Peeking out


Hi All,

I’m attempting to come back out and play, but its a bit harder (and more complicated) than I thought it would be. Of course, when isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

First, I want to say thank you so much to everyone who left such supportive comments. Your care and interest was the difference between me just bolting and coming back. I’ll be responding to comments over the next few days.

I am feeling much more rested and not nearly as fragile, but am struggling with just a boatload of shame. I continue to be affected by a number of events, including being cut off from my mother, and the online mess (although both of those are mild at this point) and other family stuff (about which I am being vague to protect other people’s privacy). But I have also been working in therapy on looking at my eating/body issues, which have tripped off a lot of realizations about beliefs about myself and my worth. I worked long and hard over the last years to understand that I am worthwhile and always have been. Ok, honestly its been decades, but do we have to track that right now? Part of my shame is feeling like I am the approaching the record for being the longest in therapy ever client. That voice in my head keeps asking, seriously, you’re STILL having trouble expressing your feelings after all this work? Isn’t it time to just admit you’re hopeless and give up? But as I have started to look more closely at my body issues (“sneaking brief glances then diving under a blanket” would be a more accurate description than “looking more closely”) I have realized that all of my work about my worth has been based on the assumption that my body is not part of me. (Yes, being a highly intelligent woman does not protect me from an advanced capacity for denial. :D) I hate having a body so I somehow managed to actually ignore that I did. So trying to become aware of my body, evokes an enormous amount of shame. BN has been encouraging me to try to become more aware of my body, especially when doing things I enjoy and its like he’s speaking a foreign language. The concept of enjoying or paying attention to my body, of seeing it as anything other than a grotesque hindrance has really never occurred to me. So essentially, I have realized that there are parts of me, the non-physical parts, that I have learned to value and understand that while I am human and not perfect, I am worthwhile and deserve love and care. But I have split my body away from that. So here I am faced with deep beliefs about my worthlessness if I acknowledge my body. Which circles me back around to how long can this take me? What do you mean I still have a large integration task left?

But wait, it gets worse. Paying attention and recognizing the sense of shame that drives me out of my body so consistently, has evoked old pains and even worse old needs. The old beliefs have followed swiftly in their wake. I have found myself reverting to old behaviors in therapy. Throughout my work with BN, a few things have haunted me. My CONSTANT fear that I am too much, too needy and will wear out my welcome. With BN, with everyone. To express my true feelings, especially the “negative” ones such as hurt, grief, sadness, anger, and neediness, will overwhelm anyone with whom I am in relationship and lead to my abandonment. So these feelings are to be shoved away, contained, held in and repressed. BN and I have done so much work with me learning its ok to have my feelings and express them. I have made a lot of progress. But right now it feels like all of it has disappeared. BN has spent most of our last four sessions repeating some variation of “its ok, AG, let it go, stop trying to hold it in.” I have spent the last four sessions convinced that he is sitting across from me frustrated, bored and ready to flee. He is working so hard to let me know that is not true and overcome the tidal roar of the voice of my shame.

At one recent session, he actually said to me in a quiet gentle voice, that I did not need to hide in his office, that I was safe. Judging by my reaction, that got through. I didn’t realize that I still had such a deep belief in my need to hide. He has been alternating tough as nails questions, pushing me relentlessly, with an unwavering reassurance that I can come and do this as long as I need to. One of the deepest lessons I had to learn in therapy was about the nature of safety; I have talked about it in a number of posts. I had spent my life looking for a safety that consisted of finding a person who would never hurt me, and never fail me, who would love me so well I would erase having not been loved well enough. I believed that if I was truly safe, I would never feel bad again. I had to learn how unrealistic that was. That true safety lay in recognizing that while life would always bring pain and difficulty at times, I was strong enough to face it, that I could find love to sustain me and would find my way through to good things again. Going deeper this time, led me to an interesting belief below that one. What I had formulated was that I could know I was ok, that when bad things happened I could face it and then I would be ok again. Anyone see the hole in the middle? What I believed was “I am ok, I get upset/hurt/angry and am not ok, I will stop feeling those things and be ok again. ” The problem is in the middle. When I am dealing with difficult emotions, especially those that would lead me to reach out to another human being for help, I believe I am not ok. So I MUST stop those feelings so that I am ok again and can re-enter my relationships. As I put it to BN, I have to learn to believe I am ok when I am not ok. Not an easy task. Especially as I didn’t realize I had another belief that needed digging out. At one point,ย  I was saying how much I hated feeling this way and BN hit me between the eyes (figuratively, not literally. I am one that threatens to throw things. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) He told me that I needed to stop hating that part of myself, that I deserved care and acceptance even when I felt that way or was at my most human. Remember that integration task I mentioned earlier?

