Complex Post Traumatic Stress Break Down (Emotional Flashback) Personal Experience

If you don’t like or are offended by foul language…Don’t read.

I am no longer OK. I am in what would be considered crisis I guess.

This morning I started with tweeting and tagging the police department in my town. I was promised a phone call from an officer weeks ago but then our fucking football team won the Superbowl and they had no time for anything else.  Even enforcing noise ordinances. I have uploaded videos of the pile of trash next door who has no consideration for anyone. You know, the one who blares his music at night and has his speaker set so that the bass sounds like he’s hammering a blunt object on particle board on top of a hollow space then amplifying the sound? That guy.

I also emailed someone at the health department of the township when I found a form on line to do just that with the exact option to report a noise violation. The response was for me to do all the shit I’m already doing.

So after dealing with all that bullshit waste of time…

I ventured out today for the first time ALONE since I got screwed and scapegoated. And when I got home I was so wound up I threw shit, shut my door to get away from my crying cat who won’t stop using the fucking litter box.

I need to keep the door closed right now and stay away from him because I can’t stand the sound. I can’t stand the neediness. I can’t stand his presence when I can’t even get someone to tend to MY needs right now.

I left the house this afternoon to go to the library. On the way, I had a tailgater. Not too bad but still on my nerves.  I made a right, they went straight and I was relieved to be rid of that ass.

On the road I took a right onto, I was going at a decent speed…I’m by no means a granny driver…and then I noticed another more aggressive tailgater.  So I slowed down. I was doing at least 40 before slowing (not on a highway) and he was on my bumper…which is why I slowed down.

Then he fucking honked at me, a long horn blow, because I was apparently going too slow for him now.

Never mind the fact that he brought this on himself, fucking piece of shit.

Too fucking bad asshole. I flipped him the bird.  The light ahead was still green and just as I got to it, it turned yellow. Just a preview of the way the rest of the afternoon would go.

Normally I would’ve stopped but I wanted to get rid of this pile of trash that decided to attach to me but he followed me through…making it so he sped through a red a light. ON MY BUMPER THE ENTIRE FUCKING TIME!

I pulled over, he passed, could barely look at me…COWARD…and I gave him the finger again.

Then he got behind someone else driving of course, because that’s the nature of traffic…duh…  The person behind the wheel of that vehicle was driving at a civilized speed too but I saw see NO aggression toward that car. The asshole followed a little closer than I would follow someone, but he was not tailgating.

So WTF?!?!? Do I have signs all around me that say, bend me over, fuck me up the ass? Take advantage of me, treat me like a pile of trash and a doormat. Scapegoat me and oh, don’t forget to pull the double standard bullshit either. Make the abuse complete.

The car…which was a van…in front of him, took a left at the light at the corner and this asshole stopped at a green light before turning right. I was able to see all this because his aggression got him no further any faster than if he’d stayed behind me. In fact, I had to brake because of HIS hesitation at the green light.

I was ranting to myself this whole time and after he was long gone. I had to sit in my car before going into the library because I thought I’d break down and start weeping.

The library was like an oasis in a shit storm though, so there was at least that. Had to go to the post office too and that wasn’t too bad, except for some strong perfume smell inside the PO that made me want to hurl.

After that, I stopped to get a cheeseburger and spent too much money…but I was hungry and the meat there is grass fed, so fuck it. Standing in the burger joint though, some idiot dropped a metal pan that went crashing to the floor in a store that has shitty acoustics and the sound is double what it really is. I stood there pretending it didn’t bother me. Inside I was screaming.

Leaving, a car sped past me. This is a small road inside of a tight parking lot and this guy was driving as if he was on an open road.

I ate in the car.  On the way back home, I stopped at a supermarket to get a bottle of kombucha and ended up walking the full perimeter of the store before I finally found it. And when I did they didn’t have the kind I wanted. I went to the aisle nearby and looked at the humongous variety of beer. A little spot of heaven for a craft beer lover. In this state, beer being sold in grocery stores is still a bit of a novelty.

