Heading out of town

Last week, I left on Monday to visit my parents because my grandma was in town. I saw Bea Monday morning, and left right after my appointment.

I don’t remember everything we talked about in that session. I know I kept things light hearted at first, and then she asked me how I was feeling about our upcoming family camping trip.

“I’m not sure. I just try not to think about it. I don’t know. If I don’t think about it, I’m okay.” I sigh. I’m not sure how I feel about it.

“That makes sense. Before that, you are going out of town by yourself, right? The trip to see your Grandma, right? Do you leave today?” She asks.

“Yeah. Today, after this. I’m just trying…..I don’t know. I guess I’m just trying to get through the day right now. Like…I can’t think too far out, or I can’t function. I just have to get through the next two weeks.”

“I think that’s okay. It’s healthy. There is a lot going on, a lot of memories, a lot of transitions,,and all of this. I think it’s okay to take a break, and just do what you have to in order to function.” Bea means it, but I think she means it’s okay to stay on the surface, to not think too much, to do the minimum stuff I have to, to give myself a rest. She doesn’t mean the things I usually do to help myself stay a little detached, a little bit safer feeling.

“I’m just…I don’t know.” I shrug. I feel like I want to say something, but I’m not even sure what I want to say. It’s almost like I don’t have words for it, but it’s in my head.

“How are you feeling about going back to your parents?” Bea asks.

“Ummm….well. I want to see my Grandma. And I have everything set and made easy…maybe I shouldn’t make it so easy for him, but everything planned out and set for hubby while I’m gone. And we have that meeting Tuesday morning, so Kat is going to have her bday celebration with her ABA team then. I’ll face time in for an hour for the meeting part.”

“That all sounds good. I’m sorry if what I sent for Kat’s team wasn’t very long. It was a really busy weekend, but I wanted to be sure to get that to you.” Bea is referring to the update on therapy I asked her to write, so that the ABA team and Bea can all be in the same loop.

“I got it. It was perfect. I didn’t need anything long, not some crazy report, just something for the team so they know how things are going,” I tell her.

We chat some more about me going back to my parents’ on my own, and somehow get into the subject of how I could run into Kenny or his family. “Are you worried about seeing his parents?” Bea asks me.

“No…not during the week, not really. I mean, I think the weekends would be more likely.”

“We haven’t talked a lot about his parents. I know his mom was proper, I picture her like a normal housewife…is that right? And we haven’t talked about his dad at all.”

I take a drink of my coffee, scratch Hagrid’s head. “I…well…I don’t know. I was always kind of afraid of her. She was…like….” I’m searching for the words. “Prim and proper. Uptight. Like she always thought I…well, kids in general…were doing something wrong.”

“That’s interesting that you felt like she thought you were doing something wrong and it was her son who actually was doing something wrong,” Bea says softly.

I think that Bea believes I was projecting, that His mom didn’t actually think that at all. “I think most of the neighborhood kids felt like that about her. Not just me. She…I never woild have called her by her first name. It was always ‘Mrs.’ But Kenny’s family called my parents by their first names. And his dad. I would have called him by his first name, he was the friendly, fun one, but his name was Guy. I didn’t get it. Every time he would tell me his name, I would say, ‘I know you are a boy, but what is your name?’ By the time I got it, calling him ‘Mr’. just stuck. Like how when my uncle married his wife, I was maybe 16, and I had called her Melanie for so many years, I never call her Aunt Melanie, it just seems weird. You know?”

Bea chuckles at the story over the name, because it’s cute, and so typically me. So much goes right over my head, even now, and I’m so sure I’m always right, I will argue incessantly to prove it. “Were they strict?”

“Yes..with Kenny, with Jackie.”

“And there is an older sister?” Bea prompts.

“Yes. She was…I think born when they were seniors in highschool. Maybe just before graduation. I don’t know.”

“She was wild?”

I nod.

“How so?” Bea asks.

