A lot (11/9/26)

I’m on the phone when I walk into Bea’s office this morning. The girl who is like a little sister to me is upset. She’s about to spin out over the results of the election. I don’t have words of wisdom, I can’t say anything to make it better, I can’t logic her into a calmer state, I can’t change the outcome for her. I wish I could. Oh, if I only could. I tell her I have to go, I’m walking into therapy, but I will text her when I get out, see how she is. She says okay. I hang up the phone, hoping she takes my advice to stay off facebook for a while, and to get out of the house, to go for a walk, to do a project, not to wallow. 

Bea looks up from her chair when I walk into her office. “I thought you had someone with you,” she says. You’re usually so quiet!” 

I shake my head, drop my phone into my bag. “No, just a phone call. [little sister] is close to spinning out.” 
“And you were trying to pre-empt the spin out,” she says knowingly. 

I nod. “Yeah. Trying. I told her to get outside. To go for a walk. To take the kid she nannies to the library. I told her I would call her after I left her, check in on her” 

“Good advice. She’s lucky to have you.” Bea says. 

We flow into talking about some issues Kat is having at school. I tell Bea how even this issue feel manageable because the school was so supportive during Kat’s meltdown, and she is very pleased to hear this. We don’t spend long talking about Kat, it’s more me letting Bea know the things we are working on, and how Kat is feeling. 

Bea easily transitions us to talking about me. “On Monday, something came up, and you said you thought you could write about it. Did you bring any writing with you today?” 

I instantly go a bit farther away. I need that distance from her, from reality, from myself. I shake my head. “I……” I think I might throw up. “I……couldn’t. I tried.” 
I’m far away, yet also jumpy. I keep looking around the room, not really seeing Bea’s hard wood floor, or the blue rug, or anything else. 

“You tried,” Bea echoes what I’ve said, and she sound solid and grounded. “It was hard to write about then. Did you write about trying to write? Sometimes you do that.” 

I shake my head. “No…..no…..nothing.” I sigh. I’m fidgeting with my fingers, picking at them and sort of scratching at my wrists. 

“Okay, that’s okay. You tried to write about it, and it was really hard to do. Can we stay with ‘I tried’, and what feelings that brings up?” Bea suggests gently. 

I’m still sitting up, trying to not hide my face, trying to be *good*. I feel tears welling up, and I blink them away, furiously. I can not do this. It’s too much. I cover my face with my cupped hands, as a few tears roll down my cheeks. I manage to stop them, and I wipe furiously at my face, before lifting my head again. 

We sit in silence, Bea talking off an on, trying to help me. “I wonder if taking a few deep breaths would be good. If that would help you feel a little more grounded, so you can find your words,” she says softly. “Sometimes when I can’t find my thoughts, if I take a few deep breaths, that helps.” She offers up feeling words, for what trying to write might have felt like. “Sad? Scared? Frustrated? Tired? Something that’s not those, other?” 

I shake my head. I don’t know how to tell her about this. 

“I think it’s important we try to stay with this, that this is important, but we can take a break and come back to it, because I also think we need to stay in your window so you have words.” She pauses for a moment, and then very gently, and very carefully she says, “We don’t have to use words, there are other ways we can communicate and get things out. Words are what you feel comfortable with and I want to respect that, and help you find words.” Bea pauses again, maybe trying to give me space to speak, or to think, or maybe both. “You know…..even not having words is communicating a lot. Most communication isn’t in words. I know you need it to be in words, and that is okay, but I think….you should know, not having words, that is communication, too. I can feel how helpless you feel, how stuck you feel. Because not being to help you find words, not being able to make this better, I feel helpless in that. So not having words can communicate a lot.” 

I’ve been breathing and trying to be more grounded the whole time she has been talking, and so I’m finally able to make some sense of the mess in my head, and I try to explain it to Bea. “I……it’s……it’s just…….I can’t…….” My head is still too mixed up, and I’m drowning in feeling, too many feelings. I take a deep breath, start again. “The dream…….we were talking about the dream…..and something came up. And I couldn’t…..talk…..I tried to write……it’s….it’s just there, always there. It never stops. I couldn’t stop him. I didn’t stop him. All I feel is out of control and scared. I can’t do this.” The words rush out, and tears are falling now and I’m staring at the floor, covering my face with my hands and then moving them. I’m picking at my fingers, scratching at my hands. 

