Therapy was occurring about every two weeks. The therapist cancelled an appointment because she was sick. I learned that there were no concessions to that two-week margin. Once an appointment was cancelled, I was rescheduled out another two weeks. It seemed remiss to me that an entire month would pass between appointments, but despite my incomprehension, I assumed that to be the framework of therapy. I always had this inner urgency that I needed to hurry up, move through finding the answers to my struggles, and move along back into my ‘normal’ life, fixed and wiser.
I finished the book Codependent No More, handing in all written activities. I read about being oppressed, depressed, and repressed. I read about owning my feelings, feeling my feelings, and dealing with my feelings. I read snippets about living in isolation, fear of intimacy, people-pleasing, detaching, anger, getting honest with myself, setting goals, boundaries, limitations, communicating clearly, expectations, and forgiveness, forgiveness being familiar from my biblical beliefs, so I thought. I could truly see pieces of myself in these ideologies, but that was it – pieces of a puzzle scattered about with no concept of the true picture. I was anticipatory for the day the therapist would begin diving into deep discussion about the book and the written activities I had completed. I truly thought this was one grand psychology book. I did not realize this book was merely skipping stones across the open waters of a much deeper abyss.
Yet, over the next few months, the therapist gave precedence to other topics. I anticipated after talking about the inequity in the division of labor within our household that we would move into discussing my husband’s past. Not yet! The next topic up for discussion was my family and the distant, quiet separation. She asked what was the source of the conflict- I did not know. She asked if this had occurred in the past – yes, several times. She asked if I had any explanation for each occurrence – I did not exactly know for sure, but certainly had my speculations. We discussed several presumptions, but I had nothing conclusive. However, I definitely felt that mixed into the recipe, my niece had become the pawn for their control and power. I felt she was used as a weapon against me. I explained that I had developed a very close bond with my niece; because my husband and I did not have children, in my heart, she was the closest thing I would ever experience; and I absolutely unconditionally loved her before she took her first breath. I shared with her a history of gut-wrenching experiences that were beyond sad to me, but I was empty of explanations. I told her I was weary of punishing silence, weary of walking on eggshells, weary of being talked about behind my back, weary of being criticized for my weight, weary of trying to make amends and falling back into the same pit time and time again. The therapist seemed to listen with what I thought was empathy and concern. All of a sudden, she said, “Why do you keep going back? You do not need them. You do not have to be a victim. Separate yourself from them and have nothing to do with them. Why deal with the distress and constant games. Walk away!”
Not once had it ever occurred to me that I could make a choice to abandon my family. Now truthfully, we were a hot cauldron constantly stirring of dysfunction, but I could think of no supporting scripture to support such action. Yet, a phenomenon was quickly occurring that I had no knowledge of until many years later. My inner children became attached to this therapist. They hung on every word she spoke. I had become a marionette in the hands of a crafty puppeteer. I had zero comprehension of this happening. I fell under her control, influence, and manipulations seamlessly. She held the rods and strings to my life and I danced. Because of my psychological ignorance, I fell vulnerable to believing the therapist had my best interest at heart. It never crossed my mind to question her authority or advice. Though it never really settled well in my spirit, I chose to detach (is not that also what the book talked about) and leave my family behind. I resolved in my heart to believe that separating me from my family was the right choice.
Now I truly consider myself a spiritual, intelligent, and discerning person. I could have never imagined that I would fall prey to the processes and persuasions of a therapist with ulterior motives. Her style was subtle and insidious. At the end of one session, she nonchalantly said to me going out the door, “We are going to be best friends when all of this is over.” I half smiled like a surprised deer in headlights and walked away. The drive home was filled with mingled imaginations of being her friend and hanging out together to thoughts of “she’s just saying that,” and “she’s just trying to be nice.” Still, I was flattered and drawn into the web. This time, the bait was bigger – now she actually wanted to be my friend. I ate the bait and the lure hooked my jaw. The predator had picked up my scent!
To be continued…
Love you, mean it!