Getting over ruptures with therapist

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
So I seem to be having little ruptures with my T these last few weeks. Nothing horrendous, but it still hurts. Things like: calling me by my old name not my new onein one session as a mistake; and today not picking up on something I found hard to say (but this could have been a connection issue with her WiFi) and also then saying something about my relationship with her that upset me. I said I wasn't ready to let her go and to replace her with me. She said it was ok unless I put her in a position of being more powerful than me. For some reason, I took offence to that. For me it felt like I was wrong to want or need her. And I felt shamed in my need for her.

I don't want to have negative feelings about her. I don't want these ruptures.
I get that they are meant to be healing and happen.
I just don't know how to see the healing from it.
I feel pathetic. Like I need too much from her and I'm stupid to want it or articulate it. Which makes it even harder as I'm only learning to articulate my needs and I feel I have been met with rejection.

How do you work through these ruptures with your T?
Any advice to give me?

My T said that she thinks we are ok and she hopes we can get through this. I hope so too, as I am desparate to.
 
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bellbird

Sponsor
My T and I had a rupture a couple of years ago when I disclosed to her that I had a stockpile of prescribed meds (made more complicated by SI at the time) and T then said to me that she would have to tell my GP (something I didn't particularly want to happen at the time).

It's the only time that she has done something I wasn't ok with (though I absolutely recognised afterwards she did the right thing). As a result, my trust in our relationship took a pretty massive hit.

Most importantly I want you to know: we got through it.
But we had to dedicate the time just to getting through it. There was not much point trying to continue with regular therapy. If I didn't trust her, that wasn't going to do much good anyway.

Invest the time to getting back on the same page. It will pay off in the end.

It's also pretty powerful to know you can get through such a rupture when you later look back. Much like any relationship, though unpleasant at the time, properly working through the difficult parts makes it stronger in the end.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks @bellbird, I can see why that would break your trust in your T, even if afterwards you feel she did the right thing.
And makes sense need to work on the relationship as otherwise rest of therapy isn't really going to work.

The thing I found hard to say today was fleeting SI. I told her I felt I wanted to end me in my overwhelming emotions on Friday. And that I felt ashamed about that. And I hadn't told E about it.
T never spoke or acknowledged this at all. I find that really hard. Did she not hear me? Did she not understand? Was I too vague? I expected her to say something. To acknowledge it and perhaps ask a question or two about it.
But: nothing.

I'll have to bring it up next week.
It hurts she didn't acknowledge it. And it is making me feel even more pathetic.

I can't talk to anyone about it as haven't had the guts to tell E or any friend, save for writing about it in my diary on this site and writing about it here. I expected T to say something.

In this moment I don't have the energy to work this through with T. I know this feeling will go and I will work it though with her. But it feels hard, and another thing to consider and manage and worry about.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
Yes, I can see why you expected T to say something. I would too. From an outsiders perspective my first assumption would be she somehow didn't hear or didn't understand what you were saying. That it isn't her lack of caring but some glitch in communication. I get not having the energy to deal with it right now, but it's worth bringing up. What's healing about it, potentially, is that you get to learn new things. I'm still bad at it, but it's perfectly ok to ask someone if they heard you or to say, "this thing I just talked about, I really need a response". And yes, that's scary and vulnerable feeling. But it's healthy to do that. So the good news and sucky thing, is you get a chance to practice that.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks @Muttly

Yeah, she must have not heard or realised what I said. Because she does care and is very empathetic. And I'm not good at voicing my needs. I will give a little tiny clue and if it isn't picked up on, I drop it and run away from it.
Which is what I now fancy doing with T: running away. I feel myself retreating massively.
I got drunk last night.
I thought more bad thoughts.
I thought that now I have two problems rather than one. The SI and now the rupture with T about SI. And it's down to me to solve both. And I'm on my own with my problems again, even whilst in therapy.
So I have taken it to a place that is bigger than what has gone on. And it's hard to focus and being it back to what it is.

This morning feels a bit better.
I need to explain all this to her and I hope that helps to fix things.
I have to learn to fix things immediately in the session rather than take it away and deal with on my own.
 

