Posted by: Marie | December 7, 2010

(460) It comes in fits and starts

Post #460
[Email exchange with my therapist on the morning of Wednesday, June 23, 2010]

Hi, Edward –

So . . . two things that really stood out for me in the last session were:

1) You told me you would be okay with the existance of an emotional connection between us and you would be okay with me leaving a token in your office in honor of that connection. I know I didn’t acknowledge you when you said that . . . I was in shock, LOL. Mark always made a big stink about it . . . he repeatedly told me to make sure my feelings toward him were very appropriate (no sexual fantasies) and that I never became emotionally dependent upon him . . . and, if I couldn’t maintain those boundaries, he would have to stop working with me. I was so careful about maintaining those boundaries that I made sure I killed any tender feelings toward him that did come up for me.

Photo by Martin Chen

I had not even considered the possibility it would be okay for me to have an emotional connection with you and that it would be okay to openly express it. I have always believed it would be shameful and sinful and inappropriate in this type of scenario because our relationship is professional and you are married – and because I have always believed an emotional connection with a man necessarily creates a sexual connection even if no physical/sexual contact occurs. So, thank you for shaking up my world a bit by challenging that belief. I might even leave a small token in your office – just to remind myself it is okay!

2) I was able to close my eyes and do some remembering per your request and guidance. When you asked me to do that, I immediately thought, “No, I can’t do that!” But, then, I checked in with myself and realized my anxiety level, on a scale of 1-10, was only at about 1 or 2 – big surprise! So, it was really fairly easy. I guess that speaks to how comfortable I’m becoming with you. I can see you are consistently clearing a path for me which allows me to move forward without being pushed to go faster than I care to go. Thank you for creating a safe environment for me. In this last session, when you suggested I sit in the corner, even then I noticed my anxiety level was significantly less than it was last time you suggested I position my body in a different place/way. I’m thinking sitting in the corner might be a possibility in the near future – wow!


And . . . I have started writing letters to my parents about stuff that happened between us in my childhood. What I’m finding is that I’m mostly documenting what happened and trying to logically make sense of it. I don’t know how helpful that is for me . . . and, it wouldn’t be what I would put in a letter that I might really read to my parents. I’m not sure what I would put in such a letter, but I don’t think it would a recitation of everything they ever did wrong. But, that is what is flowing out of me right now, so I’ll work with it.

I’m finding I’m struggling with vocabulary . . . the stuff I’m remembering is being remembered by a little girl with limited vocabulary. I’m translating it into my present-day adult language because my current vocabulary is strong and it gives me a way to document what is going on with me. But, the translation is not smooth . . . the information is showing up in fits and starts, and in small and scrambled bits. The emotions show up in a flood, then I become overwhelmed and go numb for a while.

And, my process of recalling the logic I applied and the emotions I felt back then is unreliable. I think I get my thoughts and feelings captured, but then, the next day I read them and find no resonance with what I remembered . . . like maybe I remembered the facts inaccurately or I remembered my logical/emotional reactions inaccurately or I’m exaggerating or I’m reading about someone else’s experience. This is creating frustration for me in this process.

I don’t know if it would be good use of session time for you to help me with this . . . there are so many memories that I could continue writing for pages and pages and pages . . . . is it helpful to drag all this up? Maybe you can help me figure out what is important and what is not . . . what do you think? I will bring some photos from my childhood to the next session – maybe they can be of value in this process. There are fun times to be remembered, also . . . I don’t want to exclude the good times.

Anyway, I’m attaching what I have so far . . . you can see the flow of information is very fragmented . . . I’m having trouble sorting it out (which is unusual for me because I can sort anything!)

Thank you!
– Marie


Dear Marie,

Got it. Thank you. I’m looking forward to reading it over and seeing you next Wednesday.



  1. Remembering and dealing with the past is a funny business. It sounds like you have certainly started doing it.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I’m finding my memory of my childhood is a bit like swiss cheese! Sometimes I can easily access it and other times I cannot. It’s a challenge!

      – Marie

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