Each week after Rehab With Dr. Drew, we’ll be talking to some of the staff on hand at the Pasadena Recovery Center to find out everything that went down in front of and behind the camera with this season’s group of patients. This week we spoke to our friend Jennifer Gimenez, the resident technician at the facility who had battled demons on her own, and she offered up her insight and some behind-the-scenes details for this episode, ranging from Eric running away and his emotional reunion with his mother, to Deanna‘s obsession with Tupac.
So in the aftermath of the gang showdown, once everyone returned to the facility, it was still pretty much just mayhem. What was going on with you that whole time that Eric was running and you were trying to prevent Deanna from walking out?
It was more important for me to stay with the group than leave and go looking for Eric, because you can’t leave the group alone. It was more important for me to talk Deanna out of leaving, and at one point I started crying and she looked at me like “Are you crying for me?” and I nodded and she was like “Oh! I think I’ll stay then!” They don’t show that, but I think she realized that people there were caring about her. The good thing was that they were all talking about what happened — even if it wasn’t the kindest words, but they were talking it out and starting to communicate what washappening because it was such a traumatic experience. While Eric was running, thankfully there were cameras that at least knew where he was. It was so traumatic, and a lot of people are asking me “How did you feel?” or “Why didn’t you have any protection?” and I really was in survival mode at that point, my mission was just to care for them. It wasn’t me trying to figure out anything about me until the night was done.
It came out that a few of the women in the group were a little bit traumatized by Eric’s aggression and tone that he took because of their histories and their past experience with abuse. Knowing the similar past you had, were you upset or ever worried that Eric would lash out at you?
When Eric was yelling and doing his thing, I know that has nothing to do with me. If they don’t like me or react to me in a certain way, I know it has nothing to do with me, because they don’t really know me. I knew that with Eric, it wasn’t about me, what it was was that I was his authority figure. And with Eric, it was always about his authority figure, and how his authority figure, his mother, has always let him down. So I knew that from day one, but I knew he wasn’t there to hurt me. What the girls saw and what upset them, I said this last week a little but, when they saw me get thrown around outside near the van, they had no idea what was going on, and they saw me getting tossed around and they went into their own trauma, in their past.
You mentioned Eric’s issues with authority figures, but it was also brought up this week that he might have issues with women. In your case, was it that you were his authority figure, or that you were a woman in charge?
Let me clarify, Eric has issues with authority figures, but with his female authority figures especially, it was a whole other ballgame. We did get very close, but his mentality was that I was going to let him down, as his past has proven that to him and made him believe that.
I’m glad that Eric’s mom and his aunt were both there this week to get the family dimension of his story out there. Did his mother know all his resentment toward her prior to that session?
I believe family counseling is amazing because you have a third party there, and you’re talking about a sick mother, a sick aunt, and a sick son. Three sick people who are, as Dr. Drew said, harboring all these issues their whole lives and you don’t hear it. I love how Bob and Dr. Drew say to Eric [after his mom talks about her drug use] “Don’t you have compassion for her now?” That doesn’t take away from the fact that this young kid was hurt by his mom, the young boy in Eric was hurt, and I’m sure she knew it. Eric had no coping skills or ways to talk about it, and here he is now talking about it, and I think it’s going to take a very long time for him to heal.
Later in the episode, Deanna has a bit of drama when her boyfriend, who has just been released from prison, finds some love letters of hers from other men. Can you tell me more about what happened with them?
She admits, and you hear her say this, that she did things because of drugs, and she got together with other people. I don’t know if she would have done that if she wasn’t on drugs, I just know that that’s what happened. Their whole relationship though is so sick anyway, though. They got a beautiful child out of it, but he was in jail for selling drugs and she was doing drugs and it was very volatile and unhealthy. The irony of her being in treatment just as he’s about to leave prison after she hasn’t seen or touched him in three years is pretty wild and the irony, in that sense, is beautiful, that she was able to cope with that.
It was shocking to hear her discuss also how many times she has been robbed and raped in her life, it was almost as if those things were just routine and no longer traumatic for her.
Well, I think you have to realize that these are survival modes. Deanna said she was molested at age seven so her history is so long for her and through drugs and alcohol it became more, and more, and more. At this point she’s an abuse survivor, it’s what she knows and in order to survive that, you have to numb yourself. It’s like a disassociation, those are her coping mechanisms, and when you talk about abuse like that, it was so powerful to hear her say she felt dirty and bad about being abused. That is so typical in people who have been raped or abused, you feel bad about it. My heart broke watching that. So many women can relate or have gone through that.
Dr. Drew also pointed out that she gets a little high from bad things and living on the edge. Does that beget having bad things happen to her? Was it a thrill for her to put herself in dangerous situations?
I think that she the lifestyle of it, almost like, the “glamorous” side. Like, she loved Tupac — loved — and it was funny because at first she tried to be really tough with me and then she found out I was in a Tupac video and she was like “You don’t understand, he’s my idol!” It was the only time I ever saw her have any emotion, and she actually had a tear coming down. I was like “You have a feeling!” and we started laughing because you see her breaking through that. Se was glamorizing this life but I was like “This guy died!” and I was really trying to get her to realize how glamorous it is NOT. To be in that gangster lifestyle, I was like, that’s movies and fiction, babe. So I think she sought out more of that than having bad things happen to her. She sold drugs, her man was in jail, it was the thug life she was into. She had those crazy ails like knives and eventually she let me file them down but when she even just allowed me to talk to her about them, it was a miracle. She was a loaded soul and when she let her guard down, she was beautiful.