Today was a therapy day.
This past weekend was a holiday. We spent a lot of it with our families.
For some reason, some combination of things left me feeling triggered. Alone. Used. Lonely. Sad. Angry.
So, I went to therapy. Wendy asked what I wanted to do in our session. I hate this question. I get paralyzed and don't know how to answer.
Do I work with the horse?
Do I ride her? Do I stand beside her?
What's my goal? What should my goal be?
What does Wendy want me to do?
What does Daisy (the horse) want me to do?
I finally said I just wanted to walk with Daisy - lead her on her lead rope and see where we go from there.
So, I started into the arena with Daisy nicely walking behind me. As soon as we got inside the arena, she put her nose down and drug me around.
I knew what Wendy was thinking. I was thinking the same thing.
Because I don't express what I want, I get pushed and pulled around.
And I am so tired of being pulled around.
Wendy told me to connect with Daisy. Spend a minute breathing and getting together and try again.
This time, Daisy walked behind me and pushed me with her nose.
(Wendy told Daisy, she'd give her a treat later for being such a good therapy horse.)
I realized I was not present nor connected to my own body, so I stopped. Took a breath. Concentrated on my feet, my legs, my arms, my hands, and finally my core, and then I just wanted to cry.
So, we pulled up a couple of jumping blocks, sat down, and I cried.
I feel used. Not in the present, but some of the time with Todd's family, and the way I reacted to them. (Trying to anticipate their needs and wants, serving them, doing everything his eight year old granddaughter told me to do, staying back to make sure everyone else was comfortable, etc.)
No one knew I was caught up in a trauma reaction that was leaving me feeling empty, alone and used. I was doing it entirely to myself - because that's how I used to live. For whatever reason, I got trapped in the automatic reactions before I ever had a chance to think about it. I just did it, and that is also what I did when I was being used and abused.
In the same way Daisy can act as a mirror to show me how I live the rest of my life. My interactions with people over the weekend showed me how I used to be. It gave me the chance to feel the sadness and anger over the past.
We talked about how if I don't know what I want, the only option left is what others want. I will feel taken advantage of even if that is not what others want. They have no choice if I don't know and/or don't express my wants or needs in the relationships.
I felt tired. How exhausting to have to think about, and then ask for what I need all the time.
But... What if I went through the exhaustion of thinking and asking, and it worked?
Wendy asked me to try. Pick something I wanted with (or from) Daisy, and then communicate to her what I wanted. It took me way too long to think of something, and then suddenly, I had a plan in my head.
Without thinking, we walked to specific points in the arena. I wanted her to stop when I stopped. When she didn't, I asked her to back up. I used the lead rope. I used my voice. I used my body language. She listened. By the time we got back to where Wendy was waiting, Daisy stopped when I stopped. She didn't push or pull me, we just walked together.
That was the most assertive I have ever been with Daisy. And the most calm I have ever felt working with her.
By the end of the session, I didn't feel as tired or as sad as I felt at the beginning. I felt energized and empowered.