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Extreme issues committing and forming alliance

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Re: Extreme issues committing and forming alliance

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:38 pm

Jolly jo wrote:I have only been able to stay in therapy because she has managed to stick with me through the storms, mistrust and being able to hear how much I don't trust her....she is one tough women!
I can relate to most of what you said in your post - including trying to hang onto the feelings from one session to the next. How do people manage that?
I often say to my therapist, when we are getting deeper into how attachment works, that I feel she is trying to explain brain surgery or something - I really have no idea what she is getting at or trying to make me think about. It has changed over the years but even so, there is a long way to go and who knows if I will ever really get it.


She sounds very skilled and committed. Are you able to contact her between sessions? One of the things that has REALLY helped me is how available and responsive my therapist is. That previous bad therapist had very poor boundaries--based on his needs, not on mine, and it caused a lot of damage. He ended up calling me on the phone every night for about a year, supposedly because that's what I needed. We connected on the phone, and I felt close to him that way, but not in the office, where I couldn't bear to make eye contact and sat so that he and I were facing the same way, not across from each other. (That's a very quick summary, just for context.)

Anyway, I came into this therapy planning to avoid any kind of contact between sessions. It was very much all-or-nothing thinking, but that's how I started out. So for maybe 8 months, other than the initial phone contact and one Friday afternoon text when we left something at his office, we didn't contact him at all. Then we gradually started testing him out.

I could go into all the details about how this developed (and someone wants to), but basically he is willing to respond to texts (when he sees them, which could be several hours or sometimes the next morning), and he will read emails and respond if we ask for a response. This has helped a LOT with object constancy (which you need in order to hang onto the feelings--I need to know that he is still THERE and remembers us, and is the same person we saw in the office all the way through the week until the next time).

So we see him Friday, and usually text him on Sunday with a question from one of the littles, or our toddler one wanting to "wave" to him (she is allowed to wave 3 times to him between sessions--we discussed that and that was what we came up with). Sometimes the Sunday text plus a couple of waves during the week is enough. Other times we will put a bunch of posts into a Word document and attach that to an email--I know that he might not have time to read all of it before our session, but he almost always does.

Also, one of the parts asked to give him a small object to take on his trip in March (we thought he would say no, but he was happy to take it. That was SO helpful that we asked if we could give him something to attach to his keychain and have all the time, and we were able to work that out. Sometimes when we go there, that part needs to see the object, and he shows it to us. And we have a small stuffy from his office that we keep at home during the week.

He is also open to being asked about his life and his activities, although at first we didn't want to hear anything about him because we thought he would only be telling us for his own needs. But now there is a little who DOES want to know things, and the therapist is fine with that. He said that there might be questions he wouldn't want to answer and he would say that, but all the questions are fine. So on Friday, we asked what he was doing this weekend (that was the first time we asked that), and he told us his plans.

When we've been upset, he is even more responsive, and during a particularly difficult time when we were very upset about something he said, he replied with a long email--he could have just apologized and said we would discuss it on Friday (and that's what I expected), but the fact that he spent the time to craft that response SHOWS me how much he cares and how seriously he takes the task of maintaining our connection, and making whatever effort is needed to reconnect when his words have "caused me distress."

I think if he were unwilling to respond to content at all between sessions (and I know some therapists are that way--they will say "read" if you send an email or text, but won't respond to what you're saying), it would be difficult for me to build a strong attachment to him. Some of my younger parts just aren't capable of bridging the whole week yet and the older parts aren't yet capable enough of reassuring and supporting them for the whole week. I can get them through a night, or through a day until we hear back from him, but they don't yet believe what I tell them about him--they need to hear it directly from HIM.

Anyway, I guess whoever wanted to write a lot got their way 8), but my intent was just to raise the question of whether the current boundaries are set in a way that feels too cold and distant to you, so that no matter how warm and available she is during sessions, you have parts that can't bridge the time in between yet. Transitional objects are helpful and brief contact in between can also be very helpful. My therapist trains people about how to treat DID, and has had lots of discussions about boundaries with other therapists. He says that if they are too rigid it feels too cold and distant and if they are too "loosey-goosey" then it isn't safe. And different people have different needs. He said that he has clients for whom it wouldn't be helpful to have an object with him that they gave him, but he decided that it would be helpful for me. And it has been.

Anyway, just my (much more than) two cents. :D
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Re: Extreme issues committing and forming alliance

Postby Jolly jo » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:01 pm

Me again!
I think our therapists must have been to the same training courses!
Your first therapist sounds downright creepy and no wonder you are affected by his behaviour.
The contact between sessions has been tricky. I was very aware of her boundary setting and being very independent, and easily shamed, decided right at the beginning that unless I was totally desperate, I would not contact her at all. This reached a head one week when I had had a terrible time at home and she tackled me about it and why I hadn't asked for help. I blamed her boundaries and she reframed how those boundaries worked and that asking for help is really important.
I still struggle to do it however, a few weeks ago I Don't Care ( who is a younger one) was beside herself and I couldn't manage it so I asked therapist to help. She arranged to call me that day and she helped I Don't Care who was deeply grateful. I still can't ask for me.
We have agreed that I will email a weekly update a few days before the session. It came out of the realisation that I couldn't remember much from previous sessions, or what i had been doing. It made discussing my week tricky, to say the least. This way, therapist finds out more and can tell me about it in the session if it becomes relevent.
I don't want to know anything about the therapist outside of sessions, I can't imagine her outside the room or how she might have conversations with anyone else. Others ask her and she gives very little away. I think if she did tell me, or the others, it would freak me out. I used to have a fear of bumping into her outside of sessions and would panic if i thought I saw her (it would be highly unlikely). Over the years, I have learned about her career - I think because it mirrors my own in some ways and she feels I can relate to it. I know she has no children because I kept banging on about it being obvious and she eventually told me she has children in her life - which i took to be other people's. Other than that, I don't know anything. Actually sounds like quite alot now i write it down.
I Don't Care also has a transitional object at home. Its a rag doll that was at the therapists and she claimed it as her own, and then it came home. She finds it really helpful. Pisses me off that i am having to hide a doll in my house but there you do!
I think that just the fact we are still in therapy is a bloody miracle!
Diagnosed DID with a few other states.
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Jolly jo
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Re: Extreme issues committing and forming alliance

