[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 about a conversation with my therapist – continued from previous post]
Edward: So . . . did something happen with your friends?
Me: Well, maybe . . . yeah . . . there was a Judy Blume book they were talking about where a girl lost her virginity and there was pain involved. I wanted to get a copy of that book and I asked my girlfriends how to get a hold of it. They thought it was weird that I wanted to get a hold of the book so badly.
And, whenever I would babysit someone’s kids, I would always thumb through their books on their bookshelves . . . or I’d look in their nightstands for “how to” books on sex . . . I’d mostly try to find text where someone was getting raped – where there was pain . . . (I stumbled around for words) . . . you know . . . there was pain because the girl would be a virgin . . .
Edward: So, the feeling of being disgusting would come from the fact that you would go looking for that kind of material in people’s books?
Me: Yes . . . and that it was arousing for me . . . and that I would masturbate to it . . .
I learned very quickly that you don’t talk about that – I learned you don’t tell people that rape scenes are arousing for you. Anytime I brought it up to my girlfriends, they would tell me, “You are a pervert!” so I learned to keep that quiet.
Edward: And that caused shame to be attached to your fantasies and your arousal?
Me: Yes, of course.
(After taking a deep breath) I think I hung onto the memories of being molested through the fantasies . . . like the fantasies were the version of the story I could tolerate remembering. I do have faint memories of starting to make sense of the fantasies . . . filling in the details about the sex act . . . what specific part of my body would experience the pain and what specific part of the man’s body would create the pain . . . that it was about rape and not really about having babies . . . but, I don’t remembering recalling the abuse, just the fantasies.
Edward: It would make perfect sense for you to masturbate to rape fantasies, given what you went through.
Me: I logically understand that now, but I didn’t know that back then. But, the way things unfolded in my childhood caused me to attach shame to so much of who I am. I got the message I was disgusting.
(Becoming emotional again) I’ve had a lifetime of thinking I’m disgusting. I logically know I’m not, but it’s all I’ve ever known . . . to think of myself that way. It’s engrained . . . decades of believing that about myself . . . it is what I’ve always known about myself.
It is a core belief – a firmly rooted one . . . I don’t think I can change it.
And . . . there is no way I can be in a relationship when I believe that about myself.
(I got hit with strong emotion again . . . shame, hopelessness . . . it was so heavy and it kept me from taking a deep breath. Edward sat silently with me for quite a while until I caught my breath again.)
Edward: Marie, there are so many emotions showing up here . . . I’m wondering what is underneath your emotions . . . I’m wondering what is underneath your tears . . .
Are you able to identify that?
(I shrugged my shoulders)
Edward: Are you sad that a romantic relationship hasn’t manifested for you yet? Are you grieving the time you’ve lost . . . years of your life that you missed out on having a relationship . . . ??
Or, are you grieving the perceived absence of the possibility that it will ever happen?
Me: I’m sad that I’m never going to have a relationship . . . I want to have it . . . it is a basic human need and I’m never going to have it.
It’s like if I had a dream of being a professional basketball player . . . at some point I have to realize I’m too short for that to ever occur and I have to let go of that dream. The same is true here . . . I’m never going to have a relationship and I need to let go of that hope.
It is less painful to have no hope than it is to have hope and have it dashed again and again. I have to let go of the hope. I can’t tolerate having hope.
Edward: (Very gently) There is a difference between not yet having something and not yet having the skills/ability to create it . . . it is possible to shift from one to the other . . .
I felt another wave of anger and frustration hit me and I started disconnecting from reality . . . I allowed myself to drift out the window and into the tree tops . . . Edward patiently waited for me to return . . .
While I was drifting, I tried to figure out what was going on with me. I kept thinking I was angry he was pushing me to change how I was showing up in relationships – but then I realized he wasn’t pushing me to change anything . . . really, he was inviting me to consider another possibility . . .
Me: I’m angry because it hurts when you poke me.
Edward: (With great concern) Does it feel like I’m poking you?
Me: Well, yeah . . . it feels like you are poking a sore spot. I understand that it is healthy for me to go through this, but it hurts and I’m angry because I don’t like this.
Edward: I didn’t mean to poke a sore spot. I am so sorry that this conversation is causing you pain.
Me: It’s not like you doing it to be mean; it’s just a necessary part of your job. It’s like when my chiropractor presses on a knotted muscle . . . it’s got to be done and it’s good for me, but it really hurts at the time, in the short run.
(Once again, Edward observed me carefully for a few moments before he spoke . . . )
Edward: Marie, what is it you really want to tell me? Can you tell me?
(His question caused me to look underneath the anger . . . I was able to peek at the repressed raw emotion that was threatening to explode . . . I warned myself to keep it contained . . . it was too dangerous . . . I couldn’t allow all that to explode onto Edward, he is not the cause, he doesn’t deserve it . . . )
Edward: There . . . what is that? What did you just tap into?
Me: I can’t unload all that onto you.
Edward: Yes, you can . . . it is safe for you to do that in here. I can handle it.
[Continued in the next post . . . ]