Individual Therapy

I arrive at the session feeling lost and out of focus. Time with Paul is normally comfortable and flowing, but today I’m unsure what to talk about.

Paul wonders if the uncertainty relates to the detachment and compartmentalising that I’ve talked about in previous sessions. That’s always an underlying issue, but my gut instinct tells me this is something different.

The usual process is to first feel in private and then talk coherently about what’s on my mind, but only after going over it a zillion times inside my head. Today is quite different. There’s no telling where this might go.

I’m struggling to articulate that there’s something quite different going on within. It relates to those traumatic childhood memories that have consumed me for decades.

I’m not sure whether this train of thought can be trusted, or if it’s merely a trick of my consciousness to avoid the pain.

Paul doesn’t interrupt the silences. The only time he speaks is when I look for some kind of understanding. His accurate interpretations are focussed. I notice how secure I feel within that clarity.

I talk about my journey with forgiveness, something I’ve written about here before. Recently, that concept is evolving into something completely different.

I’m coming to understand that forgiveness is very much an ongoing process, rather than some kind of single act that suddenly forgives and excuses the behaviour of the abuser and then automatically sets us free from the trauma.

While writing the last two posts, unbeknown to me, something quite profound was taking place. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where or when the penny dropped, but I think it was the realisation that this was no longer about ‘them’.

I am tired of blaming others. Blame is usually filled with exhausting anger and resentments. Certainly, I could never do some of the things they did, but too many years have been wasted splitting hairs.

Paul seems to like it when I share my visuals. I have this image of a large can-shaped container, sitting upright. Half the container opens on hinges and there I stand in the darkness. Outside is bright and I notice a pattern of light sweeping across the floor. What strikes me is the emptiness behind me.

I should be elated, but as the session ticks to a close, I feel numb and uncertain. It a bit like waking from a trance like state.

Paul says it’s the first I have talked from within rather than from my head.

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26 thoughts on “Individual Therapy

  1. sensuousamberville

    The emptiness, perhaps your past, the light your future. Blame is never good to dwell upon. As you have noticed, anger never fades when we dwell upon this, it cycles and grows. but this does not mean to forgive either. It is very important to not blame yourself as you move on. We can not erase memories, we can acknowledge them, that they are in the past, they can not hurt us any more, we have moved beyond them. We have not forgiven, we have not accepted, nor understood, just acknowledged them. To struggle with justification is endless, we can’t do this.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Amber… “The emptiness, perhaps your past, the light your future”, is exactly how I interpreted it…. While I acknowledge the past traumatic memories, it feels as if I am starting to move beyond them. Thank you for your support

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      1. sensuousamberville

        acknowledgement is a part of forgiveness Cat. You are not forgiving the act, you are releasing your toxic emotions, anger, bitterness… Possibly, sometimes, the mental state of your abuser, Not always though.

        Accepting that it is in the past, you are safe.

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        1. Cat Post author

          Yes, I’m just starting to realise that there are many faces of forgiveness. To say I hold compassion for the abusers might be taking it a bit far, but there is a new awareness for the lives they endured and their subsequent mental states.

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  2. kat

    i agree. youre right that forgiveness is ongoing, not instant. i too have been wondering why i cant seem to let go of my mom, why i still go back over and over her abusiveness, why if i have forgiven her, she still haunts me and i still feel so much anger and hurt and shame toward her. because it isnt finished yet, the forgiveness is still in process. because, as you said, it is really about me and how i feel and where i am.

    thanks for this. helps me clarify as well. i think it is a big step to make this realization, and to work with T from your feelings not your rational brain every time. i tend to do that as well lol!

    hope this sees you feeling more connected and moving forward.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hiyas Kat… I think it’s important to feel free to go over past trauma as often as is necessary. Sometimes those thoughts can haunt us and thinking them through can definitely become cathartic in your own time. The anger and resentment is what keeps us chained to the memories. In my experience, we cannot put a time on when to let go. That seems to be a gradual emergence.
      Thank you, Kat, I feel this helps me to move forward and there is a slight sense of reconnection.

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  3. lifeconfusions

    Many hugs and wishing you more strength for this progress Cat. Hope these sessions become more and more useful for getting better. Paul seems like a very helpful and wise person, Wishing you best ❤

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  4. Priceless Joy

    I give you kudos for sharing these sessions with us. I know when I share things regarding my mental health, it seems I am met with “silence”. On occasions some people (like you) will post something that helps me feel like it is okay to post something like that. I know exactly what you mean about forgiveness. I have too found it is an ongoing process.

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  5. mandy

    Amazing progress in your journey, Cat. It’s very freeing to let go a bit, even in small steps away from the past, our abusers. I, too, have allowed myself to look at where they may have come from. I will never be okay that they perpetuated the abuse, but it feels good to realize that their messed up lives continued the damage. I’m really happy for your revelation.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Viewing something like this from a slightly different perspective can be an enormous step forward. My parents didn’t mean to physically abuse, but they came from dysfunctional and quite brutal environments. Of course, that doesn’t excuse their behaviour, but it puts a slightly different slant on things.

      Thank you, Mandy

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      1. mandy

        I just breathed a huge sigh (of relief) when I read this. Seems we are reaching this perspective about our parents at the same time. It almost feels like little synapses in the brain take a turn in another direction. (It takes me back to other posts on forgiveness–is this what it is? Awareness and allowing oneself to understand more?) It will be interesting to see where it leads, Cat.

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        1. Cat Post author

          Interesting you should say ‘ sigh of relief’ because that’s exactly how I feel since changing perspective. It’s like a cloud being lifted and I’m becoming more aware of my surroundings. Letting go of blame, anger and resentments certainly does throw a different light on things.
          I’ve just been reading and commenting on another post on forgiveness. Well worth a look
          http://sensuousamberville.wordpress.com/

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          1. mandy

            wow-that’s looks like exactly what I was thinking. What a great post–thanks so much for sharing it with me, Cat. I’m going to read it again (and again).

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  6. Gel

    Yes forgiveness is an ongoing process….it’s a deeply personal journey. We have to let go of what the out come might be or when it will be.

    Perhaps forgiveness is letting go into our own depths.

    Love

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      1. KatherineB

        It means that when someone hurts you, if you knew what they were going through,you would understand why they did it and be able to forgive…. I am unsure whether it really is true in general… but terror can make people enraged and then they may injure others………

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  7. suzjones

    Forgiveness was such a big lesson for me to learn. It took 18 years for me to forgive my ex for the emotional, mental and sometimes physical abuse he put both the children and myself through. My children are still healing and yet I got out before they grew too old 😦
    I will never forget the feelings and the experiences that I had because they made me who I am today however when I stepped back and looked at the man who put me through hell for so many years (and stopped blaming myself for allowing it to happen) then I felt pity for him. Once I felt that pity and recognised his character flaws and saw how they were shaping his life today, then it was so much easier for me to forgive. And I felt free for doing it. I can be in the same room with this man today and although he still irritates me, he no longer has any control over me.
    I’m sorry for rambling. I just wanted to put a little background to my forgiveness blog post.
    I hope that you too can be free in the future. You are making great steps forward and that is always a wonderful thing.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Putting an end to the ‘blame game’ seems to be a huge step forward in the forgiveness process. It brings a certain amount of healing that I never thought possible and it does change our perspective of the situation/person.
      It really helps to hear about other people’s experiences (so, you’re certainly not “rambling”) and your own blog post couldn’t have come at a better time…. Thank you.

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