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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Counseling Day: Final

My final session occurred yesterday (Thursday). We discussed many of the issues I've FINALLY worked through, since they happened a million years ago. We discussed all the nastiness that cropped up in the duration of working through those issues.
Her analysis: Under stress, I reverted to what I knew--things that had worked in the past. It was a natural tendency and we're both glad those things didn't last.
My analysis: I never did work through that "nastiness" in the first place--I just put it on hold. When my mental state became weakened enough that I could no longer stop myself from partaking of those negative coping tools, I used them once again. Fortunately, I have now provided for myself, positive coping tools which I can substitute for the negative ones when the need arises.Who knows which of our analyses is right? Who cares? The bottom line is that I'm better.
Questions from my counselor: What now? Who do I want to become? What will I do with my "new life"? What will I explore next?
Responses: I don't know. I haven't really thought about it. I think I'd just like to sit back and see what happens next. I have no desire to go exploring. But "Who do I want to become"???? Honestly, I've made some changes, but I'm still me. I've always had a very STRONG sense of who I am, and I only lose that sense when I'm overwhelmed, out of control, or very emotional. I'm none of those things anymore. So I don't want to "become" anyone. I am me, I won't change that for anyone. I'm very aware that the strength of my personality is often overwhelming to others. I'm very aware that many find my straightforward manner, and tendency to say whatever is on my mind, offensive. I'm very aware that friendship with me can be exhausting, to say the least. But there's never any guesswork or games. And I've come to accept that being true to myself is much more important than surrounding myself with people who really don't care about who I am inside, as long as I entertain them on the outside. So I'm not interested in "becoming" someone new, but I'd like to continue to find out more about the person I have always been.
Observations from my counselor: I have worked through an amazing number of issues in a very short time. Most patients take longer, have a few more relapses--am I sure I'm not just going for the "quick fix"?
My response: I didn't even begin to work on the issues on my life until I felt strong enough to face what made me afraid. The Lord placed key people in my life to help me along. I have always been very motivated to come to terms with that which causes me pain. I don't do "quick fixes".
Questions: Do I wish to discontinue counseling? Will I continue healthy eating habits? Will I continue healthy coping habits? Will I call a counselor again if I feel I need more help?
Answers: Yes--no more counseling. Yes--I will eat every day. Yes--I have the tools to cope healthily with issues in my life and I will use them. I'm not above asking for help anymore--if I need help, I know where to find it.
Next topic: Let's talk about your young friend. What have you done to "normalize" the relationship? What are your feelings about the friendship, currently? Do you have any questions that I can help with, in connection with this?
Responses: Actually, I haven't done anything. I think HE'S done quite a bit, though. Any need for me in his life is now eliminated. Perhaps I exist as a nonentity adult in a very peripheral way. I have no idea, truthfully, what he feels about my involvement in his life over the past few months, because I can no longer read him. Either he's adapted to the point where he's become adept at hiding his feelings from me, or I have become so self-absorbed that I can't get past myself enough to see what used to be so apparent that it haunted me.
Observation: You seem almost too matter-of-fact about this. A normal response would be to feel some sort of sadness or loss. This is an area of your life where you aren't allowing yourself to feel what's going on inside of you.
Answer: If that's so (and I don't necessarily think it is), then I give myself permission to "not feel". I don't think it can be a good feeling to love someone as much as I love him, but to know that love really won't ever help him in any way. I see no point in analyzing the subject. He and I are both aware that, while I may have served a small purpose in his life temporarily, his life will continue to progress, and my future role in his life really is of no consequence. I can never deny that he has been a Godsend in my life. I think, in some ways, he taught me to live again. But, you tell me what YOU think should happen next, because I have no answers.
Observation: I am concerned that you still think you can pick and choose the areas of your life in which you will allow yourself to feel.
Answer: It's MY life. They're MY feelings. I refuse to feel negative emotions about a part of my life, or person in my life, that/who has brought me so much joy.
Question: Do you understand that you basically just erased yourself out of your friend's life--someone who has really had quite a bit of importance to you over the last few months--and you don't show one sign of sadness or regret?
Answer: I disagree. I haven't removed myself from his life. I see him all the time. In fact, probably more than he would like. I'm just trying hard to not interfere, to not make him feel that I'm always watching him, to allow him to make mistakes or succeed independently. And why should I feel sadness or regret for allowing him to be who he is, without my passing judgment on him or his actions?
Observation: You say you love him, that he's your friend, but I'm not sure those things were ever really true for you. People who TRULY love, don't shut down or self-protect when they feel the relationship waning--and it really sounds like that's what you're doing here.
Response: Really? To me, it sounds like I love him more than a normal person would, because I care so much about what will help him grow--more than I care about what will help ME feel best. Am I self-protecting? Maybe, in this case, that's alright, and honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if my friend does the same. We've discussed some issues that are fairly personal. We've laughed and cried together. I have felt a closeness to him, and I believe he's felt the same. What do you expect us to do? Sometimes we self-protect because it helps us move on to the next logical step without hurting ourselves or each other.
Question: So you think it's possible that "normalizing" this friendship might be a little painful?Answer: I think I'm doing everything I can to not intrude in my friend's life, while trying to let him know he's still holds a place in my heart. I've never been terrifically interested in all this "normalizing" crap you keep talking about. Tell me about all the "normal" friendships you've encountered between a 39-year-old woman and a 17-year-old young man! I know you can't, because you haven't encountered any--there's nothing "normal" about this. It's extraordinary, rare, and amazing, because there is no one in the world like my friend--or like me! All I ever wanted to do was help someone I loved who was hurting. That's it--end of story. Feel free to "normalize" that because I'm finished trying. Right now, I'd just like my friend and I to move on without hurt feelings of any kind.
Observation: I think, given the intensity and closeness you described earlier, that's probably not possible.
Response: Well, I'm going to try anyway, and since I'm the most stubborn individual ever born, please don't try to talk me out of it.
Question: What's your plan for doing this?
Answer: I don't have one.
Response: Well, best of luck...

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