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    Moving Too Fast?

    It has been seven weeks since Bette’s first visit with Tina at the treatment facility. Both Bette and Tina have been making progress in their individual therapy. In fact, Tina has made so much marked progress that her treatment team feels confident in a 90-day treatment rather than 120 days – if she’s committed to weekly therapy appointments, they are sure she’ll do fine. Tina is scheduled to discharge in 3 weeks, so Bette is now able to see her every Saturday, plus two hours on Monday, and two hours on Wednesday.

    Bette and Tina have grown closer, they’re bond growing stronger each day. As they continue to share their journals back and forth their knowledge and understanding of one another deepens.  As Tina’s knowledge of Bette’s childhood grows: her Mother leaving, her sister’s addiction, her Father’s overbearing and controlling demeanor coupled with his lack of affection; it gives her an understanding as to how Bette could have fallen prey to a monster like Candace.

    In the same vein, as Bette’s knowledge of Tina’s childhood broadens, she too comes to understand the way Tina came to view herself so negatively. During Bette’s visit with Tina three weeks ago, Bette had finally inquired about Tina’s sister. It was a raw, emotional conversation that eventually ended with the mediation of Tina’s therapist. Bette had been devastated to learn of Tina’s molestation at the hands of her sister. It had been a rollercoaster of emotions from shock, to anger, to soul aching sorrow. After the revelation, Bette’s next three sessions with Dan worked through her emotions about the knowledge of Tina’s childhood trauma and how that knowledge compounds her empathetic hurt over Tina’s rape.

    Tina made a huge breakthrough after revealing her long held secret of her sister’s molestation. As she recounted to her therapist how the abuse began, how it progressed, and how it ended she was able to see how that trauma has been the genesis of a lot of her negative self-talk and fear of intimacy. Her therapist helped make the connection that her childhood abuse left her more vulnerable to future abuse, but it also helped her connect that it was the dismissal she received from her Mother about her sister’s abuse when she was young that kept her from reporting her boss to HR at the first sign of harassment at work. Tina has been struggling internally after the assault because of her prior lack of action. She’s been fighting with herself, thinking that maybe a part of her “wanted it” and that’s why she never sought help. Her therapist helped her see that because her Mother didn’t believe her when she told her about her sister; it unconsciously told Tina that no one would ever believe her or help her – it left her feeling that she had to fight the battle alone.

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    1. My Dear Elizabeth,
      This chapter represents a natural progression of your story…it is definitely not filler but a well thought out bridge in your plot line. You show both of these ladies making progress in their therapy. Both are getting better acquainted with each other in the limited amount of time they can spend together. Both are forming a bond and have a desire to be with each other. It is natural that Bette will want Tina to move in and it is natural to question whether it is too soon in their relationship for this to happen. I hope that the therapist agree that it might be in both of their best interest to move in together. Tina is going to need Bette’s support to be able to go out in the world and do the normal things people do without being terrified of the what ifs. Can Tina return to work at the studio without reliving that horror of that attack? Will she have to search for another job? Anyway, I do not see Tina being able to live alone and not have someone to support her as she makes her way back into a normal life. If co=dependency develops, well that is something that can be handled in the future once both have the self-confidence that they can function in lives normal activities – work, socializing, shopping, etc. And if it makes them both happy and gives them more confidence to slay their dragons, then why not?

      A great chapter…. just make up your mind where you want your characters to end up and then build the path to get there. Once this hospitalization period is over, there is a whole world of relationship for these two to experience and to live. You are doing a really good job with this story – good characters, great plot and a logical path. Look forward to your next installment.

      • Martha – Thank you for your kind words and beautiful assessment.

        The chapter felt like filler to me because it was a lot of explanation and not a lot of dialogue. I have mapped out the story from beginning to end, so I know what I want to happen next and how I want the story to progress and end. The block was more of: how do I get from this point to that point without drawing everything out. I don’t want the story to move too slow, but I also don’t want it to move so fast that it becomes unrealistic. I hadn’t initially thought of doing a time jump, but once I did everything seemed to make more sense, so I’ll keep that in mind if I encounter this in the future.

        I don’t want to spend many more chapters with Tina still in the facility. I’m hoping to wrap that up in about 2-3 chapters. As we move forward, we’ll see how B&T deal with issues more relationally focused and how they’ll navigate that before we hit a little drama again!

        Thanks for reading! 🙏🏼

    2. I am so glad to see this story come back! I love how you caught us all back to speed and skipped forward to see such growth and healing from Tina. And they are so gentle with other…. Bette making the wonderful offer of Tina moving in with her and Tina wanting to make sure it does not derail her own progress. I could feel how badly Tina needed to stay on course, to continue to understand who she is and how she fits in the world now. And what that means for Bette. You can never move too slow, it is a process – an unveiling if you will.
      Thank you, I eagerly await the next installment.

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