Not edited so if it doesn’t make sense and there’s typos, you know why.
I’ve been crying for the past 3 hours now. I’ve slowed down but here and there something hits my emotional nerve and I tear up again.
Last week in DBT we were assigned to do 3 things that apply to the skill called DEARMAN and the DEAR part was the most important and it was OK not to do the MAN part.
I had something to ask my therapist (my INDIVIDUAL) therapist. So I texted it to her in the form of DEAR.
Describe: In each individual session all I seem to be doing is ranting.
Express: I feel like I am making very little progress in individual therapy.
Assert: Can we talk about that and ways to change that before my next appointment with you?
Reinforcement: That way we could just start in on the changes we decide on prior, instead of using a session to make a plan.
When the group meets all the group members are expected to share what they came up with for the assignment. Every single example. The one above is one of three. And it’s the one that started off this cascade of tears.
There are two therapists that run the group I am in. One of them is my individual therapist. I will call her T1 and the other therapist T2.
When it was my turn to read my examples, T2 and me were talking about it. He had asked me some questions and all seemed OK. But then he came out with something about the therapist not being responsible for me ranting or not. And that the skill DEARMAN isn’t about getting out of responsibility.
I felt stung immediately and became a little defensive. I said, “The assert (the thing I was asking of her) was if we could talk before my next appointment. I did not ask her at that point to stop my ranting.”
Then T2 said, “Oh yeah, I said that because it reminded me of something else.”
Even if true, I still felt the sting.
I read my next example and then it was another group member’s turn…I’ll call her Z.
One of Z’s examples was about getting someone in her family to stop asking her for money. T2 was going back and forth with her on this trying to find things that might work to get this person to stop this behavior. I’m sitting there thinking, “How the fuck is it that I’m responsible to stop my own ranting. I had gotten the impression from T2’s cutting remark that I had no right to be asking for help from my therapist. Which in my example, was not even really the point.
But now he wasn’t calling Z out on her responsibility to fucking just say no. What the fuck???
I smelled and still smell a double fucking standard…which is a huge ass trigger for me because my fucked up family are professionals of the double standard.
I spoke up an said, “Wait, isn’t this a responsibility thing too, where the person needs to just say no?”
He answered me, but at this point I didn’t even care what he said, so it went in one ear and out the other without registering in my brain. My anger was becoming rage.
Then the conversation turned to clarifying coaching. I had no fucking idea this stemmed from my text to my therapist (T1.) But apparently it did.
At about 5pm (group starts at 4) T2 called for a break and both therapists disappeared quickly. I said to another member, P, that I’m ready to walk the fuck out and put my shit in my bag. She said, “Why don’t you talk to T1?”
I thought that was a good idea and so I did when she and T2 walked back down the hall by me, where I sat waiting.
I told her my feelings and then she said something about using skills and I wanted to tell her to take her skills and shove them up her ass. Fuck your skills.
I said, “How ’bout what he said stung and I feel hurt.”
“Well what if you say that then?” She was calm and patient the whole time btw.
So I went into the room where we’d been. T2 was gathering up some stuff to move rooms because where we were was sweltering hot. Turns out the two therapists were looking for another room to use because of how hot it was in the one we’d been in.
I told T2 how I felt and he said, “Yeah, I heard about that text in our team meeting.”
Double sting. T1 had told all the therapists (who I don’t even know who they all are) that I sent her this text. T2 was obviously angry at me for it and told me that he thought it was inappropriate.He then sort of tried dodging the topic I was trying to resolve and said shit like, “I thought your other examples were great” and “I think it’s great that you want to work it out with T1.”
That just felt minimizing. It also reminded me of my sister’s condescending words when I told her I had decided to help out with my dying father. “Well, why didn’t you want to before?” (This after saying things like, “I totally understand your apprehension.”) And then, “I think it’s great that you want to help now, but…”
Back to T2…he then went into the stuff about phone coaching again and that he thought my text was inappropriate.
I made some lame comment about the boundaries being confusing but maybe I should’ve known. I was very upset. On the verge of tears, trying to have this conversation walking down the hall and then in the elevator, in hopes of resolving it before getting to the room we were moving to.
He asked (or said) really that I’d been given paperwork with all the rules on it, etc. I said I hadn’t remembered. He said, “I know T1 did that.” He continued with something like, saying you should’ve known is a judgment (a thing to not do in DBT) so instead would you agree that T1 went over those boundaries when you started?”