“Well…just…you know anything I know is what I have out together, or rumors. Not fact. So I can’t….” I hate to be telling a story I don’t know is really, fully, true. “She was wild like drugs, drinking. She got pregnant in highschool. That kind of thing.”

“Some patterns seem to repeat themselves in families, no matter how hard they try to prevent it,” Bea comments.

We talk about the older sister– Mandy, and her two kids, how she is married now, and things are pretty good there. I tell Bea about her heart condition and how she is really sick, and how she is on the last medicine the doctors know to use. We talk about how sad and hard that is.

Bea wonders out loud if something happened to Mandy, to Kenny, when they were little. If they were abused; something to turn Mandy wild and Kenny into an abuser. I shake my head. I don’t know. I hate when she wonders these things, it makes me start to wonder if she believes me, if I am, in fact, crazy, if this is all nonsense.

We talk a little bit more, and something triggers me. Bea asks what he does for a job.

She’s asked before, but maybe she forgot. Or maybe she remembers I wouldn’t answer, and she is wondering if I feel safe enough with her to answer now. I stare at the floor, pick at my fingers. I can not answer this. It’s not okay.

After a few minutes, when it’s obvious I’m not going to answer, she says, “As long as he’s. Or a teacher, something like that.”

“Not a teacher,” I whisper. It’s all I can do, is confirm he isn’t working with kids. If I tell her, she might decide I am lying about everything else. Or she might feel like this needs to be reported. I can’t let either thing happen. So I can not tell her.

“Let’s not go too deep right now. Okay? I want you to feel okay for your trip,” Bea tells me. Once, I would have thought she didn’t want to hear whatever I had to say. Today, I feel like there is time to say it later, and that she is taking care of me by not letting me get too upset.

“Okay,” I agree.

We wrap things up not too much later. She wishes me a good trip. I have this urge to double check that she will be there if I email, or even if I call. I don’t, though. I can’t let myself be that needy, not when I have to go function around my Mom, my Dad, my Grandma, and other family members for 3 days.

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9 thoughts on “Heading out of town

  1. This session was so uncomfortable *for me* and I’m not sure why. I think you were keeping so much bottled up inside and had so much to say but the timing was off and you had to perfect and strong and normal so you could function and leave for the trip. And ughhh, it’s like you’re ready to explode.

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  2. patricia says:

    Therapists recite back what we say in their own words to see if they have it right. Perhaps the client ought to do the same, as in, “it’s okay to stay on the surface, to not think too much? Is that what you mean, not my other typical methods?”
    I don’t like others wondering of reasons why someone attacked me. I might wonder, and certainly have. But if someone else does, especially a therapist, it would bother me, as there is any reason for it. I’m sure I would boil, though the other person would never know it. They might now though.
    Hope you have peace and fun…

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  3. Therapists recite back what we say in their own words to see if they have it right. Perhaps the client ought to do the same, as in, “it’s okay to stay on the surface, to not think too much? Is that what you mean, not my other typical methods?”
    I don’t like others wondering of reasons why someone attacked me. I might wonder, and certainly have. But if someone else does, especially a therapist, it would bother me, as there is any reason for it. I’m sure I would boil, though the other person would never know it. They might now though.
    Hope you have peace and fun…
    (I repeated the comment because oddly my gravatar changed to my email account. I can’t figure out these things, at least not easily!)

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  4. I really respect that Bea kept you in a safer place before your trip. That’s so so important. I think would probably wonder the same things if a therapist responded that way to my comments (like about his mother or job). I think she’s just trying to get a clearer image of the big picture, but to be questioned in any way would cause me to feel personally questioned. Good luck for your trip xx

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  5. I remember you asking Bea before to not let you stay superficial. Have you felt her be more inquiring since then? She seems to be earnest in her efforts to support you, AND I understand that feeling of feeling un-attuned to. It is such a tough balance, and I think you are doing such a good job of identifying your needs as they arise and then communicating them to her. And seeing that she is trying to do her best to meet you, but falls sometimes. And allowing yourself to acknowledge what comes up for you. Such good work Alice.

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