I had a consultation with Dr O. She looked as clean and inviting as ever. I am sat across the room from her but the scent of cleanliness is discernible. I bet if I tasted her she would taste clean. Her clothes are immaculate, her hair shiny and held in a ponytail and I can see her nails are clear yet manicured. The quality of her skin reminds me of someone I knew long ago. I imagine she attends to a vigorous regime of diet, exercise and skin care to ensure that her healthy, soft looking skin remains so inviting for me. Dr O was engaged in discussing my behaviour.
“What do you think of this statement?” she began, “Your behaviour is repetitive. You draw people to you, you hurt them and then you cast them aside only to draw them in again.”
I waited as I considered this comment.
“Before I answer, I would like to add a caveat,” I remarked.
“Perhaps you could answer it without the caveat. It will keep it simpler.”
“But it is important you understand the context of my response.”
“How about you answer the question first and then you can add your caveat?” she offered.
I reflected on this. It would undoubtedly please her if I did this. By pleasing her she will feel drawn to me.
“Fair enough. That statement is accurate, although,” I answered.
She held up her hand. I would usually plough on, after all, who on earth is entitled to stop me when I am talking? I still felt that by indulging her, it would benefit me.
“Thank you. How do you feel about this statement? You are stuck in this behaviour.”
She had followed-up with a further question, when she said to me that she would allow me to add a caveat. She misled me. I did as she agreed and now she has reneged on that arrangement. I was not pleased. I could feel the anger rising inside. I knew why she had done this. She wanted me to feel small. This is what they all did, just like her. They try to make me feel small and helpless and useless and pathetic and contemptible. I could feel my grip on the situation loosening. There was a sensation of falling as I tried to reach out and grasp my surroundings, but they shifted and moved, spilling through my hands. I could sense the yawning chasm waiting to engulf me, that place of those lost emotions which I fight on a daily basis. They were rising up to haul me into the chasm. They wanted to surround me and consume me. I can hear her voice drifting up from below, echoing and distant yet somehow clear. That ghostly voice from long ago that lurks in the chasm and becomes unleashed when moments like this happen. I can hear the words, the scolding, the criticising, the demeaning words spilling from that cruel gash of a mouth. Please stop it. Please,please,please.
“Yes, I feel stuck. I am stuck with her,” I suddenly said, the words coming out in a forced and breathless manner. Was Dr O in the room any longer? I could not be sure, she seemed to have become blurred as if she had melted into the surroundings.
“I am stuck listening to the unfair and unjust criticisms of everything that I do. I try and move forward, I try each and every day, by trying to extinguish her accusing voice, by finding those who will praise me so that their words will stop her from bringing me down. I have to surround myself with those who can help me diminish and then extinguish her, they are necessary in order to help me survive. I turn to others so that their voices will drown hers out, the kind words, the adoration. I have to have it in order to stop her. Even the screaming and the tear-filled sobbing and the shouting, that is preferable to hearing that woman and her acidic tongue. Sometimes it works for a time, her voice is lost amongst the cacophony of others but she always comes back. Why? What did I do to deserve this? I cannot get rid of her. Even when I think, this time she has been silenced, she somehow surfaces. I cannot stand it. Why do you do this to me? I never did anything to you did I? I just wanted you to tell me what I had done was good, that I got your approval, but you never would would you? I didn’t hurt you, I tried my hardest for you, but you always said I could do better, I could improve, I could go higher. I just wanted to please you, was that so bad? Tell me what I have to do, please? I just want it to stop, I want to be good, I always told you that, but you said I was bad for not doing what you wanted, but I did do what you wanted, you always changed it just as I seemed to be getting closer. Please, I want you to go now and stop hurting me, why are you still doing it, have you not had enough? Stop, please stop, I want you to stop, I want it to stop, I don’t want it anymore, I don’t want to be stuck anymore, I don’t want to be stuck in the middle of this any more, I don’t want to be stuck…in the…middle….with…you.”
I can no longer breathe and my words cannot surface any longer. My chest is tight and the air, the air is being stolen from my lungs now, the floor is moving and shifting. I can hear something but cannot make out what is being said, it is like a roaring. My hands are raking the air as if fighting off unseen attackers but they seem to move so slowly. Dr O comes into brief focus as she is moving across the room towards me. I am falling and the floor is coming up to greet me as the darkness takes me. The all encompassing darkness engulfs me as I hear,
“You’ve let me down again.”
Then there is nothing.