Posted by: Marie | April 4, 2013

(823) The greater desire – Part 5 of 6

Post #823
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 about a conversation with my therapist – continued from previous post]


(We had a moment where we maintained eye contact, silently expressing our mutual fondness and appreciation for the other – something that is still such a new experience for me. After a time, I shifted the subject a bit . . . )

Me: Here’s something about which I’d like your insight . . .

Edward: And what might that be . . . ??

Me: I noticed an interesting trend at Luke’s party . . .

There were maybe 45 people at the party . . . over the course of the evening, I engaged in conversation with at least a third of the attendees. Of the people I spoke to, about half of them knew Luke about as well as I do . . . they had interacted with him maybe once or twice before. The other half were meeting him for the first time at the party. I didn’t find anyone who knew him really well.

I thought it was interesting that he was having a party with his closest friends, and yet the ones I met either didn’t know him at all or just barely knew him.

I noticed that Luke spent the evening running around, making sure everyone’s needs were met, making sure that people were comfortable and enjoying themselves . . . I was surprised by that a bit . . .


Photo by Martin Chen

Edward: Why were you surprised by that?

Me: I wondered if he was feeling pressure to perform . . . to be a facilitator . . .

I never saw him deeply engaged in a conversation . . . I wondered why would he conduct himself in that manner at his party . . .

I can imagine he would feel pressure to stay available to the masses . . . to not allow himself to connect too deeply with any one person . . .

Edward: I think most people would characterize that behavior as charming, engaging and outgoing.

Me: I suppose it could be characterized in that way . . . but it looked to me as a way to avoid connecting too deeply with anyone. I mean, that could be the case . . . that’s what it looked like from my viewpoint.

Even during the few minutes he and I talked at the start of the evening, he was busy – busy and distracted. I assumed it was because he was trying to get last minute stuff done. But, the party lasted four hours and I never saw him sit still. I guess he never gave himself permission to relax and deeply engage with his guests.

I noticed the same behavior at the book-signing . . . he was humorous, engaging . . . but the conversations were quick and relatively shallow . . . like he was simply servicing his customers . . . servicing isn’t the best word . . . maybe showing gratitude to his customers . . . ??

I don’t know . . . there just wasn’t meaningful connection between him and the individual persons . . . and that was unsettling to me.

That’s why I would like to have time with him in a setting where he wouldn’t be distracted by the masses of people . . . I would like to create a situation where he saw me as someone other than a client or a customer . . . a space where he wouldn’t have to “perform” . . .

Oh, by the way, in his invitation, he mentioned that he and his girlfriend would be hosting the party. But, there was no girlfriend at the party. I didn’t ask about it, but I wondered what happened.

(We sat in reflective silence for quite a while . . . )

Edward: Marie, a very sad expression has come over your face . . . where did you go?

Me: Ummm . . . well . . . whew . . .

I want to be very careful about my assumptions about Luke . . . about what is going on inside of him, in his mind and in his heart . . . I don’t know him . . . I haven’t been around him much . . .

Edward: But . . . ??

Me: But . . . I have the felt sense that he really struggles with connecting deeply with people . . . one-on-one, I mean . . . within the context of lasting relationships . . .

I keep getting the sense that he feels he has to perform and produce and always be “on” in order to have value . . . that it is difficult for him to believe that he would be loveable and acceptable if he relaxed . . .

Edward: That would make it difficult for him to be in emotionally intimate relationships . . .

Me: (Nodding) I find myself wondering if something related to that caused there to be no girlfriend present at his party.

But . . . it’s not like I’ve really had an opportunity to figure out if that is accurate or not . . . I could be projecting my own painful issues onto him . . .

Edward: Marie, you are extraordinarily intuitive and sensitive when it comes to circumstances like that . . . I believe you have had sufficient opportunity to develop an accurate sense of him, and of what is going on with him on an emotional level.

Me: Yeah . . . I suppose . . .

Edward: Do you feel you can trust your intuition?

Me: Yeah . . . I do . . . I do trust my intuition . . .

(I took a long, deep breath, and let the insight he was evoking settle over me . . . )

Me: Towards the end of his party, I was watching him . . . when I “tuned into” his energy, I felt that it was 90% joyful . . . that he was feeling satisfaction with how well the party was going . . . that he was able to create this wholesome community event . . . and I felt his energy was 10% sorrowful . . . a deep, persistent ache . . . like he longed to connect in the way he was seeing those around him connect.

So . . . where I went a moment ago was that I was recalling that image of him . . . I was feeling that ache . . .

I care about him . . . a lot . . . and I am sad that he is experiencing that deep ache . . . and that is what you saw on my face a moment ago . . .

Edward: Of course you feel sadness . . . that is a very natural and compassionate response to another person’s pain . . .

(We sat for a bit and let the emotions cycle through . . . once the lump in my throat smoothed out, I switched gears . . . )

Me: Okay . . . there is one last thing I want to ask you about . . .

Edward: Ask away!

Me: As I start venturing into this new territory of emotionally intimate relationships with not-so-safe men, can you provide some guidance on how I can identify when I might be getting into an unhealthy situation?

Edward: Do you trust your ability to sense when you start to collapse and/or when you stop being authentic?

Me: Oh, yes . . . it is really easy for me to feel that . . . I’m starting to become aware of it quickly.

The part I think is harder for me is to identify where the line with the guy’s behavior needs to be – the line between what is acceptable behavior and what is not . . . what is him being human and having his own issues, and him being abusive.

Edward: I believe you will be able to identify when a man’s behavior has crossed that line . . . it would be when you feel you are no longer allowed to be authentic – when you are pressured by him to shrink or pull back or collapse who you are in order to meet his needs.

I believe you will be able to identify when that is happening . . . and, we can talk about it here in therapy if you are unsure about it.

Me: Okay . . . that helps a lot . . . thank you . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 733


  1. I love seeing that your inner compass has become fully functional and you now trust it again. That is a beautiful thing.

    • Thank you, Aaron. I think it was never broken, it was simply a matter of me learning that I could trust it!

  2. Thanks for sharing the relationship advice Marie. I have little idea also how to recognize an unhealthy relationship. I’d say by this measure, most of mine are unhealthy unfortunately.

    • Hey, Ellen, I think I just found it hard to believe it is possible for me to have healthy relationships . . . it seemed impossible to me to believe someone could and would treat me that well.

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