Posted by: Marie | November 19, 2014

(961) The dance of intimacy – Part 4 of 5

Post #961
[Private journal entry written on Friday, September 14, 2012 about a therapy session – continued from previous post]

————–

Edward: Does that mean that you could find a romantic partner if you lost weight and got into great shape?

Me: No . . . I don’t think that would make a difference. I think it would create the possibility of more dates, but it would not create the possibility of finding a life partner.

Edward: Why not?

Me: I don’t know . . . I’ve never been able to figure that out. I believe there really is no possibility for me to ever be in a healthy romantic relationship regardless what I might do to become more attractive and more marketable . . . I don’t know why that is the case for me . . . but it is my reality.

(289)

Photo by Martin Chen

Edward: Do you think the concept of organic unfolding could change that perceived reality?

Me: I think the concept of organic unfolding is very powerful . . . life-changing, in fact, for me. I think organic unfolding can be part of any and all of my relationships . . . professional, platonic . . . and it could be part of my romantic relationships if romantic relationships were a possibility for me. But, I don’t believe they are a possibility for me. So, that means organic unfolding won’t be a part of a romantic relationship for me because there will never be in a romantic relationship . . .

Does that make sense?

Edward: I understand what you are saying . . .

Me: Based upon recent experiences with married men, I’m learning that I have value as a person . . . that men value my company as long as there is not a romantic component in the relationship, as long as it is clearly a platonic-only relationship, as is the case when the guy is married.

But, single guys run from me . . .

(A bit of a pause)

Me: I believe that there are good men in the world . . . men who would be an ideal partner for me. However, for whatever reason, those men are not interested in me romantically. I don’t know why they are not, but they aren’t. I’ve tried to figure out why not, and to fix whatever the problem might be, but that hasn’t changed anything. So, I’ve come to believe that a romantic relationship is not an option for me. That’s just the way it is . . . I have to just accept it and build my life accordingly.

And that’s the same thing I’ve told you before . . . I don’t know that there is value in rehashing this same issue over and over again.

(Edward watched me thoughtfully for a moment, then he shifted the angle of approach . . . )

Edward: From where do you think you first received the message that you are unlovable?

Me: Well, of course, from my dad.

Edward: Tell me about that . . .

Me: One of the things he harped on a lot is that he believed I needed to be less independent. He said that men don’t like independent woman and my being so independent would make it very difficult to find a husband.

Edward: So, you were supposed to be obedient and compliant?

Me: Yeah . . . exactly.

There was a point in my teen years that I realized I had a choice to make: I could be compliant and less independent, which would more likely allow me to become a wife and mother . . . that would make me attractive to a guy . . . or, I could be who I naturally was . . . a free spirit and out-of-the-box thinker, and not attractive to guys.

I chose the latter . . . and I accepted that the price of that choice would be that I would be alone – un-partnered – for my entire life.

Now, as an adult, I can see that my dad was wrong . . . well, he was correct in saying there are guys who would have been more attracted to me if I were submissive, but I most certainly would not have been happy in a relationship with a guy like that. But, he was wrong to encourage me to show up in a way that is not natural for me. And, he was inaccurate in his indicating that all men want submissive wives.

However, there were a lot of years between the time I made that choice and the time I figured out that my dad was wrong. During those many years, I lived under the powerful influence of his teaching. The belief that I am unlovable because of who I am is deeply engrained . . . due to my dad’s teachings on the matter and due to many other experiences that have influenced my perception of my worth as a person.

The belief that I am unlovable and that I will never enjoy the companionship of a life partner is so deeply engrained that it feels impossible to shift that belief. And, my life experiences, including my present-day experiences, provide overwhelming evidence to me that the belief is accurate.

I’ve played with the idea of “faking it” until I “make it” . . . in other words, as I interact with men, I’d behave the way I’d behave if I did believe I am lovable. Then, I wouldn’t appear desperate . . . and maybe that would help me attract a romantic partner. I doubt it would work, but it’s the best plan I’ve been able to come up with so far.

But, even if I could pull that off, it would eventually come to light that I believe I’m not lovable. As soon as that came to light, the guy would lose interest, I’m sure. There is no way I could keep up that charade for very long, nor would I want to.

So, I feel pretty hopeless about the dating thing . . . I see no way to shift my current experience. I seems less painful to simply not encourage myself to hope for a different experience. I believe it will be less painful if I just accept my reality and create the best life I can despite my reality.

Edward: Ouch . . .

I can feel so much pain underneath your words . . .

(I nodded my head)

Me: Yeah, there is a lot of pain there – a lot of hopelessness. But, I don’t think talking about it in therapy is going to help anything. It’s just something I have to deal with, so I’ll deal with it.

Edward: Am I understanding you to say that you don’t want to talk about it anymore today?

Me: Yeah, you’re understanding me correctly . . . I don’t want to talk about it anymore today . . . or for that matter, any day. There are better uses of our time together.

(Edward again studied me carefully for several moments as I stewed in my frustration, staring at the floor and flicking the rim of my coffee mug with my thumbnail. When I was sure he was going to leave the topic of dating alone, I glanced at my sticky note and realized that we had covered everything listed on it . . . )

Me: We could move onto a new topic . . . we’ve covered everything I wanted to cover . . . what would you like to talk about?

Edward: We can move onto a new topic, if you would like . . . I most certainly will honor your preference to stop the discussion about your belief that you will never find a romantic partner . . .

Me: Thank you.

Edward: However, before we move onto a new topic, I’d like to check in with you concerning your emotions. I’m sensing that so many strong, raw emotions are coming up for you. If you are willing, I’d like to take a moment to tend to those emotions, which we can do without returning to the discussion about dating . . . may we tend to those emotions before moving onto a new topic?

————–

Edward’s gentle and caring attention to my uncomfortable emotions broke the hard shell I had defensively put in place during the discussion. Once again, I felt safe, and I felt deeply connected with him. My defenses simply disintegrated and, in an instant, I felt my heart bloom open again.

I think this ability to generate such a deep and authentic sense of connection is what is at the core of Edward’s effectiveness as a therapist. It blows me away every time that sense of connection is renewed between us because it is something I’ve never experienced before in my life, at least not at this level.

That sense of connectedness is what my soul longs for . . . and it’s what I get to experience with Edward on a regular basis.

Of course, my tears welled up in response to his tender care. We paused our conversation so I could sit with those emotions for a few moments . . .

After a bit, the intensity of my emotions faded a bit, and I got the tears and snot wiped off my face . . . we sat without speaking for another moment or two. Then, I glanced over at the clock . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

(032)


Responses

  1. I love it that he wasn’t willing to leave you in that painful space. The fact that you found him as your therapist tends to restore my faith in some benevolence in the universe.

    • I still believe he is the most awesome therapist in the world!


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