Posted by: Marie | February 18, 2011

(519) Giving it words

Post #519
[Private journal entry written on Monday, October 18, 2010]

Well, I completed my writing exercise. It was tough to stick with it . . . I kept getting up from the computer and wandering around, picking, eating, crawling under the covers . . . but, I kept coming back to the computer and I eventually got it done.

I’m feeling a sense of relief, at least to some level, because I feel my attachment to this story loosening a bit. I can feel the story separating from my soul just a bit. I am starting to feel that my identity is separate from it.

I think that is really big.

As of this moment, I am seeing my use of violent fantasies for masturbation as a matter of little Marie telling a story and big Marie listening to it and trying to be of comfort to little Marie. For once, it is starting to not be about shame. Instead, it is starting to be a medium for storytelling where telling the story can bring healing.

I recently found a post on the Discussing Dissociation blog that was especially helpful to me. In her article, Turning Self-Injury into Self-Soothing, Kathy Broady suggests that many childhood trauma survivors who use self-injury as a coping mechanism in the present time were not properly cared for at the time the trauma occurred. Within healthy family dynamics, when a child experiences an injury, he or she receives special gentle attention and comfort – the injury and resulting pain are acknowledged and validated.

When there is no comfort or validation of the pain, and when the child is left alone to deal with his or her pain, the child does the only thing he or she can do – the child finds a way to escape the pain by numbing or leaving.

Photo by Martin Chen

As is already obvious, I struggle to recognize that things were “that bad” for me as a child. But, when I read Kathy’s words describing a child being left alone with his or her pain, I could relate to that very strongly . . . I have very, very clear memories of being alone with pain and trying desperately to figure out how to survive the being alone while suffering greatly.

I have clear memories of looking to my mom for comfort and having access to her blocked by my dad. Even if she had wanted to comfort me (and I have no idea if she did or did not), she was too afraid to go against my dad’s orders. My dad believed I had to be left alone so I could learn the consequences of not obeying. In order for his style of parenting to “work”, I had to be in great pain – the greater the pain, the faster I learned and the less bother I was to him.

Kathy suggests that the therapeutic process can teach survivors how to acknowledge and validate their pain, and how to comfort themselves as well as ask for comfort from others. These are skills a competent therapist can teach their clients. I can clearly see, now that I’ve read Kathy’s article, this is what Edward is doing for me. Gaining this insight has taken my breath away a bit – in a good way.

At any rate, I have decided I’m going to talk about my writing exercise in my session with Edward this week. I’m not sure how far I will go with the discussion – I’m not sure what boundaries Edward might have around it and I’m not sure how far I am capable of going with it right now – but I’m going to at least bring it up in the session.

Because it is such a heavy topic, I thought I should give Edward a warning that something this big is on its way. So, I sent him another email today:

Hi, Edward –

I thought you might like a “heads up” . . .

For quite a while, I have felt it would be beneficial to write down my “perfect” masturbational fantasy . . . as a way to move it out of my head and onto paper . . . as a way to take away some of the power those thoughts have over me . . . and to be able to look at it and see which parts might reflect reality . . .

But, I haven’t been able to do it . . . until this weekend.

So, I have it written down now. I’m not sure what options I/we have concerning what to do with it, but, at any rate, I’ve taken this first step. It has been a tumultuous process and I’m currently emotionally fragile (good thing it is the school district’s fall break so I’ve been able to spend some time in bed with the covers pulled over my head) . . . I’m not sure where I’ll be with things by Wednesday.

I figured it would be helpful to you to know this in advance.

– Marie

And, of course, he responded in his usual warm and supportive way:

Dear Marie,

Thank you for your thoughtful email. I appreciate the heads up.

And, congratulations on finding the courage to write.

I look forward to our time together on Wednesday.



  1. It sounds like that session with Edward would be very intense.

    • Yeah . . . that’s for sure! Stay tuned!

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