I had been laying out the whole sorry mess to BN, part of which was the realization that I was feeling so threatened that I was having a hard time looking at my own behavior because to admit anything wrong was equivalent to wholesale condemnation of myself as a person. BN once again took me through understanding that it doesn’t have to be threatening to accept our own humanity. You can recognize that you did something wrong, acknowledge it and move on. It wasn’t the whole of who you were nor did it define you. It’s ok to be wrong sometimes. Later in the session when we were discussing my belief that I wasn’t ok when I was having these intense feelings of pain or neediness, I realized how deep the shame really ran. And then I realized how deeply scared I really was. I told BN that I knew we had faced and worked through some really difficult material together. And that despite my threatening to quit at times and being scared, I had always had a sense of being able to work it through. I told him that I was truly scared that I am just not strong enough to face down this shame, that I will falter and lose my courage and at that point, I fell apart and was sobbing. And then BN proved both how brilliant a therapist he is and just how well he knows me. I heard him say, quite calmly, “we talked earlier about how its ok to be wrong, which is really good. Cause you’re wrong.” He told me later he risked it because he knew me well enough (he also told me that I it was pretty funny how totally stunned I looked. :)) I sat there, running through what he said again, thinking “did I hear him right?” and then it hit. I started laughing and then couldn’t stop. I finally managed to look at him and say “that was really funny!” It was such a gift to connect me to my sense of humor in that moment. I also think it got through in a way few things would have in that moment.ย  I am very grateful that I have him.

But all that said, I am fighting an ongoing battle with feeling like … just too much. I am struggling to find self-compassion that does not feel like selfishness. It is painful to expose this, because no matter how people react it is painful. Either my worst fears will be confirmed or people will be kind and reassuring (as you have all been) and that is just proof that I am an attention seeking, self-centered mess. What’s worse, I am aware of the distortions in my thinking but the feelings are still there. But BN keeps telling me that the way through shame is to speak, so I am speaking. I am grateful that this community provides the kind of safety that allows me to speak.

I should probably also mention that I am behind on my meds. There was a mixup with our medical credit card and my online pharmacy was late shipping my drugs. I kept thinking they’d be here so I didn’t pursue interim meds and its been two days now which I am sure is affecting me. They should be here tomorrow which should help. Wow, I feel like I am just rambling all over the landscape. I am not sure there is much point to this aside from stepping out into the light and trying to be present. Ta Da! Anyone have a blanket handy? ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. June 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    It’s so good to see you. Well done! Love, Jones. xxxxx

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    • June 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      (((Jones))) Thanks so much for being there xxx AG

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    • Morgs
      June 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      “and that is just proof that I am an attention seeking, self-centered mess” Sheesh ((((AG)))) I’ll do a BN and say “you’re wrong”!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you’re venturing ‘out’ again – you’ve been through some unnecessary hurt of late, you’re self belief was bound to be challenged!! You’re just normal ((((AG)))) Love, Morgs

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      • June 23, 2013 at 10:35 pm

        (((Morgs))) Thank you my dear, for being an endless font reassurance. ๐Ÿ™‚ xx AG

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  2. June 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Just wanted to say, “Hi! I’m happy to see you!” I have more thoughts, but no brainpower to write right now.

