January 6, 2019 at 4:27 pm #272661
I thought therapy would help my relationships with others and my emotions. All it has done is damaged every connection I have had until now and made me at risk of losing my job. I am slowly losing my hope in the healing process and wondering if all it is doing is damaging me further.
I had a very neglectful and abusive childhood, yet still managed to cultivate friendships and do well in school. I was doing well until my final year of University whereby my sister threatened suicide and I couldn’t take the pressures anymore and cracked. She was wholly reliant on me and I lived in a different town to her, calling her every night to make sure she was ok, as well as making visits. I do not speak to her anymore as once therapy encouraged me to have boundaries with her she became extremely physically and mentally abusive. At the time of my ‘cracking’ I pushed my housemates away.. became closer to toxic people who were quite controlling. and felt isolated and misunderstood (and unloved) by my teenage friends, who directly witnessed me cracking during a visit and felt repulsed/ did not handle my obvious mental breakdown well or with any kind of empathy at all.
I persevered through my degree and managed to graduate and then sought out therapy at 23. But two years on I just feel stuck in anger and pain. The more ‘authentically myself’ I am, the more I can see red flags for abusive people and stay away from them or decide to distance from them, the more I attempt to invite intimacy with the few friends remaining, the more alone I become. I sense that the remaining friends (so very few) are tired by my negativity, my over analysing, my range of emotion. I believe I am highly intuitive (maybe its just my anxiety talking) but I sense that really no one loves me. That I am too much. That I am ‘negative’ and everyone just wishes a break from me. A break from my constant over analysing and negative perceptions of the world, and my introspective thinking. That it reveals the parts of them they cannot stand. The parts that I also ran from by creating a false façade of self that I can no longer uphold anymore. Maybe my false self were really attributes of my real self that were light and acceptable in society, that I realised would get me love and acceptance. But that the whole of me would be too much for people. And so I hid the rest of me. Now I no longer hide all of me, I sense that no one around me cares for all of me.
I am about to lose my job. At least pre-therapy me was good at remaining functional enough to keep a job, to manage a degree. Therapy has unleashed emotions in me that has interfered with my ability to do my job, and not given me any tools to cope. I have one last friend remaining, but I sense that she feels burdened by me and my neurosis and depth of emotion coming to light. I don’t know how much longer I can hope when I am at the end of two years of therapy and have less friends, less functioning in my career, less hope than I did at the start.January 7, 2019 at 1:02 pm #272873
Quality therapy should be a slow, gradual process. An overwhelmed patient is likely to exit therapy, so a capable therapist goes slowly, not presenting to the patient/client more than she can endure or handle. A capable therapist teaches the client tools, how to lower anxiety/ regulate emotions so to not get overwhelmed. A couple such tools: guided meditations & Mindfulness exercises(both available online and in any library/bookstore).
You wrote: “Now I no longer hide all of me, I sense that no one around me cares for all of me”- let’s look a t what you mean by “all of me”: “my negativity, my over analyzing, my range of emotions”.
No one, really, should be exposed to “all of” anyone, it really is overwhelming to know every thought another feels, every emotion.. this will not allow the listener time to hear/ feel his/ her own thoughts and feelings. So we need to contain our expression of our thoughts and emotions so to not burden and overwhelm another.
Would you like to share more about your therapy, what happens there in the sessions, how often do you have sessions, does your therapist give you homework, that is, assignments to do in between sessions? What input, teaching or guidance does your therapist provide for you?
anitaJanuary 8, 2019 at 9:28 am #273099
Good to hear from you again.
I can see how me constantly spilling out my thoughts, feelings and rumination can be overwhelming for someone else. Heck they’re overwhelming for me. I used to be conscious of this before my breakdown/ therapy sessions and maybe over conscious of this, negating my thoughts/ feelings etc as part of my codependent nature.
