Monday, November 12, 2007

before the knife


i had a session with my therapist last friday.
how perfect, before entering the great beyond, to see that my current issues could all be set at the feet of my childhood church upbringing. it's good to get all this out in the open before potentially shuffling off this mortal coil.

Dr. C- asked me, 'why can't you make yourself vulnerable to your partners?'

i shrugged. 'well, i don't really see that they have their shit together; if they don't have their shit together, then how can they help me?'

she said, 'harsh.'

i said, 'true. but i didn't have any really good models of male competence when i was growing up.' i explained briefly about growing up in a very hierarchical environment. 'my dad's church was filled with men in positions of power who were so stupid, so incompetent i just felt...contemptuous of them. i thought that if i showed how extremely competent and talented i was, then their whole thinking about women's natural inferiority would be exposed as bogus. it made me hyper competitive against them. my thinking was - is - you don't make yourself vulnerable to an opponent.'

'interesting.' she wrote something down.

and so i told her the story of taking one of my dad's classes on hermeneutics when i was in college. i was the only woman and the rest of the students were seminary students or young ministers with churches already under their charge. halfway through the class, my father said the men in the class came to him and said my presence made them uncomfortable and could he tell me not to come to class anymore.

'how did that make you feel?'

'angry,' i said. 'they couldn't even tell me to my face; they had to go to my dad and have him deliver the message. fucking infuriated me.'

'and your father? how did you feel about his asking you to stop going to the class?'
'angry. i was his daughter. and he asked me to take a back seat to spare the feelings of men he knew were second rate.'
'he didn't defend you, take up for you.'
'no, he didn't.'

she wrote in her notebook again.

at the end of the session, Dr. C- gave me my instructions for the next session (after i am suitably mobile again.) apparently, it's all about examining messages i received about myself by the time i was 10, making myself open to accept help from friends (as practice) and inviting B- to thanksgiving dinner.

yeah. i might have to fail that assignment.
...
anyway, cross your fingers for me. i should be back home on the weekend and the next 5 weeks will be full of drug-addled reflections and new therapeutic revelations.

4 comments:

Orange said...

There was a guy at my college who designed his own major. Quite possibly the world's only undergrad hermeneutics major!

I'm a little mad at your dad for caving to the men who couldn't handle having you in their class. I would call them pussies, but that's an insult to pussies.

Hey, do you have someone who'll be looking after you in the daytime while you're recovering from surgery and having a hard time moving around? If not, why don't you let me bring you an early lunch one day? (See therapist assignment #2.)

bitchphd said...

Good luck with the surgery!

And man, your dad kicked you out of class b/c of a bunch of whiny men? That seriously sucks ass.

liza said...

Chiming in with the chorus of "that sucks" re: the class thing and your dad. Made me remember that little video project from millions of years ago and your dad being appalled that we were asking guys to define manhood/masculinity. I have that tape somewhere. Some. Where?
Good healing and recovery vibes for you! I'm finally getting my shit together and getting to the post office, so you'll have a parcel waiting for you at home with PRIZES! PRIZES! Finally.

ding said...

orange: i have my Roomie, but i'm always glad to rely on the kindness of friends. (see assignment #2) clearly, i have internet access while i wait to fart (so i can get out of here) so you can email me and we can make plans!

i talked with my dad about this incident, once; he said that since it was clear that the class wasn't as important to me as it was to the men, he didn't think i'd mind. he was genuinely puzzled why this had bothered me.

liza: i so remember that video project. hilarious. and, yes, i remember our dads' old school horror that we'd dare ask the question. (we might as well have asked guys to show us their penis or something.)