Letters of Import: Private Writings to a Psychoanalyst
Talking Privately 9
Written by Jennifer Kiley
Illustrat by j. kiley
© jennifer kiley 2013
First Posting March 19th 2013
Posted Weekly Early Tuesday Morning
Eighth Posting May 14th 2013Tuesday, November 26th, 2007
We had a first chance after group today to talk one on one. You gave me time for the first time. If you only knew how much talking to you privately, even for a short time, meant to me. It gave me the chance to hear your voice separate from other people listening. I like the way your voice sounds. Its so much more relaxed. At least, that is the way it sounds when you speak with me. You’re voice is so soft and delicate. I didn’t get a chance to congratulate you on how well you led the group today. I was so shy while we spoke, I forgot. It was nice and such a relief not to have Mr. Xxx there today. It was great he took another day off. Your technique for running the group is so unique. If I told you since I was a teenager I’ve been in over five professional groups. This, I hate to say it, is the worse run group I’ve ever been in. It’s not the members. It’s the leader. At least, he didn’t have a nervous breakdown in the middle of a group session. That was pretty fucking weird. He was replaced by the novice therapist who sat in the group the way that you do.
You are a natural. People listen to you and you definitely don’t try to dominate the time of the session. Everyone got to speak and they were able to get out important issues. Mr. Xxx never lets us talk about anything. He’s so afraid someone is going to be triggered. What the fuck does he expect. We’ve all been traumatized. Of course, there are issues that will set people off. That’s going to happen in a group session or private session. Talking today about trusting people and how we feel about being touched were and are extremely important issues with everyone in our group. And they are not meant to be easy to talk about, but they need to be. How else are we going to heal the wounds they caused, if we don’t open up about how they effect us.
I wrote a poem a short while ago about touch. That’s how much the group has effected me. I haven’t written anything since the Diana poem the first month I started seeing Mr. Xxx. If I get brave enough, I will include the poem at the end of this letter. That’s if I get brave enough to let you read it. I don’t let anyone read my writing, creative writing that is. But I think I will take a chance and trust you. I don’t think you would hurt me if I let myself be vulnerable by showing you the words I write creatively. I really opened up in this poem. When I’ve finished this letter I will make the decision then whether to include the poem. I am leaning toward wanting to be brave and take a chance.
But back on the subject of the group. You got my friend Kristina to open up. She hates to say anything. Mr. Xxx always forces her into the light when she just wants to listen. It’s important to listen but we all need to speak out loud. But he does it against her will. That to me seems to perpetrate what our abusers did. You got her to talk by letting her respond to something Lisa said. It had to do with loving other women in an intimate relationship. She said that she didn’t understand it. Not in a disapproving way. One of her abusers was a woman. Someone who should have been a protector. She wanted to know how she could get close to a woman. She could have been asking the same question if it were a man that Lisa was getting close to. That was sort of what Lisa said. You’re attracted to who you’re attracted to. Lisa and I are both lesbians but still find some men attractive. We just wouldn’t want to have sex with them.
With me it wouldn’t matter either way. I don’t want sex with anyone. The abusers totally fucked that up for me. Would you believe I’ve never had sex when I’ve been sober. It’s sadly true. Drug of choice was pot. I needed to start out with a joint or a full pipe and keep it coming the whole evening. There would usually be alcohol on the side. Usually beer, wine, champagne, I loved champagne most of all. Scottie was strictly the strong stuff, so I would enjoy a game where one of us would take a small mouth full of booze and you’d pass the liquor back and forth through a super-sensual kiss. That made kissing more fun. The fun stopped before I stopped the drugs and booze. Sex was becoming a problem. Without too much detail, I’m not ready for that yet, what abusers did was catching up with me fast. There lessons were effecting the way my body responded to being touched. That’s all I can tell you right now.
Emotionally, that is another subject altogether, I am really fucked up when it comes to expressing my feelings. I have no idea what they are or what they mean. If I am not depressed then I feel completely numb. I go from numb to being overly excited. Anger, anxiety and fear are the only things my brain know how to let me feel. Otherwise I am dead inside. I know who I love or at least who I want to be with. I know if I care about someone but I can’t translate that into feelings.
I, also, know if I am obsessed with someone. They are in every free thought in my head. My feelings for them are so powerful. Obsessions are all consuming. They devour my ability to think logically. I always thought that was what love felt like but that is so far from the truth. It tends to freak some people out. It had one of my therapists really freaked about. She must have had a bad experience with someone being obsessed with her. I may get obsessed but I respect boundaries. But I still freaked her a bit. Nothing I could do about that. I still don’t think I understand why I get obsessed. Do you know, what causes it in me to have that reaction but with only certain people. Why those people? Why only one person at a time? Just something to look into.
