Posted by: Marie | November 24, 2010

(451) Being my own parent

Post #451
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, June 3, 2010]

In reflecting on yesterday’s session . . .

We are heading exactly in the direction I felt I needed to go. I couldn’t find a therapist who would go there with me. But, now, I believe I am (we are) making huge progress. I am so grateful. I am so grateful for Edward’s gentle spirit and absence of judgment. I’m starting to believe I can actually say ANYTHING to him and he will not chide me or tell me I need to do better.

I’ve not experienced much empathy in my life. And, I have always talked glibly and without emotion about what happened. But now, our process, because it is bathed in empathy, requires that we stop periodically so I have the space to experience the emotions. It gives me permission to feel and to consider going against how I was taught to be.

————–

We got into a very small discussion about religion yesterday. Edward proposed the idea I left the church and the religion because of my experience with abuse that was encouraged by the church. But, I don’t know that I agree with that.

Photo by Martin Chen

I have other, stronger reasons for leaving. The main reason is because it doesn’t make sense to me that Christians are the only one who have it “figured out” and the only ones who will spend eternity in the “right” place. I think the fact they think they are the only ones in God’s inner circle brings into question the validity of their dogma. I don’t think God operates that way.

I think what happened to me as a child may have encouraged me to start asking questions sooner than I otherwise would have. But, I don’t think it is the reason I took a different path.

At any rate, I’m glad Edward didn’t interject his own beliefs into my therapy during that brief discussion. That lets me know there is a good possibility I will be able to discuss and explore my experience of God with him in a judgment-free environment. That would be awesome!

————–

I have been thinking about how Edward expressed his anger towards my mom (well, the specter of my mom). The person I call “Mom” now is so very different from the raging, abusive, out-of-control woman of 30 years ago whom I’m talking about in therapy. Today, she is soft and gentle and full of compassion.

I know I need to address the memory I have of her from those earlier days. But, it is tough. I keep having the following conversation with myself about it . . .

Adult Me: What would happen if you put into words your own version of what Edward said to Mom . . . not necessarily saying it to the real “her”, but maybe just to the idea of her . . . ?? You could have a conversation with her by role playing with Edward within the context of a therapy session.

Child Me: There is no way! If I did that, I would simply die.

Adult Me: Actually, you might feel like you are going to die, but you really wouldn’t.

Child Me: I guess you are right. But, there is no way I could do that now. I don’t know how to do it . . . what words to use.

Adult Me: You could take Edward’s words and make them your own. I don’t think he would mind.

Child Me: That’s not very original!

Adult Me: I don’t think originality is of great importance in this situation.

Child Me: But, those are Edward’s words, not mine. What if his words don’t fit me?

Adult Me: Edward’s example is the best example you have right now. The only other example you have is violence . . . and that is not acceptable. Edward’s example is powerful . . . it will get the job done well enough for now.

Child Me: What if, down the road, I discover I should have done it differently?

Adult Me: Then, you can do it again, differently.

Child Me: I need to do it right the first time . . . so I can deal with it and be done with it. It would be embarrassing to make such a strong demonstration of emotion now and then have to admit I did it wrong and have to do it again!

Adult Me: It would be a conversation only you and Edward would be witness to . . . you are capable of cutting yourself slack in this area . . . and you already know Edward is the last person on this earth to pass judgment on you about such a matter. Edward would simply be delighted you took a step forward, and he would be delighted to help you “do it over” later if that is what was required to move forward in your healing journey. There is no criticism here, only compassion.

Child Me: What if I try it and fail?

Adult Me: What do you mean specifically?

Child Me: What if I try to say something to my mom in the therapy session and I don’t know what to say?

Adult Me: You could write it out beforehand.

Child Me: What if I try to write it out and I can’t find the right words? What if I don’t know what to say?

Adult Me: You have two choices . . . 1) do nothing and stay stuck, or 2) try something and at least take a step or two forward today, and another step or two forward a few days later, and another step or two forward a few days after that . . .

Child Me: What happens if I show up to the therapy session with my words written out, but then I’m too emotional to speak them?

Adult Me: Then, you can sit with the paper in your hand while you allow the emotion to wash over your entire body. You can simply sit in your emotion for as long as you care to. You don’t have to say a word.

Child Me: I would look stupid and weak . . . like an overly dramatic crybaby.

Adult Me: No . . . not to Edward. He would be delighted you were that “in touch” with your emotions. He would see it as a huge step forward. That is what he wants for you.

Child Me: Okay . . . well, I’ll try . . . but it still feels impossible.


Responses

  1. I hope you did try this in a session with Edward. My guess is that it would have been very freeing for you. I hope it was if you did.

    • Hey, Evan –

      It has been my experience that when the idea of doing something like the above really scares me, it is usually a very good thing for me to do. Thanks for the encouragement!

      – Marie


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