Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

From Role Play to Real Life
Posted by:Brigitte--Sunday, November 10, 2013

At the Saturday Wexford meeting, Francois and I "volunteered" to have our specific situation depicted in a role play. As is so often the case, the role play and discussion that followed turned my thinking upside down. I came to the meeting convinced that I had arrived at a place of detachment and strength regarding my drug-abusing son. As I found out, there was much more bubbling below the surface.    

The situation involved letting our son, Pierre, know that we were not comfortable with him dropping by and hanging out at our house while he waited for his girlfriend to pick him up. We felt like prisoners in our home--following him around, having to remind him that he could not lock the door to his former bedroom, locking upstairs bedroom doors, hiding our money. Francois and I had already told him that he could not shower or sleep at our house and, although he hadn't handled that very well, he no longer asked to do those things. We now needed to let him know that we did not want him using our house as a temporary hangout.

As the role play unfolded, I realized that I was not coming from a place of love and detachment, but of anger, resentment and fear. As Francois and I continue to work on creating peace in our home and a better relationship with our other two sons, it hit me that I was trying to push Pierre away; I no longer wanted a weekly reminder that I have a son who continues to use drugs and may be involved in other, equally dangerous, activities. During the discussion, there was mention that, because of his lifestyle choices, each encounter with our son could be our last. It was difficult to hear, but also a jarring eye opener.

Pierre stopped by that afternoon. Francois and I know that a three-way conversation with Pierre is impossible, so I attempted my version of the role play when Pierre and I were sitting at the kitchen table. It went something like this:

Pierre: So what did you want to talk about?

Brigitte: Well, I just wanted to apologize for something.

Pierre: Oh yeah?

Brigitte: As you probably can tell, I am struggling with a few things lately. I have been feeling a lot of anger, fear, and disappointment in the choices you've been making and I don't think I've been handling it very well. (pause) I'm sure it hasn't been fun for you to stop by when Dad and I are following you around the house every second and acting so tense when you are here.

Pierre: I don't know why you do that anyway.

Brigitte: Well, as I said, it's my problem. I'm feeling a lot of distrust and worried that something might get stolen, and I am not able to get past it right now. I'm working on it, but in the meantime, I am really uncomfortable when you're here and roaming around the house.

Pierre: So?

Brigitte: Well, we love seeing you and you're welcome to come here as long as dad and I know in advance when you are coming and how long the visit will be. We just aren't comfortable with unannounced visits or having you hang out in other parts of the house. We can visit together when you are here.

Pierre: Okay, whatever. I don't really like coming here that much anyway. It's so boring here.

Brigitte: Yep, it's very boring here (resisting the temptation to add "Finally!"). By the way, are you coming for Thanksgiving?

Pierre: Only if it's here and not at Aunt _____'s house. I hate driving all the way there and staying all day.

Brigitte: Oh good, I was planning on having it here anyway so that works out well.

Pierre: Okay. Hey, I built bookshelves for my house and they look sweet.
(The visit continued with chit chat about his new place and who he is living with.)

It's amazing to me that, after three years of attending PSST, I can still be surprised by the depth of insight, compassion and strength that this group has to offer. I am so grateful for that, and also for the extra hugs and kind words!

Thank you so much--


Jenn said...


Thanks for sharing! We are all so blessed to have PSST support, and it's helpful to hear how a role-play situation plays out in real life. It's a bonus when the encounter turns out even better than expected. And even more valuable when we gain additional insight into our own emotions.


P.S. Lloyd is a genius!

Lloyd Woodward said...

Sounds like the real deal was better than the role-play at group. That's the best when that happens. Thanks very much for sharing this :-)


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