Posted by: Marie | June 2, 2011

(555) The God thing – Part 5 of 5

Post #555
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Edward: So, William, in closing . . . I think I have spoken to you with compassion and kindness. I hope you leave here feeling like I have treated you in a respectful manner.

Thank you for coming to here today and for listening carefully. It is now time for you to leave so Marie and I can talk about the conversation she has witnessed here. But, don’t go too far – maybe you could hang out at the restaurant across the street. I don’t know if your daughter might need for you to come back for further conversation.

But, for now, she needs for you to leave so she can feel comfortable enough to say whatever there is for her to say. So . . . good-bye.

(Pausing for a transitional effect . . . )

Let me check in with you, Marie . . . would you feel safe if I turned around to face you so we can talk?

Me: Sure!

Edward: (Turning around) How are you doing?

Photo by Martin Chen

Me: Actually, I’m doing fine . . . I’m just in awe . . . I’m still trying to wrap my head around this experience of seeing and hearing someone stand up to my dad on my behalf. It was a healing experience.

And, I’m really impressed with myself for listening to what little Marie needed . . . and for being brave enough to ask for us to move into this position.

Edward: That is impressive! Congratulations on that! I am proud of you for being so courageous!

Me: I got emotional when I asked for what she needed . . . I think I got emotional because it is one of the first times I’ve ever been able to express a preference to a man . . . to tell him in what way a need of mine could be met.

I usually only voice my needs that are urgent enough that I will die – figuratively or literally – if they are not met. I think I was able to recognize and express a preference in here, despite it not being a life or death situation, because I felt safe from the threat of violence. I knew I was safe with you.

Edward: I appreciate the level of trust you have placed in me. Thank you for trusting me to that extent. It is your willingness to trust that allows this level of progress in your healing.

Me: I’m noticing that I’m starting to pay attention to what I need. For example, at my studio recital this past weekend, I sat down at the piano to play my composition and noticed my nose was running. So, instead of suffering through it, I said to the audience of 45+ people, “Excuse me for a moment, I need a tissue.” I got up, blew my nose and sat back down. It was such a simple thing to do, but meeting my needs and preferences is something I’m just learning how to do.

Edward: Congratulations on allowing yourself to be human and to have human needs!

(We both stopped talking and Edward sat watching me intently. In the quietness, I got emotional again . . . )

Edward: What is happening?

Me: I’m just remembering all the times I really wanted my dad to shut up and listen . . . and he wouldn’t. I think I gave up so early on him ever hearing me. I never remember feeling like I had the option of . . . that I would ever be listened to if I did speak.

I remember many, many times wishing he would listen to what I had to say – wishing he would listen to my side of the debate. I’d talk to my friends and my teachers and ask them if I had a fair argument and they would all say that I did – that I should just talk to him and give him my opinion.

But, I knew that, even if I tried, he would see my attempts to express my opinion as me being obstinate and non-compliant. I knew there was a good chance the exchange would end with him hitting me – I learned that from experience.

I never was brave enough to keep trying . . . I just gave up.

Edward: Ouch! Ouch!

I’m glad you are now learning how to express yourself. And, thank you for allowing me to express anger on your behalf.

The anger I feel towards how your dad treated you is far greater than I allowed myself to express in my conversation with your dad. Had my expression been consistent with how I really feel, it would have been much louder and much more forceful. I didn’t express my anger to its full extent because I am concerned it would scare you or overwhelm you.

Me: Thank you for being careful about that. You are right . . . I think that would have caused me to feel unsafe.

Edward: Well, if you ever need me to be louder or more forceful in my expression of my anger towards your dad, just let me know. I’d be happy to do that.

Me: (Laughing a little bit) Okay, I’ll let you know if I need that from you.

(A bit more seriously) I think I spent my time and energy as a child trying to hang onto who I was despite being squashed by the dictatorship of my dad. I had to fight to survive. I had to fight to not shrivel up.

Even though I left home and my dad died, I’m still fighting that same battle. But, I don’t understand what I’m battling . . . there is no threat now. Why do I keep losing my voice? Why do I keep getting paralyzed? Why do I feel like I’m going to die if I speak up for myself?

Why do I still feel like I’m fighting for survival?

Edward: It makes perfect sense to me. Even though the trauma is no longer happening in the physical realm, that battle is still raging inside of you. That is why we need to continue looking at and processing this stuff . . . so you can move through it and move into a happier way of life – so you can have reasons to stay alive.

Me: (Laughing a little bit) Well, we have 20 years in which to find a reason for me to continue living beyond waiting for my mom to die.

Edward: (Also laughing) Well, thank you for being so generous with that timeline! I think we can get the job done with at least 19 years left over . . .

Me: No problem! Even if it takes two years, I think we still okay on the timeline!

Edward: So . . . are you feeling comfortable enough to be able to move out of the corner?

Me: Yes . . .

(As I started extracting myself from the corner) Are we getting close on time?

Edward: We have about five minutes remaining.

Me: I’m surprised we have that much time left . . . we must have packed a lot into the session today . . . it feels like I’ve been here for way more than an hour.

I wanted to look at the clock while you were talking with my dad. But, to do so, I would have had to stand up, out of the corner, to see the clock. I didn’t want to disrupt the conversation, so I didn’t get up even though I feel more in control when I know how much time we have left. Instead, I decided I’d trust you to manage the time.

Edward: (Laughing) I appreciate that you allowed me to do my job!

Me: You’re welcome!

As I think back over what we’ve covered in the last two sessions, I had no idea what direction my request to take a look at the “God” issue would lead us! Phew! It’s been an adventure!

Edward: It has been!

(As he watched me pack up my stuff) So, you had a recital this past weekend?

Me: Yes . . . I held it in my studio. I had about ten students perform on Saturday afternoon and another ten perform on Sunday afternoon. At the end of each performance, I played my newest composition titled, “Amanecer”, which when translated from Spanish into English means, “Becoming Day”. The recitals went very well . . . I think it was a positive experience for everyone.

Edward: Well, good!


With that, he walked me back down the stairs to the lobby, where we wished each other “Merry Christmas” and parted ways.


  1. That was a great session. Looking forward to see how you build on it.

    • Thank you for sticking around to see how things go, Evan!

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