Monday, I tell Bea about camp, and my experience with my co-leader. I’m proud (aside from one snarky thing I said) of how I behaved. I’m proud that I was able to speak up, because that is not something I am often able to do, especially with men, especially with no one else there to back me up. I’m proud that I was able to speak up in an appropriate way, and that I was able to keep my cool for as long as I did. I’m proud that I did not allow his accusations to make me question myself, that I have a strong enough sense of self now to know who I am and how I have behaved. Bea is proud of me, too. We spend most of my session time on this, because it is big— it is proof of how far I have come.
Towards the end of session, Bea checks in with the teen. The teen has written a few pages, and so Bea reads those while I hide under my blanket.
I know what I will test things with. My therapist. Kathy. She was the third? fourth? therapist they sent me to. I didn’t trust her. Not at first. But then, somehow, she was different. And I liked her. I trusted her. And then I went to that party, and everything was a mess, and I was so confused, and all these Kenny memories were just coming up, getting mixed in with the waking nightmares (what I know now is a flashback) of the party, and everything was so confusing, I felt crazy and not even Ms. Perfect could hold it together. So, I told Kathy. And she didn’t believe me. She just…..she didn’t believe me. She kept pointing out how all my friends were right there; why didn’t I get up, or say something? She said it didn’t make sense that I did not have any answers for her questions, but parts of that night are just not in my memory. I didn’t have the answrs, but she thought I was lying about something. She didn’t believe me.
Bea is mad about this, mad at Kathy. “She really hurt you. She did real damage. It’s no wonder you (the teen) don’t trust me. It would be very hard to trust anyone after that.”
The teen’s best defense is to dissociate, and that’s exactly what I did. Somehow, I am telling Bea about the party, and the teen is running the ship.
“I was at my friend’s birthday sleepover, her cousin was in town, on break from school.”
“School?” Bea asks.
“College. Her parents had gone out, so he was in charge. Which was way cooler anyway. And he was…..cute. Everyone, we all had been…..flirting, laughing. I don’t know.” I shake my head, full of shame.
“So, you were doing what girls your age are supposed to be doing, developmentally appropriate.” She murmurs. She wants me to realize I hadn’t done anything bad, or wrong, or abnormal.
“Well. We had a movie on, at bedtime. We were all just spread out on the floor, curled up with blankets, sleeping bags. And….he asked to share my blanket.” I feel a sense of wonder, that rush of *he picked me* and then shame and disgust and self hate rush in. “They were all……jealous.” The last word is hard to get out.
“Ahhh, yes. Of course they were.” Bea says.
“And….then he…..well, you know.”
“Yes, I know.” She agrees.
“And….Kathy, she womderd why I didn’t get up, say something. I don’t know. I swear to you, I really don’t know why.”
“Well, Kenny stuff aside, and I’m sure that played a big role, this wouldn’t have been an easy situation. I mean, even if your friends were there, you had a status thing from him choosing you, and they all liked him, and you couldn’t know how they would react, and it was probably very confusing. Add Kenny, another college boy in your life, who has groomed you to be quiet and go along with what he wanted, and the trauma he had caused, you probbaly froze and dissociated.” She theorizes.
“She didn’t believe me. She just kept asking me things. Things I couldn’t tell her, like the movie we watched or his name. I don’t even know his name.” I’m crying now.
“You dissociated, clearly that is what happened. It’s why you don’t remember everything. It’s okay.”
“And she just kept asking, and asking things, she did not believe me. She thought I lied.”
“It wasn’t her job to believe you or not believe you. It was her job to stay with your experience. And clearly, your experience was awful. Really, truly awful.” Bea tells me.
I mostly remember crying, and Bea just being there with me.
And then it’s time to wrap things up, and Bea says we should talk about this more, but that for now she wants to know if the teen needs anything to feel okay before we end.
“I just…I have a question.”
“Okay. You can ask it.”
“Do you….I mean, I know it’s not your job to believe me but….” and then I can’t say the words, because the idea of her answer is too frightening.
“Do I believe you?” She gently finishes the question for me.
“Yeah.” I mumble the word, shame heating my face.
“I do. I believe you. I believe the teen, and the little girl, and all of you. I do believe you,” She says confidently.
I’m able to leave feeling warm and safe. She believes me.