Editor’s note: This is part 43 of Marie’s story.
I had trouble getting out of bed this morning… I slept until 9:25 a.m. (well not so much sleeping as lying there and dozing), which is the latest I could stay in bed and still get to my therapy session on time. I’m glad we are on fall break this week so I didn’t have to get up earlier.
At Carl’s office, we had the usual greetings, then…
Carl: I read your email. It sounds like you did some courageous writing. Where are you with that today? Do you want to talk about it?
Me: Yeah, I do. And, I’m actually in a fairly good place with it, emotionally. When I sent you the email on Monday, I was torn up emotionally enough that, had we had the session that day, I may have been in tears as soon as I walked in the door. But, today, two days later, I’m feeling a bit more stable about it.
Carl: I’m glad you are feeling more stable… and, it would have been just fine with me if you had shown up here in that fragile state. You are allowed to be in an emotionally fragile state on the days we meet.
Me: Thank you for that assurance… I do know that and I’m grateful for that support.
I know we have a couple other things in progress and I don’t know how you feel about putting them on hold while we talk about this new topic…
Carl: I’m fine with it. I’m a firm believer we need to deal with whatever is most pressing.
Me: Okay. That’s what I would like to do.
Carl: How would you like to proceed?
Me: Well, I guess I need to ask you about that. What I wrote is graphic… I guess it might be labeled as pornography. I need to know what your boundaries are. I mean… I’m not sure you are willing to have this type of material presented here in your office.
Carl: Can you tell me more specifically what is contained in your writing? I have a general idea based upon what you said in your email, but a more specific description would be helpful to me.
Me: I wrote out, in great detail, a sexual fantasy I have consistently had. I think it reads like pornography.
Carl: Okay, thank you… that helps me understand.
So… I wouldn’t go out and buy a book of pornographic material to take home and read as entertainment. But, what you have written was written in a healing context. It is part of your healing journey. I would be honored for you to share this part of your healing journey with me, just like I am honored when you share any part of your healing journey. It is a privilege to walk beside you in this journey, regardless where we might have to travel.
Me: Okay… when I was working with Mark, I felt very limited in how detailed I could get with him. I got the feeling he would shut me down if what I said was sexually graphic to any extent. So, it is surprising to me that you are willing to listen to even these details.
Carl: Why did you think you wouldn’t be allowed to share the details with your therapist?
Me: Well, because it would contaminate his mind and I didn’t think he would allow that to happen—he saw himself as a very moral person.
Carl: It’s not contamination. It’s a step in the healing process. I am honored to be a witness for you in that part of your journey.
Me: Thank you… I greatly appreciate that.
Would you like a copy of it? I printed a copy for each of us…
Carl: Well, sure… if you are okay with me having my own copy…
Me: I am okay with that. (I gave him his copy.)
Carl: It was very thoughtful of you to print a copy for me! Thank you!
So, how would you like to proceed? Do you want to talk about it or read what you wrote… or, do you want me to read it?
(I had wondered if him reading it, should I get too far into the child state, was even an option because it would mean he would have to actively speak those vile words rather than just passively listen to them… but, he answered that question for me without me having to ask it.)
Me: I want to read it… it feels important to me that the reading be in my own voice. So, I want to try reading it, to stick with it as long as I can.
Carl: Very well. Feel free to proceed whenever you are ready…
(I sat quietly for several minutes, looking over my writing. I felt a wide range of emotions as I tried to figure out how to begin—how to bring the dark words out into the light. When I finally felt ready to speak, I found myself struggling for enough composure to cause words to come out of my mouth. Every time I tried to form a word, sobs erupted from my throat instead. All I could do was sit there with tears running down my face and snot dripping from my nose.)