The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing

 

2/3/17

7:28AM

Authenticity

I spent some of yesterday's morning’s transcript time writing up a complaint I am considering filing. By this morning, while making coffee, I figured I’d not pursue it. 

But by the time I got to the laptop…I did precisely the opposite. 

 

2/5/17

6:44AM

Authenticity

A

S, how goes the complaint draft?

S

I worked on it last night. And this morning I think I need to take a look at what I have. 

A

How do things feel? What are you noticing as you do this?

S

I realized yesterday morning that I was completely unaware that part of me—a part totally hidden—has been protecting Eileen. I also realized that I’ve been holding her—maybe—as family or friend or something very personal inside me—when she’s not. 

Filing a complaint forces me to think a bit differently—about both Eileen and my family. 

I would not file a complaint against any member of my family because…they’re my family. 

But Eileen isn’t family—isn’t friend—isn’t past lover. 

Eileen is/was a professional whom I was paying money to, to help me. 

This exercise or movement forward—whatever you want to call it—forces this divide for me—this clarity. 

I also see that she wasn’t and isn’t a horrible person—that she really was kind of unwell and weak. She ruined my therapy with the Flood, basically. And I spent eighteen months after it reeling and eventually getting out. 

Perhaps had I made a faster recovery I would not be in these moments now where filing a complaint is something I pursue to give me the relief and healing I want. 

I don’t know. 

A

Our process is golden, bringing us to these moments where we learn what it might take to get us to the next phase in our healing. 

S

Thanks, A. Monkey, how do you feel about it?

MLG


Her admiration was the gasoline

Her emails were the matches

We still get woken at night

With PTSD flashes

S

It’s truth that she was oddly nearly always so admiring. As I read her notes now it honestly feels like maybe she liked my writing but maybe more to the point she said so because I was insecure—and hearing these words from her gave her the power.

Narcissists can operate this way. Complementing someone insecure inspires dependency. Someone dependent and grateful fuels a narcissist's tank. 

 

2/6/17

6:38AM

Authenticity

A

How goes the complaint?

S

It’s pretty much done. I just need to look at a few emails in a file to see if any more should be included. 

A

How long is the complaint?

S

Fifty pages. 

A

How are you feeling?

S

Conflicted. 

A

What are the sides of it that you are feeling?

S

Well I have felt the past few days lighter and freer than I have in a long time. Somehow the thought of being able to tell the authorities, of detailing what happened, lifted me to this place of hope—of breaking away from the PTSD. I was also glad for the clarity that what I was suffering from was PTSD. And that it’s justified. 

A

The complaint makes you feel justified. 

S

Yes. For sure. It’s insane what happened. 

A

What else?

S

Well last night as I was sitting with this now near done complaint I began to feel the heaviness of really filing it; what it would mean and honestly less how it would impact Eileen but more how it would impact me. Would I, after sending it, feel scared and guilty? Would I have shut a door I seemed to want to keep open at the very end? 

Would I have burned a bridge badly—would I be scared of ever seeing Eileen again. 

How would I feel having Eileen trash me—come out against me. 

I would have to face what I felt about the Flood but in spades—she would be actively defending herself versus passively doing so. 

T

I will help you. I will back you. 

A

Perhaps we need this door slammed. Perhaps we need to do this to move on. 

S

I’m scared, A. Really scared. 

A

Arms around you. We are here. We are here. We are here. 

S

Thank you, A. B, what do you think?

B

It is a twisted long tale of love and anger and horrible boundaries. Eileen had the power, we gave it to her, to help us heal. And she had the power to harm. And, S, she harmed us. Badly enough that we sit here today, nearly two years after leaving her, with the consideration of filing a formal complaint to the licensing board so that, perhaps, we can finally be set free of the nightmare. 

S

Do you think we should file?

B

It is a no-brainer that we should have done what we've done; which is to prepare the complaint. Sitting with a loaded gun is a powerful exercise. 

S

Yeah?

B

In some ways, it’s exactly what Eileen had; a loaded gun—the power to help—the power to harm. Was she aware of the gun she was holding? Did she use her power wisely? Did she ever wield her power like a sword? 

S

I think she was unaware of the power I gave to her—of my transference—ofmy dependency. I believe she refused to actually really see me. 

B

We sit with our loaded gun and we consider what firing it does for us. 

S

Yes. 

B

If we fire it, we send the board and Eileen a message; what happened to us, in our eyes, was wrong. We are filing it because we are still suffering. And it is hopes of firing it that we can finally shoot it down dead. 

 

2/7/17

6:28AM

Authenticity

 

A

How are you feeling about the complaint?

S

Really torn, A. This morning though I feel mostly anticipatory space and loss. Like this piece, this grieving and this anger, these emotions have been taking up room inside me. And although I would be the first to say it’s unpleasant, that I finally now clearly see it as a version of PTSD from the bad therapy, I can also acknowledge that if I remove the feelings hypothetically from my heart, I feel emptiness. 

A

This makes much sense.

S

It’s like I’ve been accommodating the trauma for so long now that even envisioning me without it feels, honestly, not 100% joyful. 

A

People who are given their sight back often times grieve the loss of their blindness. 

S

I’ve heard that and I’m not sure if this is a version of grieving the loss of something that has been considered bad. Or what. 

