Bambi to Barbie 

Chapter 4 of Rage to Richness

This was only our first session. During it I observed a beautiful, composed story teller whose only hint of emotional attachment or involvement was the pain that flickered in her eyes when she thought I wasn't watching.

Every word was spoken with a matter of fact calmness that one could easily have mistaken for peaceful acceptance. Each memory she shared with me was done as if she were talking about someone else's life. A life she had distanced herself from and was so far removed from it impact on her early beginnings were no longer evident.

She never shed a tear. Instead she hid behind a smile that did not reach her eyes.  A humorous approach to the telling had been mastered, yet the inappropriate injections of misplaced laughter belied her brave front. She downplayed being a victim of abuse, even quantifying that what she had experienced was nothing compared to what it could have been. Compared to what others had suffered.

In reality, having witnessed such a tragic death at any age would have been traumatic. Having to walk across the same track that had been the landing spot for the body in order to get to school would have been stressful for anyone. What she had experienced was horrifying, yet here she was smiling her way through the telling of it like she was sharing a recipe with me. That would soon change.

Laura had come to see me after a recent divorce. It was her first time being completely on her own in her life. She had an Employee's Assistance Plan that covered our sessions so she felt it was now or never.  Unsure it would do any good, she also felt it couldn't hurt. And as long as she continued to be the story teller instead of the actual victim in the drama, feeling the feelings felt at that time, it wouldn't hurt and it wouldn't help either.

She would need to feel it as her own, release the emotion and then let it go.  What Laura thought was going to be a quick fix of three maybe four sessions would take close to five years. Five very profoundly insightful, productive years.