Posted by: Marie | June 3, 2010

(327) Resigned to reality

Post #327
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, January 20, 2010]

It’s bedtime. I’ve been waiting for a response from Mark for two-and-a-half days. I guess it’s safe to say that a response isn’t coming.

Our second session is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

I have decided I’m not going to cancel. I’m going to show up. And, I’ll give him his money at the start of the session since that seems to be important to him. If that is what he needs to feel safe, I’m happy to oblige.

I am 98% sure nothing has changed in his mind. I’m sure that he still believes what he wrote in his last email is justified and right and appropriate.

So be it.

Over and over and over again I find myself in this same predicament. There is conflict – I try to explain my side of things, the man won’t listen – he blames 100% of the problem on me. The common denominator is me. It must be due to how I consistently show up in relationships with men.

Photo by Martin Chen

It may appear that I’m doing battle with Mark; but, really, I’m doing battle with my own internal demons. Mark is simply the projection screen onto which I’m projecting my own stuff.

So, I’m going to take advantage of the fact that Mark is “willing to give up an hour of his time to give me this opportunity”. I’m going to show up to the scheduled appointment and I’m going to get some answers from him.

In all the other times I have been in this situation with men, I haven’t gotten to learn “what happened”. Both parties just walk away mad – I never get to understand “what happened” from the perspective of the man. I’m left baffled and no more able to do better the next time.

With my dad, I never got to learn “what happened”. He died without either of us understanding the experience of the other. If I could understand what happened with Mark – because Mark is so much like my dad, and my relationship with Mark is so much like the relationship with my dad – I might be able to figure out what happened with my dad.

Mark feels ethically and morally bound to stick with me until I fire him or until I do something totally unacceptable like try to have sex with him. I’m going to use that to my advantage. I’m going use our session tomorrow to discover “what happened” from his perspective.

I’ll start with asking him to explain each statement he made in his email. I want to know what events and perceptions and emotions went into the creation of each statement.

I hope that discussion calmly leads to an explanation of what happened 15-18 months ago – I still don’t understand what happened then – from his perspective, I mean. I don’t know what, in his mind, made it okay to cross my clearly established boundaries. I would love to understand that. I’m sure he has “good” reason.

The only way to get valuable answers will be for me to keep my own “story” out of the way.

I absolutely must set aside my desire to get him to understand my side of the story. I must set aside my need to change his belief of what happened to align with mine. I must ask the questions as if I were an uninvolved party looking to uncover the factual truth.

I understand I will have to give him space to tell his story without interruption, without criticism, without judgment. I have to keep my dog out of the fight. (I’m already struggling with doing so – when I look back over what I have written here, I can see my personal judgments sticking out all over the place.)

In order to get to the heart of the matter, I must do for him what I wish he would do for me. I must do everything in my power to truly understand his experience.

And, from there, we shall see what happens.

I have come to believe we have reached the end of our journey. I don’t think he will ever be willing to do what it takes for me to feel safe enough to continue therapy. So, with great sadness, I have resigned myself to the fact that I won’t find healing though working with him.

I am very discouraged about that – our first session was so productive. I was very excited about what was coming to light. I was very much looking forward to our second session tomorrow.

But, that possibility is all but gone now.

It feels as if I have become the therapist and he has become the client – and that is not good – not at all.

At any rate, after tomorrow, I can chalk up this experience as a repeat performance of the private screenplay I know so well. I’ll just add another layer of callus to the already-burned skin of my heart. It’s something I know how to do well.

On the other hand, if that 2% possibility somehow grabs onto a ray of hope and grows into a real possibility – if Mark somehow moves into a very different stance and we are able to find a way through this . . . well, it would be a very huge “first” in my life.

It would be the first time in my life a man actually “manned-up” and took responsibility for his part of the conflict. It would be the first time a man actually invested the time and energy to really understand my experience. It would be the first time a man showed up for me in this way. It would be a life-changing experience for me.

And, it would be consistent with what he professes to be – a Christian psychotherapist.

(Okay . . the part about being “the first time a man actually invested the time and energy to really understand my experience” is not totally true. There are a significant number of men in my blog-world who have done this for me. I am absolutely grateful for that – it is the one thing that has kept alive my hope for someday experiencing emotional maturity in a 3D man.)

But, being pragmatic – the most I can realistically hope for from tomorrow’s session is to glean some wisdom about “what happened” so I can take that information forward with me into future relationships.

So . . . I guess it is time to go to sleep now. Goodnight.


  1. This is absolutely fascinating. I can’t wait to see what happened. And just in reading this, and remembering past situations in which I wanted nothing more than to know the other side of the story … I remembered how difficult that was to achieve, since even assuming there *is* another side to the story is a facet of one’s own story, if that makes sense.

    I agree with your feeling that this has ceased to be about Mark, and is instead about you wrestling with what Mark has come to represent to you.

    • Hi, David –

      Wow . . thank you for your strong interest in my story . . . it is rather fun to have people be interested in the day-to-day flow of my life, LOL!

      I hear what you are saying about wanting to understand the other person’s experience . . . I really want to play nicely with other people, I just sometimes don’t have a clue how. If I could gain insight into what is going on in other people’s heads, I might have a better clue on how to adjust my behavior to better fit in with polite society.

      – Marie

  2. It sounds like it was shaping up to be quite a session. I’ll be very interested to hear how it went.

    With projection we usually choose the person to project onto because there is some slight element of reality. It may only be hair colour, or voice intonation, or something more substantial. I think this is what can make it especially difficult to disentangle.

    • Hey, Evan –

      It does make sense that the mystery of projection/transference can be complicated by how substantial (or not) the similarities between subjects. I’m sure that all played a huge role in my ability to “figure this out”.

      Also, further complication came from my competing agendas . . . I wanted to build a relationship with him and I wanted distance myself so I could study why I wasn’t able to build that relationship. I was willing to sacrifice the second agenda if there was any chance the first agenda could be met.

      This process certainly was a very interesting challenge for me!

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