Posted by: Marie | August 16, 2010

(379) He leads the way – Part 3 of 3

Post #379
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, March 4, 2010 – noon – continued from previous post]

As we were wrapping up the session, he gave me homework assignments:

[#1) Make a list of the messages that exist in my internal dialogue; decide if they are true or not.] I told him that, while I don’t have a nice neat list, I have done a bunch of writing on the various “tapes” that run in my head and I have already done a bunch of work on addressing them. He said it would be very valuable for me to nevertheless put them all together in one place, look at which of the inaccurate ones I still believe and create counter arguments.

I guess he thinks the work I’ve already done is not sufficient – but, really, how would he know? I have already completed this homework assignment once, in our first round of therapy. But, we never did anything with it and it was not that helpful – I was already very aware of my internal dialogues – I needed help with shifting them, which he never provided.

[#2) Pick a topic we can “argue” about so we can look at how I handle conflict.] He wants to audiotape our debate so I can hear myself and learn the truth about how angry I get when another point of view is presented. He doesn’t want to use the religion topic – I think he is thinking of something like politics or sports.

However, I couldn’t care less about sports and I don’t get angry about differences in opinions on things like politics . . . in fact, I don’t get angry about differences in religious beliefs. I only get angry when Mark uses his position of power to cram a certain position or belief down my throat.

The only way I’m going to get riled up enough to prove his point is to go back and rehash the stuff I addressed in my last two “truth-telling” efforts (script and email). I’ve laid that stuff down – if he wants to go back and pick it back up, I can cause myself to get fired up again about it – I can get fired up again about not being heard and understood because I still feel unheard and not understood.

Tainun County, Taiwan by Martin Chen

But, I know he won’t go back and pick up that stuff again because he is avoiding it – he doesn’t want to deal with it. (And who is being avoidant now?)

I’m not sure how I can do assignment #2. It will be interesting, to say the least.

As we got up from the chairs and started moving towards the door, he again mentioned I am always welcome to discontinue working with him if I found his approach too challenging. I shot back, “Well, my best friend, Melodie, is not happy I’m still working with you!”

He asked why she felt that way. I told him she felt he disrespected me and disregarded my boundaries. First, he said maybe I should listen to her.

Then, he said that, if she ever came to town, he would be glad to meet with her so she could learn his side of the story. He believed she would have a different opinion of him if she talked to him directly.

I almost laughed . . . I guess he doesn’t know Melodie. She is a good-sized person (tall, big boned, well padded) and she has a big personality – she is generous to a fault. But, she is also tough as nails . . . not someone with whom I would ever want to tangle. She’d rip him a new one coming and going. I’d love to see them face off! I’d just sit back and laugh.

So, that’s that. Today’s session was not a good one. Not at all.

I really needed for him to show me today he is capable of something productive.

I so desperately need to relieve the emotional pressure I have kept bottled up for most of my life. I need him to bear witness to my story so I can move it out of my body. If that pressure were relieved, I know the behavioral symptoms (binge eating, fear of speaking up for myself, etc.) would either abate or become much more manageable. But, I can’t get him to go there with me.

In the first session of this second round of therapy, we did deal with some emotional pain. After that huge release of emotion, he said there was much more of that we needed to do. So, why aren’t we doing it?

I need him to empower me to find my own way through this – with his help and encouragement. That is not going to happen. He is going to continue to cram “his way” and “his ideas” and “his morals” and “his beliefs” down my throat. He is going to continue faulting me because I don’t accept and incorporate what he says without question.

I moved the conflict out of the way so we could have space for progress. But, it didn’t seem to help.

I needed to come out of this session with something of value. I needed to see he has a clue about how to move forward – how to fix things.

I need a safe space in which to deal with trauma (give it a voice, feel the emotions, etc.), and I need to learn how to be in an emotionally intimate relationship without feeling like I’m being squashed – I suspect I will learn that by learning how to set and maintain healthy boundaries.

But, he has very fuzzy boundaries (except the sexual one is clear). He doesn’t respond well to me setting boundaries. He doesn’t respect my boundaries – he isn’t willing to do the work required to even remember them. So, I feel unsafe and unheard.

It almost seems he can’t give himself permission to ask me to move on to a different therapist, so he is trying to make it as miserable for me as possible so I will make the choice to leave. I certainly am getting mixed messages from him.

Or, maybe he really is that blind to his own bad behavior.

Or, maybe he was hurt by what I have said and written these past weeks and is lashing out in pain.

I am pissed he no longer wants to do any work in the “touch” arena. One of the reasons I have been staying with him despite all the conflict is because I think he is uniquely qualified to help me in that area. Now that he has made it clear he won’t do anything more in that area, I have less reason to stay with him.

Agggrrrrr . . . I’m having trouble seeing my way through this. I think my position is “right” . . . but what if I am so far off in the ditch I can’t see I’m really “wrong”?

This relationship is taking the same path as all other emotionally intimate relationships with men. Same song, 125th verse. It has to be me – I’m the common factor.

What if being in relationship with men is always going to be like this?

I have to figure this one out. I have to. I can’t just walk away, once again.


  1. Well, I think you relate differently to men on this blog – as a start at least. So it seems you are relating differently in this medium anyway.

    • Hey, Evan –

      You know . . . I have noticed an interesting phenomenon on my blog . . .

      The majority of the comments come from men . . . a handful of men who seem to be sensitive and caring and supportive (including you). Having interaction with all of you men has indeed impacted my idea of “how men are” for the better. I am learning a healthier way of relating through all of you.

      That is very cool — I so appreciate that gift!

      – Marie

  2. “I need him to bear witness to my story so I can move it out of my body.”

    Do you definitely need another person to do this for you, or is it more that you need to do this for yourself? Seems to me that YOU are the one bearing witness, ultimately, to your own story, for the first time.

    By doing the work and coming to grips with what has gone on, instead of running from it, you’ve borne witness to all of the events that have helped shape your experience.

    Thats the wonderful thing about this kind of introspective work. You don’t truly need anything but your own determination to see it through.

    Not to say a guide/therapist/teacher isn’t a huge help, because it is. But you have done all of this work on your own, for the most part. And it’s having a great effect, it would seem!

    • Hey, Aaron –

      Hmmm . . . I had to think on this one for a bit before responding . . . you ask a great question!

      I would say that it is true this is really about me bearing witness to my own story. After all, my therapist isn’t going to be part of my life down the road a bit, so it doesn’t ultimately matter if he or she (as a particular person) is also a witness.

      However, for a lifetime, I have been told (by others and by myself) that my pain is not real, that things weren’t really “that” bad, that I’m over-reacting, etc. So, I haven’t found it possible to really tell my story on my own. I really need someone to assure me, over and over, that my pain is real and valid, that my experience really was “that” bad and that my reactions are reasonable. That is the part for which I need a therapist.

      But, I don’t need a therapist like Mark, for sure!

      And, yes, I have moved forward despite the “help” of my therapists! I am proud of that! This forum (the blog) has also been very helpful in that process because of the people who show support via comments. They help me know I’m not the only one.

      – Marie

  3. I continue to be astonished by his perpetual suggestions that you quit therapy — but that pales next to my astonishment that he could convince your friend of his POV. I say let ‘er at him.

    • Hey, David –

      Yup . . . I really liked the idea of her tearing him a new one . . . that thought was the highlight of my day, LOL!

      – Marie

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