Light rain bringing such wonderful smells. It was lovely to walk in the fields and woods in the rain yesterday, the river was running cleaner, and the plants are all being watered. On day 3 or 4 of a headache. It somehow causes a halting inside. Maybe that’s what it is for, some breaks applied to this busy fizzy energy.
I had another client yesterday and it was weighty deep work. Sacred awakening experiences.
I’ve already calculated that this client can take some pretty direct experiences with the truth that’s she has buried and been hiding from. She has some background in self awareness and spiritual growth. In fact she’s also in some danger physically as she is highly obese. So tenderness, yes always, and with this person no time for hanging around.
She’s telling me how she has loved being in the house alone because it has been peaceful and there has been no fighting or bickering with her husband. She feels a lot better for that she reports.
“What do you fight about?”, I ask. She tells me about something that her husband forgot that had she told him. She tells me it’s more evidence that he never listens to her. As she’s talking to me she goes from 1-8 in anger and rage.
I listen and watch closely as she transforms from a sweet woman to Shiva the Destroyer in front of my eyes. The anger shot up in her as she recounted the interaction with him.
I point out to her gently that I’ve just observed her going from 1-8 in rage. She agrees that just took place.
A little lightness/humour was injected to break her anger spell. I introduce the saying lightly that ‘anger is sad’s bodyguard’ to illustrate a truth I’m aiming at and she laughs. She’s back.
I explain that under anger there’s almost always an emotion we feel more vulnerable feeling or expressing.
Anger is a defence against that vulnerability, an overlay to the real emotion.
It can an emotion such as fear or sadness or disappointment. She gets it and agrees. I ask what the feeling is under the rage that she expresses.
She tells me that’s she feels very lonely and sad when she believes she is not being listened to by her husband. We sit with that sadness for a few seconds in silence. A few tears arise for her.
She had just told me 20 minutes previously about her childhood and how her dad was away a lot and she didn’t get much love and attention from him. That he left when she was 5. How sad she feels about that.
I remind her of that part of the conversation and invite her to see a connection if there is one with her reactiveness to the belief that her husband is not listening to her. She really does see right away that there’s a strong direct connection.
We come back to the present and I am aware that she is possibly seeing her part in the bickering dynamic with her husband for the first time. I’m aware that her ego may be stimulated now, and don’t want her to have to go through any back peddling her ego might drag her though.
It has just emerged that she is responsible for the dynamic. So to soften the shock of that and head off any defence that may arise, I talk about how common it is, to replay unhealed childhood experiences and unfinished business with parents in our relationships. That Freud called it ‘repetition compulsion’. By doing this I’m communicating that she is not alone in this and also share that I’ve done this too.
I push further. I find myself asking how she would respond if someone was regularly responding with angry to her, the way she is with her husband. I suggest it might effect her ability to listen, and make her less likely to be open and receptive. That she might shut off somewhat. I’m kind of saying something like no wonder he doesn’t listen.
The client has been writing notes as we talk. I make sure to check in with her and how she is feeling regularly. I can see she’s a little in shock that she’s not the victim here, and doesn’t have words, but indicates she is on board with everything we are talking about.
We go onto how children automatically blame themselves for all treatment they receive up to a certain age. That if someone is not loved then they conclude automatically they are not lovable. If someone is neglected or treated badly they conclude they deserve it. Children are incapable of seeing their parents are at fault, so hold themselves responsible.
I move the conversation onto the solution. To the subject of learning to love ourselves and to self acceptance which was an earlier main conversation topic. And the core healing that needs to take place. To stop trying to reject ourselves.
She wants to know how. She exclaims “How?!” Loudly. That’s a positive moment. The intention is there. I point out that she is already on this path by coming to therapy, by going on the retreat she was about to leave for.
People like when I tell them they are already doing it. It settles the ego somewhat, that this is not all scary and new and unfamiliar and it’s not my idea.
And it’s true too, we do already know all of this. And more than that we already love ourselves, we always have. Even if our faulty conditioned beliefs have led us to behave in an unloving way towards ourselves. I was able to say that to her. I think it’s important to recognise that this is a return home to somewhere we never really left. Haha 😂 the paradoxical nature of it all….
That the physical exercises such as hand on heart while saying ‘May I be well, may I be safe, may I be at ease, may I be happy” we are doing are helping to set the intention and give the nervous system time to adjust to this new relationship with ourselves.
I’m glad she sees the importance of learning to have a loving relationship with herself. This will be our work now. All problems people present to me, seem to come right back to this core issue.