Excerpt from ‘Licking Honey Off a Razor Blade’ by Valerie Grimes, CHt
A book on alcohol dependency and alcohol addiction and hypnosis
New Teacher, Lesson One
Marco showed up in my life in an unusual way. I was attending a meeting in Irving on the environment, and just as I was wondering what I was doing there at this meeting—as I glanced around the room at the people who were much older, overweight and seemed to have nothing in common with me—my gaze stopped on this really cool and artistic older man. He was thin, shaved head, glasses and looked like a history professor. Wow, did he live in Irving? He’s probably gay. But I refocused my attention on the meeting because I really didn’t want allow those old ‘there is another man for me,’ thoughts to seep in.
After the meeting, he was waiting in his car and drove up to me as I walked to mine. “A hybrid,” I whispered, “Hmmmm.” We talked and exchanged email addresses.
One week later (after only email communication) he invited me to the lake.
“Valerie, You’re welcome to go camping with Alexandra (my little girl, she is four) and me Saturday night. I promised her I would take her for a night at the lake.
It is meditative, always a bit adventurous, could be spiritually shifting, but certainly an atmospheric shift. We usually leave in the late afternoon—on the lake by 6ish and head back to Dallas around noon the next day. We take dinner and breakfast you can bring whatever music and you like and your drink. May be good medicine. Marco”
So, there I was driving out to the lake with a man I didn’t know, with a curious four-year-old in the back planning her strategy on how she would test the latest woman to enter her dad’s life.
Turns out he is a photographer and fascinating to be with. I felt safe and comfortable with him. He was different from the men I usually dated, and I assumed it was proof that I had undergone more of a transformation than I had thought. It was a beautiful night on the water, and I held my own with the kid, as I was enjoying releasing my natural nurturing inner mom.
This guy seemed different, but I still approached with caution. I didn’t want to make the same mistake again.
After we were together a few months, he sent a message; it was the first time anyone had observed and expressed my qualities. I felt like he really knew me, but what he didn’t know was that he didn’t really know me, my fears, my triggers, those things that turned me into a frightened little girl with the emotional maturity of his four-year-old.
I like your spirit, your entrepreneurial sense, your positive sense of self, your reverence for your body and spiritual connection. I also appreciate your openness that allows for my openness. I like your willingness to experience and engage in dialogue, of all matters, which does not seem to intimidate you. I don’t feel like I have to put on airs, which I don’t do too often anyway. I like that our bodies are agreeable. I like it that you are confronting (taking ownership) of your maturity in a rightful, reflective, progressive, healthy way. I am having to do so myself so I know somewhat what that is like. I am looking at one side of the coin for now as I do not know you too well nor you me. But I like what I see. You are very intuitively intelligent. Anyway I am sure time will reveal more to one another. Enjoy this beautiful morning. i enjoyed last night. Marco”
We dated for several more months, then he became preoccupied with his work, and I, not feeling totally secure in myself, took it personally. I had pushed him a bit in the area of commitment. There was something that kept him distant from me; from my perspective he didn’t seem that into me (his messages sounded it, but actions where what I was looking for). So I asked him about a committed relationship, he didn’t respond well.
After I gathered my thoughts, which was unusual, as I normally just shoot back something.
“Marco, You continue to fascinate me. i love reading your words and the way they convey your innermost thoughts.
“i love it that you are committed to yourself first (I wouldn’t like you if you weren’t) and with the self comes your work, your daughter, your health, and your passion. I get that.
“when i talked of commitment, i was speaking more about just being with one partner sexually and was thinking more long-term. There is something in the combination of you and Alexandra that got me thinking I could commit as I realized that I have a lot of motherly nurture left in me.
“To me, a committed relationship doesn’t mean having to call every day or see each other every day, but I do want to feel special. And usually I feel like I’m just an afterthought to you.
“So I’m backing off, giving you space. call if you want to get together sometime. Valerie”
“Valerie, thanks for your patience with me. going thru a bit of transformation – i just have a feeling of urgency meets inertia. the lake turning over…I am sure you are frustrated with me as i am not very responsive and you are so generous. i appreciate that – i am trying to find out where i am with myself and get caught up. is that possible? Marco”
After several weeks we did began to see each other regularly again. Then one evening at his place, the dishes piled high and that night I decided to help out, he was reading to Alexandra. He had plumbing issues that I was not aware of so while prepping the dishes for the dishwasher…he usually just put the dishes in the sink with the food scraps, so it was quite the mess, but I remembered he didn’t use the disposal so I was being very careful to not let scraps go down the drain. Pretty soon water begun seeping onto the floor and since I was barefoot if knew as soon as it happened and turned the water off, I hollered down the hall, “Marc, there is a problem with the sink, could you come check this out.”
He rushed out and asked in a pretty loud voice, “WHAT did you do?”
And then proceeding to move me out of his way so he could figure out what was happening, his comments that followed caused a bad feeling in me and suddenly I was transformed into a bad little girl. I got real quiet and then said I was leaving.
That was one of the first of many triggers I would experience with him over the next year. He would say or do something that made me feel wrong. I would be hurt and leave, or break up with him. The comments on their own weren’t the issue, but the comments and the stern voice piled on top of his tendency to be distant was painful to me.
