Permission to be Stronger

I have therapy homework this week. I asked for it, usually C will say go live your life then tell me about it. But this past Wednesday when I said just tell me what to think about this week I need a rest from my head, she gave me some. She didn’t just spit out a rote thisiswhatitellmyclientstodowhentheyaskforhomework kinda thing. She looked piercingly in the distance for a few minutes then started to talk.

She said think about giving yourself permission to be stronger. Give yourself permission to come into your own, to sort of give birth to the very strong woman who you are. She says I’d be interested in what you have to say about that. You don’t have to DO anything right now, you don’t have to CHANGE anything right now, don’t work that hard on it. Just entertain the idea and let me know what you came up with next week.

It’s a good assignment for me. I have lived my entire life from a perspective that dictates that I just respond to what comes flying at me. Good bad indifferent, I fend off the world. It saddens me to realize that at 50 years of age, some 38 years after my abuse stopped and nearly 15 years in therapy that I am still viewing the world from a victim stance. I asked her–my god when do I stop being a victim? She said you are very astute just getting that this is where your brain functions tells me you are beginning to get over it.

Whenever C talks about me taking charge of my own life I kinda freak. I know I do so because she will say wow check out your body language hon this is making you really anxious. Why is that?

It’s too much responsibility to have control over my life. C says you’re a successful businesswoman and after all that happened to you you’re still here. You have a relationship that might not be perfect but you’ve been able to keep it together for over 15 years and that is amazing. She says you’re already doing it, you are already taking control, you just don’t want to admit it. Why?

I say then I guess I don’t know. C says not so easy darlin’ you’ll have to think about it and open your mouth about it. She says I know it feels like you’re shooting in the dark right now but that’s okay because if you start to fall I will let you know and you can think about something else.

So here I am. My mind is going ummmmmm….got nothing. But there are some things I do know about this. I know that it scares me to let go of my primary perp. As horridly as I was mutilated by the man, he was all I had. I have the tendency to disregard my newborn health and progress as much as I treasure it. I suppose he has been with me my whole life and without him I still feel like I’m nothing. Nobody is there. Like shouting down an empty well.

As long as my perp has continued to strongly influence my behavior I am not alone. Somebody else knows what happened to me. And until I can really truly and fully let go of that self-perception as someone who was horridly abused as a kid and who had all these really horrendous things happen to her at least I have an identity.

For nothing will happen to me in the future that can have anything close to that kind of impact on me. Seems like my life was over at 12 when the bastard finally stopped going after me and just vanished into thin air.

And so I have held on to this identity I have some meaning in the world.

Just reading the words that are coming up on this screen causes me trememdous self-loathing, shame, a sense of being totally full of shit. Jesus. There it is again, victim victim victim. Even if it’s only me doing the abuse. This is what I know.

My readers will know that I am entranced by the concept of neuroplasticity. I see literal images in my mind of the old road and Springtime that’s new neural pathways. I’ve been having some great success with taking these gambles, and it gets easier to seek them out the more I do it. But this one causes me to completely recode my awareness of my place on the planet. From somebody whose only value is to be used as sadistic cruelty to an adult woman who controls her own destiny, who has tremendous power to determine her life.

So. How do I give myself permission to become myself? So far I’ve been doing okay trying to just change my behaviors and the messages coming at me from my mind. And then sit in C’s office and let her tell me the significance of acting as I have. “It’s your life, is that what you wanna do?” Yikes. I didn’t even know what she was talking about the first time the words came from her mouth. Now I’m getting an inkling of the concept. Scares the shit out of me.

One tiny piece at a time. This is the secret I suppose. So my little bit for the next few days is to think about letting that victim thing go. I can feel changes, a few at least. For instance, I no longer have to hang onto the idea that no one has ever suffered as much as I have. My entire life I have had to have “the worst” to justify my intense pain. Not so much any more. Not at all really. I now tend to embrace in my mere survival. I am comforted by not being so isolated, so totally alone in the history of my anguish. AS long as I was isolated from the rest of humanity I could remain some kind of monster. I am not alone so not isolated so not a monster.

I am a human being, a miracle of kids’ toughness and ingenuity. Just like everyone else on the planet. So I am much better able to establish an identity that is separate myself from other people in terms of human need. Boundaries? Son of a bitch, I have them. This is pretty damn huge for me.

As I’m typing I can hear the voices screeching. Now I can tell them to just shut up, which more and more often is working. I am like the first nuclear bomb test. Nobody knew if the thing was even going to work but by damn it did. And it changed the world.

Certainly there will be more to come on this topic but it is time to put it away for now. Because I said so. Because it’s good self care to put this away for now and go do something. I think I’ll take a little run.

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2 Comments

  1. Sarah Olson said,

    October 3, 2010 at 9:52 am

    You said: “Just reading the words that are coming up on this screen causes me trememdous self-loathing, shame, a sense of being totally full of shit. Jesus. There it is again, victim victim victim. Even if it’s only me doing the abuse. …

    So. How do I give myself permission to become myself?”

    * * * * *

    You begin to give yourself permission to become yourself when you look at your life — and all of who you are — with compassion.

    It’s that simple, but no, it’s not easy.

    Take care,

    Sarah

  2. Splinteredones said,

    October 3, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Hmm, yes. Well. That’s quite the sticking point, isn’t it? Thanks 😉


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