Day 29 – Not Taking This Lying Down

You’ve got to give it to Doubt; she’s a feisty one. Most individuals would jump for joy if you told them to spend another month at the beach. But not Doubt. She gets indignant and noisy.

“You think you can just ship me off and ignore me? You think you don’t have to listen to me? I am rationality. I am the advocate for empirical proof. I keep you from going all crazy-New-Age-spiritual. You are not just kicking me out of your life so you can traipse around in fantasy land with your ‘believe the girl’ project.”

Back up.

In late June, (30 days ago) I had what was probably my 1000th therapy session with E. I was about as stuck as you can be and wondering whether I should just give up on trying to get better through therapy. E. told me pretty directly that I wasn’t going to get better as long as I allowed my doubt about fuzzy memories from the past to dominate my thinking. I was essentially telling the little girl, the child who had experienced sexual abuse, that she was a liar. How could she possibly get better in the face of that disbelief? E. challenged me to set aside a period of time in which I would commit to believing the girl and just seeing where that would take me. She said committing to a fixed period of time would keep me from having to decide every day whether I would choose to believe or not. I decided to try it, started the next day (29 days ago). I sent Doubt off on vacation.

This past month has been tremendously healing for me. It’s been intense but not nearly as painful as allowing Doubt to run the show. By writing about it every day, I’ve been able to reinforce the idea that I believe the girl, she did experience sexual abuse, and she and I can heal from her terrible experiences. Doubt has been (mostly) agreeable and kept her distance during this time.

But after I posted my decision last night to extend my commitment to believing the girl for another month, she stormed back in. Even shortly after my midnight post last night, I started to hear her. And today I kept thinking, “another month is too long,” and “I can’t really keep on believing this every day. It can’t really be true. If it were true, someone in my family somewhere along the way would have acknowledged it.”

Hm, sudden aha moment. I am going to visit my family in two weeks. My dad will be there. I have never allowed myself to believe the girl and be around him at the same time. I have no idea how to navigate having him and the girl in the same room. Just the thought of it is scary.

Maybe Doubt is not really my enemy, at least not my deliberate enemy. She is a coping mechanism who has worked hard to help me out of scary situations. Maybe her noisiness is about this upcoming visit. Doubt gives me a way to be with my father as a hyper-rational, almost emotionless adult. The problem is that in her effort to make things work for me, she chases the little girl away, which leads to different kinds of problems.

Yikes, I don’t know how I am going to manage this upcoming family visit.

13 thoughts on “Day 29 – Not Taking This Lying Down

  1. I can see how doubt would be your friend in those circumstances, but I hope you will not have need of its support for much longer… Good luck with this visit. It is so much more than you should have to endure, but I am confident you can get through it.

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    • Yes, and it won’t be all bad. I enjoy my sisters and will get to see my wonderful stepson too. So these things will help. But I do want to work with E. to think about the role of Doubt in my interaction with my father. Thanks for being so encouraging.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. For whatever the reason this makes my heart race. Oddly enough I was thinking about my cousin, the one I would like to get to know. She is my gpa’s brother’s daughter. The one with a great job, a wonderful husband and children. But she had panic and anxiety and depression and her father was an alcoholic and I think schizophrenic. And I wonder what she would have to say. I wonder if she might believe my girl.
    I hope you are able to let your girl speak. And I agree that as painful as it has been to believe the little girl that it is not as agonizing as keeping her locked away in the dungeon of our minds. The last month has been crazy and I didn’t think I was healing until I reflected back and can see how the girl actually came out in therapy and is learning to trust and talk. 💜💜 thank you so much for this gift.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Doubt is good under some circumstances, like you say. I find it better to hold things in, although of course that’s what causes things to come at me in a flood. Live with doubt for a while, the little girl needs rest too. Peace.

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  4. I don’t know about you, but I’d definitely want to talk about that in session before I went. Or someone else I trust. Someone who can give me baby steps to change – instead of relying totally on Doubt or giving it up entirely. When I talk myself out of asking, I tend to try to be all or nothing, and, boy, it gets me in trouble!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, yes, I agree. It is definitely an important topic for a therapy session before I go. In fact, every time I feel scared about it, I just tell myself, “don’t worry about it now–you can talk to E. about it next week.”

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  5. I wish you all the love and protection you may need. I wish I could give you a special shield to protect you on your upcoming family visit. Before, I hope your therapist helps you plan, and after, to process.

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  6. Thanks for this post. It helped me put another puzzle piece into place about my own situation. I really love the idea of suspending Doubt for a period of time in order to get some work done, but I can also see how Doubt can be your friend when you have to deal with the abuser(s). It took me so much of my life to finally believe myself enough to take action, but that belief feels like a fragile thing that I have to shore up all the time. I am going to think about doing something similar: sending Doubt on vacation for a while and just trying to believe the girl.

    I wish you strength and courage on your upcoming family visit. May no further harm come to you or the girl. May Doubt and your own strong self keep you safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s really good to send Doubt on a vacation. It has helped. But it’s also harder some days than others to stick firmly to believing the girl. You can see that over the course of my now 30 days of posting on this.

      Despite the ups and downs, I would very much encourage you to try it. It cannot hurt. It doesn’t mean you have to turn your family life upside down. You can just communicate about it inside yourself, or with your therapist, or on your blog. These are safe places to explore what it would mean for you to believe the girl.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the encouragement. It seems like a really great idea. I want to start at the beginning of your thirty days and read right through but I am anxious about it, as well. Will take it a bit at a time. 🙂 Be well.

        Liked by 1 person

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