Posted by: Marie | May 11, 2010

(310) The old compliance thing

Post #310
[Private journal entry written on Friday, January 8, 2010]

I received an email response from Mark today:

Marie –

Yes, we looked at your hand.

Touch is and always will be a powerful thing. “A lot” is a matter of perception. In real time the activity took only about 4 min. making contact several times, for only a few seconds, at different points, without physical signs of distress. In comparison to the degree of distress you have shown and spoke of in the past, it seemed to be significant. We learned that the physical act of touch does not automatically invoke a set of negative responses. That being a type of baseline, we can now focus on your thought process and perceptions.

We have already begun to explore what some of your triggers are. As we become more aware of the origins of your intense responses and how they trigger your thoughts and reactions, we should be able to find ways to give you more control of the way you respond.

The fact that you did not see the touching activity as “a lot” is another good indication that you have the ability to process touch without triggering negative emotions.

– Mark

Okay – that answer is rather vague and it doesn’t give me any worthwhile answers. He may have it all figured out in his head, but something doesn’t make sense to me. Something doesn’t jive.

I have been thinking about how angry I got about having to do the mirror exercise – he kept pushing me to stay with it even when I said I didn’t want to do it.

On the Hike by Martin Chen

Something has dawned on me . . . I had the ability to walk away from the mirror at anytime . . . return to my seat . . . even leave his office. Why didn’t I? Why did I do what he told me to do even when I didn’t want to?

Ah! The old compliance thing . . . I feel I must comply with what I’m told to do – that I must always ignore what my gut is telling me to do and instead do what “the man of the moment” is telling me to do.

I didn’t walk away from the exercise because I felt frozen in a state of obligation – because not doing what Mark said I “should” do (translation: what good girls would do) would allow Mark to see that I’m a bad girl and not worthy of his approval and acceptance. It would give him a reason to disown me.

So . . . I have decided that, whenever Mark pushes me to do an exercise that I don’t want to do, or to have a conversation I don’t want to have, I will give myself the option of choosing to not participate further.

I can see where there are times there will be benefit in staying with an uncomfortable exercise or conversation – but, it is vital for me to always feel I have the power to stay or leave at anytime – what my gut says must carry far more influence than what Mark says. It is vital that I set aside the need to appear compliant in order to preserve peace, safety and the approval of a man.


There is still something that is not jiving about my experience of the mirror exercise . . . I still need to figure that out. However, in the meantime, I’m learning something important from it – and that’s big.


  1. I like the way you were able to work through and get to what the bottom line is for many of us – the idea that we – and no one else – gets to decide for me any more what I am to do, like or not like.

    Nice to see the progress – so it must feel really goof for you, I’m guessing?

    How exciting!

    • Hi, Susan –

      Yes . . good stuff, great progress . . . it feels great!

      Thanks for the kudos!

      – Marie

  2. Excellent decision (in my (not so) humble opinion).

    I don’t see why he can’t explain the reason for the exercise either.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Thanks, LOL!

      I think he did explain the reason for the exercise . . . it was to prove that I can comfortably tolerate some touch . . . I’m not sure why he needed an exercise to prove that since he often touches me (hugs, touches on my shoulder, etc.) on a regular basis.

      It left me baffled . . . for sure.

      – Marie

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