The Gollum

Session Four. I gotta be honest with you — I’m struggling to remember what went on in yesterday’s session. You thought you were going to get the dirt straight off, every week? Settle down. I’ve barely even thought about my time on the couch since I started the car and drove away. You’ll get it all in good time, my impatient little voyeurs. Take comfort in the fact that since my normal state is obsession, “forgetting” means I’m avoiding something good n’ ugly.

Let’s see if we can dig out what that is, shall we?

The session started with me giving a grade school-esque book report of the reading assigned as last week’s homework: Elaine N. Aron’s “The Highly Sensitive Person“. I was to see if any of her concepts applied to me. Now, I’m not going to throw shade for the thrill. No, Imma throw it because reading this was basically cringing through a baby boomer gramma’s life lessons, all sweet and old timey. This Aron lady is super concerned about what everybody else thinks.

But you know, she means well and has some solid info to offer so can’t fault anyone there. And fretting nana tone aside, I did find some useful ideas in her words. Like, if you squint, you’ll find tips for what to do when one finds oneself backstage at a stadium during an ear-splitting rock god concert and one needs to plaster on the time-of-your-life face so as not to insult the performers whilst one’s senses freak the eff out, as one does.

So the book was helpful in the end. And, if you’re wondering, yep, my senses are turned up to eleven, thanks. I knew that before but it’s nice to know the approximate scale of the  neurological minority I’m in (Anyone? Bueller?) Don’t feel so bad for yourselves. Y’all don’t even know what you’re missing.

So heightened sensory awareness isn’t the ugliness I’m avoiding. What else could it be?

Oh, I dunno…

Two guesses as to what came up again. Trust, that’s what. Trust floated into the conversation, riding a dust mote bareback. Pompous jerk. Last time, Deep Stare asked if I trusted myself and asked/suggested that I may not feel safe in doing so. Why not? Why wouldn’t a person, deep, deep down, feel perfectly safe trusting their own damned self?

Because — and this is purely my own interpretation here — I’m basically a set of Russian nesting dolls with the smallest, tiniest one in the middle a rotten-toothed Gollum that must be sequestered lest it devour me alive.

Oh hai.

So yeah, trusting that nightmarish thing isn’t exactly the top of my list. This, Dear Reader, is basically the core of it. Peel back any of the things I tell you from now until eternity and inside you’ll find that guy ⇪ waiting.

So why’d I scoot outta that session barely recalling I was there in the first place? Mystery solved. There’s a demon waiting in the depths and I don’t wanna see it. Nope nope nope.

Surprising, I know. Never before has a person sought therapy to help with their uncooperative insides. You’re a kind sort and thanks for your concern. Surely it’s not as bad as it seems, you say? Oh innocent one. Come along. Let me take you on a tour. Three tickets will get you an all-access pass but you must be this tall to ride this ride.

Waiting for perversely limber sexual cravings or seething murderous intent? All you’ll get here are festering wounds, raging guilt, stealthy deception, a ladleful of gluttony topped with a heaping dump truck of wrath. Hope that’ll sustain ya, children.

First stop: Denial Station.

Everything’s fine. Therapy’s nuthin’. You go in there, regurgitate your traumas so someone else can carry them around for a while (for a small fee), then you get on with your day lighter and unburdened AF.

That’s what you do when there’s no trust. That’s what you do when your real, deep, ugliness wants to stay in its cesspool beneath. It’s happy there. You’re happy with it there. Everybody can get out of bed and walk and talk and smile and pay the bills so long as it stays there polishing its Precious. Why did I even cart myself to therapy again? Everything’s great!

Except that not trusting the Gollum leads to not trusting therapy itself and, at the very least, that’s a pointless waste of money. If I can’t trust my gut because in my gut lurks a paranoid survivalist, how can I trust my own interpretations and reactions? To anything?

This is the truthiest of truths I can muster. I believe, in my heart of hearts, that my every thought, instinct, authentic motion or expression is not bad, per se, but dangerous. I truly feel, at the most base level, that if left unchecked, I’ll destroy myself and all I hold dear and not even know it until it’s too late. Because that is what I was told. Over and over. Moment by moment. In every action, glance, word, and reaction. Do. Not. Trust. Yourself.

That’s masterful parenting right there.

Intellectually, of course that’s a load of ridiculous. Rationally, no such destruction is even possible. No one mind is that powerful, to lay waste to everything in its path because it had one stray unmonitored thought. And yet. In my heart of hearts, the core of my being tells me that I cannot trust a single thing that comes spontaneously from inside.

That warm feeling I get when Deep Stare interprets what I’ve expressed verbally and gives it back to me for validation? How do I know it’s safe and good? What do I use as evaluation criteria? Against what shall I compare?

This has become such a pervasive issue, having been reinforced throughout my adult life by my interpretations of the world around me, that I’m at a place these days where I don’t trust a damned thing, internal or external and barely take any action at all. That’s not the area code you want to live in people, I’ll tell you that.

Maybe some of you are parents. Maybe you want to know how to keep your own little darlings from becoming fully dysfunctional adults like me. You can start by not reflexively refuting/negating/discounting what they say. Lil’ Jimmy says there’s a monster under his bed? Try some monster-vanquishing techniques together to build his confidence rather than just assuring him he’s wrong because there are no such things as monsters. Do it twenty times if he needs you to. Forty. You’ve got time. By the way, monsters aren’t always what you think they are, dad.

This whole thing disgusts me. I don’t want to talk about it any more. So I’ll leave you with this.

Until next session, I’m out.


This post is a snapshot in time. It reflects what I understand about myself and the world at this moment. It contains zero medical advice. To repeat, this entire experiment is one person’s interpretation of events and reflects my opinion only. Do your own research. Draw your own conclusions.





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