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  3. June 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    (((Cat))) Thanks! Know the feeling, I have been reading but not much able to comment. Glad to know you’re here. xx AG

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    • June 12, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      I will say one thing… Started therapy in 1990 or 91. You aren’t the only multi decade person here!

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  4. Red Tomato
    June 13, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Hi AG – Nice to read another of your thoughtful posts. The paragraph that really resonates with me starts “But wait, it gets worse.” My shame is different, but the feeling that I will surely be abandoned and rejected if my horrible awful needy self is revealed is hugely painful. Unfortunately, I am experiencing this right now in technicolor. Sometimes it feels more than I can bear.

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    • June 13, 2013 at 10:48 am

      RT,
      Thanks so much for understanding although I am also truly sorry that you do. It is a terrible feeling. I get especially scared of how it can feel like a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that if I continue to constantly need reassurance than that is what is going to wear people out. I am grateful that BN seems to have a bottomless well of reassurance (or really good meds ;)) I think we both need to keep reminding ourselves of something else BN said to me, that’s it not possible for it to be true, we can’t be worthless.

      AG

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      • Red Tomato
        June 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        AG, I wish I could. Remind myself that is. I can’t. It’s not in my awareness to even be a possibility. I am over the moon in pain and grief and sorrow and there is no one. No. one. RT

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    • Karel
      June 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      I’m sorry you are going through all that. I can relate. If you have a therapist, don’t hesitate to contact him/her, even between appointments. I email/text mine when things are horrendous–thankfully that is very occasionally-and he steps right up to the plate day or night to help and advise when I can’t make any decisions. Talk to your doctor(s), your friends and people close to you for perspective. Or, remember you can always go to the emergency room when it gets really bad!–I dreaded it, but found the people there understanding, kind and helpful. It was greatโ€“actually a good experience for me. All that care and a few meds fixed me up. My T and psychiatrist took that as a symptom and took it from there to adjust my care. Meds will help you bear it, and they can give you respite and relief for a break from “doing the work” of therapy. Some times you just have to “turn it over” to others and let them take care of you. They will.

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      • Red Tomato
        June 14, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        Karel – it’s the T that’s the problem. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ she makes me feel guilty about feeling any neediness. she makes me feel guilty before it even gets to neediness – just plain asking for something… then I get ignored.

        I’m glad you found help at the ER and people paid attention to adjust your care and that you have others who will take care of you. you’re very fortunate.

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        • Karel
          June 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm

          Thank you, Red Tomato; I do feel fortunate, but I know what you’re talking about with T’s discouraging neediness. Mine always wants me to try and help myself first before reaching out to him between appointments so I do it only when I’m really, really low and I then i clearly ask for help. Sometimes I do feel like he’s receptive only when I’m at extremes! (when i’m doing good or bad). I wish i had more contact between appointments for support. It does feel like a support gap, like you have to get desperate before you get help or something! It is weird that T’s shy away from neediness. Ironic, too, because they are, after all, in their job to help someone in need! “Tough love” feels rough to me. Sometimes T’s distance with boundaries when they really just are being overly-detached. I’ve had trouble accepting therapy as an “as-if” relationship, that’s also supposed to be intimate, yet the therapist gets to decide all the boundaries, like I’m a child. Mine says he wants to work with me, and he says he makes concessions for me because if he doesn’t, he knows i’ll quit going to him. So he meets me halfway (putting up with my neediness.) I am a “difficult client” (I keeps him on his toes-he’s not dozing in his recliner). I want him to help me reach my goals, and expect him to help me do that. Especially if I have to put up with a few weird, haughty boundaries of his. If he refers me on, so be it, but it hasn’t happened yet. Honest relating keeps our therapy relationship helpful. I used to be very afraid that if I was too needy with my T he’d refer (abandon) me! Now I realize its perfectly acceptable to hold a person (who I’m paying for advise) accountable for knowing my goals and working towards them. Don’t be afraid to do that, you have rights there. Good luck!

