The Art Therapist hurt my brain yesterday. He is trying so hard to get me hear and understand his message that I matter but it just flies in the face of all my experiences and subsequent conclusions. But he is so sure, I mean so, so, so sure, that I just plain get confused. I even said to him, “You are confusing me!” I forget his exact response, but I think he was happy that I was/am confused because that means that my steadfastness might be wavering. That’s what hurts my brain. It’s like the new synapses that are trying to be born hurt.
You Don’t Matter
And we got to talking about my parents and the messages that I got from them growing up. I hate talking about that stuff. It is too painful and if I think about it too much, I will just crash. Or another way to put it is that I can’t think about that stuff because it will just open a big ol’ can of emotion worms…I don’t let myself feel any feelings about it because it would just hurt too much. Ugh…even writing about the idea of letting myself go towards those feelings is too much.
Another thing we discussed was that when I was a little girl and upset or sad or having strong feelings, my mother would always say, “You must be hungry.” or “You must be tired.” The feeling I was having was never addressed. So, I felt invalidated. I also didn’t learn how to handle big/intense feelings (other than with food). And I was left alone and overwhelmed and ultimately found it easier to just turn off feelings (which actually served several purposes) than to have/feel them. This is also part of the reason why I don’t cry (except now I seem to cry every time in therapy.) Crying was never responded to, so I just shut it down. Again though, there were other reasons I stopped crying too, all of this is very complex!
Another message I got from my mom was something she said to me a zillion times, “Pretty is as Pretty does.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard that….<sigh> Now imagine, if you were a tomboy, you would have a rat’s ass chance of ever meeting the bar of “Pretty does.” So…what kind of message does that give? The message I heard was that my behavior (and thus me) was never good enough…And there was no way I could ever be good enough…Square peg/Round hole. Behaving “pretty” was not part of my genetic make-up. Being curious and active and boisterous and messy and opinionated…All those traits were hard wired, but evidently not acceptable.
And being pretty? Well, if I could never meet the bar of “Pretty does” then there was absolutely no way I could ever be pretty. Think that’s why I never look at myself in mirrors? Talk about a way to undermine a little girl’s self-confidence!
Oh yes, and what if that little girl had already had some pretty significant trauma that had screwed up her sense of herself and her sense of the world? Well…Probably what she really needed was to be supported, not to be invalidated and torn down.
Okay…I gotta cut this off now. Talking about all this is treacherous emotional territory and I don’t really feel like going any further.