I am rapidly approaching a total meltdown. Ever since Laura came forward we've been fighting the need to dissolve into a mass of crying goo. The good news is we now know why.
Yesterday we got up from a nap in a state of complete confusion. One of Charlie’s friends/employees was here. Ashley has been a friend of the family so long he's like a brother. As I wandered into the kitchen, he jumped in front of us to pretend beg for something to drink. Usually I will tease him or say something in response, but this time it triggered me. It just terrified Laura who was right there near the front. Immediately realizing he'd stepped into a bad situation, he started backpedaling, which had the unfortunate result of pissing off Stephanie. She told him (in front of most of my kids and Harley) "Don't fuck with my mind."
Ashley has some major emotional problems himself. Being the kind of person he is, he can't comprehend how anything bad happening in his presence isn't somehow his fault. (Oh, how familiar) We were hanging to reality by a thread long before we ran into him. It had nothing to do with him. Instead of assuming I was just having a bad day, he decided he'd gotten in the way and was not welcome. When Charlie came down to work on the computer they are fixing, Ashley made some lame excuse and left.
That’s where it really hit the fan. Because of the experiences Laura has taken on, this one hit like a load of bricks. All she could see was that she made Charlie’s friend leave.
Now to back up 18 years or so... in addition to the number of things Laura was blamed for causing by the parents and siblings, she was also there with a situation involving Charlie when I was 15. No wonder she is terrified Charlie is going to hate her.
Charlie and I met through a mutual friend. I met Jim in AA. It wasn’t long before he and his wife opened their home. I became their regular babysitter. Their house was a safe haven from home. I would show up on a Friday evening and stay until Sunday. Charlie was a co-worker of Jim’s and would come over occasionally to hang out. That's how we met.
On this one particular night, we were in rare form. Stephanie was spitting nails after some huge blow out with my mom. I was in a lousy mood when we got to Jim’s house. Charlie was his normal joking self and trying to get me to smile. She/I wasn't going for it and at one point told him to stop being such an asshole and leave me alone. That justifiably pissed off Charlie. Rather than be rude or say something he'd regret, he left.
That’s where Laura came in. This was a repeat of things from years before and all she could see was that she made him leave. Jim, who spent two solid hours telling me what garbage I was for making his friend leave, helped none of this.
This may seem like a small thing, but for Laura who is only eight, it's huge. It was a repeat of the event that brought her into existence years ago. Even though Charlie and I have obviously gotten past that little event at Jim’s house, Laura has not. For the three weeks since she's come forward the whole system has been walking on eggshells, jumping at the slightest hint of displeasure from Charlie. Samantha finally clued me in while Laura was crying and freaking over the thing with Ashley. Poor Laura has been terrified all this time Charlie would find out *she* was involved in that argument years ago and he would reject her.
He has spent a lot of time since yesterday, letting her know it was not her fault and Jim should not have reacted the way he did. He told her Ashley leaving was his choice and she was not to blame for that either.
Still, something else Laura is carrying is pushing like a team of elephants, threatening to put us in a quivering ball of panic. Trying to hold on in front of kids and company is stealing every scrap of energy we have. We see Dr. C tomorrow and we're set up for an EMDR session with Lyn on Monday. Here’s hoping that whatever it is can be processed in the safety of a therapist's office and not here at home.