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:59 am

Jolly jo wrote:I was very aware of her boundary setting and being very independent, and easily shamed, decided right at the beginning that unless I was totally desperate, I would not contact her at all. This reached a head one week when I had had a terrible time at home and she tackled me about it and why I hadn't asked for help. I blamed her boundaries and she reframed how those boundaries worked and that asking for help is really important.
I still struggle to do it however, a few weeks ago I Don't Care ( who is a younger one) was beside herself and I couldn't manage it so I asked therapist to help. She arranged to call me that day and she helped I Don't Care who was deeply grateful. I still can't ask for me.


These sorts of things are key to developing trust and attachment. I've realized that having the younger parts be able to contact him when we're NOT upset, as well as when we are, has really deepened the attachment and avoided the problem of a part or parts looking for things to be upset about so that we CAN contact him.

I don't think I (host or whoever) ever contact him just for ME. It's always younger ones, or me asking on behalf of them.

Jolly jo wrote:We have agreed that I will email a weekly update a few days before the session. It came out of the realisation that I couldn't remember much from previous sessions, or what i had been doing. It made discussing my week tricky, to say the least. This way, therapist finds out more and can tell me about it in the session if it becomes relevent.


Thats a great idea. From the beginning of this therapy I've kept a journal for the therapist to read--I bring it to the session and he reads it, and we talk about the different things. I don't remember most of it while he's reading it, until he reminds me about what I wrote.

Jolly jo wrote:I don't want to know anything about the therapist outside of sessions, I can't imagine her outside the room or how she might have conversations with anyone else. Others ask her and she gives very little away. I think if she did tell me, or the others, it would freak me out. I used to have a fear of bumping into her outside of sessions and would panic if i thought I saw her (it would be highly unlikely).


Have you talked about that with her? It seems like a useful thing to explore--not with the purpose of finding out more about her life, but what the fears are. I know that with me it was that I was sure that anything he told me about was for his own needs, or at least NOT for mine, and I used to get very upset about it.

But I've realized that whatever he says is with my needs in mind (or what he thinks might be my needs, and I correct him if he's wrong). Until last week, I didn't want to hear about anything he was doing, and I was kind of uncomfortable with what one of my young protectors wanted to know about, but it really helped that I asked. It's one of the ways that the younger ones have a sense of him still existing throughout the week.

Jolly jo wrote:I Don't Care also has a transitional object at home. Its a rag doll that was at the therapists and she claimed it as her own, and then it came home. She finds it really helpful. Pisses me off that i am having to hide a doll in my house but there you do!


I'm glad you're letting her have that. Some of what you're saying sounds a lot like my main protector-they're pissed off about the dependency needs of the young ones and really fought against those parts attaching to the therapist. He's very respectful of protectors--always thanking them and wanting to hear what they have to say. Now that main protector just kind of sits off to the side and grumbles about all the littles "throwing themselves" at the therapist, or having a "love festival" about him.

And my more-newly-found young protector is very gradually coming around also. He's the one who texted the therapist on Sunday asking what his favorite food was to cook. I don't really care to know, but it feels really important to the younger ones. Just like it's important for me to let Little sleep with the two small stuffies, one of which is from the therapist's office.

I really like having conversations about attachment. The young ones like to be reminded of how they're attached to the therapist, and I like the theoretical aspects of attachment theory. My husband and I raised our outside kids with attachment parenting. I didn't know about the parts or really how damaging my childhood had been, and being there physically for my kids really helped me a lot also. And it seems to have helped my outside kids be more secure.
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Re: Extreme issues committing and forming alliance

Postby mariele » Mon May 20, 2019 5:11 pm

Me again here. Glad to see you two had a nice conversation. Jolly jo: i'm wondering how you're doing now, especially. I was left under the impression that your therapist is very sensitive, committed and experienced.
You said, that albeit limited attachment/trust, it is the most you have achieved. That sounds like an indicative to stay with her.

I'm going by the same rule. I mean, I often think the trust I have i soooo big but it's not. I don't experience the mistrust, more like, some parts of me are still SUPER wary, and I'm not up to speed. So I can do quite intensive work for a month ( I visit every week now) and then have a few appointments of almost dissociative withdrawing. I'm having a time like that right now. I don't understand it.

Also I got a new mental health problem (anorexia) and I was (6 mo ago) almost the BMI she would have had to ship me off to a hospital which would have meant not seeing her for a few months which was not a chance I was going to take so I started eating and now its like.. I dont think I'm mad at her that I've gained weight and I have to eat and not overdo exercise but it's like she said... "I'd really be surprised if you weren't mad at all!" BUt I just don't see it. I'm not, really. Gosh it's so complicated.
In so many ways I'm somebody else
I'm trying so hard to be myself.
I just need to hear somebody say
That this will all make sense one day.
Well it's getting late, I'd better go
I made it this far.. as far as I know.
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