stirringly Our brains are funny things. In our attempts to avoid pain, we can in fact cause more anguish.
In my last session with Doc, we ended up talking about my father, a lot. I have mixed emotions surrounding my Dad. I love him, but some of his choices for my life were not the best.
Okay no, they were downright shitty.
I never lived with my father, and though we love each other our relationship is strained. I do not know how to act or just be around him. He is like an acquaintance I’ve met many times but never got to know. And yet half of my DNA comes from this 82 year old man.
Doc talked about, regardless of the words said, we learn how to be mostly from the situation we are raised in. I learned from my parents that love is distant. I learned that it is normal to not be as important.
Doc pointed out how, though I’ve never been “the other woman”, my past relationships still made me feel that way.
The promise of change in the future. Emotional distance, even though we cohabited. Taking up most of the burdens, though I was suppose to be working with a partner.
I didn’t want to admit it, haven’t wanted to admit it for my adult life, but my Dad neglected me. I was not important enough to live with him, to see him everyday, to know him as more than just a twice yearly card and Saturday visits with my brother.
Doc talked about how adults with absentee parents have self worth issues. Ding Ding Ding.
Though never intended, I was taught I was worth less than my brothers, worth less than others. This has traveled with me into adulthood, manifesting itself in my relationships, both large and small.
If someone brings up the subject of my emotions, beyond just the cursory “How are you doing”, I will talk for maybe a few minutes, but then change the subject. I know there is more I need to talk about, more I want to talk about, but the voice in my head tells me I’ve spent too much time on myself and must now attend to the person listening, for surely their troubles are worse than mine, are more important than mine.
If I am struggling with a problem, full of a difficult emotion, I often push it down, waiting for a moment to be alone. I then let it out, sobbing into my pillow, or quietly in a restroom stall, my head against the metal wall, my hands over my eyes, my chest convulsing. Doc calls this Stuff & Blow.
Of course the worst part is when my emotions are centered around a specific person. I always hold back, keep quiet, trying to wait for an opportune time to express how I’m feeling to them. Of course, and Doc caught this immediately, there is never an opportune time. Thus my words are almost always left unsaid.
During a recent poly workshop, the presenter talked about how it is important to communicate honestly and constantly. Talk to your partner about any and everything, so that when the big things come up you have already had practice and your partner will be open to hearing you, thus avoiding the “We need to talk” grave conversation starter.
This idea is lovely…for those who have partners. But for a freelancer like myself, communicating with EVERYONE I have played with, am friends with, feel emotionally connected to, have close ties with, just so that one day when I need to talk to them about my swirly brain… Yeah.
There are precious little resources for poly slutty singles like myself, beyond Doc’s and friends.
So, yeah, working on it.
Doc had me do a homework after our first session. He asked me to list all the ways I’ve lost in my life, be it emotional, financial, opportunities large and small. What I found was that as I listed all the things I lost out on, mentioning my parents actions some but mostly through my own doing, my avoidance of the pain I could’ve felt was much worse than the actual pain possible.
Reinforcing my self worth issues makes me feel even more worthless. Not talking about my emotions only digs the knife deeper into my heart.
So, yeah, working on it.
I’m trying to not push my feelings aside. I’m trying to not tell myself I am less important. I’m trying to put myself first.
Because, if I don’t, who else will?
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