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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Self Compassion

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I have been trying for the past couple of days to try to develop a more positive attitude in the mornings.  I still think this is worth the effort and may be helpful to some degree.  But, after reading this quote today (from Grace to Survive), I realize that at the same time  I must not condemn myself for feeling badly.   This is what I was doing.  Seeing it as another shortcoming in myself.  Seeing it as a sign of weakness.  I am not hard on other people; I need to stop being so hard on myself.   Compassion is not pity.  It is empathy with understanding I think.   So, tomorrow morning I will not berate myself.  Instead,  I will remember that the pain is not my fault and accept it, yet gently invite myself to think upon the good and even wonderful things that life has to offer.

Sandie in Wonderland

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I made a promise to myself many years ago to pursue reality.  I was in an emotionally and mentally abusive marriage at the time.  Denial had been my coping mechanism; that and pretending that he was an alien from another planet to explain his cold-heartedness and lack of empathy.  It’s taken years to see the full arsenal of weapons he used.  Also, to fully appreciate that it was a deliberate choice on his part and not something he couldn’t help.  At times, I have felt stupid for having been fooled.  But these realizations were nothing compared to recovering the memories of rape and incest I experienced as a child and teenager.  Despite the heartbreak of finding out that my father was not the good and loving man that I loved, I still would choose reality.  Those that have been abused live in a different reality though.  The world does not make sense. Life does not make sense.  Parents and people are not to be trusted.

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Family is often not a good word but a term that is filled with pain.  But, with good therapy and good friends, (and kind pets – I must add)  small steps can be taken to start to engage with your fellow humans and stop expecting the worse.  Still I feel,  at times, that I have come from a different planet than many of the people  I know.  And I wonder sometimes if others can sense that I am different.  Sure, I try to fit in and laugh along at the jokes.  So often though, it is a huge act.  There’s a feeling of isolation that crops up suddenly sometimes.  Because I don’t talk about my past to the majority of the populace.  Its a secret that I carry around.  A secret that has been kept so long, since childhood.  This disconnection from other people is part of my reality.

But, reality is the price that I paid for not going mad.  As I slowly wake in the mornings after a night of strange dreams, I check in to see if I am still sane.  I usually am not sure I am till after two cups of coffee and reading through my fellow bloggers latest blogs.  I then start to notice the world around me. I hear  planes overhead, bird calls and see whether the sun is out or hiding.  Its another day.  Another day for learning new ways to live and accepting the reality of now with both  it’s blessings and challenges.  Reality can be both bad and good; there is darkness and light.  And just for today, I will try to embrace the goodness in this world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Onward To the Palace of Wisdom- The Student

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As a trauma survivor, I tend to avoid myself like the plague. Feelings are, more often than not, something to flee.   This post helps me to  want to embrace them so I can continue healing.

An Unexpected Muse

63A9ED37CEYour vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looksoutside dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. -Carl Jung

You look inside upon the vastness of the soul and realize how much you don’t know; you are a witness to your own inhibitions and ignorance. The canyon walls are inflected with beauty and ugliness, which in itself draws you

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Secret Survivors

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This quote helped my self-esteem today.  I usually feel so defective.  Perhaps, I can think of some things that are right with me each day too.  How about you?

Silver Girl

I feel this relates to all types of abuse and neglect..

SG x

“The aftereffects of Post-Incest Syndrome are not ‘problems’ to be ‘overcome’, but coping mechanisms that have negative side-effects. By attaching the concept of ‘disorder’ to these consequences, we damn the incest survivor to weakness instead of attributing to her the strength of spirit, creativity, and endurance that she deserves–that she has earned.”

~ Secret Survivors by E. Sue Blume

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Imaginary Friend

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Imaginary Friend.”

My imaginary friend refused to grow up. She is still five years old.  She is still trying to have the childhood she never had.  Severely abused, but safe now, she wants a life of bright colors and laughter. Tears of relief are okay too.  Her name is simply Little One.  She plays with her own dolls that are no longer taken from her.  They have tea parties with sugared tea and many smiles. Watercolors, her own watercolors, are taped upon every wall.   These pictures that she has painted of her dolls, stuffed animals and her new Mom adorn the room. I am her Mom and I love Little One with all my heart.  I do my best to try  to make up for her years of sadness and hurt.  She is sad less and less and even dances sometimes.  Can you see her spinning about with her dress twirling as she laughs?

Her imaginary room has a bay window with long, soft curtains that move in the breeze from the open window. Sitting there, Little One basks in the feeling of being safe. Safe to be. Safe to be little.

Image from Bing