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Boundaries around mistakes

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Boundaries around mistakes

Postby fireheart » Tue Sep 20, 2022 7:06 pm

Hi everyone.

What are your boundaries around other people making mistakes? When is it "enough is enough" and when is it still OK?

My T has made a series of mistakes. Probably like 12 in a row now, mostly about scheduling or things that we'd discussed and agreed she wouldn't do and then did. It seems to be more about being overwhelmed or chaotic, I don't think she has any bad intentions and I value her a lot.

It just activates danger signals for me. How could I trust her with deeper stuff? It all feels shaky. So I'm wondering about other people's thoughts. It doesn't have to be about a T, it can be more general. I believe that you need to show people grace and accept that they won't be perfect. But it might need reconsideration of boundaries - I'm just not sure how exactly. I also feel like I may call this upon myself in countertransference or something, because I've had this happen with many Ts. Maybe my case is too elusive, or maybe they get pulled into the dissociation/avoidance somehow.
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Re: Boundaries around mistakes

Postby ArbreMonde » Wed Sep 21, 2022 7:33 am

Facing mistakes, I try to avoid considering the other person but rather, consider the consequences on me.

Mistakes are unintentional so I tend to give a little slack about them while still telling the person why it was a mistake and suggesting how to do better next time. But people who are supposed to care for me, especially therapists, are supposed to better be able to respect boundaries, including trauma-related ones.

In my journal I talked about a whole association who made repetitive mistakes with me on a vast variety of subjects. Most if not all, had no intention of hurting me. But the result is still here: I am very hurt. They are unable to correct their behavior fast enough for my sensitivity to their mistakes. My sensitivity and their slow-ness of learning/correcting themselves, are a bad match. So I decided to leave the association. Because the painful stuff was starting to overcome the nice stuff.

Setting a boundary does not always mean "you, person, are bad". It can also simply mean "we, my lad, are not a good match at the moment".
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Re: Boundaries around mistakes

Postby ViTheta » Wed Sep 21, 2022 12:48 pm

I left one therapist because of several reasons. The first was because she kept trying to push for us to deal with the trauma that she could see underlying how we presented; secondly she kept dismissing or misinterpreting some of the issues I had (such as being patronized), and there were a couple of other issues.

Our current therapist isn't as difficult, but we've imposed a few boundaries because of the issues surrounding the DID. We've just chosen to mention it and not discuss it further.

Truth is, life is about setting boundaries and if you're having issues with a particular therapist, it might be time to move on even if that is difficult.

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Re: Boundaries around mistakes

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Wed Sep 21, 2022 8:59 pm

Like with most things, you have to weigh the pros and cons of the relationship. If this is just how she is, despite her best intentions, then she won’t change, as much as she might want to. It isn’t purposeful, but it still hurts you. I assume from what you said that she apologizes and says she’ll do better, and then doesn’t.

I’m not sure how to view the transference issue. Another T we saw to help us with issues with our regular T said that if transference weren’t involved, it wouldn’t bother us so much, and we could say. “Oh, that’s just [therapist’s name].” But a big part of the benefit of the relationship is in the transference that develops, and the fact that they’re not just a friend that you’re tolerating because they’re fun to be with or you have a history together.

We’re probably leaving our T of 5 years. His mistakes have been in how he misunderstands us, and mis-attunes constantly. And we have that same feeling you seem to be describing of “how many ‘last straws’ are we supposed to put up with??”

It’s gotten to the point where we’re so sensitized that we’re expecting to be triggered and it takes less to do so. And he doesn’t seem to have the tools to get us out of that.

Anyway—not sure this is helpful for you. If you’ve had the same issue happen with other therapists, then you may want to look more at the meaning of this for you and what it brings up in terms of past trauma. In my T’s words—is there a way to “disarm the button,” if it’s something the T ends up pushing often in the relationship? I don’t think it’s possible in our case, because we’ve never felt understood by this T, except in the general acceptance of DID stuff, and basic needs of the littles.
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Re: Boundaries around mistakes

Postby fireheart » Sun Sep 25, 2022 5:39 am

ArbreMonde wrote:Facing mistakes, I try to avoid considering the other person but rather, consider the consequences on me.

Thanks, that does sound like having good boundaries around it.
Not necessarily changing your view on the other person, and yet choosing what is best for you. Even when I can also imagine that "best" still hurting and/or being disappointing.

ViTheta wrote:Truth is, life is about setting boundaries and if you're having issues with a particular therapist, it might be time to move on even if that is difficult.

