I’m so exhausted.
The simple act of holding myself through the anxiety of today in anticipation after a lack of sleep was so much effort. It was a busy day too.
I walked around the block a few times before going in to see A. I had to be right on time. And I sat down and said “I have something to read to you and I’m going to chicken out if I don’t do it now”. I read her the letter I wrote yesterday. I got a few sentences in and A interrupted me. A part of me was angry because I was working so hard to get it out and going so quickly to get it over with. Another part of me was terrified she was going to throw me out without notice. I didn’t even take my shoes off when I went in, which she saw.
A went “PD, take a breath. You’re shaking. I’m here, and I am glad you’re here, and the hard part is over. I am not angry or upset with you. I want to hear the rest of it but I need you to breathe first and connect with me please.”
And so I was breathing but I wouldn’t say anything and was too ashamed to look at her and she was like “I would like a moment of connection before we continue. I want this to be a connected experience for you, right now you’re pretty far away. And it’s important you remember this as something that happened between us. You’re going too fast for me to believe you’re also present. There will be no punishment from me, and I am not going to allow self-punishment from you because this is a huge risk you’ve taken and it takes so much courage. You’ve said the hardest sentence already.”
She pauses. I don’t look. I cant. I’m beet red and shaking and so very ashamed.
She continues. “So again, I want to hear what you have to say, and everything is okay and I’m not mad, and can you look at me? Whenever you’re ready? I want to connect with you. I want you to see I’m here, and I’m not mad. Not for long, just…” And I did look up and she said “okay, good, hi.” And she didn’t look angry – instead she looked kind and familiar and gentle. She said “continue whenever you want to, if you want to.” And I did.
In retrospect I’m really glad she interrupted me. I’m glad she encouraged a connection. I’m glad that I recognized that she was there and a participant and I ended up slowly finishing and really being present.
At the end I looked tentatively at her again. And she said “can I give you a hug? Can we hug?” And I said yes, and she confirmed and double checked, and then we hugged. And she stood there with her hand on my shoulder and she said “I am so so so proud of you.”
We sat back down and I looked away. She said to me “PD, I know you hate when I do this, but when you look at me, what do you see.” She is right, I do hate when she asks me that. I didn’t say anything, and she said with a bit of humor “unfortunately looking at me is a requirement for answering this question.” I smiled and said that I knew that, but that I didn’t think I deserved the kindness and compassion she was giving me. I knew what I would see there but didn’t feel I deserved it. “All the more reason to do this. You do deserve it. And I know it’s painful because it brings up that part of you, with attachment wounds, but it’s so important that you really register that what you wrote and brought to me is good, and that it is progress and that you are good and that not only am I saying those things – but it’s important you see them to believe them.”
I did look at her. She dropped the naming the emotions idea but she did get me to look. After that, it was easier, and we started talking about a bunch of things related to the lies. We went over the other letter. Then we started to dig into the emotion and loneliness all of this brings up, and a few times I drifted away.
And then at one point I actively tried to mentally close off the pain. Tried to bury the emotions by counting (by 3s to 300, I have a rule I can’t answer her until I get there. It’s a unique compulsion) or by mentally picturing burying all the hurt under a cityscape. A was like “PD I feel like you’re forgetting I’m here and with you, can you come back?” Once I was done counting I looked at her. And I was like “I don’t want to feel this, I can’t feel this but all the emotion won’t go away.”
And she was like “can you tell me about them?”
And I couldn’t. I genuinely couldn’t. I tried.. but I didn’t get there and I told her it wasn’t becuase I was resisting. And she said “that’s OK, we’ve tapped into something really big here. That’s okay.”
And I told her I was trying to bury the emotions but that my counting wasn’t working and she was like “that’s cause you crossed a line today PD – you picked the side of connection and intimacy and when that happens, it comes from the same place where our trauma is, where our attachment wounds are buried. And it’s intense.”
And I was like “No. I’m not feeling this. I refuse.”
And she said “you’re shaking your head no but I can see emotion, I can see the opposite. Be here with me. Grieve. It’s more than OK here.”
And then I went “you feel too far away.” And she was like “would you like me to come closer?” I nodded and she came a bit closer, then asked again, and then came a bit closer. And I said “is that ok? It’s easier to deal with, but I didn’t know if it was OK to ask” and she said “of course it is, I’m glad you asked.”
And I asked at the end again if she was mad and she said “oh PD, no I’m not.” And I apologized again and she said “the greatest apology today was you showing up and choosing me today instead of old patterns. It was you choosing me despite the fear. It was you choosing our relationship. You have nothing to apologize for. I am so proud of you.”
I’m wiped out.
Being cared for can feel harder than being fake. But it was good. And I’m glad I went. And now I’m going to get over 7 hours of sleep, and rest. Thank you so much, all of you, for your lovely comments. I’ll respond when I have more energy. For now I am going to rest, and be proud of myself.