Editor’s note: This is part 37 of Marie’s story.
At this point in the session, we transitioned into a discussion about the conversation I had with my sister. Basically, I summarized for him what I said about the conversation in my journal entry—that I have been feeling disconnected from my family and I felt the conversation was a step towards reconnecting.
And, that I received some validation from her concerning my memories of how bad things were with my parents. Carl expressed how glad he was that I was able to find a level of connection and validation in this way.
When that topic felt finished, Carl asked me what else I would like to talk about. I responded…
Me: Well, in our last session, you were reading my letter to my dad and you got to this sentence:
“I was so desperate to feel connected and wanted by you that I went looking for ‘that’ elsewhere. ‘That’ didn’t come cheaply… I had to trade my body for it.”
I kind of shut down the discussion at that point.
Carl: Yes, I noticed.
Me: I’d like to come back to that sentence now.
Carl: Good! I’d like that, too.
Me: (Deep breath, slow exhale…) It’s rather a complicated matter. I really have no idea where to start.
Carl: Can you tell me what you went looking elsewhere for?
Me: I wanted to be seen, appreciate, loved, validated…all the things I believe my dad withheld from me. So, I went looking for that in other men. Instead of finding what I really wanted, I just found a bunch of men who wanted only sex from me. They didn’t care anything about me as a person—they never wanted to get to know me.
But, I didn’t have a better plan. Having sex with men was the only option I could see—it was the only possible way I could see to find what I was desperately looking for. So I kept doing it.
(Becoming emotional and teary-eyed) My sister—the one that is 3½ years older than me—got lots of attention from the boys. And she never had sex with them. She was desirable—good wife material. The boys who wanted to go out with her were the kind of guys who she could bring home to mamma, so to speak.
But, not me. I had to throw myself at the boys—at the men. If I didn’t do that, they ignored me. The only way I could get attention was to be sexual. And that got attention, but not the kind of attention that felt good.
At the present time, I don’t allow myself to be sexual. I’ve had enough of the groping and thrusting and panting to last a lifetime. I can’t imagine allowing that again.
And, it is easy now to stay away from sex—no one shows interest in me anyway now. At least I know why that is case now—because I’m fat. But, back then, I had a great body. Before I gained weight, I kept in really good shape—and I had a great personality. I was smart, hard-working, funny, pretty…I don’t know why I couldn’t attract quality guys back then.
Carl: May I share with you what I hear you asking?
Carl: I hear you asking, “What’s wrong with me?”
Me: Yeah. That’s what I’m wondering.
Carl: (After a respectful pause) Can you tell me when you started gaining weight?
Me: I always have struggled with weight—and with binge eating. But, it really got out of control after I was assaulted by my boss when I was 27. After that, it seemed the struggle to stay thin wasn’t worthwhile because I was learning it was dangerous to be attractive—and, I needed the relief from the pain more—and binging pushed away the pain.
Carl: I think there is a lot of pain underneath this part of your story.
Me: Yeah, there is.
Carl: I’d like to explore this part of your story some more, if that is okay with you.
Me: Yes, I’m okay with that.
Carl: We are getting close to the end of session time today—would you be willing to capture your thoughts and feelings about this in writing so we can look at it in a future session? It seems writing is helpful for you in identifying what you are feeling and thinking about something.
Me: Yeah, sure…I’d be willing to do that.
Carl: It is not necessary for what you write to “make sense” or to be organized. You can capture your random thoughts and feelings as they come. You don’t need to figure out what your thoughts and feelings mean—we can do that here, together.
Me: Okay. I’ll get something in writing before the next session.
That brought us to the end of the session.
This was a different kind of session…more thoughtful and less emotional. I didn’t take my blanket with me today…I meant to take it, but it was in the laundry. I washed it, but I hadn’t gotten around to folding it and putting it back in my bag. But, I guess I didn’t need it anyway today.
I’m really struggling with the prospect of this writing assignment. It is one thing to write about my history of promiscuity or to write about how my dad was less than affirming with me. But, it is another thing to examine how the latter feeds the former. That’s when the really crappy stuff starts to come to the surface.