The Ache of Longing and Loss


Greetings gentle readers,
I know my posting has been rather scant lately. I have been doing some really intense work in therapy and sometimes when I am in the midst of deep work, it can be hard to speak of it. I also think unconsciously, I may be attempting to “contain” the energy so that it stays in therapy. Writing about it can almost spring a leak in the therapeutic vessel. But tonight I feel so drained and bereft that I need to make some connection. I am hoping that talking about my session today will help.

I may have mentioned before that I was having troubles with my knees, especially my left one. I already go to an orthopedic practice for my bad cervical disc, so I went there about my knees. We did a full set of x-rays and turns out I’m not imagining the pain in my knees. The NP I see sent me on a surgical consult, after telling me that most likely I would be having knee surgery and that somewhere in my future were full knee replacements. This was highly ironic, since BN and I have been digging into the feelings surrounding my body and being overweight and my need to understand that my body is an integral part of me which deserves self care. I went on the surgical consult, but it didn’t quite turn out the way I expected.

The surgeon was a very kind, sensitive man and there was absolute no shaming in how he handled the conversation but after asking me some questions about my physical capabilities and my weight history, he told me he was going to be very straight with me. He said that my knees were that of a woman at least 10 years older than me, if not more, but that at my weight, knee replacement surgery was high risk. Besides which, he’d only need to do another replacement in 10 years. He also told me that he wanted me at a weight I haven’t seen since high school and that he believed that Weight Watcher’s or another diet weren’t going to cut it. I needed to get bariatric surgery. Then he gave me a month of anti-inflammatory medication and sent me back out the door. It is a measure of just how much healing I have done that I was present for the whole conversation and did not break down. I waited until my husband and I got back to the car. As we discussed it, my husband managed to sum up the situation in one pithy phrase. I have run out of my get out of jail free cards. I have come to a point in my life where my health is being seriously compromised by my weight and has to be addressed. My deepest fear is that I will end up as a burden on my husband.

So I have been doing a lot of research on bariatric surgery, including researching articles, attending a support group meeting and talking with my new GP about it. It is an extreme solution but one that I am coming to believe that I may need. But I am also exploring other alternatives. I have of course been discussing this situation with BN, which is how we started todays’ session. We were originally supposed to meet on Monday at 11:30 but I woke up to a text on my phone telling me he needed to cancel because he had a cold. I got another text last night asking if I could come in at 3:30 today. We were of course having our first winter storm (it could be worse, I could live in Buffalo) and the roads were really bad, but I went anyway. Just took a bit longer.

Just a note I want to add because I realized something while writing the post, I think is important for you to know, which is that what I am about to relate was by no means a flowing, easy conversation. I was crying with my face buried in my hands or a pillow, struggling to express these feelings, and physically flinching as the memories rose through my body. At several points I was sobbing or screaming into a pillow. I think I actually looked at BN for all of about 4 seconds in a 55 minute session (I ran over.) I do NOT want to give the impression that I sat there calm and composed and easily expressed such terrible thoughts.

We started discussing the bariatric surgery. I did tell BN that I was noticing that I was at least able to do the research I needed and discuss this with my doctors and my friends without falling apart which was a marked improvement and did somewhat offset all the shame that arises from feeling so stuck about my obesity. (The ostensible reason I started therapy all those years ago was to deal with the fact that not only was I overweight, but I dissolved into hysterical weeping anytime I attempted to discuss it. I was sidetracked by discovering memories of sexual abuse. For some reason, my body has been the the last thing I got to. Go figure.) BN very graciously told me that it was the result of all the work I have been doing.

The rest of the session was raw beyond belief and difficult to relate, but I will try. I told BN that I was concerned about the surgery because it was such a radical change. BN agreed and said that I would no longer be able to eat large quantities and how did that feel? I told him it felt scary. He asked what was scary and what hopes did I have about the surgery? Just thinking about answering that question ramped up the intensity considerably. I told him that I hoped to be in better health and have more mobility and not become a burden on my husband. BN, who knows me very well, asked how I felt about being thinner? We talked about the one time in my life, during a period of high school, when I lost enough weight to be a “normal” size. I told BN that while consciously I wanted to be attractive and admired and desirable in the way anyone wants to be, that I also very much did not want to be. Being thinner would leave me feeling terribly exposed. And at the same time, in a completely contradictory manner, I feared that I would disappear and be invisible.

