The Unconscious Mind

I saw my counsellor, Caroline again today and brought up what she said last week about me having Borderline Personality Disorder and she casually said, “Oh no, I didn’t mean you, I meant your Dad. I don’t think you have any kind of personality disorder at all.” I was equally relieved and angry at the same time. What kind of counsellor throws something so important out there at the end of a session and doesn’t clarify what she means or who it’s about and then casually responds to it like it didn’t particularly matter? I’ve spent the entire week in turmoil and back to believing that it was my fault that I’ve had abusive relationships all because her flippant remark made me believe she was talking about me. I’ve already paid for my sessions in advance but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be returning to her again. I’ve lost all trust in her now but I have paid so I decided to see out my last few sessions.

We did some EMDR although Caroline made a point of saying that despite the fact she’s trained in it, she doesn’t really like and would prefer to do something else with me which shook my faith in her even more. We started off the EMDR session with the memory of the time that Dad bought all of my sisters a present but didn’t get me one. Caroline got me to think about that and the way it made me feel while she tapped on my hands one after the other. As she did so, I could feel my eyes, which were closed, flicking from side to side as they do in REM sleep. As they flicked, so images and memories came to the surface – at first nothing too significant – images of me walking past the bathroom and away from the scene with my Dad and sisters, but then, as we carried on, more important memories came to mind. I remembered my dolls and how much I loved to sit and cuddle them and how I felt as though they were all I had in the world. The next memory was of going into the shed and finding my favourite doll covered in mould. It had been missing for ages and I strongly felt that Millie had taken the doll and hidden it there. I then recalled a moment where I felt scared and desperately wanted my dolls, I was saying, “I love my dolls. I want my dolls.” Comfort and love were what I needed. But the strongest memory that came back to me was a paper cutting guillotine. I could see myself being forced by Dad to put my fingers in the guillotine and then him threatening to cut my fingers off. I was screaming inside, “He’s going to kill me! He’s going to kill me!” I felt absolutely petrified.

At some point, the images and memories all changed to being in my Nan’s house, of watching Blind Date, eating Nan’s food and feeling loved and happy and I realised that, with Nan, I always felt safe and loved. She was my only safety. She saved me.

Now, back at home, I’m really thinking about the memory of the guillotine. I’d forgotten about it totally and I’m so amazed how EMDR helps old memories to resurface that clearly need processing. It reminds me of a time I joined a local choir just before I left Tom. One day, a woman walked in and I instantly recognised her face but couldn’t think who she was. I went over to her, told her that I somehow knew her and asked her every question under the sun to determine who she was. Every question apart from, “What’s your name?” I spent the rest of the week afterwards wracking my brains trying to figure out who she was but couldn’t and then the following week, our choir leading called out her name and suddenly, I remembered how I knew her. Everything came back to me in an instant. She used to live over the road from me when I was between the ages of three and seven and then we moved house and I never saw her again. That was such a significant moment for me, realising that we never truly forget anything. It’s all stored somewhere in our brain just waiting for something to trigger the memory and if it can happen with a neighbour I haven’t seen for almost thirty years and it can happen with my Dad threatening to cut my fingers off with a guillotine, then it makes me wonder what else is being stored there, waiting to be triggered or waiting to be released and healed. Or what is in there, unconsciously running my life and maybe not for the better?

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