Almost bought a six pack but went to the rest room, asked myself why I want a six pack.  Was able to decide against it…there. And left without beer or kombucha.

Coming out of the  grocery store, a huge U-Haul truck went over a speed bump and made a gigantic sound. It made me jump and my head hurt so bad. My nervous system was already fucked. After that, it was worse.

I drove home, put up with another driver who felt the need to, not so much tail gate, but I swear the people around here, love to drive close to my bumper for some reason.

Just about home, I decided to veer off to the pizza place down the road with the intention of getting a six pack. I sat in the parking lot for a little while going back and forth in my mind about it but eventually decided to go in.

Pulled up in the back of the apartment, just about to get out of the car and a huge work truck drove by, INCHES AWAY FROM MY DRIVER SIDE DOOR!!!!

FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the hell is it with me? What is it about me that people have to tail gate, almost side swipe my car, aggressively drive behind me??????  I don’t understand.. I look over at the other lane, the drivers are not driving any faster than me but no one is tailgating. All traffic is at least a car length behind the other.I know I sound like a narcissist but WHY ME???

I hold it together long enough to get my laundry swapped out and upstairs with everything…books, beer, handbag.

I thought I was OK. But then the cat…crying…wanting his litter scooped after taking a piss. Every god damn time, he pisses and after he cries, because the box needs cleaning right NOW.

I ignored him but I was getting more agitated and stressed by not only his crying but his demands, his presence. I put the beer in the fridge, took one to drink now. Tore the drawer up getting the bottle opener and threw the bag aside.

Well, as much as one can throw a bag. My impulse control on overdrive, every inanimate object got tossed, thrown or slid aggressively aside.

I was very mindful not to hurt the cat. But his crying was agitating.

In my room, I discovered I left my phone in my car. FUCK! Again, always leaving that damn thing in the car. Wanted to use it. I’m not going back downstairs now. I’d just made a bunch of noise and worried about running into the landlady after such a tantrum.

In addition to the above, I’d thrown my mouse pad across the room, hit a bunch of glass bottles of essential oil. I tossed my handbag into the closet door. Could still hear the cat. Screamed, “SHUT UP!!!!” “LEAVE ME ALONE!”

Plugged the fan in to drown him out and sat down to sign in here. Needed a code, no phone. UGH!!! Relieved to have back ups.

I knew that I was in bad shape before I got home and I started to think about these fucking quack ass therapists who put me in this position. Yeah, fuck it. I’m gonna blame them right now because it IS  a little bit their fault.

Even if I wanted to, I could not get in to see another therapist right now because you have to miss four DBT sessions in a row before they let you go. On public assistance you can’t be in therapy with more than one therapist and I am not in a position to pay out of pocket.

They could be taking different steps for me since I refused to get back into their abusive line, but I don’t know that and I won’t be contacting either one of them to find out.

And therapy continues to leave me worse for wear so I have quite the adversity to it. (Please do not write in the comments to keep trying. It’s all part of the process. Not what I need to hear right now.)

How dare they do this to someone with trauma. My therapist even told me that I was in crisis at this time…meaning easily triggered I guess…and still she has behaved this way. The little co-dependent sorry excuse for a therapist.  How dare she even be a therapist.

It is on the tip of my mind to use the word abandonment. Technically I have not been abandoned, but my nervous system sees it that way and that’s pretty involuntary.

 

What a horrid day. I think I’ll just get drunk. If the beer doesn’t cut it there’s harder shit in the garage.

Oh and I need to make amends with my cat. Now that I’m calmer, I can scoop his box, maybe fold the towels too.

Fuck this life. I need to get out of this area. I hate this county.

 

Advertisements

Where My Mind is At this Point Regarding DBT

This will make a lot more sense if you read this post , this post and this post  in their respective referenced order. That is, if you haven’t yet.

