As I keep mentioning, my therapy right now is a very intense, very difficult treatment for PTSD. It's hard to explain precisely (because I know only what I read on the internet and there are some modifications being made to make this work for me), but the goal seems to be to make me go through experiences until I am able to do so without blaming myself, trying to be responsible for things that happened to me, etc. Right now we mostly go through the current topic and I say things about my responsibility and we talk about that not being true and then repeat. I am at least starting to pick up the concept but it is so hard to understand. And then last night I made some additions to this story because I remembered this huge chunk of the story that had gone away, and that made me think about some of my past that we're not even working on but which we'll get to, and I realized that I was much younger than my niece when bad things started, and I thought a lot about how a child that age has no power in this kind of situation. But she shouldn't need it. The child is just learning how to say "I love you" and still has to keep her arms out to balance herself when she runs and even the skills she is advanced (very close to what I was advanced in) give her no protection. She may say she's a toddler but in many ways she is a baby. A baby who truly trusts her family because she's been taught to be secure. Yet when I was her age terrible things were happening to me. I basically didn't get to be the delightful age she's age she is now because my innocence about things like people who should love me will hurt me, I have to keep secrets because I caused this to happen, and I knew the threats if I told.
I have known that I was so young when this happened. But it wasn't until I thought about that little girl I love so much in that situation that I knew how terrible this was. It's a different perspective than I've ever had and so I was up crying most of the night. When I put her down for a nap and she snuggles in to be comfortable and we rock and read and sing and in general she tals herself to sleep, in that time she trusts me. For the first time this week she woke and yelled for Aunt Jen instead of crying when Mommy wasn't there. When we take walks or go somewhere she trusts me to keep her safe, holding out her little hand to hold mine. She loves to have 2 grown-ups so she has 2 hands being held. I have always taken all of this for granted; of course she knows I"ll take care of her. But that wasn't true for me. I have never loved anyone like that little girl. And that is exactly how all her parentes, grandparents, great-grandparent, uncles and 2 aunts feel about her. She feels safe and secure with everyone who cares for her and doesn't have any idea that the world can hurt. I don't remember not knowing that because I never had that setcurity or love. What I thought was love was abuse and I didn't know anything about trust.
Mostly though I keep thinking of her laying on the changing table the other day. My sister was changing her and I was rubbing her head and looking at her face. She looks so much like my sister did as a toddler right now, and I was thinking absently how she has my tiny nose and mouth, my sister's bone structure and ultra-fine hair and tiny, perfect ears, and my brother-in-law's huge brown eyes. And it should not be something anyone even thinks about that she's not ever been hurt by another person. Yet to me it is absolutely amazing.
I look at my sister and am amazed by her strength. Some things were different for her but she left our childhood so much better than I did. I am sure this is a combination of bipolar and some of the things I experienced she didn't, but she did not have anything close to a normal childhood and horrible things happened to her too and yet she is raising this amazing, secure child. I'm so glad for her. But it's not exactly unnatural for me to wish I'd been able to be where she is, and that she knows how to raise at child who just lives in a safe world, something I have dreamed of and never, ever had.
But I am so glad that she has that security and that she feels safe enough to love me without hesitation.
I do however wish that I didn't have to wait from Friday evening to Monday afternoon to meet with Dr. Mind because all of this has blown my mind. I think I got way off the track that I was supposed to be on, yet I don't think it's wrong because I'm struggling with how to make sense of the numerous things I'm trying to make sense of.
My little niece may teach me more than I can ever teach her.
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