When Good Therapy Turns Bad: Part Three

This is a continuation from a post that leaves off from here.

I left his office that day without plans on going back to see him (well, that is the last of the conversation I am able to remember)…obviously that plan didn’t stick and somehow NGS Picture ID:1381455changed because I continued to see him. I have a hard time remembering all of the events and the order in which they took place, so I decided to read through all of my old text messages and emails in hopes they would help to jog my memory.

My texts helped me to remember later on that night (the same day I left with plans of not going back) he sent me a few text messages and we then proceeded to have a conversation. It was this message in particular that greatly influenced my continuing to see him:

“Knowing what I know about my responsibility to you, I would have trouble sleeping at night if we quit working. Let’s keep working for the time being. Trust me on this one….let me do what I can to relieve my concern for you”.

He also proceeded to tell me when I met with him again he had three promises to give me that would help protect me and ensure my safety.

As I look back, I can remember feeling guilty thinking that he wouldn’t be able to sleep if I stopped seeing him and he would constantly be in a state of worry. I wanted to help make his life easier and not harder, especially because he had already put so much of his time and energy into helping me. I felt I overreacted and took what he was saying out of context because he genuinely had my best interest at heart. He cared about me and my well being and I obviously was projecting my past life experiences with men onto him…he wasn’t like my grandfather, father, uncles or cousin.

B, wasn’t like those men.

He was an answer to my prayers. I needed to trust the process, push myself out of my comfort zone and give him a chance to help if I was going to heal. I felt like such a piece of shit for jumping to conclusions and labeling him as unsafe. He was a good, honest man and I had judged him wrongfully.

How awful was I?

I sit here typing, remembering this day as all the feelings come rushing back to me.

I feel little.

In this very moment, I am regressing emotionally. I am a bad little girl for doing something wrong and making him upset with me.  I need to fix this problem I created.  I need to make him happy so I can be good. I want to be good and not bad.

Hmm, interesting…until now, I hadn’t remembered emotionally regressing to such a young age. Is this even possible for me to remember?

When I met with him for our next appointment he gave me the three promises (he texted me them during the session, so I would always have the promises with me for a reminder):

1. I accept you. All of you. Completely. There is nothing that has happened, or will happen. There is nothing you have done or will do that will be judged by me.

2. My love for you will remain pure. I will have no thoughts of you, I will not touch you in a sexual way. There is no expectation that my love for you will be reciprocated. The love is unconditional.

3. I promise I will do all in my power to heal you mentally, spiritually and physically. You will be prepared to marry a man suitable for you and have a family.

These promises helped me feel secure, safe and loved by him. Not only loved, but loved in the purest form. Love from God. These promises touched me deeply.

He meant what he said. He was going to help me so I would be prepared for when the time came to fulfill one of my most earnest desires, to have a family. These promises helped me to open up so many new levels of myself to him. It was also this same day he shared a beautiful, metaphorical story with me about a fish and a bird. The bird was a representation of myself and the fish, him. Maybe I will share the story on here one day, but it is still very sentimental to me and something I hold particularly close to my heart.

He caressed my hair again this day; however, it felt good. It felt right and safe. I trusted him and I was so grateful to him for all he was giving me. He also gave me a hug at the end of a session and a kiss on the forehead. I left feeling renewed, reassured, special and cared for. I no longer held uneasy feelings about our therapeutic relationship. Not only did my trust in him continue to grow, but I also was becoming more attached to B.

Today while I was reading through our text messages, I was able to see he encouraged the attachment and even a dependency towards him.

In the beginning he initiated a lot of our texting conversations, but encouraged me to text him more and reach out. I feel ashamed to admit this, but I did start to text him more. Soon I was initiating most of our conversations.

I don’t remember how long it took, but he began to hold be during sessions. First it was longer hugs which then turned into him holding me while he sat on the couch. We would sometimes sit on the floor against the couch, with him behind me with his arms wrapped around me. He would give me small kisses on my temples, cheeks, the back of my neck. I enjoyed it. It was complete bliss to me. Sometimes his hand would accidentally brush against my breasts and it didn’t bother me. I hadn’t ever felt so safe with a man before. Actually, I had never felt this safe with another person before.

Soon he was constantly in my thoughts. He was in my thoughts as a close friend who I was able to see once or twice a week, not as a person I thought of sexually. He was someone who I depended on and brought me feelings of happiness and acceptance.

