes, I didn't know all the people around me. I saw her becoming close with new girls and drifting further away from me. Eventually we got into a fight about some stupid thing and I did what I had learned to do- I slammed the door on our relationship, locked it, threw away the key and didn't think twice. We didn't speak for quite some time.
Prior to recovery if someone hurt me, I just restricted more. My brain would tell me that it was my fault that the person did what they did to hurt me so I needed to punish myself by not allowing myself to eat. Restricting was like killing two birds with one stone; I would punish myself, but I would also be numbing my emotions. I wouldn't feel the hurt or betrayal. However, that isn't an option anymore in my life of recovery even though it is tempting. Now, I just go to my fight and flight mode which isn't much healthier. I still am not facing issues head on. I'm still choosing a path that allows me to ignore facing the issues head on. But like I said in a previous post, I am working on it.
Around six years ago I went through this dance with my dad. We had some issues in our relationship which was new for us because I have been Daddy's baby girl. We spent evenings playing basketball in the driveway or special trips to Speedway to get a pop and a snack, never fighting. At the time, I was beginning to relapse. I was falling back into my old ways of dealing with relationship conflict. It was time to numb out. It didn't last long though. My therapist was monitoring my weight and could see the decline in my health. We had a very close relationship, so I didn't even hide the relapse from her. Together we worked on getting my health stable again, but that would mean I could no longer numb the emotions that came with my issues with my dad. Plan B was to fight and fly away. I said what I was feeling to him, but didn't listen to his side of things. I didn't give him the chance to. He respected the time I needed to have space, but in my mind I was done. But, I couldn't do it. I needed my dad. I grieved and missed the close relationship we had my entire life. Things needed to get better. I didn't think I could manage to have a productive conversation with him on my own because I knew I would shut down again, so I asked him to come to therapy with me. Together we sat on my therapist's brown couch and hashed it out. Both sides were given their time to speak and healing began. It didn't happen over night, but it happened and I thank God for it.
Time does heal some things on its own. My high school best friend and I speak again, almost daily. I don't even remember what our fight was about. She still lives about three hours away, but when we talk it is like nothing has changed since high school. Reconnecting with her has been such a blessing for me. Best friends truly are forever. I also talk with my middle school best friends! Again, not much seems to have changed! We still talk about silly things and share pictures from when we were 13.
Rebuilding relationships is something I am working on with my therapist. Relationships are worth fighting for and I can't be afraid to work through the hard stuff with other people if they are an important figure in my life. I can't always numb out the emotions or run away from the difficult conversations. Life is too short to live without friends and family. Be open about your feelings, take time to forgive and rebuild. It is worth it!!
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<3 Stay Strong and Beautiful