Sometimes you just need help seeing the obvious. A good T session can be much like a Seeing Eye Dog, helping you find your way and navigate the dark and lonely path of healing. Last evening, I had such a session. We discussed this incident here.
Three points to me for raising the subject and discussing it. I did not go into the gritty details as I did here, nor did I use all that language. Writing it out was one thing, saying it another. But I didn't feel the need to go into those details given the several days perspective I had on the incident. What I was really struggling with was an explanation as to why I would act so differently in the moment - why the split between Strong Attack Animal and Cowardly Hiding Girl?
The Answer is ...................... Shame.
I wasn't ashamed of my feelings about politics, racial issues, injustice in the world, legal topics or anything like that. I wasn't ashamed of defending my property and my stuff. I was ashamed of my body and the abuse, my reactions and lack of reaction. So I didn't speak up. Shame silenced my otherwise mouthy response.
Well duh. Why couldn't I see that?
We talked about my daughter's mouthiness and about the times when she acts different. Mouthy at home. Angel at school. Outgoing when meeting new kids, shy when she accidentally does something. They other day she accidentally ran into someone at the party and hurt them. I called her over and reminded her to go down the inflatable slide on her bottom and one at a time. I pointed out that she had run into her friend and needed to say Sorry. She hid and cried. I explained it was an accident - she hadn't even realized she did it. Why did she cower? Shame. Did she have anything to be ashamed of? Absolutely not - it was an accident. Not her fault.
My daughter had misplaced shame....................like me. Woah. What a connection. I had no reason to feel shame over what happened. Not my fault. Shame silenced me like it had my daughter. Silenced me when I had no responsibility for what happened.
And this, my friends, is the value of therapy, and why we pay trained professionals. Sometimes we need someone to point out the obvious. What a freeing feeling. And a lesson learned - next time I'm struggling with something, I need to make an appointment and talk about it. Because there might just be an obvious answer I'm missing.