To be Loved or Hurt?


I told Lynelle that I couldn’t imagine that Erica could help me.  I have an appointment with her tomorrow.  Lynelle suggested I have a conversation with the part that is trying to protect me.  Who is the one in me who feels hopeless and helpless, doesn’t see anything she can do to help herself, can’t imagine anyone would come to help her?  She’s a baby, a truly helpless creature, and her mother has left her for too long.  She doesn’t understand what is going on, she has no concept of death, but her reptilian brainstem has concluded that she is going to die.  So her brain is making it easier to surrender into death.  There’s no point in fighting.  So she feels very quiet and calm and despairing, not caring what’s going to happen.  Since she doesn’t think anyone can help her, and Erica is out of sight and doesn’t exist, she can’t imagine any help tomorrow.

What can I say to her?  I can scoop her up and cuddle her but I’m not sure it will make a difference.  So often I wrote in my journal “All I want is for someone to come put their arms around me and tell me everything’s going to be all right.”  To be responded to.  To be met at the place where I am.

She’s crying and crying.  I pick her up and try to comfort her.  She stiffens her back and screams louder.  I start walking, rocking her a little.  What can I sing?  “Goodnight, bonne nuit, oyasoumenasai…”  I keep this up for a long time, imagining holding her in my heart as I’m holding her in my arms.  Eventually she calms down and goes to sleep.


Woke up scared and bleak.  Hard to get out of bed.  Peace.  Love.  Justice.  Thankful for Mocha.  Thankful for a roof over my head.  Thankful for a warm place to sleep.  Trying to find compassion for myself.  I just feel blank.  Trying to find compassion for baby Jenny, alone and scared.  My heart stays frozen or numb or shielded.  There, there, dear.  Of course you need to shield your heart.  You’ve been hurt so badly, so many times.

I read Erica the piece about trying to comfort the baby and how she stiffened and screamed.  Erica said that when I was alone, I shielded my heart to protect myself.  When someone offers love I open up in hope because I want it so badly, but then I’m scared of being hurt again.  The confusion is very tangled and painful.

My poor heart.  I feel so disconnected.  I told Lynelle what Erica said, and how I wasn’t really able to connect with her.  Lynelle said she could spend a whole session trying to connect, that it was hard, hard work — “and then at the end of the hour you have to leave.”

I feel so disconnected, so lonely and isolated.  It reminds me of that first winter in Portland, when I was severely depressed, and so cold. so unconnected.

Take a big big step back.  Here’s Jenny, left alone too much when she was a baby.  Her heart was broken then, and so she keeps desperately wanting to be loved by someone.  She also wants to love — because actually loving feels so good — but most of the time she just knows she loves, she doesn’t feel it.  She is in fact a very generous, loving, nonjudgmental person.  But she doesn’t know that in any way that would comfort her.  O gosh there actually must be a lot of people who feel like that, with stony hearts, afraid to love.  Some of them abuse others, some are addicted, some are locked in asylums.  I’m thinking a lot must kill themselves, living with this conflict is much too hard, but then I realize that those who are carrying on “normal” lives are in denial.  Actually feeling the wound and the conflict and the helplessness is unbelievably painful.

Thinking of the winter in Portland, I feel a surge of compassion for that Jenny.  I pull her into a hug and onto my lap, she’s a young child.  I hold her and tell her I love her, and she won’t have to leave at the end of an hour, I will be here.  I will always be here.  Something inside feels warmer.

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