therapy

I miss him

Have you ever loved someone so much it physically hurt? Well, five years ago I started hurting like that, and I’m still hurting now.

It hurts most late at night when I can’t sleep.

I am hurting because I lost him. Losing him was just unimaginably painful, even though I knew all along we couldn’t be together. I cut him completely out of my life when I lost him because even though I could see him around, the pain of seeing him would be too much.

I lost a lot of friends at the same time because I feel I can’t see anyone connected to him.

I actually fell apart over this. I’m trying really hard to put my life back together but I miss him. I talk to him when I go to bed. I cling to a handful of memories and replay them in my head, over and over and over.

I avoid everywhere I might see him. I try to think of him as dead, to get some closure… but of course, he isn’t dead. He’s very much alive and living not even half a mile from me.

When I asked him years ago if we could meet, to end it all properly, he told me he couldn’t give me closure. Why did he tell me that? Did he want to keep me as a future option in case his marriage didn’t work out? Was he actually in love with me? I will never know. We never even slept together. We did the right thing for many months, seeing each other as friends (albeit friends who admitted they had feelings), and then he nearly died, was in hospital, and it all had to stop.

I am told, in therapy, that I fell for him because I wasn’t loved as a child. I didn’t get what I needed, so I projected all my needs onto him. I’ve been hurt by men, so an infatuation that was unreciprocated was safe.

I don’t know so much. It feels like I fell in love with a man who was, for a time, a kindred spirit, a lost soul, an angry and confused person just like me.

It feels like I grew up when I fell in love. So how can that be me being a child? What if he wasn’t some reenactment of everything I never had?

What if he was just the love of my life?

 

therapy

Working through grief

When it hits you just how much you’ve lost in life, it hits hard.

Many people who end up in therapy arrive there because their coping mechanisms have broken down. They  may have been super-efficient types masking a lifetime of pain, or people who were broken by a particular incident and stayed broken.

I tried very, very hard in the early months of psychotherapy to present the face I normally show the world. I held it together, as I did through work and through life for many years. I was unemotional and articulate, when all the time my therapist was observing how disconnected I was from my feelings.

It’s true. I switched my feelings off a long time ago. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but being numb and distanced became my protection.

The more stressed I became, the more rigid my protective structure felt. I started building it in childhood when I was being abused. It grew increasingly toughened during my teens, through rape and on through an unhappy relationship, the death of my father, the loss of two babies… and the eventual loss of my health.

I have to say at this point that life hasn’t been all bad. I have a beautiful son. I have friends I love, but I haven’t been seeing them lately. I’ve not felt up to it.

The final retreat came a few years ago when I was emerging from a not very happy relationship. This man was the love of my life, but I presented to him the same face I present everyone else, and he too had layers and layers of pain hidden away. We met at the wrong time.

When I found that I couldn’t get over him, I sought help. Now, having heard myself talk empty words over many sessions, I am starting to experience feelings.

I am wondering, several months into therapy, whether I am not only grieving for him… I am mourning all my losses.