Posted by: Marie | March 13, 2013

(804) Showing the real me – Part 2 of 3

Post #804
[Private journal entry about an email to Luke written on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 around midnight – continued from previous post]


Oh, what a wild ride therapy proved to be! One month in, I started having flashbacks of sexual abuse. I was baffled . . . I was never abused sexually! But, the tiny pieces of memory kept showing up at inopportune times. My therapist allowed me to piece it together on my own without influencing the process. Finally, I had enough pieces of the puzzle to figure it out . . . and one day I figured out who it was when I recognized the hands I kept seeing in the flashbacks and dreams.

It was the music director at our church . . . I was four years old . . . he used the piano as our “common joy” to build a connection with me.

I did some research on him and learned things that made me sick . . . he was a licensed child psychologist and worked in various school systems his entire career (he’s retired now). The music director gig was just a side job.

How more perfectly could he fit the profile?

I began to understand the deep shame I had felt as a child . . . shame for not being able to keep my thoughts “pure” and “Christ-like” . . . not knowing that my “sinful” thoughts I battled all my childhood were my attempts to make sense of what happened at such a young age. I have memories of, as a four year old, trying to tell my mom about things happening that I didn’t like. She responded by shaming me for speaking such nasty words and thinking such vile thoughts. I have always felt “damaged”, but I didn’t know why until all this started unfolding.

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Photo by Martin Chen

I also began to understand why some “minor” sexual assaults I experienced as a teen and adult impacted me so dramatically despite that fact I wasn’t actually raped . . . it was because those assaults caused me to relive the trauma of what I had forgotten.

And, I began to understand why creating music has always caused so much angst for me . . . I’ve always had a strong passion for music, but I always felt the need to hold back, to not allow myself to feel too much whenever music started to move my soul. The only way I could deal with it was to not allow myself to ever feel the effects of music. I knew I wouldn’t be strong enough (healed enough?) to be able to reconnect with music for a very long time.

Anyway, I wrote a letter to the music director . . . I wanted to know what he would say when I asked him if he had molested me. He immediately phoned me and unleashed his rage on me – how dare I ruin his life this way? It was a brief conversation, but a healing one. I didn’t expect him to confess . . . I just needed to know what he would say. I knew I would have always wondered.

About a week after confronting this guy, I came home one Saturday afternoon to find my housemates moving a piano into the living room. They had found it at a garage sale and decided to buy it so they could learn to play it. Of course, given all that was unfolding for me, my jaw hit the floor.

As they were deciding where to put it, my housemates said to me, “Now, all we need is a piano teacher!” I responded that I would be glad to teach them . . . if they would give me a week or two to remember how to play. “You play piano?” “Well, it’s been 20 years, but I’m betting I can remember how with a little practice . . . ”

They became my first piano students.

A month or so later, I got laid off of my fairly stable and reasonably well-paying job. I was back in a very desperate spot. I quickly got a job driving school bus. But that only paid half my bills. So, I put an ad in the paper for piano lessons . . . I figured I teach a few lessons on the side to cover the rest of my bills . . . just until I found a better job . . .

About that time, my therapist decided it was a good time to try to convert me back to Christianity. I had been very clear in setting the boundary around Christianity at the very start of our relationship. But, he decided he knew what was best for me, which justified ignoring my boundary.

I fought back. He started saying the very same things my dad would say . . . but this time, I knew it was abusive behavior and I knew I didn’t have to tolerate it. So, despite the fact my world was pretty topsy-turvy, I dumped him.

I figured I needed a therapist with more education and training . . . surely, that is what my first therapist lacked. I found a health and sport psychologist . . . it made sense to me . . . I was still struggling to control some self-destructive behaviors (although my selection of self-destructive behaviors were becoming less destructive). Maybe she could help me behave in a healthier manner . . .

In about the second or third session, as she was carefully explaining to me how to snap my wrist with a rubber band every time I thought self-deprecating thoughts, I thought to myself, “I’m paying money that I don’t really have to spare in order to be instructed by a mental health professional on how to inflict yet another form of self-injury whenever I think unhealthy thoughts about myself. I already do that everyday, I don’t need yet another way to punish myself . . . ”

When I expressed my contrary opinion, she told me I was being non-compliant and resistant and that I really didn’t want to get better. “Yup, I’m being non-compliant.” I thought, “And I’m gonna non-comply and resist myself right out of your office, thank you very much!”

That was the end of that.

I went without therapy for a year, read lots of self-help books, jumped into the world of trauma blogging, went back to my first therapist for a second try (with very firm boundaries in place) but figured out he was not going to give up on converting me so I dumped him again . . .

Then, I decided to take a very proactive approach to finding a therapist who was further along in his or her own healing journey than I am . . . someone who could actually teach me something. That’s when I found Edward Doe (he wrote a book for which you wrote the kudos printed on its cover). And he has been awesome . . . I’ve been with him now for more than two years. He operates from that “Boulder-esque” place of healing that feels so natural to me.

A couple of months ago, he and I acknowledged that I’ve worked though most of my therapy-worthy issues on a psychological level. However, as I’ve worked through each trauma, I kept getting stuck at the part where it would make sense to address the body memories. I’d feel mentally strong – ready to do whatever is required – I would open my mouth to speak my truth, or I’d tense my muscles in order to lift the racquet into the air (so I can beat the shit out of the pillow) . . . and I would freeze.

I’d freeze, then go into a hopeless state. A week or two later, after some more processing, I’d think I could finally do something therapeutic on the physical level so I’d jump into it with great enthusiasm . . . and freeze up . . . and then go into a hopeless place.

In the past two months, I’ve been coming out of the therapy sessions feeling absolutely hopeless about this . . . I had come to the conclusion that I was never going to get past the physical paralysis. The part that angered me the most is that this psychosomatic paralysis has affected my ability to be with nature.

I haven’t been on a hike for maybe two years. I love to hike! It is my sanctuary. It is where I go when I need to do some deep soul searching. It is where I go for healing energy.

But, I’ve become such a physical recluse that I been going to the studio teach and then come home and go to bed. That has become my life. I even sold my motorcycle. And, it felt impossible to break out of that physical paralysis despite the fact I’ve reconnected with music and find tremendous life-restoring joy in teaching piano.

So, everyday, I would experience incredible freedom and authentic expression in my teaching, then go home and experience paralysis.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 714

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