Friday, October 31, 2008


My time in therapy was good and challenging this past week. I shared the news of my breakthrough and celebrated it a little. As I expected, Paul was slim with his praise but managed to get a little in via a "Now why would you ask me what I think, Di, when you obviously know how big this is." That was enough. It was as big as I thought.

My response to him was that he was the shrink - not me. When he asks me "Now why would you want to focus on me," I have started responding with the reason and the reason is often not so stupid as he makes me feel it sounds. I figure if I actually answer his question, maybe he will quit asking it. It is really irritating.

We pushed on to some more recent woundings within the walls of the church. Woundings I am not free to share the details of right now. Suffice it to say that I find myself seeing difficult situations as having two options - all in or all out, right or left, yes or no, truth or lies, black or white, etc.

During a recent encounter with a couple of folks, I felt I had two choices, to take the full blame for a situation I was only partly to blame for, or to defend myself revealing confidences I had promised to keep. I chose to keep my promise of silence and take the blame. Paul seemed to think I had sold myself out. I felt like I had quieted the flow of anger and opened the door to allow myself to speak. The words of anger had been torrential. They stopped and I was listened to once I took the blame.

As I discussed the painful situation, Paul challenged me to come up with some other options. I couldn't. He pushed. I still couldn't, so he gave me homework to come up with 10 other options. TEN! I exclaimed! You have got to be kidding!

I guess I have always seen things black and white from the time the second pastor pressed me for a kiss. Only recently had I shared with he and his wife my previous encounter with my youth pastor. Instead of ministry I opened the door to more abuse. When it came, I felt I had two choices, after all I had lost everything with his advance. One, I could walk away from his influence in my life and find another spiritual home; or I could go along with his advances. Even now I have a hard time imagining other options. Were there really more than two?

Sunday, October 26, 2008


This week began with two sessions in the shrinks office. Determined, I sought to get at the feelings Paul wanted me to experience.

How does it feel to see oneself as defective? What is it like to be shut down by yourself, to be told you cannot be yourself? How is it to tell oneself that you cannot be real?

I only pulled a blank to his questions. I was confused. My mind blank, my ability to verbally respond was silent. That which comes so easy for me had deserted me and all I found was emptiness. Me - who is seldom at a loss for words found myself unable to speak.

Paul pushed on until the end of the session but I could not break free. I could not connect with any of those emotions. All I felt was silence and confusion.

Then, at home, the first lightbulb came on. I would begin by yelling out to the world that I was finished being silent. The child who ran to her room angry, who was left alone with that anger, who eventually denied the anger and with it her right to express it, was choosing to voice that anger.

I called Paul and went back into therapy for day two. I yelled. I yelled to the world beyond his door. I yelled that I was not going to be silenced any longer. I yelled for the child. It was kind of fun. I talked about how it felt to have been told repeatedly in life that being myself was not acceptable. I didn't lack for words. But, when Paul asked me once again how it felt to silence myself or to be silenced by myself, I sat like a knot on a log - very silent.

It was frustrating, though he assured me I would get there. He also informed me that he would be out of the office the remainder of the week.
That evening the truth suddenly sank in. It was ME, not the world who was silencing me. It was no longer my parents, the church, or society who told me to be quiet and rock no boats. I know this sounds like a given - surely I must have realized that before - and I had - at one level. Now at a deeper level, the realization stunned me. All these years, the anger I had felt towards the universe was my own. It was me who was telling me that I could not be myself.

That is when I saw the picture of the two me's fighting that I described in the last post. Fear wrestled with anger. The fear of reprisal and rejection causes one part of me to try to silence the other. The other responds forcefully and angrily and spews that anger everywhere she speaks.

The realization humbled me. Sadness came. I thought about it, finally able to feel and trying to wrap my mind around all the feelings that I will need to express to Paul in therapy tomorrow. I knew that now I could answer his questions and was anxious to get on with it. Very anxious, like a claustrophobic in an tunnel is anxious to get out.

The old torment had begun. Slowly at first and then with immense intensity, I longed to be in Paul's office. I NEEDED to talk with him. I could not get my mind off of therapy. I HAD to be there. I hungered and thirsted for his attention. I was desperate.

At first I decided the thoughts of Paul were my mind's way of avoiding dealing with the pain of my self rejection but it grew nevertheless to agonizing proportions . Finally with the lust for Paul's nurture and attention at levels I have not experienced since the beginning of therapy with Cheryl 8 years ago, I had enough. I spoke out loud. "I will not go through again. I will quit. I was doing fine without Paul and I WILL NOT put myself through this kind of torment again."

Then I heard these words "What if the longing you feel isn't for Paul? Di, what if it is really yourself you are longing for?" With those two questions the shocking reality hit. Like a rubber band that is stretched to its limit and pops back to sting its shooter, so the truth stung me. In that moment I stretched my mind around the truth - it is myself I am longing for.

As the moment of clarity snapped into place, the horrendous torment released me. I was free. The addictive longing for Paul's attention ended. All of last night, all of today, it has been gone. Freedom. Blessed freedom.