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  5. GreenEyes
    June 13, 2013 at 8:28 am

    hi AG welcome back and big hugs. I’ve just completed end of semester exams so my abilitiy to string logical sentences together is severely hindered and I can’t think of anything intelligent to say in such an exhausted state. But wanted you to know I’m thinking of you xx

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    • June 13, 2013 at 10:49 am

      Thanks Greeneyes! Thanks for commenting despite the fried brain and congrats on making it to the end of exams! Hope you did really well. Its good to see you. Hugs, AG

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      • GreenEyes
        June 14, 2013 at 5:13 am

        thanks AG. Time will tell. But it was an interesting exam complete with a fire alarm going off for a good 20mins towards the end. You know when people write on here its not because you’re an attention seeking selfish person, its because you’re human and so brave to put yourself out here to all of us. Everyone needs support during their tough times. Goodness knows you’ve given plenty of that to others in your life. You do deserve it. I think struggling with body and eating issues is such a horrible legacy of child abuse and gets right to the heart of the fact that our bodies were stolen, manipulated and forced into doing and feeling things that were completely overwhelming and very confusing. And even though intellectually we can know it was never our fault, it is so hard to accept that someone so close to us who we loved and trusted betrayed our trust and injured us in the most brutal and horrific way. You do deserve to heal from this and you do have the ability to. Hugs to you xx

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  6. June 13, 2013 at 10:42 am

    So sorry things are so painful right now. Sounds like some very deep work you are working through. Know that I am joining the others who are supporting you through this, not bc you are selfish but bc you are a genuine person with much heart and I, and many others. appreciate what you share here.
    Aside from that, you are a person who is hurting and everyone deserves care at these times. I know it is hard to believe that for ourselves but it doesn’t make it any less true.

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    • June 13, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Godsgrace,
      “Very deep work” sounds much better than “idiot who didn’t get it the first 3004 times.” ๐Ÿ™‚ I joke, but you’re right, this is so painful because I am getting to the stuff I haven’t been strong enough for until now. Thank you for being there. Knowing I am not alone is a gift. xx AG

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  7. Karel
    June 13, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you for so honestly sharing your observations and your experience. It takes a lot of courage. My heart goes out to you! I can relate. The first thing I’d like to say is, it is Important to focus on certain basics (read: meds) first even when things are so confusing and you find it difficult to stay on track (sounds familiar to me!). I was behind on refilling my meds due to a pharmacy mixup (that required followup by me–which wasn’t happening as I struggle with one of my periods of blinding depression). Several unmedicated days later, I had an appointment with my therapist and he was alarmed. He reminded me to prioritize the meds (I wasn’t prioritizing anything). He always says, “solve the right problem.” I think a large part of the problem is getting a boost from the right meds. He says it’s a “thinking problem” problem, so it is tricky to solve. In retrospect, not being organized enough to stay on top of the meds was a big sign (red flag) that those particular meds weren’t working. I had to communicate better with the prescribing psych. New meds are making a difference. I couldn’t see thru the fog before. I’m sorry you are going thru this. You have done a lot of work that will pay off in the future. I hope you feel better and find some peace, I know what a relief that is when you have all this on your plate.

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    • June 17, 2013 at 11:02 am

      Hi Karel,
      Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting! (I know I also need to respond to your comment on the Erotic Transference post.) You’re right about the meds. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a mixup with our medical credit card, but I am happy to say I am back on track with the meds. We also had couples session last Thursday with BN, which helped immensely. I also attended an ASIST (Applied Suicide Interactive Skills Training) seminar on Friday and Saturday through the agency I volunteer at, and it gave me chance to see some of my own strengths. Since I seem to be heading into a headwind of a shame storm (how’s that for mixed metaphors :)) any lifting of those feelings where I can see my worth is a welcome respite. i see BN again later today which I am also sure will help. ~AG

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  8. June 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Hi AG, it’s always nice reading about you and BN. My T says the same thing about his office being a safe space. I do totally feel his office is my safe place and I know he’s safe too…. but I’m also kinda still working on internalizing that one. Hope everything continues to settle down and sort out a bit for you! ~ rl

