16 Apr She Kept Having Pregnancy Scares. Self-Sabotage, Why She Did It
I have a client I’ll call Josie who has had three pregnancy scares in the last year. My initial advice was fairly simple, “Start using birth control, yo!”
I’d helped Josie get out of a long-term, toxic relationship so she thought that if she quit taking birth control pills she’d be less likely to have casual sex and end up in another inappropriate relationship based solely on hormones and headed nowhere fast.
But sex is a sticky-wicket for we mere mortals and the temptation proved to be too much three times in the last year and because she hadn’t intended to have sex, birth control was forgotten in the heat of the moment.
I judge her not as I’ve been there. But had to help get her back on track.
Josie is an accomplished businesswoman in her early thirties, so why was she behaving like an impulsive teenager? I knew we had to dig deeper into her unconscious compulsions.
I asked Josie to journal about potential causes for her reckless behavior, asking her to answer this question as thoroughly as possible and to share it with me later:
What are you hoping will happen if you mess up and become pregnant out of wedlock?
Privately I wondered if Josie hoped the biological father would marry her if she became pregnant, but the two men Josie had relations with weren’t men she was particularly interested in, so I asked her to peel the question like an onion. Going through layer after layer of her unconscious until she found the truth.
I knew it would take time as we cannot understand our motivations in an instant, but only through concerted, long-term self-examination.
Journaling is an excellent tool for doing this kind of work as I believe writing accesses a part of our brains we can’t otherwise reach.
Late one night a few weeks later I received a phone call from Josie. She’d had an epiphany.
When she was three-years old her parents divorced. Her father remarried and had a second family with children Josie felt he loved more than her.
Simultaneously her mother became promiscuous, dating many different men over the course of Josie’s young childhood until finally remarrying a stable man once Josie was a freshman in college.
“I think,” said Josie, her voice thick with tears, “that in some way I still want my parents to take care of me. I’ve always been so capable, excelling in high school, getting through college on scholarship, landing a good job right away, but I realize I believe, somehow, that if I screw up in a really major way they’ll finally be there for me? Intellectually I know this isn’t true, but I think the child inside of me is the one in charge and she finally wants someone to take care of her.”
This was a major breakthrough for Josie.
For those of us who were tiny little adults when our parents behaved like children we will often adopt self-sabotaging behavior in adulthood to try to get the love and support we missed out on when we were kids.
Unfortunately, the only person we end up hurting is ourselves.
Armed with this new insight and the understanding that she might engage again in casual sex, Josie decided to go back on birth control.
She’s still working diligently on her emotional intelligence in order to avoid Asshats and find Real Love, but she has a back-up system in place for the moments she might slip up.
Josie and I hope her story may bring insight to your own personal growth. If you want to be sure not to miss any of these articles please OPT-IN to my Newsletter.