DBT is strongly based on CBT techniques and often in my sessions with Penelope we discuss the ‘evidence’ for any views/ thoughts/ beliefs that I hold. It is a technique that I now use automatically all the time. In my shaky moments, I am increasingly standing back and looking at the evidence- I recommend the technique!
Throughout my time in DBT when I have spoken about my feelings of ‘unloveableness’ Penelope has always challenged me to back this up with evidence. It is fair to say I do have a fair bit of evidence of attracting gits of various shapes and sizes, but I have always had to admit that I did have one man in my life who most definitely didn’t find me unloveable… and he was ‘normal’.
Let’s call him, Ronnie. I met Ronnie in 1989, I was in the upper sixth at school (Year 13 for the youngsters amongst you!) I was playing piano for a local Am Dram production, he was in the band. Looking back with what I know now, it was just really normal. Young man likes young girl, he makes a move, we snog at the after show party and he wants to see me again. Gosh, how refreshingly simple! We saw each other again for one date and then he had already planned a 3 week trip to New Zealand, we arranged to see each other when he got back.
He sent me a postcard/ letter every day. My brother who was a postman thought this was the most ridiculous thing. But he did. Every day. He rang me from the airport when he got home, and I dumped him. Horribly, unceremoniously, just told him I didn’t want to see him again. There are no excuses. Things were complicated with some of my family relationships and I broke his heart. I’ve never really felt bad about it, I didn’t really have the capacity to feel at that point in my life. And I’ve never really given Ronnie another thought.
However, I must have remembered it enough to tell Penelope about him. I honestly could not remember his name (sorry)… but Penelope decided to call him ‘Ronnie’. So every time I say that no one finds me attractive and all that jazz… Penelope would just say ‘Ronnie’… and I couldn’t argue with that. Ronnie didn’t need to write to me every day, he wanted to.
This week on Wednesday evening, I bumped into Ronnie again. (the significance for me being the work I’m doing in DBT). I went to a local Am Dram production and Ronnie was in the band again. It was also the same musical where I first met him. He was there. Clear as day. (No wedding ring either).
I’m learning enough that sometimes in life you just have to grab the opportunity that lies before you. I didn’t want to regret not talking to him. (Also I was slightly fearful of telling Penelope that I hadn’t done anything!) I girded my loins and went and spoke to him. Please don’t get too excited, there isn’t a happy ending. But I went and spoke to him, slightly difficult as I couldn’t remember his name and I was convinced he was a saxophonist when I first met him.) He confirmed that he had played in the band in 1989 but he didn’t seem to recognise me, but we had a nice chat. I was so proud of myself going up to him.
Oh and by the way, his real name is Ronnie! Penelope was right all along!
I reported this to Penelope with much pride. Penelope was so excited. Not for meeting him again, but more for the encouraging signs that maybe I’m on the right track. My next homework:
to get my number to Ronnie or get his!!!! I couldn’t believe it, Penelope is actually expecting me to put myself out there so much and make that connection. I did my normal protesting and hysterics…. but I’ve gone for it. I text a friend who knows a friend etc. in the same production to get a message to him. I can’t believe that I am willing to make myself that vulnerable to another woman, that is the biggest miracle for me. This friend passed the message on to Ronnie. He said he will contact me through Facebook… who knows- maybe he will, maybe he won’t. But I did it! How cool is that!!!
Thanks for listening.