episode 59

Ok, I went to see Karen on Saturday.  That last visit, that she offered after the bombshell toward the end of the previous session.  

I am not sure how I feel about it.  I think it was a waste of time to go.  She was hard, and terse, and unhelpful.  I still feel like I must have really offended her in some way.  

I told her that I met with the other lady and her couch is more comfortable.  We talked a little.  Unfortunately, my mental state is translating into some lack of perception and inability to remember.  

I said something about her telling me to go away.  She said she did not tell me to go away, she told me she did not have the skills, blah, blah, blah.  It comes down to she told me to go away.  

Ok, she says that she does not have the skills.  But when I countered that with being in the group for DBT for 6 months.  Intensive.  And I started with that fear of abandonment and neediness being my goal in the very beginning, if it was going to work…  She suggested I did not try hard enough.  

She says it is her lack of skills, but I must be so fucked up that no one in their entire group can deal with me.  Or she doesn’t want me there.  I know I am reading way too much into it.  

I told her that I was hoping she could make me feel a little better about it.  But she just said she couldn’t make me or anyone feel.  Ok, I’ve been in the therapy world for a while and I know, but I also know that she knows what I meant.  

I don’t know if it is supposed to make it easier for her or for me to be so tough. 

Today I was feeling so bad about it.  It was so permanent.  And there is nothing I could do to change it, she has the power.  If I e-mail her and ask her a question, then I am showing how crazy I am, or how right she was to chuck me.  So I am trapped.  I am alone and unsupported, and unconnected, and I have to start over, and I am pissed.  I was so pissed today.  It was a good thing I was at work, because if I was home, I would have sent my life-story and everything about her to the partners of the BWG.  How’s that for impulse control, and emotion regulation?

Yeah she mentioned borderline personality.  Before, she said that she did not think I was borderline, but Saturday, she was asking if I am going to work on the borderline symptoms.  I mean, before it was the fear of abandonment that she brought up borderline, but read through the rest of it to me and said that it does not sound like me.  Maybe she changed her mind on that.  I know borderline people are supposed to be tough to work with.  

So I guess you pick and choose who deserves to be helped.  Ok, ok, maybe she really can’t help me.  But we were making progress.  It is just that I had too much going on.  Still do.  They sold my company this past week or so, so we are transitioning, and being hired on by the new company.  So it is just a transition, and drama, and ah well.  

I feel awful.  But I see the new person on Tuesday, and hopefully that will be good.  Hopefully, I can start to feel a connection.  But then I worry about this happening again, and I never want to go through this again.  

Well, thanks for reading.  


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14 comments

  1. mkyuellig Volunteer

    Hey there solongago,

    I’m sorry that your final meeting with Karen was so uncomfortable. As someone who offers therapy, I see about a million red flags in some of the things that Karen has been doing and saying to you. I really do want to reiterate that I truly believe that the issue is not with you, but that Karen truly does not have the skills to help you. The idea that you are “too fucked up” to be helped is not accurate. While your trauma and struggles with mental health are absolutely valid and legitimate, therapists meet with all kinds of people with such a broad range of experience and struggles. If your issues are “too much” for this therapist, then I don’t think she’s going to have a very successful practice. I know its hard to not take this kind of thing personally, but I do believe this is a blessing in disguise.

    I think your new therapist is a much better fit for you, and her plan of attack better suits your needs. She is very clearly taking your needs and wants into consideration, something that I didn’t really see much from Karen. I think you will be able to work as a team with this new therapist, and the cbt/dbt will be amazing for you. Keep your head up and keep using the tools you have to get through your time between sessions!

    Stay strong and be gentle with yourself,
    Keight

    1. Solongago

      Yes, thank you. I know you are right. There were some things that I saw as well, but I did not want to accept them or deliberately ignored them.

      I am making this pretty hard, but am working through it. The thing is, I have so much more than money invested in this. I invested my thoughts, and emotions, and the bits of my that I am proud of: my poetry, writing, puppy successes, and the parts that I am not proud of that I am ashamed of. So that when these helping relationships end (Nancy, Cathy, Karen), I feel lost, and sad, and unconnected, maybe angry and abandoned. I worry that the parts I let them see made them disgusted, and then I realize that they have seen a lot worse than me.

      It hurts to think that I walk out of their life without a trace. It is hard to step out of the one to one mindset. From my vantage point, I am one person, she is one person. But from her vantage point, she is one person, and I am just one of many patients/clients. Going into therapy with someone, I have expectations. When they get a new patient, their expectations are to help the person through a crisis or problem and then see them move on. Like for me raising a litter of puppies, getting to know them, but knowing that they will be going to new homes in 8 weeks hopefully, but usually prior to six months. Whereas, when I keep a critter, the expectation is that they will die, but hopefully not for many years. So, my expectation for the therapeutic relationship is that it will end, but not until I am feeling a lot better and have worked through a lot of stuff.