And there it was. I realized I am scared because I do not know who I would be without food and without being overweight. That it feels scary and exposing to be without both. I have very few conscious memories of my childhood but all of the good ones involve food. I know it’s an addiction and the sense of control it provides is false (hence my out of control weight problem) but I was so powerless as a child, that food and eating it provided at least an illusion of control. It’s scary, ok, terrifying, to think about coping without food being an option. BN told me that is why it is so important that we are allowing my feelings out now and healing. My last couple of months of sessions have been mainly taken up with unprocessed, painful emotions being expressed. It’s odd, there’s so much transference floating around because these feelings are from such an early age, that I have found myself scared of BN and worried about the relationship in a way I have not been in a long time while simultaneously experiencing just how deep the trust runs, because I am filtering my feelings so much less and just saying how I feel. This had produced some interesting moments. Just for the record, BN accepts hearing “I hate you” with the same calm, welcoming care with which he hears “I love you.” We have been slowly digging deeper.

BN continued to pursue a line of questioning about my feelings about my body and I hit some very young, extremely raw memories, some of which were new. I was weeping and sobbing through much of it, often struggling to find words to express the feelings, because when these things happened I did not have words. I feel such terrible conflict about my body because I was so confused about my own needs and where they led to. I got so scared, that BN reassured me in a way he often does, which is to tell me that I am in a safe place. My usual response is to start sobbing in earnest (it often takes a lot of encouragement from BN for me to actually allow myself to have, let alone express my feelings), but this time I also managed to tell him that while it is a relief to hear that, I am also wondering if it’s really true and can I trust him? That I so longed to really trust I was safe, but always there is that catch, that pulling up short. The voice inside that says “do not be so stupid as to trust that.” BN just told me that how terrible that feeling must be, to have it be so hard to trust. Then I said that I kept feeling like I needed to apologize to him and he answered that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. The next thing that rose up that I managed to choke out was that I kept wanting to say “Please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me” and he very gently said “it’s ok to say that.” To my shock, I managed to blurt out in a very young voice, but with an emotional immediancy “Please don’t leave me.” BN assured me he wasn’t going anywhere.

Memories and memories of feelings kept bubbling up. I remembered needing my father so much and wanting safety but it wasn’t available. The next thing I spoke about felt so shameful, I actually asked BN if it was really ok if I said anything to him? I told BN that I felt so small and what I really wanted in that moment was to crawl up into his lap (in the midst of these memories, I often feel so young that I feel smaller even physically. It’s often a shock to shift my consciousness completely back to the present and find myself in an adult body) and have him just hold me, but I knew that was not possible. BN acknowledged how painful it was to want that and not be able to have it. I was able to tell him that yes, it was painful now and had been even more painful to want that so badly with my father and not be able to have it.

And then things got really bad.

I remembered and managed to choke out, that I could remember wanting my father to think I was pretty and BN told me how normal that was but all I could feel was how wrong it felt to feel that way. My needs, my wanting to be loved, my wanting closeness, they were the problem. BN told me that it was natural and healthy to want closeness. I had the terrible memory of just how confusing it was to want closeness, to enjoy the closeness but at the same time feel so overwhelmed and ashamed of what happened. That I wanted it so badly, that there must be something evil about me to want something so bad. BN questioned me, trying to get me to see that I had not wanted the abuse and I remembered (confusingly one of those times I “knew” something without knowing how I knew it) that my father told me that what happened between us, the sexual abuse, was my fault for tempting him, that I must be a bad girl for wanting it to happen. I told BN it was truly perverse, in the root meaning of the word, that my father took something good and innocent but twisted it to his own evil purpose. What a twisted, overwhelming mess it was. I felt sick to my stomach, wanting to throw up, remembering this and then even more sickening, was realizing that there was a sense of sexual arousal present under the sickness. BN being very clear about how this would have felt as a child and with only a child’s understanding was the only thing that allowed me to have any compassion for myself.

We hit a point where BN was pressing me to go further and I just refused to go any further. I told him I needed to stop, I felt too drained and too scared to go any further. I have never had concrete memories of the abuse and I am terrified that I am heading there. That I may need to remember in order to heal. BN was quick to reassure me that during the session I had connected with and remembered new things but had been able to face and process them. That he felt it had been a healing session.

At that point I looked at the clock and to my horror, realized I was already five minutes over. The memories were so painful and I felt so in need of comfort (and was remembering so vividly what it was like to not have it). I looked at BN and told him how horrible it felt because I felt so scared and did not want to leave him, but knew I had to. BN gave me one of those answers that are at the heart of why I so love the man. He said “It’s going to really suck.” I did something I thought would have been completely impossible in that moment and totally cracked up. I was laughing when I told him “thank you for that. I love when you don’t argue me out of my feelings.” We made an appointment for next week, but then he’ll be gone for two weeks which overlaps with a vacation of mine, so I am facing a four to five week break. Augh.

