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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Struggling to accept certain things...

I went to my counseling session today. I was actually looking forward to it, because I missed a session last week, and the week before last, we did not really have a session, because my counselor thought I was too emotionally drained to do any real work, so we had a chat and that was it. The past several weeks, she had been taking me back to my childhood and assisting me in the "healing of my memories." I was looking forward to trying to do that again today, since in earlier sessions, it had been rather difficult to connect with my "little boy". At today's session, it was a little difficult to do so and my memories were all over the place. My counselor later told me that she was praying that the Holy Spirit would lead me to the right memories in order to deal with the pertinent issues that I am ready to face.

It was quite a painful process having to go back and reliving the memories. Some of these memories have haunted me for a long while. They have caused shame, misery, distress, dismay, fear and quite a few tearful moments. Some of them are buried deep in the recesses of my mind and yet they have a way of replaying at the push of an invisible button, and when they do, they traumatize me. I remember some incidents when I was going through a particular tough period in my life. I would be driving along and all of a sudden tears would just flow freely. Other times, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably.

Over the past couple of months, I have been able to distinguish in my mind between on the one hand, what is merely a memory of a past incident, and the feeling of shame, fear, rejection, or whatever that was attached to it, and on the other hand, my present reality. In doing so, I have been able to allow myself to replay those scenes and then allow myself to accept God's grace for myself. It has helped to alleviate the pain and trauma that had once gripped me but instead have helped me to replay empowering thoughts about learning from my mistakes and reinforcing the idea that "whatever doesn't kill me makes me a stronger person."

But, today, as the counselor was letting me explore the relationship between my current (and seemingly chronic) stresses of the body and some of the lingering or undercurrent memories of the past, I came upon a point where I was really conflicted. It has to do with what my mom said (or did not say) to me as a young child. There were a couple of incidents that I remember regarding my mom's words to me, which have reinforced in my mind regarding my own self worth and self identity. Mom used a lot of reverse psychology in the way she tried to motivate us kids when we were younger. Without realizing it, I had internalized a lot of the things she said about me which in turned had underpinned my own idea of who I thought I was. And, I was surprised that I was finding it difficult to accept, on an emotional level, that she could have been wrong, even though intellectually I knew what I had internalized were untrue.

Having to confront those memories and in essence confront my mom that she was wrong about me was a difficult emotional thing for me to do. I love my mom. Whatever she did she did out of love for me. If I were to reject her words would I be rejecting her? Somehow, I had wired in my mind the connection that if I were to reject her assessment of me, I would be turning my back on her! I have to learn to detach myself from such thoughts and learn to see that my love for my mom and her love for me had nothing to do with the falsehoods that I have absorbed through incorrect messages that I had read through my ineraction with her in my younger days. I have to learn to accept God's view of who I am, not just intellectually, but also emotionally, and allow His grace to bathe me and embrace me and at the same time allow His love to reinforce my mom's love for me and my love for my mom without having to accept the lies I had internalized through those early experiences.

One surprising discovery for me was that in my struggle I found myself feeling distrust towards my counselor! Suspicions turned to alarm, then bordering on anger and even hatred! Emotionally, I had the feeling that she was trying to turn me against my own mom! I had to get a grip of myself and realize that what she was doing was to let me re-evaluate some of the undercurrent and internalized feelings of myself with how God Himself sees me and reassess myself from God's perspective rather than from the perspective of my need for mother's approval. I didn't tell her of the conflicts I was experiencing inside me as she was helping me to see myself as God sees me. The session soon ended without me really resolving much in my mind, but Jan(the counselor)'s parting words to me were that she would pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in my heart to help me process this.

I think I am beginning to get it now.

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