Over the past few months, I have realized what I am trying to achieve in therapy is a sense of wholeness. Due to PTSD and other issues, I have spent a good part of my life living what amounts to two lives. There is always a secret me, a part that I am ashamed to show to the real world. I learned to live this way as a child – I kept the part of me that was ashamed about being abused, ashamed about wearing yard sale clothes to school locked away deep in me. I always knew that person was there, but I didn’t acknowledge her.
A few months ago, the therapist had me do an exercise in which my logical self (my thinking self) had a debate with my emotional self. What was revealed was very, very telling as it relates to not only my desire to achieve wholeness, but the two parts of me that still exist. The first therapist I ever saw said that my ability to disassociate with one set of feelings in order to operate in another was the equivalent of multiple personality disorder, though I don’t quite go so far as to give my personalities names and I know myself as both personalities. So, as I did this debate between my logical and emotional parts, I sort of revealed to myself some of the traits of both personalities that fight for control in my subconscious.
My logical self is basically the part of me that has lead me through the most “successful” periods of my life – helped me to go to college, helped me to work my way up the ladder in my career, find a handsome, ambitious husband filled with the wonder of a million new things. But then, low and behold that emotional self, which had not had a chance to live began to kick and scream, wanting a real place in my life. That pissed the thinking self off. She had always been in charge, and she was safe and she wasn’t going to give in to any flighty emotions. Emotions are bad things that create problems, she said. Of course, over time, the emotional side had grown, right along with the thinking side, but simply had been stifled and pushed aside – especially in a marriage where emotions were also not seen as healthy, but rather unhealthy or weak.
As it turns out, I have unconsciously been working toward wholeness for a long time – but there is a severe battle between the emotional and the logical parts of me. The logical side, the thinking side is bound and determined that it has to be in control and is very bitchy and condescending to the emotional part of me, the part of me that feels so needy and almost empty at times. The emotional side is a bit smug as well though … feeling that the logical side can “think” it is in control, that it can function without emotional healing and love, but knowing that in fact the thinking side is really miserable without befriending the emotional side, and eventually must learn to co-exist and unite with the emotional part of me.
For years, I have craved and hungered for someone to just hold me, tell me they love me not just in words but in actions, feel good being next to me, touching me. I have wanted someone to hold me while I cry, to tell me how good it feels just to laugh with me and to be close to me, to be honest with me. I have wanted to separate the distance between myself and another human being, to show that I was not repulsive, that I was worthy of love and capable of it as well, that I could be touched and not hurt or made to feel dirty. The child in me that was violated wanted to be touched in healing ways that showed me that my body was good and sacred, to be soothed and comforted, to be spoken to in soft, vulnerable tones that let me know that the other person was opening his heart to me as well.
I have tried to control my husband into doing these things, shame him when he didn’t give me what that child was craving, but somehow I could never just open my own heart enough to show all my hurt, and to ask for help in healing, to say this is what I need and why. I tried, but always in ways that were not direct, again, often shaming and blaming, or lashing out when I was really needing something soft and loving. In retrospect, I think it has been ironically hard for me to trust that someone, anyone could or would actually want to help me in the ways I have needed them to. I have wanted their help, but I have closed them out. I remember so many times I have yelled at my husband, “Please, just let me in, just let me see a little bit of what is inside of you.” But all he was seeing of me was my frustration, my weakness, the results of that inner turmoil, of my need. He had fallen in love with the logical self, and never knew the emotional self existed. I never trusted him with most of my real feelings, I was never truly honest with him about many things. When I began to be severely depressed and seek out emotional support wherever I could find it, I closed him out completely. He would ask me how my counseling went, how my meetings went – I would never tell him much more than “fine,” “good,” “OK.” I could never bring myself to tell him what took me to that counselor or to those meetings. I still can’t. I have no idea why …
Through counseling and recovery work with others who suffer from the same sorts of problems, and special friendships I have began to be honest, to see what it feels like – very freeing, the world doesn’t fall apart just because I show myself to it. But there is still something that prevents me from being totally honest, afraid of judgment, afraid of losing control. Most of the time, I just want to run away and hide in a world where there are no feelings. But I know that is killing me too, slowly and surely making me completely insane. I live with a civil war inside my head day after day… how to free myself, I have no idea.
I guess the only answer is one day at a time.
4 months ago