They are cutting wood right outside my ears. Not really, but it feels that way. It is outside the staffroom somewhere. I have no idea why they are chopping wood, but they are. With a chain saw. It does seem as though any loud, mechanical device designed for cutting things frightens me. There is no electricity, but they are somehow managing to use a chain saw. I am, as you might imagine, triggered. Very triggered. And I am alternating between having suicidal thoughts and thinking I will die.
The timing is not great, because I was triggered like hell anyway. I don’t really know what happened last night. I went to see C. The night before she had said come back tomorrow, so I came. There was no electricity, and when I went into the hostel room, it was dark. She had already gone up to get dinner—either they let them go early from evening study, or I had come later than usual. She must have decided I wasn’t coming by then. I don’t know. But she did not come into the hostel room for a long time. She ate outside and maybe came in 20 minutes after I arrived.
It was hard to wait there in the dark for her. It seemed someone must have told her I was there. Maybe they hadn’t. But I thought she has to come inside sometime. I just have to cope with my feelings that she is “lost” and I don’t know where she is. That’s all I have to do. Sit here and try to cope.
She eventually came in. It was still dark and I could not really see her expression. She almost immediately said to go. She asked why I came first, as though she had forgotten she asked me to. Maybe she had. Then she began to tell me to leave. It seemed she was afraid of the dark, and so I turned on the flashlight on my phone. It doesn’t give a lot of light, but maybe if you are afraid of the dark, it helps. Most Country Xers are afraid of the dark. College kids will sleep with the lights on, from what I hear. It is kind of insane. She began to tell me about the dog that bit the matron—it bit me last week, but not hard. I mean, if it wanted to bite me, it could have. That was just to let me know how it felt about me, and the next day, I fed it bred. It ate at my feet. I don’t think it will bite me now so long as I don’t startle it. She said it bit one of the captains also. It might have. Anyway, she is worried.
She began to say something about coming Friday. Then she began to say something about there not being classes for a week and she wanted to go to her village. I find it highly unlikely there are no classes for a week. We don’t have classes for three days here because of an “Education Meet.” I don’t think they are also having an “Education Meet” at the high school simultaneously, nor do I think it is for an entire week. It is usually around a weekend—ours is Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But something is up.
I said I would check with her principal. She began to say, “If you don’t want to send me…” I said, “I didn’t say no. I said I would check with your principal.” This is an important distinction I want her to learn. Yes means yes. No means no. Anything else means we are still in the discussion stages, and I am gathering information. You are welcome to provide more information also. She subsided a bit, and again wanted me to go.
The whole interaction felt very distressing to me. She was talking, but it felt sort of Wild Animal the whole time, like she wanted to climb out of her skin. I don’t really know what helps in those situations. I think what might help is if I understood something I don’t understand yet, and could be calm and solid and give validation to something she is not able to say. But I am not there yet. She seemed to slip into a very Detached Mode, but she was still talking to me, she was telling me to leave and about the dog again. She said, “If you don’t listen to me, I won’t listen to you.” I said, “I am worried about you.” She asked why. I said, “Because you are hurting inside.” “I am going to hurt if you don’t leave.”
So it was like that. I didn’t feel I handled it well. I decided to leave shortly after that. Wild Animal State I cannot leave. Detached Mode I trust more. She will take care of C. I have that feeling. She might not be nice to anyone else, but she will take care of C.
Walking down, I got hit really hard with shame. I felt worthless and suicidal. I don’t really know why. There are a million reasons I could have. She was very rejecting, but actually I feel that is not the part that hurts. What is hurting is that she cares, and I hate it. I think I feel more comfortable when she is a little part, and she needs me, and she does not really think that much about my feelings or what is happening for me. She trusts me to be an adult and take care of her, and she is warm as the Vulnerable Child, but not able to really think of me as someone who needs things. I don’t know if that makes sense, but the Vulnerable Child is warm without understanding it takes time to make her pancakes, it takes energy to walk up the hill and meet her, it takes money to buy cake and junk food. Maybe there are gaps in her ability to empathize. Something like that. It’s not that she doesn’t care in these little part states, but it is different. And Angry Child is just full of need—no space at all to think about other people.
This other person she was last night, that person thought about me. She wasn’t thinking about me in ways that I wanted her to, but she was thinking about me. I think it is her schema at work: she is bad and will be punished by having bad things happen to the people she loves. But it’s somehow genuine. It’s also her personality showing through the trauma symptoms. She said, “There is no light. Otherwise, I would keep you here.” “Keep” in Country X has the sense of “to put and to retain there.” It’s a different meaning than it ought to have, because they have borrowed an incorrect usage from other non-native speakers. When I decided to leave her at the high school, I told her, “I will keep you there.” It’s that usage. So, I am someone who can be “kept.” It’s odd.
It’s that odd feeling I have about her.