Each time, I felt rejected, wrong and physically my belly began to warn me by tightening up or getting bloated when I was around him.
So the tightness felt like a familiar feeling, I remember conversations with a past co-worker would create this state, and also with my ex-husband, because they were bringing up a sort of fear, what I later learned was that it was an suppressed emotion from childhood that was being triggered and manifesting in my physical body. Actually it was an opportunity to heal, but mostly I tried to ignore it and push through, thinking mentally I could figure it out.
Cheryl reminded me how to use self-hypnosis and so I could access my subconscious mind for a little self-care. One such personal session connected with the suppressed emotion and I knew 100% the feeling was a perceived fear, the fear of being wrong and not understood, not loved. It seemed so obvious, but when you are in ‘it’, it is hard to see clearly.
Fear had been a reoccurring theme, going back to episodes with dad. As a child, I had the challenge of trying to communicate with a drunken dad (impossible) and when I did, my expressions/actions were always misinterpreted because they were being viewed from the eyes of a man under the influence of alcohol. So I interpreted that as being wrong, or that he didn’t get me and I needed to keep explaining until he could see my point. Which he saw as being a disagreeable child and therefore in need of discipline, which caused me to repress and become very quiet.
The Imago Theory in relationships is the work of Dr. Harville Hendrix and I knew it well, basically I was subconsciously connecting with men that were images of my father so I would ‘make things right’. But when I was in the pain of it, I was overwhelmed with feelings of being unloved so much so that I couldn’t see it. And so there was a long string of men that continued to present this for me. Now it was Marco.
So now with the awareness that I was really fearful, I continued to work through this with self-hypnosis; I went back to an earlier time to find the original source of the fear (the feeling) or the imprint as it is called in my trade. It was when I was five years old and Dad did not understand me so I felt wrong.
He gathered me and my two younger sisters on the eve of Valentine’s Day and had us line up facing him in birth order I remember I was on the left. Then he asked us to hold out our little hands, palms up and then close our eyes. He said not to open them until he said. I remember it being very exciting and the curiosity of what he was going to put in our palms made it very hard to keep my eyes closed.
I felt something light drop into my palm as he moved to my sister and said, “one for you”, “one for you”, etc. Then, “Okay, open your eyes.” In each of our palms was a sugar heart with words on them. I don’t remember what mine said I just popped it in my mouth. (Candy was rare in our house, but highball glasses with scotch weren’t as I noticed one sitting at his feet. I remember our white carpet and thought about how mom might react if he knocked it over.)
Dad continued, “Now close your eyes again,” and so with palms extended he repeated this same candy heart ritual about three times. On the fourth time growing bored with the whole thing, and wondering when the surprise element was going to shift, I said, “Is that all?” I was about five or six years old. He slapped me thinking I was ungrateful. Then made me go to my room while my sisters continued to be the recipients of the monotonous candy delivery. It made me feel like I was wrong, that I had really done something very wrong. Guess that is why I have always hated Valentine’s Day.
But, how could I have been wrong? I was an innocent child attempting to share, express, convey something I was feeling. But I was made to see that it was wrong (children don’t interrupt; they have to be quiet; they are not allowed is disturb). Plus I got slapped in the face (yes, that would make a child feel wrong).
Continuing with the self-hypnosis session, I brought my adult perspective to the child and helped her to see it wasn’t wrong; it was impossible for me to effectively convey my thoughts to my dad. What I was doing wasn’t wrong, but I interpreted it as wrong.
My dad even used to make my sisters watch me get spanked as an example, which reinforced the ‘wrong’ title.
In traditional therapy I have dealt with this issue and I thought the anger towards my dad was healed, but what I realized is that the imprint of not being understood is still connected physically and when I feel I am not understood, the fear is there and says, “get away before you get hurt,” physically my belly was attempting to warn me.
Marco would just say, “You are a 48-year-old woman; just get over it.” That is how he saw it, since he usually stated in his head being a logical thinker. What he revealed later was that he was used to attracting women with dad issues, and I was another one. He wanted me to get over it. He was really beginning to grow close to me and so wished for me to get over this problem. But I didn’t know that until later in our relationship. So to me, it just meant he was another man that could or would not commit to me.
After keeping to myself for a time to sort out the physical manifestations of my emotions and to focus on dualism and how he was seeing me as wrong for getting upset instead of right for leaving him when he gets stern, I wanted to just convey that I was just being neither right or wrong, merely experiencing pain and moving through it
“Marc, In the Bible there is this story about how Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To me that means before then she had no concept of good/bad, right/wrong, things were just as they were, no blame, no shame, etc.
“So when I reassign the feeling/meaning to my early situation and remove the label I GAVE MYSELF of being wrong, I realize I wasn’t wrong, that wasn’t true, and when you dissolve the label of wrong/right it frees the hold.
“And deeper…no one is wrong or right in their actions they are all/we are all operating from old programming and when we respond to someone’s old programming, we are making them right or wrong.
“In the world of non-dualistic thinking (some Eastern religions) things just are and we don’t have to REACT to them, we can see them from a bigger perspective and open our hearts and be free.
“So I am feeling pretty free this morning. Thank you again for playing the role of the man that brought this up again for healing. Valerie”
He called later and asked me to come over for dinner. I did, and our relationship continued to grow and develop.