Friday

Moderator
The thing I found hard to say today was fleeting SI. I told her I felt I wanted to end me in my overwhelming emotions on Friday. And that I felt ashamed about that. And I hadn't told E about it.
T never spoke or acknowledged this at all. I find that really hard. Did she not hear me? Did she not understand? Was I too vague? I expected her to say something. To acknowledge it and perhaps ask a question or two about it.
But: nothing.
Does your T have your permission to take any reference to suicide, or potential reference to suicide, as consent to talk about it with you? Mine absolutely does not, although we speak on suicide frequently, we have some reeeeeeally clear rules/boundaries about it.

I’d rather be raped under the threat of being committed against my will; (which would mean losing custody of my child, losing my career, & quite possibly my freedom)... than be forced to have a conversation against my will, under the same threat.

Because, at least then? I could have them arrested for sexual assault. I’d still have lost everything, but it at least approaches Justice that they’d lose at least some of what they took away from me.

IMO Any therapist who took my mentioning suicide in passing as consent, and thereby forced me to risk everything? Is just as f*cked up a piece of shit as someone who rapes anyone who mentions sex in passing, because they “consented” by bringing it up. f*ck that. And f*ck them.

***

<grin> Now... To be clear? I talk about suicide (and things that sound like suicide or suicidal ideation and are not in any way related; it’s just an unfortunate language issue) with every trauma therapist I’ve actually worked with.

BEFORE we have even our first conversation about suicide? There’s a conversation about how those conversations are going to go. Clearly defined boundaries and expectations on both of our parts. To keep either of us from being put in an awkward position, much less either of us being forced into doing something we’d rather not do, or in such a way as we’d rather not do it. I work wih T’s who work with combat vets and cops... they will call the SWAT team on your ass if you make them nervous. But it also takes a lot to make the blokes nervous, and they’re fantastic sources of strength & information. So it ends up being a really functional well-working paradigm. As long as each of us does what we need to do... to keep from forcing the other person’s hand? It’s an “easy” conversation to have, and keep having... becuase the foundation is built on ongoing respect & super clear boundaries/expectations. Because both of our lives hang on this balance.
 

Friday

Moderator
I don't want to have negative feelings about her. I don't want these ruptures.
Because in abuse that’s accepting more and more bad treatment as normal? As opposed to in healthy relationships mistakes, and fights, and disappointments are a) normal & b) not precursors to worse yet to come?

And/or because it’s destroying the fantasy that happy-families / good relationships / etc... NEVER have the “same” aspects to them, like negative feelings, that abusive families & relationships have?

I could be totally off base... it’s just a common thing. That takes experience dealing with disappointment, anger, hurt feelings, mistakes, and other normal life stuff, to SEE it as normal life stuff. With a person you like & respect. That it’s not a black & white, all or nothing, perfect or evil kind of thing.


How do you work through these ruptures with your T?
More often than not, I simply end things. I’m pretty black & white about a helluva lot of stuff... BUT... if someone has earned my respect? I usually bring shit to the table, first. Because that respect means I owe them that much. Nope, it’s not the healthiest of paradigms, I’m sure. But it’s ALSO what I usually do. If someone I respect crosses one of my lines? I’ll bring it to them, out of respect, but? If it’s not sorted, or handled badly (and I don’t have wiggle room for that, which is sometimes yes / sometimes no) I end it. Wiggle room in allowing for a bad day, or partly sorted, I’ll ride things out for a spell... but we’ll be on thin ice.

If it’s NOT a rupture, but something I’m well aware of struggling with? Like my “whatever” just got ZING’d, or I’m feeling XYZ, or anything that I’m very much aware is far more about me & the headspace I’m operating out of, then them, or what happened? I’ll let things play out quite a bit longer. Not indefinitely, but at least until I’ve switched out of whatever headspace I’m in, or feelings I’m flooded by, and have the benefit of cool reason/perspective to make a judgment call.

Some of my tells that I use, to figure out if I’m being rational & this is a problem I have with them or if it’s a problem I’m having with me? Cognitive Distortions & Boundaries.

