Posted by: Marie | July 21, 2010

(361) Finding my voice – Part 4 of 5

Post #361
[Script I read to my therapist on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 – continued from previous post]

Most of all, I need to be heard

When it seems to me that I have not been able to get you to hear me, I have tried controlling you. I have tried to tell you what you could and could not say. I have tried to set and control the agenda for our sessions. I don’t like doing that. I would much rather allow you to lead the process.

However, I did it because I was trying to create an environment that supports my healing. I felt I had to make it happen by putting up barriers against your behaviors – if I couldn’t get you to back off willingly, I would find a way to hold you back.

But, I do not have enough strength to do that. I am exhausted. More than that, I am unwilling to fight with you anymore.

The Lotus by Martin Chen

As your client, I need for you to hear me like I have never been heard before. I need to know it is possible for me to be fully heard and seen by a man. I need to know I am capable of relating to another human being at this level.

This need to be heard and seen was not met at all with my dad. It was not met with my husband. It is not being met with my brother. It is not being met with Erik, my housemate. I cannot recall a single emotionally intimate relationship with a man in which this need has been met.

Every time I have entered into one of these relationships, I have hoped that I might really be heard by that particular man. But, it has never happened. Every time my hope has been dashed, a little piece of my soul has died. I have come out of each relationship just a bit more shriveled up and hopeless.

I haven’t been willing to date for the last three years because I no longer have hope that I can feel heard and valued within a social relationship with a man. I entered into our relationship because I did have enough hope that I might be heard and seen by a therapist – surely I could find my way through the communication maze with a therapist.

Now, I am having to face the fact that I don’t seem to be able to be heard by a therapist either. I feel like I am struggling to save my last thread of hope of ever deeply connecting with a man. I am fighting to keep another piece of my soul from dying.

In our relationship, I feel heard about 10% of the time. During the other 90% of the time, I feel like I am fighting tooth and nail in a losing battle to get you to hear me. This frustration is overshadowing the joy I might feel from any progress we do make.

I don’t know if my not feeling heard is because I’m not communicating in a way you understand, if you aren’t listening or if I don’t know how to determine when I have successfully been heard. Figuring that out is one part of my learning process. I need your help to do that.

Unfinished business

I am grateful that we were able to clear up the miscommunication about the religion issue. I know for sure that you now understand why it is not appropriate for you to try to move my beliefs into alignment with the Bible. Up until a couple of sessions ago, I didn’t have that assurance. But, now I do – and that is huge for me. It has been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. It was a significant step towards my feeling safe in our sessions and I thank you for that.

There is another side to that coin. I was deeply hurt by that miscommunication. I am angry that you don’t seem to understand the extent to which your behavior wounded me.

I felt very unsafe when, in my most vulnerable moments, you repeatedly pressured me to convert to your religion. You had the greater power in the relationship and I was feeling powerless. I’m sure you can imagine what that would be like for you if our roles were reversed and I was doing the same to you – it would be frustrating and intimidating for you even if I were doing it with the best of intentions.

I am angry that it took so long for me to get you to understand that there was a misunderstanding. I worked so hard to explain it to you over and over, in so many different ways. I even quit therapy over it. It was a huge deal to me, but it seemed you were not willing to put effort into simply confirming the accuracy of your understanding of the situation during all those months of conflict.

The whole time I was working so hard to get you to understand my complaints and to acknowledge their validity, you chalked up my complaints to self-sabotage. You said I was calling you a bad person and trying to make you feel bad. You dismissed my complaints as a symptom of me not being ready to face the truth about myself.

Now you know my complaint was valid. Can you see that I was standing in truth and you threw the truth back in my face? How do you think I was affected when my therapist didn’t believe me at a moment in time I knew I was speaking the truth? Do you think it reminded me of other times I spoke the truth but wasn’t believed?

How do you think it affects me today when you don’t give my current complaints about your behavior any credence? What if I’m speaking the truth again now? Are you willing to really hear what I’m saying? Can you handle it?

It is important to me that you understand the impact your behavior does have on me – particularly when the impact comes from a misunderstanding that could have been avoided. I need for you to understand the hurtful impact I suffered from that miscommunication so you can understand how important it is that I be heard and understood today, in this conversation, and in the future.

This is still very much unfinished emotional business for me, and I need to finish it with you. I have brought it up in the last couple of sessions, but you don’t seem to be interested in talking with me about it. Again, I have been fighting so hard to get you to understand that this is important to me. My anger is continuing to build as a result of not being able to get you to understand.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

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