“You couldn’t stop him, and all those out of control feelings are coming up now. It was too overwhelming to try to think about it and write.” Bea says softly. She is quiet for a bit, and I’m going back and forth, hiding my face, uncovering it, but refusing to look up. I want to badly to bury my face and just hide. I don’t think I can handle being somewhat present, and feeling all these feelings and seeing Bea there, knowing she is there and understanding and accepting of all of me……it’s a lot. 
Something clues Bea into this, and she says, “It’s okay to do what you need to do to feel safe. What we want to do, is help you to stay in your window. Staying in your window doesn’t mean that you have to sit up, or that you can’t hide.” 

The grown up part of me feels like an idiot, but the little girl hugs her knees and buries her face. I need some distance, I need to hide.  

“He didn’t stop,” I cry. “He didn’t stop.” 

“No, he didn’t stop,” Bea echoes. She’s never shied away from stating the hard facts. “You survived. You are here, now, because you survived.” 

“I couldn’t stop him. I didn’t say no, I can’t do anything, he can do whatever he wants and no one is coming and everything is out of control and he acts like he is being nice but he isn’t, he isn’t nice and I just want it all to stop and go away.” I’m half there and half here, and I’m getting confused, switching between past and present tense as I speak to Bea. 
Bea murmurs soothing words, and she echoes what I’m telling her. She’s right here and grounded and she hears me. 

“No one is coming, no one sees. No one WANTS to see.” I say the words quietly, little girl soft, and then tears come back again. I’ve never felt so out of control, so alone, so lost. It’s as if I am free falling through space and time, and there is no one to catch me. I am at a loss of how to describe this. 

“No one came. And no one saw, no one was able to see, for whatever reason. No one was able to see, and that hurts. They didn’t get it.” 

“He hurt me. He’s hurting me, he’s hurting me…….no one is here, and he is hurting me….. He hurt me.” I whisper the words, over and over, starting to panic, starting to realize the sheer size of these feelings, and I can’t contain them. It’s too much, I can’t do this, never mind, stop. Just stop. 

“He hurt you. He hurt you, but he did not win. You survived. You survived. You’re here, now, in my office, it’s you and me, in the office. You are safe now. It’s safe here.” Listening to her, I start to calm down. She says, “No one was there then. You aren’t alone now.” 

I sniffle, but don’t reply right away. Finally, I whisper, “Are you here?”

“I’m here. I’m right here with you, I’m not going anywhere. We are on this journey together.” 

“Do you get it?” I ask quietly. I want to believe she is here with me, I want to believe she isn’t leaving me, I want to believe she gets it. But I’m unsure and a more than a little afraid to take the risk of trusting right now. 

“I understand how alone you felt then, and how you still feel that way now. I understand there is a lot of grief and loss and confusion for you now. I understand that it’s really hard to sit with those feelings of overwhelm. I know it doesn’t always feel like it happened in the past, and I know it’s easy for me to offer things up, to remind you that you survived, and that sometimes you don’t really feel like you survived, and that it’s much harder to do the things I suggest than I make it sound. I know this is all scary and hard and it’s twice as scary and hard when you feel all alone. I feel like I get it, but only you can really answer that. I think…..you should know, if I’m not getting something, it’s not for not caring, and I want to know that I’m not getting it, because I do want to get it.” Bea’s voice is full of……care? Compassion? I’m not sure what, exactly, but it’s hard to stay present and not only hear her but feel what she is saying. The weight of the feelings behind her words is too much. Why is it just as hard to hold onto good feelings as bad? Why is she caring about me? Does she really care, or is this just a job to her? Is it part of her work to care? Is it real or pretend? (Writing this now, I’m seeing this parallel between my family pretending to love no matter what, but the real truth was there were contingencies with their love, and a parallel with Kenny, who pretended to care, who said nice things and claimed to love me, to care about me, to want to help me, and he hurt me. Is it any wonder I am unsure if Bea is real or pretend at times? And then all of that confusion is added to the therapist type relationship, which makes it even more odd and confusing.)

I nod my head, whisper, “okay.” It’s all I can say, and it’s enough to open the flood gates. “I don’t want to be alone with this anymore,” I cry. 

