I started back today seeing the same therapist that I saw a few times back last winter/spring. I was not happy about beginning that process again. I am not one who appreciates the soul-baring vulnerability of therapy, and I deeply resent the time and the money and the emotional cost. However, I finally found myself so tangled up in my own thoughts and fears and hurts and confusions that there was simply no good option. I am lost and feeling alone, and I need someone from outside myself and our immediate family to listen to me fuss and whine and spin around -- and point me toward the exit. I can't do it for myself anymore.
She is J, and she is very good. She is now, with my return to counseling, working with all of us in individual sessions. If one were keeping an accounting of the "good things" and "benefits" to accrue from our struggles in this year, surely finding J would be on that list. We've been lucky to have her wisdom and acceptance and simple affirmation of who we are individually and as a family.
When I worked with her back in the early months of all of this, I felt pretty solid and pretty secure and pretty centered. She declared, in those days, that I was "the pillar" of our family. I found that intimidating, but was also flattered and a little proud of my own sturdy strength. Except that, as time has passed, I've started to wobble and tremble. I'm not feeling so strong these days. I am exhausted and weary and scared and desperate. I veer from hopeful to hopeless and back again at a dizzying speed. When I sat down in J's office this morning, it took only the simple inquiry as to how I was doing to send me into a flurry of tears and whimpers and a shaky-voiced litany of fears and woes that left me limp and trembling.
She listened to my random, stream-of-consciousness outpouring, and then proposed this version of my dilemma:
You are divided in your approach to the challenges in your relationship. You could respond to any of the situations that you are trying to deal with from your strong, powerful, capable, intelligent woman persona -- or you could respond from your slave persona. It must be hard to figure out what to do with those two possibilities. Which one do you want?
That stopped me in my tracks. I could tell, inside myself, that what she said was true. I know that strong, independent, capable, powerful woman. She is the one who runs a busy classroom of growing pre-adolescents with a sure and steady hand. She deftly handles the many unpredictable shifts of the school day, and never breaks a sweat. She judges and evaluates and decides the course to take through a thousand minor (or maybe not so minor) tumults every single day. Too, I know the slave who is quiet and calm and secure and soft and yielding. She is the part of me that waited and waited and waited to be taken in and held close and given the gift of a place to safely lodge a heart that longs to submit. In my mind, I rolled that question around and around -- if there were a choice to be made here, which would I choose?
Deep breath. "Slave," I told her. "If I could choose, I'd choose to respond from the slave mode." And, saying it, I felt some bound up place inside of me release just a bit...
I've pulled myself back from that place through the last year. I've chattered away in my mind, and been absolutely convinced that I just COULD NOT continue to live as His slave for a whole variety of reasons. I've been stiff necked and stubborn and hellbent on having it be the way I think it should be. The part of me that has "control issues" has put together a very convincing list of whys and wherefores -- all the justifications for pulling myself away from Him and the promises I once made.
This morning, in less than an hour, affirming my stated desire to live and respond from "slave mode," my oh-so-perceptive therapist turned me around; showed me what I wanted; and showed me how I'd been sabotaging that for myself and, possibly, for us. I sat there breathing and knew that I couldn't do one thing about changing how He feels about me or us or the M/s dynamic we once enjoyed. He won't be pushed or manipulated or coerced by me. That doesn't work -- never has. I can, however, resume the role that I once lived with grace and joy. Whatever He might choose for Himself, my living as His can't hurt us (at least, I don't think it can).
It may not be easy. Probably, it will be very difficult in at least a few places. I am afraid; terrified even; at the reality of His continuing anger with me. I don't want to face that -- or deal with what it may mean, but I am ready to lay that down and trust Him to find a way through it for the two of us. I have been fierce about my efforts to steer things, and it has been catastrophic. I am not a good ship's captain. I can't keep insisting that He see it my way, do it my way, make me happy. I have to let this go; believe in the heart of who He and I are together; and take the risk of trusting once again.
And so, once again, I will be...