So… leaving was really sucky. I feel very raw and little and sad and needy. I know it’s not true, but right now BN feels like the only thing that will help. The ride home was a long one due to bad road conditions from a winter storm and I spent some time realizing how deep runs my longing to be able to go back to being little and have BN be my father, while knowing the impossibility of having that longing fulfilled. But I was also able to recognize how totally understandable it was that I should want that. Just because what I long for is impossible to have, doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with wanting it. It is not often that the true horror of what I went through really breaks over me, but tonight is one of those times. I still want to crawl into BN’s lap, but he is somewhere miles across town in his own home while I ache to be with him, to feel safe and loved without it turning into something overwhelming and confusing. As I write that I realize these feelings are a memory. I know how very important it is that I get to these feelings, I know I am doing good work, but still I feel undone by the grief. I am so sad for that little girl I was.

Thank you for reading, it helped to be able to speak about this, although I must confess that any description feels inadequate.

  1. December 10, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    ((((AG)))) I feel you (as my daughters say). You have written so much in this post that is about me too.

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    • December 10, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      (((Attached))) Thank you. I am sorry that you understand but grateful that you let me know I am not alone in feeling this way.

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  2. December 11, 2014 at 12:08 am

    God bless you AG. I would hug you if I could.

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  3. December 11, 2014 at 12:58 am

    You are so brave to write about such a painful process and emotions! And you write it so well. I can relate to a lot of what you say. I too am undergoing therapy to process and try to heal from the sexual abuse of my father when I was very young. I really appreciate that you captured that need for closeness but the shame that came with the closeness. Like you I remember very little of the actual abuse. My body remembers and I feel the memories in the form of nausea, and mostly in my stomach. I too feel small when I have the body memories. In those moments of smallness I want to hide rather than connect. Thank you for sharing. Please know that you are not alone. Hugs and love to you in your healing and recovery!

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    • December 11, 2014 at 11:20 am

      Hi Telling,
      Welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting. It was such a struggle to put this experience into words, both in the session and when writing this post, that I am relieved to know it made sense and resonated with you (although I would prefer that neither of us understood this experience!) Thank you for taking the time to say so and lend me support. It can really feel crazy making. ~ AG

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  4. December 11, 2014 at 1:12 am

    Hi, AG. This is eerie. So much of what you speak of in your post is what I am dealing with myself right now. After my session yesterday, I realized that some part of me completely blames me for the abuse, hates me for having a body, feeling things and liking certain sensations, punishes me for what happened, and piteously wants to have that burden relieved.

    Mama Bear spent much of the session saying variations on, “it’s not your fault.” I am so aware of how much I needed to be able to climb into my mother’s lap and have her rock me and tell me over and over, “It’s not your fault. Nothing you did or he did is your fault. It’s all his fault.”

    I have become aware of how I took all of those shattering feeling and thoughts at various events and relegated them to splinter parts. At age 10, I couldn’t handle “I love him”, “I hate him”, “I’ll do anything he wants so that he loves me”, “I want to tear his hands off”, “why won’t my Mommy save me?”, “that feels good”, “I want to tear my skin off, it’s so horrible”, “it’s all my fault”, and more, all at the same time. It makes my head feel like it’s going to explode, trying to handle it all now, although I get the added bone of bouncing between dissociative parts in a dizzying way.

    I’m afraid that I’m not expressing myself well these days. I hope that this helps you feel a little less alone. I’m certainly feeling a lot of what you described and I have so much empathy.

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    • December 11, 2014 at 11:30 am

      (((Cat))) I often find that our work in therapy has an odd parallel feeling to it, which i why I find reading your blog so helpful as you often articulate things I myself am struggling to express.And it’s a good thing Mama Bear and BN are different genders or I’d be convinced we were seeing the same person! BN spent a lot of time yesterday on variations of it’s not your fault (mainly pushing back on my adult interpretations with the fact that a young child would not have been capable of those thoughts). And your right, the array of feelings does make your head feel like it’s going to explode. This definitely felt a like a splintered off part of me, one I have encountered before but I am going deeper and hitting experiences and feelings that still need to be integrated. And you’re doing just fine expressing yourself as I felt very much less alone as there was a shock of recognition reading your comment. Thanks so much, I know this work is overwhelming and draining and I really appreciate you reaching out. xx AG

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  5. December 11, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Sounds like a very raw session. I hope you are being kind to yourself while you are working through this stuff. ((((Safe Hugs)))) to big you and little you.

