Talking About Trauma (therapy session)

Sitting across from my therapist, Kira, I start to tremble when she asks about what happened that night. The night that started it all, the night that caused me sitting in this clinic having to seek professional help. I don’t want to talk about it just yet. I’m still not ready. But I know I can’t keep putting it off, Kira has already let it slide too much, and I don’t want to disappoint her. So I force myself to speak up, my voice cracking, my limbs shaking.

« I was 11 at the time », I begin. « I had just gotten out of my room, with a drawing in my hand that I was running towards my mom to show her. Except I didn’t find her, that night, and neither did I find my dad. I looked around the whole apartment, mind you it wasn’t that big, but I couldn’t find them. I waited an hour, two hours, my anxiety out the roof, trying my best not to cry because I told myself they'd be coming back soon. I stayed up, way past my bedtime, waiting. They still weren’t home when I fell asleep and woke up the next morning. That's when I started crying. »

I take a glance at Kira for a moment before continuing. She's noting some stuff down with a slightly sad look on her face. « I didn’t leave the house until they were back, which was two days later. » I clench my fists at that part. That’s the hard part. Kira gives me an encouraging smile and nods up, signaling me to keep going. I breathe. « The conversation afterwards went somewhat like this »,

‘’Where were you guys?’’ I’d said on the verge of tears, in the tone a parent would use to scold their kid for staying out past their curfew. Not the opposite, which was kind of happening back then.

‘’Cath, sweetie, we’re okay. Nothing happened. Relax,‘’ my dad had said, not an inch of worry in his voice, and every ton of it in mine when I answer.

‘’What do you *mean* nothing happened? You left me completely alone in the house, no warning left, no goodbye, and I felt like I was hecking abandoned! You abandoned me!’’ I'd waited for them to say something, but when they didn’t, I continued.

‘’I can't believe this. You never left me alone in the house when going out, because you were afraid for my safety. And now you do this? How? You’re the worst parents, you should have at least said something before leaving, but you just-‘’

My speech had been interrupted by a slap delivered right across my mouth by my mom. I looked up at her in disbelief and fright, and all I saw was the stern look of a mother who genuinely did not give a shit about the way her kid was reacting to a situation like this one.

‘’You shut up now. We do not bring up this discussion again. Do you hear me?’’ She'd gritted between her teeth. All I could do was nod, blinking excessfully to push back my tears.

‘’And dare raise your voice at us again like this, and I will make you regret it. You’re not the parent here, we are. You listen and fucking obey.’’ She stormed to the kitchen, my dad looking at me apologetically before following her. And then I broke down.

* * * * *

Driving back home after our session, I’m still shaken up from the 45 minutes spent talking about that night. I explained to my therapist that I found out that, that day, they tried to leave me because my mom just couldn’t handle me anymore. She couldn’t handle my constant puking and refusal to eat, or how I sucked up all her energy.

But truth is, I talk about that day as the defining point of my trauma because from then on, all I could notice was the way she'd been abusing me, my whole life, physically, verbally, and emotionally. She'd stopped hitting me vaguely around when I was 9 or 10 but had always done it before, whether it was because I wasn’t eating, brought back «bad» grades, or wasn’t falling asleep fast enough. She'd still call me names and insult me and mock me after the beatings stopped, and emotionally guilt-trip me and manipulate me for different reasons.

She traumatized my life, which is why I put myself in therapy, and for that, I hate her.

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