Bea says soothingingly, “You aren’t alone now. I am here. You are doing so good at sitting with these tough feelings, staying in your window. I know it’s not easy, but you are doing it.” 
We sit in quiet for a bit, then. After a while, she says, “You don’t have to do anything, you don’t even have to listen to this, you can tell me to stop talking. I’m noticing you are shaking, you are scared and your body is shaking. I can see you scratching at your wrists, you are feeling so hopeless and scared. This is trauma, too. It’s stored trauma coming out, just like your words, and just like your tears. If there was something you wanted to do, a movement you want to make, we can do that.” 

I want to claw my skin off, because I have the creepy crawly skin tingly feeling I get with some flashbacks. I’m not about to tell Bea that though, because it’s too much to say out loud, and I don’t want the feeling on my skin to be real, so I shake my head no, and keep shaking it. 

“No, I can see you are saying no. That feels too scary, and it’s okay. I’m just going to say one more thing, just so you know this. If you ever want me to sit nearer or farther away, or to come hold your hand when we are dealing with these memories, these feelings, I can, I will. If that would help you to know I’m here when you can’t look at me, if that would help you to know you aren’t alone, or to feel safe, I can do that. All you have to do is let me know.” Bea speaks slowly, carefully, but again it has that same caring tone. 

I don’t say anything, and I don’t shake my head yes or no. The lonely scared little girl part who just wants someone to make her feel safe wants to reach out her hand. The rest of me is against the idea. The grown up feels like I’m too old to need my therapist to hold my hand. The teen doesn’t trust it. And really, I don’t know what the little girl is thinking; I don’t even like holding my husband’s hand. Hand holding doesn’t feel all that safe; if another is holding your hand, they then have control over where your hand is, they can move it anywhere they like. Kenny used holding my hand to move my hand to certain……areas. It doesn’t matter. I can’t reach my hand out, I can’t reach for her. 

Bea meets me where I am at, instead. She talks about how sad I am feeling, how she can see that grief and confusion and pain. She tells me how she can see that I am struggling to not be overwhelmed, and she echoes what I have said: “He hurt you. He hurt you and you were little and couldn’t do anything. But you survived. You are here, and you survived. You are okay. You are here, and I am here, and you are safe now.” 

I cry off and on some more, and Bea and I talk about that out of control feeling. It feels as though it has invaded my life, even though logically I know that isn’t true. 

“This is a lot. It’s a lot and it’s going to take time. It’s going to take a lot of time, because it is a lot to deal with. You are doing it, even if it feels like you aren’t. And I’m here, even when you can’t feel it. I’m here.” Bea reminds me as I slip my shoes back on and pick up my coffee from the side table. 

“Thanks,” I say, blinking rapidly to hold back tears that are threatening to fall. 

“I’ll see you later today with Kat, right?” Bea asks me. 

“Yeah. I’ll see you later,” I whisper the words as they rush out in a quick burst. I half run half walk down the stairs before I even finish speaking. I have to get out of there. I can’t breathe. I get in the car, and just sit for a few minutes until I’m in that here but not here space and am capable of driving. 

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Disconnectd from my life

Things are still very, very messy. Since finding the emails between hubby and Bea, I’ve been in this weird headspace. I feel off, somehow, wrong. I’m disconnected from everyone. I know I trust my best friend but it’s as if I don’t really remember what that feels like and I can’t feel it now. It’s like the entire world is dancing to hard rock and I’m trying to dance to classical music. Or, it’s as if my entire world, my life, is one of those movies where the director puts that odd artsy touch to the entire picture. Not so off and different that you can name what is wrong with the picture, but just enough that you know it’s not a match for real life. I’m dissociated, and far away, sort of locked in my head, yes, but it’s more than that. I don’t feel like me, my house doesn’t look like my house– even though I know, logically, that my house looks like it always has. It’s crazy making, this feeling. There really aren’t words to describe it. 

I’ve taken to writing in a notebook, and handing that over to Bea, instead of sending emails. Things are, well, strange in therapy. I’m so floaty and gone that I barely remember what we have talked about an hour after my sessions end. There’s the emails, and hubby just being…I don’t know, just not really okay, and trauma anniversaries have popped up (nothing with an exact date, just a timeframe I’m aware of and nightmares, flashbacks, emotions going crazy…..) and holidays and who even knows what else. So there’s been a lot. And of course, that crazy making feeling of things not being right. I wrote about that not long after the email incident, and Bea told me there was a shrinky word, definition, and explanation but didn’t go into it. I do remember her telling me I wasn’t going crazy, and that while this feeling is very anxiety provoking, it is another survival resource, it is okay and not insane at all. So we’ve talked about that. 