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    • December 11, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Godsgrace,
      One of the last things I said to BN while he was writing out the appointment card for my next session as that it felt very raw and he told me that he knew that, he really did. I am trying to be kind to myself, which is being greatly helped by the wonderful responses here. Thank you for the hugs! xx AG

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  6. December 11, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Oh. I understand everything you have written, from that deepest attachment ache that sits in my soul, too. Supporting you xx

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    • December 11, 2014 at 11:34 am

      PLF1990,
      Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. “Deepest attachment ache that sits in my soul” is an evocative and perfect desciption. Thank yo for your understanding and support. ~ AG

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  7. Pop
    December 11, 2014 at 2:58 am

    I like to think the amount of pain we access is directly proportionate to the amount of healing we are doing simultaneously. And it sounds like although you need a massive hug, you are certainly healing those wounds, AG. You are one brave lady xxx

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    • December 11, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Pop, You have NO idea how much I hope you are right about that! 🙂 Joking aside, I really am aware that I am going very deep and that this is really necessary work (I am actually struggling a bit with the fact that I just refused to go any further near the end of the session, but I just sensed I couldn’t take any more right then. But it’s taken me so long to get here, it’s a little scary wondering if stopping at that point was really a good idea. ) I still feel too raw to feel the healing but I BN said it was healing work and I’ve learned to trust the process.
      Thanks for reinforcing that belief. xx AG

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Anonymous
    December 11, 2014 at 5:57 am

    AG – You say so well that which I can’t. It’s amazing what therapy can crack open. I started seeing my T for someone to talk to during a separation and that turned into a PD and sessions twice a week. Many hugs to you for opening up as you do and sharing your story. You are strong and brave. I don’t normally comment because I feel my words are so weak compared to that which you have shared but please know what an amazing help you are. More than once I have forwarded your post to my T or printed it out and highlighted certain parts when you said something that I didn’t know how to say or expressed so perfectly that which I was feeling. Many thank you’s for all that you do. I hope you are finding strength in the replies being left. ~M.

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    • December 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Anonymous,
      Welcome and thank you for commenting. I so appreciate you taking the time to say this as it is very encouraging to me to hear that people find comfort and gain understanding by reading what I write (I am such a mess at times’ that if feels nothing short of a small miracle. 🙂 ) I am also truly honored that you would forward my writing to your T and use it as part of therapy. As for your own words, we never trust our own efficacy do we? I so appreciated what you have said and appreciate the support more than I can say. I hope you’ll consider joining the conversation more often. 🙂 Thank you. ~ AG

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  9. Marijke
    December 11, 2014 at 6:47 am

    Lovely AG,
    For so many reasons it is good that you shared this with us.
    We are here. I hope you can feel the connection with so many who support, admire and love you.
    Now rest and try and take care of yourself. So many heavy 😦 things are coming your way – all linked, no surprise there! – so you’ll have to be extra attentive to your own needs these days/weeks/months. And lean on BN/HB/us as much as you can, we don’t mind – we love you 
    I light a candle 🙂
    Marijke

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    • December 11, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      (((Marijke))) So good to hear from you (so good to hear from so many people!). Thank you for responding so lovelingly and gently reminding me to take care of myself. Oddly enough, you sound like BN. 🙂 (I have no higher compliment to bestow!) I also very deeply appreciate the reassurance that it is ok to lean, an action that does come naturally, as you well know. I love you too and will warm myself in the light of your candle. xx AG

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  10. December 11, 2014 at 8:29 am

    All of us who have been through these gut wrenching sessions can “feel your pain”. They are emotionally and physically draining, but so necessary in the process of healing. Please accept these comments – each and every one- as “emotional hugs” from your many friends. You have been there for us; we want to be there for you now. You are so lucky to have BN – he won’t leave you (unless he decides to move to NH) – to have him in that one comment “it must really suck” acknowledge your pain, just really touched me and made me envious of the deep connection you both share.

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    • December 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      JSullivan,
      Thank you so much for both the support and your patience (you are not forgotten!) I am accepting these comments as hugs and cannot say how grounding all the support has been. I was feeling a bit desperate when i started writing last night. But to met with so much acceptance, gentleness and care is helping me return to a state of stability. I know it must be difficult at times for you to read about my relationship with BN, thank you for your graciousness. I strive to not take it for it granted at all, I am deeply aware of what a blessing he is. You are all too kind, I feel I have been sidelined for so long, yet everyone is so swift to respond. Bless you all. xx AG

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  11. Mad Hatter
    December 11, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Dear AG, I feel compelled to thank you profusely for your willingness to be vulnerable and share with us these raw feelings, especially considering that the mere effort to record it must have caused you to re-live them and thus contribute to further emotional exhaustion. It is touching to me, and admirable as well. Your healing journey inspires strength for continuing my own therapeutic battle. You will probably never know the breadth and depth of the hearts you touch in your readers.

