I think this tracking helps me a lot. It's sort of like Vickie's green/red day calendar post. I started using a spreadsheet the first time I lost weight in 2007. I kept it up for about 3 years, I guess. I lost it when my harddrive died last year. I started this new one in February this year. On February 6, I weighed 176.6. My weight hasn't had a net change since then, but I gained 10 pounds and have lost 10 pounds in the the past six months. So, the spreadsheet tells a bigger story than the number on the scale alone.
On to the therapy appointment. I have made a lot of progress in my 6 therapy appointments. Obviously, though, I still have things I want to work on. I had made a list before I went so I'd know what to talk about, other than how much better I feel, which we did discuss for the first 10 minutes. Like most lists, I didn't get down to the real meat of what needs to be tackled first until I got to #8.
Have you heard that before? If you make a list outlining pros/cons/the "why's" of something, it's not until you get to the end that you find real meaning. I read that once, anyway, and it seems to be true, at least for me.
At any rate, my #8 was anger and resentment toward my mom. Ever since starting therapy, I have had a horrible time being around my mom. She has always driven me a little nuts, but dragging all this stuff up from my past has made it almost unbearable.
Since I started therapy, my mom has not changed. I have.
I have been at my absolute worst around her; another way to say that is, she brings out the worst in me. But that implies my behavior is her fault, and it isn't. I'm impatient and anger easily and am defensive. I punish her with passive agressive comments. I spend as little time as possible with her.
I explained all this to Julie. We talked more about the dynamics of our relationship. We eventually ended up at Forgiveness.
Julie asked me to define forgiveness. That was hard. I said it's not holding something against someone anymore, and forgiveness is more important to the forgiver than the forgivee. My mom doesn't even know I have anything to forgive her for.
Which is another reason I'm angry at her. She has no clue (or at least hasn't acknowledged that she has a clue) how abandoned and neglected and abused I felt as a young adolescent and teenager. I felt all those things, and on top of it, I feel that she knows me so little or cares so little or is so stinking unaware of the complexity of childhood and human beings, that she is ignorant or simply ignores how her actions and inactions have affected me so strongly.
I resent her. I feel the need to punish her. I'm angry at her.
I don't know how to forgive her.
Julie asked if forgiveness is the same as forgetting. I said yes, in a way, because I want to forget all those things she did/didn't do, because every time I'm with her, I feel those feelings. I want them gone, so I can forgive and forget.
Then Julie told me what she thinks forgiveness is. She said that forgiveness is acknowledging your past, acknowleding your pain, and proclaiming that you have survived. That you are okay NOW. And you can move on. Forgiveness is not letting the past infect your relationships now or control who you are now.
Forgiveness doesn't mean you have to say "that's okay." The way I've been brought up, when someone says "I'm sorry," you respond with "that's okay." I'm teaching my kids that by example. This is wrong. "I'm sorry" doesn't mean whatever was done to you was okay.
I realized in her office that that is why I can't forgive (based on my definition) my mom for the past. In my mind, if I forgive her, I am saying that what happened then is okay, and it's pretty freaking far from okay.
This new definition is taking some getting used to. I understand it, but it's a huge shift in thinking. I want to embrace it; I plan to. I don't want to feel all knotted up and angry when I'm with my mom. She doesn't do anything to me NOW that warrants my behavior (at least that I have examined; I am so wrapped up in the past it is hard to know that for sure).
Don Henley has a song called The Heart of the Matter. The bridge goes like this:
There are people in your life who've come and gone.
They've let you down. You know they've hurt your pride.
You better put it all behind you, baby. 'Cause life goes on.
You keep carrying that anger, it'll eat you up inside.
The last verse is:
I've been trying to get down, to the heart of the matter,
because the flesh will get weak, and the ashes will scatter.
So I think it's about forgiveness, forgiveness,
Even if, even if, you don't love me anymore.
I've been on a Don Henley kick the past week or so (which is how I roll; I like to listen to one artist for days and days, then switch to someone else). I've listened to his Actual Miles CD every morning, and these lyrics hit me hard every time.
I know I can forgive my mom, because it's not about her. It's about me. I survived. I am okay now. I can move on. I don't have to let the past control me anymore. I can let the light shine into that black box, and release it.
Julie said I need to find a way to work through this in a tangible way. Ideally, this would involve talking to mom about how I feel. She said that it's not necessary though; I don't feel the need to hurt my mom with all this.
Which is another issue in itself--I feel like it's my responsibility to protect her from being hurt, but that means it's okay that I hurt myself--which is totally not okay.
So she suggested I choose some kind of symbolism. I could write about it, print it out, and tie it to a balloon and set it free, or burn it. I thought of the idea of taking a magnifying glass and setting it on fire with sunlight. I like the symbolism of the light taking away the dark.
There was more, believe it or not. It was a very productive session. I'll write next time on commitment vs. attachment.