Put Down the Rope

I’m baaaaaaack!!!

My hiatus is over and I’m back and feeling ready to write!  I know because the “feelings journal” I’ve been keeping for the therapist is turning into way more words than pictures.  When I hit a full-page of just writing – I knew I had to start posting again.

Again – this shit is cheap therapy and you guys are the best therapists there are.

Speaking of therapy (nice segue don’t you think) I adore my new therapist and I think the combination of me being really ready to do the work and him being a good fit for me is my ticket to a little peace of mind.  The key to it all will, of course, be whether or not I can be brutally honest with him AND myself.

Time will tell.

For  now however, I wanted to share an “ah-ha” moment I had the other day because…well…it rocked my psyche.  For reals yo.  Like most alcoholics, I have that little voice in my head that is constantly telling me I’m not good enough.  Couple that with depression that brings on its own version of self deprecation and it’s no wonder when I look in the mirror I really don’t like what I see…let alone love.

So I’m talking through this when Joe uses a tug of war analogy.  He says that it feels to him like my “monster” is on the other side of the rope and that I’m constantly trying to “beat” it and win the tug of war.  I pull and pull and sometimes I get ahead and sometimes the monster gets ahead but the bottom line is no one ever wins.  He said, “Have you ever tried to put down the rope?”

I stopped, shut my face and just stared at him for what seemed like 10 solid minutes but was probably more like 10 solid seconds.  Then I said, “But that feels like quitting…or failure.”  (This would be the part in a TV show where the soulful music plays and we fade to commercial on a shot of my face.  I do have a flair for the dramatic don’t you think?)

Anyway, we chatted a little longer, he gave me some homework and I left.  And ever since I haven’t been able to get that conversation out of my mind.

Put down the rope.

Just put down the rope.

Hmmm…

The bottom line is that this whole tug of war thing is actually a fight with myself.  A version of me on one side of the rope and a different version on the other side.  There are no winners or losers.  Either way I win and lose.

Well when you put it that way I look like a fucking idiot if I don’t put down the damn rope.

THEN I started thinking about the version of me on the other side of the tug of war pit.  The first visual that popped into my head was a four-year old version of me.  A version with ratty hair and a dirty face and filthy clothes.  A little girl who no one cares for or loves. 

This little girl has never been cared for properly and has never been taught to express herself correctly.  As such, when she’s upset, or frightened, lonely or feeling too much she says things like, “You’re ugly!”  “You’re fat!”  “I hate you!”  “No fair!”  And all of those other things four-year olds say when they are trying to tell you how they feel but don’t have the words.

Because they are four.  Because they are me…at four…who never progressed beyond that because no one taught me HOW to process those emotions in a healthy way.  So I stuffed them down and that little girl got angrier and more frustrated and no matter how I tried to externally soothe her (food, alcohol, shopping, chocolate) she remained in there waiting till the time she could start her temper tantrum once again.

A 49 year temper tantrum.

Fighting her never worked.  It just left me exhausted and unhappy.  Arguing with her never worked.  It just left me confused.  (Have you ever tried to reason with or argue with a four-year old?  Yeah.)  So why not try something new?

This past week I’ve been practicing putting down the rope.  I’ve been meditating on loving this child of mine.  For now just walking with her hand in mine, building a relationship and establishing trust.  It feels wonderful.  I’m letting my caring side take over and treating her the way I’d treat any four-year old.  With compassion and kindness. 

With love.

Now THAT’s progress people.

Namaste

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32 thoughts on “Put Down the Rope

  1. Yes yes yes.
    My therapist forever circles back to unconditional self acceptance. To just being. To put down the rope and stop trying to win, fix, improve, change.
    To nurture myself with care.
    There’s got to be a lot to it, because I look at the person In The mirror, the one I used to hate, and I love her now. Even more, I like her.

    Therapists are pretty smart.

    Anne

  2. worth the wait, for both you and the reader. Welcome back for sure.

    I have to tell you. I am lucky enough to not be recovering from anything, but we all have our daily battles that we go through. If you have read my blog, just the daily life as a husband and dad with three daughters is a constant work in progress.

    Your ability to express your feelings in your writing to someone like me who has no idea what it is like to walk in those shoes is impressive.

    I just wanted to tell you I appreciate your fight and admire your will to keep moving forward. Keep up the good work.

  3. I loved this Sherry. Put down the rope…that can apply to so many parts of our life…wow. I think this will stick with me for a while….this idea of surrender and acceptance. Of growth. This ain’t failure or weakness…I think the true strength comes from letting go of that rope and taking on those emotions…that take cojones!

    Welcome back…you were missed 🙂

    1. Awww thanks Paul!

      I think it really brought home the word “surrender”. That word always felt like giving up or failing also. I think I really understand it more now.

      Thanks – Sherry

  4. Wow, wow, wow! (Wow enough to make a lurker comment!)

    After reading that I pictured myself walking hand-in-hand with 4-year-old me… Too powerful to process right now. I believe that I will be thinking about this for a while…

    Thank you

  5. What I love is that you realize who was on the other end of the rope. That’s big. And that you’re working on accepting the part of yourself who is still that little girl. Four year olds are confounding. My daughter is four so I know and I also know that resistance is futile. But, there’s a part of me that keeps resisting because I’m no quitter and if there’s fight left in me I think there’s still a chance. I’m going to remember to put down the rope. 🙂

    1. You know, it’s funny but I was that way a lot when my kids were little. I chose my battles with them well and put down the rope often (which I’m sure you do with your kids too). It’s nice to be able to start figuring it out for myself.

      Thanks for stopping by Karen!
      Sherry

  6. I can’t put into words how much I love this post, and how happy I am that I stumbled upon your blog! It’s admiring to see how you battle with your problems and especially how you quit to leave your kids scareless, I’ve seen how hard that can be.

    Thank you for putting this out here. 🙂

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