So, today — or rather yesterday now– when I saw Bea things were different than they have been. She’d had to cancel Monday’s session for personal reasons, and had asked if I could come Wednesday instead of Thursday so we would have more time. It’d been a week since I had seen her, with the only emails sent being about her cancelation, and then, later, the email asking if I wanted to come on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I haven’t been emailing her anyway. This crazy making feeling has left me so cut off from everyone, that the few times I have emailed, her responses don’t feel like “Bea”. They feel like she is just saying words, or isn’t getting it, or might as well be just any therapist emailing me back. In the past, her emails have always given me a sense of safety and connection, and when I don’t feel that — as I have desperately been needing to– I only end up feeling more alone a separated from everyone. So I haven’t been emailing. 

Bea mentions this almost every session, whether it’s to remind me I can email her, or to tell me that she had been sort of expecting to hear from me and had wondered what came up since she saw me last. It’s never said in a way that makes me feel bad, or as if I need to email her because she was maybe expecting to hear from me. It’s more of a gentle reminder that it really is okay to email between sessions. And, I’m beginning to see that emailing between sessions helped me to feel connected and not alone, and also made it easier to feel a connection to her in my sessions. I have a feeling that if I can make myself send emails instead of writing everything in my notebook, while it might feel worse at first, eventually it will help me to feel more connected to her again. 

I’m pretty sure every session we have talked about ways to be more grounded in the present, especially given the distanced, off, and odd way I have been feeling. Of course, she has dropped small amounts of information about sensorimotor therapy and how the sensory stuff really does put us in the present. Last week, she suggested I try working on being present when I’m by myself, like when I’m washing the dishes. As we talked about this, I likened it to narrating to myself what is happening as it happens. I think she said that yes, it was sort of like that. I tried, I really did. But I couldn’t do it. 

Yesterday’s therapy session feels like a lot; there was a lot I wrote about and that we talked about. But that’s another post. I just wanted to write some sort of update, and to say that I have been reading your posts, even though I haven’t been commenting. I’ve just felt too far away to even engage that much. But I’m back, now (I think, I’m pretty sure). 

Everything is broken 

I know I am so behind on replying to comments, and reading other’s posts. Things have been really hard the last few days. I want to tell all of you thank you for your kind comments, for validating my feelings, for all the support. I really feel like this is a special place, and we have this very special community where we support and understand each other. And I am so thankful that I found this community of people. Xoxo

I texted my best friend on Wednesday: “hubby and Bea have been emailing since February. Everything is so screwed up. I can’t breathe.” She called me, and we talked until I had to get Kay from school. She told me I needed to go to therapy on Thursday and tell Bea what I had found out. She said even if I wanted to quit, I still needed to go, and get closure. She also told me that she believed I should tell Bea and then work through it with her, that I was better than the girl who used to run away. I argued, but she won out. She told me she would be upset with me if I didn’t at least show up on Thursday and talk about it with Bea. 

So, off to therapy I went. It sucked. It was the hardest session I have ever had. Even all the memories, and some of the hard things Bea and I have dealt with, this was the hardest…………

Thursday morning. I’m driving to therapy, numb and sick to my stomach. I’m not really here, everything has that strange not real look about it. When I walk into her office, I try to smile, to act like everything is fine. I can’t face this right now. 

I sit down, and say hello. I can’t even look at her. It hurts. I can’t do this. 

Bea attempts to engage me in small talk. She asks about my hair, she talks about Hagrid. I can’t find it in me to truly respond, the one word answers I give sound hollow and far away. When she realizes this isn’t going to work, she says, “I was wondering if anything had come up after Monday’s session (which I never did post about). You seemed surprised that it wasn’t as scary to talk about the underwear memory this time around.” 

I shrug. Part of me wants to respond, wants to weep with pain about all the crap that came up in my head after that session. But I can’t. She doesn’t feel like Bea to me. She doesn’t even feel real. 

“Did you have a hard night last night?” She asks. 

I don’t say anything. Yes, I had a horrible night. I cried and cried and felt all alone and betrayed and hurt and flooded with memories and everything is a mess. I finally nod my head. 

“Im feeling really floaty right now. Is that you or me?” 

I’m so far away at this point, I think ‘me’ but can’t get the word out. 

“I know if I sit up and plant my feet, I’ll feel more grounded, but I’m so comfortable like this, I’m going to try to feel grounded without sitting up,” she tells me. 

