Being seen

Being seen takes imagination.

It’s possible to speak and not be understood. Being seen involves someone trying to imagine your mental state–emotionally, at felt level, and also in terms of your goals and needs and desires.

I had a therapist who used to say I didn’t get adequate mirroring. Well, what does that mean? What does one do about that?

What I thought she meant at the time was imitation. I imagined games you play with babies, where you peek through your hands and they look surprised and so you pretend to be surprised with them. I imagined smiling and having someone smile back.

I don’t know really now what is meant by that term.

I do think what was missing from my childhood was being imagined in the way I describe. It is not just that I wasn’t imagined, but I wasn’t allowed to communicate my state enough that I could be imagined.

It made being imagined dangerous. I think the fear I feel is that I want to be imagined, but I don’t know if it will be possible or allowed. What part of me can imagined? Is this the right way to get my meaning across?

I am starting to recognize this state you might think of as anxiety. It’s trying to quell the sadness inside. You end up frantically doing, trying not to feel it. I have been thinking–it’s not a new thought–I think actually it would be a lot easier if I didn’t do that. The pain does not seem that intense a lot of the time. It is sometimes, but a lot of the time it isn’t. It’s just hard to calm the fear down. It happens so automatically–the assumption that it must be pushed away. It’s so engrained and deep and happens so quickly.

I have been thinking as a child who was abused, I learned I couldn’t be imagined. I couldn’t be seen or understood or helped. I learned this, not from my parent telling me no one would help me, but because they would not help me. They would not allow to even ask or their help. I ended up someone desperately needing help trying to figure out how to do everything myself.



One thought on “Being seen

  1. This.shaking August 3, 2017 / 8:53 pm

    Ash: I’m sure you know about Childhood Emotional Neglect (which I recognize right away, alas – it sucks) but just in case:
    Yeah, I have always hated having my picture taken because (a) I don’t recognize it and (b) now the other person has me and can do whatever they want with it. TS

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