30 DAYS OF FEELING – DAY 14
Schema therapy is about healing the child within yourself, about bringing her (or him) back to life and help her change and grow. It is a kind of re-parenting therapy, in which you yourself, together with your psychologist rewrite the painful moments of your childhood, kind of showing you that you are not to blame for the bad thing that happened, making you believe that things should have been much more fair for you.
In my therapy, my psychologist is like an uncle I have never had but now holds my hand when we enter my memories together. He will talk some sense into my parents or says the things I wanted to hear as a little girl, the things that I needed but never got from my parents. My psychologist, dresses up as my uncle, is there to tell me that I can believe in myself and I am allowed to speak up, and that is how we try to heal the future me, by helping the girl I used to be.
To be honest, the whole experience of this therapy is as vague as the description implies. It’s almost as if my psychologist and I are trying to write the script of a movie together or something. We both close our eyes, and imagine me as a young girl, we add details like the weather, the color of the objects that are around me, the clothes of the people that are there with us, the material of the floor we stand on or the walls that surround us.
Then the story starts and things become even more hazy. I experience my memory as my young self as well as my current self. My parents are there as the were but also able to question themselves. My psychologist who of course has never been a part of my original memories now feels like an uncle who has always been there to support me. The boundary between my true memory and the script of our story disappears, the little girl I used to be merges with the woman I am today and this whole fantasy we are creating feels as real as the green chair I’m sitting in.
When we finish our story I feel both confused and relieved. It was great to have my uncle next to me as a child, it was amazing to be able to make my parents listen to me and leave a once painful memory with a feeling of happiness, relieved that I was finally understood and valued.
But it wasn’t true, it was just a made up story and this confuses me extremely. Maybe even more because my mother would say that only the original story itself is already untrue and I am afraid of completely loosing grip on reality. How can something that I know is complete bullshit be able to change me? How can I allow something that is no more than a lie to effect the emotions I feel due to my own past?
I guess it is because I finally turn my bad memory into one that is fair to me. I mean, I still see the original event as the truth, but this truth never made sense to me, I felt pain that was never acknowledged and so I never acknowledged this pain myself. Rewriting the memory might tell a story that never really happened, but at the same time validates my true feelings, validates me.
There are always two sides to a story, but my memories only tell my parents’ version. Their interpretation of my feelings has become my truth and my own side to it stopped existing, mostly because I was too young to keep believing in myself.
The stories I make up in this green chair might not have happened in reality but are what should have been my truth. The imaginary movie my psychologist helps me write justifies my side of my childhood story. My young child self finally gets the voice she always deserved but never developed because my parents left me no space to do so.
I never imagined mental health to be so complicated. I always assumed that there is one truth in this world, one good for all of us and therapy is no more than leaning how to adjust to this global norm. But it is far more complicated. My reality has always been the unfair idea my mother projected on me, my real truth never existed, I was never allowed to tell my story. But I am allowed to go back and listen to the girl I used to be, I am allowed to listen to her truth and validate her reality, rewrite her ending, because that is what she deserved all along.