Sex Talk: The Virgin and Tampons

I spent this weekend with my niece who came up to visit me. We had an excellent time together, and you were right; because we have so much in common, some parts of it did feel like healing my teenager. There was one moment in particular. Yesterday I took her to the beach. While we were getting ready, she said she had just gotten her period and asked if I had stuff. I reached into my purse and handed her a tampon. She said she couldn’t use them. I asked why, thinking it was a personal preference. But then she said, “I’m not allowed.” “Why?” I asked. “Because I’m a virgin and using one would be like having sex.” I felt angry. “Who told you that?” “My mom.” She said.

My mom told me the same thing. So I, being the obedient daughter, followed what she said. Except I had this really embarrassing experience when I was on swim team. I had gotten my period and had to go to practice. I asked my mom what I should do. She had instructed me to safety pin my pad to my swimsuit. I’m pretty sure you can imagine what happened. A few laps in, the pad swelled like a diaper and I had this sagging bloody mess on my hands. I. Was. Mortified. I bought and wore tampons in secret the rest of my of college years.

But I didn’t want that for my niece. I said, “No disrespect to your mom, but that’s bullshit. Wearing tampons does not make you want have sex in any way, it doesn’t physically prepare you or emotionally prepare you for sex in any way. Now, if you don’t want to use one for your own reasons, that’s totally cool. But I just don’t want you to think that tampons are the gateway sex drug.” She thought it over and said she would like to try it out and see if it was less annoying than a pad. I talked her through how to use one, and she ended up saying she liked it better because she feels cleaner.

I felt warm that I was able to clear up some archaic view of tampons for her. I know for me personally, my mom’s weird concepts on certain things made me very scared to ask questions about sex and explore it in a healthy way.

Embracing the Self

Client: I’m still a little unclear about embracing my disowned parts. I am sometimes a little bit of both. My behavior and thoughts operate as one person doing a certain thing in a certain way, then I completely flip and turn into my opposite or have opposing thoughts. I thought about the things that I hate in other people that really piss me off or offend me and then I thought about the times when I act just like that. I  just realized (as I am typing this) that I have a problem with anyone who is an extreme of one of my selves.

I have a problem with judgmental/critical people.
People who are excessively loud or attention seeking.
Overly religious people who push their views onto others.
People who have no interest in education and only care about superficial aspects of reality.
People who are “too” emotional – I see them as weak  (I have had a problem with in the past. Mostly as a kid and teenager.)
People who are not emotional enough.
Know-it-alls, been-there-done-it-alls.
I hate people who are negative all the time.

This list can probably go on more.
I hate religious zealots. I hate people who try to stuff their religious views down everyone’s throat.
I hate this but I do the same thing (not with my religious views but with my personal ones).

I also have a problem with people who are “too” emotional even though I have been like that in others’ eyes and my own eyes at times.
Like the books suggest, I asked this part of me how would she live my life if she was in control.

I don’t get to cry as much as I would like. Sometimes I feel sad about something and I tell myself to hold it. Sometimes [my little girl] doesn’t want to cry about people who have hurt her feeling so she keeps the tears in.

There is this bright, funny, positive go-getter part of me that tries to cover up the part of me that isn’t those things. I hate being called negative and I hate being negative. I work really hard sometimes to be this upbeat “go get ’em” person. I notice that when I say something negative, I sometimes say something positive to cover up what I just said so that I don’t come off as negative to others. I say and I am attracted to those sayings that talk about how hard life is but you can turn it around.

The other part of me thinks that all of that is bullshit and is waiting for the upbeat girl to fall flat on her face. I also fear that someone will call me out on my bullshit and embarrass me or show me how stupid I really am.

The critic in me is the one I hate the most. This is the side of me that is judgmental and mean to me and makes me freeze in fear and doubt anytime I need or want to do something important. This side picks on my victim and my victim cries ” I CAN’T!”. Everything is a “no” or an “I just can’t” and “I hate that too”. I hate “I can’t”. I hate that quitter negative voice.

I have a problem with kids sometimes and I think it’s because as a child I wasn’t allowed to do things that kids do. Certain traits were not valued by my mother and I got in trouble, yelled at or hit if I behaved in those ways.

