Broken mirrors


Letter to my therapist DS (Deep Soul)… I feel icky for sharing my insecurities with you. Being aware of my self-doubt and baggage tonight made me feel weak, gross and broken. I said that when I looked into a mirror, I felt flawed and like I needed to be perfect. After our session, I feel sick with shame. I have so many things to be grateful for, like my health and things like having legs and arms and functioning lungs. Instead, voicing some of this toxicity inside makes me feel like an ungrateful, sick person.

I just feel so tired. You saw my confusion tonight. I was trying to answer your gentle probing questions about these feelings around my body. I don’t know what to believe. I feel conflicted. I don’t know how to explain this. Some days I feel presentable, pretty even. I feel calm and strong. Other days I feel revolting unless I bath, clean up, put make up on and dress well. My skin literally crawls with revulsion unless I do this. My mom and sister’s joking remarks about my big bum size, small boobs, paleness and gawkiness while I was growing up have no doubt been internalized. As have the insults from idiotic bullies when I was in school. I still look in the mirror today for signs that these flaws are visible. These routines and habits are like a safety blanket. I feel more confident when I have a presentable exterior.

You hear this but I wonder whether you are confused because you see a relatively normal body in front of you, not someone overweight or underweight. You see someone with makeup, good clothes and a whiff of perfume. I make sure I am this way for therapy because it makes me feel a bit more self-assured, a bit more like-able, a little less f-ed up. Looking good is part of my identity out in the world. Often, I contemplate pitching up at therapy with a bare face, greasy hair and baggy clothing. No doubt you would remain professional and not say a thing. But I would be wondering about your reaction on the inside.

I cannot shake off this yucky feeling after seeing you. I feel like I am less in your eyes for sharing these concerns. I wanted to be strong, at peace, even desirable as a healthy woman in your presence. There is an intense urge to switch off and separate from all these thoughts.

Perhaps it comes down to something I told you tonight… As a major attachment figure, I feel little embers of self-acceptance glow when you truly see me and accept anything I bring to the session. I told you it feels like I can only find self-love through this mirroring. The deep compassion and care I easily extend unto others is something so inaccessible to myself. Outside of therapy, It mostly feels like there is only my cracked mirror offering a pretty warped reflection.

Right now, I don’t know what you think of all of this. Yes, I could see in the session that you were empathizing. I guess I wondered how you REALLY felt. And what seemed so present and comforting in the hour seems so far away now.

May I gather the strength to work through these feelings this week without giving into the need to email you in the hope you will reassure me that I am worthy, just as I am. I know that will never happen. It is too sickening to think about how much I want that reassurance and know I’ll never get it. To email you in between the session would be a failure in my eyes. It would be confirmation that I had finally broken down and broken your rules. It would confirm I am just another needy girl.

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4 thoughts on “Broken mirrors

  1. I can identify with nearly everything you have written. The disgust at your own reflection, the desire to know your therapist’s personal opinion of you. Whether he finds you attractive and desirable or if you’ve tarnished his ability to feel this way by exposing all your vulnerabilities. I also know what it is to want so badly to email, just to hear some words of comfort from the other end to get you through the week, and simultaneously feeling ashamed that you can’t get through one measly week without contact. Stay strong and be kind to yourself.

    • Jay says:

      Thank you for these words. I feel a little less alone and outrageous in what I’m going through at the moment. I will do my best to stay strong and look at ways of giving myself what I need. I hate transference and its implications sometimes.

  2. Penny Lane says:

    Can you not be yourself in front of your therapist? Be comfortable? Physically I mean? Or is dressing up smartly how you always present?

    • Jay says:

      Thanks for your questions of clarity Penny. DS is super amazing and he always does his best to make me comfortable, safe and welcome. I’m afraid that these feelings are all about me and my past. His space allows me to be myself but the problem is that being vulnerable and showing my “badder’ sides feels dangerous and risky, despite everything DS does and says. It is so hard to explain. It’s easy to show my humour and my “lighter” side.

      I get extremely anxious revealing things about me which may make him change his mind about me. In my head, showing up in this way would mean he might leave me or withdraw the support which I so need.

      I think I dress smartly as a defence. As skewed as it sounds, if I look good and feel good, it will be harder for him to leave me.

      Does any of that make sense?

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