Posted by: Marie | November 16, 2014

(958) The dance of intimacy – Part 1 of 5

Post #958
[Private journal entry written on Friday, September 14, 2012]

Today was therapy session day . . .

So many things have been happening lately and I found myself wanting to tell Edward about all of it. Some of it is not so critical to my healing and therefore using my precious session time to tell Edward about it might not be the best use of our therapy time. But, I see him as a friend, not just as a therapist. Because he is a friend – maybe even my best friend right now – I want to share the details of my life events with him.

I know, I know . . . thinking of my therapist as my best friend is probably treading on dangerous ground. But, that’s the reality of the situation. I think it is okay as long as I keep in mind that it is a one-sided friendship with an incredibly unequal power distribution, and a friendship that can never exist outside of the therapeutic dynamic.

(286)

Photo by Martin Chen

I get all that . . . and yet, I still say that he is probably my best friend right now. And that speaks more to the state of my social life than it does to the appropriateness of my feelings towards him. I’m far more concerned about the former than about the latter.

But, I digress . . . so back to the therapy session . . .

Because there were so many things I wanted to talk to Edward about, I wrote them all down on a sticky note and took the sticky note into the therapy session with me.

At the start of the session, Edward and I went through our usual greetings routine. I asked about his Labor Day weekend and he stated he had spent the holiday weekend with his wife’s family. Then, he asked about my trip to Red Cloud with Melodie. I laughed as told I him that the trip was the first item on my list of many things to cover today . . . I showed him my sticky note and the all the topics it listed . . .

I shared the highlights of the trip with him, and told him about my frustrations with Melodie . . . and I mentioned that we had hit a deer and that I had slowed down before we hit it due to my premonition, which allowed for there to be no damage to the car.

As is usual whenever I talk about my paranormal experiences, I worried that Edward thinks I’m loony for believing I have these experiences. I guess I’m still testing the waters with him . . . I always approach such topics with hesitation because I’m always watching his reactions for any sign of disbelief or patronization. But, he showed none; rather he simply showed genuine interest in my story.

After sharing the more superficial details about my trip, I swung back around to the topic of my relationship with Melodie. I told him a bit more about the efforts I had made to build a stronger emotional connection with her on the trip . . .

————–

Me: She is good about listening and providing emotionally appropriate responses back to me, but that’s as far as it goes. She seems to have nothing to contribute along the same vein. I think she doesn’t operate at the same emotional level as I do . . . I wish she could participate at that level . . . but, she can’t, it seems.

So, here’s what I’m struggling with . . . I’m wondering if my relationship with her is one that I should continue . . . as in, is it serving me well? Is it worth the time and effort?

(Thoughtful pause)

Me: I guess I don’t know how to go about making that decision.

(A longer pause)

Me: The value of our relationship is in our shared history rather than in our present-day experiences . . .

She is a good friend . . . she has a big heart . . . she is very generous . . . we laugh a lot when we are together . . . you know, we get silly sometimes . . . and I need moments of silliness in my life . . .

I enjoy the trips we take . . . we do stuff we both like to do . . .

(Another pause)

Me: When I think about cutting off that relationship . . . actually taking steps to end it . . .

(Suddenly becoming emotional) I just can’t imagine doing that . . .

She’s been in my life forever and ever and I really love her . . . I love her like a sister . . .

(Smiling a bit through the tears in my eyes) Well, like a really annoying sister . . .

Obviously, my proactively ending the relationship would be painful for her . . . but, it would be painful for me, too, because I value what we have had in the past.

Edward: (Softly) I can clearly see why you would be hesitant to end it . . . and why you might want to continue it . . .

Maybe, instead of thinking of it as either continuing it or ending it, you could think of it in terms of allowing it to continue while acknowledging its limitations. She obviously is a good friend, the relationship obviously has significant value to you, and you love each other a great deal. However, it’s a friendship that is not able to meet all – or even most – of your relational needs. And, that is okay. It doesn’t have to . . . no one relationship can meet all of someone’s relational needs.

Me: (Raising my eyebrows in agreement) Yeah, you make a good point . . .

(We sat without speaking for a few minutes as I digested what he had just said. His words settled easily into my soul . . . his suggestion felt “right” . . . in fact, it felt so right that I could feel a sense of resolution start coming over me.)

Me: Yeah . . . that makes sense . . .

You know . . . all of this has caused me to become more attuned to what is important to me in relationships . . . I really do value having that kind of two-way exchange of emotional expression in my relationships.

I wonder why she doesn’t have the ability to operate at that level . . . maybe she just doesn’t experience strong emotions like I do . . . I mean, maybe she doesn’t struggle with depression and feeling over-whelmed . . . maybe her emotions are just more mundane and stable. Maybe she doesn’t struggle with her emotions.

Well, she does have strong emotions at times . . . not surprisingly, she was very upset when her mom died and when her sister died . . . but, mostly she is just excited about the little day-to-day experiences that she has . . . she’s always talking about social events or outings with her husband . . . or a neat movie she watched . . . she always has stories to tell . . .

Edward: Do you think she doesn’t periodically experience uncomfortable emotions such as frustration . . . or maybe loneliness . . . or anger . . . ??

Me: Apparently not much . . . maybe some in passing . . . it seems like she has dealt with stuff from her past and that she is in a really happy and content place in her life. I don’t think she is lonely . . . she and her husband are like two peas in a pod, they seem really content together.

Edward: Obviously, I don’t know her, but I’m guessing that she is not as happy and content as she makes it appear. I suspect that she is hiding her true emotions . . . maybe from others and maybe even from herself.

Me: I guess that could be true . . . I guess I’ve always assumed she was happy and content.

Edward: How would you describe her life?

Me: Well, they have everything they need . . . they have each other and they have the time and money to do enjoyable stuff together . . . she has a cushy job that she enjoys . . . they have a pretty relaxed and cozy life . . .

But . . . it does seem . . . well, her behavior with me would indicate that there is still some unresolved stuff going on with her . . . something is driving her to be hyper-vigilant around me, always wanting to take care of my needs, to find ways to prove to me that she is smart and capable and valuable. She is always watching for my approval and/or disapproval . . . and that stance cannot be comfortable for her.

And, when I did put some boundaries in place during our trip, she became even clingier and she became defensive . . . and that indicates some unresolved stuff . . . so, yeah, she probably still experiences pain around whatever is driving that behavior . . . she just never talks about the pain.

I’m guessing that she hasn’t resolved whatever in her childhood created that behavior, and she is now recreating the same dynamic with her husband and with me. And that means she hasn’t matured much beyond what I experienced of her in college.

Edward: So, there’s a significant difference in the rate each of you is maturing emotionally.

Me: Yeah . . . but it’s not like a snobbery thing . . . that I’m better than her or anything . . . I’m just further along in the maturation process . . . but, I’m not better than her . . . I don’t mean it like that, for sure . . .

Edward: I know you don’t mean it like that.

————–

We paused again to let our thoughts settle . . . then I asked if he was okay with me moving onto the next item on my sticky note . . . he said that would be fine . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

(029)


Responses

  1. *just listening*

    • I appreciate your letting me know . . . it’s the antidote to lurking!


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