Sobbing on a Couch

(I have thought about not sharing this with you, but I feel like I need to be honest. I hope that you find something from this. I won’t apologise for it being heavy…but I will say..that it’s raw.)

Today I didn’t really want to go and see my counsellor. I didn’t want to deal with the shit that I needed to push through. I knew it was going to be painful and messy…but somewhat necessary.

I actually wrote my counsellor…the initial e-mail stating

I need you to drill me…I have one last hurdle to get through and I need to get through it.

I have to say that I am self-aware enough to know what is going on in my head. I recognise that I have bingeing tendencies, disorder body image issues, emotional highs/lows, and a perfectionist foundation that is making me exhausted.

I hold onto past grades: ‘If only I did better’
I hold onto crushes and spin them into wild fantasies:’I wonder what he’s doing?’ ‘Should I text?’
I beat myself up for eating: ‘Michelle, you know better than to have 10 french fries’ ‘You can start tomorrow’
I procrastinate and then go manic: ‘You shouldn’t have slept in’ ‘Why didn’t you work out, and then you binged, such a failure’

I was sitting on the couch speaking to my shrink, can I call her that, and said ‘I am TIRED of trying to be perfect. I am TIRED of holding onto this weight. I have never lost weight before, for myself. It’s been for a diet, for a man, for an event. But never for me. It’s like I am so tired of being perfect, that I am rebelling. I just can’t get past it.’

Without going into personal details….I am someone who longs/needs/desires/lusts after validation. My perfectionist/over-thinking mental chatter tears me down so far, that I can’t find it in me to say ‘YOU’RE GOOD ENOUGH’.

I get, cognitively, that I am good enough. But in my heart, I don’t believe it.

She drew a picture and placed it on the other side of the couch. She asked me to look at it.

‘This is your false self. The voice that is in your head all the time. The one that tells you that you have to be perfect. The one that says you don’t deserve to be good enough. The one lusting after men. The one that is holding you back. The one silencing your TRUE self.’

I literally curled up into a ball, put my hands over my face, just shrunk. I couldn’t look at the picture. I was deathly afraid of what it stood for. I have spent almost 27 years listening to ‘her’. A self-abusive cycle of letting myself beat the shit out of myself. Letting this FALSE self take control of my life.

‘Michelle, I want you to get angry at it. Say to it: I want you to F–K OFF. To LEAVE. You’re not welcome here.’ She repeats this, by my ear. Trying to get me to say it. To give me the encouragement to break this down. To overcome.

I just sobbed. I just sobbed. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t talk ‘her’ down. I couldn’t stand up to it.

‘I am scared to let it go. It’s who I have become. BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE THAT ANYMORE. I just don’t know if I can face it down. I don’t know if I can be without it. That means I have to be free, blissfully on my own. Doing things for me?’

I opened my eyes and stared at the picture. It scared me.

I just brokedown.

Then it hit me.

‘GET THE F–K OUT.’ I screamed. ‘Leave me alone, I don’t want you in my life anymore.’

I left the session, picked up the picture, squeezed it into a ball and shoved it in my purse. Free.

It’s not easy. But so many of us FEED/LISTEN TO/LIVE OUR LIVES for the FALSE self. We are taken down by our mental patterns/thoughts. We seem to never quite get to the place where we see our beauty, our ability, the weight off, the healthy relationships in our lives, our career paths actualised.

I came home and wrote how my TRUE self would live. How my TRUE self would be. (we all know what that is, it’s there..listen to it)

I get that this isn’t easy. I get that the ‘sun’ of life is blinding. But oh my heavens…watch the F out world. Mish is ready.

Which self do you listen to? False? True?

Harnessing My Intuitive Self

42 thoughts on “Sobbing on a Couch

  1. Karen (KCLAnderson) says:

    Michelle, I get it. I have written posts like this. It’s pretty much why I started my blog. Thankfully, I have learned to listen and honor my true self. It’s taken me a damned long time. Decades. And it’s taken the same kind of therapy. I’ve let go of many “Evil Twins” in the past year or so. Those “selves” that serve us on one hand, yet take way too much in return on the other. So keep on letting go. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. And here’s the thing, sometimes you have to let go more than once. Sometimes you have to revisit. But it does get easier and you recognize it sooner. And you forgive yourself more easily and sooner too. And you start to revel in your imperfectness. And even laugh with it. Hugs.

