Let me explain

by tamarjacobson

Quote of the day:

If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud. Emile Zola

(From the Next, a new twitter friend)

Just recently, Joyce made a comment …

I am intrigued about the ways in which you speak of choosing to become an adult. It sounds like a wonderful practice.

… which, got me thinking, and wanting to clarify and confirm for myself.

For many years Bob, my therapist, explained to me that I kept myself hinged to the double-bind, crazy-making relationships of childhood in order to remain attached to my family. He explained that if I gave up that system of relationships, and chose to become an adult, I feared losing everyone and being alone. At an intellectual or cognitive level I thought I understood what he was saying. Two years ago, when I left Buffalo, and Bob, I had reached a point in therapy where I was just beginning to understand emotionally, in my guts, what we had been talking about for a number of years. During the past two years, privileged to spend so much time alone with myself, and because of a variety of incidents with my family, I think I have finally got it!

For example, most recently I experienced an interaction with a family member that threw me right back into the bind. As I put the phone down from our conversation I could sense the old familiar discomfort rising, and I started to feel crazy with not knowing how to behave, what to do or how to fix it. All of a sudden, I recognized what was happening and felt immediately at peace. In fact I realized it had nothing to do with me, and that I could actually decide not to become a scapegoat. It was a little lonely and scary because I was not used to feeling that way. But at the same time, it was empowering. I made a decision that was good for me and I truly did not care whether people would love me for it or not.

It is all within me. I have the power to unravel the bind and reflect it right back. I have the right not to own it. I can send it back to its real owner and say, "No thanks, I don’t want to do this anymore. I do not have to be re-active to these prompts any longer." In that way I feel I am becoming an adult. Empowered by making decisions without worrying what others might think in order that they will love me. I cannot get it right anyway. Those were childish desires, worries, bonds. The main point is that as I let go I am cut loose, free to be me no matter what.

Alone and alive.

But responsible too. For becoming an adult means taking responsibility for my life and no longer blaming anyone else for what happens to me. I reject feeling victimized, excluded or abandoned. It means realizing where I begin and end, and that the other person is a separate entity with different thoughts, problems, feelings from mine. We are not all of the same mind like some kind of collective consciousness – like the Borg.

You see, Joyce, at some level I feared I would cease to exist if I broke free.

It probably sounds weird, or irrational, even a bit crazy. As I write this I can see how it might sound that way. And yet, that is how I actually felt. Or, of course, still feel sometimes. A person is never fully cured, whatever that means. Our earliest emotional memories are stored in the brain forever, never to be erased. If I have been so deeply enmeshed, attached to a collective consciousness, like I have, it is terrifying to break the ties that bind.

And so, to conclude for now, I wonder about it being "a wonderful practice," like you suggest. It is more like learning how to survive. I have so many regrets that it has taken so long – almost 58 years – because the pain has been excruciating along the way. And I am sure I still have a long way to go.

However, it does feel like some kind of awakening. A lot lighter, less weighed down with trying to work it all out. More detached and yet connected.

Becoming an adult seems to open me up to loving more without fear.