I just stare at the floor, not really seeing anything at all. 

I’m not sure how much time passes, or if she talks about anything else, but eventually her voice breaks through to me. “Did something happen this week?” 

I nod my head. It feels like the most difficult thing to do, to make my head move. I want to pull my knees to my chest and hide my face, but I can not figure out how to move that much right now. 

She asks other questions, which I ignore, until she says, “Do you have anything written down?” 

I glance at my bag, where I do have a letter written to her. But then I shake my head. I’m not ready to do this, to face this, yet. I can’t. In the back of my mind, I’m feeling some satisfaction that she seems a little lost, and like she is grasping at straws. 

She asks me questions, and she talks. I really can’t hear a lot of what is being said. It’s just not getting through the fog. At some point, I whisper, “I can’t do this.” 

She waits to see if there is more, and then she asks, “Because talking about it will make it real?”

“And….reactions.” I struggle to force the words out. And then I do move, quickly pulling my legs up and hiding my face. I burst into tears. 

“This is really painful. There is so much hurt right now, it’s hard to even be present. It doesn’t feel safe to feel all this, does it? But you aren’t alone, I’m here, and you are safe.” She says softly. 

“I am all alone.” I sob the words out. I hate that she tells me she is here. She’s not here, not anymore. 

“That came out very clearly. And it feels scary, and painful.” 

I just cry and cry. I can’t speak. 

“Are there words right now? Or is this a place of no words?” She asks. 

“I have words.” 

“Can you say them?” She questions. 

I shake my head. 

“Because you are worried about my reaction?” She makes some sense of the little bit of conversation I’ve made. 

I nod my head. Yes. 

“Do you think you did something?” She asks gently, like she is speaking to a child afraid of being in trouble. 

“I….no. Yes…it’s complicated. I can’t….” I’m confused and overwhelmed and can’t find the words to speak. 

“If you can try to say the words, we can make sense of this together. You don’t have to be alone with this,” she tells me. 

Her words hurt. I cry harder. “It’s broken. I can’t….it’s just broken.” 

“Broken can be fixed.” Her voice is calm, and sure, and I know she means it. 

I shake my head. “How? How can this ever be fixed?” 

“Well, I don’t know, but I do believe broken can be fixed,” she says. “What’s broken?” 

“Everything. Everything is broken. It’s complicated.” 

“Okay. This is so very hard. Who broke it?” She’s trying so hard to help me, but I can’t really feel it. Her words seem like an echo, as if she isn’t really here with me.

I can’t answer. The answer is Bea. Bea broke it. But I can’t say that. I’m afraid of hurting her, upsetting her. 

“Okay…you didn’t say you broke it, so I don’t think you feel you did anything bad. Yet you are worried about my reaction. I’m really lost here. Is there anything else you can tell me?” She asks. 

I shake my head. “Even if I say it, what good will it do? How will it help to talk about it? It can’t be fixed. I just want it erased, gone. I wish I never found out!” 

She listens to my sobs, and says softly, “Anything causing you this much pain is worth talking about.” 

I shake my head, again. “Even if I do tell you, you’ll probably just think it doesn’t matter and I am being silly and stupid!” The words fly out of my mouth, so quickly I can’t stop them. 

“No, no. I would never think that. Anything causing this much hurt and distress is big. It’s very big and it matters.” She tells me. 

“I…hubby….I found an email…..” I can’t get out anymore than that before I start crying so hard I can’t breathe. 

“You found an email he wrote? And it was really upsetting?” She clarifies. 

I nod. Yes. 

She waits for more, but when I don’t say anything, she asks me if the email was recent. 

“February….” I mean to say more, to tell her since February but I can’t get the words out. 

She hesitatingly asks, “Did he cheat?” 

“No…I…it’s not…I mean…he didn’t really…I can’t..it’s complicated.” 

“I really hope I didn’t do anything to hurt you, to make you feel this badly, but if it’s not something hubby did, I feel like I have to ask if I’ve done anything?” She says the words slowly, like she is maybe thinking out loud. 

I freeze. I feel sick. I won’t lie to her, but I really, really don’t want to answer this question. Slowly, I nod my head yes. I feel devastated. I can’t even. It’s just too hard. I have no idea what she says next. I just curl into myself, and go far, far away. I eventually pull a notebook out of my bag, and hold it out to her. 