A

Or what…

S

Well there was love with Eileen—mutual love. But hers was love that allowed her to know whom she was loving. I was confused—I wasn’t loving her—or if I was I could never be sure of it. She was never very straightforward with me. Her disclosures were either grossly negligent and not for my benefit. Or she was elusive—a tease. 

A

Go on. 

S

Well filing a complaint makes clear that she is not friend or lover. Not family. She’s a professional—well she’s supposed to be one. 

B

I feel the pain of a professional who abused us. Badly. And who got away with it. This is what we struggle with.

S

Hey B—thanks for that the other day. What are you feeling now a few days later, a fifty page complaint now drafted

B

I feel the pain of a professional who abused us. Badly. And who got away with it. This is what we struggle with.

S

What about the feelings of anticipatory loss? 

B

I believe this fear of the space it opens up inside of us, is a fear of the unknown, a fear of retribution, and, S, it is a fear of losing what we never really had. 

S

Can you say more about this?

B

What was confusing and painful in the therapy is that at times Eileen lead us to believe we were more than just a client—her emails, her notes in the Sandbox, her poetry. Whether intentional or not, we were lead on. The transference juice made us feel feelings of love, dependency, attachment, admiration, attraction. 

But at other times, S, she was something else; she was not caring. She erratic. At times clinical and cold and rejecting. 

We sit at the crossroads now. 

We choose whom we were to Eileen.

S

Okay, I’m hearing you, B.

B

We decided, S. 

S

And?

B

If we file a complaint we choose client. If we bury it, we choose…family/friend/romantic dalliance. 

S

That makes sense. 

B

We are feeling anticipatory loss because when we file we are declaring what Eileen will mean to us forever more. 

Filing a complaint draws a line in the sand. Despite all the shades of grey, all the nuances, all the, at times, love, the thought that she gave us our start her in the Sandbox—it takes all of it and it says…ultimately what happened was…

…wrong. 

S

I agree. 

B

It’s a decision we are considering coming to. A decision we feel might help us to heal. 

S

Yes. 

B

It’s not a gun we’ve fired yet. It’s a gun we hold in our hand. It is gun and judge’s gavel both. It is a fork in the road. A place we've arrived at through an enormous amount of hard work inside our Sandbox and outside of it. 

S

Where do you sit with it, B? Right…or wrong?

B

S, I’ve always remained on Park Bench Park. Remember that Eileen’s Notice hurt so badly that you put me here. I stand—and sit—for never forgetting how badly this woman hurt us. 

S

Isn’t there a place and time for forgiveness, B?

B

Yes. 

S

When?

B

In order to forgive someone we may need to move forward with a declaration of how much they’ve harmed us. 

S

So it sounds, B, like you lean towards filing. 

B

I believe, S, I do. But keep in mind the place I occupy inside of you, the role you have given to me. 

S

Okay. 

B

I arrived on January 18, 2014 after a confusing session with Eileen to help straighten you out. I remained calm and clear. And unbiased about Eileen. 

That is, up until Notice. Until a point where I said…no. 

Even calm and objective Parts have their limits. And with Notice, mine were hit. 

Remember this line in Eileen’s poem to us and never, ever forget it…

 

How could I be so heartless?

I don’t know – I wonder myself.

 

S

B, was she our friend? Was she something more? Was this an emotional affair, in some ways, gone very wrong? 

B

She was many things to us. And we were possibly, though we will never know, many things to her. 

There is much to hold in our hands and heart at once. 

S

Agreed, B. I went and looked, for reasons I don’t quite understand, at SBV9, the wrap-up, the end of that volume. 

B

It was a period of time when Eileen had come unhinged. She was confessing her own abuse, calling us her abuser. 

This, S, was horribly wrong. 

So wrong we knew with certainty to take none of it personally. 

That weekend she confessed she was coming down with an infection, was weak because of it. We believe she had no idea of the things she said. 

S

Right. 

B

We weigh all this…an unhealed therapist becoming increasingly unhinged before us…we close our eyes and leap from the burning building on April 22, 2015. 

S

Yes. 

B

Do we let the authorities know? Or do we let this story fade into the darkness. 

S

Right. 

B

We do not have our answer…but we are getting places with our question. 

 

***

How It Adds Up

by

Tony Hoagland

 

There was the day we swam in a river, a lake, and an ocean.   

And the day I quit the job my father got me.   

And the day I stood outside a door,   

and listened to my girlfriend making love   

to someone obviously not me, inside,   

 

and I felt strange because I didn’t care.   

 

There was the morning I was born,   

and the year I was a loser,   

and the night I was the winner of the prize   

for which the audience applauded.   

 

Then there was someone else I met,   

whose face and voice I can’t forget,   

and the memory of her   

is like a jail I’m trapped inside,   

 

or maybe she is something I just use   

                                       to hold my real life at a distance. 

 

Happiness, Joe says, is a wild red flower   

                      plucked from a river of lava   

and held aloft on a tightrope   

                      strung between two scrawny trees   

above a canyon   

                      in a manic-depressive windstorm. 

 

Don’t drop it, Don’t drop it, Don’t drop it—,   

 

And when you do, you will keep looking for it   

everywhere, for years,   

while right behind you,   

the footprints you are leaving   

 

will look like notes   

                                          of a crazy song.