      It is hard when I think they care about me. And the reality is more like they just freed up Saturday afternoons.

      A hundred years ago when I was going to college at YSU, they did not offer technical writing at any time that I could take it, so I was able to sub in Social Deviance. It was an upper-division course, and taught by a practicing therapist. This was after I had gone back to college. I had gotten two Associate degrees right out of high school, and then took five years off, and went to work. I went back to college after I started working with Nancy, to get my BS, while working full time. So I was a little older. I mean, I started college when I was 16 and was done at 19, then went back at 24 for 3 years. This was the end so I was 26 at least, so one of the older people.

      Most of the people taking the class were education majors or pre-med. I was the only engineering technology student in there. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Then, on the first day we were asked to do a questionnaire. I answered it honestly. And there were questions about things like, whether oral sex was normal, and stuff like that. Well, she held me back after class the next class and strongly suggested I drop the class. LOL.

      I told her not to worry, I will be fine. I had never dropped a class, and I wasn’t going to start there at the end of my degree. I aced her stupid class. But she was a bit of a jerk. She would talk about the people she was counseling, like the family of fat people, who all smelled and she elicited laughs from the class about the types of people, and the things they expected of her. I dunno. I thought this person was really one of the few, not one of the many.

      It is terribly hard not to take something personally that is so personal.

  2. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear Solongago,
    What a difficult and uncomfortable situation to be in, especially with someone whose job it is to help you feel better. It certainly sounds like Karen felt upset by some part of your case and she wasn’t able to remain professional about it. Writing her letters is a great way to get it all out and to be able to process it; I hope it helps you along with the new therapist. Keep finding way to take care of yourself and seeking connections when you need them.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  3. Mindfully Em Volunteer

    I hear how painful it was to be invalidated, it’s frustrating to have your diagnosis come before you. I hear how hard you’ve been working during therapy, and it sounds like seeing someone new may be helpful. It also appears from your comment that you’re willing to continue trying to get past the beginning phase, which is an incredible thing to do. Do something kind for yourself today, you deserve it.

  4. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m really sorry the last appointment didn’t go well. I want to reassure you and say that you’re not inherently flawed. I don’t think that Karen stopped seeing you because she thought you had irreparable flaws. I think it might have been difficult for her to realize that she didn’t have the skills to help you in the best possible way. It may explain why she seemed terse.
    By the way, I don’t agree with her suggestion about you not trying hard enough during the group sessions. Based on what you’ve posted here, it sounds like you’ve put a lot of work into healing, coping mechanisms, and thinking about how life events have shaped you. I’m so sorry that she made that suggestion. You’ve made so much progress, and none of that should be invalidated.
    I understand that it’s hard to start from square one with another person. It can even feel exhausting, and we sometimes wonder, “Why do we have to start from scratch again?” But based on what you said about the new therapist in your last update, I think it’s worth it. She seems like a great fit.
    Thank you for the update. I hope today’s appointment goes well. Please let us know what happens – we’re happy to hear from you. You can get through this, and I’m proud of you.

    1. Solongago

      Thank you. Crazy day today, but I will put that into my new post, episode 60. I am feeling a little better about all of this. I spent Sunday afternoon and evening with my friends in PA, and Em said that she gives Karen credit for admitting that she couldn’t help me/wasn’t the best person for me, and referred me elsewhere. Maybe kind of what ya’all were saying. Besides the thing about me not trying hard enough, she also had said that she’s the therapist. We were talking/arguing about the increase of time between sessions, and I told her I thought she was wrong. Maybe she didn’t like that. She said also that when people say, “that is just how I am” it is just an excuse. That also flipped me out — after the fact. I processed almost nothing while I was in there with her, but after coming away I rehashed it all. Not helpful probably, but that IS how I am.

      And this total bullshit of changing the focus onto the therapy itself. Transference. Worry about whether she likes me, whether she is going to tell me to go away. I did everything in my power not to let that happen again. I told her about it the very first session and the following six or more sessions when I was getting over what happened with Nancy. I told Cathy too. It seems like five minutes beyond the point where I first trust and feel safe, I am attached. I don’t consciously do this, in fact I consciously try to avoid the trap. It IS who I am, how I am. I am sorry it is. I am sorry for being me. A few weeks before Karen chucked me, I told her I didn’t want to get to this point in therapy and start back over.