Still more to come…

Image Credit: National Geographic

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When Good Therapy Turns Bad: Part Two

This blog entry continues from here. This is the day I felt things quickly shift in a different direction.

Soon after the hugs began, the holding of hands (for energy work) started to take up the majority of the session and we talked about what was happening in my internal world less. There is a moment in particular that stands out to me the most; he had just finished with the energy stuff and was just sitting completely still in his chair. The silence seemed to go on forever (it was probably only a minute at the most) when he looked at me with tears pouring down his face and said, “Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell the difference between my love for you and God’s love for you.”  I didn’t have any words, thanked him and then left.

He opened the next session with, “I was hoping you could help me with something. Last week I felt the purest love I have ever felt before; I was wondering if you knew what it was about? Where it is coming from?”

This took me off guard and I slowly shook my head in a ‘no’ motion while staring at him.

“I have told you I love you as a daughter or a sister, but I was only trying to convince myself that was the way in which I love you. I have been trying to convince myself for some time, but I cannot lie to you, myself or God any longer. If I were to meet with any other psychotherapist, they would tell me I need to terminate with you.”

“I understand, do you have referrals?”

“I only said this is what they would tell me to do. I promised you I am in this with you until the end and I still am. Others won’t and can’t understand this. This is pure and good; it comes from God. I have conversed with him and this love is one of the ways in which He will allow me to heal you.”

I continued to stare at him in silence.

“Do you know what I have wanted to do all week?”

Again, I shook my head in a ‘no’ motion, while I attempted to swallow the huge lump that had formed in my throat. My face felt hot and I could feel myself starting to drift as the room became blurry.

“Play with your hair. I have wanted nothing more than to run my hands through your hair and take in your scent.”

Oh God, please no…please, please, please….no, this can’t be happening…please

He moved closer to me as I sat frozen. He began to stroke my hair and face. He grabbed my hands and kissed them. I was trying my best to stay present…I was telling myself that it wasn’t happening. It wasn’t real. I am unsure of what he saw in my face and body language but I remember him whispering into my ear, “This is okay; we are allowed to do this. Father opened the door for me to love you like this. It is pure love, it is not sexual. This is pure and good.”

I finally gained enough courage to tell him I couldn’t see him anymore. He was kind and told me he understood. He also reminded me that he was the only one who was willing to help me and he worried if I didn’t come back that I wouldn’t be alive for much longer. He also explained that he was extremely confident that he was the only one who could heal me, especially after the discussion he had with the Lord. He let me know that even though I didn’t wish to see him anymore that he would keep our appointment open for the beginning of next week in case I came to my senses.

Again, he buried his face into my hair and explained to me this was pure love from God. I am unsure of how long this went on and I don’t remember leaving his office that day. It’s all still kind of a blur and the feelings are disconnected.

I will continue more with my next post…

Image credit: National Geographic

When Good Therapy Turns Bad: Part One

I apologize for my absence these past few months. As I have previously mentioned, my life has been insane (and using the word, insane, is putting it lightly). I have been struggling to balance and manage my daily responsibilities, so I needed to put blogging on the back burner to stay afloat. This experience is extremely raw, and I am barely starting to understand what has been transpiring. I expect these next few posts will shed some light on what has been going on.

Because I haven’t worked through this, I imagine my thoughts will be sporadic and my story will be all over the place, I thank you in advance for your patience. My hope is that while I attempt putting this experience into words, it will help me to move forward and heal. I also hope you will be able to gain something from this as well.

I think the title clearly explains the direction these next few posts will be going.

B was not my first therapist. I had seen several others (all but one had been women) in attempts to deal with my issues I have previously discussed in this blog. When my therapist K, didn’t know any new tools to teach me to help with dissociation, she suggested I find a specialist in the field. It was time for me to graduate from her. I called all the psychotherapists in the area that specialized with trauma and had experience in treating dissociation. I met with a few before meeting with B and the responses when they learned the degree to which I dissociate were almost all the same, “Oh, I don’t treat people like you.” I felt even more broken form the responses I received. B was the only therapist who was willing to meet with “someone like me.” I met with him a few times while I continued to meet with K.

