This week marks the halfway point of my time in the Therapeutic Community. Over the first three months, I made tangible changes; moved house, reduced working hours, withdrew myself from my parents’ “let’s divorce each other as inhumanely as possible” drama triangle. I learnt how to talk openly.
Over the past six months, I am not sure what I have opened up. Multiple issues around rejection, and fear of abandonment, and sexuality, and friendships, that I did know about. But also others, around clarity of emotional expression, and identity, and loss, that were buried deeper still.
It feels like I am unravelling, more and more, and with each unwound thread comes more pain and fear and desperation. More needs that are unmet, more behaviour that I am at a loss to explain beyond the simple psychological theory: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, perhaps: everyone has a need to feel that they belong.
A child’s behaviour is not a problem. A child’s behaviour shows us that they are trying to solve a problem.
That’s the maxim we worked with, when I was LSAing in schools. With those children, with some thought or simple enquiry, it felt like the answers would become readily apparent. Lack of sleep; dealing with parent’s new partner; hiding that they can’t read. I can’t find my own answers so easily. I don’t know why I need reassurance that I am liked before I will dare share anything with you; why I bury anger with colleagues, or feel ashamed in churches. I can guess at these things.
And sometimes there are no straight answers. Nobody knows the answers. The threads of my life are all over the floor, and I am at a loss to know where to begin untangling them; to wind them up again in a more sensible order; return those that belong to other people’s lives, to them.
Nine months. God, please take this time, and use it. Help me to rewind and reorganise the threads of my muddled and messy life, as You see best.