Monday’s session continued….
(Also, this does contain references to sensual abuse, so please read with caution)
“I feel like…I think..” I start to talk, but stop myself. I want to tell her I think I need to repeat what we talked about last session, that it’s not done, but a part of me is afraid she will say we already talked about it, it’s done and over with now.
“There’s that filter again,” she says, and her tone is light hearted.
“Just turn the filter off?” I ask.
“Yep. Just turn it off.”
“I think..I was going to say I feel like I still need to talk about what we were talking about last time. Like it’s not done.” I say it slowly, and then freeze, waiting for her to tell me I’m being ridiculous.
“Of course, of course you feel like that. I know we didn’t talk about the memories, the trauma part before. Does it feel like something you could write and email? That seems to work well for you, to write it. Do you have words yet? Or maybe you want to try to talk about this one, I don’t know. Maybe you aren’t there, yet. Have you gotten past it being your fault?” She asks softly.
“It is my fault. I did it.” My voice sounds far away, tiny and sad. I’m crying a little bit, I think. I feel like crying.
Bea lets out a sad sigh. “You really feel like this is something you did.”
“It is something I did.” I repeat it. Doesn’t she get it? I’m so afraid, any minute it’s going to hit her and she’s going to realize just how horrible I am.
“Maybe we need to start by just trying to accept that this is what happened. Intellectually, I think, you would be able to see it wasn’t, that you weren’t old enough to make any kind of choice, but emotionally it’s not where you are.” Bea is speaking really quiet, and slow. Or maybe I am farther away than I realized.
“Do you remember what you were feeling, or thinking when you kissed him?” She finally asks.
I try to remember, but I don’t know. I just know I did it. I don’t think I was thinking anything. I don’t know. I’m so far away, back there now, and I can see what I did. But I don’t know why. “I don’t know.”
“It feels like you are very much trying to protect this vulnerable little girl part of you.”
I think about that. Maybe. I can’t be vulnerable. I’ve already been too vulnerable here, it’s too easy for her to be able to hurt me, to realize how awful I am. I need to be in control, to stop that from happening. Maybe I don’t want to know. “I was nine. I knew better. What was I thinking?” I shake my head, upset.
“It’s the adult’s job to stop that, not your job. You were a child,” Bea counters.
“No. I was nine.”
“Okay. I need to find some nine year olds then, bring them in for you to remember what nine is. Nine is a child, a little girl.” This could have sounded harsh, but she speaks so kindly, so full,of compassion, it doesn’t sound harsh at all.
“I was very smart. Smarter than most nine year olds. I knew better.” I sniffle, my nose is starting to run from all the crying I’ve done today. Lovely.
“Smart, yes. But you still had a child’s brain. I remember being nine, and all the neighborhood kids stole someone’s floodlight, and left it in the street. I knew better. I was a kid. Kids do things because they can get away with it, because being naughty is fun sometimes.”
I don’t want to insult her, but my first thought is that Bea probably was not as smart as I was when I was nine. At nine, I was reading high school level books, and writing my book reports on them. And they were good, too. I’ve read some that my parents saved. It’s surprising, really, how smart I once was, and the stupid things I did.
Bea says something, but I’m not sure what. I’m having a hard time being present. But then she’s talking, and telling a story. “If I were to tell a story about a little girl who was molested by new babysitter, made to feel things sexually way before she was ever ready to, and some of it felt good, and some of it so fusing, and her mom was in the hospital, and she was in someone else’s house on an ordinary day when her mom should be there, but her mom wasn’t there, and the little girl was crying, and the babysitter came and comforted her. And the little girl really had no control over the situation, and she felt alone and worried about her mom and afraid that it was her fault her mom was sick, and she climbed in the babysitters lap, and she kissed him. She maybe kissed him because it was exciting, or maybe because she felt grateful, or maybe because she wanted more comfort. I don’t see that as the little girl’s fault. She wasn’t in control of any of that.”
The whole time she is talking, I’m shaking my head. I don’t like this story. I want to tell her to shut up. I was in control. I’m always in control. Always. “I was the one in control.” I say, and I mean to say it in a firm voice, but it comes out in a question, and sounding frightened.
“Maybe,” Bea says. “It’s really scary to think of not being in control.”
“No. I’m always in control. Of everything. I have to be.” I feel panicked now, here and in my memory both. I don’t like the way she has changed it, made me question things. Of course I was in control.
“And now we know why you have to be in control as much as you can be,” she says gently.
“I don’t know what’s true anymore. I’m so confused.” I blurt it out before I can stop myself.
Bea waits, patiently. I don’t have to look up to know that she is calm, and there, that she is okay.
“I did this. How can I say anything else….maybe I’m being a drama queen. I don’t know. What’s true? It was a game, fun, something I liked? I don’t know. I’m confused. Everything is twisted.” I sob the words out, feeling like I’m begging her to fix it, fix me.
“It’s one thing to say my babysitter sexually abused me, and to understand that. It gets confusing and twisty when all the feelings come into play, the feelings of sometimes it felt good, sometimes I went along with it, maybe instigated it, felt like I was getting away with something, all of those feelings make us feel like we were part of it. And then we start to question if it really was abuse. I don’t see it the way you do. I clearly see you as the victim, you were reacting in a way he had taught you to react to him. Confronting these memories, where you really had no control, is so hard, and it’s really brave. I can’t make you see things the way I do, I can’t change your mind. You’ve internalizes this too much. We just have to work through it.” She gets it, but she can’t fix it.
“I’m not brave. I don’t know how to work through this.”
“You are brave. Brave people don’t ever think they are brave, but being brave…well, you might not feel brave, but going through these steps, it’s brave. You are working through this, it’s just what you are doing, just this.” She explains her thoughts to me.
“It hurts.” I say. I feel miserable.
“Yeah. It hurts. It does.”
“What if I need to talk about this again and again and for a long time?” I ask.
“Then we keep talking about it. It’s okay.” I think she means it. She sounds like she means it.
I think I space out again, a little, for a minute or two, maybe longer. I don’t know. Bea ends up asking me what we did when Kat was sick this past weekend, and we talk about that. I tell her how Kat asked me if I had a friend like hers who hurt me when I was a little girl. And how I told her yes, and that I see my shrink to talk about it, the same as she sees Bea to work through things by playing.
“You did good. It had to be a relief to her, to know that you really understand.”
“I’m afraid I screwed up. I wasn’t expecting her to ask something like that. I had no idea what to say. But I won’t lie to her. I always tell her I won’t lie to her.” I finally raise my head, look at Bea quickly, and then back at the floor. But I don’t drop my head back down or hide my face.
“I think you answered fine, it was great,” Bea tells me. She looks intent on our conversation, and she means it. She really does think I did okay.
“Okay.” I nod.
We talk about Kat for a few more minutes, and wrap up.
“I’m seeing you on Wednesday this week, right? And I don’t have Kat written down, are you guys coming on Friday?” Bea asks.
“Yeah, I think so. Let me check my book.” I pull out my calendar, and double check. “Yeah, Wednesday at 8, and Kat on Friday at 10. Is that right?”
“That’s what I have.”
I stand up to go, and Bea looks at me. “Are you okay?”
“I’m okay,” I nod my head. I am okay. In my all or nothing world, I haven’t hit the realm of not okay. “I would tell you if I weren’t.”
“All right. I know we already established that,” Bea smiles at me.
We say goodbye, and I head home, feeling like there was so much that got said and talked about today and still so much more I wanted to say but didn’t.