CBT update

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by witzend, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    As you know, I had a horrible bout of depression in the Spring when my family dysfunction was "outed" on a web page I participate in. I was so sad and desperate and made an appointment with a local Psy D. to work on cognitive behavioral therapy. Her next appointment was 8 weeks away, in early July.

    I think that we all know how that goes. The crisis has passed, and if you know you will need help the next time, or to avoid a "next time", you go with the appointment and give it your best shot. You don't look or sound desperate, but hopefully the doctor will get the gist. Dr. B is a good listener, and took 2 and a half hours at my first appointment to listen to my entire story, which I was able to tell without much distraction because 8 weeks had passed. We talked about things like breathing techniques, and not buying into things that are not happening right here and right now.

    We talked about my visiting home, and that I really wanted to be selfish (I deserve it) and see the people I wanted to see and eat the things I wanted to eat, and just enjoy myself. She right away began to question why I wouldn't see M. "You could just tell him that he's a man now, and you've never been a mom to a man before so you don't know how it's done. Tell him that the past is in the past and that he will have to be honest with you and ask for help if he needs it, and you can discuss it with husband and decide together what you want to do." It all sounds so reasonable, doesn't it? I knew that there had to be more to it than that. I told her that somehow my family would intervene and it would be more than just seeing M and realizing that it can be a "non-event". "You don't know that. You're living in the past. You're making negative predictions about the future when it could be a positive outcome. It's a wonderful opportunity for you and M to move on."

    And so I did see M. M is not someone who if I were to meet them on the street I would choose to make time to go to lunch with. But she was right in a very limited way. Nothing terrible happened as a direct result of having lunch with him. When I got home he started calling and bemoaning his hunk of junk car. I began to have nightmares again. Bad nightmares like I haven't had since before we moved across the country. As I posted on the Watercooler we ended up getting M to take his car to our old shade-tree mechanic and having his timing belt replaced, and we paid half. From what husband says, his wife paid the other half. This left us with $190 in checking to live on for two weeks, which we are now in the middle of.

    Then came the letter from my father. The same day I copied it to the Watercooler, I sent Dr. B a copy of it as well and told her that I already have plenty of anxiety triggers that we could have worked upon without starting up an entirely new drama by my seeing M and my family finding out, and for now that was not an exercise we were going to work on in therapy. It's all so stupid anyway. In 15 years they've never contacted me. (Yes, I have called and written and emailed and FB'ed... only to get an occasional nasty response from one sister or another.) Why should it matter that I had lunch with my son while I was in town and didn't contact them? We didn't see each other while I lived 15 miles away, either! I told Dr. B that if we were to continue working together that M was off limits, and we'd have to start with something that I'd be more likely to run into 2,500 miles from PDX rather than start something new up there to follow me here. Now I'm scared to even open my mailbox again. I honestly believe that husband and I should have told everyone here that we are both childless orphans when we got here.

    Dr. B wrote back that while the letter was "quite to the point", at least I know what my father thinks of me and intends to do, and I'm not in any physical danger and should use it as a lesson to grow on. The only reason it should upset me is if I were expecting to inherit something from them. Since I don't care what anyone back there thinks of me, it shouldn't be a problem... I'm pretty sure that I already knew what my father thinks of me. The last time I saw him he told me I was garbage. Why would I doubt him?

    It is more accurate to say that I don't value those people's opinions. I told Dr. B so, and that while I don't care what kind of mess they have in their heads, I don't appreciate their having a laugh at my expense, and I appreciate even less that they feel that they have to make sure I know that they're laughing at my expense. If she can't understand that, then we aren't communicating very well. If I can't trust her to know the difference between my being ready to work on something small to prepare me for those big things that will come without my going into the fray unarmed, then we can't work together. She told me that even given the results she'd do the same thing over again, because that is her job as my therapist.

    So, another noble attempt on my part to just be a normal person is gone to pot. I'm not sharing my story with anyone new. They'll just think "it can't possibly be that bad" and I'll just end up incapable of functioning again. Being awake is getting better, I'm finding things to do. But I'm afraid of bedtime again. Beyond the dozens of nightmares I wake from each night, I'm having bouts of sleep paralysis again. husband is beyond furious that I went to see M for lunch without the proper tools to deal with the inevitable aftermath, and his being furious isn't an easy thing to detect. You have to ask. I finally did last night, and he told me so, and also that he had wanted to send my father a letter that said something to the effect of "I hope you die long, painfully and slow you ------. And then you can count on going to Hades." As if that would help any.

    on the other hand, I did send a card to my father yesterday. It was a cute little thing with colorful daisies on it. I put the date on it just to be clear should anyone ever see it. I suppose my mom probably will, and it's still unclear to me whether she was aware of the letter he sent me. Here it is in it's entirety:
    Dear Dad:

    Thank you. husband and I wish the best for you and Mom, too.



    It made me feel better, and I think it made husband feel better, too. I haven't really decided what I'm going to do in the long run, but therapy isn't it.
  2. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    That sounds like a pretty judgmental therapist to me, Witz. That can happen. I saw a therapist once who did some damage that I later learned (once I finally got over believing that what happened, happened because of some terminal flaw in me, that is) is often due to something called "reverse transference." Or at least that is what the therapist I began to see later called it. If your issues key something in the therapist's past, he or she may lose objectivity during your sessions. Therapists are supposed to be trained to help us see what WE'RE thinking, not tell us what THEY think, or what we should, or should not, feel.

    If you find yourself dealing with a therapist who makes you feel worse than you already do about what is happening (or about what has happened), then you are right to leave therapy with that person full speed ahead.

    No one likes to talk about it much, but a bad therapist, or a therapist in over his or her head, can do some pretty long-term damage. When we are paying someone to help us, it seldom occurs to us that THEY are the ones who are wrong. Unless we are therapists ourselves, we have probably never heard of reverse transference, and don't know to watch for it.

    Really bad situation, Witz. You were very courageous to give this a shot. I'm sorry, Witz. That never should have happened to you.

  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Geez Witz, this therapist certainly didn't create an environment which was safe and comforting for you. I agree with Cedar and I'm really sorry that was your experience. I think it was courageous of you to start the therapy and courageous of you to end it. Only you know what is needed for your well being.

    As you know I've had LOTS of therapy and I feel fortunate in that almost every one of them was a good fit and helped me a lot. But there are bad ones out there. I think the most healing part (for me) is that someone is a non judgmental witness for our pain and can create a safe place for us to express it in and in that expression, we can heal. Your therapist did not create that space for you............that's a shame.

    Your own commitment to your own healing carries a lot of weight I believe and I think when we are ready, we find our own ways to let that pain go.............like your crying incident yesterday.............after the note from your Dad and the therapist's responses.............it seemed like you reached that critical mass and then let go............man, I've done that a lot.............my friend calls that "deep let go."

    My heart goes out to you Witz, I wish this had turned out differently. I understand. Sending you hugs and wishes for a peaceful heart.........