Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thursday Therapy: Finally Sharing the Really BAD Stuff

As much as I like Freud and value his sessions with me up until this week I had never come 100% clean with him about all of my activities of a certain nature.  On Tuesday, that changed.  We talked about J in more detail than before.  We talked about M.  We talked about me and my proclivities for bedding married men.

I cried a lot as we talked about the part where I don’t believe that I deserve better or am worth more. Shoot I don’t even believe I deserve as good as I have! Examining this belief and its origins and trying to change it are extremely difficult and painful things to do. It takes me to places inside me that I don’t want to go. It’s scary, and it hurts. We barely scratched the surface the other day, and yet it feels as though we have ripped a very old, very rotten, very stuck bandage off of a huge festering wound. We’ve uncovered it, picked at the scab, and damn it hurts. I have a very long way to go.

Part of me so badly wants to duck and cover, run for my life, slam that door closed, never ever look at it again. Don’t look! It’s too ugly! However, I know if I go that route I will never get any better and could get even worse. I have to look. I have to face it. I have to see what it really is and only then can I find a way to get over it.

Had to set this aside for a bit as it got much too uncomfortable. As luck would have it I happened to cruise over to another blog I read occasionally, not a daily read but probably once a week or so I’ll pop in to see what’s what, and wouldn’t you know a few days back I’m the topic of discussion over there. Yes, hatred for the other woman is rampant. Sigh. . . What I find interesting is how much discussion it has warranted lately as though it were a new phenomenon in my life. Hell’s bells it’s been going on here from the time I started this blog. There is absolutely nothing new in it. Ah well, perhaps the new part is that readers thought I’d gotten myself together better and was in a better place than I had been in the past. If that’s the case I can see how they’d be disappointed.

Anyway, back to the ugliness and the work to conquer it. BTW I think that people are so used to reading stories of what has already happened so that the story they read ends with some lesson, some moral, some wisdom that it makes it difficult to read things in live time, as they are happening and detailing the very difficult and sometimes boring plodding details as they emerge and repeat through the cycle of progress, backslide, progress, backslide. That’s where we are here folks, right smack in the middle of it living it day to day, fighting the good fight every single day.

Right now the focus at hand is getting me to see myself as worth more. I have heard it said that it takes ten “atta boys” (or girls as the case may be) to outweigh one critical remark. Now, I don’t know if that’s true or if there is any scientific proof that ten is the magic number. Maybe it’s twelve. Maybe it’s six. Who knows? The fact remains though that people grow up believing the worst criticisms about themselves more than the boldest praises. Somehow it is easier to believe bad things about ourselves than good things. Many times, we’re taught not to believe too highly in ourselves. My parents certainly ingrained that in me.

I know that as far back as eighth grade I held a “You’re Okay, I’m Not Okay” belief. I remember it quite clearly because it was part of an assignment where we kept journals and turned them in on a regular basis to our teacher for her review and comments. She spoke to us one day about the book “I’m Okay, You’re Okay.” She explained that there are healthy and unhealthy ways of viewing the world:
I’m Okay, You’re Okay was the way we should see the world and how healthy people see the world.
I’m Okay, You’re Not Okay was the way egotists see the world and, according to my teacher, how too many of us see the world.
I’m Not Okay, You’re Not Okay was a bad way to see the world but I don’t remember exactly what my teacher said about it beyond that.
I’m Not Okay, You’re Okay was a very bad way to see the world and, according to my teacher, extremely rare.
I wrote in my journal that day about my feelings of not being okay, not being normal, not being like the other kids who were fine and normal and everything I wanted, but couldn’t, be. I felt very brave when I wrote it and turned it in. When my teacher returned my journal to me she had written in the margins by that entry: “This is very sad. You shouldn’t feel this way.”

Maybe she didn’t understand that I had written that entry as a cry for help, that I was hoping she would read it and realize that I needed assistance of some kind, counseling maybe, and would help me get that help. I realized when I got my journal back that was not going to happen, that I just had to not feel that way whether I knew how or not. The only kids who deserved help were the ones that were troublemakers, not a goody two shoes like me who never got in trouble, always turned in assignments on time or early, and did the extra credit assignments whether I needed to or not. No, kids like me didn’t need extra attention. I had it all. All except a decent sense of self-esteem and a feeling of belonging that is.

I shut up for a very long time.

Freud did not try to convince me in Tuesday’s session that I deserve better and am worth more. I appreciated that. He seemed to understand how deeply convinced I am that this is untrue. He understood that what we need to do is not dwell on that concept because at this moment in my heart of hearts I cannot believe it but to focus on really digging into the hurt and the pain and the muck and the mire that inhabits my psyche. He is helping me to find the end of the yarn in that muck so that I can work to untangle it and eventually get it back to its proper state in a neat and orderly ball.

I have a feeling it's going to take a very long time, but I also have a feeling that we are starting in the right place. As long as I don't back down from here and keep moving forward even when it hurts like hell I think I stand a chance of coming out the other side and maybe, just maybe, someday believe that I really do deserve better and am worth more than I ever give myself credit for. Yet even typing that, I shake my head, smile sadly, and think to myself, "or we'll just prove I've been right all along, and I'll never be okay."

It's going to be a very long road.


Desmond Jones said...

Hmmmmmm. . . That book - I'm OK, You're OK - was all the rage back when I was in high school; sort-of a poor man's Freudianism, with 'parent-child-adult' as simplified versions of 'superego-id-ego'.

And I vaguely recall, in such exposure as I had to it at the time, that "I'm not OK, You're OK" was considered to be a very common position. And just from what I've known of myself and folks I've known well, so it seems to me, as well. . .

Trueself said...

Des -
Fascinating. . . Wonder what it says about my teacher that she presented it so differently. Of course, I never read the book, mostly based on her talking about it and figuring that it wouldn't help me to read about just what an odd duck I really was.

I, too, have often thought that those who come off as "I'm okay, but you're not" are generally trying to bluff and not let you see their actual "I'm not okay, you are" feelings.

Of course, I never much cared for my eighth grade teacher. She was ineffective in all sorts of ways, including not stopping the boys who thought it was a hoot to grab my boobs from behind when I least expected it. Somehow, apparently, my large breasts by their mere existence were enough for me to be the cause of their bad behavior.

Sorry I digress, but then it is my blog and I'll digress if I want to.

Desmond Jones said...

Well, as I say, my memories of it are pretty vague, but it seems to me that the whole 'educational self-esteem' movement kinda followed from that. Perhaps your teacher was just on the 'cutting edge' in that regard. . .

And sheesh. . . grabbing your boobs? Those are some serious assholes, right there. We would never have done that, where I grew up (snapping bra straps was about as 'brazen' as we could come up with. . .)

Trueself said...

Des -

Yes, grabbing boobs. It happened repeatedly. The first time I was stunned, infuriated and told my teacher. She was less than sympathetic saying that I must have encouraged the boys somehow. I swore I didn't (and I really didn't unless you count the mere existence of C cup boobs the size of which I did not control, but I never went braless, never wore low cut or see thru blouses, nothing that would typically be seen as inviting such behavior), but she was unswayed. I continued to complain each time it happened. Her only solution, ever, was to move my desk to the front corner of the room so I was away from pretty much everyone. You know that helped my self esteem and self worth oodles and bunches.

Val said...

Ai yi yi - what a rotten excuse for a teacher! Talk about victim-blaming at its finest...