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.”

 

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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.