- Distortions- Meaning if I can do a quick playback on my own thoughts/feelings about what’s happened is it eyeballs deep in always/never? Or Mindreading? Or (fill in the other usual suspects, here).

- ZING’d (something I struggle with) - I hope this is self explanatory because my stuff isn’t really relevant to this convo. But if not? It’s baaaasically the misdirected thing. Either I’m avoiding my stuff by focusing on them, or feeling “better” by targeting them as the problem instead of the problem I want to avoid; or I’m triggered / mixing up past & present; or ...etc.

- Boundaries... I added the ZING’d bit above, because it goes into this. Am I USUALLY okay with being disappointed, or someone making a mistake? If so, then I need to check myself. If not? I really need to look at my boundaries. Because if someone is “never” allowed to make a mistake, or hurt my feelings, etc.? That’s a hard limit? I have impossible standards to meet. The same way as if someone is “always” allowed to etc.

So when I’m figuring out how much is me/them? Figuring out where my own head is at, where it’s usually at, and if I’m assessing things based on THIS relationship... or past abuse/trauma/whatever? Is usually quite key/helpful.
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Does your T have your permission to take any reference to suicide, or potential reference to suicide, as consent to talk about it with you?
No, because we've never ever spoken about this and I've never given any indication that this has been in my thinking. Clearly I need to go back a stage and get an agreement about this. I think it has sort of come out of the blue, but also not really.



Because in abuse that’s accepting more and more bad treatment as normal? As opposed to in healthy relationships mistakes, and fights, and disappointments are a) normal & b) not precursors to worse yet to come?

And/or because it’s destroying the fantasy that happy-families / good relationships / etc... NEVER have the “same” aspects to them, like negative feelings, that abusive families & relationships have?

I could be totally off base... it’s just a common thing. That takes experience dealing with disappointment, anger, hurt feelings, mistakes, and other normal life stuff, to SEE it as normal life stuff. With a person you like & respect. That it’s not a black & white, all or nothing, perfect or evil kind of thing.
Yeah, all of the above! It's just another thing to manage. Another problem. Another thing to steel myself against. Another thing to have energy to put into when I'm running low on energy and resilience.
And then that's when it feels too much again, and then I'm in a vicious cycle.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
Yeah, she must have not heard or realised what I said. Because she does care and is very empathetic. And I'm not good at voicing my needs.
This might not be applicable to your situation. I'm throwing it in here mostly as an example of another possibility.

There have been a lot of times that my T didn't react or respond to something when I expected him to. Turns out there are several possible reasons for that. 1) He actually likes to have a chance to think about stuff sometimes before he says something. This took awhile for me to figure out. Actually, I guess I DIDN'T figure it out, he point blank told me he does that sometimes. 2) Sometimes he's waiting to see if I'm going to expand on things at all. Maybe because I'm not very good at voicing things either and if he speaks up too fast, I'll never get better at it. 3) I think there are probably other reasons I haven't thought of yet. When ever I start thinking there are only 2 possibilities, (he didn't hear me or he doesn't care) I try to recognize that I'm probably missing something because there are nearly always a LOT of possibilities.

As far as suicide goes, that wasn't a topic he didn't react to immediately. But the conversation that followed was mostly exploring the difference between thinking about suicide and actually wanting to die. Those thoughts exist on a continuum too.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
I think the majority of my posts in this forum over the years have probably been about therapy and my therapist – ruptures we've had and the internal conflict I still frequently feel after seven years, which manifests in such strong push/pull feelings about her. (Seven years! How on earth did that happen when I thought at the start I'd probably need to go for about three months?! Ha!)

Ruptures are awful. I've felt hurt, disappointed, misunderstood, let down, angry, panicked, ashamed, embarrassed, uncared for, rejected, dismissed...probably the whole spectrum of not so nice feelings! When things aren't good between me and my therapist, I find it really, really stressful and it can become all-consuming. And it really ramps up the push/pull internal conflict, with part of me desperate to make things alright with her and another part desperately wanting to run. It's exhausting.

