Journal entry from Friday, July 6
Grief for my life “bleeding away in hard dark places, among the cold faces…” What would it mean to have a real life? I think of Oliver Sacks saying “I have loved much and I have been loved.” If I could say that. “But no, I never loved, only the feeling of forgetting something never remembered.” “Wanting to flower and not knowing how.” All the people left behind as I kept running away.
“Bleeding away…” and “Wanting to flower…” are from a poem I wrote.
“But no, I never loved…” is from something I wrote in 1959, when I was 17, and hurting from someone I had hoped would be my first boyfriend choosing my best friend instead of me. It’s a little bit scary, reading it now, and knowing that love was something I hadn’t experienced yet.
Because I’ve had the sense that reading thrillers addictively was in an attempt to avoid something, and because phrases from my own writing kept coming up, I looked for the original quotes. So yesterday I told Erica about that teenage pain, and read her the quote about “forgetting something never remembered.” Then I read her all the poems I wrote around the time of Journey Into Courage. I cried reading some of them. I also talked about how what happened with B left me feeling that I couldn’t trust myself. I told her about things I learned, or saw, about my ex only after the divorce. Erica, again, turned things completely around. She said “people are not their dysfunctional behavior,” and suggested that I gave them space to be their real selves. What a totally amazing idea!
“B” was a friend who I was trying to help by letting her stay in my house. When I put the house on the market, she yelled at me for being so cruel to Eleanor. One of the hardest things about moving to Kendal was knowing that someone I loved a lot would have a hard time finding a new place to live. I told B that she had no idea what was going on for me. She didn’t listen to me, and kept repeating herself so I hung up on her. When I was getting ready to put my house on the market, and asked her to remove her things, she trashed my house. She was someone I really cared about, so I was very hurt, but now suspicious about things she had told me, one of which I found out was a lie. I felt like the person I had cared about and wanted to help was not who she was, and began to doubt my own judgement. How could I not have seen how dysfunctional she was?
I see now, that I allowed her to exploit me because I cared about her, wanted to help her, and don’t have good boundaries.
Session with Erica:
“You give them the space to be their best selves”
a person is not their reactive behavior
I see the best in people, give them the benefit of the doubt
“I can’t trust myself” is a mis-representation
Integrity expects integrity
Honor and recognize that I take accountability — I’m available for repair
“You take grief and turn it into guilt.”
need someone to help me get that it is grief
With this help, I saw that B was just like my mother, so of course I was vulnerable to her manipulations.