Some part of me said to my conscious self: Jesse wants to leave me…
Of course my rational mind, aware of the unlikeliness of that, dismissed the thought. But the fearful one would not stay banished. Instead she took residence in my stomach, tying it in a knot. And finally I was forced to look at her some (though I avoided it as much as I could).
She’s the one that sabotages my attempts to be positive. She believes “If I want something, I won’t get it.” She’s the one acting out when I ask Jesse for something I need in a way destined to fail…
In therapy I told Jesse and our therapist Daniel about her. Jesse ’s response frightened me a lot. He accused me of saying one thing and doing another; of always acting from that fearful one. That’s why he can never believe what I say. I listened to what he said, and asked myself, what if this is true? What a crazy person I must be if I do this! I had been alarmed enough to see how negative the fearful one could get; now I began to wonder how much control she had over me, who thought I could cope with reality okay.
Only much later did I see that I took in too much. Jesse was exaggerating, as usual, and the fearful me accepted his extreme view. Jesse frequently provokes that part of me. She/I get threatened, and “defend” myself in turn with denials, projection, exaggeration, attacks, polarized thinking and guilt trips—all of which sound completely rational to the defensive fearful one.
It’s an incredibly vicious cycle. The paradox is that
- yes, Jesse is doing something very crazy-making. He is refusing to see the wiser self in me. How can I interact with him sanely when the only me he believes is a crazy me?
- So it’s completely reasonable for me to feel defensive when he attacks me or cuts me down like that.
- On the other hand, as soon as I start feeling defensive, then I what I do in response is crazy, and will never get me out of this cycle.
Somehow, I need to learn to notice when I’m feeling defensive, and find something to do that doesn’t buy into the cycle! Possibilities:
- agreeing with him before I disagree (we already agreed that one sounds good)
- how about telling him I feel defensive? don’t feel too sanguine about that; he of course thinks any difference from his thinking is irrational, and interprets irrationality as craziness
- Daniel’s idea: agree together to deal with each other from “wiser self” — I already tentatively agreed with that one but Jesse didn’t give any feedback on it.