It’s becoming easier for me to believe the girl. Doubt visits me less often, and when she does, I’m able to tell her, “Don’t bother me. I’ve promised to believe and protect the little girl. Whether her story is accurate in every detail doesn’t matter, so you can stop worrying about that. What matters is how she feels and what she needs, and I’m trying to attend to those needs.”
The more I believe the girl, the stronger she becomes. She doesn’t hide in the corner anymore. She sits on the bed, playing with her dolls. She trusts me more. She knows I will keep coming back to her, and I will not call her a liar. For a while I couldn’t really hear her voice, but she’s more talkative now. She tells me more about what happened.
Today she surprised me with a request. She asked me not to burn myself anymore.
Now the truth is, I haven’t burned myself for several months. And at other times in my life, I have gone years at a time without harming myself. So it’s not that I can’t live without out it.
I remember working with Marlena (a different therapist) some years ago. She used to say that harming myself was one card in my hand that I could choose to play. She wanted to help me ensure that I had a greater variety of cards in my hand, so I would have choices and not always play the same card. That image has stuck with me, and over the years, I think I have developed more “cards” in my hand.
But when I feel desperate, it’s been an effective coping mechanism. In the short run, it brings some relief. The idea of giving up that card forever is daunting.
I told her I’d think about it.
What’s with the “believe the girl” and the count of days? Here’s how it started.