A visitor came to me recently. She began by telling me that she was scared of dragons, having been treated badly by them in the past .I nodded and listened .She told me that usually when came to see dragons she came with a with friend. (Although whether that was to protect her or the dragon was unclear.) Or arranged for the dragon to have another creature with them when she visited. I nodded again. (I do that a lot. It’s a way of saying “I’m listening. Do go on.” ) She then told me how worried she was about coming to see a dragon by herself. But that she need help and thought that I could be useful. I nodded again. She stopped talking and I sat and nodded again. She than began to tell me about her life. That she  had been badly hurt in the past by dragons. “They just treated me like a child’s toy. They had their fun with me and then threw me away when they’d finished.” I nodded. “Well, I’ll show them.I don’t need them. I’ll do things on my terms in the future.” I nodded again. (There wasn’t much to say.) She carried on to tell me that she was going to prove to everyone that she could be a good mother and a good person. Regardless of what anyone else said. (At this point she looked at me very fiercely as if daring me to contradict her. So I nodded again. She went on talk about having “messed things up a bit” with her first baby. And that she was going to get it right this time with her second one. She’d got what she wanted from the man who had impregnated  her. She liked him but knew that they couldn’t have a future together.He was already in a relationship and had no plans to leave it. But she was grateful to him for getting her pregnant. I nodded once more and commented that she was going to face a difficult time in the future but that she sounded determined. “Yes” she replied. “I know that. But I know I can do it.” I nodded. I then wondered how she was feeling sitting alone with me, a dragon. “Better. I was very nervous at first but since I’ve been talking, I feel safer. I think I can trust you.” I nodded. We carried on talking. I tried to think with her about whether a second pregnancy was entirely wise. “Probably not. It’s going to be really difficult. But I want my little girl to have a brother or sister.And this way they will. I know you think I’m mad. But I don’t mind.” I nodded and said that she clearly wanted to prove a point about her ability to be a good mother. I wondered who in particular she wanted to show off her skills to as a mother? “Everybody. You can say what you like. It won’t make me change my mind.” I agreed that her determination was apparent. I suggested that she might find it helpful to come and see me regularly .That this might give her some thinking space during the coming months. “Thank you. That would be helpful .I’ll come  back next week.” I nodded and said goodbye.

I went back to my cave feeling pleased .I thought I had nodded well and appropriately. Conveyed my empathy. Had not told she was completely crazy and, possibly delusional. I had not snorted fire and smoke at her. I was pleased that she had had a good experience with a thoughtful and caring dragon. I nodded to myself that this was the case. I looked forward to exploring some of  her difficulties with dragons and supporting her through her pregnancy. (I fantasised that  she might give her child my name as a “Thank you” for the ways in which I had been able to help her. What actually happened was rather different. That story will have to wait…

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