She reads it, and then she talks. I don’t remember all her words. “I didn’t mean to hurt you, that was never my intention. I can only imagine how bad this feels, how much pain it is. I know it has to feel really scary, and I’m sure when you found it yesterday you felt like we had been conspiring against you. I’m sure it feels like I can’t be trusted anymore. I’m so sorry. This….it’s not just a job to me, I give everything I can. I don’t take your feelings, your safety or your trust lightly. I do think this can be repaired, worked through. I believe that. We’ve worked too hard, and this is too important to not fight for our relationship.” 

I don’t say anything for quite a while. I’m drifting between really far away and a less far away. “You hold have told me. Why didn’t you tell me?”

She sounds so sad when she answers me. “I don’t have a perfect answer. He emailed during times when your stability was wavering, and I have just thought if I don’t respond, he will be questioning you, and that is not something you can handle right now, and if I can keep him calm, get him to wait, to be more supportive….I know even when you don’t want to talk to him that if things at home became unstable it might be really too much. I want to help build in support, and protection for you. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but I’m not working with him, hubby and I aren’t in cahoots. I know how much your trust means, and it isn’t something I ever have or ever will take for granted.” 

I don’t respond, I’m hearing her, but all I can do is cry. This hurts. It hurts because I know she is hurt now, it hurts because I feel betrayed, it hurts because I feel alone, it hurts because my safe person isn’t safe right now.

“I can’t imagine how bad this hurts. I was wrong. I should have told you. I’m learning an important lesson right now. And if this ever comes up again, with anyone, I will tell the person next time.” 

“No more emailing with him. You don’t email him. Or talk to him. No more, ever.” I say the words, and I’m not loud, but the anger in my words is something anyone in the room would have felt. 

“No more emailing him. I understand. You are mad, that’s good. Get mad, be mad. You have every right to be mad. This feels like a huge betrayal.” She says calmly. I’m expecting her to get angry back, I have never spoken to Bea in anger before. I don’t know what to make of this. 

“You should have told me! I’m not even mad that you emailed him back. I’m mad that you didn’t tell me.” 

“I know. I know. This isn’t a small thing, it’s huge. I’ve been an important part of your life for a long time now. In some ways, I’ve been a big part, and in other ways, not. But this feels huge, and it is huge. It matters. Of course you are upset, and hurt. I understand why you are upset.” 

I sigh. I hate that she knows she is important. It feels like she shouldn’t be, like it is ridiculous that she is. “I don’t want it to matter.” I say, sadly. 

“I know. It hurts. If it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t hurt. I think that we have done some really good work together. I’ve known you a long time now, and I think this relationship is too important to not fight for. This matters to me. And I really do believe we can talk it through and repair this. I want to do that with you. This relationship is worth that.” She tells me. 

“I can’t…I can’t,” I whimper. It feels good to hear her say it matters to her, to know she wants to fight for this relationship, that it is important to her. But this all feels so bad. And there is so much to contain, and I can’t go to her. I’m alone and flooded with memories and feelings and nothing feels okay. 

“I know it feels like that. I know it does. I think you can. You came here today,” she points out. 

“I didn’t…I didn’t want to. Kay made me. She told me…..she’d be mad if I didn’t. She said that I could face it…that I was better than the girl who runs away.” I whisper the words. 

“Thank you, Kay. And she is right. We can work through this. You can work through this.” 

I hear tears in her voice, and it pains me. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” I tell her, frantically. 

“Don’t apologize. You have nothing to be sorry for. Why shouldn’t I feel some of this pain? It’s okay for me to cry, to feel this hurt, too.” She has said this before, that it is okay for her to cry and feel sad. 

I can’t stand being the source of people’s pain, unless I’m so angry I can’t feel their hurt. But now, I can feel it. And it sucks. “This sucks. I know…I know you didn’t do this on purpose. I’m just…I hate this.” 

I snap a few more times at her, in between crying and saying sorry. She handles my anger and crying, and tells me I have nothing to be sorry for, that she is the one who is sorry. 

“I hate this. I know why you wrote him back, I know why he wrote. This hurts. I can see your side, and get it, and it sucks.” I tell her. 

“It’s a gift to be able to see all sides. It is hard, but it is a good thing.” 

“It sucks. I can always see both sides. That’s why it’s so hard.” I say through my tears.