He is a clinical psychologist with a private practice and has specialized in trauma therapy for about 25 years. On one hand I was really nervous about meeting with a male therapist, but on the other hand understood it could potentially be very healing for me to develop a healthy relationship with a man in a safe place. I also knew it would be impossible for me to grow if I didn’t push myself out of my comfort zone. I was optimistic that meeting with him could help me in ways a women couldn’t.

He turned out to be a really neat man. He appeared to be in his early 50’s, but I later found out he was in his 60’s and about 35 years my senior. We had similar beliefs and were from the same faith. We shared similar interests and a deep love for poetry and research. He had an easy going nature and good sense of humor that appealed to me. I found him to be more in-tune with his feminine side than other men I have known. He was kind, patient and didn’t push me too fast. I wasn’t particularly attracted to him, actually I had no physical attraction towards him whatsoever (although I wouldn’t describe him as ugly either). He has been married for about 40 years and I surprisingly felt comfortable with him and found him relatively easy to talk to. He was genuinely interested in hearing what I had to say, he listened and seemed to understand me in ways other people have never been able to. He was a dream come true.

For the first couple months I met with him once or twice a week (mostly twice), therapy seemed to be going well and I noticed I was being able to manage my dissociation and other related issues better. I was making progress and it felt good.  B told me he looked forward to our sessions and seeing me helped give him a lift for the remainder of the day. Our sessions were often injected with philosophy and spirituality and nontraditional therapy modalities (such as energy work) were incorporated as well. We seemed to be able to figure out the answers to the gospel, universe and love. It didn’t take long for me to develop a deep respect for him. I trusted him and believed him when he said he would always be there for me and protect me.I had never previously felt this type of safety with another male figure in my life. He felt we had known each other before this life and felt we had a special connection that he had yet to experience (even in his marriage). I felt that we were able to connect deeply and even in some ways I hadn’t connected with another. However, I didn’t feel as strongly as he did that this was a sacred and unique connection and gift from God. He explained he had lived longer and had more life experience, which is why he was feeling it sooner than me. It was easier for him to recognize.

Quickly he introduced touching into our sessions (by holding my hands for energy work). He could tell I was uncomfortable with the idea, but assured me it was okay and the best way to do “the work” he does. After we held hands for the first time, I noticed that I was okay (just as he had promised) and hadn’t died (like I had thought). I began trusting him more and felt it was safe to lean on his understanding when things felt uncomfortable to me. He was the experienced psychotherapist who had more wisdom with healing from trauma than I did…he hadn’t been wrong yet.

There were a few times he made comments I thought were odd, but before stating his comments he mentioned to me that he didn’t want me to take his comments in the wrong way. So when they felt odd, I assumed it was because I was taking them in the wrong way and not in the way he had intended. One comment that comes to mind is when he suggested I use him to meet some of my needs that I would normally gain from a committed relationship, until the time came when I met someone who was suitable for me.  I didn’t question him. I trusted him. He had only my best interest at heart after all.

I am not entirely sure on the timeframe, but it was around this point, he told me he loved me as a daughter or a sister and this was a rare experience to happen with him and a client. It didn’t seem odd to me because I also felt admiration towards him. It was about the same time he discovered the research I am passionate about is in neuropsychology and deals with a lot of the same aspects he has been researching over the past few years. He began “picking” my brain during our sessions and having me read over his work to see if I might be able to make different connections he was unable to. I did make associations he had overlooked and was able to bring new ideas and explain it in such a way that clarified the research for him. He was thrilled with these new discoveries we had made together. He also asked me to give him some business suggestions for his practice that he later implemented. It felt good to be able to give him back a little something for all he had been giving me as well as being able to connect on an intellectual level.

In one of our sessions we were discussing how lonely I felt and it was one of the worst feelings that could be experienced. I opened up and told him my deepest thoughts, insecurities, fears and hopes about companionship. He was respectful, handled my feelings with delicate care and expressed gratitude for being that honest and vulnerable with him. He explained that I could have companionship needs met and feel love through other ways, such as hugs or being held. It was a deeply healing experience for me to be able to experience intimacy on this level with a man and I felt aspects of myself opening that I didn’t even know existed.

The next week I asked for a hug and every session thereafter began or ended with a hug (sometimes both). I felt as if I were on cloud nine and was grateful for this gift he was sharing with me. Slowly the hugs got a bit longer and I enjoyed feeling comforted, cared for, loved and safe in his embrace. I was overjoyed that he was willing to do all he was for me and my benefit and that I was moving forward at a pace I was pleased with.

