“They're being stuck up about it.” thirteen-year-old Linda said in the beginning of her first group-therapy session.
The five people around her sighed, the therapist included. Her, the therapist's eyebrows wrinkled a little and then she said: “It's not wise to always be accusing them. Even so I can understand that they sort of were stuck up with you all, or at least most of, the time.”
One of the two boys who were in the group looked at Linda and asked: “Why try to be different from everybody else? You know we all had that kind of abuse against us. And we've all been manipulated into finding ourselves comfortable with pretending to be something we aren't.”
“I don't,” the other boy said, “find it to be that what I did was to find myself very comfortable with that!”
One of the girls broke in: “I don't like that you're saying they didn't find it in you to seem to be part of their club for socializing the way they have it young boys should, because you told me you had to fancy yourself as a man already, and thereby pretend to be as tough as they!”
“Exactly!” the other boy said. “I also know that you pretended to be satisfied with it! Besides, it seems you didn't pretend to be blackmailed into seeming to be! Thereby think it's impossible for them tho have you pretend that well without making you feel comfortable with it!”
“But,” the boy defended himself, “I couldn't escape that they would be bullying me! I mean, although there wasn't quite any blackmail about it!”
“That's right,” the therapist broke in. “I recommend that it's not to be seen as if we were an group only for those who pretended to be happy in a way that actually fooled them into faking their happiness to be real, or so.”
The boy who had spoken first cleared his throat. “But I am a guy who never found myself to be happy without pretending to be happy in the first place!”
“I can't find it in you to be happy on the surface right now, though. ... So what do you actually mean by you insinuation that I aught to treat them as if they were in a group for pretend happy people?!”
“I can't help being facially happy when you tell me I'm not happy! Because I am facially happy right now, in the sense that I'm not even remotely as happy as I seem to be right now!”
She sighed. “I can't pretend that you aught to be pretending in my group, that you're actually fairly happy about the situation even if there are feelings in you of complete unhappiness! Thereby I recommend you to tell me about those unhappy feelings you say you have!”
“I feel unhappy that she isn't coming here to find our group to be for real about the problems of manipulation! I also feel disappointed at that Eric pretended to be someone who didn't have to be into faking himself into comfort as if happy about unhappiness!”
Linda looked at him, and then at her therapist. She felt as if she (the therapist) didn't realize that the boy she spoke to was just being obnoxious. In a sense she felt the therapist had no point in actually being the one to say there was any half a point even in letting that boy speak out for himself. She thereby seemed unhappy to the people around her, and the therapist looked at her and asked:
“Why do you keep on writhing as if we were trying to manipulate you right now? You know we're a group for trying not to be manipulative!”
“I find it in me not to pretend that I am not trying to be happy, only I'm not trying to be happy in the way that actually makes me comfortable!”
“What do you mean by that?” The therapist looked a bit interested in Linda's mimicry about her situation.
“What are you staring at?!” Linda burst our.
“Oh, I was just looking at the way your facial expressions changed during our conversation! It's just an interest I have in feeling comfortable about each other here in this precarious locality for having therapy against your notions of not being for real!”
The girl who hadn't yet spoken before broke in: “Why do you feel that it's therapy to say that they are for real, those people we can't trust, when we feel ourselves that those people try to facilitate our interpretations of them as so real that they aren't ever to be handled as if questionable?!”
Linda said silently to herself that she too felt that way about it, but that she hadn't dared to speak that way about those people in charge here. So instead she looked at the therapist now and added: “How come we never get to view ourselves as the kinds of persons who don't very easily find ourselves not to be a nuisance?! I mean I don't have an argument in my mother for actually trusting her! That is she is always the bitch about it! She always pretends I'm the imbecile in her company, and then when I'm being that she scorns me into feeling inferior so that I become even worse an imbecile for her and everybody else!”
“I can't see you as the kind of girl who doesn't fit in with having me in therapy. I can't see in any of you not to feel inferior because of those who insinuated about you that you are imbecile or something seemingly the same as that. Because I can't see it in you to be imbecile enough to actually pretend that you are secure with those acquaintances - including family - that you present for me as though you didn't care for actually being their friends or family, nor even acquaintances.
“What, then,” the boy who spoke first asked, “do you mean by pretending we're all family with each other around here!? I mean we're no family with each other! On the contrary she and I are very unalike!” He indicated Linda when saying the last sentence.