      Really this part of therapy, that we just went through, when we get to know each other, build trust, provide the background, get validation, and encouragement. It is close enough to the nurturing/connection that I crave that I will settle for it. But I had told her I don’t want to just keep going through this beginning phase and switch when I get to the part where I am avoiding and using these stupid tactics/changing the focus, etc. I wanted to work through it. She agreed with me that day. So I asked her how. She said by coming, keeping the focus on me (not the therapeutic relationship). I now think she went and did some research on how to work through this. Maybe that is when she switched over to my having more borderline symptoms or whatever I am guessing that is where she decided she cannot help me.

      But I have good news to report.

  5. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    Don’t overthink what happened with Karen. It sounded like you liked your new therapist better after one day anyway. Beside if you offended her because she is a therapist she should have been more able to talk to you about it, however I don’t think you offended her. Don’t worry about this happening again, this new therapist seems promising. Good luck on Tuesday. Continue to stay strong.
    -Alyssa

  6. Lizzi Volunteer

    Hey Solongago,
    I’m sorry seeing Karen didn’t go well. I’m really glad you have this new person that seems to be a better match for you. I truly believe that Karen ending things wasn’t because you’re too messed up, I believe she’s being honest that she doesn’t have the skills she feels necessary to help you. Not all therapists are going to be good for every type of situation or person and it seems like she realized that and decided it was best for you to see someone else. I understand worrying that this will happen again with the new person. It’s hard to see a new person anyway and have to tell your story all over again, wondering if the connection will work. But from your last post it seemed like you liked her so I hope things continue to go well with that.

    Much hope,
    Lizzi

  7. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    I’m sorry that this transition has been difficult, but as Erin mentioned, sometimes change is good! Karen may not have been able to help you in the ways that you needed, and you are now going to someone new who will have those skill sets to help you! You will get through this. We are here for you. Stay strong.

    Carmen

  8. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    Hi,

    It sounds like with the transition and having a hard time lately things are a bit challenging, I know how difficult that can be but I have faith that you can handle this and anything else thrown your way. I hope everything goes well on Tuesday. Stay Strong and can’t wait to hear from you soon.

    -Brianna

  9. Graciegrace22

    Hello,

    It seems like it is a transition and its also a very challenging time for you as you mentioned your business being sold. I am wondering if this change could be good as it is a fresh start and you are getting someone knew. Having been therapy for a long time and feeling like you have not gotten far can be overwhelming and frustrating. Through perseverance you can get through it I have faith for you. I hope that meeting with the new clinician works well for you on Tuesday. Best of luck.

  10. Solongago

    Thanks, Hi, I’ve been writing to Karen every day, and just not sending them. I know it is not appropriate, so, I am not, but I don’t know. I am not connected to the new therapist yet, and I feel still so confused and in-between with Karen. Sometimes I am as mad as a hornet and sometimes I am sad and want her to change her mind and go back to her. But I do know that I can never trust her again, so that isn’t a possibility. This is what I wrote today:

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for calling me back yesterday. I wasn’t at work, because there is no work and they asked me not to come in. We just got sold and this is a transition, and I am trying not to read anything bad into all of this. Trying to keep an open mind and not worry.

    I am feeling so bad about your stopping the therapy. I vacillate between feeling angry that you told me to go away, gave up on me, hurt me and feeling sorry for being so fucked up, being so bad that not one but two therapists don’t want to work with me. I’ve got all cylinders on EMOTION and am going at full throttle. I keep trying to pull my logical brain into this, and try to remember exactly what you said, but I can’t get there.

    I am not too worried about the borderline thing. I needed a connection. Because I feel all alone and lost, and I am not there with the new lady yet. Whether that is appropriate or not doesn’t seem to matter all that much to me right now. I’ve been on the verge of tears for months now. Long before you sprung this on me. Before even you changed the frequency of our sessions. I’ve been trying to do all the things: going back and forth on taking my meds, been drinking water, been working puzzles and listening to audiobooks, working in my kennels, grooming my dogs, working, trying not to let my kitchen get back into the state that it was, going to church, translating my Bible, talking to e-friends, talking to flesh and bone friends.

    It is like I am at the edge of the abyss and if I put one toe out of line, I will spiral down into the bad, bad place. Perhaps that is what you mean by using my skills. Well, I am using them, and perhaps they are working because I am here and not there. You think we were not making progress because you were seeing the glass half-empty: I wasn’t feeling better. I am looking at the same glass half-full: I was functioning and not thrown into the hospital.

