The currently airing season five of The Real Housewives of Potomac has largely focused on the physical altercation between Monique Samuels and Candiace Dillard, but in reality, the incident took place more than a year ago. And it's over this period of time, as Monique exclusively told E!'s Justin Sylvester, that she's been undergoing intense therapy to deal with what happened.
"I've had many therapy sessions after the fight. I started out with two therapists," the 37-year-old said on the Wednesday, Nov. 25 episode of Just the Sip. "I usually will counsel with my pastor or my godfather...but this time I wanted to take it a step further. I said, 'I want to find someone who doesn't know me, who's going to be completely unbiased...to just, like, really dig deep and help me figure out what caused me to get to that point.'"
As Monique pointed out, this is the first time she's opening up about what she discovered once in therapy. "I actually learned I had some childhood triggers that I did not realize I developed over the years," she admitted, "and that were harboring within me for a very long time."
Though she previously described "blacking out" during the incident with Candiace, she has since learned "that was the best way that I could describe the feeling that I felt," Monique said. "It was almost like my body was still moving but I was just not there."
"Then moments later, days later, everything started coming back," Monique added. "Certain pieces were coming back to the point where I wasn't sure which order of events happened."
In therapy, she was presented with a question: What was the moment that caused you to go from laughing and joking to serious?
The answer, according to Monique, was when Candiace "swiped her hand too close to my face."
Monique and her therapist then began working to figure out why that's an issue for her, which led her to recall an incident from her childhood when she was "beaten up by a little boy," as well as her dad: "That was actually the way he parented."
"He was very much a person that would stick his finger right in your face like, 'What'd I say?!' and as a child, you can't do anything about it," Monique told Justin. "And in that moment is when I broke down in that session and my therapist was like, 'Okay now this is starting to make sense why something that seems so small and insignificant to other people is major to you.' She said it's almost like that 5-year-old, 6-year-old Monique jumped out and said, 'You are not going to put your hand in my face.'"
Still, Monique isn't saying these are excuses. "I really wanted to investigate what my triggers were, what would cause me to get to that point," the mom of three said. "So now that I'm more aware of what those triggers are, nothing like this will happen again."
Today, the RHOP star is still in therapy—and only has more growth to look forward to. As she explained, "We have not slowed down the process and it's been amazing."
To help her move forward, Monique wanted to talk to Candiace about what happened. However, when she was finally ready to do so, she received an email from Candiace's attorney. In turn, Monique hired her own legal representation. Still, Monique said her lawyer "requested mediation several times with [Candiace's] attorney."
"So as the days are going by, the weeks are going by, we're expecting we're going to mediate," Monique recalled. "Do you know how I found out that the charges were filed against me? A reporter sends me an email and a text message...my attorney didn't even know."
The legal battle escalated from there, but as E! previously reported in Dec. 2019, authorities from the Montgomery State Attorney's Office ultimately dismissed the second-degree assault charges against both Monique and Candiace.
Had the two been able to sit down and talk, Monique said she "was prepared to just apologize and own up for my actions, taking anything that she's done completely out of the picture. I was focused on my actions. And she did not warrant the response that she got. There's nothing that she could say or do that should or could get me to go there. That is the conversation I was prepared to have with her."
Monique continued to discuss the fallout from the fight, briefly mentioning the season five RHOP reunion. Now, are plans to return for another season on her radar? "If I come back it's gonna be because I feel as though more of my story needs to be told and it can help people who are watching," she said. "And that's ultimately the reason why I decided to go ahead and stay and finish out my journey."
Listen to Justin's complete interview with Monique in the above episode of Just the Sip.