“Oh, Golly!” the girl who spoke first broke out. “Why do they feel that they are so stuck up, those parents!? I mean I have in my own two parents not to ever fake that they're unhappy about me and my so-called imbecile attitudes! Instead it's they - and they're virtually the only ones for that - who cared indiscriminately to say to me that I was an okay person and an okay soul to for that matter! So why do you complain about your parents!? I feel my parents are really good enough and they should be into pretending as if something about their own, so that they could be good enough as well!”
The second boy looked grimly at her. “We all have our own parents to talk about! They're not a bit like your own!”
“Then how come,” the girl asked, “do you never comment me about them when I tell you how nice it is that they still keep on caring?!”
“It's because,” the boy answered, “we have nothing to say about those parents who are just completely different! We have nothing to say about you, because you don't seem to be the same as the rest of us! Our problems are with parents; yours are that you're a stuck up little rascal who has parents that tell her she's an alright kid, although she isn't!”
Linda looked at the two of them. Now she found in herself to fit in, although she felt awkward about being fitting in just for being miserable enough for it. Then he looked at the therapist, who looked a bit troubled.
“How come,” the therapist asked, “do you feel that it's so important that she is different?”
“It's because,” he answered, “we don't have anything to say to each other! I mean how come she's here after just being that stuck up person whom nobody likes - except for her own folks!?”
“I suppose there isn't any need for therapy for her according to you, then? But I, I feel she needs therapy, just like you! And thereby she needs also to be treated with respect just like the rest of you all!”
The second girl said: “I guess we should all go home then and talk to our freaking parents about this session, which wasn't at all very rewarding, but which after all taught us to reward our parents for not being as stuck up as they, those who pester us for all they're worth, as it seems!”
The therapist looked at her watch and stated: “Yes, I believe there's need for doing something of that kind for perhaps all of you. But before you rush into anything, let me just tell you that it's not demanded from me that you tell your parents about anything. But neither do I recommend that you don't. Because I feel that if you do - to the extent you do it - you will very likely be able to find out from them, at least something about who might have to be seen as stuck up according to them. Thereby I recommend for you all to try to be into thinking about them as something of wiser than you are, and thereby, perhaps, you can get yourselves to talk to them, and thereby get to know yourselves from them. But, as I said, you should not feel that you really should have to do that. What I mean is that if you can, you really aught to try that!”
Upon that she ended the session by rising from her seat and going to the door, standing at which she said: “I fully understand that some of you feel uncomfortable in this group as well as with for example your parents. If so - or something similar to it - then you should try to feel comfortable with at least relating your problems with someone, perhaps not me, who thereby can be your parent about it! If not, then I am ready to be your parent, and then perhaps you can feel as well that I am the one to find it in to take interest in your problems.
“As for you, Linda, your problem with your grandma and mother both being stuck up, please turn to anyone else about it! I don't feel that you, yet, aught to speak to either of those two directly about it! And for you others, all of whom are already in therapy since at least six months, you should be speaking to either your parents,or to me, or to anyone. But don't speak to your parents if they don't agree with that you should consider them haughty - or stuck up, that is. Just speak to them to the extent they actually feel bad about themselves for being stuck up, or, as with Lisa, that they are not even part of that problem for you!
“Even if there perhaps are tendencies of facial happiness seeming to be everything there is of trust from your friends or so, even if so, you should try to speak to me, your parents - or at least someone!”
Not until now did she open the door. Linda stood and waited until all others - but the therapist - had left. Then she walked slowly towards the door, and whispered said to the therapist: “I don't have anyone to talk to! But I feel not even that I want to talk to you about my problems! So how can I abide by the assignment without you - or all others I might talk to - feeling that I am not to be seen as anyone but an idiot who doesn't seem to fit in with anyone but those who despise me?”
“I feel you are not to be despised! Now how come you are so scared of me or anyone else relating to your side of the story you have to tell? To tell me is, I can assure you, not a very dangerous thing! To tell your parents, or your grandmother or so, can be that, but for me it's not very interesting to have them know what we say to each other. So why don't you tell me, and then I'll drive you home, but not until you've told me all will I have to take you to those parents you are so afraid of!”
With that they talked for about half an hour. But Linda didn't really say much about how to relate to her mother (or the father whom she hardly knew). Instead she fussed about her mother not trying even to feel empathetic, which the therapist tried to sympathise with. But in the end she just felt confident that she had in Linda a patient who would never be well and whom she thereby didn't have to care about.
She drove her home and followed her up to her mother apartment. When saying hello to the mother of Linda, she felt that she could not believe Linda to be an imbecile. But even so she felt tempted to actually scold her as such. But for the better of things, she thought, the mother seemed to be into saying to herself that she didn't have to be into finding this therapist to be very bad even if the therapy failed.