Saturday, May 17, 2008

Time to Extinguish the Fantasy

Had a very eye opening counseling session this morning. I love my T. I went with 2 topics. The first was what is going on with DD’s bio father. The second was my date last week. That one is easier to sum up so I’ll talk about that first. I told T how I felt responsible for what happened and was having a hard time assigning any blame on him. She gave me a little perspective on that. But what we did dissect, which was important, were my beliefs and expectations throughout the process.

She asked me: When you made plans to go out to lunch, what were your expectations?
I said “Umm. Lunch. And ‘safe’ time spent together.”
When you saw him at the restaurant, what were you there for?
“Ummm. Lunch. And being able to spend time together that didn’t revolve around sex.”
What was your interaction like at the beginning of the date?
“Friendly, like 2 people who haven’t seen each other in a while. We talked about computers.”
And then, what happened?
“We began flirting.”
She asked me how so, what that entailed & I answered “compliments, big smiles, hand holding.”
And did your expectations change at that point?
“No. I was just enjoying lunch with him and enjoying the attention.”
At what point did it escalate?
I answered that he began showing signs of arousal and started with touching my hands/arms differently. And introduced some innuendos. I followed and I felt I was giving him the “green light” at that point.
"Oh,” T says, “so at this point you decided you wanted to have sex with him on your lunch date?”
I replied “No, I guess I really wasn’t thinking ahead of the moment”

BINGO. I wasn’t thinking. I’m not thinking consequence. I’m thinking in segments which, as T pointed out, is generally NOT how I think. I tend to be a “big picture” thinker but not when it comes to this situation. I’m compartmentalizing each step because the process of engaging in sexual activity is disjointed for me since it’s really never existed in a healthy and real way. So the answer here was that I need to think through my actions and realize what the potential consequences are so that I can make different choices from the start.

Okay, the bigger topic: I was telling T about my correspondence with DD’s bio-father. In my last email, I accused him of something I later learned to not be true. I said that I felt bad and, even though I don’t believe he’s telling me the truth, I feel like I need to acknowledge that I falsely accused him. She cut me off and said “Listen….you need to detach. He is a sperm donor. He is nothing more than a number, like you went to a sperm bank and had a baby with that mystery sperm.” His identity needs to become neutralized. I need to redefine him. I continue to think of him as her “father” which causes me to conceptualize him in a certain way. By giving him that identity, I’m feeding the “father fantasy”. It sets me up to long for something that was not part of our “deal”. The reality is that we had sex. That’s all. There was no commitment; there was no relationship. There were no expectations.

Now, to clarify, *I* did have expectations. I thought there was a relationship. But the parts of me that believed those things and fed those expectations were not based in reality. They were more fantasy and not recognizing his actions, not being present in the reality of the situation.

What is happening now is that I have things I need to work out; things that have nothing to do with him. Things I can’t work out through him. But for some reason, I continue to try. By doing so, I continue to open up this painful wound, MY father wound. I continue to feed the pain, the loss and the longing. More importantly, what I am doing is setting a script for my DD’s life that says: “You have a father out there who doesn’t want to be part of your life.” If I characterize it as a rejection, that he doesn’t want her, then I will define her life and her worth as such. She doesn’t need to grow up this way. Our situation isn’t the ideal but it IS the reality. I can choose to feed the pain, or choose to feed the joy. I can choose to feed the loss, or choose to feed into what we DO have. Set the theme in her life that the people around her adore her and choose to be with her out of love. And anyone who chooses to not be in her life doesn’t matter.

Where I’ve said I will always tell DD the truth of what happened, I really wasn’t thinking about how I’m presenting it. I can tell her a better truth that basically says he was someone I spent some time with but he was not a meaningful part of my life. He is someone we don’t know yet my limited time with him produced, for me, the biggest joy of my life…..the unexpected surprise of my daughter! Children come into the world, and into families, in all different ways. This was how our family, she and I, came to be.

I need to drain the power from the events of my life, of her conception, or else she will never be free. She will become the victim to my past and my fantasies. Where I was in my life when he and I were “dating” fed into the unhealthy dynamic with him. I cannot now allow it to be unhealthy for her as well. It’s time to remove the personal aspect and stop reaching out to him. Let the child support system take its course. When we talked about this step, I felt a serious sense of fear, anxiety and LOSS. It’s like the same thing I did with my father….by keeping even the idea of peripheral contact alive, it keeps the fantasy alive. Once I take the step to extinguish the fantasy, then I admit that I am solely in charge of my own joy and fulfillment. Underneath it all is my relationship with myself. I put myself back in charge of meeting my own needs instead of giving that power to someone else.

I keep this pain body alive just out familiarity. It has no purpose. It has no substance other than the one I give to it. I don’t need to have the pain but I don’t always know who I am without it. T likened it to the shadow in Peter Pan. He saw as a literal reflection of who he was. Without the shadow, what is he? Who is he? This is not the story I want to write for myself OR my DD.


Maia said...

Wow, what a powerful post. You sound like you are right on in your thinking about what you need to change so as to help your daughter grow up without "father issues" as you put it. Good work!

Angel said...

Your T sounds quite good. What an eye-opening session!

Enola said...

Very interesting that because sex is not healthy, you think about in a disjointed manner, yet everything else is not disjointed. I wonder if that is why I plan everything out in my head - so that it doesn't become disjointed in the here and now reality.

As always I like your T's insight.

Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds like a great session. I know working it out won't be as easy as the realization in the first place but it's a great start. I wish you luck in this journey.