My kitten and I had a huge argument today. Except: it wasn’t actually her, it was my brain weasel Lucy, disguised as her – and the whole thing happened inside my head.
I’ve been feeling insecure lately. My health has been faltering, most likely an after-effect from the Covid infection I had back in September. It meant I got sick 3 times over a short period of time, and it left me feeling a lot weaker than I’m used to.
My exercise regime got completely sidetracked for a while, and as I’m trying to pick it up again, my body is fiercely protesting that I’m too old for this shit. That I should retire and leave this to younger men.
On dates my penis has been decidedly less enthusiastic, taking much longer to spring into action and sometimes blankly refusing at all. It’s been a big blow to my self-esteem. It’s a reminder of how much of my self-image is still tied to my body, and how much detoxing I still have to do there.
But back to the argument. She had a date, and this one was a bit scary. The guy in question was younger than me, more fit than me, you get the idea. Rationally I know she prefers the nerdy guys, but this hit me right in the insecurities.
Originally, I’d indicated that I’d appreciate a check-in afterwards, but if work got in the way, I’d just self-soothe. After some thought, it didn’t sit right with me. I noticed that I’d offered to self-soothe because I felt that’s what I was supposed to offer. I was making myself small, not wanting to be a burden, not wanting to take up space.
When I realised that, I texted her, saying I did actually need a call – and that’s when Lucy pounced. She painted the whole following conversation for me. The cold refusal, the scoffing reply to not be a baby, the eye-roll. Now, for those of you that actually know my kitten, you’ll know this is about as far from how she’d respond as you can get. She’d never react to me like that.
That’s what brain weasels do. They take someone you love, and paint a caricature of them, an evil twin that acts out your fears. It has nothing to do with the actual person, and everything with your own trauma. In fact, I also recognised that I’d been on the receiving end of exactly this pattern in a previous relationship. I’d be trying to defend myself from something I didn’t actually do, but which the version of me in her head did. This whole thing of playing out the conversation in my head is a trauma response. My tendency to take the conclusion of that imaginary argument and act on it is a safety mechanism.
Thanks to therapy, I recognised it. So, I regulated, and we had a lovely call after our date. I shared my fears, I cried a little, and we both had a laugh about the image of Lucy in a kitten wig. It all went much better than the picture in my head. I felt loved, supported and seen. I gave Lucy a mental hug. The poor thing is just trying to keep my safe, but I hope that one day she’ll learn that I already am safe.
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