Susan is making some ‘progress’ in therapy. How do I know? Easy. I can see it.
No, she is not dancing around the house naked. She is not singing or making suggestions for something for us to do together. She is not acting as a ‘normal’ person, whatever the fuck it is that normal people do. She is still working, thank God she can still work because this keeps her occupied (and yes, brings in some money). But she still spends most of her off hours dissociating or writing in her journal. Pretty much like she’s been for the last few years.
She is hitting herself. Hard enough to break skin and probably cause scarring.
I can see the injuries. I can feel the injuries. I’m not sure what she is using. Probably some ordinary item found in our house – any house. There is nothing I can do to stop her from hurting herself, short of staying with her 24/7. Thankfully, she is not hurting herself to the point of needing hospitalization or death. She has disclosed what she is doing to her therapist. She is not cutting or scratching her arms.
This is not the first, or second or third times she is self-harming. I don’t have a panicked reaction to what she is doing, like the first time it happened. I’ve learned, sadly, this is what many sex abuse survivors do to feel something. But I do react to her harming herself. Disgust and anger at the abusers; I’m scared it might go to far. I’m on alert to watch for signs. I’m saddened that she has to hurt herself. This hurts me and scares me in a different way.
The chart sort of applies to Susan. If I could melt the blue side and the purple side together, that, in my unprofessional mind would be Susan. She describes it to me as something building up inside her that is controllable for a time. Eventually she can no longer suppress the urge and self-injures. Yes, it sounds sexual. She said sometimes there is a sexual component to it but most often not. She wants to experience relief, control, real and loved. A parent who loves their child beats them to proved they are loved. Or so that was the sick way she was raised. Pain = love.
She has to fantasize about the person who is inflicting the beating. She told me in the past it was some faceless person who administered the punishment. Now she sees me as her punisher. I asked if she must do this, she imagine someone else as her punisher. She said it doesn’t work unless I am the one hurting her.
I feel myself pulling away.