Old messages

I saw the Wonder Therapist again today because I’m freaking out about Nice Guy. Freaking out because he’s nice; and because he likes me (and I like him); and because I don’t understand any of that – but I don’t want to sabotage it.

It seems some of the old messages I was taught are coming home to roost again, because every time he compliments me, that little voice in my head says “no I’m not” or “what do you want?” And every time I’m telling him something about myself – whether mildly important or just utterly banal – the little voice says “I’m not good enough for you.

I try not to listen. I try to believe that Nice Guy really is as genuine as he seems; that he really is kind and caring and sensitive and respectful. My gut says he is all of those things, but the little voice in my head won’t shut up.

The Wonder Therapist smiled and said she’s really happy for me, because it sounds wonderful; that Nice Guy sounds wonderful. BUT… I have to get used to the idea that he genuinely likes me – yes, me!. I have to stop questioning it, and looking for faults or I really will sabotage it.

She says I have to start believing I’m worth it, and that love does happen when two people connect. She asked me which love stories I remember from literature or movies. None. I never paid much attention because I didn’t believe in love. I’ve never really seen it. Certainly not at home. No role models to look at to see how this works. No wonder it’s hard!

The Wonder Therapist said I should spend the weekend reading old love stories and watching schmaltzy movies because, however schmaltzy, that’s what happens when two people connect and start to fall in love (not that I think this is love by any means, not by a long shot). Perhaps I would read and watch old movies… if I didn’t have plans with Nice Guy.

She also said I should just get drunk and have s*x with him. That sort of advice just seems too too weird coming from a therapist.

I’m off to the symphony tonight. I can’t wait – it’s one of the few places I can forget about everything and just feel peace and joy in the music. 🙂


11 thoughts on “Old messages

  1. Oh, the symphony! Sounds wonderful, I hope you have a great night.

    Please disregard the following if it’s too personal…but I was wondering about T’s tone in the words “Just get drunk and have s#x with him”? Only because it seems a bit blithe. I understand that it can be good just to get over the hump, (pardon my expression) but just wondering if you want to have sex with this guy, right now? I mean, it sounds like you like him a lot – just wondering if it’s something you’d rather build up to? Probably sounds silly, right? (sigh) I don’t know what the norm is anymore. I’m assuming it’s ok to build up s@x in a relationship if you can see it being more than just a physical thing….Sounds quaint, huh?

  2. I’m with Cat on this one… Getting drunk and having s*x with him is a lot like the old patterns of how many survivors cope with intimacy. It seems to go against the grain of building up your self respect and taking your time to explore how the relationship “feels”.

    To be a totally contrary frame of mind… some people go for the romantic movies, books, etc and get something from them; and for others, they’re stomach churning. I get role modelling, but I’m not sure if the idealised/fictionalised picture that you get from movies, books, etc is such a good example. What about friends who are in love, can you grill them about their relationship?

    To end on a positive note… I hope the symphony brings you the usual peace and joy 🙂

    Take care,

  3. @ Cat and Castorgirl – forgive me if I sound like I’m coming out fighting. Of course the Wonder T is not suggesting I go out and get blind drunk and then have s*x! She said she wouldn’t have said that if I was still stuck in old patterns of misusing alcohol – or s*x. But right here, right now, I’m ok on both of those fronts. She said “there’s nothing wrong with a bit of Dutch courage – just like there’s nothing wrong with a bit of v@lium to get you through a plane trip.” I agree with her.

    She has only commented on s*x with this guy in the context of discussions that we have already had (Wonder T and I, though Nice Guy and I have also talked about it). I agree that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with waiting. I don’t think there is any “norm”, Cat – it’s what’s right for two people at a point in time. I’m not necessarily saying I’m ready, but it is on the agenda.