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    • December 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      (((MH))) So good to hear from you, I often wonder how you’re doing. You are more than welcome. You have been there so many times through the years that it seems like very little to do in return. It was so kind of you to say this. Take good care, I hope your own healing is going well. xx AG

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  12. December 11, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for being brave enough to share. I wish you continued healing and peace. ((hugs)) ~J

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    • December 11, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      talktoj8,
      Thanks so much for the kind words and your well wishes, it is really good to know I have people who both understand and care. xx AG

      Liked by 1 person

  13. happylou
    December 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Once again you have given words to that that which so many wouldn’t even be able to face, let alone share with the world. Thank you, AG, for your bravery and honesty in relating with all of us. I know it makes me feel less alone and I hope it lends you the love and support you need.

    My T and I met last night and touched on some similar stuff. However, I sense I lack the courage to delve in as deeply as you have..time will tell. Feelings of depravity, perversion and disgust with myself bubbled up, accompanied by intense anger that anyone ever put me through this and screwed me up six ways to Sunday. After session, the rawness of the anger and then the subsequent grief surprised me…I sobbed in sadness for the little girl who had so much taken from her. It is one of the first times I have felt sadness instead of shame. My experiences happened at the hands of non-family members, so as I contemplate the depth of emotions that would follow after such a violation of one’s father, I cannot get my head around how you cope at all. Your courage blows me away!

    Bless BN for loving you in the healthiest, safest, most healing of ways. You deserve it. Please be gentle, patient and loving with yourself.

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    • December 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      happylou,
      It’s also good to hear from you! (note to self: must post more often!) I am so glad that you feel less alone by reading and I want to assure you that the love and support here means a great deal. Love is always the answer to pain. I am sorry that you are also doing this difficult work (and btw, as far as how deep I am going? Took me decades to get here!) but grateful that you are reaching a point where the shame is losing its grip and you are able to experience compassion and sadness for the little girl you were. You deserve both. And thank you for the blessing for BN. When I hit this level I am acutely aware of how safe he has kept me and how grateful I am for that. And all of you are providing a wonderful model of what gentle, patient and loving look like, I will work on it. xx AG

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  14. Emma
    December 11, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Dear AG

    Thank you so much for sharing your inner world with us. I echo others sentiments in saying you are so so brave. I cannot begin to tell you how much your posts have helped me, that touch that part of me that makes me believe I can get to a point of feeling less shameful about my attachment needs to my therapist as right now I am going through the biggest fight ever to just be in the same room as her. It’s taken me 13 years to get to this point and it’s so raw and so painful. I feel less alone from reading your posts. I truly hope you have found a little peace today

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    • December 11, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Emma,
      Welcome and thank you for commenting. It was very kind of you to take the time to say all this. I too struggled very badly with shame around my attachment feelings and needs and know what a struggle it can be so I am very happy to hear that my writing has helped you with that. I’ll let you in on a secret, i still have moments when BN is being really wonderful that its all I can do not to run screaming from the room! 😀 And only 13 years, you’re the quick one (28 years my dear, I kid you not). It is slow work to heal from this kind of trauma because the trust is a very slow uphill battle fighting your instincts every step of the way. One of the most insidious forms of the injuries created by abuse. ~ AG

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  15. Ms. Sharkey
    December 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Oh AG, that all sounds so hard and heartwrenching.

    The part about the surgeon wanting to see you at your high school weight raised alarm bells. Almost no one I know weighs what they did in high school. Our bodies change and our metabolisms slow down at we age. I’m very fit and active, and I weigh a good 20 pounds more than I did in high school. I would have to starve myself to get back down to that weight.

    I know a couple of people who have had weight loss surgery. The results were mixed – one lost a lot of weight and the other did not. The one who did lose a lot of weight is glad that she did, but she found it challenging in many ways, including psychologically. If you feel it might be useful to you to talk to someone who has been through weight-loss surgery, please let me know and I’ll reach out to my friend and see if she would be comfortable sharing her experiences with you.

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    • December 15, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      ((Ms. Sharkey)) Thank you so much for offering to reach out to your friend, I actually have a friend who had the surgery a while back and am planning on talking to her. This is not a decision I am rushing into. I very much appreciate BN helping me to dig into my feelings around my body and food because I feel like until I get a handle on the dynamics around these issues, that I wouldn’t be successful with any kind of weight loss. I am open to the fact that I may need to do something this extreme, but am only willing to if I know that I am doing everything I can do to ensure its success. And yeah, I agree about the high school weight, that was a LOT of years ago! xx AG

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  16. liz
    December 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    It’s good to read your words again after a long time, but it’s also bad to know you’re going through all this… It was a very powerful entry, kind of tough to read. I send you a big hug.
    Be gentle with yourself, and take your time. I’m sure all this hard work will pay off.

