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Rough time with therapy lately

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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:17 pm

I really can't stand this anymore. It seems like the T keep holding out these hopes to us and then dashing them.

His responses had been missing the mark so much with us, and causing further and further upset, so I thought we worked out with him that he would "stand still" for Watcher and just repeat back what they and the young littles needed to hear.

Last Tuesday evening we sent a text saying what Watcher wanted to ask him, and the response was close to what they needed, so we asked for one more statement, which he sent. (These are simple things like, "Are you really still there?" "Do you promise that you didn't go away and leave us?" to which they just need to hear, "Yes, I'm really still there." "I promise..." etc). Then we were able to let the littles read the texts whenever they wanted while they waited until Friday.

Friday evening we did a similar thing (it seems like it's later on the same day that we see him that the littles need to confirm that he didn't disappear after the session ended). This time it was two phrases for one little and two for another. And we tried to be as clear as we could about the wording: "Will you remember us all the way until Tuesday?" and adding that they really wanted it said exactly that way: *all the way* until Tuesday. He copied the first three exactly, but then wrote, "I'll remember you all until Tuesday."

We didn't see it until the morning, and that little was upset that those words were left out, because it changes the meaning. So we texted again to ask him to please add those in.

It's very hard for us to let the littles do this. We don't HAVE to--we're doing it because the T thinks it's important for the littles to develop a connection to him that exists between sessions (and we do also), and he has said that he's ok with being texted. This is an arrangement that we have.

But he has so consistently been misunderstanding what they need to hear, and not grasping the important aspects of what we're asking, that we've ended up at this point. (For example, a few months ago when he said something that he thought would help us feel less alone, we told him that it actually made us feel more alone, and explained why, based on our past. And he replied, "I'm sorry that you felt so alone in the past," completely missing the point that his statement added to that feeling. Or in Friday's session, when we said, "It really helped us when you said you were looking forward to seeing us Friday," and he replied, "I am," instead of "That's good," or "I'm glad."

So him leaving out those words, when it would have been very simple to take an extra couple of seconds to make sure he wrote the phrases the way we asked, really seemed like him not wanting to be limited in that way--to be controlled. When to us, it's like the littles are throwing a rope to him, and he's refusing to catch it because he doesn't want to have to stand in that exact place, or reach out that far. Like he thinks we should be ok catching a rope he throws to us, even if the previous ones have broken when we tried to.

Yesterday, he was 7 minutes late to our 8 am session, and he has always either texted us when he was going to be 5 or 10 minutes late, or said, "It was a hectic morning," when he showed up, or something to indicate that he realized that we've been waiting, and was sorry to be late. But yesterday, he showed up and didn't say anything except, "so, how to you want to spend our time?" (which we've told him that we don't like him to say, since it doesn't give us a chance to just get used to being with him and having a chance to think about how we feel and what we want to say.)

So we asked him why he didn't say anything about being late, and he said that it was because we had "so much to do." So I guess he just wanted to get to it? But I was upset that I had to be the one to say, "You're late." And he just seemed to think it was irrelevant--like why was I even mentioning it when we had more important things to talk about. But it just seems like common courtesy to say, "sorry I'm late" when someone's been waiting for you. Does he think our relationship is beyond that somehow??

And then he said, "biology took over." Which I think would be TMI for most people anyway, but we've told him in the past that we have a lot of bathroom trauma, even though we haven't gone into any detail, and that was very triggering for us.

And then we started talking about the text, and it was clear that he thought "remembering you all until Tuesday" should have been just as acceptable to us. That he hadn't forgotten to put in those words, but just doesn't want to repeat them back, even though he SAID that he would. The point of it was to help rebuild the trust of the littles.

We feel so bad because we got their hopes up and now they're dashed again. But anytime lately that we tell the T that we don't think letting the littles interact directly with him is a good idea anymore, he does think they should. And then they get hurt again. He's not willing to accept their initial inflexibility that's based on trauma. He's not willing to "stand still" and show that he's reliable and can be trusted not to pounce on them with intrusions into their feelings (talking casually about something they're very sensitive about), or insensitivity (like saying "biology took over"), or whatever.

