My Therapist and My Heart

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Image result for bing and artworks of a father embracing a daughter

I only post my own words once in a while.  While I post a lot of posts that I admire.  I also comment on many posts, and many times think “Oh, maybe I should have created a new post from that”  after I find that my comment has almost become an essay!  LOL!  I had a sudden realization yesterday that I thought maybe worth sharing.

A couple of months ago, I experienced a rupture in the relationship with my therapist of twenty years.  He had said something that bothered me and from there began ricochets like a pinball machine within me.  After numerous sessions (and the last one where I cried), I finally could feel that he was trustworthy again and felt the love and connection to him.

The pain that I experienced these many weeks was excruciating and nearly unbearable.  My father severely sexually abused me as  a child and teenager.  When this finally came to consciousness in the form of flashbacks in my thirties, it felt like a death.  The father I had loved and adored (when he wasn’t abusing me, we shared a sense of humor and he gave me attention and we shared  playing badmiton and chocolate soda shakes together.)  I lost this place in my heart that provided a feeling of being loved.  A few years ago,  I lost my faith in a loving God, who I thought of as my real father, when after a lifetime of abuse my second husband got a rare disease where he lost the ability to stand and walk and eventually to even sit up unaided. He also became deaf.  This was awful for him and also awful for me. Every month his condition became worse no matter what treatments the doctors gave him since nothing was known really on how to since it was so rare that research was minimal.  After a lifetime of abuse and hardship, the loving god that I had believed in and prayed to since I was a child, seemed to be a hoax.  Though I was very angry , at the same time, for him allowing another hardship of such proportions into my life.  I do not want to challenge anyone’s faith with my confession.  I wish you to keep it since it had given me such comfort, guidance and hope.

So, in a sense, I had lost two fathers.  Over the twenty years, that I had been receiving therapy from my male therapist, he had become among many things, a father-figure to me.  As I came out of the fog of confusion about the safety and trustworthiness that I had hitherto  found in him and could start to feel as I had about him before the misunderstanding, I began to see something in my heart that I had never seen clearly before.  (Please excuse me using the term heart.  I know it is my brain; but, I see emotions as stemming from the term heart.)  The reason that the rift had  been so painful became clear to me.  In my heart was this place where he resided.  All the support and a thousand kindnesses had created a place there where I felt close to him.  Just as a loving parent provides a space like this that supports us as we journey through life, he had created in me this same type of place.  I often leaned into this place for comfort and a feeling of love and safety.  Sometimes, I lay in a fetal position to rest from the difficulties of life and my mental conditions of PTSD, depression and anxiety.  I would get relief there and get up ready to once again struggle to try to live a better way.  That is why the rupture in this relationship was so painful.  I couldn’t find this oh-so necessary place which had nourished me all these years.  And, of course, he, temporarily had ceased creating in me the feeling of he and his office being a safe and nourishing space.  I had experienced the despair and desperate longing of a child suddenly orphaned.  There was nowhere to go to for my need for the good father.

Oh, when I found it again on Monday, I immediately crawled inside this place in my heart and felt all the comfort it supplied; but, I cried also for the time when I couldn’t find it and had despaired.  A bittersweet homecoming.

Art by Edvard Munch

 

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The Taming (Part 1)

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I looked at the therapist from the deep woods where I remained hidden.  Friend or foe? Only time would show. I was wild since I had learned from experience to distrust man.  He remained silent as I considered my next move.  Should I show myself or continue to watch him from the shadows?  He looked very relaxed as he sat in his chair.  His long legs were crossed at the ankles and he looked like we had all the time in the world. He was looking at the carpet while he waited.  I studied him and decided that I liked his face, his demeanor too.  He looked wise and patient.  And, not one given to sudden movements. I slowly came out from behind a tree and stood before him.  He raised his eyes slowly till they met mine and he smiled a small gentle smile.  I stopped breathing for several moments and then had to look away.  I felt too revealed when our eyes met.  A bit dizzy, I sat down  upon the ground.  I tried, but I couldn’t bring myself to make eye contact again so I just looked at his shoed feet.  I felt something stir inside me.  A feeling, a new feeling.  It had no name. Or none that came readily to my mind.  I studied the feeling.  I decided that it felt good.  And then, a word entered my mind. “Safe”.  Yes, that was it.  I felt safe.  I reached out to touch the ground but instead felt carpet.