I’d like to understand that part of myself, My personality who is obsessed goes by the name Meg. She is highly emotional and was created around the time of our grandmother’s death and our obsession began with an actress/singer/writer who our grandmother told us to follow. That she would make for a great role model. We followed our grandmother’s advice. The person that we follow has had a powerful effect on us. I think we continued feeling some kind of love through her that otherwise would have been lost and we would have been lost with it.
But now I want to figure out about my nature to become obsessive. I think it is under some control but I cannot explain that now. I worry that someone else will bring me under that spell of oppression. Freudian slip there, I meant to say obsession. Maybe now I see it as oppressive. But to whom? Myself or the person who is the object of my obsessive need for them.
I think I have come to the end of my words for this letter. Now I need to decide about the poem I wrote. Let me look over it. If any or all of it feel like I can reveal the contents to you, I will include in this letter or a future letter. If I do include it I will post after the end of the letter.
Until next time.
At this moment I am not trying to be a coward, but I feel if I hold back now or never send this to you, then I am freeing myself up to write whatever I wish without need of censorship. Maybe someday, when I am feeling more familiar with just who you are and what you might mean to me, this parameter will be altered and a copy of this and future letters will be relayed to you. For now I want to maintain secrecy, to protect you, Annie, and to protect myself from over testing the boundaries between us and to record the development of our relationship.
I want Annie Haskell to trust me. I want you to know I am trying to protect you and also myself from any humiliation. Writing to you in this way frees up my words as I speak them onto the page. Some future date, if I feel trusting enough, I will release to you what I have written in honesty. Right now, I will keep my words confidential. On my honour, no others shall see these pages, I promise you that.LE CHATEAU DE ROCHER
This is the poem I was telling you about. I looked through the poem I found that I needed to edit it down before I added it to this letter. Since I am not even sure if I am going to give these letters to you, I felt it is okay if I include the poem in this letter. And if some day, I change my mind and I hand my building collection of letters to you, then I will likely evaluate all that I have written to determine if all of the content of each letter feels acceptable to me to share openly with you. I may feel too shy to be so vulnerable. We will proceed as we have for now and see this as a way of recording the experience of getting to know you and in turn get to know how this all effects me as a record this experience in writing.To Be Touched or Not To Be Touched
By Madison Taylor
November 26th 2007
To be touched or not to be touched
Never was that a question
As a child or as an adult
It was always assumed as an adult
As a child it was always forced
Only two exceptions
My grandmother who loved me
My grandfather who liked to hold my hand
Two special weeks every summer
I had them all to myself
Grandma Emily, everyday, talked to me on the phone
We created our own alphabet
Only we could read
Special dinners for the whole family
Food my grandma knew I loved
She would accidentally include carrots
I loathe cooked carrots, they make me gag
It was the Shadow Mother’s delight
To force cooked carrots on me
One of her tortures she relished secretly
No less than once a week
But often, more often
It was her Sadistic game
To force food in me I didn’t want
To deny food or nourishment
When it was needed
I was a waif as a child
Legs were like sticks
Water was what I got
To make it through the night
Til after midnight, I sat
Carrots would not go down
Or my stomach would growl
Hungry, a wild animal seeking prey
As I tried falling asleep
Before the break of day
Insomnia started back then
I was afraid of the night
Things happened in the night
Out of my control
They haunted the dark
My sleep corrupted
I pretended sleep often
I lived on the ceiling
In the darkness
If I was still
It would go away
But it always returned
What came with the darkness
Don’t like the darkness
Now lights have to follow me
Wherever I go
Always there needs to be light
Do not want to open eyes
And just see black
In case of a power out
I freeze in place
Until the light comes
I am only safe in the light.
The beginning always starts out with a dream.
It is all a dream
And we are all players
In our own nightmares”
— Madison Taylor
“For that fine madness still he did retain,
Which rightly should possess a poet’s brain.”
“Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?”
Christopher Marlowe for “Hero and Leander”
“A therapeutic relationship is often more psycho-emotionally intimate than a marriage, or a romantic attachment. I know things about my patients that they would never dream of revealing to their spouses or families. Why is that? One word — trust. If you do not have a connection with a therapist, you cannot trust them. If you do not have trust, you will not expose yourself, and if you do not expose your innermost being, what good is the therapy?” — unknown but ask any great therapist
“Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence…whether much that is glorious–whether all that is profound–does not spring from disease of thought…” — Edgar Allan PoeQUOTATIONS of TALKING/PRIVACY:
“A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.”
― Truman Capote
“The art of conversation is the art of hearing as well as of being heard.” ― William Hazlitt, Selected Essays, 1778-1830
“The fun of talk is to explore, but much of it and all that is irresponsible should not be written. Once written you have to stand by it. You may have said it to see whether you believed it or not.” ― Ernest Hemingway
“The art of true conversation consisted in the play of minds.” ― Ved Mehta, All for Love