I couldn’t answer. I didn’t remember. I told him that.
At that point the elevator opened and he said, “C’mon, we need you in group.”
I said, “Hold on, I need a minute.”
It was then that I put my bag down and stood there and began to cry. Hard. So hard that I knew it was coming from a deep place of hurt, feeling betrayed and very angry. It wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. I knew standing there for a few minutes to regroup and then rejoin the group was not at all realistic.
So I went down the steps and out the door, to my car and then pulled away to a spot in the parking lot away from people walking around and cried. I was still crying when I drove away with more than a half hour left for group. I cried the entire drive home. I was inconsolable. Not that I had anyone to console me.
B is fucking oblivious and doesn’t even notice that I’ve been crying. Not that I want to talk about what happened. But a hug and “I’m so sorry you had a shitty night” would be really nice.
I’m feeling really betrayed right now by my own therapist, T1. I knew that it was a team thing. But I honestly didn’t think that my request would be announced in their meeting. I guess she was getting feedback, I don’t know.
But the thing is, I had not known that until T2 told me when I confronted him alone. I had just stood there talking to T1 about my feeling on his response and treatment of me and she mentioned nothing. So it feels like one big mind fuck.
Another trigger carried away from my family. They kept me in the dark about shit that would have brought sense to certain things. But deliberately left certain spaces blank to keep me in the dark and that’s what it felt like tonight.
I don’t even know if this makes sense and I’m not going to proof it. So if there are typos, you know why. Maybe I’ll go back to it another time when it doesn’t hold such a huge charge.
It’s one thing to be angry, but for T2 to say something so hurtful and stinging… well THAT’S inappropriate.
So of course, I want to bolt. I want to quit, especially group and I’m questioning if this is a healthy situation for me. I will now certainly be questioning myself every time before I send my therapist a text. I have no desire to open up to her now anymore either because I don’t want her telling all the other therapists about my shit.
I don’t know. I knew about this team shit before, but now it’s bothersome to me. Another trigger from the family.
My sister would go to my mother when I wasn’t doing what she wanted me to do. So then my mother would call me and manipulate and coerce me into doing those things.
I think given these circumstances that it’s natural to want to bolt. It’s probably instinct. It’s quite fucking normal to want to get away from that shit. But I also know that since I’m labeled BPD that it would be ME that is fucked up for doing so. It would be me that would be made out to be unreasonable and trying to dodge the emotions, etc. But I believe and feel that I’d be well within my rights to just stay the fuck away and never go back.
I think T2 could’ve handled it in a much more professional manner. In fact, both of them could have called me out into the hall and talked to me before group to let me know how they felt. But especially, T2 was way out of bounds with his cutting nasty words.
Sorry but a therapist should be a fucking support to help you stop ranting. I feel like since it’s DBT, it was my understanding that skills should be practiced in individual too.
It’s already quite obvious that the STOP skill doesn’t work for my rage. I’m 0-60 in a micro second. There is no time for STOP. I sit and rant week after week and she sits there listening and watching my heightened emotions. Does it not make sense that a DBT therapist would say, “OK, let’s stop and take a few deep breaths.” And T2 lashed right out at me in group tonight because he concluded from my text that I apparently held T1 completely responsible for my ranting. Honestly, her being a therapist, I think she needs to take the reins sometimes and slow the shit down. So yeah, maybe 50% responsible.
I texted her about it because I wanted to converse over the phone before we had our next appointment. It wasn’t even about phone coaching or specifically about DBT. It was a client texting her therapist with a question. But apparently that’s off limits and that is something I did NOT know. No matter how much T2 thinks I do.
I know my doubt comes from this high emotion and I also know better than to make a decision in this state. In fact my weekly appointment is tomorrow with my individual therapist (T1.) So I will definitely talk to her then. Honestly I wanted an apology from T2 but after finding out this shit was talked about among all these therapists, it’s just so fucking mixed up.
I feel completely mind fucked and well, that just cancels out any trust I had before tonight.
My head hurts and my eyes are burning. I am also hungry but not sure I am capable of preparing any food. I was supposed to stop at the health food store tonight on my way home but even by the time I got to the vicinity of the store, I was still crying. Altogether the drive is about a half hour long. I cried the whole way home.
Read part 2 here.