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Re: violence, affection **triggers? Ľ ElaineM

Posted by Tamar on July 28, 2006, at 14:11:50

In reply to violence, affection **triggers? Ľ Tamar, posted by ElaineM on July 27, 2006, at 16:20:48

> Tamar: Please don't say sorry - it's unnecessary. I don't think you were invalidating me at all. It just reminded me of others. You're just trying to help me figure this out, see it from as many sides as possible. When I said I "knew how you were saying it", I meant that I knew there was nothing cruel being implied. I hope it didn't sound accusatory, because I meant the complete opposite.

No, I didnít think you were accusing me at all. Iím just very sorry I hurt you.

> I may not understand the question, but I've always felt that my self could've been different if it had been put in a different container. Maybe that means that I think I am only a body. I don't think that answered the question though. Other than that, I know I've always always felt that I was not a regular human.
>
> It was expected that I wouldn't survive when born, and I've had twin sisters die just after they were born, so I have always felt as though my life was a mistake. I'm so flawed and terrible that I probably took the "aliveness" that was meant for them. They probably would've been better at living than me. They probably would've enjoyed life. I know this all sounds dumb, but it's just one of those crazy things that a person convinces themself might be true. I sort of felt that since I wasn't supposed to exist that it was only a matter of time before the balance was corrected, and I died. I guess that's why I've always been expecting death since I was little.

I think itís very interesting that you say your self could have been different if it had been put in a different container. I think thatís probably true for most people; our bodies have a big role in shaping who we are. And Iím aware of the kind of Ďsurvivor guiltí that people feel when their siblings die. I donít know if you know this, but twins are at a greatly increased risk of perinatal death. Itís much more common for one or both twins to die in infancy than for the child of a single pregnancy to die. Itís because twins are often born early, and often one of them is breech, which means a more complicated delivery, and because of those factors their immune systems arenít always as strong as a single childís and theyíre much more vulnerable to disease. Itís very sad that your sisters died, but you are absolutely not responsible.

I think your life is anything but a mistake and that you are definitely supposed to exist. Look at all the peopleís lives you touch here, for one thing. If you didnít exist, you couldnít have replied to my posts about my therapist. Your responses help me a lot. And itís not just me; Iíve seen your replies to other people. Iíve felt your kindness and generosity. As far as I can tell, this world needs you. You belong here, in life, with the rest of us.

> I don't know if that "seperateness" is what you were talking about though. The question may have gone over my head.

If it didnít resonate with you, then I was probably just projecting. And I probably wasnít being very articulate. I mentioned it because sometimes I feel that I donít want to have a body; my body isnít really part of me and Iíd rather be a disembodied spirit or a tree or something. And so itís easy for me to say that my body is bad, and that all the bad things that have happened to me are my bodyís fault. I guess itís a kind of splitting. But probably you see it differently.

> My T has said something similar about love and violence getting mixed and confused for one another. But maybe I'm not a masochist (I don't really know anything about it) because I don't think violence is sexy. I think two things. One: That sometimes I think violence is loving. That it means someone cares about you, because it's better than being ignored.

Thatís very understandable. I donít know if you know any little kids, but if kids canít get attention by being good, theyíll try to get attention by behaving badly. Itís as if the attention itself matters most: theyíd rather get a hug than a telling off, of course, but even a telling off or a slap is better than being ignored. And I think if youíve grown up in a situation where you didnít get much praise or attention or affection then it could become quite easy to identify violence with love.

> Two: I like it because, even if I can't be sure it's loving and is actually hateful, I find it comforting because it makes me feel less guilty for being - that I'm buying the right to subject others to me.

Ah. Yeah. Self-loathing. (((((Elaine)))))
Can you imagine ifÖ people wanted to be with you because they enjoy your conversation, your ideas about things, your sense of humour, the stories you tell, your way of looking at the worldÖ and all the other things about you that make you unique? Can you imagine it?

You donít have to please everyone. And you donít have to be perfect. There will always be plenty of people who like you despite (and even because of) your imperfections.

> This subject is confusing to me. I've never talked about it before. I don't really even understand everything I'm saying so I better stop.

Hey, I rarely understand everything I sayÖ which reminds me of that proverb: ĎNever believe everything you think.í Good advice!

> The only time my T really talked about it was one of the first times he touched me and said that he cared about me. I started crying and asked if he would hit me instead. That it would make me feel better. It was so embarrassing cause it just fell out of my mouth. Stupid crazy!! Usually I don't talk much, and when I do I go over it in my head a million times to make sure that it's okay. I guess I let my guard slip for a moment -- it happens when I panic.

Sometimes we say things in therapy that reveal our ambivalence about ourselves and the world. Itís not crazy, itís just that itís possible to have conflicting feelings about things. I used to keep my guard up in therapy all the time, and it meant I didnít say what I wanted to say. Being able to let my guard down a bit has been incredibly useful, and when I say Ďcrazyí things I can usually laugh about it. But to be honest, I think itís been possible for me to let my guard down because my therapist is extremely professional. Sure, he makes mistakes, but he maintains a professional atmosphere at all times. Thatís not to say that he doesnít care about me; I know for sure that he cares about me very much. But he expresses his care by working hard to do good therapy with me. I understand that you love and need your therapist as a person, but I kind of wish you could have professional therapy as well.

> I may not have understood all the masochism stuff that you explained either, so forgive me if I've gone way off-base. Mainly I was just sad that you felt you had to say Sorry.

Well, the stuff I said about masochism was really just an attempt to reassure you that if you have masochistic feelings youíre totally normal. But if you donít have masochistic feelings youíre also totally normal!

I hope the coming days will be bearable for you. I know itís hard when your therapist is away!

Tamar



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