For many years I have followed the rule of “What’s said in therapy stays in therapy.” My wonderful therapist passed away several years ago now, and I hope any of my old group members who might read this post will forgive me for sharing what was an important wake-up call for me.
I grew up as a people pleaser. Even writing those words feels strange now; I’m such a different person than I was a quarter of a century ago. I’m growing more and more into my crone energy, and frankly, I don’t give a shit what people think about me anymore. If you can’t be yourself by the time you’re sixty, when are you going to do that? It took me years to learn to love myself, to see the value in myself, to learn to express my true feelings. What a relief to finally be on the other side of all that crap.
After my mother died, my local support system vanished. I had learned to speak such a convoluted language, and the only other person who understood it was my grandmother. We couldn’t talk without fighting, because I simply refused to put up with her constant attempts to manipulate me through guilt. Being with my daughter was a daily joy, but I certainly wasn’t going to try to rely on a 5-year-old for support. I’d been a teacher for long enough to know what a bad idea that was. So, I was very thankful to find my therapy group. It was a handpicked group containing people working on similar issues, and we were encouraged to support each other outside of our weekly meeting. And we did, in ways large and small for which I am eternally grateful. The generosity there was something I hadn’t much experienced in life. While going through my divorce I started to see the world as a place of abundance, instead of scarcity. I also came to understand that there were people I could trust to call me on my bullshit, time after time, until I learned to find a healthier way to express my emotions. Slowly, I healed.
Now, I spend a lot of time listening to other people. I’m not a therapist, but old stuff comes up for people in their Alexander lessons. My job is to witness them while they process. I’m thankful for all my previous life experiences as they serve me well in my work. Ultimately it was my understanding how to be an embodied person through Alexander Technique that gave me the skills to process my emotions and stay with myself through trauma. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach those skills to others.