For my most recent counselling (read therapy!) session my therapist explained some of what had happened to me during the previous week.
I remember myself having a few black outs last week, but I was very tired going into the session so I put these down to just nodding off. I was also a little anxious before the session as I knew that coming weekend I would be spending a lot of time on my own, nothing major but just a little subconscious anxiety about no-one being around at night.
I asked my therapist Laura about a dream I had a few days ago which she happened to feature in. “You took me and my brother swimming in the open air pool we used to go to on holiday”. “We were all walking together and counting to 10, I could count to 10 but my brother couldn’t he was too young” I say. “Does that dream make any sense? Why were you there?” I ask her.
“That makes perfect sense”. Laura replies. “In last weeks session you kept apologising for falling asleep on me, but you hadn’t fallen asleep. You had gone into flashback and were reliving some difficult moments”. “You couldn’t hear me for a lot of the time but I just reassured you I was there and I spoke your name a lot to keep you grounded” she explains.
“Just before the session ended” Laura continues “You went into Flashback again and I stepped in to help you. I took you and your brother to the swimming pool away from a possible source of danger, we walked and counted to 10 and went swimming”.
Whoa. That’s a pretty deep conversation to be having with someone about things you don’t recall yourself. Inside, I feel angry, scared and dissapointed in myself. I begin to tap my pen hard on the table in front of me as if to distract myself.
“How was I?” I ask Laura. “Was I aggressive, was I swearing, was I distressed?” I continue. “What happens if I’m around my wife or Children or family when this happens?” I begin to worry.
“You were not aggressive at all, I wasn’t worried but then I am trained in these matters. You spoke to me as a young boy though, your words were that of an adolescent and you told me that you were 5 years old” Laura explains.
“Ideally you should tell everyone really about these flashbacks, they will be very distressing for friends or family if they occur and they don’t know whats happening”.
And then the sledgehammer blow. “You spoke the name of your abuser for the first time ever in one of your flashbacks” Laura tells me. “Can I mention the name to you?” she asks.
I’ve never conciously told Laura his name so I do wonder if she is trying to catch me out at first. She knows that I don’t like to speak it so I wonder if this is her way of trying to get it out of me. I call her bluff and tell her she can mention the name, it’s just a name.
So she does say his name, and she’s 100% correct in what she says. I’ve never told her the name as an adult but the young boy in me has told her and now it’s out and Laura knows, I feel more ashamed than ever now.