More to come…

Image Credit: National Geographic

Anxiety

From comments and emails, I sometimes feel that I appear to be stronger and more “together” than I really am. My intention with this post is nothing more than to give you a better glimpse into my mind and my vulnerabilities. I still cycle back to where many of you are and this past month has definitely been one of those times. I feel others view me as a completely different person than I view myself…and the same is true for you as well. Others in your life view you differently than you see yourself.

I have been extremely triggering and I feel as if I am going through hell and it will never end. The logical part of my mind knows this is not true, and this too shall pass, but the logic doesn’t make the feelings suddenly disappear. As I have posted before, I struggle something awful with insomnia. Very few people in my 3D life know about this and those who do feel that if I were to just “sleep” everything else I experience will subside. I know sleep will help (hence the reasoning for trying to work through the insomnia), but sometimes I feel that people think sleep is like a magic pixie or something, and frankly; I do not believe in magic pixies.

It really bothers me when I am told that sleep will fix all the other symptoms I experience. It has been bothering me so badly that I have spoken with my therapist, B about it. He and I both agree that sleep alone will not make my symptoms go away and that there are much deeper issues needing to be addressed. His validation of my experiences has helped to make me feel a little less crazy. It is frustrating to me when others feel there are simple solutions to my problems…I understand they don’t get it, so I let it roll the best I can, but I would be lying if I didn’t say there are times when I want to scream at the top of my lungs, “Please jump inside my mind for one day and live my daily battles and take a peek at the evilness I have seen!” There are times in my life when I lose patience and want others to “get it.”I feel that is such an awful thing to say, because nobody should be able to “get” the things I know. It is a horrible thing to wish upon someone else.

Right now, I feel alone and I am sick of feeling alone. I have people around me, but yet, I am alone…and yet, I want to be alone… I hate it. I despise this feeling and I am loathing myself these days. I look into the mirror and want to punch the reflection staring back at me. People push and push and push…and they keep pushing, hoping I will one day let them in, but I push back in order to keep them out. They want to see me, they want to know the”real” me. They want to hear my story….The real me is sick and twisted and disgusting. They have no clue as to what they are asking for when they push for that and they wouldn’t like what they saw if I were to ever open the door. This is only a small crack…. I want to go on, but will spare you the details of my ranting.

And there you have it, that’s a small piece of me. I have needed to get this out in a safe place, and I feel this is a safe place for me right now.  I still get triggered. I still struggle. I still lose time and feel alone. I still have PTSD. I still feel vulnerable and hate it… I am the same as you.

Photo credit: Matthew Antonio 

What do my thoughts matter anyhow?

Have you ever given much thought as to what your thoughts are; where they come from or the power they have in molding and shaping your life? This is something I have been pondering  lately. The power of our individual chosen thoughts combined with the power of emotion play a crucial role in determining how every situation, circumstance and experience will unfold in our lives.

Our world, the entire cosmos would not exist if it were not for God (or whatever you perceive the source to be) first having a thought to create it. Even though we are just human, the power of thoughts can affect our individual circumstances too. If we did not have the power of thought, we would have no power.

From our thoughts come our words. I once heard a word is like a living organism. A word is capable of growing, spreading, changing and influencing the world in many direct and indirect ways through others. Until I heard this, I had never thought about a word being ‘alive’ but then when I think of words that have been passed through generations being read or spoken today, they seem just as alive as if they were a person standing in front of me.  As I have reflected about the power of the word to stimulate and segregate, to still and connect, or to produce and achieve change, I am realizing the importance to be ever more careful in what I say and how I listen to the words around me.

Being able to understand and learn how to consciously and intentionally execute the power of your thoughts and words is an essential component to reaching and experiencing your most sought after desires and dreams.

I recently stumbled upon the research of Dr. Masaru Emoto and have found his findings to be extremely insightful.  Here is a video explaining his research in more detail… And don’t worry, it isn’t a boring academic video or anything; it really is interesting (:

Click here to watch the video and please do not read further until you watch it, it isn’t very long. (Sorry I tried to insert the video into the post, but couldn’t figure out how to make it work, so instead of breaking my computer in frustration, I thought I would just link it. 🙂 So… please watch the video before reading ahead)

Now remember the majority of the composition of the human body is made up of water. Think back to the water crystals and the affects the different words had in shaping what they became. How are your thoughts and words shaping who you are and who you are becoming?