I’m not going back. I won’t be writing any letters, nor calling or texting to explain my feelings and experience regarding this chaotic event.

In other circumstances these ideas are good ones. I would be open to letters, face-to-face discussion or even a phone conversation, if I felt I would be heard, listened to or cared about.  But I don’t feel that is the case. I think that if that was the case, I would not have received such a callous text in response to my leaving that evening. I now as a result of this experience, feel that I understand more about why I responded the way I did, than they did or do.

I’m not confident in entrusting any more of my words and feelings with them.

My feelings and thoughts on the topic are that despite them being human as we all are, I do not feel any sort of obligation, compulsion or desire to giving them the benefit of the doubt or another chance.  I feel that in this case, a trusting relationship is absolutely pertinent with no room for bargaining or dropping the ball. And that to me means, no second chances. They dropped the ball. An important ball.

I have in the past, given those who have treated me similarly, second and third chances, to my own detriment.  I am going to learn from those lessons here, despite this incident involving different people. It doesn’t matter. In fact the people I am referring to now, deserve second and third chances even less, because of the knowledge they are supposed to be trained to have.

Someone mentioned in a comment, in my last post, linked above, that I will miss the group. I can honestly say that that is not true.  The group members are basically a revolving door because people start at different times. New members are admitted, if there’s room, when the mindfulness module rotates back through the schedule. And the spaces become available by those who graduate, having finished each module twice through, which takes a year. I suppose those like me, who drop out, or leave for other reasons, also make room for new clients.

So there have been a few new members admitted recently and I have not had much chance to get to know them. The other members who have been there for as long as I have, quite frankly, there has not been much interaction between each of those people and me.  So there is nothing much to miss.

There is something about the incident that is triggering me pretty badly though and that is the main reason I’m writing this. I admit, I could really use some comfort, but also maybe some honest input, if you are knowledgeable of this sort of thing. Details below:

This thing reminds me so much of how my family had talked and made plans without me there, after my father became terminally ill. I was hesitant about helping. I wasn’t sure about how I wanted to get involved or if I wanted to be involved at all. I did want to see him but I was given the ultimatum to step up to help with his care or walk away. I realized later that they had talked about me and what they wanted from/expected of me, when my mother called with guilt trips and manipulations about helping my siblings with the care of my father.

I write about all that in other posts so I won’t get into all the detail here. I just wanted to give a quick summary for context and understanding as to what this incident is reminding me of and what the trauma reaction is all about.

Having gotten the text from my therapist, telling me what is expected from her, T2 and a bunch of other people I’ve never met, has me very anxious and in emotional flashback, since this expectation was talked about and decided on behind my back, from my perspective. (Despite the probability that this is their job and this is the way they likely do things for everyone, it does not negate how I’m responding to this.)

I’m basically on high alert. And I’m scared.

I’m scared of what else they are talking about, now that I am not cooperating with them. If all they are saying is that I’m out of the group and the DBT program altogether, I don’t give a shit. We’re on the same page there.

But if they are planning something worse, like having me admitted to a hospital against my will, or T2 decides to be dishonest (given that honesty is not a value of his) who the fuck knows what he is capable of.

So that’s where I’m at right now. I won’t be going back to the building voluntarily. It’s not an inpatient facility anyway so that’s not where I would be involuntarily taken anyway. But yeah, I’m inwardly freaking out.

Other things that have Occurred to me About the DBT Therapy Situation

If you want to catch up first and want context, this post is basically a continuation of an experience from an incident that happened in my DBT group. You can read the other posts here and here. Parts 1 and 2 respectively, open in new tabs.


Yesterday I spoke on the phone with a friend of mine who not only knows some of my trauma history, but she is also a social worker. She is a trauma informed therapist who’s input I wanted to get on this whole incident of what happened at my DBT group this past week and then the text exchange the next day between my therapist and myself.

