I’ve been sitting on this post for a couple weeks now, and although the timing of it might seem a little odd based on this recent post about more questions that have come to light about my past. I still wanted to share it because it’s an important step for me in my life.
This two part post is in retrospect to a recent therapy session that turned out to be way more than I expected it to be. I hope you’ll be patient as you read through this post and then on to the Part II conclusion of my realization of who I am becoming.
Let me break down for you how this session went and how I started to realize that there is a whole new me, at 40 something, that is inside and is finally making his presence known.
It started out as a normal session, talking about my weeks’ emotion on the tracker sheets, discussing my anxiety level, triggers, anything major that happened recently, etc. Of course I brought up how I shared my story with a family member, and how stressful that was.
Part of me is thinking I shouldn’t have said anything but another part of me is glad that I did. It’s out there though, I can’t take it back. I need to use this as a stepping stone on my journey and be proud of myself. She, my therapist, is very proud of me and sister in law is as well. So I guess I should just take that at face value and stop analyzing and minimizing it. Yeah right!
Anyways, so we started talking about how far I’ve come. She began listing the changes she noticed in me over this past year and really over the last 7 months or so. One thing in particular is the passion that I’ve come to have for connecting with my trauma, educating myself, interacting with the survivor community here online, how much I’ve opened up with her in sessions, and even how much I’m starting understand and use more of Rational and Wise mind.
I mean if you would have told me last year that I would be telling a family member about my abuse, that I engage in several online chats each week with people all over the world, that I’d have started a blog and be openly sharing my story with the world, I’d have told you that you were barking up the wrong tree and I’m NEVER doing that.
I couldn’t even admit out loud that I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, those words made me cringe and feel very uneasy. I had no clue what Dissociation was or that I had PTSD. Now I talk and write about it regularly and I’m immersing myself in books, online literature and blogs to learn all I can and do my part to help myself and raise awareness. I’m connecting with the survivor community in ways I never even imagined, and everyone is wonderful! There’s no blame, no judgments, no condescending comments, it’s just all of us sharing our stories and helping each other. Every one of you is amazing and I’m proud to know you.
Please don’t take this as me saying I’m somehow magically healed and totally in control of myself. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have a long way to go and so many things I don’t yet understand about my past and how to deal with it moving forward. I have been making some progress though. Some.
Let’s keep moving along. For as long as I can remember, people who know me think of me as the 80’s guy, the rocker, and the football guy. That’s it. Every conversation I had with people usually revolved around those topics or morphed into those topics somehow. I was ok with it, it’s what I was and still am to some degree. Essentially, this was the personality that I created for myself without ever realizing it.
When I was married, I identified myself through my wife. It’s hard to explain but even though I was still the football guy and the 80s guy, my very existence revolved around my wife. I had to be strong all the time, carry the emotional load of the family and myself, worry about the bills, everything. I was the caregiver, the peacemaker, and whatever other hat I needed to wear for a particular situation. I put that burden squarely on my shoulders so she wouldn’t have to worry so much. Consequently if she was happy, I was happy. If she was sad, I was bummed out and had to try and make it all better. There was no “just being me” I guess you could say.
To this day in therapy when I talk about being married I still refer to myself as “her and I’ (inserting our names there). I don’t think I really realized I did it as much as I do until she pointed it out in our talks. We were synonymous with one another. Everyone referred to just one of us by using both of our names. We were each other, at least that’s how I remember it.
Fast Forward to 3 years post divorce and here I am today. I have a good job, I can afford my bills, I have some friends, my cats, and my music along with 3 amazing kids. I’m taking this time to find out who this individual is, all by himself.