R. What did you want to say about the headache? How does it feel?
E. It feels like a slicer slicing into my brain. Like I’m in slices.
I hate this feeling, and can’t continue describing it. It feels a bit as if I’m not human.
R. How many slices do you think? Say two…or a hundred?
E. Maybe five. Or seven. Some odd number. It feels really awful.
R. How does it feel? Does it go all the way down your body?
E. Maybe….maybe down to my legs anyway…..We have the strangest conversations here.
I sit and feel like I’m in slices, and it’s a pretty bad feeling.
E. Maybe I’ll go with parts then…I don’t have anything more on the slices.
I sit and try and suss out which part wants to speak the most. I come out with an unexpected part who hasn’t spoken much before.
E. (whispery voice) I….I….My mother will be mad. I’m not supposed to talk to people. I’m a bad person if I talk. People who talk to people are bad.
R. Why are they bad?
E. I don’t know, they just are. I shouldn’t be talking to you because my mom would be mad.
R. What happens if she gets mad?
E. She….nothing. She stops talking to me. Sometimes I don’t get to go out and play. But then…she thinks I’m bad. I should….I should maybe go home now?
R. So Ellen doesn’t want you to talk to me?
E. Oh….you think I’m the kid. I meant my mother.
R. Your other mother. I got confused for a minute.
E. One time? I was out playing, and we found this bird? And it was dead. So the kids said we should say a prayer, so we all said a prayer….
I’ve been crying a bit, and shaking, because this part is so afraid to be there and is so afraid she is doing something very very wrong.
R. Your mother needed you to keep secrets? So she wouldn’t want you to be in therapy….
I’ve switched back.
E. Well – I don’t know what she’d think of my being in therapy now. I haven’t told her about it. In general, she doesn’t believe in talking. She never really talks herself.
There was a sense you do not talk about feelings to anyone, when I was growing up. As I didn’t remember the abuse, I don’t remember being forbidden to talk about it.
E. OK, now maybe…the kid.
E. Hi Ron. Well….you know I wrote you? A long time ago. Last week. And you wrote back.
The kid smiles at the memory. She loves being responded to.
E. That was me, who wrote. And I said kids do therapy with toys.
R. And that was true.
And the kid disappears again.
E. You did hurt her feelings, when you said she avoids.
R. Do you hear that as criticism?
E. Well, avoiding is not that positive a term. It’s not neutral.
R. Why couldn’t we just let it be there. You don’t have to hear it as negative. It’s as if you feel, you shouldn’t have issues, when you’re sitting here, that this is a problem.
I don’t say anything to this. It’s a point, but the problem is dynamics with the kid, not with me. Anyway, what the heck.
E. OK, there’s another part.
E. I’m mad. I feel angry.
R. Who are you angry with?
E. I’m angry with….everybody. I’m angry with my mother and my father and my brother and my sister. I’m angry with my friends. I’m angry with you.
R. Why are you angry with me?
E. Because you….are supposed to help me and you don’t help me. You were supposed to help me in group and you didn’t. And I’m angry with all the people in the group. I don’t like them.
Ron looks serious. Discussions of the group tend to be a problem.
R. What could I have done to help you in group?
E. I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about group. And you hurt the kid’s feelings. She’s only little. She doesn’t know about therapy.
R. So you want to protect her?
I don’t say anything, and I switch out.
We sit for a minute.
E. Ron, do you think it’s worthwhile for me to look for a partner?
Ron is startled.
R. You mean a lover?
E. Yeah, a boyfriend, you know.
R. Sure, why not.
E. Because I’m old. And I have issues.
R. If it’s something you want, you could look.
E. Yes, it’s something I’d like.
R. We have to stop for the day. Is next Friday good?
E. Yes. I’m getting ready to go. I’m wiggling my toes.
I usually keep a close eye on the time. Somehow, after letting parts speak, I got more comfortable speaking to Ron, and I forgot about the time. I hate being booted out. Also, I’m a little out of it, after letting parts speak, so I take a minute to sit on the couch and wiggle my toes.
I wish Ron a good weekend and leave. I realize I’m feeling very connected to Ron again. I hadn’t been feeling that, but after this session, I am. Maybe that feeling of disconnection comes from parts not getting to speak. In my case, the parts long for contact with Ron. I feel very relieved after they have said what they have to say. And Ron’s calmness when I tell him I’m angry with him is very soothing somehow.
So I don’t need to write any emails. I feel kind of sad and shaken, because the parts hold an awful lot of pain. But I also feel held in a way that feels really good.