She has suggested that this could be a great experience for growth. She also suggested that I could reframe it as an experiment if I were to go back in there to make the so-called repair they expect me to.

Thing is, and I told my friend this, the words “I’m sorry” would not be honest for me to speak in regards to my actions. I said in my text to my therapist that I would be fine with apologizing to the other group members, but I have since changed my mind on that as well.

Not to be arrogant or anything. It’s just that I don’t feel I have anything to apologize for. My leaving was a fight/flight response, pretty much involuntary and I was concerned very much about safety. My primitive brain was engaged and it perceived having no other choice but to get the fuck outta Dodge.  That’s not something to feel sorry about, as if I hurt others. No! I was the one hurting. I was the one who felt as though I was in danger.

If I were to say I was sorry, it would be more like, “I’m sorry that you (T1 and T2) didn’t understand how to handle what I see as a small crisis situation.” I’m sorry that you feel I was inappropriate in some way that is still not clear to me.” “And I’m sorry that this doesn’t appear to be a truly safe environment for someone who suffers from the effects of trauma.”

I doubt that’s what they are looking for.

So now the less cynical side of me knows that that would actually not be appropriate to say while IN group. Idk, maybe it would be useful information for this elusive ‘team’ that decides the fate of people they’ve never met and puts expectations on them as if they are reprimanding an employee. But in my group, I think it would be much more appropriate to simply relay my feelings. To tell them what I went through and even maybe include the scientific shit about my reaction.

I like my friend’s idea. I really do. But I’m scared.

First of all, at this point, I still have not heard anything back from my therapist after my reply text to her about the team’s expectations. So I’m not sure what to do, now what would actually be BEST for me. That is actually what I would prefer to focus on…what is BEST for me. What  would actually be GOOD for me in this situation.

If I were to go into group next week, I would feel the need to prepare for anything…that they’d act as if nothing happened (not likely), that I would be interrupted while I was talking, that I would be argued with and still told that I should not have left, even if they did give me the floor, even if they did “allow” me to stay without that apology, which is what I believe they want when they say, ‘repair.’

I’m sure the possibilities are endless. I know that I have a choice as well, not only to not show up, but to leave if things are not resolved in a way I can live with or even compromise with.

When re-reading the text, the word ‘expected’ really stands out. It confuses me to think that a therapist that claimed to be trauma informed, would be willing to write such a thing to her client. I have mixed thoughts and feelings about it and a question or two. Is this a situation/event that I really should go back to face? Or have I been shown enough to know that possible harm could continue.

After this incident, some other memories and thoughts have come up.

This expectation of them that I ‘make repairs to T1, T2 and the group seems ridiculous for reasons I’ve expressed above. I also think it would be further damaging to myself to apologize for something that wasn’t really my fault. For something that was an actual trauma response, as in involuntary really.   They don’t seem to be taking into consideration that they are relating this info to someone who has childhood trauma. THEY KNOW THIS. T1 knows this so since there is a group of therapists, referred to as ‘the team,’  are all about meeting and talking about the clients, then I know they know this. So this is a group of people/therapists that behave as though they are not trauma informed. How fucking dangerous is that???

I’ll state again, the expectation they have of me is to make repairs (which is essentially an apology) for leaving group early. (Just writing that out again and knowing the flooding I experienced of the stress hormones, knowing I was supposed to be in the presence of people who are educated on trauma, it causes anxiety, anger, more flooding, surprise/shock. Because there is no consideration in this expectation of what I might have been experiencing. It just feels crazy making.)

There was an evening when one of the group members got a phone call and became upset, ran out of the room. We could hear her from down the hall and she yelled in distress, into the phone and it sounded like she’d crying too. T2 ran out after her and she did not return to the group.

