"She is someone who fought hard to escape an appalling background, and the day she finished her Master’s at Oxford her husband gave her a necklace in a Tiffany box. “I felt like a fairy tale princess,” she tells me, looking down to avoid my imagined disdain. "by Anna Blundy / April 23, 2015 / Leave a comment
I sipped my camomile tea. I spent quite a long time wondering if I was allowed to take tea into sessions with my psychotherapy patients. Does it look rude? I’m having a nice cup of warming, soothing tea and offering nothing (nothing liquid anyway) to the patient. After a while I took my cue from my own analyst, who seems to have an almost permanent cold and sips water throughout my sessions.
Recently a patient brought in her own takeaway coffee and I was considering making some crass interpretation about needing to sustain herself during an upcoming two-week break from therapy. Then I thought, perhaps she’s mirroring me, demonstrating a connection between us. (Obviously, I’m aware that she is also just bringing a coffee to a morning session, my own drink a tacit permission, but there is always another level. Or two).
In the preceding session she’d struggled with a word she found difficult to translate into English. “You assume I won’t understand if you say it in your native language,” I said. She laughed. “English people never speak any languages! No offence.” I do, in fact, speak her native language, though she has no way of knowing that. On the other hand, it was odd that she was so offensively sure I wouldn’t. “You’re cross because nobody can really understand every-thing you say?” I tried. “You feel like the only person in the world.” (She has said this herself). She seemed to relax a bit after that and then today here she was with her coffee.
But before I could comment she was talking about a Tiffany bracelet she’d bought. She was proud to have made a guilt-free purchase (she’s usually racked by guilt and terrified of the imagined envy and hatred of others) and spoke of how important the brand is to her. “I’m ashamed of this,” she said, hesitant. She is someone who fought hard to escape an appalling background, and the day she finished her Master’s at Oxford her husband gave her a necklace in a Tiffany box. “I felt like a fairy tale princess,” she tells me, looking down to avoid my imagined disdain.
“You seem to think I’ll be scornful,” I said.
“Well. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?” she laughed, contemptuous herself.
I didn’t think so. I went round Tiffany with my dad when I was little and hoped that one day someone would present…