Doubt, the sharp-tongued one who lives inside my head and doesn’t believe the memories of childhood sexual abuse, is due back home from vacation tomorrow. I sent her off to the beach in June and later extended her stay through the end of August.

Now she’s packing up her suitcase, preparing to come home tomorrow. She’s planning on wearing white to accentuate her good suntan that none of the rest of us have. She’s bringing a couple of trinkets back as gifts. She plans on looking innocent and friendly, but I think she may have some dangerous weapons in her bag. I’d like to think she is subdued after her time away from us, but I am not sure I trust her.

In therapy last week, E. suggested that I rearrange my internal house and give Doubt a bedroom in a part of the house where she will play a different role among all the parts that live there and tell me what they think. But I felt nervous and wondered the next day whether I should even let Doubt come back, or if it’s possible to make some strict rules for her.

(That could be a bit problematic. I’ve never been a very strict person. Just ask my kids.

Son: Mom, I really want an X-Box for Christmas.

Me: Honey, you know I’m not very enthused about video games. I think there are a lot better things you can be spending your time on. You can be with friends, make things, be active…

Son: Well, I will be playing with friends, here or online. And it’s good for hand-eye coordination. And I won’t play more than an hour on school days, like you said before. And I’m already playing ultimate Frisbee several days a week.

Me: Well, okay then! An X-Box is a great idea.)

So I can envision it playing out the same way in my internal house.

Doubt: You are just making up all that sh*t about being abused. That’s a terrible thing to do, when there are so many others who have truly suffered, not like you. You are just some kind of morbid fixated person who wants a melodramatic explanation for her inability to pull herself together.

Me: Stop it, you aren’t allowed to talk to me like that.

Doubt: But it’s all true.

Me: Yeah, okay, I guess you are right.

Then I’m back where I was before, stuck in the I-don’t-know-what-to-think swamp, slogging through the same old muck, over and over again. It’s not an appealing thought.

Does it make sense to forbid Doubt to return? Can I transform her into something milder, like Discernment or Good Judgment? Is that sustainable? I’m just not sure. I want to talk about this with E., but I don’t have another therapy session until Wednesday evening. That will already be September 2. I don’t want Doubt to come back tomorrow with all of this still unsettled.

Wave my magic wand.

Lucky for me, the bus from the beach is going to run over a big tree limb that fell during this past weekend’s windstorms and–without anyone getting hurt, of course–it will need some repairs.The parts won’t be immediately available, so it won’t be able to make its usual run tomorrow, so Doubt won’t be able to make it back until at least Wednesday night. That buys me just enough time to have another talk with E. An added benefit is that Doubt’s tan will begin to fade, and she won’t be able to show off quite as much. Good thing I have the power to foresee these things–otherwise I’d just be sitting here worrying all day today and tomorrow.

It’s a funny thing, but somehow this nonsense reduces my anxiety.