Posted by: Marie | June 18, 2012

(650) Men providing shelter – Part 1 of 5

Post #650
[Private journal entry written on Friday, July 8, 2011]

Today was therapy session day . . .

As is his habit, Edward met me in the waiting room and escorted me up the stairs to his office door. Then, as I got settled in his office, he took his usual bio-break, after which he came into his office and we got started with our session . . .

Once we are settled in our respective chairs, he always extends his standard opening line of “It is good to see you!” I always respond, “It’s good to see you, too!”

Ali Mountain by Martin Chen

Then, he always sits quietly and watches me intently. I always attempt to meet and hold his gaze, but I never can. I can maintain eye contact with him for a few seconds, then I have to drop my gaze and stumble around for words to fill the silence.

I think it is his way to energetically – and maybe by observing my body language – to determine where I am at, in the moment, with my emotions. I have often wondered why that silence is so uncomfortable for me.

I mean, his gaze is not intimidating or controlling . . . it is kind and inquisitive. It is warm and inviting. So, why am I uncomfortable in those times?

I don’t know . . . it is still a mystery to me.

At any rate, after I have filled that space with some random chit-chat, or – if I can’t think of any random words – after I stare at the rim of my coffee mug for a minute in silence, he asks his routine opening question . . .


Edward: How are you?

Me: Okay, I guess, for the most part. I’ve been very emotional.

Edward: In what way?

Me: I’m not sure how to describe it . . . I keep getting hit with waves of strong emotion . . . I think it is grief . . . but, I’m not sure . . . it feels like grief, but I don’t know what I would be grieving.

Edward: Tell me more about that . . .

Me: I don’t know what more I can tell you . . . it seems to be random . . . I’ll be doing fine and then I get hit with emotion.

(After a pause) I don’t know what else to tell you about it . . .

(He sat silently and watched me . . . that was uncomfortable, so I changed the subject.)

Me: So . . . I did something really brave!!

Edward: Would that be the “bold step” you mentioned in your email?

Me: Yes . . .

As I’ve already mentioned, I went to a family wedding in southern Colorado this last weekend . . .

Edward: Yes, I read that in your email . . .

(I took a few minutes to tell him about the wedding, their unusual house and their hippie lifestyle . . . )

Me: I really don’t know them at all, outside the handful of family reunions we’ve attended together. I’ve never sat down and had a conversation with them.

However, I’ve always been drawn to them. I’ve especially been drawn to Caleb because he has this quiet, gentle spirit . . . I don’t mean he is a push over . . . he’s not at all . . . he actually has a strong presence . . . he just doesn’t say much. And, when he speaks, his words really have impact and value.

On this trip, I felt very drawn to him – more than I ever have before. I kept wanting to go curl up on his lap and lay my head on his shoulder. I think I would feel very safe and protected with him . . . and valued . . . seen . . . heard . . .

In fact . . . he reminds me a lot of you . . . I think you guys have similar personalities . . . maybe I felt I would be safe with him because he reminds me of you and I feel safe with you . . .

Edward: Do you think you feel that way about him because he reminds you of me . . . or because you really would be safe and heard and seen with him?

Me: I think I really would be safe and heard and seen with him.

Edward: I think so, too. You are very intuitive and I think your instincts are reliable.

(I nodded my head)

Me: On the drive back home, the urge to turn the car around and go back to their house was incredibly strong. I kept telling myself to just “get over it” because going back was not an option . . .

But, then, it dawned on me that maybe I really could go back . . . not right then, but someday soon. I mean, they have repeatedly invited me to visit them, and their invitations have always been genuinely enthusiastic. I think they would be delighted to have me visit.

It dawned on me that it might be something that would create significant space for healing for me . . . that it might be a very healthy and healing step to take.

I’ve not had healthy relationships with men. The relationships I’ve had with men have either been abusive or they’ve been inappropriately sexual . . . or both . . .

I mean . . . whenever a man has shown interest in me, I’ve routinely thrown myself at him – sexually – whether I really wanted that or not, whether it was appropriate or not. It was the only way I felt I had a chance of building a connection with men.

I’m trying to learn a different way of relating to men – a healthy way – a way to build relationships with them in which there is mutual respect and respectable behavior.

I don’t want to behave like . . . like . . . well, for lack of a better term . . . I don’t want to behave like a “slut” anymore . . . I want to be respectable.

I already have some relationships with men that are respectable . . . relationships I’ve established recently . . .

I have a healthy relationship with you . . . I can come in here and meet with you . . . and leave with my head held high . . . I know that this relationship is healthy and appropriate and that I have no reason to be ashamed of what happens in here. I know that you are respectful to me and that there is no abuse occurring in here.

That feels really good to me.

And, I have a couple of on-line relationships with male blog buddies . . . I know on-line relationships are not as “real” as in-person relationships, but they are still valuable to me because these are men who take time to read my blog on a regular basis, to leave supportive comments, to reach out to me when I disappear from the on-line blogging community . . .

Those men are invested in me and my wellness. They are real people – quality people – who expend real energy and real time on me. I value those relationships greatly and I think they contribute significantly to my healing journey.

Edward: I agree with you . . . they do add great value to your life! I’m glad you recognize that!

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. Good to hear you are developing some positive relationships with men Marie. Hope it’s mostly an enjoyable process too.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I really appreciate your ongoing support and friendship . . . it means so much to me and I think fondly about you and your partner often!

      – Marie

      • Thanks!

  2. I think it’s so great that at this juncture in your therapy, you were able to really feel, down deep, that your relationship with Edward really is a relationship. Like many therapy clients, you probably still question/resist that concept occasionally, but I think Edward himself said it so well when he explained that although his clients compensate him for his time, the love is free. There is no question that he loves you, and it’s so impressive that you have been able to take that in. Edward is an amazing therapist; however, your receptiveness to his energy has been the unquantifiable component that’s contributed to the huge leaps in your healing, I think. It’s incredibly brave and a huge step that you started to see and seek this same energy outside the therapy room. I’m just dying to know what happened regarding the e-mail you sent.

    • Hey David –

      You are so right about what Edward is teaching and showing me . . . and I think the most important thing he is teaching me that it is okay to care deeply for people, including men. And, he is teaching me that it is okay to express those feelings.

      Of course, there are boundaries that need to be honored, but I’m finding I can express those feelings fully while still staying inside those boundaries . . . I didn’t know that was possible.

      Thank you for all your encouraging words . . . your friendship is one of those “special” relationships I was was talking about in this post . . . thank you for sticking around for the long haul!

      – Marie

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