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Going Back to Go Forward (2)

by JustEliza on 19 November 2010

“Who taught you your feelings didn’t matter?”


The room went existentially dark, and my therapist disappeared into the shadows. I tipped into the bowl, sinking through my memories, searching.


She leaned forward, asking even more firmly, “Who taught you your feelings didn’t matter?”


I came through, empty-handed. No one told me I didn’t matter. I didn’t know what to say. Something wasn’t right about this. We moved on, but now that I can look back, I realize the problem wasn’t in the answer, but in the question.


She should have asked: “Who taught you your feelings mattered?”


The answer is: no one.


“It must have been very lonely, having no one.” She said at the end of the therapy session, following a brief review of my history. We got there eventually.


The bowl is filled with loneliness, and, to use a bit of Transactional Analysis, the Parent does everything it can to keep the Child drowning in it.


“On a scale of one to ten, one being not at all and ten being very much, how much do you want to change?”


That’s tough. I smile grimly, “I’m trying to decide which part to answer with. Should it be an average? Like, say 7-8?”


“Which part least wants to change?”


“The Parent”


“And how much does the Child want to change?”




“How much do you believe you can change?”


“Ten. Absolutely, 100% ten.”


That surprised her. Most people enter therapy with a great desire to change but a low belief that they can.


From my perspective, I’d been in a therapeutic relationship with myself for most of my life, centred on this exact belief. I wouldn’t be seeing the therapist if I didn’t already know I could change. I wouldn’t be sitting anywhere, if not for the belief that tomorrow will be different.


Maybe those other people don’t want to believe they can change, because they are afraid of what is between This Me and That Me. That person in between is in transition: more incomplete than ever, more hypocritical, more indecisive, and more fragile.


It’s sensible to be afraid. Changing my shape also means changing the shape people have formed around me: more loss, more conflict, but also more opportunities. People will resist me, pulling me back into the drama and games.


Well, people would have resisted me, had there been any people left in my life besides my husband. I hope my future friends someday appreciate this journey, but something tells me they will never know.


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