Posted by: Marie | August 27, 2009

(133) Compelled to waste opportunity

Post #133
[Private journal entry written on Monday, May 25, 2009]

Yesterday’s epiphany has given way to additional epiphanies . . .

I have uncovered a second way in which I’m often triggered. My perceived order and control often feels threatened when someone with whom I have started to connect emotionally pulls away from me. (Ah, good ole’ rejection!) As soon as a connection blooms, I create a detailed, complex picture in my mind of how the relationship is going to function – what I will give and what I will receive. When the other party doesn’t follow my playbook, I feel like I’m losing control – resulting in a severe triggering.

On the Hike by Martin Chen

On the Hike by Martin Chen

So, there is a third angle to my being triggered . . . when I have a block of opportunity (as in time and energy, sometimes money) available to me, I get freaked at the possibility that I won’t be able to get everything done that I “should” be able to get done. I become paralyzed.

It would make sense for me to work as hard as possible and get as much done as possible – but, no . . . I go hide my head under the covers and allow large chunks of the opportunity to pass me by. Then, because I’m disappointed in myself, I get depressed. When I have to do even the simplest task, it is so painful . . . I drag myself out of bed and groan and cuss under the strain of the most routine tasks.

I have no idea why I am compelled to waste great windows of opportunity – I don’t seem to experience a particular cognitive fear (like a fear of success?) during those times, at least not one I can identify. Mostly, I’m numb or sleeping (that would be one and the same?) So, I’ll have to work on that one some more – however, I can identify by gut feel that it is a control issue . . . but it exists in a vacuum (as opposed to positive pressure) . . if that makes any sense to anyone out there. It is a tactile association more than a logical one. I’ll get back to you later on it, after I arrive at a better understanding of it.

Once I had these epiphanies today, I reviewed my journal/blog for confirmation – it was so easy to see example after example of this. It is so obvious to me now. I’m surprised that neither therapist saw how threats to the order in my life, or perceived control of my life, would often trigger emotional nosedives. Maybe they did see it and thought it was so obvious it didn’t need to be pointed out to me.

When I look back at my journal entries written to Dr. Barb, I can see that she was actually feeding my need for control by praising me for sticking with a strict diet and exercise plan and by insisting I maintain militant control over my thoughts.

I do think it is a good idea to take care of myself and to manage my thoughts – doing so absolutely does impact my overall health and sense of well being. However, it felt like her approval of me as a client and as a person was contingent upon my following her program to the letter, even if it meant gritting my teeth to get through it. I felt I had to earn her approval and acceptance (no approval = LOSER!!)

She also fed my fears by not allowing me the space to examine and identify what I feared (loss of control) – I could have really benefited from her outside viewpoint. But again, I felt that she would not approve of me, and would surely “fire” me as a client, if I dared to express the ugliness I was feeling and experiencing. Such ugliness was simply not allowed in her world – those were the rules (break the rules = LOSER!!)

What I really needed from her was a place where I could be imperfect and still be approved of – where I could release my chokehold on “control” and still be safe. I did have that with Mark, at least for a while.

So, I’m not sure what to do about all this yet – I haven’t gotten that far in the process – it’s only been one day since I started having these ephianies. However, just being able to recognize it has already been helpful. As I’m in the process of being fearful and of attempting to maintain my death grip on “control”, I can see myself doing what I do – almost like I’m standing outside myself, observing someone else. It almost humors me, I can almost laugh at myself – and in turn, my death grip loosens just a bit.

I guess I’ll put “figuring it out” on my summer “to do” list. Hah!

Quotes 044


  1. The way I use the words, the difference between anxiety and fear is that fear has an object. It sounds like you are in the grip of anxiety about wasted opportunities. It is much harder to get a handle on than fear.

    This is big stuff. I’ll be interested to see how the control stuff unfolds.

    • Hi, Evan –

      I would agree with you that I’m dealing more with anxiety than fear . . . how cool that you can figure that out from just a few paragraphs!

      Thanks for your input!

      – Marie

  2. Hi Marie,

    It sure seems like you are making huge progress while not in therapy. Well perhaps the therapy led you to this places. But it sure sounds like it is all you.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • Hi, Kate –

      I have to laugh at your comment . . . that is EXACTLY how I’m feeling when I look back at my journey . . . that therapy did a lot to show me what I DON’T need to do. When I recognized that I had the ability to determine what wasn’t working for me in therapy, I gained the confidence in my own ability to determine what I DO need to do. I figured out I didn’t need a therapist to tell me . . . my gut was doing a fine job of telling me.

      I think there are some really good therapists out there who can help people like me . . . and my first therapist did help, up until the point he tried to convert me to his religion.

      For whatever reason, I picked two therapists who were not able to provide the support I needed. But, I’m now doing well on my own . . . for now.

      – Marie

  3. Hi Marie,

    Well I have to say living in a small town meant that you only had a few therapists to choose from.

    I’m glad that you are doing well on your own. I can reflect that the most healing I have gotten was from books, working on self-care and life, and the support from other survivors in groups, in friendships and online. I’m glad that you started your blog and that it has brought you the kind of support that is more in line with your own intuitive needs.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • Very well said, Kate! You hit the nail on the head!

      – Marie

  4. I’ve been reading, and reading your blog Marie, I am attempting to make sense of it and I cant. It is like my own journey…I ask myself why horrible things happened to Me, how did I end up here in a dark room alone and then I answered to myself; I’t doesnt really matter b/c I am strong (even when I feel weak), I can deal with this, an with many other challenges and I will CONTINUE smiling like I am doing right now.

    • Hi, Marisol –

      I am so sorry that you have had horrible things happen to you and that you find yourself in a dark room alone. I’m not even sure what to say to help you.

      There seems to be hope in finding good in the pain . . maybe a purpose like helping others who are going through the same thing. That is what I’m reaching for . . .

      – Marie

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