Marta: All of these parts of yourself, the either/or behaviors, judgments, criticisms, reactions to others etc., are defended patterns that cover up your feelings, emotions, needs and wounds, as well as the expression of emotions and boundaries to embrace these emotions. We need to work through your defenses and that takes patience. Be patient with your child, she is afraid and she has been criticized for a long time. Take each one of your patterns and behaviors and find the feelings you are hiding in them.

To hate the critic is not to understand yourself. Underneath the critic is a defense; it is hating on top of hating. You hate the critic, the critic hates the child, and on and on. When you can begin to embrace the emotions and wounds in this hate, you will find the compassionate parent in you. The heartbreak is in the hate. You need to find your vulnerability, but you need to realize that all of your reactions hurt YOU.

You have different parts of you: the child, the teenager, the woman, the critic, the seducer, the manipulator. These are all pattern and defenses so that you don’t feel and change. If you are negative, then you are hurting. All of this is a defense against what you feel and need. Think about what I am saying. Go into your body and let yourself cry and feel your heart. Judgment is never the way, even towards your critic. It seems odd, but the critic in ways is protecting you from getting close to others. It keeps everything and everyone away. You don’t need to criticize in order to create healthy boundaries and expression that nurture your well-being.

Client Journal: Judgment Part 2

Client M: Yesterday’s session had me realize how judgmental and jealous I am. Not just of my sister and my brother, but of people in general. I used to like “people watching” and I would sit in a park or someplace like that and I would look at people as they walked by and make assumptions about them. But these assumptions were often negative ones. A confident looking lady with nice clothes was always a bitch, and couple was always on the verge of a break up. And then I would feel all high and mighty while being in my judgment.

I was being a jerk and victimizing people I was jealous of. I’m jealous of the confident lady with the nice clothes because she has the confidence and means to wear whatever she wants to wear. I’m jealous of the couple because they are in a relationship and I haven’t been in one in 11 or so years. My judgment is a cover for how jealous and insecure I feel.

Marta: Jealousy means you believe you can’t have what you want. Why do you believe this? Who creates your reality and life?

Client M: I think I believe that I won’t be in a romantic relationship because I still have feelings of unworthiness. I think that these feelings of unworthiness also create my jealousy of confident women. I don’t know why I believe these things about myself. But my feelings of unworthiness create a self fulfilling prophecy.

In romantic relationships during the phase when everything is going well, I don’t stay present in the happy moment. I keep thinking about all the ways it is going to go wrong. I think that the guy really isn’t all that into me. Then I get scared to be vulnerable, I get scared to be myself. So I shut down by being cold or ditzy and sure enough, it ends. And then I feel like shit because it is some hurtful form of proof that no one will love me, and I do it to myself! So in that sense, I create that reality. It’s a hurtful reality that has me feeling very sad. I don’t want to believe that I won’t find “the one”, but I don’t believe I will right now.

Client Journal: Judgment Part 1

Marta: Do you see any of your patterning in your parents’ victim/victimizer? How did you feel when your mother was venting?

Client: I see all of my patterning in them. I am definitely my parents’ daughter. I disappear from people I care about, like my father, when I feel overwhelmed by something. I don’t think I pick fights like he does, but I do a lot of mental yelling at people over small/stupid things that usually ends up not being the real reason for why I feel so angry.

I shut down and just go mute like my mother, and I try to blame and rationalize my behavior and feelings before taking ownership. When someone asks me a question that brings up a lot of emotions for me, I change the subject and/or give vague or short answers.

I am finally accepting that I act like they do. I was too in my “fuck you” to be honest with myself and own up to my behavior. I am cold like my mom and dad and I have my own addiction (I still haven’t eaten any but I definitely still have the cravings) to baby powder that I used to eat when I really just wanted to escape myself and escape from feeling and even from being responsible. For example, a couple years ago when I was fired from my job, there was a solid 3 weeks where instead of look for another job or talk to anyone, all I did was eat baby powder and sleep.

When my mom was venting I felt angry and frustrated. Not necessarily angry at what she was saying, but because when I was trying to connect with her and find out more about the situation she is going through and how it affects her, she kept shutting me out! But I realize I can’t judge her for it, because I do the same damn thing. It was just eye opening for me to really start being aware of my behavior and have it mirrored back to me.