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    • June 17, 2013 at 11:05 am

      RL,
      Good to hear from you! I’m glad that your T’s office is also a safe place. Although I get cognitively that I do have other safe places (such as here :)), there are times where the only place I can “feel” it is in his office. And I’m with you on the internalizing it. Keep thinking I have it licked… ๐Ÿ™‚ Although if I am honest, I do think my recovery time is getting shorter. Thanks for your support. ~ AG

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  9. Ann
    June 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I am thrilled that you took time out to write! I remember at the age of 21 having a huge depressive episode. I was hospitalized, the whole 9 yards. My psychiatrist said it was good that I was getting help then instead of having to deal with this at 50. I guess he lied! I am 56 and still dealing with some of the same issues. The joke was on me.:) I returned to weekly therapy about a year and a half ago. Even though at times it makes me feel stupid, self-centered, weak etc, I am thankful that I have this option. This past session was tough, because I have felt so confused about things, like I am stuck. My BN “reframed” my comments by challenging me and calling it “ambivalence”-that I don’t sound confused, but that I am trying to deal with conflicting feelings and values. That little push puts the ball in my court and does not feel comfortable at all. Me? In control? What a concept! Just know that you are not alone in your journey to health. Don’t give up. Your courage helps us all. Xoxo Ann

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    • June 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

      LOL! Ann, I started going to therapy when I was 25 and here I am 52. Sorry you know what this is like but thanks for telling me. I honestly feel better hearing it, not least because when its someone else, I TOTALLY understand why it would take so long. I’ll pass along something BN tells me all the time, its not that we’re going backwards, its that we’re living fuller lives and risking more, so sometimes we run into pockets of woundedness that we need to stop and clean out. Thank you for lending me your hope and courage. xx AG

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  10. Karel
    June 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I’m pretty new to this blog, but I read a little about your “mother” problem. You are preaching to the choir here! I received advice from a friend that may help you. (My mother and I are also estranged). When I was lamenting to her about not hearing from my mom, my friend imparted an honest observation: “Well, you’ve made it pretty clear you don’t want to hear from her.” What a lightening bolt of truth! I think estrangement has some interesting dynamics. I thought I wanted contact with my mom, but deep down I wasn’t ready.That’s OK. I liked to think I was “keeping the door open” to her but part of me was resisting that. We let people know in a thousand little ways how we want them to behave. Some of the cues we send are not conscious even to us, but they are there to protect us. I didn’t get a response from “mom” because really inside I’m not ready for one and need to work more on myself first. We send out subtle messages to protect ourselves, until we are ready sometimes. For instance, I send cards, but it’s grudgingly and that can’t help but leak out somewhere in the card’s sentiment, timing, etc. I believe I will connect with my mom when we are ready. Don’t place any judgement on not hearing from her. The love is there. But sometimes the person’s (mom’s) “listening and expressing” skills are still in a formative stage. Hard to believe we can me more mature than our mother, I know, but it happens!

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    • June 17, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Hi Karel,
      There is no doubt I have contributed to the estrangement. When my mother heard from my aunt about my father’s earlier “episode” I went on strike and did not contact her for many months. But when I realized that we were at a standoff and someone had to budge, I also knew, and had realized a while back, that I was the more mature one, so I choose to make the move. Although that can bother me, what really bothers me is that I called, I acknowledged I was upset with her, acknowledged that she was upset with me, but could we talk? Honestly, I am relieved to not be in touch with her, but baffled, sincerely baffled, at her ability to refuse contact with her child. Never in a million years would i do that to one of my daughters. And again, you’re right, she probably has picked up on my bad attitude. But guess what, when I pick up on a bad attitude with my daughters, i don’t assume its their problem or responsibility, I ask. In my mother’s world, relationships only work one way and that is flowing towards her. So she’s having a nice long snit, which I intend to enjoy. Just hoping it doesn’t extend to the end of her life, but its not in my hands now. ~ AG

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      • Karel
        June 17, 2013 at 11:26 am

        Point well taken, AG. I have a daughter and wouldn’t dream of treating her like my mother treats me. I can’t say I’m enjoying our estrangement, it’s more like acceptance.

