I don’t know why I thought it would be easy to dive deep with therapy. I guess my internal shielding mechanisms have been functioning so well that I had no idea how much crap I had to work on. Turns out there’s about 49 years worth of crap, give or take a few years. And I’ve been blocking it so well… I went in thinking I’d deal with break up grief, poly challenges and maybe something to help me not fall apart when I have an emotion. Ha! That’s where I started, but that’s not all there is by a long shot.
Funny how I thought I could selectively tear down the internal barriers between me and all the emotions and trauma I’ve been squashing all these years… instead it’s like a domino effect. Once you lay into one with the sledgehammer, they all come down and before you know it, you’re standing there with a sledgehammer, soaked to the skin in all the pain, tears, hurt feelings, betrayals and angry words you’ve been suppressing all that time.
I keep thinking that I’ve found that finite thing, the atomic particle of my emotional issues, thinking that I can work on, some definable thing I can fix so I’ll be on my way to happiness again. Yes, sometimes I am just that naive. But no, it’s not just one thing, instead I’ve found that I really am like an onion. Every two weeks, when I go into my therapy session, there’s something new to deal with and in the aftermath of those conversations, I end up discovering more issues and trauma and painful shit that’s welled up. At some point I’ll stop discovering more shit to fix, right? At the center of the onion, once I’ve peeled it all away? Friends who are in or have experienced TherapyLand, assure me that it’s not about solving all the problems, that’s not possible. It’s about getting to the point where you can accept them as a part of you and not let them have too much control.
Roxy says I’m too hard on myself, so do other friends, so does my therapist. All emotions are OK, they tell me, they’re all valid and natural and human and it’s not bad that I have them. I’m not a bad person for being angry at Nick and my wife, I’m also not bad for being angry at myself for feeling hurt, betrayed and left behind. And I can remember telling Roxy all of these same kinds of things. But am I very good at taking this advice? No, no NO. I am not. There are feelings I don’t want, there are old old patterns I’m frustrated and ashamed to be repeating. I worry that I’m going to wear my friends out, that they’ll get tired of hearing about it, tired of helping me through the rough spots.
New things to work on keep coming up. Well, not new things necessarily, but events and patterns seen in a new light. For example, this break up with Roxy is the first time in almost my whole adulthood that I was going through a break up without new relationship energy (NRE) to help ease the pain. The longest time between relationships of any kind was the first break up, with my first girlfriend and that was a long, long time ago. Since then, there has always been a new relationship in the wings each time I was breaking up with someone. I didn’t plan it that way, not with any conscious thought, that’s just how it went. But not this time. This time I’m dealing with the full impact. But wait, there’s more! Not only am I dealing with my current dose of pain and grief, I’ve got other shit piled on too. Yay, me, why do a little therapy when you can have huge shit-tons of stuff to deal with. Remember what I said about knocking walls down? It seems that each time I broke up and moved on into a new relationship, I shortcut the whole process of getting over the previous relationship. I walled it off. I spent time talking about it to friends and new lovers, but I didn’t have to deal with the full impact of that loss. It’s all coming home to roost, as they say. I have a backlog of grief and loss and processing what those relationships meant, how they impacted me and what I’m carrying forward from them. And I’m carrying a whole helluva lot. My baggage fills a semi.
This is why I’ve decided to sideline myself. No new relationships (as much as a good fucking would make me feel awesome and on top of the world, I’m afraid of how I’d react emotionally. No need to drag someone else down.). No BDSM for a while. I had skipped a few play parties and realized that I felt anxious and stressed at the prospect of going, so I’m not going for a while. Not doing either of those things until the anticipation is excited and joyful. For now, flirting and conversations with friends will have to get me through. And the occasional dirty story writing, though it’s hard right now to feel inspired and have the energy needed to write. I’m feeling muted, numbed, hollowed out. Walking around like an emotional porcupine or a hollow automaton.
It’ll get better, I’m told. I’ll get through this, they say. I’m strong, is what I’m told. I sure hope so.
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