When You Don’t Even Know You Are Being Abused
My counsellor’s office off of Finchley Road was decorated period-style – almost like when one entered it, you’d temporarily stepped back in time to somewhere that drifted between the 1920s and the mid 1930s. It was homely instead of clinical. Definitely not the stereotypical place to talk about one’s various issues.
For ages, we had been working on my Inner Feminine Fire. I’d felt so lacking in confidence or motivation at the beginning of the year and as a partial result of the sessions, I was beginning to feel like my old self again: ambitious, assured, capable and strong. We talked about issues that had prevented my feeling the way I felt it was natural for me to feel.
BUT I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND WHY HE KEPT TRYING TO BRING IT BACK TO MY EX-FIANCE.
The break-up had shaken me, I explained. It was quite abrupt, and unfair in a way, and severely ate into my abandonment issues. After insisting on checking my phone, my fiance of the time had found texts between myself and a man I’d met through the theatre. A man I admired, wanted to work with and, admittedly, had a rather embarrassing secret crush on. I’d let the man know, but I couldn’t tell my fiance. He’d never understand. He’d have been angry that I was even talking to a man at all.
My counsellor sat forward, like he’d just heard the most interesting point, though it had been meant as a throwaway comment. “Talking to a man at all?” he repeated. “Why? Are you in training to be a nun?”
I laughed. Ridiculous comparison, designed to make me laugh. But his face stayed serious. I continued, talking about how my fiance, after finding the texts – non-sexual, gushing, arranging to meet the following day so I could try and convince him to give me a role in his theatre company – had hit himself in the head, cried, bundled me into the car and drove me for two hours to Birmingham to deposit me on this man’s doorstep. This man who I’d met once before.
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