Grief about my Life

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.  

Blood and Stone

“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.

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