[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 about a conversation with my therapist – continued from previous post]
(There was another long pause. So, with frustration creeping into my voice, I asked . . . )
Me: So, what’s next? What do we do about this?
Edward: We could talk about the sexual abuse.
Me: (Abruptly and angrily) Yeah, I guess we could.
Edward: (Thoughtful pause) What’s coming up for you?
Me: It’s just . . . It’s just that I’m not sure what happened – I’m not sure if I really was molested.
Edward: (Quietly) Yes, you are.
Me: (Angrily) No, I really don’t know for sure.
Edward: (After a careful pause) I think you haven’t had a chance to really express your feelings about it . . .
I think you’ve been polite in your discussions about it and about what happened, but I have the sense that you’ve not had an opportunity to be enraged about it . . . or to express whatever emotions come up for you around it. I think you haven’t had the opportunity to express what you really feel about it.
Me: Well, it is hard to have strong feelings around something I’m not even sure happened.
How do you have strong feelings around something you aren’t even sure happened?
Edward: You may not have cognitive memories of it, but you definitely have strong feelings about it.
Me: Umm . . . I don’t think so. I think I’m ambivalent about it . . .
Edward: I think you do have strong feelings about it. I believe the sexual abuse is where the disgust comes from . . .
And disgust is a strong feeling.
Me: Okay . . . yes, the disgust is a strong feeling. But, the feeling of disgust is about me . . . it’s not about the abuse.
Edward: Yeah, really, it is about the abuse.
It’s just that you turned those feelings in towards yourself instead of turning them towards the perpetrator.
Me: Okay, whatever.
My anger was steadily escalating. I thought: I don’t know why we are going down this path. I don’t even know why we are talking about this. It is a waste of time. I’m not able to identify and articulate my feelings around the abuse . . . I don’t know why we are wasting time on this. Finally, I said the only thing I could think of to say . . .
Me: I’m just angry.
Edward: What are you feeling angry about?
Me: I feel hopeless. This is not ever going to change. I’m always going to feel disgusting. There is nothing we can do that is going to change that.
Edward: What if we started by working on the hopelessness, instead?
Me: I think it doesn’t really matter where we start.
We can start by working on how I feel about myself . . . we can try to shift my belief that I’m disgusting . . . I don’t really care where we start. It doesn’t really make any difference where we start.
The way I feel about myself doesn’t change how other people see me. If a potential beau starts to get to know me, it won’t matter what I think about myself because at some point, he is still going to be disgusted with me – with my body – with my inability to take care of myself as I should be doing.
(With increasing anger) It won’t matter how good or bad I feel about myself – the guy is still going to see the truth . . . that I am fat and disgusting and desperate. I will still be too fat and disgusting to be attractive to him, even if my opinion is that I’m attractive. What I believe about myself is separate from what I really am and how the men in the world see me.
Even if I am able to shift how I think about myself – which feels impossible, by the way – but if I were able to do that and if I were able to convince myself that I am good enough, it won’t change the fact that I still am disgusting and desperate. A guy is still not going to want to be with me. It doesn’t really matter how good I feel about myself.
The truth is, I’m not someone a guy would be interested in – I’m fat and frumpy and no quality guy wants to be with a fat and frumpy person. It won’t matter how good I feel about myself . . . the guy still won’t want to be with me. I don’t even want to deal with it – I don’t want to care if I’m attractive to some random guy, or not.
It is too painful to have hope. If we go down this path, I’ll have to have hope. If I don’t have hope, I won’t be willing to do the work – so then, why bother going there?
I don’t think it will do any good to work on this. I’m kind of hopeless about the whole thing.
Edward: Is it possible that it is not the hope that is painful, but rather it is the hopelessness that follows on the heels of the hope?
Me: (Rudely)Yeah, probably.
I’m just angry. My options are to quit or to go in this direction. You say going in this direction is the best thing to do. I don’t have any better ideas and I have to defer to your expertise.
Edward: Are you telling me that you want to quit therapy?
Me: No, I don’t want to quit therapy . . .
Well, yes, I want to quit therapy . . . but, I’m not willing to quit. So, I guess this is the direction we’ll have to go.
Edward: (Very gently) Okay . . . let’s plan to go in that direction next time.
But, in this moment, I’m wondering what else is coming up for you.
Me: I’m angry because it seems my only option is a waste of time.
We can go “there” – I will go there. But, I don’t have hope that things are going to change. I don’t think it is ever going to be better.
If I quit . . . I don’t know . . . I’m not willing to quit . . . I’m just aggravated . . . and angry.
Edward: Are you angry with me?
Me: No, I’m angry at life . . . God . . . or whatever created this hopeless situation of desperately wanting companionship but not being able to create it.
I don’t want to have hope. I don’t want to want so badly to be in a relationship. I want to not have that need. I don’t want hope to keep showing up when I know there is no room for hope.
Edward: It is not an option for you to not have hope because you are human. You can’t wipe out the desire for romantic partnership because it is a fundamental human need.
Me: I know . . . and that really pisses me off.
I don’t know that it will do any good to work on this stuff. I just don’t have hope.
Edward: Is it okay if I hold that space of hope for you?
Edward: You don’t have to have hope . . .
If you will just keep showing up, I’ll work with you very gently – maybe the first thing we deal with is the absence of hope. We could acknowledge it and let it be . . . not make it wrong or try to change it . . . we’ll just let it be. Maybe that is where we start.
Me: Yeah, whatever.
I’m just angry.
Edward: Yes, I see you are feeling very angry . . . and I see you are feeling very hopeless.
Me: This seems like such a waste of time. But, I don’t have any other options. So, I guess I’ll show up and I guess we’ll do what we do . . .
So, whatever . . .
Suddenly, I had had enough and I needed to get out there – I needed to get away from Edward and his empathy and understanding and kindness – I needed to get away from this wonderful opportunity which I will never be capable of using to create what I really want.
I angrily threw my stuff into my bags and started walking out the door. On my way past Edward, I didn’t move towards him for a hug . . . I just walked out with a quick, “I guess I’ll see you later.”
He said he would check on me. I told him that I had a very full schedule after 3:30 and wouldn’t be able to take his call after that.
He said he would try to call before then. I responded with a cold “okay” and walked out.
It was easy to justify skipping the hug . . . my hands were full with the viola, my therapy bag, my regular bag and my coffee mug . . . yeah, that was a good enough justification.