Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How do I cry?

(and what does this have to do with my lack of feeling connected?!?)

I regularly see a counselor.  In my profession (Clinical Mental Health Counselor), we call it supervision...except that *I* really need this therapy.  I have seen a LOT of therapists over the years.  Good ones, not-so-good ones, and really great ones.  They have all been instrumental in getting me to THIS place in my healing.  I am grateful for the work they have done with me.

My most recent therapist is good for me.  I don't always like her.  I don't always agree with her.  But she is good for me.  She challenges me.  I need that.

This week, we were talking about how I have a VERY hard time connecting with people.  For as long as I can remember, I have felt like people felt more connected to me than any connection I felt for them.  It has been awkward.  It has been lonely.

I have people I consider my friends.  I enjoy spending time with them.  I miss them when we move.  But I have never had a close enough friend who actually came and visited me after we left the area.  I AM still friends with people from high school, and especially friends from college, but again, no one visits.  Really, my family doesn't visit, either.

So, my therapist and I were exploring why that was the case...why DON'T I have friends with whom I feel a deep connection?

She made an observation that originally put me on the defense.  She said that I don't connect with people because I do not interact on an emotional level.  All of my interactions are on an intellectual "head" level.  It is easy.  It is safe.  I won't get hurt.

This realization stings.  I have worked long and hard to NOT been seen as overly emotional.  I remember crying at the drop of a hat.  I remember being so angry that I scared myself (knife-throwing is not just a circus-trick!).  I was told I was a cry-baby, and to stop being such a stereo-typical hysterical female.  I was told that my crying was an attempt at emotional blackmail and manipulation.  My opinions, hurts, and frustrations were dismissed because I cried when I felt things deeply.

So, I quit crying.  For a LONG time.  It was not healthy.  It was lonely, and it was hard.

Then I started my healing journey, and allowed myself to cry again.  And THAT was really REALLY helpful in the healing process.  And I cried a LOT.

But life (God!) has a way of cycling us back through things, so that we can learn lessons from our repeated experiences.  And when Jason deployed in 2010/2011, my tears became depleted.  Besides, I had to be strong for my kids.  And then Jason was home, and was a pastor, and I had to be strong and "on" for the people in our church.  And more hard things assaulted us, and I still had to be strong.  So, I was right back to suppressing the tears.

So this brings us to NOW.  Life is still hard, and I still need to be strong.  And the tears that I now WANT to cry won't come.  They have been suppressed for so long that I find it hard to let them out.  I NEED to let them flow.  I need friends who are able to sit with me through the tears, and to help walk me through the process of tears and anger and a normal range of emotions, and still be there on the other side of the flood.

I don't have a lot of answers for how this plays out.
My friends that feel safe to me are more than 12 hours away.
Besides, my life is full and good.  Some days I don't want to rock the boat.
But there is more...Oh, so much more...and I want to be free to experience the whole spectrum of emotions.

1 comment:

JanAbney said...

I totally understand. I am the same. In so many ways, I am you.