This is an attempt to illustrate what my work with parts is like. I wrote in my journal exactly what was going on, when it was happening.
Sunday, July 18
I think if I can’t do anything else, maybe I should try to work with my parts. I felt “can’t go on” earlier, so I turned that way and immediately got burning and fear in my stomach. What’s going on for you? I am terrified! I’m exhausted! Sounds pretty bad. No wonder you feel exhausted. Do you know what you’re afraid of? Something terrible! Now listen to me. what you are afraid of did happen, you did get left alone, but you survived. You are still here. I am the you that’s grown older. You’ve been stuck in a pocket of time, while I’ve gone on living and growing. I don’t like being alone much, but it hasn’t killed me. Does that help? Can’t go on is stopped with surprise. Deep breath. Stomach gurgle. I ask would you like a hug? The part is in a place of astonishment. I won’t hug you until you tell me it’s OK… She flings herself into my arms. I hold her saying Welcome! Welcome! She is crying tears of relief like waking from a bad dream. I think of Edith confessing to Mary that she stole the Little Things. Redemption. I feel another slight chill of fear. I think it’s not “can’t go on” but another one wanting the same. I tell it I’m sorry, I can only manage one at a time. I ask it to dial back and it does. Thank you. I want to give my attention to can’t go on. Somewhere in there I had a big burp.
“Pocket of time” is a term Nancy Napier uses to describe the experience of a part. “Stomach gurgle” something my therapist told me is an indicator of trauma release, like a yawn that mens the nervous system is shifting from activated to relaxed. “Burp” is another one, that’s why I write them down when they occur. “Dial it back” is asking the parts to lower the amount of emotion so I can function.
I named this part “Can’t Go On.” Edith and Mary and the Little Things are from a novel by Elizabeth Goudge.
Now an ache in my heart, turns into a chill, I think it’s grief for all the lost parts, that there are so many of them. Listen, dear ones, you have to dial it back. I want to be able to be there for each of you, just as I was there for can’t go on. I have to go on and check email, have breakfast, walk the dog.
Monday, July 19
Thinking about what happened with D. She says I yelled at her on purpose. I tried to explain it was a part of me that was triggered, but she doesn’t get that the part is not here now, but there then. Maybe it was “fight” energy not flight, and she was right to say I had a lot of anger — maybe that’s even what the heat is — but that’s the reptilian brainstem, not the neo-cortex. The only thing the neo-cortex could have done would have been to recognize the anger right away and choose not to act out. But it’s something that happens so rarely that I don’t have any practice in catching it in time. I remember as a child something I called “red rage,” going up the stairs in Maine, saying “Rugs, Rags, Rhubarb and Rhinoceri!”
I remember using all these R-words as swear words because the usual Damn and Hell didn’t express my feelings. I was probably a teenager. When we were traveling together in Europe, my friend Bettie told me I didn’t have to lose my temper. I think I must have learned from my father because he did have explosions of temper. But after Bettie said that, I found I didn’t have to do it.
It’s so amazing. I’ve been continuously in my adult since I started writing — except that my handwriting is badly deteriorated. It’s pouring rain.
I thought about parking outside 45 Lyme and felt a swell of “fear” — maybe it’s more complex than that. I started to say “What you are afraid of never happened” and realized that this was probably a different part. I asked “What are you afraid of?” Got no answer but when I started writing the feeling faded. I’m getting that this one is afraid of doing something wrong and getting rejected. I remember that Lisa was more amused than angry when I said I had trouble with the scheduling, and was totally willing to do it for me, instead of insisting that I “shape up.” I can feel scared one relax.
Lisa is a Physical Therapist who works at 45 Lyme.
I think I went back with Jeanne to her apartment…
Thinking about resilience, how she has managed. Listened to gsig-tana-mook’s TED talk where he says how amazing that he could still speak the language his ancestors spoke. I think how amazing that I have survived everything that happened to me, and how lucky that I had money and could afford the therapy, and maybe that’s why I am called to do this deeper work. A wave of hope in resilience swells in my heart, — burp — a knowing that we are going to make it. Maybe not save the planet but at least create a community of everyone.
Jeanne is a friend dealing with Post-polio syndrome. She pretty much lives her life from a wheel chair. She needed help packing to go to Maine.
gkisedtanamoogk is the correct spelling of the name of the man I learned about in the film Dawnland, and who was one of the writers in The Gatherings.
Back from walking Mocha. While I ate breakfast I read more in The Gatherings, working to strengthen and return to the Resilient One in me. Getting ready to walk Mocha, another big surge of fear. I said “I have to take Mocha out, but I’ll pay attention to you. Please tell me what you need.” I get that it needs reassurance that it is not a weakling and a coward. I tell it/her “NO. You are facing and dealing with issues that D, strong as she is, has refused to face.” — teeth chattering — I’m wearing my Journey T-shirt and remember that I say in my monologue that I’m a weakling and a coward. “If I weren’t I could get somebody to listen to me!” O yes! get somebody to listen to me. That in some ways was the worst of my abuse. Neither Mom nor Dad listened to me and validated what was going on for me. I tell that one now “People don’t listen because they don’t want to face the things you are courageous enough to face.”
Resilient One is an older self, older than I am now, who has learned to live after initiation. Teeth chattering is a trauma release I learned about from Somatic Experiencing.
Tuesday, July 20
Terror got big before I even started cooking breakfast. I realize I hadn’t responded to C’s email about scheduling a day for her to come and help me, and I also got a bunch of emails from A about the Perseid meteor shower and other sky-watching. I realized that I’m afraid both of them will judge me for falling apart. So I have a part who’s terrified of judgement, and a part who’s angry at me for falling apart. Yesterday started out with me feeling so good and solid in my real self. The sense of resilience in my heart. And now it’s all gone. “Don’t think you’re so great!” That part is angry at me for feeling good.
“Falling apart” essentially means that I can’t do something that would probably help if I could do it. It’s the triggered fear that stops me, not the fear of actually doing the thing. At least if it’s a thing I know I can do. Stage fright never stopped me. I don’t know why this fear does. Maybe because part of it is “freeze,” and what’s triggered is a very young part not an adult. Gosh that’s hard to explain!