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    Understand the Weeds; Understand the Forest Chapter 21

    Tina sat staring out the window of Dr. Cron’s office with a box of tissue on her lap and a despondent look on her face. This had been a regular event for Tina since Bette’s breakdown almost two months ago. Tina had followed Dr. Cron’s recommendation and left Bette alone to sort out what had happened. This went counter to everything Tina felt. But, when she thought about it, talking to Bette was more for her sake then Bette’s. Tina had profound guilt for her role in causing Bette so much emotional pain. She had been reliving that night over and over in her head trying to figure out what she could have done to prevent what had happened. In the end, with Dr. Cron’s help, she came to realize that Bette had so much more than the problems of their relationship eating at her. The painting was just a catalyst for something that was on the verge of happening for a long time. Tina had been finding it harder and harder to talk in therapy. She wanted to talk, but struggled with articulating her feelings to Dr. Cron. She wasn’t sure why, but she found herself averting her gaze usually looking out the window, as she was doing now.

    ”I have been doing a lot of thinking about what I have done to my family. At first I made a resolution to myself.”

    ”What sort of resolution?”

    ”I resolved never to say or do anything which could possibly cause Bette or Angie pain.

    Dr. Cron looked at Tina inquisitively.

    Noticing Dr. Cron’s look, Tina explained ”I had thought if I had stopped making such impulsive decisions it could mitigate some of their emotional pain.”

    ”Can you actually control anybody’s emotions?”

    ”Well, I guess, I never thought of it that way.” Tina paused, ”I changed my mind anyways about the resolution. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I was falling into the same way of thinking that got me here in the first place.” Tina sat in thought as she stared out the window, ”I guess I was thinking that I am taking responsibility for my actions, but in reality I am trying to take control over Bette’s feelings.”

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    Comments

    1. SuperK
      “I will survive without her, but I will be happiest with her.”

      Beautiful.

      I loved this chapter. Especially the part with Bette in therapy. Her love for Tina is always always the guiding force behind her actions and you depicted that wonderfully here. Even when she makes terrible decisions it is based on her emotional needs and the hole she is trying to fill. I read a quote once that said something along the lines of (and I paraphrase here)- if you don’t address what is bothering you, your body will for you.
      This is what happened to Bette in your story. She shut down and had the visceral reaction to the painting because she had paid attention to her emotions all those years.

      Tina needs to say all the things she said to her therapist to Bette. Fix it Kennard.

      I also love how the therapist asked questions rather then tell Bette what she is thinking or feeling. Wonderfully written.

      Only one, small request please Superk…. write the next chapter where they have dinner soon. Like tonight. I am anxiously waiting. Thanks, BK

      • BK

        Wasn’t that a great line. I heard it somewhere a long time ago something similar and this version just came to me and seemed perfect.

        OMG tough writing for sure, which I know you can appreciate. I love words so much, they invoke so much from the reader if done correctly, which I hope I did.

        The last chapter of this very important trilogy is still in early draft. It has to be done just right for the reconciliation to make sense and as you all can see, that is the endgame.

        I could make it easy, but it wouldn’t be my style. Patients to all…

        K

        • K
          I appreciate the tough writing very much. You have done a masterful job with this story as each member comes to terms with the impact of the dysfunction in the family unit. Bravo.
          I will be patient, and no…. the best things in life are never easy.
          Peace
          BK

    2. I would like to echo BK’s request – please post the Chapter where they have dinner as soon as possible ‘ like now and post.

      Please make Tina woman up and admit to Bette all the things she admitted to the Therapist.

      Great Chapter, thanks as ever for posting and sharing with us your storytelling talent.
      SG

      • Hey Sassy

        Their reconciliation will take time and involve a lot of talking, soul searching and learning who each other are as individuals before they will be able to come together permanently as a couple. It will be fun watching them come together.

        K

    3. Amazing chapter SuperK!!!

      I agree with BK’s comment ????%!

      You can read how much time and research you put in this chapter, well done ????

      Tina realizes what she has done and acknowledged that in her way of dealing with her own feelings she blamed Bette and destroyed Bette emotionally when she asked for a divorce and told Bette she fell in love and was going to marry Carrie, only because she had a need to fill a hole, that by leaving Bette arose.
      Tina asked for a sign of Bette and she did get it by a message to eat dinner.

      Everything Tina told her therapist, she need to say to Bette, just like Bette has to tell Tina. The only way to move forward is to communicate open and honestly.

      Poor Angie, afraid to leave for college, to leave her T and B because bad things happen when she is away. I hope she will talk to them that she is afraid. She is beyond mature for her age, but she is still a teenager who shouldn’t have to carriage such a heavy burden on her shoulder.

      Like BK, i hope you are already writing the next chapter! Look forward to their dinner!

      Thank you for this wonderful story!

      • Bibi

        Yes the research was intense. Luckily I have access to many people who know therapy both in academics and in practice. I have to give them a nod for the help in making it sound realistic.

        Due to GQ and the nonsense of having them divorce, the process will be long and painful. But in the end, we will get are girls back together.

        K

    4. This was a chapter jam packed with information, emotions and movement toward healing for all these characters. Bette and Tina have at least defined their problems and defined the end game at least to themselves. Acknowledging that they are responsible of their own responses, feelings and actions is a huge step. Seeing themselves as who they really are is huge.

      Angie on the other hand needs a bit more work. Assuming the responsibilities for her parents behavior in any form or fashion is a big problem. That needs to be corrected as soon as possible. It is a wise that Bette and Tina insisted that Angie go to therapy.

