12/31/10 Therapy Friend or Foe?/5

4:34 am Can’t sleep been going through a lot over the past couple days, months and years. Most recently the end of a relationship that I love dearly with the person I cherish the most. Introspection, improvement and change seem to always come as the result of a struggle, a mistake, pain. I wonder why it can’t be the other way around? Why can’t when you are floating on the air in love, happy, high and fulfilled simultaneously know –I’m fucked up as a result of bullshit in my past, it works it’s way out in my life by me being controlling, cold at times, holding people at bay when I need to let them in, critical of myself and others, and being confrontational, all driven by an underlying fear that I was led to believe I wasn’t worth loving.Therapy is basically shit, painful, hard, soul stomping, heart ripping and one of the most simultaneously abusive inprisonments and liberations at the same time. I say these things because I’ve had a different experiences some easier than others some more difficult but my most recent being the hardest. When I broke up a long term relationship while in my mid 30′s to a man that I was engaged to I sought out therapy to clear my head. When we broke up I wasn’t and didn’t still love him very different from my current split. I wanted to examine patterns in my life that came from my childhood, family and life experiences that may have contributed to the end of that relationship and that would help me in future ones. My therapist was good, very cognitive and a good match for me. He especially knew a lot about family dynamics and I soon realized most of our conversation revolved around that. There were times not many but yes times when I got emotional but not often, it didn’t hurt so much to uncover things like it did this last time.I read once that therapy isn’t therapy if it doesn’t change the brain. Right now my brain is in a state of transformation like one of those make over shows where they grab some woman off the street that has a family, a successful job and a normal life but walks around dressed like she’s homeless. They drag her off to improve on the basics of her, to bring out her strengths, to highlight her advantages, good points and natural beauty. My brain has gotten a new wardrobe.Since K and I have been in the process of this split I have had to rely on friends, I just haven’t had another option. I have spent the last few days crying, sobbing, telling our story to my friends. This would have never happened in the past because I never let others see that side of me, I was never vulnerable with people, I never reached out, asked for help, or leaned on others. People got this impression I’m fine, got it all together, capable of anything, self sufficient, perfect in a way. People generally came to me during those times of crisis to sob or ask for advice or just to have me listen.I was always interested by that idea, I would often hear people say with relief “oh well I’m glad you finally made a mistake or Jeeze it’s nice to know you can’t do everything.” I think when they knew me and eventually I made a mistake or revealed a weakness of mine they found a human component to me and it was although they were suprised. When I was working on a Master’s Degree one of the last instructors we had was hard in every respect but she also brought us together as group like our previous one had not. We all learned a great deal about ourselves and at the end of the term performed an exercise where we left a blank page at our seats and everyone walked around leaving anonymous comments about each other. The one that jumped off the page at me was “it was nice to see your softer side.” Really? Wow, I was begining to see how others perceived me.

I have great friends who know me well and can and have told me things like “you can be intimidating, you’re hard to help at times, you come off really strong.” So these notions are not new to me and in my workplace they have always been qualities that got the job done, made me successful and good at what I do but in a relationship they doom me to fail.

I was always ready for a battle, always, because that’s what I learned-defend, defend, defend, go down fighting. The wonderful person I share my life with isn’t trying to get one over me, she isn’t trying to control me, she doesn’t need to be right so I have to be wrong, she just wanted to love me and I blew it. If I only knew then what I know now.

When in that kind of relationship where someone is always is made to feel like they are wrong  all the time someone else is always right, people get damaged. I held on to that need to be right because that is what I have learned and done my whole life, I thought it was what made me strong, better, capable but it weakened me in such a profound way.

They say we try to “work out” our parent issues in our relationships and sometimes we pick partners subconsiously to do this. I was working out or living out my parent issues but with a person who was nothing like my mother and only wanted to love me. Over the last couple of days I have literally had an emotional growth spurt facing that notion that the constant message I received while growing up was in some way or another a reminder that I wasn’t worth loving. It’s funny because I started to realize why I never let people in and ended many relationships abruptly. I got so overwhelmed emotionally when people offered me such love and kindness during the passing of my father and brother, I didn’t feel I deserved it.

I cried at those moments when people gave so openly and treated me with such heartfelt emotion not because I was sad about my circumstance but because I was so touched and overwhelmed that someone was saying “I’m sorry you are in pain, I care for you and I’m here for you” people were trying to take care of me and I had no idea how to let them. I never had someone do that, I never let someone do that.

