First of all--before I forget:
The Red Rubber Ball.
I was in the kind of relationships where the "loved one" would constantly find fault with me. They'd know just which buttons to push to get me all wrapped up in defending myself against false accusations, insults, lies, and blame.
After the kids went to bed one night, one of these arguments ensued...for several hours. He finally went off to bed...feeling the victor in this endless battle. I felt drained and baffled. How could he not know who I really am? How could he say those things to me? How did I end up, in just a matter of months, in another marriage where I am defending myself all the time and I feel totally misunderstood and alone?
I was feeling pretty darn sorry for myself as I curled up on the pantry floor. As he snored, I cried...as silently as I could. With the first marriage, he was so seldom home and we so seldom had conversations that the insults and disgust was spread out infrequently compared to this endless barrage. This was not the man I fell in love with. This was not the man I thought I married. How could I be so foolish and, obviously, not even capable of seeing who they really were?
Crying in a ball on the pantry floor I got one of those "instant information" things from GA. I've had them enough times in my life that I know to pay attention. ;)
I watched this picture of my husband and I fighting. He threw a hard, little, red, rubber ball directly at my chest--hit me, knife sharp, right in the heart--and, when I went to defend myself, I was actually tossing the ball right back into his hands--and he would slam it into my chest again. This was the game.
And I wasn't supposed to defend myself anymore. I was supposed to just stand up straight--calmly--with my arms held wide open and let him hit my heart with that red rubber ball...and let it just slide off of me and roll to the floor. Don't play. No matter how much it hurts. Don't play. You know it is not true.
So, after that night, that is what I tried to do. I got sucked back in a few times, but the more I refused to play the less effective the game was for him and the easier it became for me to leave my arms wide open. No fun to play alone, I guess. And the clearer it became to me that, by attacking me, that kept the focus off of himself. I didn't have to attack him, in kind. He just felt me withdraw from the game--from him. And soon came the confessions.
So that is The Red Rubber Ball concept.
Has come in very handy many times in all sorts of relationships since then--even at work. ;)
Back to the Prologue...
It was a dark, dark year...
I still laughed, but I think I must have sounded more like one of those tough, hardened bar maids in the old west. Distant, joyless, sarcastic, defeated by life.
Once again, it was Dagan who changed my perspective. I noticed that I just couldn't teach my young boy the truth. That it was a dog eat dog world, that's it's a horrible place where you can't trust a word anybody says, that everyone is ultimately out for themselves, that we are all selfishly motivated...etc, etc. I couldn't get the words to come out of my mouth and into his ears...
Why? (I can never leave one of my whys alone--LOL!)
Did that mean I didn't really believe it? I loved my son, didn't I? I wanted to protect him. Why couldn't I teach him how to protect himself in this bleak and evil world? Teach him the way it really is out there? What was my selfish motive? It had to be selfish, right?
In the meantime, while these questions were going round in my head, a couple of people who were close to me were so very concerned about me that they finally convinced me to go in for counseling. I sat in her office and told her the facts of my life story (took many visits, as you can imagine--LOL!). But when she was up to speed, I had filled her in on what I had learned from the different experiences, and I wanted to talk about God and good and evil and how do you live down here...religion of any kind was off limits. She decided that I had such an emotionally traumatic life that I had become detached from my emotions and needed to go to a women's counseling group. I disagreed. Told her that when I cry, I cry alone. That I had felt these things and I had already cried about them, examined them, turned them inside out. She did say she'd never had a client who did the self-analyzing and probing that I did (see--not normal), but said there was nothing more she could do for me and sent me off to this woman's group for 12 weeks.
Ten to fourteen women showed up each week to sit in a big circle in our folding chairs. Every week we went around the circle and the women would each tell their stories and crumble into pieces. And if they were close and didn't crumble, the counselor prodded them until they did. Other women would pat them on the back and give them tissues. Judging from the woman in charge, the goal seemed to be to actually re-experience the traumatic event with great emotion and tears. Now, don't get me wrong. This is an excellent and necessary thing for people who have not ever dealt with those events. Some of these women had obviously never had anyone to talk to, had never thought about the whys, had never revisited the events, never pondered, never grappled with their life, you know? My heart went out to them. But I thought we should be focusing much more on the whys and the what to do about it in the future?
It took three weeks to get around the circle to me. My turn. By this time I understood why my original counselor thought I needed to go to this group--thought I wasn't in touch with my emotions. If this is what was "normal"--she was absolutely correct. I was not normal. I do not need or want pity or sympathy. Crying, for myself, is a very personal thing...and being there in this group made me realize that when I do cry (especially for myself) it is soul level crying. Much easier for me to cry for someone else. That is, why I seldom cry over my life and, if I do, it's between me and God, you know? Comes from my "safe place" and that is private. Up to me to choose who to share that with, if anybody.
Needless to say, I was a great disappointment to the tissue ladies and visibly frustrating to the prodding counselor. I have no problem telling anything about my life--and no problem not even being tempted to cry about it as I tell you. They have already settled into my core. Once I have deeply experienced, wallowed, searched, examined, shredded, wailed, evaluated, absorbed, and gleaned everything I can learn from whatever it was--then it is part of my past. Available to me at any time for even deeper knowledge and guidance, but--been there, done that. If I could have talked about what was actually bothering me right then--good and evil and god and life--I may have easily cried. That was present--unresolved--raw. But I discovered, just as in the individual counseling sessions, we were not allowed to talk about anything remotely spiritual or religious.
The group counselor called the individual counselor who called me--to tell me I could come back to her after the group sessions were over. I thought I was going to cry out of frustration!! LOL!
I lasted five weeks in group. Watched and listened as they went around the circle again...nothing new, nothing learned, just reliving the pain--over and over. Discovered during the coffee and cookie sessions afterwards that a lot of these women went from group to group to group and had been going for years!
I thanked both of the counselors. Told them that I learned that my issues were not just about what happened and how I felt. They were all about much deeper whys and were absolutely between me and God.
I decided that if I was going to teach Dagan the truth, to the best of my ability, then I needed a better idea what it was. I had to closely examine evil--hatred--selfishness...which led me on a hunt for unconditional love...
To be continued...