Marie: Relief, and Carl Assures Me He Does Know How to Help Me

Posted By: on February 10, 2015
Relief from counseling

Me: But, there’s a part of this that doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t understand why my fantasies were so focused on having babies.

If this behavior was about telling what happened, why would I be telling about having babies? I mean, I’ve never had a baby . . .

And, by the time I was 10 or 11, having babies was no longer part of my fantasy.

So, I’m confused . . . how can I trust that my fantasy is trying to tell me what happened to me when clearly some of my fantasy is not even a little bit accurate?

Carl: My guess is it related to your religious upbringing. Often, very conservative churches teach that sex is okay only for the purpose of procreation. I’m guessing, somewhere along the line, you were taught about sex in a way that caused “sex” and “having babies” to be synonymous in your mind.

Me: Wow . . . I had never considered that. Wow . . . .

I know my parents didn’t feel that way about sex – they believed sex was okay for the purpose of pleasure as long as it was in the context of marriage. But, a lot of people in our church, including my maternal grandmother, believed sex was okay only for procreation. So, that is a very valid possibility.

I would have had to learn it from someone other than my parents . . . maybe “X” used it . . . if feels weird to call him “X” in a face-to-face conversation. It’s what I call him . . .

I really don’t want to say his real name out loud. Is it okay if I call him “X”?

Carl: Sure – whatever is comfortable for you.

Me: Okay . . . maybe “X” used the idea of sex for procreation in his explanation to me of what we were doing. It would help explain why he called me his girlfriend and why I told everyone in the church I was going to marry him and why I hated his wife for being in the way.

I hadn’t thought of that possibility before, but it sure feels accurate to me at first blush. I’ll have to sit with it some more.

It would sure explain a lot – it would sure help validate many of my less-believable memories . . . well, assuming I was molested.

Carl: What do you mean?

Me: Well . . . I’m only about 90% sure I was molested and about 70% sure it was “X” who did it. I just don’t know for sure, either way.

Carl: Yes, you do know, Marie.

(I didn’t respond verbally, I just glanced at him and then did battle with my tears for a few moments . . . )

Carl: Let me ask you something . . .

Are you laying blame and shame on yourself for having what you call ugly fantasies? Are you telling yourself you are bad for doing something you think you shouldn’t be doing?

Me: Yeah. I think I should be able to find relief some other way – yoga, praying, hiking, playing the piano, drinking tea . . . and that stuff works sometimes. Those tools help with general stress.

But, sometimes, I can only find relief though falling into an ugly fantasy.

I’m a smart, strong person . . . I don’t know why haven’t I been able to create a dependable, alternative way of finding relief. I don’t know how to do that.

Carl: You have already started doing that. You are already shifting your coping methods by coming to therapy and doing the work you are doing in support of your healing.

Marie, you created this fantasy-based method of coping as a way to survive – what a wonderful, genius, creatively adaptive solution! You are to be commended for finding a solution that kept you alive!

What if you allowed this coping method to support you until you are able to find and incorporate a better way?

Me: I would be a big relief to think of it that way . . . to see it as a positive part of my healing.

(Pause for heavy pondering)

Me: Do you think I will ever be ready to participate in a normal, healthy sexual relationship?

Carl: Yes – I truly believe that will happen in time. I have no doubt.

Me: Before I’m 100 years old and all shriveled up?

Carl: Yes – long before you turn 100.

Me: So . . . how do we make that happen?

Carl: I’m hearing you say, “Tell me how to fix my sexuality so I can be in a healthy, intimate relationship.”

We will get there . . . we will work on healing your sexuality.

However, there are several foundational steps that need to happen first. Right now, we need to work on some of the emotional and cognitive components of your healing.

I promise I won’t forget what you have shared with me today. I promise we will come back and deal with the sexual stuff.

Are you willing to work on the other parts first?

Me: Absolutely!

Do you know how to do that? I don’t have a clue how to move forward from here.

I’m assuming you do know how. But, I’m looking for assurance from you that you can handle my case and that you do know how to do this.

Carl: Yes – I can handle your case and I do know how to do this.

Marie, you aren’t supposed to know how to move forward from here. It is unreasonable to expect you to know how. It’s my job to know how with you – and, yes, I do know how we can move forward together.

We can start on it as quickly as this next session, if that is what you would like to do – unless something else comes up for you between now and then that would require immediate processing, which would then take precedence.

Me: That sounds very good to me.

Carl: Good . . . we’ll pick up there next time!

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