Peter’s couple therapy blog

Lucy & Bart 1

DINNER – HARSH STARTUP WITH A DRIZZLE OF CONTEMPT

Lucy and Bart live in a beautiful home in the heights of a small coastal town. Best house in the best street says Lucy. Bart is from Brisbane, where his extended family reside. He is a capable business man, runs one fast food franchise in Byron Bay and a number of others in nearby regional centres. The very existence of this franchise is anathema to animal welfare Lucy. She was born and bred in the northern rivers. Lucy attends weekly community dance gatherings, has a private healing therapy practice in their home. They have three children, many close friends and are considered an ‘amazing’ couple. Bart was the eldest child of four and Lucy the youngest of two.

Harsh start ups take time to brew. This (fictional) couple are way over the limit. Many mornings starts like this:

“Off to work then?” says Lucy. It’s the tone of ‘piss-off you unethical wanker’ that is intended to set Bart off.

“What did you say?”, he replies, chest flaring. His inflexion conveys , ‘shut up fish wife, without me you’d be working out of a tent at weekend markets,’ that is designed to keep the fight rolling in her head until her first client shows up.

Folding the kids’ lunches into their bags, she sickly sweet shoots off a, ‘say hello to Christabelle from me,’ topped with contempt. Christabelle is her nickname for the ‘super wankers’ who own the global franchise. He shrugs his shoulders, and continues the fight in his body until the end of the day. He grinds his teeth at night.

By the time he walks into the house they are both fired up. Lucy starts in with a harsh ‘we have to talk. Kids go and watch TV for a minute, your father and I have private words.’ Code for a fight. The kids groan and hide in the elder’s bedroom.

“What now?”, he says aggravated.
“You know”, she says.
“Look I bring home the bacon, what else do you want?”
“A little kindness. You never talk to me, you don’t listen to what I say, you don’t get me.”
“Will I ever be good enough for you. You’re just a dreamer like my parents said.”
“Oh, it’s your parents is it. Well they’re the one’s who’re divorced. Mine still live down the road.”
“Yeah too damn close for me.”
“Well you come home from that stinking cadaver joint, and you do the child care then.”

And so it goes. Almost all the insults are tonal. They are practiced musicians. They can finesse the tone so well that not even their closest friends know they are having a fight until the alcohol begins to flow. To the world they are sweet with each other.

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