Wading through molasses

Ever get that feeling like your wading through molasses?  Like your trying to reach the other side of the river, but half way across the water has turned to sticky molasses that is trying to suck you under?  That’s what the last few weeks have felt like.  We’ve had little clues as to what has been causing this, but we’re at the point where we need to write them down in order to try and work them through.

1. We’re incredibly threatened by Liz
A healthy amount of challenging is appropriate from a therapist, but we’ve interpreted Liz’ experience in the dissociative disorders as a threat.  This is for many reasons, pretty much all of them could be assigned to our insecurities and negative experiences with previous mental health professionals.  We know that we can work on this by trying to communicate with Liz as much as we can – we’re starting to do this by giving her a copy of all of our YouTube work.  If nothing else, these clips give a different view-point into our experiences and interpretation of what is occurring.

2. We are increasingly aware of how anger effects us.
Several blogs we’ve read have lately have looked at the issue of anger, predominantly how it is expressed by the abuse survivor.  We do have this as an issue – some of us do feel anger which is not expressed appropriately.  Yes, some of us self-injure; but this is rare and those that do self-injure don’t seem to do it out of anger – or else the anger is off the scale to the point where they appear to be operating on auto-pilot.  But our main issue at the moment is being able to understand how anger is expressed by those around us.  When Kriss doesn’t contact us regularly, we interpret this as the brooding anger that the father exhibited while we were growing up.  Today the team leader was getting angry about a decision that the library manager had made, but was questioning and raising her voice at us instead of the library manager.  This triggered a young one to the point where we nearly crawled under the desk – not a good look for a supposedly mature librarian.

3. Terrified of making therapy about “us”
We know we’ve been in therapy for about 4-5 years, but most of that has been aimed at surviving the abusive marriage.  We’re now at the point where we have to go into therapy and concentrate on us and how we can heal.  This is terrifying!  We learnt from an early age that we are worthless and anything that we do to try and draw positive attention is futile.  Now we’re meant to spend at least an hour per week concentrating on what we need.  That concept is so triggering it’s incredible.

4. Memories of the perfect childhood.
Possibly to give us hope, or possibly just a way this brain plays with itself, we’ve been getting more images of the perfect childhood that some of us created in order to cope with what was happening to us.  It’s a beautiful childhood that involves having a dog, a garden etc.  What is interesting, is that even in our perfect childhood there is no real sense of having a family.

5. Terror that we’re going to get much worse before we get better.
When we see the hell that other survivors are going through, we worry that if we lift the lid on the emotions and memories that some of us hold, we’ll go through something similar.  It’s a very irrational fear based on looking for ways to block therapy and go into the unknown area of healing, but it’s something that hits us every now and again.  We know we’re lucky in our current level of functioning and are worried about losing that.  We also know that losing that functioning doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with healing.

6. Time-frames for healing.
Liz mentioned that it is reasonable to expect someone with Borderline Personality Disorder to have seven years of therapy before healing.  That is a really long time.  We don’t meet the diagnostic criteria for BPD, but it’s still indicative.  It’s still scary.  Management had a time-frame of being “cured” in six months when we first went to therapy, we knew within a couple of weeks that this time-frame wasn’t possible; but we’re scared of a process that could take years and what could happen in that time.  Part of this is because we have so little concept of time – if you’ve ever talked about seven years to a child, you know the sort of reaction that you can get.  We have a similar concept of time.

Trying to remember to take it a moment at a time.


17 Responses to “Wading through molasses”

  1. 1 kerro April 29, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Hi Castorgirl, Yes, I experience wading through molasses, too (only I usually call it “wading through honey” LOL).

    I also thought I’d be “better” in a short period of time (ok, I thought a couple of sessions would fix it. Boy, was I wrong!). I try to remember that healing isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and that’s a good thing because it leads to true and proper healing.

    Healing is incredibly hard, but incredibly worth it. Hang in, moment by moment as you say. It sounds to me like you’re doing a great job.

    Much love to you.

  2. 2 behindthecouch April 30, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Hey you,

    I’ve been told DID – 5 years. Feels a bit like a sentance..

    “5. Terror that we’re going to get much worse before we get better.” right there with ya!

    Have you moved any further forward with accepting her experience as a DID therapist? Can you see benefits as well as fear compared to previous Ts?


  3. 3 Secret Shadows April 30, 2009 at 8:07 am

    I know exactly how you feel. I feel the same sometimes. And as for the therapist stuff…….us too. Our therapist specializes in DID and it has been scary at times, especially in the beginning. It’s not so much now. I can say that it does get better. But I remember that time where we felt so attached to our therapist because she could “see us”, and yet we feared her at the same time because she could “see us.” We went through a long period of sort of a Cat and Mouse game. It was crazy, and I’m so glad that that time has passed. It does get better.

    Secret Shadows

  4. 4 castorgirl April 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Hi Kerro,

    Thank you for the vote of confidence, but we fear that we are mucking it up quite royally :)

    Wading through honey does sound slightly more appealing – still has the same effect, but doesn’t seem as scary for some reason. Apparently because you can see what’s coming to get you if you’re wading through honey, but not through molasses.

    Yeah, I think there’s so many who go into therapy thinking “a few sessions and I’ll be right”. I wonder how many would start therapy if they knew it was going to take years instead of weeks??

