Posted by: Marie | June 6, 2012

(644) In it for the long haul – Part 3 of 4

Post #644
[Private journal entry written on Monday, June 20, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]

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Me: So, anyway . . . last session, we had a discussion concerning how I came to the conclusion I don’t deserve to experience pleasure. That discussion really stirred things up for me . . . but, I’ve been processing it and things have settled down significantly in that area.

I was also greatly affected by your questions about intimate and/or romantic relationships. I sidestepped your questions somewhat . . . well, I cut short the discussion by giving an abrupt response that didn’t encourage discussion.

I responded that way because I didn’t want to talk about dating. Instead, I steered the conversation around to the part of how I don’t believe I deserve to experience pleasure. I know I asked you to help me figure out why I struggle with caring for my body . . . but I didn’t realize it would lead to a discussion on dating, which I didn’t want to have . . .

Ali Mountain by Martin Chen

Is any of this making sense? I’m having trouble saying what I mean . . .

Edward: It does . . . would you like for me to repeat back to you what I am hearing?

Me: Sure!

Edward: I hear you saying you acknowledge that one reason you are likely avoiding physical health is because being healthy would cause you to be faced with the reality of being more physically attractive – which would likely cause you to have to deal with the prospect of dating.

Another reason you avoid physical health is because the conversations with your mom around the time you first learned the biological facts of sexual intercourse led you to believe you do not deserve to experience pleasure – you came to believe you don’t deserve to feel good and to experience pleasure, especially with your body.

In the last session, you were willing to talk about your belief you don’t deserve pleasure, but you were not willing to discuss anything to do with dating because the subject of dating is intolerably painful for you right now.

However, since the last session, you have progressed to the point that you are now willing to discuss dating despite the fact it is still a very painful topic for you.

So, am I hearing you correctly?

Me: Yes . . . okay, I’m impressed with your listening skills and your recall!

And . . . just to be clear, I’m not willing to discuss dating, per se . . . as in, I’m not ready to post an ad on Match.com and I’m not ready to actually go on a date. However, I am willing to start addressing the issues that are keeping me from being ready to date.

(As I was saying these last words, my voice started quivering with emotion.)

Edward: Ah, yes . . of course . . . I understand the distinction. Thank you for clarifying that.

(He paused and waited because, while he was responding, I had dissolved into silent tears and covered my eyes with my hand.)

Edward: Can you tell me what just happened?

Me: This topic – dating, intimate relationships – is so incredibly painful for me. I told myself I would be willing to talk about it today as long as I held it out away from myself and didn’t let the emotion overwhelm me.

(I started sobbing – big sobs – as I continued answering his question . . . )

Me: However, I’m finding it impossible to hold it out away from myself as I’m experiencing your compassion.

This subject is a big deal . . . it’s so big that I’ve never talked to anyone about it . . . at least, not like this . . .

I always crack jokes about my lack of intimate relationships . . . like, “Oh, I got smart young and figured out I don’t want to deal with having a man to take care of!” and “I figured out young that it is much better to be alone!”

And, my female friends, especially the married ones who are in terrible relationships, cheer me on when I say those things. So, I put on this big show about how glad I am to be alone.

But really, I am incredibly lonely. The truth is that I really do wish I could have an intimate relationship. But, I believe that will never happen and it is too painful to have hope.

So, I have just stopped having hope . . . I still think about it all the time, but my thoughts are not on how much I want it, but rather, my thoughts are on how badly it hurts that I will never have that in my life.

I think about it all the time. It is the reason I eat so much ice cream . . . because, in the quiet hours before I go to sleep, all I can think about is how lonely I am. The only way I can get through those hours is to eat ice cream because the flavor and texture of the ice cream are distracting enough to mostly drown out the suffocating pain of loneliness.

Edward: (With his hand on his heart and a very sad expression on his face) Ouch! Ouch!

Me: I’m afraid that, if I allow us to talk about it here, I’ll once again develop hope. I don’t know that I could survive having hope again – having hope dashed again – and again – and again. I want to have hope, I want to actually have a relationship . . . but I don’t know if I could survive all of that. That’s why it is so difficult for me to talk to you about this.

(We sat quietly for a few moments while I sorted through my emotions . . . )

Me: (After one last sob and a really big sigh) For some reason, I see myself as being weak if I admit that I really do want an intimate relationship.

Edward: From where do you think you learned that message?

Me: Of course . . . from my dad . . . he taught me that I ought to not depend on anyone to take care of me . . . that I should be able to take care of myself and that I should not be beholden or dependent on anyone. I took that to mean that I also should not need – or want – an intimate relationship. I got the message that I shouldn’t need anyone.

Edward: And this message came from a man who was very dependent upon his wife.

(That statement came out of left field and really threw me for a loop – after some thought, I responded . . . )

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


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