    I don’t think I am borderline. Well, maybe I am, I don’t know. But this year has been abnormally hard. And yes, I am still whining about my dogs. Yawn away. I lost 3 heart-dogs this year. Jenna, Babs, and Quinnie. Milla and Ninja were great, I loved them, but they were not heart-dogs. People say you only get one heart dog in a life time. But then, people don’t generally have 38 dogs in a life-time. I’ve had 4. Arwen was my first bitch. She was Jenna’s dam and had Jenna and Babsy when she was 4. She died at 9 so that would have been 9 years ago. I think about her every day. It isn’t bad. I am not grieving for her every day. It is more like, “I remember when I gave Arwen ice cream and she…” Heart-dogs are a special relationship. They know what you want before you ask. You know them inside out. You live your life with every decision depending on how it affects them. You spend a lot of time with them, and connect with them like with people, only different. They make you smile. They make you happy. Seeing them wag their tail makes you happy. I could go on and on. They have incredible personalities. And these last couple, I’ve had their entire lives. I was there when they were born. I watched them grow. I trained them. I took them to shows. I worked with Babs. Babs was a service dog for all intent and purposes. But I would never try to get any special accommodations for her as a service dog or emotional support dog. My feeling is that I don’t NEED a dog that is with me 24/7 and therefore, I don’t want to do anything that makes it harder for folks that do. But the dogs, they are what changed my life after not working with Nancy. They got me the friends I have. They took a painfully shy person and turned me into someone else. They made me exercise, learn new things, work at training, work at fixing things at home for them, major hobby, and when I started breeding, they fulfilled some of that drive of motherhood and purpose in life. I can see how my dogs affect other folks, and know that I have done something good in the world. And I know that I have to be there for them. So even if I don’t want to be anymore at times, I still have dogs, and they still need me, and I still want them, and I don’t want anything bad to happen to them.

    And so I grieve for them. Quinnie and Babsy look out to me every time I turn my computer on with their deep eyes. I speak to them, something like, “I know you are in a better place now” or “I wish I was a better owner” or “I wish I could hug you one more time.” It is not crazy, I am just grieving in my own way. At some point I will change the desktop. Maybe when I have another litter of puppies and the girls come over and I get a shot of them playing with the puppies. This initial stage doesn’t last forever, but this year has been so bad because I turned my emotions on in the group, and because I lost so many. It was just a bad year. When I lost Mufasa a few years ago, that was BAD, he was 2.5 years old and bloated. I came home to find him dead. No preparation. After a few months of feeling like shit I sold Oscar and Nder and Sherah and Sherry, and Dolly, and Nikki, and Nina — all my 2-3 year old dogs, Dolly was older and Sherah and Sherry were 10 months old, but mostly all the youngsters, so I could buy Kojak. I was going to need a new dog to work with the puppies I did keep out of Mufasa: Ramona and Quinn. I used Kojak to get me over Mufasa. But that was one dog’s death. It was hard because he was young, he was easy — at under 2 years, when young shepherds tend to be hyper idiots, my 8 year old nieces were able to walk him out of the IX center’s biggest dog show of the year — great temperament. And beautiful, he was my masterpiece, long coated, and excellent conformation. The dogs I rehomed, that was mostly ok. I meant to keep Nikki and Nina, and probably Sherah and Sherry, and certainly Dolly. But I know where they went, get updates, know that it is better for them, and for me, and for the new people, so after a few days I was over that. None of them were heart dogs, though in time, Nikki and certainly Mufasa might have been.

    Me and my e-mails.

    I know, I know, I’m sorry for being who and how I am. But I think it is the grief that has made whatever borderline symptoms you don’t feel skilled enough to manage flare up. Feeling like I was on the brink of the abyss, and struggling to make it from week to week, I did not feel it was a good time to increase the time between sessions. And you weren’t hearing me. I was talking about suicide a lot more than I liked, but I was thinking about it all the time. The thing is, it is what I learned from Mom. I wasn’t sure if that is my go-to because I am depressed, or because that is what I learned. The day you told me to go away, I went home and checked to see if I could work the trigger with my toe, like Dad always said. (I can’t, toe is too big for the trigger guard, but the barrel is not that long and I can reach both the trigger and the safety with my hand.) But even saying that, it is a border-line manipulative thing, or was I really feeling that bad? I think I am too much of a coward. But I thought at that point, that it would be quick. But I have my dogs, and my nieces. I couldn’t do that to them. I put it away and went to my parents’ house, that was the day before Mother’s Day, and my brother Brian and his wife were there. But I went there anyway and stayed late in the night until I felt safer.

  11. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    I’m really sorry that you’re stuck in these transitions and feel like you have no where to go. The relationship between client and therapist can be a tedious one. I understand why you’re upset about having to start over. Hopefully this new therapist has the right skills to help you continue to grow. In the mean time, you always have us to talk to. We’re happy to read your posts anytime.

    All the best,
    Becca

  12. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I’m sorry it wasn’t a good last session. I know transition is really hard, but if it helps, I’ve changed therapists numerous times and had several therapists, and sometimes change can be really good. I recently started seeing a new therapist after this old one wasn’t working out, and she’s actually a much better fit for me! Thanks for coming back to share.

    Erin