I had just started as a Relate counsellor. I had completed all my training and was excited to starting at Relate. 

My last client was at 9 o’clock in the evening and the light was dim in the counselling room.

I greeted my female client and she sat down opposite to me.

My client talked about an ex partner from many years ago who was at the beginning of the relationship, the love of her life, who she’d been waiting to meet for a long time. 

Quickly they moved in together and this was the start of her life with him.

At first it was wonderful, he was so in tune with her and bought her special gifts for birthdays and anniversaries.  

Slowly she began to notice herself doing more and more for him, to please him and it made her feel good.

Until one night she forgot to do something to please him, but he said he did not mind. 

That evening they sat and watched TV together and cuddled, drinking wine. The atmosphere was warm and cosy and they were in love. Until he said, I haven’t punished you yet for forgetting to please me. 

The air in the counselling room went cold. I looked at her in the half dim light. The anticipation of what was going to come was almost as bad as what did come. I could smell fear in the counselling room, and the silence of what she was going to tell me was deafening. I could see her body shuddering as if it was about to happen, even though it did, many years ago. My client told me her story in hushed tones, as if her perpetrator was in the room with us.

I knew this is why I became a counsellor. Someone was telling me something they have never told anyone before. I sat and listened without showing shock or judgment. However, I could feel a single tear running down my check when she finished.

I felt honoured and privileged that she felt safe and comfortable with me, to now at last to tell her story. 

Sharon, Counsellor

Relate Bradford & Leeds

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