Posted by: Marie | June 30, 2010

(346) Unlocking the mystery – Part 2 of 3

Post #346
[Private journal entry written on Friday, February 5, 2010 – noon – continued from previous post]

When my lock-ups occur, it is my perspective that you have been responding to them in these four ways:

1: Skilled support

You encourage me to express my emotions and to describe what is going on in my head. I feel safe and believed and supported. A lot of strong emotion and trauma is moved out of my mind and body and healing occurs.

Then, we apply logic and figure out what thoughts and behaviors need to shift – and I start shifting them.

During the process, I feel like we are in sync. I experience first-hand the awesomeness of your skill as a therapist. You are a huge contributor to the profound healing I experience as a result of our work together.

It is an incredible experience and I feel empowered and able to “move mountains” in the days afterward.

This is therapy at its finest.

2: Disbelief

I don’t know what is happening inside your experience when this happens. I only can report my perspective, and that perspective is:

You start working on Steps 3 & 4 while I am still on Steps 1 & 2 (in other words, when I am still in an emotionally raw place). Because I’m still in the raw place, I’m not ready to step back and start “fixing” my thought processes and behaviors.

The Bridge of Baphuon by Martin Chen

Sometimes, when I am still in Steps 1 & 2, you propose the possibility that I am exaggerating or manufacturing evidence in order to sabotage progress that could come as a result of the exercise.

When that happens, I hear you saying that you don’t believe what I am telling you about my emotions and bodily sensations. And that is a very sensitive “landmine” of mine.

I really, really, really need to know, for sure, that you believe me when I describe my emotions and bodily sensations to you. I need a lot of repetitive assurance that you believe what I tell you when I am in Steps 1 & 2.

And, I need for you to wait until I am in Steps 3 & 4 (emotionally stabilized) before calling attention to my potentially destructive patterns.

3: Argument

Again, I can only speak to what I experience, which is:

You can see destructive patterns in my behavior and it is very clear in your mind what I need to do in order to “get better”. So, you tell me.

I am defensive and argumentative because I have not gotten through Steps 1 & 2, relative to that particular issue.

When this happens, I find myself being dismissive of what you are saying because it seems to me that you don’t understand me at all and that you are “wasting my therapy time”. (Maybe you do understand me well, but what you are trying to tell me is not in sync with my experience so it feels like you don’t.)

In this case, it would be helpful if you ask questions or lead me in exercises that help me complete Steps 1 & 2 – as opposed to starting the process at Steps 3 & 4.

And, it would be helpful if I remained aware of my tendencies to be dismissive – and if I tried a more tolerant and open-minded approach.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. So glad I found this blog. Just on the first page I’ve found so many things that I can connect with. Can’t wait to keep reading.

    • Hi, Lily –

      I’m so glad you stopped by! I hope you find some insight here . . . and thank you for sharing your own journey!

      – Marie

  2. You think so clearly. So much of this is familiar to me as well!


    • Hi, WG –

      It is pretty cool how so much of our experiences are similar . . . that is one confirmation of how “normal” we really are!

      – Marie

  3. Marie, I feel funny commenting on this because it may be viewed as not being totally supportive. And I also feel funny because I have not been able to keep track of all the posts of your relationship with Mark. I hope this doesn’t land me on your sh*t list.

    These past couple posts don’t sit right with me though. It doesn’t feel lie this is how a therapeutic relationship should be. I know I’ve said this before for another set of circumstances around your relationship with Mark.

    I may be off base, but are you certain you are not setting Mark up? I mean, are you sure you are not putting Mark in a certain role so that you can work out your issues with your father through Mark?

    I only say this because your therapy seems to be more about your relationship than about therapy. If you have to tell your therapist how you want him to respond, then I would say he’s not the right fit for you. Your not going to change the therapist radically. And even if you could, therapy is about the therapist changing, modulo mid-course corrections.

    I am not at all saying you are in the wrong. I am only saying that if Mark truly can’t, for example, get that you “have my own process for filtering advice” then something is clearly not right.

    I think a good therapy relationship is when therapist is a helpful guide and witness to change. I don’t get that is the kind of relationship you have.

    • Hey, Paul –

      Naw . . . I’m glad you are adding your input . . . even if I didn’t like what you said, it still wouldn’t land you on my sh*t list! I find people’s input very educational . . . it often leads me to see things differently I have been seeing them which is usually to my benefit. Worse case . . someone’s input doesn’t teach me anything new.

      Having said all that . . . you are exactly “on the mark” with you assessment of my relationship with Mark. This second round of therapy with him started out somewhat as a way for me to work through father/ex-hubby issues . . . and, over time, it has shifted to being for that purpose almost exclusively.

      So, yes . . . it looks like a bad fit because it is a bad fit for the purpose of traditional therapy. However, at this point, it was still a relatively good fit for figuring out why I keep manifesting the same destructive patterns with the men in my life — just like I was creating them with Mark.

      At this point, I was not looking to Mark to lead me though my healing journey because I was very clear he was not capable of doing that for me. But, I was still learning from the conflict we were having.

      I will give you a peek at the future . . . the days of our therapeutic relationship were numbered because our relationship eventually stopped being valuable in any way.

      So . . . you are reading the situation very clearly!

      – Marie

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