I guess since I’ve been taught by my therapist ‘to tap into’ my emotions and what I want to do, I’ve overdone it perhaps and it’s more of a rumination loop that I can’t get out of and impacts my relationships. Oddly since therapy I am more distrustful of people than ever before.
So I will try to take it on board that I need to be conscious of other people and their right to their mental space. Only my therapist is my therapist. I guess I want someone I love to do what my therapist does. Perhaps maybe because I don’t feel as connected with my therapist as I would like.
Regarding my therapy sessions- you have hit the nail on the head regarding that they can be overwhelming. I am actually reconsidering whether I would like to continue my sessions with my therapist, especially as my emotions have been overwhelming for a year now and have been impacting my work/ relationships. I have been given no skills to cope. My therapy consists of my therapist pointing things out and making connections, it all seems very metaphysical and non tangible. I guess it’s a psychodynamic approach she takes.
Last week after daily breakdowns I emailed my therapist to say I am unhappy about progress as I’m feeling overwhelmed and like I’ve been given no coping mechanisms. Rather I feel I am just a gaping wound and that’s not how I want to feel all the time. I also expressed my dissapointment in our rapport and that she has not given me any real practical suggestions. I am seeing her tomorrow but I get the feeling her approach may not be what I need or want anymore. Or maybe I am expecting too much.
You see see as I feel all this anxiety and depresssion I also have started thinking about developing good habits and it’s taking a quicker amount of time for me to be able to motivate myself again to take practical steps to feeling better. That’s progress for me I think. But the lows and the anxiety is now always with me and I am getting closer and closers to thoughts of wanting to die/ suicide which was never really there before. And the lows are hitting me very hard. So I’m not sure… I can recover quicker afterwards I have grieved for hours. Maybe this is just who I am for now and a while. I don’t know. But the intensity scares me. ANd the distrust for people as well is getting worse not better.
Thanks for your insight, I see you reply to a lot of people on these forums and am always intrigued by what you write. It also helps to feel heard, even if it is over the internet.January 8, 2019 at 10:17 am #273129
You wrote that maybe you are expecting too much from your therapist. Following what you communicated with her recently, expecting her to attentively respond to your concerns is not only a reasonable expectation, she must respond to your concerns in a serious, thorough manner, otherwise, she is a bad therapist.
See tomorrow if she addresses the email you sent her, and if she doesn’t, check to see if she indeed received it. If she received it and failed to address her, well, that is unthinkable to me.
Let me know, will you?
anitaJanuary 8, 2019 at 10:20 am #273131
* didn’t reflect under TopicsJanuary 8, 2019 at 10:27 am #273133
I forgot to mention that my therapist did email me back to address my concerns and told me we will be discussing it when I see her next. She thankfully has the ethics to not acknowledge my concerns. When I say I don’t feel much connection with her I think I mean emotionallyJanuary 8, 2019 at 10:35 am #273143
Will you tell me more about not feeling an emotional connection with her?
Also, when you felt overwhelmed during sessions, like “a gaping wound”, what did she say to you, did she comfort you in any way?
anitaJanuary 8, 2019 at 2:09 pm #273221
When I say I don’t feel much of a connection with her I mean that I find her/ her approach very clinical and detached. I know its important for therapy to be that way because boundaries are important but I tell her much more than anyone else in my life and somehow feel extremely unattached. The most I am able to feel about my therapist is annoyance/ anger when I am in moments of pain. I do not feel many positive feelings for her, such as warmth although I do think she is a very empathetic therapist.
I see people on websites talk about their therapy experiences and their issues of being too attached and I realise I do not have any of those issues. Their feelings of great fondness for their therapist, like they are the best person in their lives. I do not feel any of these things and I have seen my therapist for two years. This makes me question am I incapable of attachment or is her approach too clinical/ sanitised for me to get the benefits that others get when they feel attachment with their therapist. I would like to feel more connection with my therapist because it actually makes me feel quite strange that I do not.