    Like

    • December 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Liz,
      I can imagine how hard it was to read. These are difficult feelings to face and I know that much of what I am facing will resonate with people who read here regularly. Thanks for reading it despite the discomfort and thank you for the support. xx AG

      Like

  17. Gel
    December 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Hi AG,
    Well wow! You went so deep in this post. Thank you.

    So when I read that you drew the line at a certain point in your therapy session and didn’t want to go deeper just then- I trust that. I think that for those of us who have been violated as children that a HUGE thing is to be able to draw lines, to call the shots, to practice saying stop,slow down or go forward etc….to have the choices to make the call.

    So I hope you accept your voice that said when to stop the session. You can always go back, go deeper etc.

    I also had sexual abuse done to me by family members, including my father. It really twists things up inside around intimacy and trust and not just trust of others but trust of one’s self and ones’ own body.

    This part of what you wrote: “I felt sick to my stomach, wanting to throw up, remembering this and then even more sickening, was realizing that there was a sense of sexual arousal present under the sickness.” That is similar to the some of my deepest ‘crazy’ combinations of feelings to deal with. I don’t even know how to talk about it right now – just that when I read what you wrote I felt you articulated something important for me too. Not sure where to go with it right now. But thanks for sharing such intimate difficult stuff in a way that others can also benefit from it.

    Much love and gratitude to you dear Girl

    Like

    • December 15, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      Hi Gel,
      Thank you so much for the reminder that it is important and healthy for me to decide how fast I remember and process the abuse. Part of the damage was that there was no such control or power in the face of the abuse. It’s very helpful to hear that from someone else, even though I know I’ve said it dozens of times to other people. Funny how the things we know can shrink in the face of the strength of our feelings.

      I’m so sorry you understand this so well, I am truly am, but thank you for sharing it. Your description of the twisting of trust so resonated with me. And I can’t begin to tell you how i appreciated you telling me you have experienced that revulsive mix of terror and arousal. I feel less condemning of myself, knowing another victim of childhood abuse feels that way. I am also grateful for your openness. xx AG

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  18. Ann
    December 11, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    AG, I felt like I had run a marathon after reading your post! So powerful! I so relate to wanting my dad to say I was pretty (or smart or wanted). I didn’t suffer sexual abuse from him, but our family revolved around his needs and demands and as a girl I was irrelevant.
    I am sure you will laugh at this, but when I made the decision to have by-pass surgery (mostly for diabetes) there was only one thing that made it safe for me. The nurse told me stories of how some patients lost 150 to 250 pounds, but regained all, if not more of their weight. In my mind that told me that I could chose at some point to eat what I wanted. The thought of not having the choice to eat is what scared me. At first it is no walk in the park, but now it has been 5 years and I am fine. I personally didn’t get skinny, but I am healthier. Also at 57, no amount of weight loss will give anyone the male attention that 20 and 30 year olds get, so that part of it wasn’t too intimidating. I also agree with Ms Sharky about high school weight. Surgeons may know how to use a knife, but that doesn’t mean they are smart or realistic. After all he’s a man!! ( apology to all male readers!)
    No matter your decision,I am glad that you are thinking about self care. You take care of a lot of people. Now it is your turn. Question- Do you feel OK with needing emotion support from others? I have just realized that I borrow other people’s emotional needs to experience because that less “selfish” in my internal world. I am great at empathy and helping others heal. That is not a bad thing, but I think it is the only way I allow myself to experience fear, sadness, etc. That way I can avoid dealing with my own crap. In my family negative emotions where taboo. I will end here, but I am very proud of your willingness to be open and authentic! You were deeply missed and are greatly loved. You have made this a great no shame zone! Xoxo Ann

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 15, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      Funny Ann, I felt like I had run a marathon when I finished writing the post. 😀 And trust me, I won’t laugh. That’s part of what I find so confusing about this, the mixture of wanting two opposite things at once. I want Ato lose weight and imagining getting down to a lower weight has its appeal. But it feels so scary at the same time! And I had to laugh when I read what you said about being 57. I am 53 (with knees of 63! 🙂 ) and am keenly aware that no amount of weight loss is suddenly going to make me the target of sexual desire. But just understanding that if I was, it would terrify me, is really useful information I think.

