Posted by: Marie | August 24, 2011

(581) A moment of joy amid the pain

Post #581
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, February 8, 2011]

I had a really cool experience this morning . . .

Our teachers association had a regular monthly meeting scheduled for this morning. Despite the fact it was blizzarding like crazy, I made the 30-minute drive over to the next town anyway – because I’m the secretary and it’s my job to be there – well, and because I’m a Colorado native and snow doesn’t bother me much.

There were only six members in the meeting. After the business part of the meeting, we moved into the educational part of the meeting. The educational program included a brief history lesson on Franz Liszt’s career given by one of the keyboard professors at the local university. He spent several minutes talking about the story behind Liszt’s Sonata in D minor.

This professor is a native of China but has been in the United States for most of his adult life (he is about my age). He has performed all over the world . . . including two concerts at Carnegie Hall. He is preparing for a mini-tour and wanted to do a “dry run” of his performance of Liszt’s Sonata. So, while the six of us teachers sat in living room chairs and couches surrounding the host’s Model B Steinway, the professor played the entire 32-minute performance – from memory. It was breathtaking. What a treat!


It’s been almost a week since my last therapy session.

Edward invited me to call him if and when I get overwhelmed by the emotion that comes up for me in the wake of our sessions. I’ve resisted calling him because I don’t view that kind of dramatic and acute pain as a major problem. I’m not in the habit of asking for help unless I think I can’t survive something on my own. I believe I can survive this kind of stuff . . . I’ve been surviving it all of my life. I can’t imagine asking for help now.

Furthermore, I’m concerned about the financial costs – if we do an emergency session of sorts over the phone, will he charge me extra for that? If so, I don’t have any extra in my budget for that. It would suck to finally convince myself to reach out for help just to discover that I had to turn around and decline it because I didn’t have the money. I’d rather just keep to myself.

Photo by Martin Chen

Something else about asking for help . . .

During our last session, I was hoping Edward was going to “take charge” of the session and lead us in some direction. I wanted to outright ask him to do that because it seemed he was not doing that. But, I was too afraid to ask him to do that – to ask for his help in that way. I wonder why I was afraid . . . what did I think would happen if I did? Do I think he might make me do something I don’t want to do? No. I fear that as I’m interacting with other men, but I don’t fear that when I’m with him.

After some additional pondering, I think I have the answer . . . I think it is because it would make me look weak . . . it would make it seem I don’t know what to do or that I don’t have an opinion or an idea or that I’m unprepared. I know that is my dad’s voice ringing in my ears – he would tell me that, if I wasn’t clear about the issue and if I didn’t have a solution in mind, if I could voice exactly what I wanted or needed, then I obviously didn’t have an issue and I should go away and stop bugging him about it until I got clear on all that.

If I insisted I had a problem even though I wasn’t clear on how to solve it (and what 6- or 8 or 10-year old kid has all the answers?!?!) then I was just looking for attention or I was trying to get out of my responsibilities by throwing a fit – and no child of his was going to behave like that!

When I had such exchanges with my dad, it was because I was in a painful situation that I didn’t know how to solve. If I had known how to solve the problem, I would have just solved it and wouldn’t have turned to my dad for help. Since talking to my dad rarely brought solutions, I learned to live with the pain by disappearing.

The same thing was happening with Edward. Every time I tried to voice my concerns around the focus and direction of our sessions, I removed myself from his office by disappearing. I couldn’t imagine that talking to him about it would bring relief . . . I could only imagine it would bring shame and ridicule and rejection.

I was glad when, at the very end of our session, I found an opening to bring up the matter in a round about way. I’m hoping he will actually be more forward in his leading despite the fact I didn’t make too big of a deal about it. I need him to lead because I feel like I’m steering from the backseat just to keep us from going into the ditch – I can’t see out the windshield and I have no idea where we should go most of the time.

Oh, and . . . one more thing.

An idea is forming in my head and I don’t really like it. I’m beginning to wonder if the vast majority of the pain I feel is due to profound loneliness. Edward has suggested this many times but I’ve always brushed off the idea. I know I wish I had a life partner, but I have always believed it is no big deal that I don’t . . . I’m quite fine all by myself.

Maybe I need a daily diet of intimate relationships in order to survive – at least to thrive. Maybe I’ll always be stuck in this whirlpool of pain until I have that regular emotionally intimate interaction.

I hope that is not the case . . . because, if it is, I’m truly screwed because I’m not capable of participating in relationships like that – not on a daily basis.


  1. I doubt very much that Edward would charge you for a phone call. I think it would be great if you could reach out and call him when you feel bad, even just as an experiment to see if it helps you. I have the same issues though with phoning a T or anyone really, for help. The idea kind of scares me. I have phoned my T once but that was at a pre-arranged time, and it did help because I sensed he cared. What I do is email. It seems less intrusive than calling, it’s easier for me, and it relieves some of my stress. But maybe calling would be better, I don’t know.

    I also tend to wish my T would lead more. His philosophy is it’s up to the client to bring things in. But it’s great you voiced your wish and if you need to bring it up again, you should feel free I think, especially as you’re trying to fight the conditioning from your father.

    Loneliness – yep, I hear you. It’s a problem I am not solving either,though maybe you’ve got it all worked out at this point.

    I’m enjoying reading about your sessions Marie, so thank you.

    • Hey, Ellen –

      I totally understand what you mean with the phone call vs. email . . . even though emailing someone is difficult for me, calling him on the phone seems ten times more intrusive to me. Emailing is about as brave as I’m willing to get.

      Thank you for the encouraging and supportive words . . . it’s good to hear that you find value in my posts!

      – Marie

  2. It sounds like there were a couple of things to organise with Edward – details of payment for phone (or not) and his role (more initiation).

    It sounds like your Dad was completely unwilling to listen or to help you sort through your reactions so you could understand your problem or what was happening to you. It sounds like Edward has done this for you – so I don’t think you needed to worry about a re-run of the relationship with your father about this with Edward.

    I do think for most of us our life is about intimate relationships (for you primarily with your mother from what you’ve said in previous posts). I think some do have a solitary gift or vocation. I guess you will find out as you heal.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I definately agree with you that my relationship with Edward is nothing like what I experienced with my father . . . the two relationships are about as opposite as possible!

      I’ve always craved intimate relationships . . . I’ve just tried to make the best of a situation where it seems I’m not going to have that in my life — I’ve tried to find other reasons to live.

      Your point about needing to work out details . . . I’m finding it challenging to speak up about what I want or need . . . that’s a skill I’m working to develop.

      Thanks for your insight!

      – Marie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: