Posted by: Marie | February 7, 2011

(510) Giving my body language – Part 3 of 3

Post #510
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from the previous post]

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(I then found myself wanting to talk about my history of promiscuity, but I didn’t know how to smoothly transition into that topic. Again, the pain from remembering those moments felt too overwhelming to be put into words . . . I didn’t know where to start. Finally, I pulled together a couple of sentences . . . )

Me: But, then there was the sex. I was always good at the sex.

Edward: Tell me more about that . . . in what ways were you good at the sex?

Me: Well, I was wild; I’d do anything – no boundaries.

Edward: That made you good at sex?

Me: It’s what the men wanted. If I did that, I got their undivided attention for a time, and their approval . . . until it wasn’t enough and they’d walk away.

Edward: So, you gave everything you had to them and still it wasn’t enough.

Me: Nope, it was never enough. That’s why I enjoy the company of animals so much . . . I’m always enough for them.

Photo by Martin Chen

Edward: It is very understandable that you would turn to the unconditional love of animals for solace.

Me: I wasn’t enough for my husband, either . . . I gained five pounds in the time I knew him – and that is when I was 60 pound lighter than I am now, so I was relatively skinny then – and he got very upset with that because he didn’t want a fat wife. He wanted a tall, leggy blond with small boobs who could run marathons and hike and ski and keep up with him – he was tall and skinny and ran marathons. What am I supposed to do with that?

Edward: What an ass!

Me: Well, I knew that is what he wanted when we got married and I married him anyway. So, it was partly my fault, too. I thought he would get over it, in time.

Edward: But he should have been more sensitive about the impact his fantasies would have on you!

(I sat silently for a few more minutes, allowing yet another wave of grief and tears to roll over me. Then came a sense of emotional release and of relief . . . not much relief, but some . . . more than I had before. I sat up a bit – partly to give my aching back a break, but also to make eye contact with Edward around the corner of the end table.)

Edward: I can see you now that you have moved. Would you prefer that I look at you while we talk or look away?

Me: I would prefer that you look at me. I like the connection.

Edward: Okay. I like the connection, as well.

Can you tell me what is happening with you now?

Me: I keep feeling a strong sense of . . . well . . . a strong sense of shame – like (dramatically putting my hands over my face) shame, shame, shame – shame on you!

Edward: Shame for what?

Me: Shame for needing the attention of men so much that I would give away my body for it. I shouldn’t have needed the attention that much. I should have been able to resist. I feel shame for being so weak as to need attention and approval!

Edward: You aren’t supposed to have needs?

Me: I was taught that I’m not supposed to have needs – that I’m supposed to take care of my needs myself and never look to someone else to meet them. I was taught I’m supposed to be totally self-sufficient and self-contained. If I had a need I couldn’t take care of myself, I was supposed to forget it and get over it – just tough it out.

Edward: You are human, Marie, you have needs.

Me: I just feel so ashamed for having needs. I shouldn’t have been controlled by them. There were so many penises, so many men sticking their penises in me.

Edward: How did it make you feel when they stuck their penises in you?

Me: I felt like a toilet . . . just a place for them to dump their bio-waste and then walk away. And, when the consequences of my behavior came around, I knew I deserved it. I mean, if I behave that way, then I deserve what I get.

Edward: What kind of consequences? Like STDs?

Me: Well, I did have an STD once, but fortunately it was treatable. Then, there was the abortion, and the pap smears that came back ugly.

(More tears and overwhelming emotions)

Me: So, I try as hard as I can to be everything people want me to be, but it is not enough. It will never be enough. Every time I am going to be around people, I have to go through the checklist of everything I’m supposed to have done, and what I’m supposed to be, to see if I’ve done enough – to see if I’m ready. That way, I’ll have time to create a reason or an excuse if I fall short somewhere.

Even in here, in the one place I feel the safest, I do the same thing. When I come in here, I think about the consequences of me taking off my shoes, if it is okay to move the pillows, if I appear organized enough . . . because, if I’m not all I’m supposed to be, you won’t want to have me as a client. I can’t shut off this way of being – I don’t know how.

Edward: You are right; it is not something you can shut off like it has a switch. It is a way of being that you have to shift over time.

I can imagine you are exhausted – trying to your best to survive in relationships where the best you can hope for is to not get hit and to not be abandoned.

Me: I don’t know how I will ever be able to be in relationships if I can’t be good enough.

Edward: It’s because you can’t earn your way to worthiness . . . your worthiness is something you simply have without earning it.

Me: But if I believe I’m permanently broken, how can I ever believe I am worthy?

Edward: It takes time. And, you do it exactly like you are doing it.

(Of course, there was another wave of tears and the release of more emotion . . . I looked up at the clock sitting on the end table and saw we had about five minutes left in the session.)

Me: Are we done now?

Edward: Do you want to be done?

Me: Yeah.

Edward: Do you want to come out of the corner?

Me: Yeah. (I started working my way out of the corner) It feels strange to climb out of the corner . . . to have been in the corner in the first place . . . (Small laugh)

(Edward waited patiently as I took a minute to regroup on the couch.)

Edward: How are you feeling? What do you need from me – I see we still have a few minutes – to help you feel prepared to go back out into the world again?

Me: Actually, nothing. I’m actually feeling good right now. I’m just amazed that did it – I climbed in the corner and put a blanket over my head and got in touch with my emotions . . . with another person in the room. And, I didn’t die and I didn’t break into a million pieces and you didn’t criticize or belittle me. I survived it. I feel really good right now! (Small laugh)

Edward: Well, good work! You are welcome to be in the corner anytime!

Me: Thank you for your part in this . . . I hope you know I think you are a really cool therapist . . . our work together is amazing to me.

Edward: I do know, you have told me before. But, it is good to hear it again.

————————

And, with that, I started packing up my stuff and preparing to face reality again.


Responses

  1. I too think Edward is a really cool therapist. And I think that you are a really cool client.

    • Thank you, Evan, for the kind words!

  2. Edward seems like such a great therapist. And you know, when you searching and summarizing the different therapists, he is not the one that stood out to me. I have a strong female bias in therapists, I think. Glad he stood out to you! :-)

    • Hi, Zip –

      I’m glad I chose him, too . . . I think he is uniquely qualified to handle my case. My gut told me he was the best fit . . . I’m glad I listened to my gut!

      – Marie

      • So Marie…maybe your “picker” isn’t as broken as you’d thought it was? Maybe a lot of other things aren’t as broken as you think either…maybe there is hope after all. I know it’s scary to realize that there could be happiness here for you after all. But I believe you will find a lot of your old ideas about life crumbling as you heal.

        • Hey, Aaron –

          Keep reminding me . . . somedays are better than others, LOL!

          – Marie

  3. Seems like good work Marie. The part I really recognize in myself at the moment is the scariness of feeling those bad feelings with someone else in the room, and also, the feeling of not being a good enough client. That worry tends to be there for me, which seems kind of crazy I guess, but very real.

    • Hey, Ellen –

      It is frustrating when I can use logic to know that what I am feeling and thinking doesn’t make sense but the reactive parts of me won’t listen. It is the same battle when I’m trying to refrain from destructive behavior . . . I guess the damage from the past trauma has a pretty strong effect on the present until it is healed!

      – Marie


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