Posted by: Marie | February 2, 2010

(240) A big empty ache

Post #240
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 – 7pm]

I just arrived home from a business networking event. I had two beers and my sappy, emotional, buzzed side is coming out.

Mark (therapist #1) was there. As always, he greeted me with a warm hug – he is a huggy person by nature.

I try so hard to not be affected by his hugs – I’m not supposed to be affected by my therapist in that way. But, he was wearing a soft fleece vest and I could feel its softness on my arms and cheek. I could feel the warmth of his body.

Photo by Martin Chen

For a second or two, I felt safe and protected by his hug. For that brief moment, I felt accepted and visible.

I want to be back in that place . . . not necessarily with him, but with someone like him – someone who really sees me as an individual with value.

Now that I’m home, I keep catching faint wisps of his cologne on my shirt. I know that scent well – I remember it from when I was in therapy with him. I ache to be back in the place I once was with him – visible and safe – where I was before it all got so ugly between us.

I hate this feeling – this ache. It’s a hunger for which there is no food. It’s too early to go to bed, too early for sleep – I just want to stop this ache. I don’t want more alcohol, I don’t want more chocolate, I don’t want to be numb – I want to feel. I just want to curl up and smell the smell and feel the feel of someone like Mark. I want to sleep all wrapped up in that safety.

I want the ache to go away as a result of the need being filled – not because I’m numb. But, it never goes away. There is no safety, there is no body warmth, there is no faint scent of compassionate masculinity. There is just me and the big empty ache inside me.


  1. For me, I’m finding that feeling this way often leads me back to the fact that I never had any positive attachment and bonding with my mother. Our mothers, after all, are the first people in our lives who are supposed to make us feel warm, safe, visible…adorable! We’ve been working on this a lot in therapy lately.

    I understand and I hope that you can fulfill that ache soon. Kudos to you for realizing that you need to feel the feelings, instead of reaching for another beer, chocolate…numbing out. I am not always so good at this, but I’m working on getting better. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Hi, marjakathriver –

      It sounds like you are doing some really great work on getting to the root of things in your current experience . . . that is awesome!

      I’m finding that I have numbed the feelings in the past because I have never given myself permissions to feel them — in my history, I have linked these feelings with shame.

      So, I’m first working towards laying claim to them.

      Thank you for your input!

      – Marie

  2. Well, here’s me being contrarian. I think it is great that you have real feelings for a therapist not fake ones.

    I think it is good to know your longing for warmth and safety. Then you can think about getting these needs met.

    I think it is probably possible for you to be seen a little then a little bit more. Perhaps more easily by women at first. I think it will be possible for you to feel safer and safer with some people (in my view not everyone, some people aren’t safe – perhaps more controversially I think some people are well intentioned and still not safe).

    I look forward to hearing over the coming months about this theme.

    It may sound a bit voyeurish but I really like the rawness of your writing about this. Many thanks for your honesty.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I appreciate your choice of words . . . that you are creating space for the possibility that it is “okay” for me to feel the way I do.

      I guess these feelings feel so “wrong” for me on so many levels:

      1) The relationship between my therapist and me should never have any sexual overtones — it would be grounds for ending the relationship. In my mind, I associate any affectionate touch and affectionate feelings with sexuality — so, having any sort of longing for touch or attention or affection from my therapist, including non-sexual, feels forbidden to me.

      2) I was taught by life experiences that it is weak and shameful to “need” someone else because that equals being a burden on that person. I was taught I should always carry my own weight and not ask anything of anyone else. So, I feel shame for not being able to just “be strong” and “get over it”.

      3) I have also been taught that, if I were a whole and complete and healthy person, I wouldn’t have these feelings. So, I feel shame for not being whole and complete and healthy — I believe that I should get my act together so I could feel like nothing was missing.

      4) I was also taught that I should not be overly dramatic — so, allowing myself to feel this way, then writing it down, then publishing it on my blog [gasp!] is just so unacceptable that it feels it might bring the world to a screeching halt.

      So, thank you for encouraging me to do more of the same — receiving such encouragement is still a new experience for me — one I greatly need and appreciate.

      And, yes . . . the “touch” theme (including affectionate touch, physical boundaries, feeling safe) has become central in my healing journey — it is what I am mostly working on right now (February 2010).

      – Marie

  3. Hi Marie, you’re certainly working through a lot of stuff. And from what I see on your blog it looks like you’re doing great.


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