Kat’s telehealth psychology appointments were now an open family secret. “Drinks with Vera” appeared on the calendar on a weekly basis. Actually, Kat’s psychologist’s name was Louise. But Bill and Kylie still knew her as “Vera”, and fully supported Kat’s brave move.
After the initial appointment, when the flood gates had opened, Kat felt assured that she could trust Louise to listen without judgement. Kat’s decision to seek help was affirmed.
Kat had shared stories about her childhood, growing up in the shadow of her mother’s stuff. How there hadn’t been room for her and her things, and how she’d felt unappreciated. She told stories about how now that she was adult and should be able to do what she liked with her own home, people were still trying to push her and her stuff out of the way.
Bill and Kylie, and even Tiffany, didn’t appreciate all the efforts Kat made to make their home and family life special. If she brought a stack of fishing magazines home from the charity shop for Bill, he was just cross with her instead of seeing it as a gift. When Kat bought new Christmas decorations, Kylie rolled her eyes and said, “Mum you still have decorations in their packets from last year, and probably the year before that”. Tiffany didn’t want the colouring books anymore, but surely some nice child will appreciate them some day. Louise listened and nodded.
They had discussed Kat’s goals. Kat needed to make the family understand that she was just trying to make a perfect loving home. She wanted the words to tell them to leave her and her stuff alone. She needed them to understand her feelings.
During one session, Kat detailed at length the latest tight-lipped discussion with Bill over the breakfast table. He’d decided to spend the day sorting through a box of tools. Kat wasn’t ready. Sure, they were his tools, but maybe there was something from her dad in there too. Maybe even the tools he’d used to build the precious dolls house. And Kat didn’t have time right now. And why couldn’t Bill just wait till she was ready? And why couldn’t he understand how she felt?
Kat’s answer came quickly. “I want to be treated with respect.”
Louise asked, “Does Bill also deserve to be treated with respect?”
Kat tried again. “He just wants to clear space in the shed. He spends so much time out there.”
Louise didn’t answer right away. Eventually she asked, “Is it unreasonable for him to want to spend time in a space of his own?”
Kat was starting to lose her cool. “We’re supposed to be talking about me and how I feel!” Honestly, was Louise listening?
Louise stayed calm. “Living with others requires respect and communication and negotiation. Respect is a two-way street.”
Kat breathed a sigh of relief. Louise did understand after all. “Exactly! And Bill isn’t respecting me and what I need!”
Catch up on all the past Adventures of Kat here…