Posted by: Marie | March 19, 2009

(34) Secrecy vs. privacy

Post #34
[Journal entry written to my therapist on Sunday, May 4, 2008]

Hi, Mark –

So, picture a room that is occupied by my soul – a room that has been filled with poisonous fumes for most of a lifetime.  One day, with the help of a gifted mentor, I open widely the doors and windows.  Using a monster of a shop fan, I push the old air out and draw in fresh air.

As the dust is settling, I look around the room and see a jumble of furniture.  Curious, I start digging around and find two matching, shapely dining chairs – but they are heavily encrusted in dirt and grime.  I look around for a space in the room where I can work on cleaning them up – there is no space, so I move some furniture around until I have a workspace in the corner – but the floors and walls are also covered in crud.

So, I get a bucket, rag, water and soap and scrub the floor and wall in that workspace.  The space is small, but sufficient, and clean.  I carry the two chairs into that space and begin uncovering the story they have to tell.

I soon discover the fine details carved into the backrests, and the life-like flowers hand-painted onto the seats.  These chairs are masterpieces.  They are to be cherished and cared for.  They have great value.  I had not been aware, before that time, that anything in the room had value.  In fact, I had never truly understood the concepts of value and organic beauty before cleaning the crud off those chairs and examining their beauty.  But, I am beginning to see that the room is filled with treasures just waiting to be discovered.

As I’m having this epiphany, my mentor stops by.  He is excited that I have cleared a space where I can start placing my valuable furniture, as I unbury and clean each piece – a space where respect and honor reigns.  I am excited about the chairs and I want to share the discovery with him.  However, when I start to describe the finely detailed craftsmanship I found, and the pleasure it brings to me, I find that I am suddenly shy.

Hmmm … I wonder what is causing this shyness . . . ??  I think back to just a few weeks earlier when I was literally compelled to share every little intimate detail about the contents of the room.  I realize the compulsion came from pain – the content was like a festering sliver of wood stuck deep in my finger – it hurt so badly that all I could think about was finding someone to help me get rid of it – I told anyone who would listen about it.

Now the pain is fading, and I realize the need to share every detail is dissolving with it.  Instead, I am feeling a desire to place a boundary between my mentor and the pleasure created for me by the chairs.  It is not shyness, nor is it shame or embarrassment – I am baffled for a moment as I struggle to identify what I am feeling.  Suddenly, it comes to me – a new term, a new concept – I am experiencing a need for privacy.

Privacy!  This is the first time I have ever had a need for privacy!  I’ve always had a need for secrecy, but never privacy – I didn’t even know there was a difference!  Ha!  I now have something that I cherish, something I want to protect because it has value – healthy, appropriate value!  Someday I may invite an intimate partner to sit in the other chair with me, to share erotic conversations, but not today – not with my mentor.

As I reflect on my newly found need for privacy, and my newly constructed boundary, I realize I am beginning to heal and to build a new identify.  This is good!  So, in other words, I’m choosing to not share the details of my wholesome sexual fantasies with you . . . that is private!  How does that grab you!?!?!

The “Boundaries” book talks about how people like me build boundaries to keep the good stuff out and the bad stuff in – I didn’t understand what that meant until the moment I recognized my need for privacy – I believe I now have identified the first of many “things” in my collection of good stuff that I plan to keep in.

–––––––––––––––––––––

Thank you for helping me understand the definition of a secret – I can see that I keep certain things from my mom because they aren’t her business, but if she asked me directly about them, I would tell her the truth – therefore, those things are not secret, they are private.

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At the end of our last session, I thought about bringing something up – the night my emotions were lubed with wine (big meltdown night two weeks ago), I was angry at my dad for not only creating an environment where I had to pretend I was someone else in order to preserve my place in the family, but I was angry that he created an environment where I was so desperate that I would become emotionally attached to my rapist just so I could have some attention from an older man.

Now that I don’t have wine in my system, I’m less willing to be angry about that – or is it healthy to be angry about that?

–––––––––––––––––––––

Over the weekend, I had dreams where I was walking down a street and came to a railroad track – a train came by and I got sucked under the train – I dreamed the same dream over and over, maybe 10-15 times.  Then I woke up and the memory of riding in “X’s” car from the church to their house came to me and I had the same feeling of being sucked under by a powerful force, but the powerful force was the car (“X” was driving the car) – I felt like there was nothing I could do about it except shut my eyes.

On Friday and Saturday, I kept having flashbacks during my waking hours – so much emotion – I have been very, very sad.  I feel like the adult “me” is holding and rocking the child “me” in her arms and crying for what is/was happening.

At least the memories and dreams are less traumatic for me now – it feels like they are breaking loose and moving out of me – like they are passing through my brain and over my heart on their way out – that I am gaining power.

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I want to make sure I understand the responsibility you gave to me last week – you are leaving it up to me to determine when it is time for us to stop seeing each other – correct?  I wonder if that is good – I am fine with that responsibility, but might it be a good idea for me to learn how to handle it, if you happen to be the one who leads us in that direction?

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I can see that, even after developing our relationship as much as we have, there is still trust issues on my part – I understand what you mean when you pointed out that solid trust in a dating relationship would also take significant time to develop and that I should keep that in mind when I’m deciding how long to wait before sleeping with someone.

– Marie


Responses

  1. Secrecy vs privacy…that really caught my attention. Like a light bulb moment. I have never thought of that before. I wonder how I would know the difference between the two in my life. I have a need for privacy as well as secrecy. And have I been a private person because of secrets? Thank you for this thought provoking post.

    • Hi, lostinamaze –

      For me, the difference between the two is the presence or the absence of fear . . .

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment!

      – Marie


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