Posted by: Marie | August 18, 2011

(579) In search of hope – Part 5 of 6

Post #579
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Edward: Can you tell me more about that?

Me: It is like you find a small irregularity on your tooth and you think you have a small cavity. You go to the dentist and learn that you need a root canal. Then, you are hit with the fear that you won’t be able to handle it . . . that you don’t have the resources to handle it . . . to fix it.

Edward: Do you think you are here, in therapy, to fix yourself?

Photo by Martin Chen

Me: Well, yeah . . . I’m very broken and I need to fix myself.

Edward: It concerns me that you see yourself as broken.

I would like, someday, for you to recognize that you are already whole – you simply have a lot of stored historical pain that causes you to withdraw from relationships. When you are able to heal the pain, then you will be available for relationships.

Me: (After a moment of thought) I actually do have a reasonable amount of hope that I’ll be able to heal to the extent that I’ll stop killing myself . . . that I’ll stop picking and binging and I’ll start taking regular showers and I’ll eat healthily and care about my appearance to some extent. I think that someday I’ll relieve enough of the pain and anxiety that I can take better care of myself.

But, I don’t have hope that I’ll ever be fixed enough to participate in relationships – in that way, I feel that I’m permanently broken and dysfunctional.

Edward: Marie, you are already healed enough to be in relationships. You always have been.

Me: Well, thanks for telling me that, but I don’t believe it. I’m sorry . . . I don’t know how to change my disbelief. I’ve tried to convince myself that I’m whole enough, but I don’t believe it.

(More tears . . . and I felt myself closing down again) A lifetime of experience tells me that I’m too broken to participate in healthy relationships. So, I’m sorry if I can’t fix that.

Edward: Is it possible that you have had opportunities to participate in healthy relationships but you declined to do so because it was unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory – that, instead, you preferred to stay with what you know?

Me: I guess . . . but I think I have been willing to participate in pretty much any relationship that came along . . . healthy or unhealthy. I’ve always been starved for attention, especially from men. When I’ve come across men who I think would treat me with respect, I try to initiate a relationship and they run away. There is something about me that causes quality men to run away from me as fast as possible.

So, I don’t think I have had opportunities for healthy relationships. Apparently I have to be healthier as a person before healthy people will want to be in relationship with me.

Edward: Hmmmm . . .

Marie, here is what I’m noticing . . . I’m trying to be encouraging in this area, but it sounds like my words are actually discouraging to you. Would that be accurate?

Me: Yes, that would be accurate.

Every time you tell me that I am already healed enough to experience healthy relationship, I hear this very loud voice in my head saying that it isn’t true, that it never will be true.

That inner voice is louder than your voice. The more persistent you are, the louder and more persistent that inner voice gets. There’s no way you can compete with that inner voice, it’s too strong and I haven’t figured out how to shut it up yet. So, the negative story gets greatly reinforced every time you try to encourage me.

I’m sorry . . . I wish it weren’t that way, but it is. I wish I could change it, but I can’t – I’ve believed bad things about myself for too many years. Those beliefs are very engrained and I have no hope it will change.

I want to have hope, but that hope got beat out of me a long time ago. There have been too many years of having that hope dashed over and over for it to still be there. I don’t know how to make myself hope again.

I know it sounds like I’m committed to feeling sorry for myself and to being stuck in this way of being. I guess that is true on some level. I’m angry with myself for not being able to change it. I’m tired of putting on a hopeful look on my face when I really don’t have hope.

(I got hit with a rush of emotion and stopped to allow the tears to come, then I continued . . . )

This hopeless way of being is unacceptable to me . . . it is everything my dad warned me to not be . . . the fear of being like this is the greatest fear I have . . . it is far greater than my fear of being alone or of dying . . . well, I have no fear of dying because dying would bring relief.

I know I should be able to take your words of encouragement and be encouraged by them, but I can’t.

I can hear myself trying to justify all of this to you, but I really have no valid justification and that causes me to feel all the more broken.

(Deep sigh as I ran out of words)

Edward: Okay, I hear what you are saying. I’ll stop trying to encourage you in this area – at least I’ll stop for now.

Me: Thank you.

You know, I really do wish I had hope.

Edward: Yes, I know. I believe you.


Once I put all of that “out there” where Edward could see it, the full weight of my hopelessness hit hard. I quit fighting and let the tears come. The emotional pain was intolerable and I felt myself disconnect and start floating. I didn’t fight to come back.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. I agree with what I’m guessing was Edward’s position – that it is quite sane to feel awful when awful things are done to you.

    Looking forward to the coming instalments.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I think Edward was working to get me to see the difference between having pain and “being broken” — because the latter really translates (in my mind) to being unlovable.

      It is amazing to me how strong that feeling of being permanently broken is . . . I still struggle with it . . . logically, I know it is not true, but I still often believe it. It is an ongoing battle.

      Thanks for your encouraging words!

      – Marie

  2. Hey Marie,

    It’s interesting to me that there seems–and maybe I’m wrong–to be a correlation between “not being able to be in a healthy relationship” and also not wanting to live, or not caring whether you live or die.

    And yet, there are numerous examples of people who live very solitary lives and are very happy to do so, and seem content in their life and I assume want to live.

    Is there a connection in your mind between these two things? Could you at least hope that at some point you will get enjoyment out of your life even if you are living in a somewhat solitary fashion?

    On the other hand, I agree with Edward that it’s very possible for you to shed more of this pain and get to a place where healthy relationships with men are totally within the scope of reason for you.

    • Hey, Aaron –

      Yes, you are picking up on something major . . . I didn’t really understand it at the time of this session, but I have figured it out since . . .

      The vast majority of my current pain (the reason I binge and pick) comes from profound loneliness. But, it was hard for me to acknowledge that because that would mean I’d have to recognize I need deep relationships with people . . . part of my lifelong defense has been that I don’t need anyone, that I’m fine all by myself.

      The idea of being “content enough” to survive the 20 years until my mom dies has been my goal for as long as I can remember. It is just recently started considering more than that.

      I appreciate that you’re paying such close attention! Thank you for the support!

      – Marie

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