She comforts me when I am telling her how hard things have become, and affirms what I am feeling but I don’t know if this is enough for me. I need concrete methods, I need more? I have not told her about feeling like a gaping wound- I think I am able to describe things better in writing than verbally.January 12, 2019 at 1:12 pm #274003
I hope it is okay that I am double posting to you.
I spoke to my therapist about feeling a lack of connection/ overwhelmed and having no coping mechanisms. Although my therapist told me that I determine the pace of therapy, which I appreciate, I feel that I require a therapist that better prepares me for the effects of therapy and takes a greater role in guiding me through my healing. I feel as though I have blindly gone into talking about a lot of traumas not knowing what will happen and the result has been daily emotional flashbacks. I also think that in the therapy room I give the illusion that I am more functional than I really am. It is not in the therapy room where I feel the worst, but on the weekends, when I have more time to be alone.
I like my therapist but Im angry at her I guess for all this suffering I feel. It’s not her fault that I have so much pain in me but I do believe it is irresponsible of her to not have provided any advice into coping mechanisms. I told her that I keep thinking of purging as a way to cope with all these emotions, and her response was ‘cant you think of better ones’. I obviously can but they aren’t as relieving as the more dysfunctional mechanisms. I just want her to provide more to me than me searching for my own answers. Is this unfair? I feel as though I have gone through so much in my life and have accumulated so many traumas that it is unreasonable for her to expect that I will find my own answers. I grew up in an environment so chaotic and not full of love. I grew up in fear. How does my therapist expect for me to have my own answers. I don’t know.
After another day of anxiety attacks and crying for 3/4 hours I decided I need to take a break from it all. I emailed my therapist to tell her I will not be coming into the next session as it’s been a year of my emotional flashbacks getting more intense and it feels overwhelming. I felt relieved in an instant when I emailed her to tell her I need a break. Maybe it was the inner child in me, relieved that I was listening to her rather than a professional. I don’t know. But I thought it would be good to write everything down on here as well to make peace with my decision.January 13, 2019 at 6:13 am #274053
I didn’t know you posted on the 8th. I would have responded to you on that day if I knew of your post (Sometimes a new post does not reflect on the list of topics, when that happens I post again “did not reflect under topics”, and that does the job).
You gave one specific example of an exchange you had with your therapist of two years: “I told her that I keep thinking of purging as a way to cope with all these emotions, and her response was ‘can’t you think of better ones”. I think it is a useless response on her part, and agree with you that she should “provide more to me than me searching for my own answers”.
You wrote that you find her approach “very clinical and detached” but you also think that “she is a very empathetic therapist”. You feel “extremely unattached” to her. You don’t feel warmth or fondness toward her, and you don’t feel like others feel toward their therapist, “like they are the best person in their lives”. Instead, you feel annoyance/ anger toward her when you are in moments of pain. “I’m angry at her I guess for all this suffering I feel”, that she didn’t provide you with coping mechanisms to deal with your pain, especially when you are alone, on weekends when you feel most pain.
Reads to me that she is not a good-enough therapist. My only experience with a good enough therapist was with my last therapist who started me on the long healing process. Every session he would give me homework to do before the next session. Or he would email me after the session with homework that he thought was best for me based on the recent session. He emailed me those wonderful Mindfulness guided meditations that were helpful in dealing with those overwhelming emotions you mentioned. So I always had something therapeutic to do between sessions. He introduced to me all the tools imaginable that way.
Reads to me that your therapist, like all of the ones I saw before the good one, is not good. You definitely need more that what she provides. Because “it’s not in the therapy room where I feel the worst, but on weekends, when I have more time to be alone”, giving you homework in between sessions is must, I believe. Maybe you don’t feel attached to her because she hasn’t been helping and you no longer hope that she will help you.
How about a good therapist?
January 13, 2019 at 12:58 pm #274285
- This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by anita.
Thanks for the tip about the post.
Im regards to getting a new therapist, I wish I could but I do not have much money, want to move out and she has agreed to a sliding scale.