We just don't think we can keep seeing him, because this has been a big wedge between us since the end of October, and we haven't been able to get back to a place where we respect and trust him. But of course the littles would be heartbroken, and he does have a lot of DID experience. It's just that he seems to think that "caring and concern" can completely carry the day without being specific and personalized.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby bestill2020 » Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:57 pm

We started reading this thinking it was current and then realized it was and wasn't. Your T sounds amazing. Even when they don't get things down right or convey them in a way that your littles need. T's like that are hard to find. We had one and then we lost her but I understand how they give what you need and then you feel like you need more and they don't quite measure up to what you think you really need. And the needs seem to grow and get bigger and demand more (for us anyway) At some point there needs to be a meet-in-the-middle ground or the T will not last. This is speaking from personal experience. T's are human. They make mistakes and they also try to operate in a way that allows for attachment and dependency for a time to build that trust and meet those needs that weren't met before. They also have to keep the bigger picture in place which allows for the attachment and dependency for a time but their ultimate goal is to help you find strength within and on the outside, so that someday you will be able to transition from them to yourself(ves) and others (so that you can leave him someday and not need him). And maybe he gets hung on that. I think ours did. I think they should've stayed more in the here and now vs also thinking about what was best in the future because the littles catch that stuff and hold onto it and need it fixed so they can feel secure NOW (they don't care about the future nor grasp its significance). I don't know the right answer here. I only know that ours kept pushing and kept needing reassurance's and confirmations and words of endearment to prove that they still mattered even if they mattered last text/email/visit. And our T got tired of that and didn't understand the constant need for that even though it sounds like yours does? One thing ours did that was helpful was to read a story and record it for the littles. It was a story called, "you weren't with me". It helps them to play this from time to time and sometimes it is enough to calm them.

I just wanted to respond because of how closely this resembles so many of our interactions with our old T. I hope you get to a place with him where you will KNOW that he cares and not question it so much even though I understand where and why that need arises. I don't know if it can ever be fully satiated by a T or calmed by a T. I would like to believe it could. Thank you for sharing your struggles with your T. We haven't been able to find a replacement for ours. Just know that they are precious and do what you can to hold on to yours. He sounds like a good one...flaws and all.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:20 am

bestill2020, thank you so much for your reply. For some reason we didn't see it until yesterday, and it made the littles feel much more hopeful after we read it. (Most of them want to keep him as our T.)

We went right to YouTube to hear that story and see the pictures, and then since that didn't seem to fit us, we searched for awhile to find a story that we might ask our T to read to the littles. We found one called "The Invisible String" that might be good.

The one you mentioned had physical contact as the goal that showed the rabbits were finally close again, so that wouldn't work for the T relationship. Did your previous T do hugs? I know some do, but I'm almost positive ours doesn't. And I'm not sure we would all want that anyway.

You're right that this T understands the need for frequent reassurances and repetitions of phrases, and he also makes a distinction between attachment and dependency. So, attachment is good and necessary for there to be enough support, security, and trust to tackle difficult feelings and memories, but dependency is not good, and would hold us back from strengthening our own coping mechanisms and making progress.

Our T has said in the past that he errs on the side of avoiding dependency, and I think that's accurate, although he seems to be comfortable with a lot of emotional closeness. He holds clients in one of his close circles of caring. Not as close as his family, of course, but he has a big heart and we do believe him when he says he holds us in his heart and in his thoughts.

I think part of the current difficulty is that we've been having video sessions since late March, and that makes it much harder for the littles to believe that he's actually there, and exists as a real person between sessions. So I think they've been needing more reassurance than they might otherwise, and when there's a big rupture with the T, then they need it even more.

Anyway, you're right that he's overall a very good T, despite his flaws.

We came up with a possible idea, which would be to see someone for somatic experiencing therapy, a body-oriented approach, in addition to continuing to see our T, with the goal of helping the littles learn how to better regulate their feelings. Words alone are just not cutting it. We contacted a couple of people who work nearby (one of the benefits of living in a large urban area...), and one of them is seeing clients in her office rather than on video, so we might meet with her this week or the next to see if it's a good fit.

We'll probably tell our T about it on Tuesday. The bodywork T really wants to be able to talk to him, but we adamantly don't want that--it's a dealbreaker, so she's willing to do an initial meeting and think over whether that's ok with her. The idea of them being able to confer with each other is just intolerable and it isn't necessary. It's not like they both work in the same place or on the same clinical "team," in which case they would have to talk to each other, or a client could play them off against each other. These would be two separate modalities, with different goals.