I am looking forward to telling Paul these happenings but it is myself I long for, not Paul. No torment exists - just peace. I am quite sure Paul will avoid offering me any kind of praise lest I latch on to it. I am sure he will simply question me as to how it is with Di at this moment? Then he will find my limits and push more.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Two women, hair tied up, dressed in black tights and turtle necks, pit themselves against each other. Both are wrestling to throw the other down.

One is afraid of the other and the second hates the first.

This, I believe, is me.

Told in a thousand ways throughout life that to be me is wrong, I have embraced the belief that doing so will bring reprisal. With this belief comes great fear of that true one within.

Hush. Be silent. You shouldn't have said that. You will be hated. Shhhhhh. Draw no attention to yourself. Quiet....quiet....quiet!

The silenced one seethes with anger at fear's imprisonment, fighting to get past the halting of her words.

You will see, yells the first. I am protecting you.

You liar yells the second. You hateful bitch. I will scream the truth past you, until I am heard.

On they fight the never ending match.

Tossed between the need to speak truth and the fear of reprisal, I tense and wait. It is not the world that silences me, but myself.

Fear, be calm, for the worst reprisal, the only reprisal that can destroy you, is that you shove upon yourself.

Silenced one, speak, for I will hold fear and comfort her.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Truth in Therapy

As I left last week Paul commented on my getting on with dealing with my wounds. The comment was a spin off on treating myself as if I was defective rather than wounded. I have chewed on both comments this week. Funny how hard he tries to not lead me with his direction and yet he does anyway. I don't know why he doesn't just suggest a direction. This psychotherapy crap has a lot of crap in it. I am not going to change him so I choose to grow regardless of the method but I still think it is a lot of excess confusion.

As I have considered his leading remarks, I have realized that I have been shielding myself from the pain - hoping I can avoid it. It isn't working. Instead my anxiety rises. As I let myself admit the wounds I have experienced with the church the anxiety lessens. Feeling the hurt is much easier than hiding from it.

Instead of trying to convince myself that if I never heard again from the task force that is working on the misconduct policy, I would be fine; I admitted to myself that I would be hurt and angry. I decided it was worth recontacting the guy rather than sweeping it all under the rug. I immediately heard back from him. They have had a hard time all getting together and he still wants my input. Perhaps he is just talking but I choose to hope. His words ring honest and clear without a lot of excuses or pussy footing around the issue.

I realized that Reg has been stretching the truth and trying to placate me with his reports of "it is coming along" and "they are seriously considering what I wrote in my letter." I don't trust Reg very much though I wish I could. He is defensive and proud and very protective of his turf. I think he is also scared of me. A lawsuit from me would probably put the church in the state out of business. They are hanging on by a thread.

I think I have been trying to not be wounded, when I still am wounded. It is hard to not ever get over it. I cope a zillion times better than 8 years ago but I am still wounded. I feel like an alcoholic admitting I have an addiction. It also feels very freeing inside.


Monday, October 13, 2008

What Am I Built Upon?

I haven't written much lately because I haven't known exactly what to say about my journey in the present. I am still working with Paul but it is the most uncomfortable therapy relationship I have experienced. Paul is 100% pure psychotherapist and he has evidently had enough practice that he has it all down pat.

Paul refuses to let me lapse into seeking his approval in any form. He doesn't even accept it when I ask him if I am doing what he thinks I am supposed to be doing. That is taking the focus off myself and putting it on him - according to him.

He pushes me relentlessly and at times I have no clue what it is he is after. Of course upon hearing that statement he would point out that I am once again focussing on him and should be deciding what it is that I am after.

I am beginning to wonder why exactly he is there......

Today I managed to get some anger out that I have been carrying deep inside. Managing to share it and not pooh-pooh it away is difficult. I feel as if I have been here long enough for anyone and should surely be finished with this stuff. Paul says I seem more focussed on being good at therapy than on working on my stuff. At that point, I fought back. I may suffer from caring what he thinks - dang who wouldn't in that kind of setting, and I may think I am good at therapy after 8 years of it but I am not more concerned about my appearance in therapy than I am at getting well. He underestimates me. And perhaps he is simply challenging me to stand up for myself.

When I asked if I could trust him, if I opened up my deepest emotions towards God, Paul turned it around (oh aren't they good at that) and asked if he could trust me not to take something he said and hurt myself with it all week. I thought about it and replied that I trusted myself to not hurt myself with something he said. I had not done this before with him. I was honest. I do trust myself in that respect. Paul then replied that NO, I did not trust myself that I did not display to him that I trusted myself. At that point I butted in and simply said that I thought he was wrong - that I will not and have not done this. His reply, "I hope you give more weight to what you believe than what I believe."

A week ago I would have left frustrated and quiet but this week I challenged him and refused a couple of statements he made. I think this is what he is after.

He left me with a thought: You present yourself as one who is defective instead of one who is wounded. On this one - he is right. I believe I am defective. For most of my life I have believed something was wrong with me.