    • Mish says:

      Thank you for writing this. It’s so true. I had moments today when the FALSE self was talking..boy she’s loud!!! But I have tools now, a calm/strong realisation that I CAN.

      • Karen (KCLAnderson) says:

        You know how we’re told to make a “lifestyle” change with food and exercise? To make small, incremental changes that we can sustain over time? Well what they don’t tell us is that we have to make a “mindstyle” change too…I always thought that once I “got it” I’d “have it” forever and that would be it. Ha! Not true. And the ironic part of all of this is that it took me NOT reaching my goal weight and regaining about half the weight I initially lost to finally and truly fall in love with my imperfect self.

      • Mish says:

        That is SO true. It’s not just about changing food intake, exercising more, counting points, etc. It’s about changing your WHOLE ENTIRE mental shift. Those people in the blog world who have kept it off…have kept it off mentally as well. It’s WAY beyond food. I having been telling myself recently ‘take the emotion out of food’…it’s helping.

  2. Tony Teegarden says:

    #1 I totally commend you for stepping out into the light on the matter. So awesome of you to be brave enough to not only admit it personally but publicly.

    #2 I’ve listened to what I thought was my true self, the loser, the ignorant and egoic self. But then consciously over time I’ve learned to tune in and love the inner child that is Tony.

    I no longer treat that loving inner child with hate, rage or anger. I understand the duality that is Tony. I am neither just hate, I am neither just love. I am the contrast of dark and light. It’s what makes my life interesting. It also doesn’t mean I have to live in one or the other.

    I am in love with the natural self. The one that is purposeful and purposeless. I don’t judge.

    I find love where there is fear and I find fear where there is love. Neither is permanent, which I am grateful for. Because there in lies the gift.

  3. Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit says:

    Mish, I thoroughly enjoy messin’ around with you and leaving stupid little turd comments on your site or for you to find on twitter, but I gotta tell you that this post got me all choked up.

    So many folks are grappling with this, so many are fighting their own inner demons and coming up short in the struggle. Understanding yourselves and why we do the things we do… well, it’s the work of a lifetime, even though you’re pretty far along if you ask me. You are wise beyond your years, my friend.

    Good luck in your quest to shake off the anchors that are holding you down and holding you back. You’re an amazing woman, Mish, full of strength and heart and empathy. You’ve got a wonderful future ahead of you. Never sell yourself short.

    • Mish says:

      Thanks for making me cry. This comments means a lot to me. I have your posts bookmarked on the top of my internet bar. I open them all that time. They are many times my saving grace.

  4. Helen says:

    You know why you shared it? Because there are so many of us out there who needed to read it. I listen to the false voice way too much. It’s probably the main thing that holds me back from my destiny.

  5. Trece says:

    Except for the part where you told your evil twin to F-OFF, I could have written this; God knows I’ve lived it, I am living it, and I cannot seem to convince myself that I AM enough, or good enough. Whatever. I read someone’s post today about people who make you feel less than. I live with one. I’m married to him. And I’ve put on 100lbs. during those 33 years.

    You ARE Awesome.You have already won.

    • Mish says:

      I just honestly encourage you to get into your heard. Find that little voice that is going ‘yes you can’. My shrink actually told me to pat my chest with my hand whenever I felt that ‘false’ self creeping in. It’s not easy…but I have the most immense faith in you that you can.