      I know that I have said before- You can fix that which you don’t know about. With therapy, both Bette and Tina now knows the impact of their past, their own decisions and have a better perception of who the other person is. They truly love each other deeply and the divorce was not what they truly wanted. Now lets see if they can get back together and become better people by correcting their own faults and opening themselves up to each other totally. There is real hope here.

      Very well written chapter with each person revealing something of themselves. Now lets communicate these revelations to the other and formulate a path toward reconciliation. Still going to take some time and effort, but they now have some understanding as to why things happened as they did.

      Thanks for this chapter….look forward to the next chapter….

    5. This is very difficult chapter for me to comment on. I have a lot of experience with therapy and your writing is so incredibly authentic. Spot on. And that is tough. I agree with all of the other comments about the triangulation taking place. Bette, Tina and Angie have to articulate their thoughts, feelings, fears, wants, and expectations with each other. My heart breaks for all three of them. Bette and Tina may very well get another chance but as Bette says it will never be the same. She may be able to forgive Tina about Kit but she will not be able to forget. Talking is essential! Trusting Tina to not abandon her again is perhaps the biggest hurdle. I think Tina knows what that would do to Bette. They have quite a ways to go. At least they both know what they want.

      My heart really breaks for Angie. She does not deserve to be put through this. If her parents reconcile will she trust it to be permanent? God she has seen a lot. This is the only part of the chapter I am having trouble understanding. Where has Bette been for two months? Did Bette give up her job? Despite all of the problems I always thought Bette and Tina were able to put Angie first. But Angie seems somewhat forgotten. I know Bette had a breakdown but is Bette living at her home? Is Tina working? Is the sex on the kitchen counter in Bette’s imagination or did I miss that and it really took place and Bette knows about it. Some parts are kind of confusing.

      Hope you post again – now?This one is going to stay with me for a long time. So very well done!

      • Billy,

        I am so sorry this poked you personally.

        An enormous amount of research went into this chapter trying to get the 3 different perspectives articulated in a realistic manner in therapy. I am familiar with the process so that helped as well.

        Some notes to help.

        Bette is imaging the sex on the kitchen table. It was a nod to the song Bitter a the end of ep 6. It is something so far fetched in her mind, Carrie touching Tina in an intimate manner triggers her imagination, but her heart won’t let it be anything realistic.

        Bette has been home, and Skyping her meetings. With the way technology is, people don’t need to go to an office or be in person to do business. Is it a problem for her position, yes and she will have to step in completely at some point.

        Angie is an interesting character in this triangle because in complicated relationships as TiBette something gives and with Bette’s breakdown, Angie got lost a bit. It is a good thing they kept Angie in therapy.

        K

        • I think it is a huge testament to your writing that I was a tad uncomfortable. It is clear you have done your research. I am loving the story very much. Thanks for answering my questions. Glad Bette did not lose her job. Looking forward to your next post. Need our girls – all three – to be okay.

    6. SuperK.
      Gosh you’ve packed a lot of emotions and internal dialog that both ladies have finally voiced into this chapter.

      I guess for me I wondering how you’ll apply healing balm to the vivid “memories” that seem to torment. Especially for Bette. Her personality seems to be at the mercy of somehow removing the poison from them.

      Bette is not afraid of being 100% passionate, 100% of the time, but life’s wounds have caused her to be UNsure of her motivation to continue “sold out” in her conviction to “love”.

      She’s tactile In her ability to learn and understands how much “touch” helps one really “see”. That’s why images of Tina with Carrie torment her so. She isn’t sure whether “trusting” will eventually allow her to once again let go and fully enjoy an intimate relationship with Tina.

      Remember when Bettes’ father was dying and he hallucinated when he saw Bette reclined in Tina’s arms and thought Tina was Bette’s Mom? I think that same break with reality happened to Bette when she saw the water color that James brought forth from Maxine.

      She just “freaked” and basically lashed out at Mom/Tina because both had in reality abandoned her. They did leave without explanation. Kit had left Bettes’ life along the way, but returned and stayed so I don’t believe Bette felt “abandoned” by Kit upon her death.

      I’m hoping that Bette & Tina will enjoy the unforced joy of teasing each other with quick wit & flirtations at their dinner date. And wondering if in their parenting dialog they will both acknowledge how they could help Angie with her hidden concerns. Like the remembering to take time to go visiting of colleges and getting a feel and acceptance about where Angie wants to go to college. It may not be Yale/Princeton/Ivy League!

      Angie just really wants the time with her Mothers who are “happy” with their lives in spite of all that has transpired through the years.

    7. Just wanted to post one more comment: if Bette and Tina do not both learn how to forgive each other completely and never use past issues against one other ever again then they are doomed to failure. One dinner will not fix them. One college trip will not fix them. They need serious couples and family therapy to exorcise all of their demons and heal properly as a couple and a family with complete and permanent forgiveness.

    8. What a super challenging chapter! Lots going on & all hopefully on the road to better relationships with each other.

      Feel so much for poor Angie – wanting to help her folks so much.

      Totally agree with the comments above. 100% spot on!

      Thank you for all your efforts in bringing this to light and all the research you’ve done.

      Writing is truly a labor of love & your’e shows.

      All the best.

      Collins

    9. Collins

      Yes super difficult but such a great accomplishment when I was done and it worked.

      I had to move our girls in a big way, so I could start the reconciliation, but so much still had to be revealed to really understand what motivated them and for them to be ready to reach towards each other.

      It was written as a trilogy and the last part is the next chapter.

      I am so glad everyone got it. It was pretty heavy reading for sure.

      K

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