Now I have no idea what happened between T2 and her and I have no issue with her doing what she did. Everyone has their shit and emotions are certainly not always convenient to what’s going on in the moment around you. (Something that was not considered for me either, btw.)  But my point here is that she never made repairs to the group of dashing out and leaving early that night. Looks like doubles standards to me.  (To be clear I don’t think an apology is in order from her to be honest. I don’t know what was going on, nor is it my business. She had a trauma response. I could say that we should all turn our phones off in group, but there could be any number of reasons to keep it on, on any particular night.)

On another occasion, I think the most alarming thing that I heard said, was by T2 when we were doing the module that involved going over and understanding our own values.  He’d been talking about how going over the list and realizing certain values aren’t important to us may very well be surprising.  And that’s when he gave his own example and said, “Like honesty, I don’t find honesty to be an important value.”

A beet red flag went up when I heard him say this but I tucked it away to simply remember it and continued to return to group (and individual therapy) anyway. Note: Remember, T2 is not my individual therapist, T1 is. And I felt her to be honest, so I didn’t sweat it too much and figured things would be fine, since I only deal with him in group.  But now with this shit happening and having the fact that a lot must be said in detail about clients to other therapists, I’m not feeling too confident about being around him anymore.

So even if I did get the apology I think is appropriate, I would not be sure it’s an honest one. And knowing now that he knows much more about me than I believed he did before, I am not comfortable being in his presence, with him in the role of therapist at all.

It might seem arrogant but when I think about that text and the wording, “The team has decided that you are expected to…” I think, “How fucking dare they!”  How is it that T1 would think I would respond favorably to that? How is it that a team that is supposed to be well versed in trauma, would think that is the way to handle this situation?”

Two possible knee jerk ways to respond to this:

And if I don’t?

Or else what?


Shit in anger I want to say to T1, but won’t:
“You think that because I allowed that from my family, that I would do the same, and kiss your asses too and feel the shame that isn’t mine? You are the ones who should be ashamed of yourselves. Not only for the way T2 behaved, but for your silence when he so passively-aggressively attacked me. For your text in the form of “scolding” me as if I’m a little girl.It’s disgusting. What happened to advocating for your client, even if it runs into disagreeing with another therapist.

I have no shame here. I did nothing wrong. Are you fucking butt-hurt that I said I wasn’t feeling like I was making progress in therapy? Is this something that could cause you to be called to the carpet? Because you know…that’s not my problem. If you aren’t helping your client make the progress she wants to see, she has a right to speak up about that.

And if that’s what was happening, T2 coming to your rescue in a way, lashing out in anger for you… well that says a shit-ton about the culture in that place. It really would appear that you are all threatened by the truth. Well fuck you!”


My trust is in the toilet. Even if I were to go back and say my piece, tell them how I felt, what I experienced, keep the focus on my feelings and not point fingers, accuse or blame them, I can’t trust that my words won’t be twisted and somehow my actions from the other won’t be used against me, again.

I believe in giving people second chances. But I’m truly not sure about this one.

Input welcome. Thanks you for reading.

And thanks to everyone who commented on the other posts. I’m so grateful for the validation and reality check.

 

Speaking of Scapegoating

Since I am feeling scapegoated by a couple of therapists I did a google search for ‘being scapegoated in therapy.’

I didn’t get much in reference to being scapegoated in that specific dynamic but of course things about scapegoating came up and one of them was actually a blog right here on WordPress.

A couple of paragraphs from the article, makes me think that going back into the DBT group and expecting a different dynamic might very well be futile.  Below is the quote I’m referring to and the link to the whole article is here. The title of the post is called Scapegoating: A Chilling Truth About Human Behavior. The blog it’s from is called, Paul J. Letendre or pauljletendre.com

“Once the scapegoating process begins, it is incredibly hard to obviate its progression since particular roles have already been assumed by those involved. Attempting to raise awareness of the scapegoating process among those who are in the majority group and working against the scapegoat is often not only ineffective, it can make matters worse. (Bold font mine)

Individuals and groups are generally resistant to developing awareness that they are unconsciously projecting onto another person. Even when perpetrators do have some semblance of self-awareness and realize their role in the scapegoating process, they may feel hesitant to assume a new role that either differs from the majority group and/or positions them in the scapegoat role.”

