I wholeheartedly agree with the last paragraph you wrote Tracy! Thank you Joanna for providing us with this site, and to the wonderfully supportive people I've met here!
We don't have Thanksgiving on this side of the pond, so Thursday will just be another day here, but I enjoyed the sentiments of your blog Joanna.
As I'm reflecting upon my last 2 years in therapy, ready to terminate next week, I actually had a moment of realisation when I was writing last week, about that tiny spark ...that when I started therapy, that spark was sooo tiny, that it was virtually non-existent, and I couldn't find it...
...my therapist would point things out to me, to try to be helpful, and all I could feel from them was her backing my mother in telling me how inadequate I was...I can see in hindsight that I needed that spark to anchor myself onto, to allow me to use those comments from my therapist constructively, as they were intended to be, and to nurture that spark and grow... but it was elusive, and my therapist tried everything - I couldn't even sit with my eyes closed in her office - it was too dangerous, I could recollect a place I felt safe or even imagine one - because that place didn't exist for me, I couldn't role play, I couldn't talk about my ED cos I was too ashamed, I flinched every time she moved, and that made me feel like I was "damaged", like I was a freak
At one point she even told me that she was "stuck", she'd tried everything with me, and we just couldn't make any progress, and it was my concern for her, that I hoped she didn't feel inadequate, and that provided some kind of connection, because I knew too well how it felt to feel like you could do nothing right and that you were a failure, and I needed to make sure that she didn't have to feel that, I didn't want her to have to feel how I felt...
...and I did fall in love with her, I look back on those journal entries with a certain fondness, because it was a wonderful time that showed me so much. I knew about transference, and I knew it would never be reciprocated in any way, and more than that I knew that my own values meant that I would never want to pursue something that I was certain the other person didn't want... and I learned to love her in a way that was borne out of complete respect, that didn't need anything in return, that as long as I believed she was happy, then I was happy too....and it was just the most serene, amazing feeling, to feel that for someone. It was the first time I'd ever felt that, but I think that's what *love* really is.
And I will never forget the day I spent the whole session explaining to her about this thing I was experiencing that I had never experienced before in my life, that I suspected was love, and how I was scared in case I went my whole life and never felt it again... and I never once said it was about her, but she obviously knew it was, and at the end of the session, she asked me "and who is this directed at? who is the object of this love?" and I had to say "you"
But I knew, that in learning to love her in such a way that needed nothing from her, that I had also started to learn to love myself...I had found my spark, I was real, I was alive, I was a living, breathing, feeling human being... my eyes were being opened to new and more beautiful things every day - things that had always been there, but that I'd never noticed or paid enough attention to, things I'd never viewed in beautiful light before.