Now I know changing a thought is easier said than done, (especially when they are so automatic) but the first step to changing your thought process is learning what your thought process is. I believe there are three core voices we hear on a daily basis. These would be the voice of mind, spirit (consciousness) and evil. Something that has helped me to differentiate between the voices and learn my own thought process has been to write down every time I have negative self talk, a prompting or even a temptation.  I leave a blank space after each thing and at the end of the day I go back and write what I did with each thought and how it worked out. Which thoughts calmed and made me happier and which had the opposite effect?  This doesn’t have to be done for very long. It helps to learn the difference between the voices in your mind and to be more aware of the thoughts you are having.

Once you are aware of the thoughts you want to change, you can begin to replace them with a more positive message. Please do not be discouraged if you keep finding yourself repeating the same negative thoughts, it takes time to change those old messages….after all, it took a long time to develop them.

Thoughts anyone? 🙂

Photo credit: Othello 

Just a quick update

Hi, everyone! I just logged on today and all I have to say is, wow…time has flown by! Things have been crazy in my offline life and I am hoping that I can pick up my regular blogging routine soon. I have a lot to tell you. Thanks for sticking around and I hope all is well with you!

xox

Andie

Impact of Childhood Abuse: Dissociation, Part 3

I started writing a series on dissociation, which begins here. Dissociative disorders cause breakdowns and disturbances of consciousness, awareness, memory, perception and/or identity. When there is a disruption in one or more of these areas, symptoms typically result. These symptoms usually interfere with an individual’s general functioning; including relationships, social and work activities. These disorders can be acute or chronic. In this post I am going to be covering one of the five dissociative disorders in the DSM, which is, dissociative fugue.

This is the definition I found from psyweb. Dissociative fugue is a rare disorder. An individual with dissociative fugue suddenly and unexpectedly takes physical leave of his or her surroundings and sets off on a journey of some kind. These journeys can last hours, or even several days or months. Individuals experiencing a dissociative fugue have traveled over thousands of miles. An individual in a fugue state is unaware of or confused about his identity, and in some cases will assume a new identity (although this is the exception).

When my therapist was educating me on dissociative fugue, I didn’t feel it applied to me because there hasn’t been a time I have traveled far distances and assumed a new identity. She explained it to me in a way that was a little clearer than the DSM. She feels that because there are times I “wake up” and don’t remember how I arrived at the grocery store, mall, or 3 hours from my home, that I am experiencing dissociative fugue in these circumstances. In the past I have worked at a strip club without being able to recall how I ended up working there in the first place. I describe that experience in my life as waking up with a huge WTF moment, but I continued working at the club under the name I went by (which was not the name given to me at birth) because I assumed I was there for a reason. I do not believe that I have ever given up my real identity, because I still feel like I am me when I “wake up” after these experiences.

Like all of the dissociative disorders, I believe dissociative fugue is on a continuum and I most likely range toward the mild end. I have met another person in my 3D life that has experienced dissociative fugue on a more extreme level than I have. She has “woke up” in another state with a completely different identity without being able to recall how she arrived there. However, both of these experiences and even those experiences that fall in-between these two can still fall in the continuum of dissociative fugue, even though they are both different from each other.

This helped me to understand that although I may not be experiencing something on the extreme level, doesn’t mean that I am not experiencing it; therefore, I do not need to minimize the distress it causes me when it happens. I really struggle with minimizing my experiences and has taken me some time to realize that it doesn’t matter which end of the spectrum I fall on, it upset me, so it is unhealthy for me.

Even though my symptoms resemble dissociative fugue, I have never been diagnosed with this, because I have repeated experiences that “resemble” dissociative fugue. The words repeated and resemble indicate that my experience is not true dissociative fugue, but most likely a symptom of something else. Although I do not experience true dissociative fugue I decided to share my experience because I feel others will be able to relate with it as well.

This is only my opinion, but I don’t believe it is not possible to completely stop dissociative fugue states from happening. I do believe that tools can be developed to help manage and possible prevent the onset of some from happening. It is important to seek professional help as soon as possible if you are feeling overwhelmed following a traumatic event, because this can possibly help prevent a fugue state. The sooner you learn positive coping tools, the sooner you can heal and no longer be vulnerable to danger! I know you can do this too!

Photo Credit: Devinedaydreams