 

DBT Group Session Goes Wrong Part 2

To understand this post read this one first.

I was scheduled for a therapy appointment today but after last night I had been on the fence about going.  I was such a wreck last night that I couldn’t sleep and I had a bad headache from all that uncontrollable crying. In addition to that I’d also felt a sore throat coming on before I even went to group.

So at 7:30 am I texted my therapist telling her I wasn’t going to make it and went back to sleep.

I woke up at noon to a message bin full of messages from her. Actually there were two, but the second one took up five messages and is what this post focuses on in continuation to the fiasco of last night.

The responses I wanted to (but didn’t) give are after certain parts of her message are in parentheses in red. So if you can’t see the red in the ‘reader’ please click to go to my actual blog.

Message: So the dbt team has decided that you are expected to give a repair to T2, (this is where I started shaking. And I was like, WHAT!!!??? Like they are the puppet masters and I am to do what they say. The grand masters have decided…said in a deep guttural tone of voice…and I have no say or no control over how I respond) myself and group for leaving in the middle of group session.

I understand you were upset (You understand nothing. I was crying uncontrollably. You gave no fucks what I was dealing with.) and you are expected to use skills to stay in group. (Oh. My. God. Fuck your skills. This was a traumatizing event. This was handled like shit. I understand you guys had a group to conduct… no wait… you had a JOB to do right? Because after all isn’t that all this is for you? You kind of proved that in group last night when you tried to appeal to us group members’ sympathy (?), while talking about phone coaching by saying, “You know, it’s not like we get paid for phone coaching.” Like wtf? And your clients should be concerned about that for you, WHY??? Talk about inappropriate!) 

Due to this you missed one of the most needed skills.(Can you say condescending guilt trip! So fucking manipulative! Oh and because this is so much more important than the fact I was crying uncontrollably and had just been traumatized by not one, but TWO therapists. I’m wondering if you texted this to the other group members who couldn’t be bothered to show up at all last night. Because if you didn’t, this part of the text also demonstrates double standards. So much abuse in one little sentence…hooda thunk?!?)

You are more than halfway through dbt (condescending and more guilt tripping) and sometimes it is necessary for the treatment team to make decisions that may feel uncomfortable  or invalidating (Uncomfortable or invalidating??? Try traumatizing. Now we’re looking at minimizing. Let’s see how much more manipulation you’ve dealt out in this one text.)  in order to create change. (You mean damage. You are creating damage. You see, making a repair (apologizing) to you and T2 would actually be humiliating (which is actually the least of it) and RE-traumatizing, not to mention a big fat lie. Because I’m not sorry for leaving group. I did it for ME. For myself because, I deserved to be treated with much more respect than I was given.

T2 waved me off like I didn’t matter. And now I’m sure I don’t matter to him. And that’s OK in the big scheme of things. His opinion of me is none of my business. But when it becomes action and I’m treated with behavior that damages me further then it IS a problem for me, and that’s when I GET TO DECIDE MY OWN FATE IN THIS GROUP, not some unseen team I don’t even know. Attending a group where he is a therapist is a problem for me without his amends.

When a therapeutic environment stops being therapeutic it’s a problem.  If he sees no reason to repair/apologize himself then that is not a therapist I will benefit from. I’m guessing the team expects me to come to group feeling adversely about one of the therapists, which has become about both of you at this point anyway. I don’t see any benefit in that at all. 

So if I apologize to the two of you, I would be betraying myself and my values. I’ve done enough of that in my life and you know that. If I bow down to your demands, I would be saying, “Yeah, it’s OK that you scapegoat me and it’s OK that it appears that double standards are in play here in this group.”    I won’t fucking do that to myself. Are you kidding?  