Anyway, if it doesn't work out with her, we can either see the one who is only doing video sessions currently (but who seems nice and didn't see a need to talk to our T), or look for someone else. Also, we're assuming this would all be ok with our T--I can't see why not, but we still need to check with him about it.

Anyway, thanks again bestill2020 for your perspective.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby bestill2020 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:04 am

Our old T did give hugs if we asked for them. Not everyone wanted one. Then when the pandemic came in, she refused. I wish she had never offered them in the first place. This caused more hurt to allow and then not allow. I think it is better that your T not allow for this. When its taken away it hurts more than if it had never been allowed. It was especially hurtful for our littles. As for the story, we hadn't read it like you did. It was more about separation and the loss and hurt that comes with that. And with our T, she left us as a T but has remained in contact. The book has helped the younger ones when they feel they need her but can't see her. I looked up The Invisible String and I like that one too. I don't think we could ask for another one from our old T but I hope your T allows for this and I hope you find it comforting.

I don't like video sessions either. The disconnection is hard to get past and I understand the difficulty in feeling the realness over a screen. Our old T would allow for us to see her in her office with masks. And that makes sense for the reassurances. Your T is not our T but our T got overwhelmed with us. Part of me feels that it was from all the reassurances she had to do all the time. If we had just left that alone and trusted that her care was solid maybe she would've stayed on as our T. Your post just really resonated with me and I wanted you to not lose sight of all he is to you and yours. How hard it would be to find a replacement that would fill the big shoes that he would leave. We have not been able to find one to replace our old T. I don't think we ever will. So hold him tight. Forgive his mistakes because it sounds like he really cares about you and is trying his best to accommodate all of you. A good T is hard to replace. And almost impossible to learn to trust a new one.

I like the idea of a bodywork T. We have looked into that as well and I think its a good avenue to pursue in getting those needs met. I hope if it works for you that you will share your experience with it.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby MakersDozn » Fri Feb 26, 2021 6:33 am

Hi Gang,

Good luck with the Somatic Experiencing. We'd be interested in hearing more about your experience with it, if and when you feel like sharing.

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Body cis ♀ (1962). Realized 1996 that we're multiple. System of 47, all cis: 42 ♀, 5 ♂; 17 littles (0-7+), 9 middles (8-11+), 14 teens (12-17+), 5 bigs (18+), + formless yin/yang.

Notable: Charity 25 (oldest), Deborah 23, Drew 23f, Mary 23, Rachel 23, Laura 17.5, Allegra 17, Cass 17, shawn 16f.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Fri Feb 26, 2021 7:44 am

Thanks, MDs and Bestill2020. We met with her for the first time today and set up another appointment for next week. Today was more of an introductory thing, and a lot of it was talking. We felt a lot of internal pressure to tell her things, especially about the difficulties we've been having with our T, and things about our history.

But she seems nice, and has a lot of cool stuff in her office that the younger ones were interested in. She has flaxseed-filled red velour pouches that she keeps in a warmer, and we got to hold some of them. And at the end, we walked around the office and tried out the trampoline, and felt the memory foam on the place we can lie down (it's a massage table sort of thing that can adjust like a hospital bed into more of a chair shape).

It was useful to notice how differently we responded to her than we do to our T. We were much more forthcoming with information with her than we have been with him, and there were definitely parts who felt safer with her.

Anyway, it went as well as could be expected, I think. We see our T tomorrow morning, and we're feeling less upset and frustrated with him after having a chance to vent about him to someone else. :D
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby birdsong87 » Fri Feb 26, 2021 9:34 am

great news. it sounds like it might be just what you need right now.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby MakersDozn » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:06 am

Sounds pretty cool, Gang. Our kids are interested in the velour pouches and the trampoline. :)

We're glad that it seems promising and that it also helped you feel less upset.

MDs
Body cis ♀ (1962). Realized 1996 that we're multiple. System of 47, all cis: 42 ♀, 5 ♂; 17 littles (0-7+), 9 middles (8-11+), 14 teens (12-17+), 5 bigs (18+), + formless yin/yang.

Notable: Charity 25 (oldest), Deborah 23, Drew 23f, Mary 23, Rachel 23, Laura 17.5, Allegra 17, Cass 17, shawn 16f.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:07 pm

Just updating here, because upsetting things keep happening, and it's so hard to tell what exactly is going on in the interaction with our T that causes so much distress.

