Posted by: Marie | June 8, 2012

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

Post #645
[Private journal entry written on Monday, June 20, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]

——————————-

Me: I don’t know that he was dependent upon my mom . . . I don’t think he really needed her . . . or us kids . . . I think he would have been just fine without us.

Edward: I think he did need all of you . . . I think he needed you a lot.

Me: I guess I don’t know what you mean . . .

Edward: His wife prepared food for him and his children . . . she kept the house clean and the clothes clean and mended, she kept everything running smoothly . . . she took the small paycheck he brought home and miraculously made it stretch to cover all the bills . . . he could not have had the life he had without his wife. I’m sure she gave him emotional support, too . . . made him feel important . . .

Me: I guess I hadn’t thought about that before. I just figured that he was so busy fighting his own internal demons – many of the same ones I fight – that, had we not been around, he might have been relieved to not have to provide for us, especially us kids. I have never considered the possibility that he might have actually needed us.

I’ll have to think about that one for a while . . .

(We sat in thoughtful silence for a few moments . . . Edward observed me very intently . . . )

Me: You know, when I think about the fact that my dad was probably fighting many of the same demons as I am, I hurt for him. He must have been in tremendous pain all of his life. I totally understand why he chose to leave this life as soon as he could.

I really hurt for him . . .

——————————-

Edward nodded his head, acknowledging the pain my dad must have felt.

As we were sitting there in thoughtful silence, I thought to myself, “And I think his pain is what drove him to abuse us.” But, I didn’t say it out loud . . . it seemed irrelevant in the moment – and maybe even inaccurate.

Ali Mountain by Martin Chen

Edward broke the silence: “Would you be willing to tell your dad how learning that message – that you shouldn’t need anyone – has impacted you?”

For a moment, it seemed like a good idea. But, as soon as I considered the possibility, I got the very-familiar paralyzed feeling. My muscles froze up and my breathing got ragged.

I wanted to do what Edward had suggested, but I couldn’t even think of any words to say, even if I could speak them. All I could do is angrily brush the tears from my eyes and try to steady my breathing.

Edward offered to speak words on my behalf . . . I just shook my head “no”.

I know he keeps trying to get me to speak aloud to my parents . . . but, obviously, that is not going to happen. I can’t do it and I don’t think repeated attempts are going to make it easier. This is just something I can’t do.

I guess I’ll never be able to stand up to them; I’ll never be able to use my adult voice with them. I understand that stunts some important parts of my healing, but I feel unable to do anything about that.

I guess I’ll make the best of what I have been able to do and not worry about the rest. I know it means I won’t be able to participate in healthy intimate relationships . . . but, oh well, I don’t believe that really is an option anyway . . . and this just confirms it.

Edward interrupted my silent mental tirade . . .

——————————-

Edward: Where are you right now?

Me: (With my sad tears turning into angry tears) I’m frustrated because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say what I need to say to my parents. I don’t think that is ever going to happen.

Edward: It will happen, Marie. It just hasn’t happened yet.

Me: What if it takes twenty sessions to make that happen . . . ?? That would be ridiculous!

Edward: Why would it be ridiculous?

Me: Because it can’t be that hard to say stuff to an imaginary version of my parents! There is no way that it should take that many attempts! It is ridiculous!

Edward: Marie, I think that just shows us how much damage was done by the behavior of your parents. I think the trauma was huge and I think the damage was huge. I think one way we could take the pressure off of you is to plan on it taking at least twenty sessions to prepare you to speak your first words in your adult voice. Let’s just assume it is going to take that long.

(I was hit hard with emotion and couldn’t respond for a few minutes . . . when I did, I spoke in an angry, sarcastic voice . . . )

Me: But, if I take that long, you are going to label me as a resistant client . . . you’ll write in your notes that I’m malingering and that I’m committed to being a victim. You won’t want me around . . . you will ask me to go away. That will make me a bad client.

Edward: Marie, that is not true. I know you are working very hard to move forward with your healing. I also know that you are working to heal some tremendous damage that was done to you. It is not easy work.

If I pushed you to move faster than you are prepared to move, then I would be requiring you to put on an artificial performance . . . there would be no room for the “authentic you”. That is how you have been required to show up in the world for all of your life – I think you have been putting on grand performances all of your life.

I’m committed to staying with you and creating the time and space required for the real you to show up here. I promise I will stay with you for as long as it takes. It will be my pleasure to continue working with you . . . no matter how long it takes. I’m not going anywhere! I promise . . . I’m here for you for the long haul.

——————————-

I was unable to form a response to his words . . . but, I believed him. I totally and absolutely believed him. I knew for sure that he wanted to continue working with me and I knew for sure he would stick around for the long haul.

I’ve never, never, ever never believed that about a man before. And in the instance I began to believe him, something huge shifted in me. I was hit with an avalanche of emotion – I experienced a sense of being loved unconditionally, a sense of security, a sense that I matter . . .

The emotion was overwhelming – it took my breath away.

I was going to have to process what he said before I could respond – but there wasn’t time for that because we were at the end of our session time.

So, instead, I nodded, wiped the tears and snot off my face, gathered my stuff, mumbled “Thank you and have a good holiday weekend” and stumbled towards the door, still struggling to get my head around what he had said . . .

As I placed my hand on the doorknob, he asked if I would like a hug. I did want a hug – and I’m glad he asked because I really needed the emotional assurance that one of his hugs can provide. I’m glad he asked because I wasn’t thinking clearly enough to think to ask . . .

Then I left his office and stumbled to my car, wiping my tears and blowing my nose . . .


Responses

  1. That’s a big session. I look forward to hearing how that works out in your future sessions and life.

    • It was a big session . . . thank you for your continued interest!

  2. i’m glad he was able to reassure you. it will take as long as it takes, nothing at all wrong with that. you have high, can i say quite unrealistic expectations for yourself and how quickly you should heal. probably another legacy of the abuse. it’s not a race, it’s a journey and i’m glad to share this journey with you, c.

    • You are so right!! It is a legacy of the abuse . . . and what is wierd is that I don’t see my expectations as unrealistic . . . but, after thinking about, I can see you are right about that as well.


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