Ding!! the bell had finally rung for me I sat with K on the chair yesterday telling her all this, explaining and giving examples of how this filtered out in my life, in our life. I noted my inability to let someone do something for me without doing something back for them, to thank them for helping me or simply for doing their job. It’s weird.

She cried with me as I painfully connected these dots out loud in real time with her, she hugged me and told me I was worth caring for just because I was me. All of this made sense, all of this came together, all of the sudden I was like I need to let people just love me and let them in and love them back, but when I said this to K she cried and said “that’s all I ever wanted, that’s all I ever tried to do, that’s what I have been begging you to let me do all along.”

I wanted to her to try with me, this new me, this me that would finally let her in fully, this new me that didn’t have to hold on to being defensive or in control because she was no longer in that life, no longer a teenager battling that daily, but it was too late. I had hurt her so much she was too afraid to let me show her something different in our relationship, she was afraid to open up. The scar that has left in my heart will be something I carry to the grave with me. I feel such regret, such shame, such sorrow for treating the person I love the most in the world in a way that caused pain.

Her future sister in law wasn’t home for the holidays so we skyed with her. She has had a strained relationship with her father for sometime now and was talking about it when we were all visiting with her online. I wondered as I was listening to her while I was holding back tears  how is it that she isn’t so hardened and damaged that she has pushed away or damaged her relationships due to how her Dad treated her? I felt flushed with shame and embarassment that I had let my issues hurt us and instead of learning to open my heart more to the gift of my girlfriend’s love I hurt it. I suddenly felt guilty, I felt terrible about myself and I wanted more than anything to love K back and give her the relationship she deserved and was looking for.

Last night we spent a good part of our time talking about this and I finally realized she isn’t coming back. She has work to do on herself she has pain to heal from and she has questions to answer on how and why she let herself get lost in our relationship. She has to find out more about losing her voice as a small child because she thought she had to, she thought she had to be a pleaser and never be a burden for fear that her mother would leave like her father did. She carried this notion on into our relationship put me on a pedastel and put me first. She commented at how much her mother and I are alike and how much she needs to please us both but in our relationship it was at price of losing her. In therapy our therapist asked, “M don’t you want a partner that stands up for themselves or says no to you sometimes and I said yes” K heard that but she is still working on it. I never wanted to be over her or more powerful I wanted to stand side by side with her. She gave me that position and never equalized herself with me and with my strong personality and her being so hard on herself if she ever made mistakes it was a hurtful combination.

I realized last night that is more than just trying to tell her or convince her-you watch it will be different, look at me, look what I learned, look what I know, Oh my god, I get it, I get it now, I totally understand what you wanted and needed and were trying to have with me and now I can totally give that to you and I now know deep down inside it was always what I also needed and wanted for my whole life forever I have been waiting for you, for this gift.

I realized that after my egocentric moment of revelation that even though she loves me so much even right now, even though she says she has no idea if it is the right decision for us to break up, even though she has wrestled with the idea of coming back to me that she cannot. I understand that she has a process that she must also go through, she has questions she needs answers to for herself, she has healing to do from pain our relationship has caused and pain that she needs to break up with me. She carries a heavy heart and is so sad, so sad that we are in this spot, so sad that she has to leave, so sad that she can’t trust me, open back up and try the new versions of us that our therapy has given us. So sad that I offered this just now when she had been waiting for it from me for so long.

I told her I love her and I accept where she is and what she needs to do for herself. I understand we will not be fixed and jolly and in love and together again next week trying things again and doing it right but I told her if she ever thought after getting her answers and working through her hurt, if there was a chance she could ever try again I would wait, I would wait for her, I would wait for as long as it take because for me there is no other person, there is no other love of my life, there is no other her.

We try to figure out what this will look like we toy with the crazy idea that she can go on living here and we can evolutionize to a friendship . She doesn’t want to leave her home, her familiar place, her life and what she’s known. Although it would be hard I would make the effort to be there for her as friend and share this space, our home so that she didn’t need to go through all that happens when you move out on top of trying to heal. I offered the extra room and talked about various scenarios of if or how this would work. It’s a incomprehensible idea to anyone reading this and she asked if that wouldn’t be too hard for me, but I would do it, I would do it for her it’s the least I could give her. Since we have never taken the traditional role this would be up to us, our rules, our relationship redefinition, we would lay the foundation for this if this is how we decided to work through our breakup. I hope it can be done I would go through any struggles and hardship and pain on my part to give her that.

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