Posted by: Marie | October 18, 2013

(879) This terror-laden thing

Post #879
[Private journal entry written on Sunday, June 24, 2012]

I sent an email to Edward today:


Hi, Edward –

So . . . I’ve been processing the stuff that came to the surface during our session on Friday . . .

On Friday, the emotions and somatic memories and flashbacks were so intense that I couldn’t stay present with them. I’ve been allowing a little bit of that at a time to come into my consciousness so I can process it (does that make sense?) and here is what is coming to light:

1) In certain relationships, I have learned to feel comfortable (and to show up authentically) when there is emotional intimacy – for example, in my relationship with you. In certain other relationships, I have learned to feel comfortable (and to show up authentically) when there is physical closeness – for example, with my piano students and with my mom.


Photo by Martin Chen

2) The thought of experiencing both emotional intimacy and physical closeness within the same relationship, especially when the relationship is with a man, is terrifying for me. For example, the idea of sitting within a foot or two of you for more than about 10 seconds creates extreme anxiety for me. If we were that close and were also sitting face-to-face, looking at each other, the terror increases ten-fold . . . and I am more comfortable with you than I am with any other man in the world. The idea of doing that with any other man feels even more impossible to me.

3) I believe physical closeness (as described above) requires me to tense up and hold my breath and stop moving so that I can put all my energy into being what I’m supposed to be in order to survive that closeness. I have to remain on high-alert and I have to be compliant in order to survive. It is not a safe space and I have no control in that space. I can only hold that posture for a few minutes before it becomes intolerable.

4) If a sexual component is added to the mixture (obviously not in our therapeutic relationship, but rather in relationships in general), my anxiety goes even higher . . . and I’m not even able to stay in my body when I seriously consider that possibility.

5) I am learning to trust men to some extent largely due to the trust I have learned to put in you . . . because you have earned that trust and because I’ve had the courage to place my trust in you. That is huge. I know, logically, that it is possible for me to someday learn to trust a man within a romantic dynamic. However, that feels impossible to me right now . . . I am convinced that part of my capacity to trust has been permanently destroyed and cannot be rebuilt.

This whole thing is so terror-laden that it is very difficult for me to even write this and send it. It feels much safer to keep it a secret, all to myself. But, that doesn’t help anything, so here it is . . .

Okay, that’s all for now . . . thank you for the awesome support you provided on Friday . . . it was a tough session but I can feel that a layer of the terror slid off of me as a result of our work together on Friday.

Take care!

– Marie

Quotes 789


  1. I tend to think our first requirement in healing / changing something is to be able to pin it down in words, so this seems a really good step here.

    • I agree, Ellen . . . it really helps to have an actual relationship with Edward in which I can test behaviors/thoughts/feelings and take the time to stop and see what’s underneath . . .

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