Posted by: Marie | September 26, 2011

(593) A picture is worth . . . Part 3 of 5

Post #593
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]

——————

I asked Edward if he would hand the old drawing back to me – he did. I laid one drawing on top of the other and saw that the similarity was how I sacrificed one or more parts of myself in order to survive. I realized I have a habit of doing that – even now I have a habit of that.

I was hit most strongly with emotion when I silently acknowledged how I had sacrificed my body – my sexuality – in order to gain attention and approval of men during my teens and on into my 30’s. At the time, the sacrifice seemed worthwhile. Now, I understand it was not. But I was in so much emotional pain back then that I was willing to sacrifice my body in that way.

By this point, tears were streaming down my face and I was sobbing. Edward inquired about the sudden burst of emotion. In between sobs, I explained the connections I was realizing – how I have a habit of sacrificing parts of me in order to survive – how deep the scars were from the sexual sacrifices I made during all those years.

——————

Edward: You were doing the best you knew to do.

Me: But, I shouldn’t have given in to that need . . . I shouldn’t have been that weak. I should have been strong enough to make better choices. I knew to do better, I was taught to do better . . .

Edward: When you were four years old, you didn’t have a choice about the matter – you had no choice but to sacrifice your body in order to survive the sexual abuse. You were not able to protect your body or your sexuality. You had no choice.

(I nodded . . . and cried some more . . . )

Edward: And, when you were older, you did the only thing you knew to do . . . you had a tremendous need – not a desire, but a hardwired biological need – to be approved of and loved. You didn’t get that from home, so you did the only thing you knew to do in order to meet that need.

You didn’t have a choice because no one gave you options . . . not until you were older and you made a point of searching out other options. Up to the point you started searching, you didn’t even know there were other options.

But, now you know differently and you are behaving differently. And, you are continuing to search out new and better – healthier ways of being – and you are shifting your behavior accordingly.

Can you give yourself credit for doing the only thing you knew to do back then . . . and for doing the best you know to do now?

(Again, I nodded my head and cried some more tears . . . Edward sat silently with me for a few minutes as I allowed the emotion to rise and fall away. Then, he took off in a slightly different direction . . . )

Edward: Do you feel comfortable doing a bit more drawing?

Me: Sure . . .

Edward: If you are willing, I’d like for you to draw what you think healthy interactions with people might look like. Can you do that?

Me: Sure!

——————

First, I drew purple circles to represent me and another person. I put some space in between them and I explained to Edward that I thought some personal space is healthy, even in the most intimate and healthy relationships. I also pointed out that each circle was intact and it’s shape had integrity – the outlines didn’t shape themselves to accommodate the surrounding environment.

I used orange to show how there would be an equal exchange of energy. Each person is able to decide if the energy coming from the other person will stop at his or her parameter or if that energy will be allowed to come inside and affect the person. However, that energy never causes the integrity of the person’s circle to be compromised.

I showed the existence of the energy with a blue layer and a green layer around each circle. Edward asked me about that energy . . . more specifically, what components were included in that energy . . .

After some thought, and after checking in with myself on a soul level, I answered that the components would be emotions and then outward behaviors such as actions and words. I wrote the words “emotions” and “actions”; then I realized that words were another component of that energy. For me, actions and words are very different from each other and “words” need their own color in this picture. Just as I picked up the yellow marker to add a third color, Edward spoke up . . .

——————

Edward: Is it okay if I add some ideas to the mix?

Me: Sure!

Edward: It seems to me that the green could be both actions and words . . . it has been my experience that they are two different components that often show up together within relationships.

Me: I was just thinking the same thing! But, I’m going to make the words their own color because words are so important to me. However, I’m going to have the actions and the words share the same space because, even though they are separate components, they are intertwined.

Edward: I agree with you!

(I finished my drawing and showed it to him. He reiterated what I had said about each shape and color – I guess to make sure I knew he understood what I had shared with him. Then, he continued his questions . . . )

Edward: When you look at this drawing that illustrates what ideal relationships could look like for you, how do you feel?

Me: Well, I feel sad and hopeless. I am confused and uncertain about how to survive in such a relationship. Because it is the “ideal” configuration, it seems that it should be effortless – or, at least, it should be energizing for me, not draining. But, for me, the ideal seems impossible.

Whenever I’ve entered into relationships, I’ve always thought they were configured in this ideal way – that they were healthy relationships. If I had thought otherwise, I would have never entered into them.

Then, after I get into them, I find out that I’ve once again gotten myself into an unhealthy relationship. The guy turns out to be disrespectful and/or abusive.

Edward: Are you aware that we have the freedom to move away from disrespectful people and to move closer to people who treat us well?

We are not required to stay stuck in relationships with abusive people. If, as you get to know a man, you discover he is abusive, you have the option of discontinuing the relationship, or limiting your level of investment in it.

Me: That all sounds very nice . . . but, I’ve come to the conclusion that some level of disrespect and abuse is always going to be part of any relationship I’m in – because nobody is perfect. Everyone has issues – I can’t expect any man to not have some bad behavior. So, I’ve got to have that wall in place in order to protect myself against that behavior – in order to survive. Maybe other people can tolerate that bad behavior better than I can – I guess I’m very sensitive in that way.

The other option I have is to not be in relationships at all – which is the option I’ve been choosing for the last several years. It is less painful for me to go without than have to deal with that bad behavior.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


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