Saying “No”

Wednesday, September 28

The session with Erica was very painful.  I cried a lot.  I didn’t write anything down.  I didn’t feel connected to her.  It was hard to say how I knew that.  I said something about how her face was flat and broken into pieces.  Not really, but that’s how it seemed.  I felt dead, like a piece of wood, porous but dry, no juice.  I think she asked how it felt to be witnessed, and I could feel a little water trickling in from above.  While I was trying to find words to describe the felt sense of “dead,” I wasn’t paying attention to my breath.  Possibly she asked about my breath, and I didn’t know, and she told me my breathing was slow and deep.  After that I paid more attention to it.  I told her that she & Lynelle had both made good suggestions for how I could take care of myself better, and I refused to do them.  I felt bad for refusing to do the assignment, but Erica said something about dignity, and then praised my courage.  When I told Lynelle about it, she said it was courageous too.  I told Erica I couldn’t do anything to help myself, I needed someone else to help me.  She said “You are at the end of your resources.”  Yes, that’s exactly right.  And there’s nothing to do but be with it.

I told Erica that I didn’t feel I could say “thank you” for the session, and she said “Then I’ll thank you — for your courage in telling me your truth…”  She said several things but that was the most important.

Looking at it later, I saw that I felt very wrong to refuse to do the assignment, but in fact I was standing up for myself against someone’s unreasonable expectation — no, that’s what happened in childhood — this expectation was reasonable, but didn’t take into account my degree of being triggered into a very young state.  In the past I’ve judged myself as “weakling and coward,” when I’ve been unable to take what I know to be an action that might help my situation.  So it was a big surprise to be told that it was a courageous stand.  And also a stand on truth.  No more saying “I’m fine” when I’m not.

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