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      • June 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm

        Karel,
        I know you wouldn’t think to treat your daughter that way, I am grateful that we both are aware that there is a better way.
        And you’re right, enjoy is a poor word choice. Relieved is closer, I didn’t miss having to pick out a mother’s day card this year. And acceptance really sums it up. It is what it is. I do try to have compassion knowing that my mother’s childhood was even worse than mine (guessing, she doesn’t say much) and I have had more resources in order to heal. But… you know, its still hard. ~ AG

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        • Karel
          June 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm

          You’re telling me, just look at celebrity chef Nigella Lawson. Her mother slapped her around as a child, and now she’s abused by her her famous art dealer husband–in public, and now shows up with him at the SAME restaurant in which he choked her, a few days later! Looking drained and sad, I might add. No surprise there. As we all know, once a person has become used to relationships that are dysfunctional (for their survival) they are easy to slip back into, even if they are successful in other areas. Even if they are not children anymore, but adults! It can happen to anyone. The nicest people are sometimes the most susceptible. I guess the answer is to build a life around emotionally healthy people instead of the characters we may be drawn to, but as we know, it’s very hard! I’m having a hard time with this. What do you do with all the unhealthy ones that have been a part of your life/family for decades? Surely there are people out there that got themselves out of this sticky mire to move on successfully. Slipped free of the family tentacles. I would really like to find a role model for that–that would be really helpful, because I can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to my own situation.

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  11. anonymously
    June 14, 2013 at 1:39 am

    AG, I just wanted to say I can so relate to the threat of a body. The few times T has gotten me to stay with paying attention to my body = instant shame spiral, then crisis. I love reading about how BN interacts with you and I am constantly glad you have him. I know I couldn’t do this sort of work without my own T there reassuring me and confronting the funhouse mirror of a self-image that I have.

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    • June 17, 2013 at 11:19 am

      ((Anon)) Love the phrase “funhouse mirror of a self-image.” Captures it perfectly. Thanks for letting me know you understand. xx AG

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  12. Ms. Sharkey
    June 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    First off, I’m glad you’re back. I really look forward to your posts.

    Second, I’m sorry you’re going through so much hard stuff. *gentle hugs*

    Third, get out of my head, will ya? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Shame at being in therapy for so long? Intense fear and shame at feeling too needy and demanding, just “too much”? Intense discomfort at being in your body? Check, check and check. This stuff is all just brutally hard, isn’t it?

    I’m fighting right now with how to let my therapist in, to really show him my feelings, and I can’t believe how hard it is. My last session, I sat there unable to speak for a good half of it. My therapist was trying so hard, asking me what I needed, asking if I could let him in just a little, and being so kind and patient that it kind of broke my heart just a little. When we ended, he said there was something very powerful and eloquent about sitting in silence and that he looks forward to exploring that with me. It was such a stark contrast to the shame and failure that I was mired in.

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    • June 17, 2013 at 11:22 am

      ((Ms. Sharkey)) Good to hear from you and thanks. I love that he sits with you. BN once told me that he had a client that he sat in silence with for a year. Sometimes part of our safety is knowing we can wait to speak when we feel ready. We had no choice over when and how often the abuse happened, but we can choose when and where we face and process it. Please have compassion on yourself for struggling to speak, you have good reason to be scared of opening up based on your past experience. And you are continuing to show up., despite how scary it is, to learn that your past experience doesn’t apply anymore. You’ll get there. xx AG

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      • Ms. Sharkey
        June 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm

        As excruciating as it is at the time, I’m glad my therapist sits with me too when I fall into these silences. He is incredibly patient.

        I also keep coming back to what you wrote about trying to find self-compassion that doesn’t feel like selfishness. That’s a hard one. When I think about it rationally, there is a clear line between the two. The feelings, however, are much more easily blurred.

