She really hopes.
EMDR therapy has a way of exposing these underlying beliefs I’ve been holding. These deeply held, core beliefs that, without my explicit acknowledgment, affect much of my day to day living.
The thing about a core belief is that I might even know, cognitively, that I shouldn’t believe it. Or that it isn’t really true. But, it is silently destructive. It is, unconsciously–subconsciously?–defining who I am, how I feel, and what I believe about myself.
I realized in my last session what one of my core beliefs is:
I am unlovable.
For a long time, I have been exploring my negative cognitions–those negative beliefs–that have shaped who I am. I have played around with ideas like I am not valuable. I am unworthy. I am never enough. I am broken. I have, through therapy, worked to challenge them.
Yet, I think, it comes down to this one, core belief: I don’t ever feel like anyone, anywhere, can love me for who I am. I feel deficient. I feel like who I am is not good enough, must be changed–or hidden–and morphed into a version of a person that can be loved.
This belief was created throughout childhood. I cannot name a singular moment. There are simply too many. Too many moments where a little, hopeful girl, was met with annoyance, exasperation, anger, or ambivalence.
It is why I am a perfectionist, a pleaser, an overachiever.
This belief has been reinforced through my relationships. My husband is a sweet, sweet man. He is a man who is fighting his own battles with anxiety and chronic depression. A man who is protective and who does love me–in his way. But, he does not love me the way I need to be loved. The way I so desire–to be cherished, held, and met with understanding. I often find that he is exasperated–without even realizing that that is his reaction–or that he gets frustrated that he can’t “fix” me. I just want to talk–vent–and be met with empathy. Be held and allowed to cry when I am feeling overwhelmed with sadness. Instead, I find that I am building walls around myself–sometimes, it feels easier to withdraw from him, rather than attempt a connection that disappoints me, making me feel more empty than when I started.
Ironically, I love hard. I believe in love. Love can be, I think, transformative. Yet, no matter how hard I love, it doesn’t mean others will love me back. I cannot love someone enough for the both of us. I have definitely tried.
I have asked: What is wrong with me? I feel unloved by my family. By my husband. Do I have unrealistic expectations!? I am the common denominator!
It is, apparently, not so simple. But it does, in its way, reinforce that underlying core belief–I am unlovable.
I’m told that belief is not true.
I so very, very badly, want to believe that.