So I came back for another round. Almost a month after our first time together.
“It’s been awhile” you said as I sat down. You knew that I had weighed and balanced you in my mind. My need to be in therapy with my expectation that I will never find a therapist who will challenge me.
I almost started to giggle then, you know. I am not accustomed to having others see through me so transparently. I mean, I shield most things from my husband and he sees me every damn day. I shield everything from nearly everybody. I am a chameleon. I can be whatever you want me to be or not be there at all.
To walk in and have you see me so clearly is still new. Like a scab that is still itchy.
So I sat down and began to unravel the tangled mess of yarn that is my story. You wrote nothing down this time. You remembered it all.
I became so absorbed in my self pity and justifications that I didn’t even dodge the first punch. But I felt it. And stopped talking. I looked at you. You looked back, waiting.
“You are an active author in the script that disappoints you, Dawn. Why do you keep doing that? I know you are an incredibly smart woman so it makes no sense that you are acting so helpless in the very thing that is making you so angry….”
Well. I’ll be dammed. I may have even cocked my head at you, like a puppy when their owner does something unique and unexpected.
“You’re right.” It was all I could say. You ARE right. And the first person to really call me on it. In three years, you are the first therapist that has laid it out. It IS my script and I make sure that the patterns never deviate from my expectations. Which we all know are expectations of disappointment and failure. Not my own failure, of course – but that of the other people in my life to meet my needs – or not, as the more accurate case may be. I, after all , survive. I overcome. I deal with the shitty hand that I have been made sure that I will be dealt and power through it.
To do this, though, to be able to maintain this part of my identity, I keep my eyes shut until the last possible moment. And as the point of the knife is at my neck, cutting, I scream and rage and fight back. Until that point, I freeze in place – a willing victim. An open and inviting victim. What I have categorized as patience is nothing like patience. It is the stillness of the trap being laid.
You praise me for not being defensive as you detail the façade that has taken me 39 years to cultivate. No, not defensive. Illuminated. Shaken up a bit, but not defensive. Never defensive. I know myself too well to deny a truth when it is presented to me in such a way.
“Next week?” you ask at the end of the session.
Yes. I am coming back.