"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Monday, February 28, 2011

"You're in love with your father"

For a safe place, go to http://littleselves.blogspot.com/ 

     I started seeing a psychologist soon after I married my first husband. I was severely depressed, I tried to jump out of the car on freeways, I was cutting myself. Obviously, I was crazy. At least that's what I thought and that's most certainly what my husband thought. Running through my head again, as it had constantly when I was a child, was the question, "What's wrong with me? What's-wrong-with-me? WHATSWRONGWITHME?"
     The first professional I went to told me bluntly at the end of the first session, "You're in love with your father."
     I was so stunned by such a bizarre statement coming out of left field like that I never went back. 
     The second psychologist I tried kept any diagnoses he might have had to himself and let me talk. I saw him off and on for years, as my children were growing up. I told him how awful I was, not at all like my perfect mother, and how good my husband was and how he deserved so much better.
     Of what was happening at home in our relationship which made therapy necessary I remember almost nothing. I have one glimpse of the two of us sitting on the edge of our unmade bed. My husband had just asked me a question and I remember knowing I was going to answer it. I was just about to. I really was. In just a minute. He repeated it, whatever it was. I heard him, it registered, I was going to say something, I meant to, I had nothing against answering him. But I never actually did. I see myself sitting there, catatonic for a long, long time, as he got increasingly frustrated and despairing. Always on the verge of giving him a perfectly reasonable response, feeling no reason not to. I could sit like that for--well, time ceased to have meaning. Shallow breaths, totally relaxed muscles, making no movement whatsoever.
     Therapy was like major surgery, with one or two minor distinctions. First the surgeon used no anesthesia. And second, every time he had me fully open and dissected on the table, he'd look at his watch and say, "Our time's up. I'll see you in a week." I had to somehow gather all those bloody intestines and organs and things, holding the traumatized raw edges and my hospital gown together so I could climb off the operating table and pretend to function like a normal person for another 167 hours.
     I remember bits of therapy, too. I stood in the doorway of his office. I told him "she" didn't want to come in, "she" didn't want to sit down. She didn't want to play. And I remember (maybe it was the same day) I talked to him as if he were my father, as if he was the one who had molested me--"You did this," I said. "You did that." When he asked a question about "penetration," I freaked out and shut down. I don't have any idea why. Penetration was not my father's MO. Or if it was, I have not yet found that piece of the puzzle. (There are some pieces, as you can imagine, for which I am not looking very hard.)
     I don't expect to get more graphic than this.

For a safe place, go to http://littleselves.blogspot.com/ 

Today I am thankful for tiered and misty mountains.


  1. Jessica, I am so sorry. My daughter was the victim of sexual abuse by a relative. All my life I have blamed myself. I should have done more to protect her. Something you said in this post was familiar....I am going to email you about it because I think it is better left private. God Bless you sister....

  2. Wow. I have known you for so long now, and known some of your history, but i didn't know you began therapy when you were so young. I guess i had thought that was something that came later for you.

    Sending you hugs. Is LB lovely in the after-storm freshness?

  3. yes.. not the M o of certain ones. From us both sharing now, I agree we definately have commonalities.Kinda hard to explain without explaining,but I get it. SOOO confusing to even begin to come to terms with years later.How we dealt(or didn't) was manifested differently,but we are bonded sisters in that regard. I too went to the psychologist although I havent gotten to that part in my blog. You KNOW I understand : ) You are Beautiful. You are loved.
    I will be back! LOL see ya round the blog, Cyndi