There was silence. Stony cold resentment. And then the explosion:”But I can’t possible speak in front of strangers. After all I’ve told you, the last place I’d feel comfortable is with a load of sickos all competing for attention.”
“They are no more or less well than you Beth – and its true, there are some who tend to speak often, others who say very little and all the varieties in between. But that’s just it. Group therapy is nothing more or less than any kind of group that you would encounter – at work, at college etc”.
Beth knew that the idea of the group was what she feared; being overwhelmed by the many, having her identity slip away, being isolated, overlooked. She was a loner child, the girl who walked by herself. And all these years later she wondered why it felt so disconnected and dull.
She’d heard her words revolve around the room like a bagatelle ball: “..competing for attention“. Yes the ball had found the pins and stayed firmly stuck there. She of all people, was seeking attention, wanting to be noticed.
It had made her feel shameful, this realisation but at least only one other was her witness. How would she be able to reveal this and so much more to several onlookers, bystanders, fellow travellers?
A spell of intimacy was being broken. It was a precipice. She felt kicked-out and so she kicked back: “Well I don’t believe in all that sh*t about encounter groups, holding hands in one big circle of support”.
“That’s good because Wednesday’s group is nothing like that. It will be you, me, my colleague Sandra, and six or 7 others who believe it or not, eventually find some comfort in seeing their individual problems being levelled to the common denominator of human struggle.”
More silence. The atmosphere was warming up.
“Will the circle be unbroken and all that” Beth said wryly but both of them knew, she had agreed to join.
Written for Jeremy’s Challenge 2015 Week 3: 15 January: Circle of Support