The bubble popper

“Hubby made Kat hug his Grandpa.” I’m curled up on Bea’s couch, but still looking at her. I’m so angry with Hubby over this, so sick, so triggered. Bea doesn’t say anything right away, she waits to see what else I’m going to add. I explain how I wasn’t there, but he asked her to hug his grandpa, and Kat said no. And then he took her bear– which is really my teddy bear from childhood, that has become a major safety object for Kat– and told her she could have bear back when she followed his directions. So she hugged his grandpa.

Bea is shaking her head. The look on her face says it all, that she understands my upset, and that she agrees hubby was wrong. “It’s certainly not the message we wanted given to Kat. Did Kat say anything about it?”

I nod, “Only that she hated Daddy and his Grandpa. And that she was mad and wanted to cry but can’t cry around Daddy.” My head is pounding.

“That makes it really hard, because how do you have a repair, or talk to her when you are mad as she is at the same people?” Bea asks.

I breathe a sigh of relief. She gets it.

“Did you talk to Hubby? Tell him how you feel?”

“No. What’s the point? We had discussed situations like this, and I thought we were on the same page. Apparently he says whatever I want to hear, and then does what he wants anyway. More reasons not to trust him.”

Bea starts talking about repair and disconnect in all relationships. I don’t know. I’m not really listening. It doesn’t matter. It is what is it. I don’t see how I can trust Hubby, and he keeps making missteps like this. I’m over it.

I don’t want to talk to Hubby, I don’t need to make things harder than they have been. I try to explain. “This week, last week was….just hard.” I stop talking because I don’t know how to explain that it’s been a struggle to maintain perfect, and I’m failing at it now, and the last thing I need is to feel worse from a conversation I have with Hubby.

“I’m not surprised, we stirred a lot up.” Bea looks sympathetic.

I don’t say anything. Maybe Bea talks, maybe not. I’m not sure. I’m kind of off in my own little world. I want to try explaining again, how hard this week has been. How much I’m falling apart. How I really just can’t take anything else. “Last week…it was…so bad…it was hard.” And I stop again.

“What made last week really hard?” Bea asks.

It takes me a minute to answer. My first response is, “I don’t know.” But then Bea waits me out, and I say, “My bubble popped.” By this time, my face is buried in my knees, and I’m hiding again.

“Ahhh. And I’m the bubble popper. There must be some feelings about that. What comes up for you?” She says softly.

“No. Nothing. I’m fine,” I say. I’m not mad at her. I’m numb in that regard.

Bea is silent for a minute. And then she starts talking. I think she sounds maybe matter of fact, kind, I don’t know. “Any time… an intense therapy like this, there are going to be feelings that come up………….you are going to get mad at me, or have strong feelings about me……………it seems to me, that you have never had a relationship where it was safe to have all your feelings………..I’m putting it out there, it’s okay here, now…… can have all your feelings……”

I’m not really here, not really listening, so I only catch part of what she says. I’m afraid. I don’t want to talk about the relationship. I don’t want to hear that it’s safe to feel my feelings. I don’t want to be told she isn’t going anywhere, or that she can handle whatever I feel. So, I’m gone; off in lala land, somewhere, I don’t know. Just gone, floaty and blurry, anxiety and fears muted.

“I’m really not mad. Really,” I say when Bea stops talking. I put a smile in my voice, and speak calmly.

“Okay. But if you were, it would be okay with me.”

I shake my head.

“In fact, I’m waiting for the day you do get mad, and let me see that part of you,” she tells me.

“Because you’re crazy,” I say, and I smile for real this time. Bea laughs a little, too, but she reassures me again that she can handle my anger, if I were mad.

“Is the bubble the same as the room in your head?”

I have to think about it, for a minute, two minutes, longer. “I don’t know.” I slowly shake my head. “No. I don’t think so.”

Bea is surprised by this, I think. She expected they were the same, it seems. “How is it different?”

“Hmm. I don’t know. It’s….I don’t know.” I have no clue how to explain this. Eventually, we come to some understanding that the bubble is more of an outside thing, and the room is more internal. But I still don’t have a good way to explain it. It’s like….the room is maybe a way to distance myself, or be numb to things, or even to hide if I really had to– the room is almost like dissociation, or something– and the bubble is like the mask I wear and show the world, it’s the face of Miss Perfect, it’s always having everything be okay. I think the room and the bubble can work together to help me avoid things, but they are separate things.

“So, what was the bubble keeping out that isn’t being kept out now?” She asks.

“I don’t know.” But it’s an automatic response. “Memories….I just…I don’t know.” I shake my head.

“Are they new or old memories?” Bea asks.

It takes me a while to answer. “Some you know, some you don’t.”

“And that can be a lot to deal with.” She gets it.

We talk some more, I don’t know what about. At one point, she tells me that it’s really a choice to be in the bubble or not. And I think she doesn’t have a clue. I think she is being mean. I would be back in the bubble of I could be. But I’m stuck here, trying to stay afloat. I’m too busy to build another bubble. I don’t know.

Bea reminds me of the fact that she is leaving next week, and we will miss our Monday appointment. Normally, we would reschedule for Tuesday, but she won’t be back until Wednesday, so I’ll just see her on Thursday. “Now, I didn’t bring the envelope, I thought it might be better to wait until I get back, but if you want me to bring it on Thursday, I will. It’s your choice.”

“No, it’s okay. That’s fine.”

“Okay. So, next week, we will miss Monday, but I’ll have my phone, so you can email, or call.”

I’m a bit surprised. “Bea, I’m not going to call you.” She’ll be on vacation. I am not going to call her. I’ve never called her. I’ve texted her once, asking her to call me, and that was about Kat.

“Well, you should. If you needed to, you could, and you should,” she says, and she sounds just as surprised at my declaration of not calling as I was over her statement of I could call.

“I’ll be fine. I won’t need to call. It’s okay,” I say. I have to convince her I’m okay. It’s a huge thing– maybe an anxiety trigger in some ways– for me to think about people being worried about me. That’s not okay, I can not allow others to be worried.

“Okay,” Bea says. I think she says something about how it’s normal to need your therapist when they go out of town, or something. I don’t know.

I’m not sure what else we say. All I know is when I leave, I sit in my car and cry for what feels like a long time, and I don’t know why.