“I know, I know that makes it hard. I can see your side, why you feel so betrayed and hurt, and I can see me from that time period’s side. I can hold both those perspectives, and feel compassion for both,” she tells me. Maybe that is what I am missing; compassion for both. I feel more compassionate towards her side, hubby’s side. I know why I feel the way I do, but I am berating myself for it, and feeling stupid over it, and hating myself for being upset. 

“How is this ever going to be fixed? I can’t.” I wail.

“It feels huge, insurmountable right now. But we can work this through. We can talk about this as long as you need to. If we have to talk about it for 10 weeks, longer, we can.” 

I shake my head. I feel gone, or maybe it’s that I feel she is gone. I don’t know anymore. 

“Do you have the emails?” She asks. 

I nod. Sort of. I took pictures of them with my phone. I couldn’t just forward it to myself. I don’t want hubby to know what I found. So, I have them, sort of. 

“Why don’t you bring that on Monday, and we can go through it? I can tell you what I was thinking?” She suggests. 

I shake my head vehemently. “No. No. We are not doing that. You are not to read it. No.” If she doesn’t remember all the things he said, I don’t want it all coming back to her. He wrote awful things. Some may be true, but he said mean, mean things, and described me as this monster person. I’m ashamed over it, and hurt, and I don’t want to face that right now. 

“Okay. We don’t have to do that. That’s okay. We can go through my notes from that time, if you want.” She says. 

“You don’t look for those emails and you don’t read them either,” I tell her. I need her to do this, if I’m ever going to trust her again. I don’t comment on her notes, at all. I’m honestly afraid to know what she has written. I’m picturing awful things in her notes about me.

“Okay. I won’t read them. I won’t look for them, and I won’t read them,” she says seriously. 

“I hope not,” I lash out at her. I’m angry and hurt, and I can’t take much more. 

“I won’t. If I say I won’t, I really won’t.” She says softly. 

I stop and think for a minute. I know this is true, if I think about all our history. “Okay, okay. I know that,” I relent. 

I don’t remember how we ended things. I know she asked me if I was going to talk to Kay today, and she encouraged me to do so. “When your safe person is suddenly not safe, you need someone else to help you see objectively, to help you know the world is still safe.” 

I tell her I will call or text Kay today. I’m glad she knows that she doesn’t feel safe right now. I wish she did feel safe. I hate this. “I hate this so much. I hate all of it,” I tell her. “I can trust Kay. She would never talk to him without telling me.” 

“She’s much safer than I am right now. It’s okay to hate me right now. That’s okay.” She gives me permission to be mad.

I shake my head. “I don’t hate you. I hate things people do, I hate this, but I don’t hate you. I don’t hate people.” After thinking a minute, I add, “Well, maybe my mother in law. But that is a whole different thing.” My mother in law manipulates and hurts people on purpose, she doesn’t care who she hurts, or who is caught in her crossfire. She only cares about herself and getting what she wants. Bea is not like that all. 

“Maybe you are feeling a similarity between me and her? Like I manipulated things?” Bea asks. 

I shake my head. “I feel…..like you lied, like you knew what his feelings were, and have been disagreeing with me even though I am telling you exactly what he has said. But no. You aren’t like her. You didn’t…this wasn’t to hurt me, I know that.” I’m still crying and I feel like I must look a huge mess. 

“No, I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you. I honesty was doing what I believed was best at the time. In hindsight I could have done something differently, but I was truly doing what I believed was best for you. Your safety was my only concern. And things were very unstable, I wanted to do anything I could to keep things as stable as I could.” 

I nod my head and cry quietly. “I know. I know you, I know that.” 

She tells me that she is human, and flawed and she will make mistakes. She tells me she has work to do, too, because she is human. “When it feels like we are walking a tightrope, doing this very tricky balancing act, I have to do my best to keep things as stable as I can for you. It’s….things can be really unpredictable and for every Alice, there is a suicide attempt or a hospitalization. You did get through some really hard spots, but there can be so many what ifs, and I have to do what I can to help you build resources. I’d feel terrible, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I felt negligent, if I hadn’t done all I could for you.” 

I don’t respond, but her words do penetrate. I can feel that she does care, that she does want me safe and she is here. I only feel that for a minute, and then it’s gone, replaced with hurt over what I feel is lost. I dissolve into tears again. 

I don’t know how we end things. She tells me we can email, I can call or text, whatever I need. I remember it being hard to sit up, not wanting her to see me. I couldn’t look at her when I left, and I practically ran out the door.