      • Karen (KCLAnderson) says:

        My therapist always says to think of something that makes your heart feel soft and wonderful and compassionate and “awwwww” and then turn that feeling inside. When you think about, there’s an actual physical feeling when you look at (for example) a baby or a puppy…

  6. Ironlady says:

    OMG! I am sooo glad you wrote this post! Helen is write. There are so many of us going through the EXACT same thing. It’s posts like this that get us to comment, not the ones where everything is going great and nothing to complain about – although we do comment on those too and we absolutely love it when things are going well for you. But honestly, I could have written this myself. I feel like I work really hard and nothing gets accomplished. I beat myself up all the time for not being perfect. It doesn’t help that I work with perfectionist A type people all day long because I get validation that I’m not good enough when in reality, we are all WAY too hard on ourselves. I work in an industry where making a typo can get you fired. Honestly? We are not machines – we are NEVER going to be perfect. I love the exercise your counselor gave you and I’m going to try the same thing.

    Thank you so much.

  7. Katy says:

    Look at your comments — you are changing lives, girl. Brava to you for your honesty and serious? That other girl, the doubter, the one who would sabotage you? She NEEDS to get the F out. Forever. We want Mish and Mish alone.

  8. RNegade says:

    Wow. I’m gonna have to sit with this one for a while. Powerful! Beautiful! Scary! Courageous! Amazing…

    Thank you!

  9. laura says:

    First let me say that I am new to this blog and love it. You help me Michelle! And I’m not really one to comment on blogs, but this post touched me deeply, where I can feel it!

    This idea of the TRUE and FALSE self get me all confused, and frankly, somtimes gets me a bit feisty. However, it remains one of my favorite things to ponder.

    Let me start off by saying that every use of the word “you” is the universal you… not a particular “you”.

    If what you call the FALSE self has been with you all your life, and is what you have allowed yourself to be for (in my case) 26 or so years, then that must be the TRUE me, becuase it is what I have allowed myself, and formed myself to be thus far. What, then, is the TRUE self? And how do I recognize it?
    Is it who I want to be?
    Who I am supposed to be?
    If it is who I am supposed to be, then that brings me, myself, into more disappointment = I’m not being who I am supposed to be! and the perfectionist flares up again, and I begin to beat myself up and fail, becuase I’m not doing (being) what I’m supposed to do to be this healthy person I desire to be.
    I must then conclude, for myself, that it is who I WANT to be, and is therefore my DESIRED self, instead of my TRUE self, that I seek to attain. I don’t know who the TRUE Laura is, becuase the TRUE Laura is who I am now… for good or bad. What I seek is the desired Laura. The healthy, happy, joyous, selfless and loving (and weighing less) Laura.
    I guess what I’m trying to get at…. or figure out… is how to turn my back on the FALSE Laura and BEGIN TO BUILD, NOT BE the DESIRED Laura.

  10. Gurl says:

    I know how loud that horrible voice inside can be. I lived nearly 30 years hating myself because I spent too much time listening to her. I have no idea where or how I found the strength, but I started listening to what those who care for me had to say about me.

    I don’t put on fronts with those who are real with me and show me they care, so they knew me better than I did. Every time they said something good about me, I made myself just say “Thank you” and then took time to consider what they had said. I even had long drawn out heart to hearts with one or two who had wonderfully logical ways to shoot down my horrible self image. None of this was the end of my battle, but it was all the beginning of seeing myself through plain glasses instead of distorted ones.

    I struggle daily still, but I KNOW I am a decent person with strengths as well as weaknesses. I KNOW I can do it when I decide to give enough of a damn to put some effort into what ever it might be.

    I also accept that this will be a battle for the rest of my life. 30 years of self conditioning does not undo itself easily and often will come back at the worst possible times. But I..yes I! worth the fight and worthy of all that is good in life.

    You should celebrate the day you confronted the ugly, perverse bitch that kept you down (IE that inner dialog), You should mark the day on the calendar as the day you became a free person and celebrate it every month til you reach the one year, and every year after that for the rest of your life. That step is the hardest to take..and the most frightening. Congratulations for doing so…and keep up the good work on learning to love yourself as you are. Its a long hard row to hoe, but you CAN and will do it!

  11. love2eatinpa says:

    wow, mish, that was heavy and it was huge! sounds like a great counselor.

    you can SO listen to your true self, you can SO do this.

    i have been listening more to my true self lately, and it feels wonderful.

