Posted by: Marie | May 30, 2014

(934) Organic unfolding – Part 7 of 8

Post #934
[Private journal entry written on Friday, August 24, 2012 about a conversation with my therapist – continued from previous post]

————–

Edward: What would you like for me to call these parts of you? Do you have names for them?

Me: Actually, I wrote a blog post in which I identified these parts . . . and I gave them names . . . I think I can remember those names . . .

I know I called the adult part “mother” . . . not as in my mother, but as in motherly energy . . .

Edward: Okay . . . and the critical part?

Me: That’s the “dark one” . . . or something like that . . . or, at least, that’s what we can call it today . . . and, I don’t remember what I called the emotional part . . .

Edward: Well, in psychology, we usually call the emotional part the “child” . . .

Me: Oh, yeah! That’s what I called her . . . the “child” . . . or maybe it was “child Marie” . . . let’s go with “child” . . .

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Photo by Martin Chen

Edward: Okay! By the way, in psychology, we call the other two parts the “adult” and the “critical parent”. But we’ll go with “mother”, “child” and “dark one” for this exercise . . .

Me: Okay.

Edward: Let’s start with the dark one . . . this is the part of you that says things like: That’s never going to happen, you’ll never be good enough, you’re stupid for wasting time and energy building up hope for a relationship, it’s just a waste of time, why would you do that?

Did I capture that fairly accurately?

Me: Yes, you did!

Edward: Do you want to add anything?

Me: Nope, you nailed it.

Edward: Okay . . . let’s move onto the child . . . would you like to speak for the child or would you like for me to speak for her?

Me: I can . . .

(I stumbled around on my words as I attempted to speak the first words on behalf of the child, mainly because I wasn’t sure what pronoun to use . . . I wasn’t sure if I should speak in first person or third person . . . I finally decided on third person . . . )

Me: She says, “I really want to be in a relationship; I really want that companionship. I feel lonely and I really want that special relationship.”

Edward: Well done!

Does the critical parent – excuse me, I mean “the dark one” – have anything to say to the child?

Me: I’m actually starting to see that part of me as the part of my dad that I internalized . . . so, maybe the “critical parent” is a better fitting name . . .

Edward: Okay . . . either way is fine with me . . .

Me: So . . . well, first off, the parent congratulates the child for becoming tougher . . . for no longer piling up pillows and blankets up on one side of the bed at night, pretending that there is a body – a man – there, for no longer needing that physical representation of comfort . . . for being strong enough and tough enough to no longer need that.

Edward: The child is not supposed to want and need that comfort?

Me: The critical parent – my dad – says no . . . the child shouldn’t need that comfort because the child is supposed to be self-sufficient . . . needing to fantasize about another human – especially a man – is weak.

Edward: Ouch!

So, you – as in whole-person Marie – doesn’t need that comfort anymore?

Me: I’m needing it less and less . . .

Edward: Ouch . . .

Me: Well, the ache I feel as I’m trying to go to sleep is becoming less and less acute . . . and that is a good thing . . . and, as a result, I don’t need to pretend as often that there is a man there, holding me as I go to sleep . . .

(Edward didn’t respond, he simply watched me for a few moments before continuing with the exercise . . . )

Edward: So, what does the adult have to say?

————–

The act of tapping into what the adult might have to say brought a rush of terror . . . it’s the same thing I’ve run into so many times . . . as soon as I prepare to speak in my adult voice, I become paralyzed . . . and it happened again at this point in the conversation . . .

The sense of terror was so strong that I had to really struggle to keep the tears from pushing their way out of my eyes and down my cheeks . . . I managed to not allow the tears to escape . . . and I managed to find a small, timid voice . . .

————–

Me: She has no voice . . . she can’t speak.

Edward: Is it that she has no voice at all, or that she has a voice but is not able to use it in this situation?

Me: She does have a voice . . . she is not able to use it right now.

Edward: When is a time she is able to use it?

Me: Well, she uses it in piano lessons . . . her voice is strong there . . . it’s just when it comes to emotionally intimate relationships with men . . . that’s when she is not able to use her voice.

Edward: What would happen if she used her voice in the context of an intimate relationship?

(As I prepared to answer, I felt the terror rise up again . . . a single tear managed to escape down my cheek . . . )

Me: (With a quivering voice) She believes that, if she speaks up, she will be squashed. The fear of that is so great that she loses her ability to speak.

Edward: Hmmm . .. I’m a bit confused . . . I thought the adult showed up a little bit ago when we were having the conversation about organic unfolding . . . I’m pretty sure I heard her speak up and say, “This is a whole new concept that I haven’t thought of before and it sounds like is a model I could investigate further . . . it might be a viable, healthy option for me . . .”

So, am I confused, or was that the mother’s voice coming through?

Me: It was the mother’s voice . . .

Edward: Does the fear of being squashed belong to the mother or to the dark one?

(I closed my eyes so I could better tap into the fear . . . )

Me: It belongs to the mother – she fears what the dark one might do to her.

I feel totally disconnected from the dark one . . . it’s not really even part of me . . . it’s really my dad . . . the dark one is critical and he generates fear in the mother and in the child, but he is not affected by it . . . he, himself, does not feel fear . . .

I feel that the child and the mother are truly part of me . . . I can share their experience and it is the mother’s fear I’m experiencing . . .

Edward: Is it possible that the fear really belongs to the dark one and that it is crowding into the mother’s space and contaminating her experience?

————–

At that point, it became clear to me that he was working from some established model that was not matching up with the model I was holding in my mind. In his model, the critical parent must be the keeper of fear and the adult must be the one who operates only from a place of maturity and reasonableness . . . therefore, in his model, the mother apparently cannot be the source of fear.

I debated about telling him about this difference in our working models, but I decided against it . . . having identified the discrepancy, I knew I would be able to extract from the exercise whatever he was trying to show me . . . I didn’t need to take the time to explain all that to him in order to learn what he was attempting to teach me.

————–

Me: (Opening my eyes) I think I understand what you are getting at . . . that the mother is capable of choosing to act like an adult despite the fear . . .

Edward: Yes, she is . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

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Responses

  1. I think the discrepancy is due to a discrepancy in TA (Transactional Analysis) theory. Between the different understanding of ego states (parent, adult and child). One understanding being that they are all fully personal experiences and the other that they are all parts of our experiences (judgement = parent, reasonable = adult, emotion = child).

    • I’m sure Edward had some specific picture in his head . . . since I didn’t know much about TA, I didn’t know how to move into whatever he had pictured in his mind. I only had my own self-designed picture . . . and I’m sure my picture doesn’t fit some standard picture at all, LOL


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