The lonely skier – therapy friday

skiWe spend a lot of time discussing a dream.

I’m outside skiing with a group. The rest of the group leaves, and I remain by myself. I’m sad to be alone. I look for a good path where I can ski, and I see lots of other people skiing. The track is all broken up.

My family used to go skiing a lot when I was a young teenager, I tell Ron. In a way, it was very positive – family oriented, healthy, outdoorsy. In another way, it was a problem. My father was extremely competitive, and he’d instruct us relentlessly on the best skiing techniques. He wanted us to compete in races, which my brother and sister did, but I didn’t. I was not physically talented. But in addition, I resented being constantly criticized for my skiing technique, so automatically did not want to do well.

Ron comments that what strikes him about the dream is how I never seem to connect with anyone – the loneliness of it. The people I know ski away, and I don’t interact with the new people that come along – it’s as if they don’t see me.

I did feel abandoned as a teenager. It was as if I never could measure up to my family’s expectations, so they ignored me. I remember being almost silent during that time.

Ron comments that my father’s criticism would have re-activated my trauma. I’d never thought of that. It makes sense in a way – I was pretty much crushed by his demands. That would explain why it was so extra hurtful – it would have nudged the awful trauma feelings that I’d buried deep inside.

I have a mixed history with exercise. Because it’s something my family strongly believed in, I got a lot of exposure to exercise as a child. My father turned everything into a drama about how good you were at it, which was discouraging for me.

I’d gone to an interview a few days before the session. I felt it went very badly, and told Ron I blew it because I was so anxious. I tell how the recruiter prepped my very extensively for it, which I think just made me more nervous. He was trying to help, but I hear things that could be helpful as criticism. So it seemed like a cycle – feedback becomes criticism in my mind, leading to huge anxiety. It seemed related to this dream for me.

Now of course, it’s turned out I didn’t blow the interview, as they’ve offered me a contract.

Still, the feelings I had about it were very real.

Art: Tom Soucek Watercolor Paintings

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8 comments
  1. plf1990 said:

    Congrats on the contract. I know these feelings very well. Supporting you x

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for supporting me plf.

  2. Jay said:

    Wow that dream had me shivering. So much loneliness and sadness in that image. Glad you and Ron were able to make sense of it. Well done on the contract 🙂

    • Ellen said:

      I actually wasn’t that aware that the dream has those feelings in it, though it did wake me up. I couldn’t figure out why it upset me – the images of skiing outside seemed so benign. Thanks Jay.

  3. Cat said:

    When you wrote about the interview, I did wonder if it would turn out to be the most successful. Your dream is very interesting and I was kinda thinking along similar lines to Ron. Congrats on the job, I hope it goes well for you

    • Ellen said:

      Interesting you saw the dream as Ron did. I certainly didn’t, before speaking with him about it. To me, it seemed more benign – outdoors, skiing, seemed nice. But as the dream scared me, I did figure there was more to i. Thanks Cat.

  4. Ashana M said:

    Congratulations on the contract. That will give you some peace of mind for a while.

    I can understand about how the competitiveness and the constant criticism and coaching from your dad would have ruined a lot of things that might otherwise be nice. I think people like that do it to feel superior. They aren’t really trying to help. They just want to feel they are better than someone else. Being able to point out flaws does that. So maybe if you are used to that, it becomes hard to tell when someone is trying to help and when they are just trying to boost their own egos. It would also take the fun out of everything you did as a kid. It creates a self-consciousness that takes the enjoyment out of everything. You can never just be or just be engrossed in the experience. You always have to think about how well you are doing it. Horrible!

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks, it will.

      Yes, that could be true. I’m feeling confused and don’t know. Thanks for thinking about this.

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