A good session with Erica. I drove home feeling much better — a warmth in my belly — and did my best to savor it. We talked about the child needing to see themselves in the gaze of a loving and empathetic adult. Erica said she had watched the Journey Into Courage video and thought I was beautiful. I struggle with that because, especially in the interview, I look (to myself) like such a clown. She also said she saw “kindness.” That’s another word that just baffles me. Elizabeth said that’s how she first perceived me, “kind.” I remember the little book about the “Wonder Flower” and how she said to the King “you are not kind.” So it was something I understood and valued, even then. (Someone who knows children’s art said it was about 4th grade — 10 years old.) But I never thought of it as applying to myself. Erica suggested I try to see myself through her eyes. I’ve tried without success, but I guess I’ll have to keep trying because the person she sees is closer to who I really am than the one that I experience.
But “kind”? Certainly, having been hurt so many times by a mean mother left me very fierce about not being mean, not hurting anyone. So does that result in kindness? The times I think of, and regret, were when I said something hurtful, or in a misleading tone of voice, and immediately wanted to take it back (“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that how it sounded”) but wasn’t able to. I think my inability to make amends was a result of Mother’s refusal to forgive me for anything. I learned that there was no way to make amends, no way to repair a mistake. (“I’m sorry, Mommy, I’m sorry.” “Well just don’t do it again!”) Of course, because I immediately forget the events that taught me, I thought that was who I was, not what I was taught. (The quotes above were from a movie, “Mommie Dearest,” which was how I learned what happened to me.) I think about the time when I picked up some medication for mom on my way back from lunch with Aunt Betty. Did she say “Thank you”? No. She said (in a nasty voice) “They weren’t going to bring it, were they.”
Erica actually got angry at the fact that I thought so little of myself. It was like she said this kind generous enthusiastic being has been robbed of who she might have been. That should not have happened. What does that feel like, writing it down? I feel blank. I want to turn to someone I trust and ask if it’s true. I want to cry. It’s like the damage to the earth. Something beautiful and alive being trashed by someone who doesn’t know what she’s doing. Erica also said I was “engaged,” open, curious, eager and vulnerable, that there was a light shining in me.
Note from session with Erica 11/6/15
“Core wound — something will punish me if I allow myself to be just how I am”
From feeling very confused — o gosh I have an image of a cloud of dust as though there was a lot of fighting going on — now I think it’s less like a fight, more like a bunch of pieces trying to find where they belong. But now I’ve slid into a gentle sadness. To receive sadness and hold it, to make room for it inside me.
I feel a deep sadness because here is this marvelous person, and I haven’t appreciated her at all. Even worse, I’ve treated her very badly. I’ve come to this place before. Why is it important for me to realize that I’m a good person, and the work I do supports the whole world? Because then I could be OK with myself, would be able to forget myself, would be able to do whatever I do without second guessing or criticizing or minimizing what I do.
Actually I don’t have to know that I’m “good,” I just have to really get it that I’m OK just as I am. I’ve had days like that, I called them “Days of Grace.”
I don’t believe I actually wrote: “the person she sees is closer to who I really am than the one that I experience.” I think I must be starting to get it.