I am beyond disappointed in your lack of compassion here, but I know you work for a system that does not allow for much of that so I will work on forgiveness for you concerning that. Not so much for you, to do you any favors, but for me, to give me the peace that I deserve.)

We can process this during your next appointment.” (You seriously think it’s that easy?  It seriously doesn’t even occur to you that there might not be a next appointment? As it stands right now and if yours and T2s stance remains the same as this text, without regard for me and what I experienced last night, you can count me out of DBT altogether.  Tell your precious team that.

I made a pact with myself…that I would watch out for me in therapy from now on. I need to be that for myself. My grown adult self needs to look at for that small child self, especially when she is faced with such behavior as went on last night. I am fucking appalled by this whole incident and how you both handled it.  If I see red flags or feel uncomfortable or worse as a result of a therapist’s actions or lack thereof, I will not stand for it and I won’t hang out for any abuse. And as if that’s not enough, our appointment isn’t until AFTER the next group session. That does not work for me one little bit. So you can definitely count on me not being in the next group session. So now what? Huh?)

My actual response: “I had every right to leave. I was bawling my eyes out. I was crying uncontrollably. I don’t agree with an apology to the two of you. I felt bullied and T2 was out of line. I have no issue apologizing to the other group members but I feel that you guys handled that whole thinking poorly and I feel scapegoated. And the last part of your message is a bit of a guilt trip and comes off as condescending. I am feeling pretty traumatized by what happened last night and now by your message. The team decided what to do without hearing my side of things. You are putting this all one me. I feel that a repair or apology is in order from T2 and from you too.”

I am feeling pretty confident in what I sent back to her. And I think that’s only because of the support I have/had here. I would doubt myself much more if not for that, thinking that it was all me. That I was the bad guy, that I was wrong and out of line.

I was in crisis after that incident and it got completely ignored. All they care about it that I left group. FFS. This fucking team…this unseen (by me) team, doesn’t even want to look at that or consider that. They weren’t even there. It’s obviously about staying rigid to the rules and staying loyal to two therapists that fucked up.

They can take their repair and the rest of their skills and shove them all where the sun don’t shine.

 

 

I Cried for Hours Tonight: When a Group DBT Session Goes Wrong (Part 1)

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.”

BULLSHIT!

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.

But nope.

Alone.

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.

Finding Validation Within

 

Below is a post I brought over from Safire Falcon (the blog I used to write on). It was posted on May 20, 2014. At that point I had just been (somewhat) “No Contact” with my family for less than a year. I turned to a friend hoping for some validation, which I didn’t get.

It seems a bit synchronistic that I came upon this post over at SF.

I signed in there to read through some posts and decide which one(s) to transfer over tonight. I haven’t done any of that in quite some time and I want to empty the blog of all the stuff that’s relevant to this blog so I have it all in one place. And since I’m feeling on the strong side tonight I figured I’d venture in there.

Well, recently it came to my realization that lack of validation has been a big problem in my relationship with B. It never really occurred to me that it was that. I mean I go from 0-60 with my anger in a matter of seconds that I never really thought about it. I thought it was all me.

That being said, I’m not excusing my behaviors of yelling and berating. Not at all. I’m just pointing out this discovery that has been in front of my face all these years, that I completely missed.  It has brought things to light and makes complete sense as to why I’ve felt so distant from him.

He can validate when he relates to an experience or has the same emotion I do in relation to an experience. When I’ve gotten this from him I feel connected.  But if his differs, the validating is absent I become beyond frustrated. The feeling of distance brings on the rage and the attempt of forcing him to see what I’m saying begins and keeps going.

It’s a waste of energy quite frankly.

This isn’t another B bashing though.  My frustration is more now, with not realizing what was going on. I knew I was frustrated by these interactions with him but just didn’t understand why and why my reactions were so intense.

I understand better now. It’s still been a struggle though, to control my behavior and reactions. I’m not so sure DBT is really the answer. But if I go on along that line, it will take me in a different direction from validation and the lack of it from others.  And that is what the post below is mostly about.

