Oh dear, blog, how I have missed you these past couple of weeks! I am sure that it feels longer than it actually was but it feels like an eternity has passed since I debriefed. Unfortunately, often when I take so long to debrief, I often end up verbally vomiting all over the place! So we shall see where this goes. I have a lot to say. I want to talk about how hard the past few weeks have been, but I also want to talk about how great this week has been. Let's start with the good, it will give me better momentum through the day because I will likely not have enough time to get it all out in one post.
This weekend I went to an intensive seminar. My therapist agreed that I was in a strong enough place to do an intensive and the following group therapy. So last week was my last visit with Carol for a while so that I could focus fully on the weekend and subsequent 7 week group therapy. I was scared but excited. Ok, let's be honest, terrified would be a better adjective! I arrived at the conference completely unsure if I really should be there or not. I was the most skeptical person (except maybe one other man) about this program. I grew up always looking for the next emotional or spiritual high, going from seminar to retreat to conference to youth group constantly. My folks still keep looking for the next spiritual high. I didn't want to have an emotional weekend and then leave it at that. I only went because of the 7 week follow up and the fact that they have a money back guarantee if it doesn't prove to be life changing. What kind of program does that?????
Ok, so I didn't really expect to get anything out of it but I figured it couldn't make things worse. What's gonna happen, they send me back to the hospital? Sure, what the hell, I'll try it. Now I will say that some of the exercises were WAAAAAY out of my comfort zone and some of the approaches a little too new agey for my tastes. I crossed my arms, pulled my knees into my chest and let everyone know with my body language that I was NOT going to participate in weird exercises. A lovely lady who I'll just call my Buddy, sat next to me after one of the breaks. She started talking to me about the first time she went through the program, talking in front of everyone is what really helped her break free. In my head I thought, "Like hell I'm going to take that mic and talk to 100 people!" but I smiled politely and thanked her for her advice.
The session started again and the speaker was talking about unhealthy guilt. He covered different types of unhealthy guilt. Something inside of me started getting angry and bubbling up. I raised my hand and suddenly there was a mic in it. Crap, now I'm committed. So I informed him that I believed he had left out a type of unhealthy guilt, the big one called misplaced guilt. He asked me to explain what I meant. Suddenly words were tumbling out of my mouth about the experience I had with my manager when I was a teenager. I didn't realize how much I held myself responsible, even though it wasn't my fault. I was angry that I never told him no. Now I realize that at that time I didn't know that I could tell him no, he was my boss and I was scared, but I still felt guilty that I never told him no. I felt like the proverbial "other woman" when people started calling me home wrecker (even though I had no idea he was married when it was all going on). I realized I needed to let go of the guilt that was destroying my peace before I could ever make progress. I avoid food because it makes me feel emotionally good. It makes me feel strong, in control, and even euphoric. It makes me numb and then I don't have to face the pain.
As I was walking through that I realized something else that was weighing heavily on me. The speaker asked me about if I had resentment toward my mom. I answered (in front of everyone!) "Uh, hell yeah, I do!" Whoops, wasn't planning on saying that! Suddenly I was so overwhelmed with hurt and anger and I wanted to know why I wasn't worth protecting all of those years. I don't know why it took form directed at my mom but Carol once told me that is very common because we associate mom's as nurturing and they "should" protect us from evil. I was yelling, I was crying, I totally verbally vomited all over the 100 other people in the room. Why? That was my question. Why wasn't I worth protecting all those years when I was being violently raped as a child? What kind of mother turns her back to the symptoms of childhood sexual abuse? I would never ever ever do that to my kids! Sure, some would argue that she may not of known, and she may not have. But I didn't understand why me begging and crying to not go over there, why the bruises on my arms and legs and all the other radical symptoms weren't enough to at least have her ask questions. Why did she choose to not see it? That was my hatred.
I had no idea all that was in there until it came blurting out of my mouth. I was a bit embarrassed but not going to lie, it felt good to have it OUT! I had to forgive myself for not having the wisdom to put a stop to the sexual relationship with my boss. I had to forgive my mom for not having the wisdom to protect me. I had to cry. I had to cry A LOT. I think I should have bought stock in Kleenex this weekend! I have never cried so much in my life (and that is saying something because I do indeed know how to cry!). Until this weekend, I did not fully understand the freedom in physically purging a hurt through tears (or sobs).
All of that, to get to this. As the evening came to a close an older fatherly type of man came up to me. I pegged him as a safe man instantly when I saw him and he confirmed that throughout the weekend, besides there is no safer man than one who is head over heals in love with his WIFE! Anyway, this man came up to me before I left, hugged me and gave me a small kiss on the cheek and said, "You are beautiful." Holy cow, the walls came down! For the first time in my entire life someone said I was beautiful and I actually believed it! It was the most amazing feeling in the world! My hubby nearly cried when he greeted me with his usual, "Hey, Beautiful" and I accepted the compliment. In 12 yrs of marriage and 15 yrs of knowing each other, I have never been able to accept that statement. I usually respond with, "You're crazy, but thanks anyway" or "You're wrong, but I still love to hear it".
I have to go kid my kiddo from school so I will end with what I posted on facebook that evening. I am beautiful, and I am ok with that.