She sat in her chair notepad shut. We had gotten past the “I may need to take a few notes, if that is ok” part of the session and were moving deeper. “I want this to be a safe place where you can get support and explore these feelings. We can discover what it is that makes you happy; help you communicate what it is that you need; and help you live life instead of escaping into the computer or sleep.”
“I need to feel loved.” It is a simple statement; yet so very complicated. Feeling loved has, throughout the years, been something that has been severely lacking in my life.
As a child I must have been loved, though I have very few memories of that time. What I do remember is pain. I remember when positive attention came only through doing what was required of me. I am sure that my parents thought whatever it was they were doing to me was best for their daughter. Though I was not the person, they wished I was. I never felt accepted; sometimes I was barely tolerated. They did their best to break my spirit; to try to get me to conform; to give the appearance of having their values.
I remember one fight vividly where my mother blurted out in anger and disgust, “We tried for 6 years to have a child and look what we ended up with.” My father, later tried to excuse her; that she didn’t mean it; it was in the heat of the moment. But that was the day that the walls around my heart became a permanent structure.
Walls, or barriers, had already been there; defending against the school bullies who found an overly intelligent, uncoordinated, mousy female with glasses an easy target. Never let them see you cry, had become a mantra as early as 7 years old.
“We all want to feel loved,” she affirmed, “there is nothing wrong with that.”
My eyes began to tear. My walls have been crumbling; my emotions, both positive and negative have become overwhelming. I can no longer contain the sadness or the loneliness in my soul. That is what led me to face my fear of therapists in the first place.
“But why is this happening now??”
“I don’t know,” she said, “but we can figure that out together. Could it be that this relationship means more to you than previous ones?”
“I’m in love with him,” I admitted. Oh I have loved others (and still do), but other than at the birth of my children, I have never felt so deeply that my heart refuses to be caged.
But I am afraid; afraid that I am not good enough to be with him; afraid that if he knows the depth of my feelings, he will back off; afraid that he will never feel the same way about me that I do about him.
The phrase “I love you” terrifies me. Not so much in saying it. I do feel it. The walls cracked when my children were born. But in being able to truly believe it. I am afraid that his love will turn out to be the same lip service as those who came before. My parents: whose “I love you” was always conditional or my last long term relationship: who two days before he dumped me for another woman claimed that not only did he love me, but that I was his touchstone and that I gave him the motivation to turn his dreams into reality.
I need to be able to feel that his love is real. That he wants to spend time with me, not just as one of the group. I want him to tell me how important I am to him; that he doesn’t ever want to lose me; to look me in the eyes and tell me that he loves me; to hold me tight and never let me go.
It is actions more so than anything that show me love. Attention and affection; spending quality time together; being held. And even then, I am afraid to allow myself to be loved.
“You need to allow yourself to be open. You need to be able to give yourself what you so desperately want from others, “she said. “That is something we can work on together.”