    She only suggested romantic books and movies so I could get a sense of the connection between people. I don’t have any friends who can explain this to me. Nice Guy and I both feel like we’ve known each other forever – we have to keep reminding ourselves that we haven’t. She said that since time began – since Greek tragedies – people have written about chemistry, love, love at first sight (whatever it is) in these terms and, from her experience, people who say they feel like they’ve known each other forever are often onto a good thing. She may just be boosting my confidence on that front, I don’t know, but this is such new territory for me, I feel completely out of my depth. Don’t panic, I’m not about to start spending my weekends reading romance novels or watching schmaltzy movies!

    The symphony was wonderful – the most magnificent horn solo EVER! 🙂

  4. I’m sorry Kerro, I didn’t mean to attack you or the advice from Wonder Therapist, but I realise that this is how my comment reads.

    Take care,

  5. I love your therapist, but I think she’s dead wrong about it being OK to have “a bit of Dutch courage” in this context, or any context that involves initial sexual contact for a sexual abuse survivor who is trying to heal from, and change, past behavior that echoes and mirrors abusive patterns.

    You’re a lot less likely to be fully in touch with your body after even one drink, and therefore much less likely to be able to explain or even understand where your own boundaries are regarding types and styles of touch and sexual contact. You are much more likely to not recognize what triggers a physically pleasant experience to suddenly turn into a nightmare.

    Trust imparts courage. If your partner knows you have sensitivities, that’s more likely to genuinely relax you and give you courage. You don’t have to tell him exactly what happened; I had sex with the Amazon before telling her about my DID,but she did know I’d been assaulted in college, and that sometimes I’d have PTSD-type memories that might make me react in an unusual way. This was important to tell her, because she is highly sensitive, and unlike any of my past partners, she’d be likely to notice and care if the quality of my presence with her were to change.

    Valium to get through a plane trip is not, in my opinion, a valid parallel. You’re not contemplating a conscious, intentional, ongoing relationship with the plane. 🙂

  6. I forgot to say — I’m thrilled for you that you’re experiencing such a positive connection; it’s wonderful, and I can say from personal experience that it’s worth working through all the new challenges this will bring up for you.

    It might or might not help, when Nice Guy says something nice that you feel yourself internally negating, to think of parallels between what he says, and what other supportive people say to you, to bolster the idea that maybe it’s the truth. This can be hard to do in the moment, but if you think later of something he said that you wanted to push away as untrue, and just examine that moment … and look at how his opinion of you aligns with the opinions of other people whose opinion you value, it might be useful.

  7. Hey, Kerro –

    I’m so glad things are heading in a more pleasant direction in several areas of your life! Cool!

    Ya’ know . . . I’ve read through the comments . . . I hear what you saying about the context in which your therapist make the “Dutch courage” and sex comment . . . but, I gotta go with the majority here . . .

    If you are needing “courage” supplied by an external source, then, in my humble opinion, it’s too soon to be having sex. I think a good clue to your readiness is your comfort level.

    What about just cuddling?

    Just my two cent’s worth . . . either way, I’m tickled for you!

    – Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

  8. No, don’t just get drunk and have sex. That tells him you don’t care that he’s been respecting you and your needs. 6 Days 7 Nights is a cute love story…

  9. Hmm, I think I’ll stay out of the drinking and sex controversy because I am not an abuse survivor and have no words of advice. I do however get myself in trouble when I drink sometimes.

    But I want to say that I think it is wonderful that you have found a nice guy, whether or not you have sex with him. You deserve a nice guy.

  10. Hi Kerro, just wanted to see if you’re doing ok. You didn’t sound as if you came out fighting, and I hope my comment didn’t sound attacking – apologies if it did. Just wanted to let you know that I’m on your side, and I’m certainly not anti T…. was just concerned about you and also thinking that Nice guy seems…well, nice, and that he might understand waiting if you wanted to wait…..Such a hot topic for all of us, it seems.

  11. Sorry I’m late to the table on your posts… I agree with the others. Getting drunk and having sex sounds very disconnected and maybe leave you feeling a bit out of control. You may regret it. But, who knows, maybe the Wonder Therapist was joking some.

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