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

 

Truth Serum for My Father

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Truth Serum for My Father

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Truth Serum.”

My heart was broken by my father.  My memories about my father had always been wonderful.  He was loving, kind, funny, and gentle.  I would remember how gentle he was when removing splinters from my hands. Although not one for physical affection, the look in his eyes when he looked at me was as good as any hug.  We laughed together often and usually it was at each other and ourselves.  Much time was spent together bicycle riding through the neighborhood and playing badminton in the back yard. Other special times together including art lessons using the John Gnagy Learn to Draw Kit.  Dad would also make his delicious ice cream shakes and sodas for me on hot summer days.  Oh, how I loved and adored my father.

But then, in my thirties, the flashbacks began.  First, they were about the newspaper boy and his friend who had sexually assaulted me repeatedly on my way home alone from school.   Then, they were about my father. How I had finally told him despite their insistence that no one would believe me or else would  blame me.  The attacks by the boys stopped after I told my father.  But, the flashbacks were not done.  They continued. Now, I would climb the stairs into the attic when I would feel myself having that strange trance feeling that would precede the flashbacks. And then I saw the unthinkable.  My father had sexually abused me.  And threatened me into silence.  My sweet, wonderful father was a part-time monster.  I fought so hard to not believe these flashbacks.  How could the man who so gently removed my splinters defile me? My father loved me, how could this be?  After several months of these returning memories I finally confronted my father over the phone.  He not only denied everything, but called me a lying slut.  His voice in that phone call was not that of the good father, but that of the bad, threatening father.  If I had had any doubts they were extinguished now.

We have never spoke or seen each other since.  I have never fully mourned my loss of him.  I have been struggling just to survive and function each day and raise my son.  But I have cried this morning as I have written this.  The prompt for today was “who would you give truth serum to?”  My answer would be to my father.  And its not to get him to admit to the abuse.  I don’t need that.  What I want to ask him is “Are you sorry you abused me?”  and “Do you miss me?”  I want to know that he has remorse.  That all my love was not completely misplaced.  Or, maybe that the love I perceived was not all a lie, but was real.  I know the abuse was real, but what about the love?