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  13. Jenny
    June 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I’m terrified that my therapist is, at some point, going to whap me upside the head (figuratively speaking, of course!) and tell me to quit talking about changing and wanting to see things differently and just do it. I feel whiny, needy, and pathetic. Surely he can see that and will reach a limit in his tolerance of it.

    And then I read your words and I realize that a) I’m not alone in needing reassurance and feeling shame and b) good therapists (like yours and like mine) are simply there for us. They make it safe to face all those deepest feelings, even if it takes us decades. All they ask if for us to try. To the best of our abilities, just try.

    I hope that writing your blog helps you through your work with BN. I know it helps me and I’m very grateful for it.

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    • June 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      Ah Jenny, thank you, that was VERY reassuring to read. Its funny how knowing we’re not the only one helps isn’t it? I am very glad that you have a therapist who provides that safe space. I had a really wonderful session with BN yesterday and we spent a lot of time discussing how important being heard is. xx AG

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  14. Ann
    June 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Amen to all these comments. I am just waiting for my T to hit me upside the head and say ” Get over yourself.” It hasn’t happened yet, so I keep plugging away! Hope you are resting this weekend. See, even when you take a break, you followers can entertain themselves on your comment section!:) love, Ann

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    • June 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      (((Ann))) I could never imagine anyone, let alone your therapist, hitting you upside your head (see, its so clear when you look at someone ELSE :D) The weekend was a bit busy as I was attending an ASIST (Applied Suicide Interactive Skills Training) seminar at the agency I volunteer at on Friday and Saturday. It was really excellent, I learned a lot and it has the weird affect of reminding me of my strengths, but also kind of drained off my “blog” energy. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then Sunday was Father’s Day which always makes me grateful for my DH who provides someone to celebrate on that day. We’re going away for a very relaxing long weekend with the whole family tomorrow and i am hoping to set aside some writing time. BUT…. in the meantime, I love the comments and discussions, so feel free. ๐Ÿ™‚ xx AG

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  15. Little Blond Girl
    June 17, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Welcome back – even if it means coming out and retreating as you need to…finding our sense of worth seems to be something that one has to work at daily…I wonder what it’s like for people who grew up with a sense of worth – do they have to work at it too? Despite what sometimes feels like an insurmountable task, it’s got to be worth it. Hey, it took me days to post a comment because I had to deal with my own thoughts that I can’t possibly say anything worthwhile, so why bother? I’m ignoring those thoughts and doing it anyway :-). You aren’t too needy as far as I can see, you are sharing and putting yourself out there and that is quite special. You can borrow my blanket anytime :-).

    Like

    • June 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      LBG,
      I think secure people probably experience the doubts as often as we experience feelings of inadequacy. ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually talked about that with BN once, and he said they have a felt, taken for granted sense of their own worth, so even when they questions themselves, as all humans do, it doesn’t tend to spin them out of control. More resiliency I think. On the other hand, I think I have a deep appreciation and gratitude for the security I have found with BN that a secure person will never know. Our strengths often grow out of the healing of our wounds. I am glad that you ignored your thoughts and spoke anyway. Thank you! And it is always, always good to know where I can find a blanket. ๐Ÿ™‚ xx AG

      Like

  16. liz
    June 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I was waiting for a post about body issues and all that stuff that you wrote about, but I am saving my thoughts for later and I’m doing this instead:
    you are NOT too much, and you are NOT an attention-seeking self-centered mess. (actually, I think every writer, including me, is a bit of an attention-seeking self-centered mess, but that is not the point :-D)
    Everything you write here is incredibly helpful and inspiring. And if you ever ask yourself if you’re still talking about the same things over and over again, going around in circles, the answer is: probably yes, but don’t worry! We all need to hear the same things over and over again. Digging is healthy, walking in spirals is healthy, reading your blog is healthy. It is definitely not too much.

    This doesn’t count as selfishness disguised as self compassion because it’s coming from a stranger, so you can believe every word I said without feeling guilty.