There’s also a bit about something else that has come up lately. But I’ll just let you read it.

The comments will be closed on this post because the conversation happened three and a half years ago. I really just want to get the post over here from SF, for my own feeling of completeness.  She has since made it up to me a couple times now. She never specifically addressed with exact words, but something came up and she said something that let me know she understood. And again about a month ago, she was pretty validating of something else I told her.


The quote in the picture is from The Tao of Fully Feeling: Harvesting Forgiveness Out of Blame.

I took it from the book after a phone conversation with a woman I’ve known for a long time. Someone who lived through her own childhood abuse and has learned to be a ‘tough girl’ who claims to ‘not care.’

She and I had not talked for a little over a year. Because of distance, because of life and how busy it can be. But truthfully, for me, I don’t like to talk with people in general, when I don’t have something specific to talk about or if it’s someone I haven’t seen in a long time, because our conversations eventually comes around to ‘what’s new’ with me.

And what’s new for me, is that I’m working through trauma from abuse, that I hadn’t realized so clearly, was such an issue until recently. And I haven’t been doing much else. So it’s tough to talk about much else and to say, “Nothing really,” feels completely awkward.

The solution I suppose would be to not talk to her about that stuff but I seem to fall into it when we talk. I mean, what do I say when she says, “What’s new?”

So although apprehensive and somewhat against my better judgment, while at the same time thinking she’d ‘get it’, I talked to her about what I’ve been dealing with.

After all she’d gotten herself away from her neglectful mother and abusive step-father when she was just a kid. She put herself in the foster care system.

The conversation waxed and waned about my experience, how I felt and then her experiences of a recent betrayal of someone in her life and how she feels.

We also talked about more mundane things but then the conversation wound around again to my family and that toxicity.

And it was then that she told me that I take things too personally. I was hurt. I thought, “Not you too. Not someone who I really believed would understand.” I shook my head and thought, “Just like talking to my sister about how I feel.”

I also thought, “Again. I fucking did it again. I should know better than to expect her to understand.” Because everyone reacts this way, why should she be any different?

She said I internalize and that I shouldn’t do that because those other people go on with their lives, they’re not effected and I should do the same.

She claimed that’s what she is doing and that she has just learned to not care. Yet here she was, bitching about all this shitty treatment she’d put up with, in recent years from a couple relatives.

She was, and I’m judging by her tone of voice here and reading between some lines, that she was angry and even a bit confused by the behaviors of these people.

It seems to me, that if she truly didn’t care, that she would not feel anger or confusion.

Despite feeling hurt though, I also saw the wisdom in the statement.

I do internalize deeply.   And I do think that my ‘taking things too personally’ has been a detriment to me and has indeed held me back.

That being said, people who’ve been traumatized and scapegoated internalize things. That’s a thing. It’s not our fault. In fact, from what I see, I’d say my friend does it too.

But back to contemplating her words to me: I’ve allowed what they think to keep me down. I get depressed, paralyzed and demotivated. (She didn’t say those things. This is what I’m deriving from what she said.)

So what I took from that is that I have a choice. I can build my life up to a point that I can finally stick a big fat middle finger up at everyone who has branded me a failure, or I can go crawl in a hole somewhere and suck my thumb and never emerge.

It sucked not to be acknowledged by her, especially since I think she may be in her own denial.

But I also derived from what she said, that no matter how much I feel sorry for myself, the people who have hurt me deeply don’t care and my picking up, dusting myself off does not have to do with them.

BUT that does not mean I need to push it all aside. It does not mean I can’t grieve. It does not mean I have to pretend it didn’t happen. In fact what I’d really like to do is find a way to derive strength from it all.

While at the same time validate myself for my feelings and the shit I’ve been through despite what others say and think. Just because she thinks I should push it all aside and “not care” doesn’t mean that’s what I have to do.

What I have to do, is find my own way.