I remember him answering my question. We had been discussing some warped perception I had about myself as a result of the abuse. I was embarrassed by the obviousness of his answer. How could I have not known that? Seen that? Was I just stupid that I had to be told something that made so much sense?
I saw this quote recently and it all came rushing back to me. The relief I had having someone understand, explain, and not belittle me. Except for myself -- I always did the belittling more than well enough.
I asked him if I were just stupid for not having known the answer. Was he appalled by my lack of knowledge? He looked at me quizzically and answered my question with a question. Did I remember being in school as a small child? Did I remember learning basic skills, like addition and subtraction? Did I believe I was stupid for not having known those things before having them taught to me?
Posed that way, clearly the answer was no. I had been uninformed. Ignorant in the truest sense of the word. I had needed someone to teach me, guide me. This was no different, he said. You cannot know until you have been taught. That's how we learn and grow. Taking in new information to help us move forward and grow into the people we want to be -- need to be. No one comes fully informed.
I can still feel the fear of disdain, and the relief that he didn't think me stupid or foolish.
I read that quote, and I realize it sums up what was happening that day in his office. The beginning of this journey of learning about my past and putting it into perspective -- of unlearning the terrible lessons taught to me by the abusers. I have been and continue to be "intelligent enough to know there is plenty left to learn".