This season on Couples Therapy, there’s a lot of drama in the house thanks to the incredibly diverse and occasionally divisive personalities that have been cast. One couple, reality veterans Simon van Kempen and Alex McCord, have offered to review and recap each episode of the season to tell us the truth about the way things really were and what they think of the therapy process.
Last night’s sixth episode was a juxtaposition of maturity, with both Alex and Tiny bearing their most traumatic childhood memories. And Courtney? Well, Courtney sat in Group Therapy and as usual spouted her pageantese about her pretty, perfect, prior pressure-free life. Going into this experience, Alex and I certainly discussed issues that might arise but these were mostly to do with problems of communicating that we’d been having between us and neither of us expected the curve ball that Dr. Jenn threw that morning in Group. For Alex’s thoughts, click here.
I’m convinced there isn’t aperson on the planet whose psyche hasn’t been affected by something that transpired during their formative years. Alex’s memory, deeply etched in her mind of the day her father died, alone in a cold trailer on the Kansan oil plains and taking the initiative of opening the door to the what lay beyond, is a story I’ve known for many years but hearing it again that day and also last night when this episode aired, it’s impossible to not be affected by it. The guilt of an 11-year-old girl who had wished her father dead, as he suffered through the tumultuous mood swings of Alzheimer’s, then to be the one who opened on the door on his dead body, as her Mom hesitated in that moment, must be for anyone a defining moment in their life.
Similarly, Tiny that day, unloading about the child abuse she’d suffered at the hands of her abuser, laid bare the horror of what she’d experienced. Dr. Jenn went around the room; Nik, Shayne, JoJo, Todd, Monica and I all had issues from our childhood that had caused us distress. Even Doug told a touching story about him and his mother but when it was Courtney’s turn…well you heard her. There…was…nothing! And I call bulls—.
Her reaction to Alex, who was pleading with her to be honest with us and, more important, with herself, and explaining how we were all metaphorically baring our souls ’til we were naked, was simply met with another of Courtney’s giggles and that she was almost naked too. Did she not get Alex’s metaphor?
Yes, I know Courtney was only 17 at the time of filming and her maturity is lacking, but she was in the house as a married spouse allegedly dealing with her own marital issues yet simultaneous showing us all that she lacked the maturity to deal with them, or us, and so she doesn’t get a pass based on her age.
It’s hard to describe the pressure that had been building in the prior ten days. For most of us this experience was traumatic in itself, yet having this little girl prancing around was distracting. In the six episodes that have aired, the only time you’ve seen me address Courtney was in the group sessions. I just avoided her most of the time. Alex on the other hand had tried. She helped Courtney at bowling, Tiny had sat and calmly talked to her as well. Monica, who is such a gentle and kind spirit, had tried as well. Dr. Jenn had taken her shopping and frankly the white jeans and blue tank didn’t cover much up nor change Courtney’s style, at least as far as I was concerned.
That day when she came back to the house wearing a tiny pink bikini top and a pair of knickers with a 3″ flap, is was, as Dr. Jenn said, not only a ‘F— You’ to Dr. Jenn, but to the entire group as well. Did we all act immaturely when Dr. Jenn was pleading with Courtney to reason (while Doug sat there chomping on her shoulder)? Perhaps. If any of you have read Lord of The Flies then perhaps this was our moment to cross the line. Was Alex bullying Courtney by placing four dollar bills in her skirt as Dr. Jenn stated on Twitter last night? No, I honestly don’t think she was. The terms “bully” and “bullying” have been abused and misused in the Housewives‘ franchise for years, and grown woman should not compare their reality TV experiences with that trauma which young kids can experience at the hands of their peers. Courtney had shown us continual disrespect by not being a party to the therapy we, including her husband, were all going through and while Alex’s action may well have been equally disrespectful, bullying it was not.
As Doug and Courtney left the house, you saw me genuinely wishing Doug the best hoping that he’d find whatever it was he was looking for in life. As a man just four years older than me, I could somewhat relate to Doug although fortunately I’ve not been as lost in life as he seemingly had to have been to fall for a 16-year-old. I didn’t participateat the faux wailing at the door when they went, I was just glad they’d gone.
In the previews you seem them returning and Dr. Jenn admonishing us all for the part we’d played in their departure. You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve have a lot to say about that, next week.
For those of you like us on the East Coast, I hope you’re getting whatever support you need as we all struggle from Sandy’s after effects. If you’d like to know what else we’re up to in real time (we were able to take our children trick or treating last night), please follow us on Twitter @SimonvanKempen and @McCordAlex, as well as on Facebook. For more on us and our family see our website. Until next week!