Where the hell do I begin? It was another tough session today, preceded by a tough couples session last night.
It's funny I tease M about us 'fighting' in couples counseling, but that's not what really happens. Mostly it's my nervousness talking, and she knows that. She's attended counseling with her ex-husband (yes, she wasn't always playing on my team!) but this is the first time I've ever gone to therapy with someone else, so I have preconceived notions on what goes on behind closed doors. And let me tell, I wasn't even close to picturing it correctly.
For M and I, the sessions have been a great opportunity for us to communicate, not just talk. As weird as it's been for me, going to individual and couples counseling with L, it really has helped the relationship for M and I. It sort of has kick started us to talking, and listening again. However, last night I was not prepared for what M shared.
Unfortunately, like many people M has some history of sexual abuse as a child. Although thinking back I'm not sure she ever actually labeled it as abuse, but there certainly was an understanding that boundaries were crossed. It involved her older brother when she was about 8 and he was about 12. Now, because of my own weirdness and history, M and I have never actually talked about the details of what happened to her. I just knew something happened and that she had dealt with it years ago in counseling and she was 'ok' with it, and her relationship with her brother now was not affected by it. In fact of her 3 brothers she is by far closest to him and his wife, and he is also our daughter's godfather.
As I've written about before, M and I are in the final stages of getting approved to adopt a child. Where we live, this process involves months of state run classes and then many more months of home visits and the filling out of a very detailed profile. Some of the questions in the profile have to do with your upbringing including specifically asking you about your experience around physical and sexual abuse. I certainly understand the need for the questions but they can get uncomfortably personal. Me, being the one with less morals chose to answer some of the questions less-than honestly, feeling that a lot of these questions were none of their business. M, on the other hand has less of a capacity to lie and was more open with her answers, especially as it relates to her childhood and the 'experimentations' of her brother. This unfortunately raised some questions with our social worker's bosses, so M is scheduled to go in and meet with the department head to discuss the situation further. This is what happens when you're too truthful!
Anyway, last night at couples counseling L asked us the adoption process and where were we at. This prompted M to start telling L about this meeting that she's supposed to have and how she's feeling concerned about it, not too concerned, just a little bit. So L started asking her some questions about M's experience with her brother, and the more L asked the more details M provided. And these details were definitely more than I had ever heard, or even imagined. M's experience was more than kids playing doctor, way more. Way more. However, she doesn't see it that way. For me, she was comfortably calm about all of it. Like it never registered with her how bad it was. After more questioning, L started referring to it as 'incest'. Ouch. More that I could handle, I think I started to only hear every other word after that.
It's such a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions after that. I felt bad for M because she had always thought that she had dealt with it, but she started to feel that she may have been in some sort of denial all these years. She felt a little stupid. But not completely. It hit her hard last night, but at the same time I don't think she can take it in all at once, so even when we talked a little about it today she sort of not convinced that it's really had a huge impact on her. Although L was able to point out a few areas in her life, especially as it relates to parenting, where it has had an impact.
I also felt bad about my reaction to hearing M provide details. I was having a hard time hearing it and she knew it so she started to hold back info. However L encouraged her to keep going, which I think was the right thing to do. I wish I could have been stronger for her and not have her worry about my reaction. She's a caretaker, and god-knows I love to be coddled/protected but sometimes I need to put my big-girl pants on and be the one who takes care of her.
And on a lighter note (sarcastic smirk) I'm still struggling with trust issues with L, and it's a catch-22. I can't trust her enough to tell her that I don't trust her.......good thing normal wasn't my goal.
So the combination of my push-pull with L and the overwhelming details from M, I was lost for the rest of the evening. I struggled to fall asleep, and when I finally did my entire week of therapy-related crap was all rolled up in a ball of Freudian nightmares. I woke up this morning enraged, and most of it was directed at L. By the time I got to L's early this morning I wasn't talking, I had shutdown.
However, as this has gotten a little long, I'll tell you that I was finally able to get some stuff out. But even though I felt a little lighter when I left there was also a part of me that was really pissed for talking to her. I want to not need her but it's like I don't have any control over it.
And so it goes.......