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Rough time with therapy lately

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Rough time with therapy lately

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:04 pm

We're having a really rough time with therapy lately. Something just feels really wrong, and I can't get any perspective on it to understand what's happening.

The T finally emailed back yesterday (we had asked him to wait a few days to respond, because we needed a break from thinking about everything), and even though he apologized for whatever he said that upset us, he also said he was just being "playful and friendly," as if that was always ok. He said it didn't mean that he wasn't taking the subject seriously, but it DOES mean that to us.

We were trying to talk about something difficult and sensitive, and that's not a time to be "lighthearted" or "introduce levity," or whatever he said he was doing. That's never going to be a way to strengthen our connection.

There were other things in his email that were upsetting. We had pointed out that he had been making assumptions about how things were for us, but in his email back, he said he was just "asking" and hadn't assumed anything. And that's not true. He assumed that an object and the emoji representing it were two completely different things--but they're not. One is a real thing, and the other is a symbol that represents it.

It's the middle of the night because we woke up and started crying. I don't even feel like putting in all the details right now, so this probably isn't even making sense. I'm just feeling like I'm never going to be someone who is cut out for this process. There are some things that it hurts a lot to talk about, and if I try and the person I'm talking to doesn't realize how difficult it is, I can't keep trying.

It's like he doesn't understand the concept that it can hurt to feel close to someone--it's like he thinks that feeling close is always a good thing. Well, that wasn't my experience for almost all my relationships growing up, so it's not going to suddenly change, even if he's a nice guy who doesn't want to hurt me.

The past two therapy sessions I spent so much time crying really hard there, and feeling so alone. It feels like I'm just not stable or mature enough to handle it--whatever I'm supposed to do, or be, I just can't do it or be it. It feels like the T is expecting me to be someone who I'm not and never will be.

We're just crying so much about this. We told him that we probably can't come on Friday--I can't see walking back into such a painful experience, and I don't know how to move forward from here.

Other than the time thinking about this and being so upset, the rest of our life is going ok. We managed to push our comfort zone on something a couple of times in a way that felt like a big positive change. So it's not as if therapy is damaging the rest of our life, like it did with that previous therapy.

I just don't know what to do--I thought that when we heard back from the T, he would have understood what we wrote and apologized for the different ways that he misunderstood the situation. That's what he usually does. Instead he doubled down on it being ok for him to be playful, and wondering why my reaction was so intense, and maintaining that he was just asking a question to find out more information, and hadn't been assuming anything.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby fireheart » Wed Jan 22, 2020 1:49 pm

To me it sounds like maybe you feel unseen? If you don't feel like the Ts image of you matches with what is actually going on for you, of course that is going to be hurtful and upsetting! It is a disconnect between you.

Do you think you could talk about it more with him? Tell him about what you just wrote here, that his response highlights the hurt to you even more.

His intentions are a separate thing from how it felt for you. The most important thing is honestly talking about it, expressing wishes and expectations, and maybe your treatment goals and how you will continue to work on them. He might be pushing for some new phase or something, but realistically you'd need to be ready for that.

I'm glad it sounds like you can at least find respite in your daily life.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby Amythyst » Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:35 pm

Hi Gang,

Sorry you're suffering through this right now.

We don't have any advice, but we agree with what fireheart said.

We hope things improve & you're feeling better soon.

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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby MeMyselfMaureen » Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:45 pm

Rough isnt a strong enough word! Sorry you are going through this hugs to the littles (and anyone else that needs it)
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby Allcoulors » Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:40 pm

Can you see the Ts point of view? See and hear his explanation? Relationships go 2 ways, even therapeutic ones and maybe its oke to not be understood sometimes and still trust someone. Agree tot disagree and talk about that. Even a child can and will not always be understood or have all of their feelings met,not even in the most safe environment. This can also be a learning moment and maybe a step forward. Ik hope you will sort things out with him.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:44 pm

Allcoulors wrote:Can you see the Ts point of view? See and hear his explanation? Relationships go 2 ways, even therapeutic ones and maybe its oke to not be understood sometimes and still trust someone. Agree tot disagree and talk about that. Even a child can and will not always be understood or have all of their feelings met,not even in the most safe environment. This can also be a learning moment and maybe a step forward. Ik hope you will sort things out with him.


His point of view is that being lighthearted and playful is a way of moving closer or feeling closer, and it doesn’t work that way for us. It’s a trigger for us and sends us running the other way.

I sent him another email this morning with the three posts that talk about the situation—from Friday, Sunday, and early this morning. We also sent a very upset text last night. I’m doing all I can to sort this out. I know that he cares and is very committed. He just sent a text saying that he saw the two emails and the text, and is super busy today but will write back tomorrow.

