Wow it’s been a long week! I have been journalling, researching, working over-time and at the same time grappling with some hard truths that have been uncovered by my work using the book: ‘Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Can Make You Feel Jealous, Needy and Worried and What You Can Do About It by Leslie Becker-Phelps’ (4/5 – I definitely recommend this book). But first, a little bit of back story – I had a couple of weeks of online CBT sessions back when I was living with my ex because I would face daily situations where I felt threatened and misunderstood and due to my lack of resources I didn’t have the skills I needed to deal with them effectively. In my sessions, I’d talk about them to analyse what had happened, what my thought patterns were and/or what core underlying beliefs may be behind it all.
For those of you who may not know, CBT deals mainly with our thoughts/beliefs about situations, ourselves, others and the world at large as opposed to our feelings. This approach didn’t gel with me at all (hence, the creation of DBT). I remember one particular session in which we had mapped out a fight I had had that day and my therapist was able to deduce the belief that I thought I was ‘unlovable’.
Unlovable and unworthy. The core beliefs underneath it all. To say it was difficult to see on paper, or hear from a therapist is a gross understatement. I kind of worked through the rest of the exercise, hiding how profound that statement was for me and then soon quit the sessions. But, even after all this time, through this recent work, I have had to come face to face with the same inner demon.
I, on a deep, inner level (on an ‘invisible known’ level as Leslie puts it) – believe that I am unworthy of love. Of being loved, of receiving love, of having the time, energy and investment put into me by another. Between all my rushing around the office and journaling and family affairs, I have had to face that. And, thanks to a couple of exercises in the book, I am acutely aware of just how deep this runs. This belief has been a major reason why I have accepted poor treatment from my ex’s, why I am afraid of real intimacy, why I fear abandonment. My fear of abandonment and my belief that I am unworthy of love are so intertwined they’re practically having sex.
The closer I get to someone, or the more I like them the greater the fear that they’ll ‘find out’ they’ll find out this ‘fact’ – the fact that I’m not really worth it. Once they’ve sussed out that I’m not worth it, they’ll obviously go running for the hills. Leaving me on my own, a wreck, with the nasty voice in my head telling me ‘See – I told you so!’.
Writing that down shows me just how dark, sad and untrue it is. That’s the thing with these darn core beliefs, they’re not always conscious and they’re not really that logical. You just kind of semi-consciously operate from this stance and then everything around you, all of your interactions are kind of ‘filtered’ to prove your belief is ‘right’. I know, on a logical level, that I am worthy of love – we all are. I’m just as worthy of love as whoever is reading these very words. But my brain hasn’t quite accepted that. Challenging it every day is proving laborious, uncomfortable and scary. But, I am doing it, thanks to a lot of reading and some practices I can put into place – the main one being Self Compassion. I hope this will ease up and I can turn it around for good.
Oh and if you feel me on this one – you ARE worthy of love, exactly as you are.