Posted by: Marie | August 21, 2012

(694) A trustworthy picker – Part 2 of 2

Post #694
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Me: I keep feeling this very strong urge to tell him my story . . . I don’t know why I want to tell him so badly. Maybe it is because I believe he can handle it because of what he does for a living.

And, he has asked me more personal questions like how I got started teaching piano lessons, where I’ve lived and how I ended up back in Colorado . . . I think he is interested in me – or maybe just in people in general – more than just a professional relationship – but maybe he doesn’t want to overstep boundaries and won’t ask more questions unless I indicate I’m willing to head that direction.

I keep thinking that I could bring up the “touching from behind” thing as a way to open the door to open up a deeper friendship . . . I’m not sure the touching issue is a big enough issue in and of itself to talk to James about it . . . but, if talking to him about the touching thing can address the touching thing as well as open up a path to a more meaningful relationship . . . and, well, that might be a good thing.

But, doing that might be disingenuous . . . a form of lying . . .

On the Top by Martin Chen

Edward: I don’t think so . . . the touching issue is a legit issue . . . it is okay to ask for someone to honor a boundary even if not setting/honoring that boundary doesn’t create a huge issue for you . . . you don’t have to be in crisis to justify setting a boundary.

And, it is okay to – by design – use such an issue to open up and encourage an emotional connection with someone.

Me: But, wouldn’t it be inauthentic . . . maybe manipulative?

Edward: No, I don’t think so . . . your being uncomfortable with unexpected touch is a very valid and real concern – your request is reasonable. And, your desire for a deeper emotional connection is a healthy and normal desire. There is nothing inauthentic or manipulative about taking steps to address either of those things.

Me: Okay . . . maybe I will open up that conversation with him . . . if I get brave enough . . . thinking about establishing an emotionally intimate relationship with a man is scary to me . . . it would be the first relationship like that – where there is regular contact – with someone other than you . . . it is scary for me to consider that possibility, even though I know that James is a “safe” guy because he is securely married and will behave respectfully.

I’m most afraid that he will think I’m coming onto him sexually . . . or at least inappropriately . . . and, because he is so committed to his marriage and to behaving ethically and morally, he will turn and run.

With you, I can stumble around and make mistakes . . . I know you will teach me a better way and stay with me as I learn a better way because you are my therapist. And, there was room for my stumbling around with my cousin, as well. It was a moderate stretch for me to reach out to my cousin . . . but it was still fairly “safe” because he is family.

It would be a huge stretch for me to reach out to James because he doesn’t know what is going on with me, in a therapeutic sense. He has no investment in my desire to start experiencing men in this new way. He has no reason to stick around while I stumble around.

He has every reason to just run away – he’s not my therapist and he is not my family. He is just a man – a stranger, essentially – who has shown up in my professional world.

Edward: You are correct . . . it would be a risk for you to talk to James about the touching issue, and to initiate an emotionally intimate conversation with him . . . and there is a chance he will turn and run away.

However . . . do you have a felt-sense that he cares about you and that it would be safe to talk to him about it? Do you have a sense that he would create space for you as you navigate these unfamiliar waters?

Me: (After a thoughtful pause) Yes, I do. I get your point . . . I do trust that he would handle all of this in a healthy, respectful and compassionate way.

Edward: I think it would be a positive and healing experience for you . . . and worth the risk.

Me: I think that, also.

I guess I’m used to the idea that my “man-picker” is broken . . . that I am drawn to abusive men and therefore I can’t trust my picker. The idea that I’m starting to be drawn to healthy men is very unfamiliar to me – I’m just beginning to trust my picker.

Edward: All the work you’ve been doing towards your healing is having a profound affect on your emotional and mental health . . . you have every reason to begin trusting your picker. You are very intuitive and I think your intuition has always been trustworthy, even when your wounds pushed you toward unhealthy relationships.

Me: Thank you . . . I agree.

You know . . . going back to the strong urge I have to share my story with James . . . I’ve often wondered why the urge to share my story with men – well, with people in general – is so strong.

I know there is much more to “me” than my story . . . why can’t I lead with everything else when I’m building relationships . . . why do I feel a need to lead with my historical story?

It’s like I can’t stop myself from telling it . . . I promise myself I’m not going to talk about it . . . but, as soon as there is an opportunity to share it, I do. It’s part of the silly infatuation I feel when I’m around a man whose attention I desire . . . it’s like it is the only way I know to get attention . . . the only way I know how to have value . . . although I don’t know how my history gives me value . . .

Edward: It is obvious to me that you do have the ability to control the telling of your story because you have refrained from telling your story to James.

Me: True . . . true . . .

Although, I did share a little bit of the gist of my story . . . one day, I told him that I am dealing with the aftermath of stuff that happened to me as a kid . . . his daughter was in the room with us, so I couldn’t say more than that. When James asked what kind of stuff, I responded that it was “stuff like you deal with everyday”.

He still looked puzzled, so I said, “There was a man . . . who didn’t behave as he should have . . . ” and James said, “Ah!” So, I’m not sure he really picked up on what I meant – that’s not much to go on. But, I think he did.

So, as soon as I had the chance, I did try to clue him in a bit without telling him the whole story.

Edward: I think your overwhelming need to draw attention to yourself will lessen over time as you heal . . . and it will be easier for you to share only what you want to share . . . to disclose only what you consciously choose to disclose.

Me: Okay . . . that makes sense.

Edward: (After a thoughtful pause) Your overwhelming need for attention was created due to the poor quality of the attention you received from your parents . . . and you are still being impacted greatly by what you didn’t receive from your parents.

(After glancing at the clock) We are out of time . . . let me wrap up with this question: Would you be willing to do some homework in relation to that?

Me: Sure!

Edward: Would you be willing to write a letter to your parents describing how your life today is being impacted by how they were not careful with your feelings as a child?

Me: Sure . . . I can work on that for the next session . . .

Edward: You don’t have to . . . but I think it would be beneficial for you . . .

Me: Okay . . .


And that brought us to the end of the session . . .


  1. I’ll be interested to hear what you decided and what happened.

    • Thank you for your continued interest!

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