Reliving the Shame
I just had a deep insight into shame (which I suspect is going to sound D’oh when I say it) that I want to write down before I forget. I have been doing some rather intense work in therapy lately, which I will eventually talk about when I can find words. It has centered around my feelings about my body, my hatred of my body, the deep shame that I try to make about my body but which is actually about me, all of me (ironically enough since part of the work is accepting that my body IS part of me). In looking at that, I have been talking about touch and sensuality and sexuality and, hardest to say, my deep desire to be loved. The shame I felt in just saying out loud to BN that I wanted to be loved was staggering. BN keeps going back to the fact that this is the bind. The deep drive to go towards your attachment figure, who is also your abuser and so must be avoided. How do you possibly reconcile these two needs?
I have been feeling very confused since my session last Friday, finding the boundaries of my relationship with BN deeply painful which is always a sure sign I am hitting something unprocessed and not understood from my past. I have also been feeling an enormous amount of shame. I am feeling exposed and naked and vulnerable, none of which are real high on my list of favorite emotions. I talked to a close friend tonight who very patiently listened to me … grunt, because this is so early and pre-verbal that I literally keep stalling and groping, uncharacteristically at a loss for words. And then i dissociate and totally forget what I was talking about. I was thinking about what we said and tried to hold still and let the feelings come and it hit me. I am feeling what it felt like. The desperate need and desire for BN, The horrid fear that finally he will see me for who I am and abandon me. The just as desperate desire to quit therapy and flee from him. This is how I felt about my father. This is what my emotional experience was like.
The drive and desire and NEED to go closer, the desire to be loved are so strong as to feel like a tidal pull. The only thing stronger is the absolute imperative to stay away, lest I be destroyed. But in terms of survival, in terms of biological necessity, in terms of safety, it was also absolutely imperative that I needed to see my father as safe. So what could possibly explain my need to stay away from my “good” father, despite my desperate (quite literally, I do not use that word lightly) longing and need to move closer and be loved? The only thing that made sense was to believe that I was so wrong, so utterly repulsive or depraved, that to be seen would mean exile, rejection and death. My father could not be the problem, so I had to be. The lesson was well learned and buried deep. The excavation is slow, confusing, pain-staking and costly. Right now I am not sure I am going to make it. But writing this out, having this visceral grasp of what is at stake, tells me that the only solution is to continue to walk towards BN, exposing my shame and my vulnerability, asking to be loved and to see him not turn away. Only then will I know the shame is truly not mine. I only hope I am strong enough.
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