Safe and loved and wanted

Wednesday morning, and my head is all over the place. I’ve been up since 3am because the nightmares are back. I can see and feel it all so clearly. It’s more than remembering, it’s like I am there, again and again, every scene played out, everything I did, every time he hurt me. I can feel the anxiousness, and the hurt and the feeling of just wanting him to be my friend again, to make it better. I log into therapy at 9:00am, annoyed that I gave up my extra half hour back when the pandemic started, because I didn’t want to sit online that long, and I hated video therapy.

Bea logs on, too, and she says good morning. I think I say good morning back. “Yeah,” she says, “This is hard. It’s hard for you to be here, isn’t it? It really feels like you have to be far away to feel safe.”

I want to tell her my nightmare. I want to ask her if she is really here. I hate video therapy. It’s so much harder to feel like she is really here, with me. It’s harder to feel her presence.

Bea starts to talk about how it was brave to tell hubby. I’m only half listening, but then the tears start to fall, and I can’t stop crying.

“Everyone is safe now, even if it still feels dangerous,” Bea reassures me.

“I wanted to pretend it all away,” I sob.

“I know,” she says.

“No….you don’t get it. I wanted to….I wanted to just ignore it. Like my mom did. She ignored everything. And I get it. I get why. And I don’t want to get why.” I can’t stop crying. It’s confusing, this mess in my head. I have been so mad at my mom for for so long, for not seeing, for ignoring all the things that should have been red flags. But I get it now. It’s so much easier to pretend it all away.

“But you didn’t pretend it away. You told hubby, and you both talked to Kat. You didn’t do what your mom did. You are different.” Bea assures me.

“He hurt me,” I sob.

“I know he did. He really, really did. He will never hurt you again,” Bea promises.

I can’t look at the screen, at her. It should be easier, you’d think, but it’s not.

“Can I say something that might be a little bit shrinky?” She asks me.

I lift my head up and nod, still refusing to look at the screen.

“A lot of your memories, especially the very confusing and the very worst, the most painful, were during 4th grade. Kat is going to be in 4th grade. This situation would be upsetting for any parent, and triggering for any parent with a trauma history. I’m thinking you are even more triggered because of the age, and because of the feelings Kat shared of just wanting this boy to like her again.”

“Maybe,” I whisper. The teen wants to snap at her that this makes no difference, and to just stop trying to make sense of every feeling I have. She’s angry, this snarky teen. She wants Bea to just fix it, to make it better. She doesn’t see why Kat’s grade level should make a difference at all.

Bea starts to list out the ways that Kat’s situation is different than my past. When she says that Kat has me— the grown up me— to protect her, I whisper, “My mom left me.”

Bea nods. “She did. She got really sick, and she went away for while and that was awfully scary for the little girl.”

“I made her sick.”

“No, no you didn’t. She got sick because she wasn’t strong enough to face what was happening to you. You didn’t do anything wrong.” Bea is using her serious voice, the one I think of as the *please listen to me and hear me when I tell you this* voice.

“I can’t, I just can’t do this right now,” I whisper yell at her.

“I know. Everything feels so big right now, like it’s all moving at warp speed and crashing down around you. I know it is so hard.”

I sit and cry and Bea sits with me. It’s almost 10am, and I don’t want her to go. “Just talk to me,” I beg, “please just tell me a story.”

Bea spends our last few minutes telling me a story about a little girl who is safe and loved and wanted. She reminds me she is here, that I can email, or text her if I want to.

“I know,” I say. And the thing of it is, I do know. Even if we can’t be together in person, she is still here, and she isn’t leaving.

4 thoughts on “Safe and loved and wanted

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