So I told my therapist about Contessa. You know, Contessa my compulsion from my last blog. I explained to her my need to personalize my compulsion, after reading a section of the “Gift of Compulsion.” I told her that I may speak to her at times. I told her that I am trying to make friends with her, but it is very difficult. I am mostly sarcastic with her or dismissive with her or I just talk at her. Contessa isn’t going to be my friend any time soon, with the way I treat her.
During this discussion my therapist asked me what Contessa needs, and suggested that I am infact diffusing my shame onto her (imagine that!). We discussed how one makes a friend, and how one would make a friend out of someone that can make life difficult, yet in need of compassion. Brilliantly, I said that Contessa needs to have someone talk to her, as oppose at her and someone who can listen. This turned to a focus on compassion. My therapist suggests I should be more compassionate with Contessa. Nope, not there yet. In fact, my book tells me that as I start to let my compulsion in and stop fighting against it, that it may get quite messy before it turns into a healthier partnership type of relationship. Ms. Moran says I will confuse this partnership as permission to indulge, throwing caution to the wind and allowing myself to give in to my compulsion without shame. What she really means is that I am to engage with my compulsion, to be conscious of them and to learn from the “wisdom” of my compulsions. It means to stop fighting my compulsions so I can see what is really going on. My therapist feels Contessa may need a mediator to help her, to help me engage with her in a productive manner. My book tells me one foundation I must have as I befriend Contessa is patience. Patience for the process. I need to be patient.
In my discovery with this thought I revealed to my therapist that I need a mediator too. My mediator needs to be low-key, a non alarmist, a good listener, not quick to judge, or judge at all. That is what I need to feel safe when working with Contessa. I am quick to shame her, before she shames me. So I am creating Sage. Sage is not only a glorious herb but it means “wisdom” and I need wisdom! Sage, another female personification, is a giver and wants to be my friend and really wants nothing in return. She just wants to be my friend. Simple. She is mild mannered, she doesn’t jump to assumptions or go to the worst case scenarios. She is present with me at all times, in the present. She comforts me with her words and calms me with her presence. She is going to help me with Contessa. She is going to facilatate my engagement with my compulsion, my Contessa.
Sage is going to ask Contessa, “let me know what is going on, why are you feeling so needy right now?” She is going to make sure that I check in with Contessa much like I do with the children I work with, in my counseling sessions with them. “How can I help you, you seem to need some help,” she may say to keep Contessa from feeling the need to be defensive. Sage is going to provide me with the feedback I do need from Contessa to help me learn “why I need numbing” and “what it is that I need to feel like it is all going to be OK.”
My homework this week is to find a moment (just one time this week) when I need to call on Sage and see what happens. Some of you may think this is quite possibly insane but I am working well with this CBT work. I need to personify the things that I want to change, I need the names, the words and the thoughts. I need the “make believe” though it will be very real for me- when the “engaging” starts. So I need to have one conversation using Sage as the facilitator and I need to eat one meal at work with my door closed, and slow music playing so I can practice my pacing when I eat. I am slowly working on practical techniques, to help with the actual actions during meals and times that I do spend with food. Doable!
For my nutrition therapist on Thursday, I need to share with her that her techniques are feeling very much like diet applications. I can’t seem to separate myself from the dieting mentality. I am struggling with shame that I am transfering onto myself when recording my food and using a food template. I will share with her that I am struggling with food shame. Wish me luck on this one!