Oh jeez, I know you're kind of saying the same thing as Abremonde, but seeing it put like this feels a bit hurtful. I've been with this T for 4 years now and I don't take "moving on" lightly. I feel like that would devalue the deep work we have done... Writing this post meant more that I'm thinking about it all and considering pros and cons. I don't think life is about setting boundaries. I think that ideally, it's about connecting to people and nature, walking the Earth as lightly as you can, having moments of joy and heartache, trying to help others. Also boundaries, yes, but also finding a way to let the good in.

TheGangsAllHere wrote:If this is just how she is, despite her best intentions, then she won’t change, as much as she might want to. It isn’t purposeful, but it still hurts you. I assume from what you said that she apologizes and says she’ll do better, and then doesn’t.

Yes, she always apologizes. She doesn't say she'll do better. Sometimes I notice that she tries, sometimes I don't notice it. I was scared I would have to leave her some years ago, when she said that specializing in DID was not a priority for her (the same thing that happened with the T before her). But then she did end up specializing and seeking appropriate supervision.
So I do think she is willing to change when it is feasible for her. It mostly seems like there are outside circumstances that might prevent that now.

I'm sorry to hear you'll be leaving your T. Have you found out how you will continue? It sucks to try so so hard and do all the "repairing" over and over and for it not to be enough. It hurts.

TheGangsAllHere wrote:If you’ve had the same issue happen with other therapists, then you may want to look more at the meaning of this for you and what it brings up in terms of past trauma. In my T’s words—is there a way to “disarm the button,” if it’s something the T ends up pushing often in the relationship?

Yeah, I do wonder about this. You might remember me writing about my previous T and feeling like she wasn't specialized enough (looking back, she definitely wasn't). I'm getting that feeling with this one too, even though she's much more specialized. She just doesn't have much experience with DID yet. But with her I think it's mostly that she doesn't know how to counter the effects of neglect that you can see in us. I try to lead my own treatment, have huge trouble showing emotion, and take care of her a lot. I have told her many times of the actual wishes for support and for someone else to also have ideas/lead the treatment, but I wonder if I'm asking for something impossible.

And then there are also insurance issues and I might not be able to see her much more anyway. :/ so that could be another reason we're both distancing ourselves.
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Re: Boundaries around mistakes

Postby Dwelt » Sun Sep 25, 2022 8:39 am

Like ArbreMonde, I tend to focus more on the impact on me. For a therapist, enough is enough when I'm more often anticipating my T's mistake than focusing on my healing, when I don't feel safe around them.

My current T for DID/PTSD has made a few mistakes over time. One of them was not checking if I had received the notification about her need to cancel our second appointment because of a crisis with another patient - I didn't and ended up waiting for her in front of her (empty) office, which was a huge trigger for me, specially considering it was only my second appointment with her. She apologized and made sure it will not happen again. We also don't agree on everything, but we can talk about it, explore the differences in our views. So, even if some of the things she does or says can hurt me or trigger me, at the end of the day, I trust her and see her as safe enough to explore those feelings. This means all of those issues don't really feel like issues to me. It's just what happen when you're in a relationship with another human being.

But if I don't currently have a T for my ADHD, it's because the neuropsychologist who made the evaluation and who was supposed to help me doesn't feel safe enough. She makes a lot of assumptions I have to correct, and can't manage her appointments.

I ended up being very careful about what I was saying, checking her reactions to it, being ready to correct her. She also contacted me once by text and once by email, asking to schedule an appointment we already have scheduled over the phone - she clearly doesn't match her email correspondence with her text and phone correspondence. After that, she forgot to send me and my psychiatrist the written version of the evaluation, and I had to insist in order to have it in time for my next appointment with my psychiatrist. And I've received a text a week ago, asking me when I'll be available to present me my evaluation's results... we've already done that 4 months ago and didn't interact by text/phone/email since.

Even with her mistakes and our disagreements, I can see my T as stable, and I don't feel the need to protect myself from her. The neuropsych's behavior, on the other hand, scream "I can't manage my own chaos", and even if she's adorable and, I'm sure, great at her job, I've lived through enough chaos, and I don't need more.

I also tend to approach therapy with a "work" mentality. I have managed a team for an online game for 4 years and know that the most important thing to manage your team is to give them works to do appropriate to their skills. Friendships and emotional connections, even if they are important in day-to-day interactions, don't count when it's time to make choices about the team. I see therapists as work partners : them not being the right fit for me doesn't mean what we did before was worthless, or that they aren't good at their job. It just means our team doesn't work (anymore) and I need to find a new therapy partner.
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