Rouhi: It’s crazy how she finds so much wrong with me?! Like where do I even begin?
Sameera: You can begin with any part of, ‘’it’s crazy how she finds so much wrong with me’’, if that is what you’d like.
Rouhi squishes into the deep blue, oversized cushions, laid out on the red two-seater sofa; large enough to cosy into and hide inside, away from the world; in her Counsellors therapy room. She breathes in deep and lets out a heavy, full of emotion, sigh.
Sameera: A sigh of….
Rouhi: Frustration, anger, absolute flipping fury, seething inside kind of fire. Rage and a wanting of vengeance. I’d love to yell back, maybe throw a couple of ornaments about for the dramatic effect!!!!
Sameera: And that will make her???
Rouhi: Take me seriously. Look at me, like really look at me. See me for me, not a version of her, she’d like to perfect to show her mother how good a job she did, raising another in this linage, of passing on the torch, of showing the improvements she made from her mother’s version simply because she’s better. Like it’s some kind of competition to outdo everyone else and achieve…. well who knows what, maybe puppets out of humans, if she even sees me as human, separate from her.
Sameera: You’re angry. Unseen….
Rouhi: Unheard, untouched in a loving, nurturing, affectionate way.
Tears well up in Rouhi’s eyes. She tries hard to fight them off, but her bottom lip continues to tremble.
Rouhi: I feel uncomfortable right now, self-conscious, childish.
Sameera searches for something to say, yet knows this heavy feeling can only be met with a silent empathic gaze, saying, I see you.
Rouhi: I mean don’t you need me to be not crying, or reflecting, observing myself from a distance?
Sameera: Don’t I need to mould you into a perfect client to show the counselling world how great a therapist I am.
Wanting to take it a step further, to sensitively challenge. It’s now or never thinks Sameera.
Sameera: Like she needs you to be the perfect daughter, perfected further than her mother ever could, to show the lineage how, they cannot match her, there is no competition.
Rouhi hears Sameera, looks up, but can’t bear the empathy gushing her way. She buries her face in her hands and sobs heavily, in a way that seems to be emptying her resentment, her anguish, her anger, her sadness and her loss. Loss that is about not being able to fulfil a role given to her. She reaches out for a Kleenex, self-consciously blows her nose and hugs herself.
Sameera feels her own body temperature drop.
Rouhi: I’m feeling cold.
Sameera thinks to get up and switch the oil heater on next to Rouhi. Then thinks, wouldn’t that be me rescuing Rouhi or is it an act of kindness, wouldn’t that be stepping into the mothering role. Sometimes the internal supervisor, speaks at the wrong time, spiralling Sameera into a dilemma. Maybe it’s her own feelings of guilt compensating, distracting her mind.
Sameera: The oil heaters next….
Rouhi: Oh my days! Everything she’s trying so hard to change within me are the things that she thinks are wrong with her too. By stopping me being in a certain way, she doesn’t have to face her discomfort and everything she feels about her mother. These are her insecurities, not mine. As I start to become secure, I’m doing things that I wasn’t allowed for various unquestioned reasons. The braver I get, the more courage I show, the more I scare the older generation that came before me and the stronger I make the generation who come after me.’’
Stumped, Sameera is rendered speechless, how to capture all of that in 2 minutes that remain in the session, the very moment, a huge light bulb has lit in Rouhi’s mind. She couldn’t ignore or leave this new-found insight, reflecting back is essential.
Sameera: Observing, listening and witnessing you find yourself separate from all that you were told, from all that you’ve experienced, is powerful. Rouhi I see you, I hear you. As you question the insecurities of the lineage before you, and you find yourself secure, your bravery and courage scare them, empower those after you. You’re a courageous woman.
Rouhi: Thank you. I guess we all need love. I guess so does she, even though she’s scared and tries to stop me. All I want to do is break away and do my own thing, not abandon her, but be unchained so I can fly off and come back. I think one day she’ll see, she’s free and not there anymore.
Sameera: And what a way to end the session.
Erin Olivio, in her book, Wise Mind Living, lists the feeling, insecurity, under the emotion, sadness. Sadness, Erin Olivio, says is the loss of something important. In the short therapy tale, ‘’she’’, Rouhi refers to, lost aspect or parts of herself through the judgement of significant others. ‘’She’’ then moulds and adapts herself, in turn becoming what the others approve of (a conditioned self). With the approval of others, ‘’she’’ goes ahead and moulds similar aspects and parts she once remembered holding, out of Rouhi. Rouhi however, feels internal conflict. She can’t mould herself and she can’t let parts of herself go. Rouhi explores these feelings of insecurity in therapy and realises she’s ok with herself and refuses to become what ‘’she’’ wants her to be. Insecurity calls into inquiry, what happened, what messages were received, what beliefs was a person given, that equates to them feeling bouts of sadness, low self-confidence and low self-esteem. Like Rouhi, I hope we can all shed light onto messages we carry about ourselves given to us by another person, and really question them, how true is this message, and is it kind?
You are enough, are deserving of love, acceptance and kindness simply because you breathe.