“I keep accepting these little pieces of people, and being so incredibly happy with them, which I think is incredibly shitty. It is so much like my mother, and I don’t want that. A friend recently told me I keep settling for small bites when I should be demanding the whole entree.”
“Yes, but first you have to believe you deserve a seat at the table.”
This past session with Doc was full of aha moments.
Doc talked about how, even if I found myself in a relationship, unless I love myself I won’t be able to accept or believe the love my partner would give to me. I can’t take in love unless I first believe and love myself. If I tried (and I have), I’d most likely see (and have seen) the affections of another as a lie, or me tricking them, or a result of me emotionally bribing them.
The more I look at my life, I more I see what I don’t want to happen happening. And then, of course, Doc made the point that the more we don’t want to be something, the more we become it.
One of my notes from our session was passing the doormat.
After our first session, Doc gave me a packet of papers to fill out with background information. It asked general questions about my life. The one section that sticks with me, even now, were adjectives for my parents. He told me not to think about the questions, just whatever came to mind as soon as I read them. For both my parents I put distant. For my Dad, I put strained. For my Mom, I put doormat.
I see myself inadvertently emulating my mother’s behavior. She spent time with my Dad twice a week, always on the same days. She accepted that all she could get were these small moments with him. She loved him, and I believe still does. She still has a picture of him on her end table, even though she broke up with him almost ten years ago.
My mother accepted less and called it love. What the fuck do I think I’ve been doing?
“How do you feel right now?”
“Very raw, and emotionally open.”
“I don’t let others see my pain.”
It is really shitty to say this, but I don’t know if I ever felt love and affection from my father, nor do I know if I was appreciated from either of parents as a child unless it boiled down to my intelligence.
When I was young, I was complimented on my grades, even paid money as a reward each time my report card came around. And yes, that made me feel awesome. I most definitely excelled in school and drunk in the praise.
But, and Doc pointed this out, I don’t know if I was ever complimented, praised, loved for just being me. Not the smart little girl, but just their little girl.
So again the subject of me crying in front of people came up, though in a round about way. I cried in front of Doc because we were talking about me growing up, how I felt about my parents. And I started to clover, talking logically about my life, and Doc made me go back. He made me stay there, talking about my feelings, and I cried, and thus the quote above.
I don’t like to talk about how much pain I am basically always in. I have learned to adapt and survive, putting on a smile and going on. But, inside, I could rip apart the world. I could tear and rage forever.
My parents taught me I was not good enough: not good enough to have a full time father, not good enough to live with my father (and thus loose out on an entire half of my family), not good enough of a daughter. Not fucking good enough, no matter how hard I tried.
“My mother always called me her smart girl, but it wasn’t until I was in my mid-teens until she called me beautiful. So, for the longest time, I thought I was ugly.”
Yeah, that one still pisses me off.
Doc talked about how everyone is broken, and parents end up projecting their faults on their children. Me, being logical, asked when it stopped. If everyone is just passing the shit along, from parent to child ad infinitum, does it ever stop?
“It stops with you.”
I know I deserve love. I know I deserve more than I am asking from my life, from the people in my life. I know that instead of quietly asking, I need to start loudly demanding. And I also know that unless I do, I will forever be walked on, never finding or accepting the love I so desperately desire should it come my way. I will be another doormat.
“You stood up for yourself. That’s progress.”
“But I was bitchy. And I didn’t properly express my emotions. And…”
“My god, you’re not cured?”
During my first session with Doc, he made note that our work is not perfect. At best, therapy is a series of close approximations.
The problem though is that I have this mindset where I believe things, no people, can be fixed. More specifically, I keep thinking I can be fixed; please fix me. Thankfully Doc is kind (for now) and keeps reminding me how wrong I am.
“To a certain extent, you will be like this for the rest of your life. And that’s okay. It’s not your fault. There is no other way you would’ve ended up. When you’re old, say 85, you’ll probably still be like this, but hopefully you’ll have learned, you’ll have grown, because when you stop growing emotionally, you’re dead.”
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