  12. charity says:

    Oh Mish, we are so much alike. I too am starting to get into the “heavy stuff” with MY shrink, more PTSD stuff than weight issues, but I would love to kick this perfectionist bullshit to the curb! I try all these things, diets, cleanses, workout programs, etc. trying to follow them to a T and always “failing” and becoming upset about it. I’ve decided to stop searching how to fix everything, because I’m not going to find the answer. I need to relax and give myself a break and go with the flow. Who am I competing with? Why do I feel like I need to work out 4 days a week or else? I’ll say things like “well, they say blah blah blah” and my husband says “who’s they?”…….I read all these magazines and try to do everything that each one “tells” me to do and it only sets me up for failure. When will we learn? I’m so glad you are blogging about these issues, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to deal with it by how you are overcoming your issues. Thanks for opening up.

    • Karen (KCLAnderson) says:

      I can SO relate to this comment too (Mish, I’m sorry I’m responding all over the place! LOL). I think the fact is, we have everything we need right inside ourselves. And we’re not broken, either. We don’t need to be fixed. All we need to do is accept and love ourselves. I know, easier said that done sometimes, but with practice it comes. Sometimes I think it’s the intention with which we approach things…like working out. If our intention is that we need to be fixed, or that we’re desperate, of course it won’t “work”!

  13. Elisabeth says:

    This seriously made me cry. At my desk. At work. I’ve been there man. I think that anyone who has body image and negative self-talk issues needs to have a breakthrough like this. At the core of my eating disorder was this horrible image that I had of myself. I saw myself so much different than other people saw me. One day I just had a sobbing fit, “I just want to see myself the way everyone else sees me!!”

    It’s difficult to come to that point, but you did it!! I’m glad you had the courage to tell it/her to f&ck off.

  14. Ryan Sullivan says:

    If you can truly figure out who your REAL self is before the age of 30, you’ll be eons ahead of the game. I think many people, most people even, really struggle with this. I know I have.

    I’ve totally been a people pleaser in the past, I still am. For whatever reason I can’t say no (it translates to many parts of my life apparently). I have more direction now than I ever have but still not as much as I would like.

    It’s frustrating as hell to understand that this self discovery journey is a process. That it’s going to take time. Man that sucks. Feeling comfortable being 100% who we is something that I know so many of us work on every day. I know I do, and it’s hard.

    Thanks for this. Thanks for the honesty.

  15. missyrayn says:

    I’ve gotten better at listening to my true self through lots of encouragement from Hunni and my therapist that I’m enough just the way I am. I’m enough if I’ve overindulged in baked goods these last couple of days. I’m enough if I choose to eat something decadent out to dinner instead of a safe salad. I’m enough if I don’t go to the gym even when my mind tells me I’ll get fat if I don’t. I’M ENOUGH!

    I have to repeat it daily but it does get easier.

  16. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    Goodness knows this has been me many a time. I’ve skimmed most of the comments. I can’t quite place where I fall.

    On the one hand, I understand wanting that voice OUT of my head. On the other, I think of it as a relationship with myself. No big problem is ever solved by ultimatums or climactic arguments.

    Right now I am building a relationship with myself on all levels. Where it is understandable that I ate a plate of cookies in one go, and I won’t do it again. But, I won’t be hating on any part of myself. If I can help it.

    I too am sick to death of striving for the unattainable goals. Just beyond human capacity. I’m also sick of hating myself, as are you from your posts and your #exposed movement.

    So, after ALL that I still don’t know where I fall on this…

  17. Diana the Scale Junkie says:

    Have you ever known anyone who is in an abusive relationship? They keep going back even though its not healthy for them. Your false self is the abusive one in this relationship. Time to break up…for good

    • Mish says:

      That’s EXACTLY how I felt yesterday when I was sitting on the couch. It was like I got to the end of this relationship and realised that the person who was sitting next to me, the one that had been controlling my life, was someone who I wasn’t EVER and CURRENTLY in love with. It was the whole greif cycle. Denial, Sadness, Anger. I had to go through it. Thanks for bringing this up…it’s so true.

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