    Take care
    B & Sophie :)

  5. 5 castorgirl April 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Hi ya BTC,

    Many abusers don’t get 5 years of jail time, so yes it does seem like a bit of a sentence.

    I think it’s a bit too soon to gauge Liz’ skill and our acceptance of that. We’ve seen her for 4 sessions and have only been given an initial allocation of 10 sessions in total… It’s hard to see the benefits at the moment, especially when she repeatedly is trying to get us to hear things as a grounding technique when we’re hearing impaired… It’s a wait and see thing. We’re being as open as we can, so will see what happens.

    Take care
    B & Sophie :)

  6. 6 castorgirl April 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Hi SecretShadows,

    It’s very much a cat and mouse game – sometimes feels like we’re a mouse chasing our tail, while the therapist cat sits there slightly confused looking on :)

    Liz isn’t a DID specialist, but she has other DID clients. I’ve no idea if she has helped them successfully or not; but where we live just finding someone who knows a little about the dissociative disorders is a big deal.

    Thanks for the re-assurance
    Take care
    B & Sophie :)

  7. 7 David Rochester May 1, 2009 at 6:11 am

    I think you have a much better image than mine … I feel more as though I am chiselling my way out of a block of cement, using only my fingernails. At least you can eat the molasses, if things get really bad. :-)

    The fear of getting worse before you get better isn’t irrational, and if Liz is a good therapist, she’ll prepare you for that reality. Parts of DID therapy are very destabilizing; that’s part of the price we pay for healing. It really, really, really sucks.

    I’ve been told 5-7 years, as well, and it sounds like forever. I keep hoping that it will be less because I process and work so much between sessions, but … I think I’m just deluding myself. I think it gets easier to “take” once you start to see some results, but it’s hard to wait. I didn’t see any real movement until 15 months in, and then whammo, there was a major shift. But it was really hard to keep at it during the non-moving time.

    • 8 castorgirl May 3, 2009 at 4:58 pm

      I know this is totally inappropriate, but I had to laugh… eating molasses – ewwwwww!!!

      Because we’ve already been in therapy for so long, another 5-7 years just sounds too much. I know that most of the past therapy has been predominantly around surviving the abusive marriage, but not sure if we can do another 5 years or so. Also know that Management is forming plans to ensure that we do stay with it and heal.

      Looking forward to a major shift – we get moments of clarity as we realise why we do certain actions and behaviours, it would be good to work through these to a place of understanding and healing as well. Hopefully with Liz this will be possible.

  8. 9 mindparts May 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Hi. I just found your site and look forward to reading more. I just wanted to comment on your point about “things getting worse”. This absolutely doesn’t have to be the case. The shift of focus onto yourself and your healing can be quite helpful. A healthy connection with your therapist, though, is probably key. Paul

    • 10 castorgirl May 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm

      Thank you Paul…

      That’s what we’re beginning to work on now – a healthy connection with Liz. We raised this point with her last week, but mainly looking at the trust issue, and she was quite open about trust being an issue for quite awhile. So she is aware of some of the problems we come with, and is open about addressing them.

      We know the shift of focus onto us is vital, but it’s very hard to do. It’s learned behaviour from the childhood to sit and wait for the people around us to lead the way with their agenda and for us to modify our behaviour to cope with that agenda.

      Take care…

  9. 11 asrais May 2, 2009 at 5:51 am

    Anger is a big thing for us as well. Quite hypersensitive to it. Ready to placate our partner whenever we feel he might be getting upset.

    • 12 castorgirl May 3, 2009 at 5:08 pm

      Yes, displays of anger can be a huge trigger. We used to do anything to placate our ex-husband.

      I hope you’re getting help to find ways in which to cope with it…

      Take care…

  10. 13 Ivory May 3, 2009 at 10:07 am


    I came by to ask if I can add you to my blog. I found this post to read as if I’d written it. Getting worse in therapy is true. Every time I remember something horrific about my past, I want to die.

    It’s not easy “wading thru the muck”, as I call it. I’m glad my T is always there for me because I can’t do it alone. Instead of putting a time limit on my therapy, my T often asks me to try to evaluate how things were when I first began compared to how things are now. Even when I’m knee deep in muck, I have to admit I can see improvement.

    Hang in there, it helps the rest of us.


    • 14 castorgirl May 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm

      Hi Ivory,

      Yes, I’d be honored to have you add my blog to yours :)

      We’re similar to you in that the behaviours of our ex-husband worsened our mental health quite dramatically. In that respect it is easy to draw very concrete comparisons – in the year before the separation we were in contact with Mental Health services at least once a fortnight, were regularly assessed for suicide risk, sectioned under the Mental Health Act once and once stayed overnight in the secure psychiatric ward. Since the separation, we’ve had contact with Mental Health services probably twice and were sent up for a suicide assessment risk once. So there is obvious proof that we’re functioning better. There is also the awareness that our increased functioning means that we’re (at times) at just enough risk as we were, but we now know how to avoid Mental Health services.

      We’re just trying to take it a day at a time, and trying to find little bits of hope wherever we can.

      Take care…

  11. 15 Rachel May 4, 2009 at 1:57 am

    I’d like to add you too, castorgirl … if that’s ok. :)

  12. 17 Rachel May 4, 2009 at 11:13 pm


    thats ok Sophie – I am honoured in return


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