We saw the T on Friday, and it seemed to go well overall. He's very committed to trying to understand us and to taking responsibility for his part in it when things fall apart. It definitely helps us to know that when things aren't going well, he's spending time thinking about it between sessions, and sorting out how to adjust his responses to us.

We felt positive enough by the end of the session to tell him about a children's book we found called "The Invisible String" and how the littles would like to feel that there's an invisible string connecting us to him. He thought that was a great idea, and said that he feels that way and believes there is an invisible string connecting us.

So later on we sent him the link to the YouTube read aloud of the book, and asked if he would watch it when he got a chance, and then send us emojis to show that he did. We also tried to find an emoji that would remind us of the string, and we found the ball of yarn one, so we asked if he would add that to the ones he usually sends us, and that he could find it by typing "yarn." We showed him what that looked like, and we have an iPhone so it was a red ball of yarn (well, orange, but he called it red). But you don't get to pick which one you have--it depends the platform.

Well, instead of sending a text of just a string of emojis, like we asked, he sent an email thanking us for sharing the story with us, and said he really liked it. But then he went on to say that he was having "limited luck" adding the yarn emoji--that he found a green ball of yarn, but would keep trying to find a red one. And he put a whole bunch of yarn emojis that look red on our computer anyway, since it's platform specific.

And, I don't know, we just felt like he was taking a small detail that didn't matter to us, and assuming that it DID, and then trying his best to do what he THOUGHT we wanted him to do rather than just reading what we wrote and doing what we ASKED him to do. The color of the yarn was not even on our radar as being an important part of this. For him to focus on it as if it was important to us feels like he's not really paying attention to what we're saying and is once again misunderstanding us. Thinking something is important when it isn't is just as much of a misunderstanding as thinking that something isn't important when it is (like thinking that "I'll remember you all until Tuesday" was what we had asked him to say a couple of weeks ago, rather than "I'll remember you all the way until Tuesday" which was what we ACTUALLY asked him to say).

This kind of thing happens over and over. He feels like he's doing something positive for us, and he's all happy and eager about it, and of course it's nice that he's this responsive and available, but we're trying to be SO CLEAR about what we're asking for--we've tried to be more and more clear and specific so that this won't happen, and it feels like no matter what we do, he still misunderstands what's important to us. He tries to go "beyond" in a way that ends up obscuring and lessening the important point of the communication.

And that's a trigger for us because no one saw us clearly when we were young or was interested in truly understanding us. They had an idea of who we were in their minds, that met their needs, and we had to just accept that view, even though it didn't feel right.

So when the T texted that he was trying to do "exactly" what we wanted him to do, it was upsetting, because he doesn't realize that he was trying to do what he THOUGHT we wanted him to do. He was assuming that we would care about the color, and then proceeding on that assumption. I mean, why not say something like, "I couldn't find a red ball of yarn--only a green one. I hope that's ok." That's the truth, without going on to make any assumptions. Or better yet, just send the string of emojis with the green ball of yarn, and if it mattered to us, we might ask about it.

And even more concerning, he said that he "tried to make [us] happy with following through on all the details." I mean, first of all, it's not his job to make us happy! That sounds like a dangerous rabbit hole to go down. And second, we would have told him if it was a detail that was important to us.

Plus, then it's upsetting for him to explain his reasoning and why he ended up doing what he did. It's just a lot of words that don't get through to the littles. He did send a couple of crying emojis, so that helped the littles know that he cared and felt bad about what happened.

I don't know, I can feel that the youngest littles are still upset that this keeps happening. It just confuses and hurts them that he won't "stand still" and respond the way we're asking him to--he says that he wants to, but this kind of miscommunication happens all the time. It's like his priority is to show connection and caring in whatever way means that to him, and that it should mean that to us because that's how he intends it, but to us, really caring means making an effort to truly listen to the other person and to respond with what they're saying they need.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby fireheart » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:50 am

I think this is one of the reasons that we try to limit littles interacting with other people. We focus on inner attachments to the older parts, so that there is less of a chance of miscommunication and more of a chance of responding in a helpful way. It's helped us to make quite a lot of progress, that I'm sure we wouldn't have been able to make with a T precisely for the reasons you're mentioning.

Do you have older more care-taking parts who would be willing to take on some of the connecting to younger parts?
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