While some ruptures have really felt insurmountable – this is it, this is so bad and I won't be able to get past this, and I can't see how I will ever feel really ok with her again – we have always worked it out. Sometimes, that has taken one conversation. Other times, longer.

What does working it out look like? I suppose it just means continuing to show up and talking about things honestly. It means I have to express what's happened (and how I feel about it, which is often the hard part for me – expressing that/how something has impacted me emotionally) And I also have to be open to truly listening to her. Which doesn't mean I can't challenge her on something or say I don't agree or say that we seem to be misunderstanding each other as we're going round in circles or whatever...but it means being prepared to listen to her experience/intention rather than me simply being driven by my magical mind-reading skills of why I think she's done something and what I think that means or doesn't mean...or me being driven by triggered trauma-related emotions eg around feeling rejected or betrayed.

It's not always gone smoothly. At the start, talking it through was quite the rollercoaster. Probably, in part, because having an honest conversation about these kinds of blips and how I felt about them was just so alien to me and it was terrifying. I didn't really know how to do it and I'd either be full of adrenaline or spacing out, so I think I was probably rather inelegant in delivering my feedback! She would often then get defensive. And then the whole thing would escalate even further. Over time, I think we have both got better (maybe by having a better understanding of each other?) at having these conversations and dealing with these things.

Why is it healing? I guess the idea is that it shows us that we can be open and honest about our feelings, our needs, and when we don't feel heard/understood etc and we can learn that these conversations don't always end disastrously! And even accepting that sometimes we express our feelings/needs and the other person doesn't/can't meet them – we learn that that is ok. It doesn't mean there's anything 'wrong' or 'bad' about us for having the need. But, they can't give us what we want at that time. But the relationship still survives – reparation is possible. 'Healthy conflict' with our therapists can model for us how healthy relationships can work.
But, that doesn't mean it feels comfortable or good when you're in the middle of it.

I can understand it not landing well when your T didn't acknowledge your comment about SI. And I definitely relate to feeling pathetic and stupid when these kind of ruptures happen. It can be incredibly painful. As others have said, there could be all sorts of reasons why she didn't respond re: SI. The only way you're going to really know what was going on for her, or to find a way through this rupture with her, is to bring it up.

And I know that's hard. It sounds like you're in a tough place at the moment – with this therapeutic rupture, with difficult feelings that are emerging, with feeling low in energy and resilience etc. It takes effort and energy to dive into this – ruptures and trauma stuff. I think you are processing a lot. Try to be gentle with yourself while you navigate it all.

Sorry – a long essay! I do so relate! For what it's worth, from what I've read from you here in other threads, I do think you and your T will be fine. It always sounds to me that you have a good relationship, that she is a good T and that she cares. If those three things are true, I do believe your relationship can survive the odd storm.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
This might not be applicable to your situation. I'm throwing it in here mostly as an example of another possibility.

There have been a lot of times that my T didn't react or respond to something when I expected him to. Turns out there are several possible reasons for that. 1) He actually likes to have a chance to think about stuff sometimes before he says something. This took awhile for me to figure out. Actually, I guess I DIDN'T figure it out, he point blank told me he does that sometimes. 2) Sometimes he's waiting to see if I'm going to expand on things at all. Maybe because I'm not very good at voicing things either and if he speaks up too fast, I'll never get better at it. 3) I think there are probably other reasons I haven't thought of yet. When ever I start thinking there are only 2 possibilities, (he didn't hear me or he doesn't care) I try to recognize that I'm probably missing something because there are nearly always a LOT of possibilities.

As far as suicide goes, that wasn't a topic he didn't react to immediately. But the conversation that followed was mostly exploring the difference between thinking about suicide and actually wanting to die. Those thoughts exist on a continuum too.
Thanks @scout86 , that's true I'm trying to read her mind and there could be a whole host of reasons why she didn't pick up on it. I need to ask her and listen and understand.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks @barefoot , that really helps. Thank you for sharing.
Yeah, I think T and I have a good relationship and I think she cares and gets it. She said she thinks we can work it through, so that helps give me confidence too.

It's all so messy and difficult, but I hope it can all be resolved in next week's session.
 
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