Posted by: Marie | July 5, 2012

(663) Not everything is my fault – Part 3 of 4

Post #663
[Private journal entry written on Friday, August 5, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Me: As I’ve been listening to the discussion on Dr. Drew’s show, I find myself identifying with the “brides”. It almost feels like they are discussing my own story . . . obviously, to a lesser degree as many of the culture and control issues don’t match my story, but there are parts of the story that match my own.

Dr. Drew has been talking to women who have escaped from that culture. They have been talking about the aftereffects of the abuse. I’m finding that many parts of my experience resonate with their experiences.

On the Hike by Martin Chen

That seems to give validation to my experience . . . if I experienced the same kind of abuse – specifically the sexual abuse – but to a lesser degree, it makes sense that I would have the same aftereffects, just to a lesser degree. It seems that is indeed the case.

So, what I’m seeing on Dr. Drew’s show seems to be another means of validation that what I think happened to me really did happen . . . and it validates that it was a very big deal and therefore, the aftereffects I’m experiencing are normal and valid and justified.

Edward: And what are the aftereffects you have in common with these women . . . ?

Me: Well . . . I guess . . . I guess the dark emotions . . .

Edward: Dark emotions like sadness . . . anger . . . or something else . . . ??

Me: I guess mostly sadness.

Edward: Not anger?

Me: No . . . I still don’t feel anger about what happened . . . maybe I never will.

Edward: And that is okay . . . whatever you feel or don’t feel is appropriate and normal. There is nothing you are “supposed to” feel.

The good news is that, because of what you shared with me in our last session, I now know that if and when you do feel anger, you want and need the space to express it!

Me: (With a quick grin to show appreciation to his really paying attention) Yes . . . true! Thank you for remembering!

Edward: You are welcome . . . it is my pleasure! Your needs and wants are important and deserve to be remembered.

Me: Thank you . . .

(After a short pause) Dr. Drew often talks about how abuse and other forms of childhood trauma affects our ability to regulate emotion. Do you agree with that?

Edward: Yes, I do.

Me: Does “to regulate” mean to allow ourselves to experience only a certain amount of emotion at a time rather than allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by it?

Edward: Yes.

Me: Okay . . . that makes sense to me . . . I binge eat and pick when my emotions become too overwhelming . . . I do the compulsive behaviors to block out the emotions because I don’t know how to keep the emotion from overwhelming me.

Edward: That’s exactly what is happening . . .

Me: So, by learning how to regulate my emotions, I might be able to not need the numbing behaviors as much.

Edward: That is true.

Me: Okay . . .

(After another transitional pause) Something interesting happened this week . . . I’d like your feedback on it . . .

Edward: Sure!

Me: A few days ago, my housemates hosted a neighborhood block party at our house . . . it was for the national “Neighborhood Night Out”.

At one point, I was sitting at the picnic table, eating my hamburger and talking to one of the neighbors. I thought we were having a nice conversation . . . but, then, in the middle of one of my sentences, she suddenly turned away from me and started talking to someone else at the table. I guess she got tired of talking to me . . . or bored with the conversation . . . I don’t know.

So, I guess my point is that I am struggling to fit in socially . . . I felt really out of place at the party . . .

I want to connect with people and build relationships . . . but I think I’m hindered by the fact I don’t fit in very well in social situations. I don’t know how to fix this problem . . .

Edward: Tell me more about the conversation with the woman . . .

Me: Well, I thought we were having a nice conversation . . . she is an occupational therapist and she was talking about her belief in the mind/body connection, and how she is often able to help her clients by thinking “outside the box” to find creative solutions. I shared how I do the same – think outside the box – as a way to meet the unique needs of my piano students.

I was being polite . . . I asked questions, I listened, I shared and contributed to the conversation . . . I thought I was following the rules of polite conversation . . . but, apparently not.

And, something similar happened a week or so earlier . . .

My housemates were hosting a dinner for some of the neighbors. They were getting close to ending their evening activities when I arrived home. They invited me to join them. As it worked out, the guests all took the interruption as an opportunity to take their leave . . . nothing to do with me . . . it was just getting late and my arrival happened to occur as they were thinking it was about time to leave.

Everyone, including me, pitched in with bringing in the food and dishes from the back patio and then with the clean-up. During the clean-up, I learned that one of the couples – actually, the same couple that includes the occupational therapist I just mentioned – own the property on which there is a little “mother-in-law” house in the backyard.

I’ve been eyeing that little house because it would be perfect to live in and to have my studio in. Parking wouldn’t be an issue like it would be in an apartment . . . sound wouldn’t be an issue, either, like it would be in an apartment . . .

So, I asked them about it. They said they would eventually like to rent it out, but not for another year or two. I told them to call me when they were ready to rent it because I might be interested by then – I can’t afford it now, but I might be able to in a year or two from now.

I happened to have my business card with me, so I stepped to the other side of the living room to pull a card from my bag to give to them . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

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