Thursday, May 17, 2007

I dreamed I was a therapist

No kidding! I had a very bizarre dream last night. I was trying to travel by train to some location where they needed me. For some reason, the train travel was taking forever and I wasn't getting anywhere, so I had to try some magical elephant or carpet ride (the details are hazy in my memory, but I think that sort of encapsulates what it was).

After I finally got to the location, I sat down with a group of the people I was supposed to work with. "Let's establish some ground rules," I said. I knew there were three basic rules of group therapy. "First of all, respect where people are in the process. Confidentiality -- what's said in group stays in the group." But I couldn't think of the third -- only one person talks at a time -- so I lamely repeated something about respect and felt bad: I screwed up. Then I woke up.

I still haven't started the internship that's supposed to replace my work at the domestic violence shelter. That, I think, is the delayed train ride. And I'm nervous that when I finally do get there, I'll mess up somehow. But I still woke up feeling happy: I eventually got to do what I'm supposed to be doing.

Today I met with a shadchanit, Rochel, the one who set me up with Brooklyn Lawyuh. She wanted to meet me in person and also discuss ideas for an article we might collaborate on. We sat and chatted in a Starbucks, while her infant dozed nearby in a stroller.

Rochel told me that a woman whom she'd set up with a man later complained to her that the man used and trashed her, and moreover he was bisexual. Rochel called him up and castigated him for his alleged mistreatment of the woman, and he said, "It's very complicated." The woman wrote Rochel many lovely emails, thanking her for her help and saying she treasured their friendship... then she disappeared, and Rochel felt very hurt. Much later, the man in question would tell Rochel that the woman was very unstable, was herself bisexual, and had behaved very badly toward him in several regards.

Rochel felt terrible for having yelled at him, and was still angry at this woman. I said it seemed to me this was a double betrayal -- she felt badly both because she'd castigated the man for his behavior, and because she'd believed the woman, who proved unworthy of her trust. I told Rochel she'd acted on what she thought was complete information, and she shouldn't blame herself that her trust had been violated.

Then Rochel told me that the man in this little drama had recently sent her an IM saying that in Williamsburg, where several of his hipster friends live, Chassidic men were notorious for frequenting black and/or transsexual prostitutes. She was outraged -- could not understand why he would send her such a message, especially since he knows she and her husband are Chassidic.

I theorized that he was trying to hit her where it might hurt -- perhaps some residual anger over the bad match -- and suggested she write him something along these lines: I am well aware that religious Jews are not perfect. If we were, we wouldn't need 613 mitzvot from Hashem to keep us in line. But why are you writing to tell me this? What are you trying to accomplish? "Put it back on him," I told her.

"Make sure that you see private patients after you get your license, whatever else you do," said Rochel. "You're going to be an excellent therapist."
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. what a bizarre post! whenever i hear about chassidic men doing stuff like that, i get really creeped out. ick.

    as for the date, sorry it wasn't so great. i always heard you should date someone twice before calling it quits, so i guess you're on the right track...?

    i like your writing!

    a guten erev shabbos!

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