The little girl and the analyst in the age of terror

Pencil drawing of an adult human, male looking, sitting on the floor with legs bent close to their body, arms crossed on knees, and head resting on hands. Floppy shortish hair. Next to this figure, pencil drawing of a child in the same position and with the same outfit, which is jeans, a ring tee, and bare feet and arms. A sky-blue watercolor wash surrounds the two figures, a lighter blue wash surrounds the adult, a bubblegum pink watercolor wash surrounds the child.
Many thanks to Jen for this beautiful drawing! Please use with permission.

1. I have been letting the little girl into the room.

2. The little girl is all manners of terrified/hurt/angry. She is difficult to deal with. The adult finds her a torment. The little girl is not a torment to herself, I don’t think, ‘tho sometimes she thinks she is bad.

3. She does not think she is bad when she is listened to and heard!

4. After about 2 years of pleading and kicking and screaming and explaining my analyst seems to have learned to talk to the little girl with tenderness, age-appropriateness, respect, and intelligence.

5. Adult me is always listening in and ready to yank the little girl back if things go wrong. The little girl’s meltdowns are brutally painful.

6. I think my analyst is afraid the little girl will get her back up if she, the analyst, uses “you” when talking to her. So she (the analyst) mostly uses “we,” as in “we can’t sleep when we are scared.”

7. The little girl would like to be talked to as a unique and well-seen “you.” In the country she comes from, this “we” sounds patronizing and diffusive. I can’t gauge whether it is the same in English.

8. Donald Trump, acquitted, immediately proceeded to kick up the dictatorship. This is absolutely terrifying. I am terrified as an immigrant and a lesbian. I am terrified as a naturalized citizen. AND I am Western European and White! The fullness at my heart goes out to all people of color in Northern and Central America now. It is terrifying. I will fight for and with you.

9. Since the little girl started talking to the analyst the adult person’s body (same as the little girl’s body?) has experienced so much less pain. For weeks she had hardly been able to move! Her body is now limber by comparison. The little girl and the adult person are so grateful to the analyst!

10. Today the little girl talked to the analyst about her childhood. She was scared at night and she couldn’t sleep. Her mom was barely there for her. She tried to be there for her youngest sister, who was in a crib. The younger sister slept in the same room as the little girl.

11. After the session she slept and had this dream:

she is an adult and also a child. she, her middle sister, and her mom are staying somewhere strange. the dreamer (me) is exhausted and disabled with a serious chronic illness and she cannot go with her mom who is

showing a lifetime of drawings in a gallery. when she is finally able to join her mom in the gallery she finds that the exhibition was and still is a smashing success. her mother, though, is detached and disconnected from all this, as if she couldn’t grasp or care about any of it. (i think the exhibition is really the dreamer’s—my—accomplishments, and the dreamer’s middle sister’s many accomplishments too).

the dreamer, exhausted, returns inside. “inside” is an underground labyrinth of small rooms, with a low ceiling, narrow, with arrowslits for windows. the dreamers asks her sister, is mom coming to get us? her sister, a bit scared, says, yes, yes, she said she would. the dreamer looks outside and it’s getting dark. she knows she won’t be able to find the exit. she is stuck. she feels terror creep over the surface of her body, make its way inside.

12. She woke up.

13. Food and hot drinks always help dispel the phantoms of past trauma. We thank our Lord and also the earth for the lovely food that restores integrity to the fragmented mind and body.