The fortress of solitude 

There are weeks when the challenge is not so much in managing all of the external events that are occurring but rather in managing my own internal reactions. This has been one such week. 

The introvert in me is being heavily assaulted by noise and enquiry. 

Noise because small person has decided that they need both television and music on at the same time. I don’t know if this is a way to give themselves a sense of chaos so that they feel safer or if they are being assuaged by thoughts and memories which are too difficult to bear and this is another strategy for dissociation. Either way they are finding it calming. So despite the fact that it makes me feel like I’m suffocating I’m rolling with it. 

Enquiry because when I see friends they want to know if I’m ok, if violence is up or down, if I’ve heard anymore about our post adoption support assessment and its outcomes, if there’s any news on me returning to work. All of these enquiries come from a place of love and care and are given with great empathy to my responses. I am so grateful for them. But this week they are too much. 

They are too much because I am also attending a series of Therapeutic parenting group sessions. They are run by the clinical psychologist I work with. The idea is great. Everyone shares their experiences and ideas and we learn to be more therapeutic with ourselves as well as our children. Brilliant. 

Unless you are me. I am massively struggling with the group aspect. I come out of sessions feeling that I have taken everyone’s problems as my own, that my burden has not been lifted but increased. 

I know that group therapy can be more powerful and that you should run towards rather than away from the type of therapy that scares you the most because it is that which is likely to have the most transformative power. 

I am familiar with those theories but right now I don’t like them. I am not feeling transformed I am feeling worn down. The other parents in the group are lovely, they are working so hard, they are so brave in sharing their stories. I would hate for them to feel that I resent them in any way. 

My issue at the core is that I can only take so much empathy expressed at once. It’s almost a solid presence in these sessions. I feel so much empathy for everyone, whether I’m sharing their experience now or anticipating that experience in the future. I feel all the empathy expressed by the other parents and by the professionals facilitating the sessions. I am at empathy critical mass. 

The way to deal with this has been to create a fortress of solitude. Unfortunately not made out of crystals like Superman. A great disappointment to all. Instead I’m following the words of JD Salinger. 

‘I’ll read my books and I’ll drink coffee and I’ll listen to music and I’ll bolt the door. ‘

Except I’m obviously drinking tea and I’m writing more than I’m reading. But it is helping and so I’ll continue. 

SiABlo Week 4

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