Posted by: Marie | January 12, 2011

(488) An ache to be noticed

Post #488
[Private journal entry written on Monday, August 23, 2010]

I’ve been pondering about everything that happened in my last therapy session. We have definitely been treading on new territory!

I am surprised at how big of a deal my desire (and inability) to use the blanket in the session has become. I thought that, as soon as I had a forum in which I could know it was okay for me to incorporate the blanket, I’d be able to do what I wanted to do with it.

I am very surprised at how difficult it has been to cause myself to curl up under the blanket. I underestimated the terror I would still feel, even though I’m an adult. I must have experienced tremendous terror as a kid in order for it to still be with me to that extent. I don’t know what I am afraid will happen now if I express my emotions . . . I haven’t been able to sort through the emotions enough to figure it out. The emotions are still coming in big, confusing, mangled waves. When I think about expressing myself that way, my body tells me I will die if I ever do express myself in that way.

Photo by Martin Chen

I keep wondering about the purpose of the blanket. Do I want to use to so I can feel safe? Am I wanting to hide the full extent of my emotional pain from Edward (so I don’t appear overly dramatic when I express the full extent of the pain)? Do I think the blanket acts like some sort of time machine that allows me to go back in time?

Edward shared his guess that going under the blanket would cause me to feel small and vulnerable. I don’t know if he means the blanket would allow me to feel that way which would, in turn, allow me to connect with the “little girl” version of me . . . ?? Or, maybe he means the blanket would feel like a source of protection while I am feeling small and vulnerable.

I’m not sure . . . but, I feel the same terror when I consider expressing emotions in a “big” way like screaming, hitting, throwing, cussing . . . and that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with being small and vulnerable.

Furthermore, the idea of being under the blanket doesn’t make me feel small – I already feel small. I figured out that I already, always, feel small. I make every effort to take up the least amount of space possible. I do this to feel the safest I can . . . if I can sit very still, I can avoid detection. If I avoid being noticed, I avoid being hit, being required to submit to sex, being raped, losing my livelihood and property (because taking up too much space is wasteful and if I’m wasteful I’ll be punished – pride goeth before a fall), being ridiculed, being told I’m being too dramatic, being rejected and pushed away, being squashed and annihilated, etc.

But I ache to be detected and noticed and I ache to move and express myself in a physical way. I ache to occupy my rightful space and look people in the eye while doing it. But, my history has taught me I should be meek and submissive because I’m female, because I’m young, because I’m lacking life experience, because I don’t know what it’s like to really be in pain. My history has taught me I should be meek and submissive rather than independent because when I’m not in my place, I’m being prideful.

And, that’s bullshit. My brain knows it, but my body still doesn’t.

By the way, I recently found a couple of helpful blog posts related to these issues. One was written by Christine at BlissChick: Trying Too Hard with a Little Side of the Reality of Injury.

The second article (The Childhood Need for Protection Isn’t Just Part of Childhood) was written by Evan and published in the blog, Counselling Resource. Evan also maintains his own wellness blog, Living Authentically.

And, on another tangent . . . something has been bugging me . . .

When I was young (starting at age six), my dad required me to do some pretty dangerous stuff like feed ill-tempered pigs, drive tractors and use power tools. I could have easily been seriously injured and/or killed. I had to do it because my dad said it had to be done and my mom refused to do it.

She refused to do it because it was too difficult, uncomfortable and dangerous. So . . . instead . . . she went along with the idea that her young daughter could do it. What the fuck? Even if it were uncomfortable and dangerous, wouldn’t she do it to protect me from having to do it? Instead, I got the message it was my job to protect her from the yucky-ness and the danger.

Did she go along with the idea I should do it because I hid my discomfort so well that she thought it didn’t bother me? I don’t know. Something doesn’t add up. Maybe that is why I still feel it is my job to protect her – because it’s always been my job to protect her.

And, finally . . . I know I have said a number of times I believe my parents didn’t do better because they didn’t know better. I have said they didn’t have the option of investigating other options – I would have done the same if I had been in there shoes.

Well, it dawned on me this week I probably would have done differently. It dawned on me this week that I did start looking for answers, for better ways, when I was 20. I dared to risk going to hell for blasphemy in order to challenged what I had been taught by my parents and by the church. So, I think my parents really could have found a less violent way to teach me right from wrong. I think it is reasonable, at least to a significant degree, to hold them accountable for not looking for and finding a better way.


  1. Good for you Marie for holding your parents accountable. The way you were treated was outrageous. Unless they were fantastically stupid (not likely, as you’re not), they could have thought for two seconds and known what they were doing was wrong.

    • Hey, Ellen –

      Nope . . my parents were not stupid at all. They are/were of above intelligence, both of them. So, you are right that they figuring out their way was not the best way was well within their ability.

      I’m getting better at holding them accountable . . . it is a process! Thank you for the encouraging words!

      – Marie

  2. Hi Marie, well to be impolite perhaps and disagree: you do know what you are afraid will happen – “my body tells me I will die”. So it is no surprise that you find it incredibly difficult.

    So far you have talked much about your father. Your mother seems (at best) neglectful to me. Allowing a child to do work she found too dangerous seems awful.

    I hope you are managing to flow with all the emotions and have the support you need, I’m sure they are very strong and overwhelming.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I so cherish your bold honesty and forthright communication!

      I guess I am in awe of how convincing my body can be in its argument — my body often has more influence on my behavior than does the logic of my brain. And, my body is not keen on letting go of the memories it holds. It takes significant healing for that to happen.

      I think I find it easier to talk about the pain caused by my dad because our conflict was so obvious and direct. I’m still sorting through the less obvious damage created by my interaction (or lack thereof) with my mom — it may be buried deeper within my fiber, I think.

      I am getting the support I need . . . thanks for being concerned!

      – Marie

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