Saturday, August 18, 2007

Therapeutic walk...

I went for a walk this morning after breakfast - just around my in-laws' sub-development (which has a few cul-de-sac's. ;-)

Anyway, I started thinking about what I'll tell John at my next appointment. Of course, I'll start by recapping my conversation with Johnny.

And then I started processing my thoughts/feelings about it.

My brother gave me the family line - "Hide everything that isn't perfect; protect the family before yourself; preserve the status quo at all costs." His qualification, "Well, if you need to stir things up, then do it," is a nod to the fact that I am an adult and need to decide for myself, however he would prefer that I keep this between Tom and me. Don't upset the status quo - no matter the costs to you. Sacrifice yourself for the good of the family.

Well, I'm done with doing that.

Besides, I don't think my brother is giving my parents enough credit. I think that if I spin it right, my parents can handle it. If I make sure to say that:

-> Tom confirmed that this did happen.

-> I didn't do anything wrong and yet, my life was nearly destroyed by it - I almost lost my marriage; I could have died from my eating disorder. (And, no, I'm not being melodramatic here, mom.)

-> I hate that I feel like I'm living a lie. It hurts too much to have to keep this secret.

-> I talked to Johnny about this - he advised me not to tell you both, not to upset you, not to stir things up over something that happened decades ago between Tom and me. But I don't think that is fair to any of us. I don't think he is giving you enough credit.

-> Tom and I are civil when necessary - I don't want to destroy the family over this, but I am very angry at Tom and probably always will be. And I wanted you to know why.

And then I need to ask them what I need from them... support, understanding, whatever it is that will help me (I haven't given it a lot of thought yet.)

I still need to mull this over some more - and definitely talk to John about this at my next appointment (a week from Tuesday - since he's on vacation next week.) John has a wonderful way of seeing other options I may not have thought about and he is definitely my go-to man when I need to spin things carefully.

I wish he had been my therapist when I told my parents about my eating disorder - I may have gotten a completely different reaction from my mom if I had worded it differently... *

Oh well, I have John on my side now. That's what matters.

* I don't think I ever wrote about this experience... When I first got into therapy, I called my mom and read her a letter that I had written about how I seeking therapy for a relapse of the eating disorder I had in college (but was undiagnosed back then.) She asked me why I couldn't "snap out of it" like I did in college. Then I told her how I had always wanted to please her, be loved by her, be perfect. She told me that I misinterpreted everything.
I caved at that point - and gave up.


carrie said...


You know what I think is really cool right now? You're doing this for YOU. Not because you need your parents to understand (though, no doubt, that would be nice) but because you need to speak your truth. To hell with them and how they might feel. You need them to know your experience. And I sense that you're beginning to let go of your attachment to the outcome.

Of course you'll have feelings about it. But it helps me sometimes to speak my peace and leave it at that. I know what I said and what I meant and there are things that I wished had turned out differently, but I've accepted it.

Good luck.


t said...

I'm really amazed by your strength. You're a wonderful woman and you deserve to sort through this on your own terms. XOXO, Tara

disordered girl said...

People don't always give us what we need from them when we tell them what is going on with us... I'm sorry for some of the experiences you are having/have had with your brother and mother. Take care of you first, whatever you decide that means, and then what they have to offer or not offer in the end will be OK. Stay strong!

Jeanne said...

Yeah, I do need to speak my truth. And yeah, I would like my parents to understand, to not disown me, to be supportive (gasp of shock at the thought of that ever happening. But I agree - sometimes it helps to just say it - to end the secrets, to just be me.

Thanks! I do deserve to have this all sorted out, to live my life.

You're right - not everyone is capable of giving us what we need. I've learned to lower my expectations when it comes to my family. You're right - if I do what I need to do to take care of me, it really doesn't matter what the other side's reactions are. I've taken care of me.
Thanks, dg!

æ said...

good morning. thinking of you today, and all the big things you've done recently. wow, jeanne. wow.


Jeanne said...

Thanks, ae.

I'm thinking of you, too... for all the big things you've done. wow, as well. 8-)