We’ll wait to see what he writes, and if it feels like we can manage going there on Friday, we will. If it feels like too much for us to handle and that we’d be better off writing back and waiting another week to see him, then we’ll do that. I know he’ll support whatever choice I make—he has supported me choosing not to go there in the past if it felt like the best thing for us at the time. He really is a good T but I’m worried that this is a fundamental mismatch that we might not be able to get past, because similar things have happened before.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:29 pm

Also, thanks for the support and validation, fireheart, team Amythyst, and Mo. That means a lot.

And the littles appreciate the hugs, Mo! :D
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby Johnny-Jack » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:51 pm

T may be good in most ways but he needs to get in line with what works for you. Of course, you'll play a part in how clear the communication about all this is. I've never been satisfied with texts or emails with therapists so I don't do it. But I also have trouble (1) remembering the points I decide to make during moments of clarity, and (2) verbalizing those points, meaning both putting them into words and even being able to say them aloud.

I've found the only way to ensure my points come across as clearly as I want is to compose them, write them down and edit the wording until it says what I need to say. Then I'll take what I wrote and use it as notes. A couple of times, I think, I just handed the notes to a T.

I read what you've written and it seems really clear to me. Is there anyway for you to pull the main points out and present them or just give all of your text here to the T? In any case, to give your T the best shot, let him know specifically what and why certain behaviors have hurt you. Really the what is more important, you may not always know the why and the why shouldn't matter in the end.

Whatever the natural inclination of a T, if we declare, as clients, that it's not working for us, they are absolutely obligated to override that habit and try something else. This obligation also holds for friends, SOs, and family. If what someone is doing is hurting someone else, the first person needs to alter their behavior. Any other choice is cruel, and its unprofessional for a T.

I'm hoping for your sake, that communications via email or text aren't as solid as what happens in sessions. It sounds like that's the case.

Lastly, your situation has made me think twice of how many times my son has shared something that's too much for me, I'll respond with some levity, and he'll reply with a sarcastic "thanks for making light of this" or "I thought you could help me with this." So I know that I've done that too often, joking is our hosts' go-to, I think. But reading your posts, which remind me of my son's comments, the inappropriateness of what we do hits home uncomfortably. I hope your T is able and willing to notice something similar.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby birdsong87 » Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:08 pm

I am sorry this is happening. I really hope that his next answer will be helpful to clear the whole situation.
I was wondering what the lessons are that you are learning right now or most probably, that are reinforced right now. In my experience its these lessons that cause so much pain. they usually tell us that our survival needs won't be met. maybe that would be a new angle to approach it.
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Re: Rough time with therapy lately

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:52 am

Johnny-Jack wrote:I'm hoping for your sake, that communications via email or text aren't as solid as what happens in sessions. It sounds like that's the case.


I don't know if you read my second post in this thread, but email and text communications with our T are more solid, not less, because I can express myself clearly and he has time to carefully read what I wrote and respond to it. That's why I was so upset about his second email to me, after I had pointed out what he wasn't yet understanding about the situation.

When I'm there, I don't think he's as careful about his words--actually, I know he's not as careful. He's "misspoken" a number of times in a way that has hurt us, and then we usually clarify and work it out in writing afterwards. There have only been a small number of upsets that we've been able to clear up right away in a session--most of the time it's not until later that I figure out what happened and can parse it and explain it.

Also, like what happened Friday, we often "put away" the upset for the rest of the session--I guess people that weren't upset were able to come out and talk about something different at the end, and we didn't feel upset right when we left. We just had the after effects of all the crying.

birdsong87 wrote:I am sorry this is happening. I really hope that his next answer will be helpful to clear the whole situation.
I was wondering what the lessons are that you are learning right now or most probably, that are reinforced right now. In my experience its these lessons that cause so much pain. they usually tell us that our survival needs won't be met. maybe that would be a new angle to approach it.


Can you explain this, Asti? It sounds very important. Let's say one of the lessons being reinforced is that something I'm very sensitive about will be made fun of, or handled "roughly," without awareness of how much that hurts me. That happened to me all the time as a child. Is that a survival need--to have someone else handle my feelings gently?

And ***********TW mention of babies being hurt*******************




As I was writing that, it occurred to me that this was true physically as well. I'm sure, based on body flashbacks, that my "diaper area" was cleaned very vigorously and painfully when I was a baby and toddler. That it was more important to get it clean than to avoid causing me pain. I'm starting to feel weird in my body just writing about it. Is it a survival need to have one's body handled gently?




******************end TW*****************

I'm just not sure what a survival need is, but it sounds like a very helpful way to look at the situation, because this is definitely causing at least one part a LOT of pain, in a very deep way.
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