Although for this amount of pain I don’t know why I continue to go… I remember a couple of months ago asking if I could go on medication and she basically told me that she didn’t think it was a good idea, even though she knows I’m having a hard time, that it would get in the way of the process. I look back at that and realise I was way better then than I am now! Hilarious how little she is aware of the amount of hurt and pain I feel.
She assumed in the session we had a good therapeutic relationship and I had to correct her and explain that actually I felt no connection to her really, it was like speaking to a wall a lot of the time. I felt bad for saying it to her but it had to be said. How could she be so unaware of what I’m going through.
Maybe it is my fault, I think I’m a person who knows how to hide well and do it in the therapy room like I did with my parents.
my therapist is young and I think just newly qualified. I don’t think she has the skills needed to guide me through the healing although she has certainly demonstrated how sucky things really are and the truth that I have been avoiding.
I think what’s stopping me from getting a new therapist is money and also I feel bad. I know it’s ridiculous but I feel guilty to just give up. I default to assuming it is me, and can’t be her. There must be something wrong with me, why can’t I shut up and go along with her non plan. I find it weirdly hilarious as I type that but it’s really what i feel.January 14, 2019 at 6:08 am #274411
“I grew up in an environment so chaotic”- I think that order is your primary need now, and keeping your job is very important in having order in your life. You mentioned that you are about to lose the job. Place keeping your job as your primary goal and focus on this goal.
You wrote that you created long ago a false façade of self made of “attributes of my real self that were light and acceptable in society”, because “the whole of me would be too much for people. And so I hid the rest of me”. This bringing the hidden parts of you into the open should be a gradual process, done patiently over many months, and selectively regarding place, time and people with whom this is done.
This coming up of hiding needs not be a firework kind of event, it should be done in very small ways, every day in your current life as it is.
If you are intent on seeing this one therapist, take charge of what happens in the sessions then, take advantage of the opportunity to come out of hiding during the sessions in ways that are not available to you otherwise.
anitaJanuary 14, 2019 at 2:47 pm #274547
Firstly I would like to thank you so much for your insightful words. I saw your most recent post and smiled because it just rang so true for me!
For the past few weeks, working hard at my job has been my main focus and my saving grace. Once I realised that I was about to lose my job (as well as how much I am draining my friend) I realised how much my mental health has been declining and its impact and it made me start to really take a look at what therapy is doing for me. I have decided to pull all my strength into trying to keep my job. My attitude and performance is so much better despite mentally feeling terrible. I think its because somewhere deep down I know that losing my job will make everything so much worse. But I am so proud of the work I am doing actually and am optimistic that I might be able to keep my job if I keep showing up on time, meeting targets, not calling sick etc.
I totally see what you mean about the coming up from hiding needs to be gradual and in small ways. I mistakenly got carried away with the idea that coming out of hiding means revealing everything at all times all my thoughts and unfiltered opinions. Even I was exhausted by it.. I can see that I have put the pressures of accepting those parts on people closest to me. Which isn’t fair and isn’t there job to do I guess. Only I have the job of accepting myself wholly.
In regards to my therapist, I got an email back from her. She recommended I come to the next counselling session and not skip as she understands that we need to discuss how I can feel better in the short term. Which is progress, and what I need. Finally! I realise that coming out of hiding for me in my therapy session will involve me being more vocal about what I need from the process.
Thanks very much for helping me through this.
</div>January 15, 2019 at 7:17 am #274651
You are very welcome. Your recent post reads delightfully reasonable to me, that is, I am delighted to read you being so reasonable, sensible, realistic and practical. Your plan to reveal your assertive part in therapy- excellent!
I would like to read more from you, anytime you’d like to post, please do and I will reply to you.
January 16, 2019 at 7:54 am #274933
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by anita.
Thanks for your feedback, I will try to write after my therapy session about whether I will continue the sessions with my therapist. I’m happier with the realisation that change comes gradually.