      I also found your question about do I feel ok with needing emotional support from other people to be very insightful. No doubt about it, I am much more comfortable being on the giving end of a relationship. Patterns from childhood and a re-enforcement of my sense of worth are both strengtened by feeling I am of use. And yes, sometimes I focus on other people to avoid my own stuff. BN and I have been looking at that. I think part of the reason I have been disappearing for such long swaths of time is that I am trying to give myself permission to not function, to not be of use and see what happens. Do you know, in some ways it takes me very much by surprise that everyone responds with such compassion, warmth and care? Unconsciously, I am expecting people to dismiss me or even be angry because I have not been “useful” so how dare I expect them to do anything for me. I spent a lot of my childhood trying to take good enough care of my parents so that they would finally be able to take care of me. I think part of the function of my overeating is to shove my own needs away. So when I stop overeating something has to give. It’s uncomfortable and a bit scary but in the end I think will be healthoer and more fulfilling that I can help out of a sense of wanting to and having the energy rather than being driven by unconscious need and fear. So I very much appreciate everyone urging me to care for myself to offset the internal messages. The love and acceptance are very much appreciated. xx AG

      Like

  19. FindingMyVoice
    December 11, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    AG, I just wanted to join in with everyone here in sending my healing thoughts your way. You have also helped me more times than I can even count, as your words often echo my own feelings which I’ve only recently begun connecting with. Your courage and honesty inspires me to keep going. You commented that you felt bad about having had enough during your session. One thing my T always says to me is that I have to trust my instincts that when I’ve had enough for the day, I have had enough. You need to deal with so much already, you’ll tackle more when you have gotten through this place. You are a fighter, even when you seem to be crushed by the enormous pain, you always regroup and begin the work again. And as a blessing to all the rest of us, you share your struggles, helping us to continue in our own healing journeys. I am so sorry that these things have happened to you when you were little and that you are having health problems today that stem from a childhood you didn’t deserve. It’s one of the inexplicable things in life where another’s suffering helps you to continue to process your own suffering. I wish you hadn’t been hurt. And I, very humbly, thank you for sharing your hurt. I also celebrate with you and feel great joy when you get through the muck and find your way again, stronger and wiser, with another wound healed.. and you will get to that good place again. You have a whole slew of supporters out here, many like myself who have been reading your blog for awhile, following it religiously, but staying silent. Today I want to break my silence and tell you that I think you are one awesome woman and you have given me so much inspiration. I hope the hug I am sending you through the universe is a comfort to you in some way. And I had to laugh at your first paragraph, I am from Buffalo! It was a lot of snow! It was such a relief, at first, to be forced to slow down, but then when I finally did… OMG the stuff that came unburied within me, while we were buried in snow, was crazy making (to use one of your phrases!) Take care, AG!

    Like

    • December 15, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Finding My Voice,
      Bless you for choosing now to come forward and speak, I so appreciate all of your kind words. It eases my heart and brings meaning to what I suffered to know that other people can find healing and comfort from my experiences. I think you have an ever so slightly idealized picture of me 🙂 but considering how I am feelings, I’m grabbing it and running. 🙂

      OMIgosh, from Buffalo! You hardy woman, you! Could not believe the pictures when I saw them. It was SO wierd, because usually those weather systems over the Great Lakes hammer both Buffalo and Syracuse, but we were just getting dustings. it was like “what the hell?” but Syracuseans know better than to question the gift of no snow! And sorry, as I know how it can be to slow down. Hope you’ve climbed out of both your buried stuff and the snow!

      ~ AG

      Like

  20. Ann
    December 11, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    —Also, I am so sorry about the break in therapy!!! Maybe you guys can Skype? You are working on deep stuff!!

    Like

    • December 15, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      (((Ann))) I did check to make sure he would be available and he told me except for the plane flight I could reach him. 🙂 The last few weeks are a family vacation and I find I tend to do better when I am the one away (Go figure. being waited on helps me bear up!) So I’m not too worried. The work has been SO intense lately that a break might be helpful. You are such a sweetie though, thanks for the suggestion!

      Like

  21. drgeraldstein
    December 12, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Good job!

    Like

    • December 15, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      Dr. Stein,
      Thank you! It’s very heartening to know you saw it as good work! ~AG

      Like

  22. December 12, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I wish I could say something that would bring comfort in the face of all the difficulties you are going through. It has to feel overwhelming to address your health concerns in the midst of such exhausting emotional upheaval, but it sounds like you are facing it with the same bravery as everything else you’ve overcome! I’m sorry for the upcoming break from BN too 😦 Keep reaching out for support and know that hugs and best wishes for your healing have been sent your way

    Like

    • December 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      (((AH))) What you say does bring comfort, I appreciate you reaching out knowing that your own plate is plenty full enough. As I said in a reply above, the last thing I expect is for everyone to be so accepting of my neediness, thanks for the encouragement to keep reaching out. xx AG

      Like

  23. Rebuilding Me
    December 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    AG, I so completely understand. Thank you for giving words to what I feel but cannot say.