    Ah! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Like

    • June 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      (((Liz))) This was reassuring in the way that only someone who understands the feelings from the inside out can be… you knew exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for saying it.

      actually, I think every writer, including me, is a bit of an attention-seeking self-centered mess, but that is not the point

      ROFL, good point! ๐Ÿ˜€ BN once said to me that wanting attention gets a bad rap. What is attention-seeking but asking to be attended to? Why would that be wrong? ๐Ÿ™‚ xx AG

      Like

  17. Ann
    June 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Body Issues. Can I start?? I was the oldest and only girl out of five kids. I was expected (as all southern young ladies) to be polite and thin, passive and thin, friendly and thin, eat everything on my plate and be thin, respect my elders and be thin, help my mom and be thin,make good grades and be thin, make my debute and be thin, esentually breathe and be thin. I was measured, weighed, squeezed and stretched! To act happy and greatful while hungry. Of course my parents struggle with obesity and my brothers was told to clean their plate. Naturally we were all weighed once a year-always not thin enough! I have taken back control. I did modify my diet and feel I am healthy for me. Whenever I have a doctor’s visit, the walk to the Hateful scale is first. And I always tell the nurse,”I am mentally ill and my psychiatrist says I can’t weigh.” ( that is a lie!!!! ) This was one way to take back control and not be nervous about the doctor’a visit. It always gives the nurses something to talk about!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ann

    Like

    • June 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Ann,
      I am sorry that you received that message, and evidently, very consistently, as you grew. I sincerely believe that although no human being would communicate perfectly, a parent should strive to express to their child that they are worth and loved. Period. Full stop. Not because of anything they do or achieve but because they are. Our worth is inherent, it is not bestowed upon us by another person, we are only to be given the knowledge of something we already possess. And I think what you do at the doctor’s office is a very creative solution. Good for you, its your information.

      I didn’t so much hear messages about my body, as formed beliefs around what happened. Sorry I was going to write more, but I’m not ready yet. But I will soon. Honestly, I am feeling shame free for the first time in a while and don’t want to knock my equilibrium off balance. But thank you so much for risking to open up. I am very glad to hear that you are taking control back. xx AG

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  18. Ann
    June 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks for all your insight. I do have a question that I would love to ask. You mentioned volunteer work. Has that helped you in your journey towards healing? Does it ever trigger negative feelings? No need to answer now, just something I sometimes wonder about. Hope you had a fun weekend and please never feel compelled to respond-follow your own rhythm! I also understand that on such a public forum it is not always emotionally safe to open up about some things. I hope you continue to trust your T and husband to help you to stay safe!!! Love, Ann

    Like

    • June 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      Ann,
      I don’t mind you asking at all and I think that’s an excellent question. I’m going to put it in the post hopper and it will pop out eventually. I know you’ll be shocked to hear I have a lot to say. ๐Ÿ˜€ More to follow. xx AG

      Like

  19. June 20, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Hi AG,

    I have been going through a lot recently in my own healing process so I can’t even begin to put a coherent sentence together but I want to just say hello and that I am glad you “peeked out”. I always love to read your posts and learn something every time you write. I am glad you are feeling better!

    (Hey, that was three coherent sentences — who knew!)

    DBS

    Like

    • June 23, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      Hi DBS
      It’s good to hear from you! I appreciate you stopping by, I know there are times when dealing with our own stuff doesn’t leave a lot of energy or attention for other things. Three coherent sentences was very impressive. ๐Ÿ™‚ ~ AG

      Like

  20. True North
    June 25, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    I just wanted to pop in and say that your post was truly amazing. You have such a way of explaining things and describing the interaction between you and BN that it’s so easy to understand and relate to. For a long time (and still now)… I do the same thing. I see myself only has a talking head LOL and I ignore the body. Problem is when the body makes itself known through pain or illness. Then I get so freaked out I go into panic and anxiety attacks. I am okay as long as the body is quiet so I can pretend it’s not there. I think you are one of the bravest people I know to confront these issues with BN. I am following this story with great interest hoping that one day I will be able to talk to T about my body fears and issues and find some relief from the painful anxiety. Hugs to you. TN

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