The Me Behind the Masks
It’s a very odd experience to look back on your past and feel like it happened to someone else. When you travel back in time, it’s like you are spying on another person’s memories. Maybe everyone feels like this. Or maybe it’s a feeling accessible only to people who have changed. And when I say changed, I mean a deep internal metamorphosis of sorts. This is what happened to me. I have been in therapy on and off since I was eight. I experienced my first therapy session with a school counsellor, who declared she was going to try and help me with the abusive teasing I found myself a victim of. Although I wanted to believe her, my miniature, jaded eight-year-old self did not have any faith in her. She, as expected, did not help me miraculously shed my identity as a scapegoat. I switched schools, feeling after those three years that there was something inherently wrong with me. My following encounter with therapy began when I had starved myself to a dangerously low weight at age 14 and was on the verge of hospitalization. A few years after my struggle with anorexia nervosa, my angry, suicidal Defensive Self reared her head again, and I began to drink. And not experiment with alcohol typical teenager style, but blackout every weekend style. Finally, my parents intervened and sent me to a therapist who specialized in substance abuse. What I really needed at that time was to cry. To bawl my eyes out about how I would have to leave my beautiful, tortured, drug-addict boyfriend, which would feel like heart-wrenching abandonment, and about how I would no longer be able to escape through the poison that scorched my throat. I didn’t feel like I could cry with my therapist. When I broke up with my boyfriend I did not have a therapist, and I felt as though I was crawling out of my skin. I had never been so depressed. My boyfriend had been the only addiction I could get away with, and I found the courage to leave him when I got sober. When I walked into Nomi’s office I was sceptical. I didn’t want to cry anymore about my boyfriend, and I didn’t want to be confronted about my stuff and about how I was being a victim of my life (which I was). Anyway, I liked her right away. I expected a broad, tall woman with a deep voice, but I walked into the little red room and a petite, pale woman with a single streak of fire engine red in her hair introduced me to a process that would help me to transform myself from a dark, melancholy, self-destructive girl into a self-aware, intuitive, brave soul. Before I started seeing Nomi, I never understood why sometimes I would be carefree, excited, and hopeful and the next, impulsive, spiteful, and deceptive. I thought for a long time that I was bipolar. Nomi helped me to understand that we all have three unique selves. We have our Emotional Self: the young, vibrant one who likes to play and be creative, but is also often vulnerable and neglected. We have our Defensive Self, strong, protective, shrewd, yet highly controlling and manipulative. And finally, we have our Expanded, serene, intuitive, and grounded, but often seemingly out of reach. Our actions, our words, and the course of our lives depend on our three selves working in harmony. I imagine my Emotional Self as a Teletubby, my Defensive Self as Cruella Deville, and my Expanded Self as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. If the root of my problems wasn’t obvious before, it is now. Through the intense self-exploration journey I experience in my work with Nomi, I learned about all of my selves. I learned how to have a dialogue with my different selves. For example, when my Defensive Self comes up, often she is telling me that I am too fat. Then I have to bring my Expanded Self into the picture and gently correct my Defensive Self, explaining that I am strong now and that health is most important. I have learned to listen patiently to the desires and feelings of my selves without judging their fluctuations or criticizing their drastic differences. I have learned through my work with Nomi, to be open to reliving my darkest moments so that I can see the brightest. Sometimes that means lying on the floor, crying hysterically, and bringing Nomi back with me to resolve my old hurts. I feel lighter, more present, and more loving of myself when I do this deep work. I have come to the realization that I don’t have to run away from my feelings and turn to addictions, but that I can sit with my pain and, therefore, grow. I make commitments as a part of my work with Nomi weekly, that help me to strengthen my relationships, get in touch with myself, and explore more things the world has to offer and that I can be a part of. My life has expanded in so many directions, because I have learned that fear was trembling under so many of my feelings, constricting my Expanded Self from realizing my life’s purpose. Fear is an illusion that binds us, and courage is ultimately what liberates us. I learned through my meditations with Nomi that each part of my body has a story to tell, and feelings to share. I learned that as Nomi often says, “We create our realities.” Through these lessons, I was able to make decisions about my life that have led me to a place of peace. At this point, I’ve done my best to surprise Nomi. I’ve worn dark makeup that hides my big brown eyes, I’ve chopped all my hair off, I’ve gotten a tattoo, I’ve been sad, I’ve been hysterical, and I’ve been calm. But I don’t think Nomi will ever be shocked. She always knows what my next move is and what is behind it.
— L. A Client's story from the Book "Gates Of Power- Actualise Your True Self " by Nomi Bachar, available on Amazon.
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