Posted by: Marie | May 31, 2011

(553) The God thing – Part 3 of 5

Post #553
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Me: So . . . I was hoping we could spend some time revisiting my letter to God. I’m really interested in your thoughts about what I wrote.

Edward: I’d be happy to spend some time revisiting your letter to God!

Me: Cool! I’d like for you to lead the way since I really don’t have a plan.

Edward: Sure . . .

How about this . . . I’d like for you to read your letter again. But this time, I’d like for you to replace the word “God” with the word “Dad”. As you read, I would like for you to contemplate what it might be like to say these thing to your dad.

Me: (Angrily) It wouldn’t do any good – he won’t listen!!

Edward: Oh, I’m very clear that your real-life dad wouldn’t listen. But, the advantage of working with imaginary versions of people is that we can ask them to do things they might not be willing to do in real life.

(I nodded my head in agreement. Then, I allowed myself to think about what it would be like to say those things to my dad. A huge rush of fear swept over me and I became paralyzed. Tears started streaming down my face.)

Edward: Can you tell me what is happening with you?

(I shook my head . . . I had lost most of my ability to breath and was not able to speak.)

Edward: Okay . . . take your time. Your tears are already saying so much.

Let me know when you are ready to continue.

Me: (After a few moments of working to catch my breath again . . . ) I feel I wouldn’t survive saying those things to my dad . . . (more sobs)

Logically, I know my dad isn’t here, so he can’t do anything to me if I were to say them. But, my body doesn’t know that. My spirit doesn’t know that.

Edward: Yes . . . those memories stay in our bodies for a very long time . . . they stay until they are addressed and moved out of our bodies. Of course your body says you wouldn’t survive saying those things to your dad.

Photo by Martin Chen

Me: (In between sobs) A huge part of my identity is that I’m “Billy’s daughter”. If I said these things out loud, it would taint the sanctity of the relationship between my dad and me.

Edward: (Thoughtfully) I don’t understand what you mean by the “sanctity” of your relationship. Can you help me understand?

Me: Because, (stumbling around with my words), if I stood up to him, it would cause him to reject me and it will kill the relationship. I would no longer have the identity of being his daughter.

Edward: But, you did stand up to him when you were a teenager . . . true?

Me: (After some thought) When I finally stood up to him that day, I realized I was never going to gain his approval. I no longer had hope of that. On that day, I knew for sure that he thought badly of me. I knew that he believed I was soiled, that I was not pure, that I was the black sheep of the family because I wasn’t willing to obey my parents and, by proxy, obey and honor God. Only a really bad person would behave that way.

When I was younger, I had the hope that someday I would measure up. But, on the day we had that showdown, I knew I never would gain his approval because in order to do that, I would have to totally comply with his demands to be what he wanted me to be.

Edward: In other words, you would have to totally abandon who you are.

Me: Yes, I would have to totally abandon who I was – and that is the price I would have to pay in order to gain his approval. We both knew on that day that I was never going to comply and that I was bad. The hope of my redemption was gone. We both knew that I was damaged goods.

I knew that my dad’s threats that no quality guy would want to be with me if I went down this path had now come to pass. I was officially undesirable – it was confirmed on that day when I finally stood up to my dad and he knew for sure I wasn’t ever going to submit.

Even though now, as an adult, I can logically see those conclusion are crap. I’m not damaged goods. But, that belief is deeply imbedded in my core belief system. I have no idea how to rewire the belief that I am damaged and bad, that I’m undesirable and un-loveable.

Edward: Let me point out something to you . . .

You were in a no-win situation. Had you complied and abandoned who you are, you would have been just a shell of yourself. If you are a shell of yourself, you are absent and are unable to acknowledge and participate and experience the love, affection and approval from your dad that you think would have come with compliance.

On the other hand, if you defied him, he was going to withhold his love and affection.

Either way, you couldn’t win. There was no good solution.

Me: That’s true . . . and I handled it by defying him but also by hiding the “real me” and presenting only a shell to the world – because not having the love and affection of my dad was too painful to experience. So, I didn’t experience it. Instead, I went numb and stayed numb.

(We sat quietly for a few moments, allowing this insight to settle in around us. I again contemplated the idea of saying those things to my dad . . . )

Me: I don’t think I can read the letter if I make it about my dad. I just can’t imagine saying those things to my dad because I wouldn’t survive it. I want to be brave enough to do that, but I’m not.

Edward: Would it be okay for me to say those things to your dad on your behalf?

Me: That might be okay . . . (I became very emotional at the thought of someone standing up to my dad on my behalf)

(With a quivering voice) Can you tell me what that would like?

Edward: What would you want it to look like? What would you need it to look like in order for you to feel safe?

Me: I don’t know . . . I need a few minutes to go inside myself and ask little Marie what she would need.

Edward: Okay! Go ahead . . . there is no hurry . . . take your time . . . I’ll be right here.

(I sat with my eyes closed for several minutes. During that time, I paid special attention to the emotions and body sensations I was experiencing. I asked the scared little girl inside of me what would allow her to feel safe. As I was doing this, Edward gently spoke encouraging words to me, assuring me that I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do, that it would be fine if we didn’t do anything more today . . . )

Me: (With almost a childish tone) Little Marie would like to sit on the floor in the corner (behind the end table). She would like her dad to sit on the floor at the other end of the room (by the door) and she would like you to sit on the floor between us. She would like for you and her dad to face each other. She wants to sit behind you so she can be protected from her dad.

(I felt quite silly talking in third person about myself . . . I half expected Edward to tell me to stop it. But, he didn’t. I was relieved he didn’t tell me to stop it because I knew it was something I needed to do. I don’t know why I needed to do it, I just did. Maybe I needed to finally give Little Marie a voice.)

Edward: Great! I’m happy to support you in that way! Do you want to do it today? You don’t have to do it today . . .

Me: Yes, I want to do it today. (As soon as I said this, I got very emotional and started sobbing a little bit.)

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. wow this brought tears to my eyes. you are so brave.

    • Hi, Catherine –

      I don’t always feel brave . . . I receive a lot of support and encouragement from Edward . . . I don’t know that I could do it otherwise!

      – Marie

  2. Wow. That was quite a session – and it’s not over yet.

    • This session was something else, for sure!

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