    Like

    • December 15, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      (((RM))) Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in feeling this way. xx AG

      Like

  24. December 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    To say your honesty is admirable, I think, would be an understatement today. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Body changes, even small ones, can be difficult to accept. I moved up 2 dress sizes after the birth of my first son. I eventually came to feel more womanly in my new body, but it took some time. Now I’m going on 8 months pregnant and wondering what changes I may have to face this time.

    On the weight loss front, may I suggest trying juicing? I did it for a couple of months (just 16 oz for breakfast; nothing extreme), and the results were noticeable. Weight loss surgery may help, but it will still require a commitment to eat and think about food differently. I wish you much love, support and self-compassion on this journey; emotional eating is a real bugaboo to overcome!!

    Like

    • December 15, 2014 at 8:11 pm

      April,
      Thank you. The last major change I went through was about five years back I lost 60 pounds and the changes in my body became very noticeable. Scared me, which BN and I discussed at the time. Ran in some tough times soon after and returned to eating to get through and the weight came back on (I suspect, at least unconsciously, I was also reacting to how scary it was to feel smaller.) So I must agree, body changes can be difficult.

      Funny you mentioned the juicing, met a friend of mine for dinner a few days ago, whom I had not seen for some time and she had lost 75 pounds by fasting every other day. I am looking into other possibilties, especially as I am finally digging into the emotional and psychological aspects of my eating. I think I am less likely to unconsciously sabatoge my weight loss. ~ AG

      Like

  25. gentlewind
    December 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Hi AG

    Just wanted to let you know how I so relate to the exact feelings you described and how brave of you it is to face them and even more so, to share them. Thank you so much for helping me feel less alone and for your blog. Thinking of you as you go through this time with your own recovery and your husband’s surgery.

    Like

  26. December 17, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Hey AG that was one tough session you went through… You are daring greatly when it can be so difficult to go to such places within…

    This is the only place I can share truly how I feel in relation to counselling and the attachment between the counsellor and myself… I was doing really well feeling quite adult then I started to get frightened… Today’s session was particularly difficult.. I shared with the counsellor a thought/memory that I play over and over in my head. I had never said it out.. I risked today to say it and I did.. I was in a ball in the chair rocking my body was clinched and I wanted to escape into my head to a different place… The counsellor got me to make eye contact with him. He asked me to push outwards instead of going inwards.. After I had calmed down he asked me to try and say it again.. I couldn’t do it I was shattered… The thing is I wanted him to hold me so bad to take care of me and I know he can’t.. The time flew and the hour was up in a flash when I realised it was time to go I started to cry as I needed more time but he can’t do that either… I stood up and told him I loved him (I do love him but as a father figure I am not attracted to him). I left and I thought to myself what the hell are you doing… He is away for 3weeks and I won’t get a chance to clear the madness in my head…

    I am so angry with myself that I need him so much… I hate it… After the session I wanted to self-harm but I didnt.. Instead I have decided not to eat crazy I know but it’s like ‘the fuck it button has been pressed’… I need support I feel so lonely it hurts… Sorry to dump this on here I just don’t know where else I can talk this stuff out… Sorry….

    X to all the people doing this work it is not easy…

    Like

    • December 17, 2014 at 10:52 am

      (((DG))) therapy is not for the faint of heart, especially for people doing the kind of work you are doing. You were incredibly courageous today and deserve a lot of care amd compassion. I know that pain of wanting to be held and not wanting to leave so I am sorry you are feeling it. Know you are heard and understood. If it helps try to hang unto knowing that this deprivation (unlike the ones in childhood)’are about your good and protecting you (scant comfort I know). Facing a break in these circumstances is especially hard. As for how you cope, I live ina glass mansion and not so much as a pebble will be tossed let alone thrown. But again give yourself credit for reaching out here for connection, such a healthy way to take care if yourself. I hope your heart finds some ease soon, but know you’re not alone. Xx AG

      Like

      • December 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

        Thank you AG for your non-judgemental response… I know you would understand the feelings I am talking about… Thank you for your comforting words as well have to say I cried when I read them… Heading to work now so need pack away those tears and feelings put the mask on for another day… Bless you AG…

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