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How to be honest with your therapist?

#14
I was desperately trying to find someone to tell by the time I got in front of my current therapist. Even with that level of willingness, there was a shake out process that lasted a couple years. I made her prove I could trust her. Then I told her. Everything. There are incidental things I don’t tell her.

But The things I went in there to say, I had to, I don’t see how you could do it otherwise. It comes out when it’s ready.
 

siniang

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Thank you all for your responses, many helpful comments and thoughts! (and yay me, I'm actually returning to a thread I started - not like usually where I write my initial post, maybe scan the first couple replies, but never to actually interact with it again :oops: )

I'll revisit the written notes suggestion. I had brought in notes in the beginning, but we never ended up having time to actually go over them, so I stoped at some point. I only have sessions ever couple to three weeks, which probably isn't exactly helpful, either, and I have no option to email her in advance.

What I do think it (might) come(s) down to, though, is: I have a solid core belief that whatever I'm struggling with, feeling, no matter how shitty, just doesn't matter. No one cares. Yeah, I may have felt like utter shit for a few days or have been really really struggling, but unless it's ongoing into the time of T session, it means I survived it. I came out of the other side. So why bother revisiting it, lingering on it. It doesn't matter. No one cares, why would they. So, going on and on about it... whine whine whine... pity party.

Yeah. Nope. Not doing that.

Yes, I understand my T is there to help me develop skills to cope better next time I'm having a meltdown or big fight. I just suck at implementing suggestions (not that I'm not trying). I also can't help but feeling that some are blanket suggestions and I have an instinctive urge to counter any such things. Learned cognitive distortion, I know.

So I guess my homework is:
1) Actually tell T that I'm having a hard time being honest about I've really been doing, regardless of how I am in the very moment of the session. Reiterate that I minimize to the extreme.
2) Maybe investigate why.
3) Work on the core belief that no one cares. Which I can already tell is gonna by a tough nut to crack because even if she may say she does...well...I'm paying her to.

I've kept all different kinds over the years. Different types of symptom-trackers, thought diaries, behaviour diaries, function-meters, etc. All with the aim of noting how I am, with respect to a specific issue, each day.
One of the very first things my T suggested a year ago was downloading an App to monitor/journal moods. Those things just don't work for me. Never have. I tried.

Journaling in general... never been my stronghold, ever. I'm doing a somewhat ok'ish job here on the forum, I guess, but partly because it's an outlet to vent.

I am honest about my trauma and the truths but my daily struggles are different. I have hidden who I am and my inner turmoil for years.
Yep! This.

Trauma....easy. Daily struggles.... no one cares, so you just learn to hide and live with them. And when you've done this for years, decades.... very very hard to come out of this.
 
#17
I have a solid core belief that whatever I'm struggling with, feeling, no matter how shitty, just doesn't matter. No one cares. Yeah, I may have felt like utter shit for a few days or have been really really struggling, but unless it's ongoing into the time of T session, it means I survived it. I came out of the other side. So why bother revisiting it, lingering on it. It doesn't matter. No one cares, why would they. So, going on and on about it... whine whine whine... pity party.
Well, lookey here, I have the same core belief. And I COMPLETELY believe it as it pertains to me. So, switch step....let me look at it as it rolls for you and you do the same for me. I think we’ll see that there’s a bit of space and room afforded to the other we’d never allow ourselves.

For you? I care, don’t know you...just that I can identify with loads you say here and helping others. So, I WANT to tell you it does matter, even what you say is small stuff, that’s HUGE some days. And if you think another doesn’t want the static of your day to day....nope, it’s ok.
Actually helps a load to stand beside someone when you truly believe you’re alone. (Even when your brain says stand alone, it’s better)

Sure, you survive....what got you here in the first place?
Some of the techniques you use everyday are the ones that helped you survive, doesn’t mean you have to keep the process secret if you want to share how it works for you.
For me, there’s phases.....some are ass over tea kettle, but required to get me out the other side. I don’t understand them, so I refuse to put words to them.....but if I take a risk (this whole post is that right now) then, maaaaybe something gets learned.

So it comes down to risk.....how much can you step forward knowing you’re ok to step back if it’s too much?
 

siniang

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I know you guys here care and it means a lot :hug: That's what peer support is about.

I was more referring to...people IRL. And the World at large. Regardless of how I feel, the World will continue revolving around itself and the sun. I'm just one insignificant speck among billions of specks. I'm really not THAT important.

And even writing this makes me cringe....because it has such a melodramatic fishing for attention vibe.

I've developed a major distrust when people say they care. Because my experience is that more often than not a "I'm sorry" (regarding a hardship or a hard time or whatnot) is nothing more than politeness. They don't <really> care and they most definitely don't wanna be bothered by or, god forbid, be impacted and pulled down by your bad mood and complaining. (yep, people have said that to my face). I have absolutely no radar to identify when someone is genuine and when it's nothing more but a platitude. ... or worse, I'm actually annoying people with my drama.

And anyways, history has taught me that being down or crying doesn't exactly accomplish or change anything. So, suck it up and go on with life. It's in the past. You're obviously able to function *now*. And when I say 'I'm fine', in that moment, I not only truly believe it, I just <am>. I'm not exactly living in a linear timeline; I'm hopping through life, if that makes sense. Disconnected step stones. (which makes learning from experience, i.e. applying skills, just as hard)

Another thing I've identified is that I tended to have emotional reactions to some things that were WAY out of proportion as a kid and teen. Couldn't help it. But, my parents are the unemphathetic rational type (so is the rest of my family). So, I learned from this that my default is to assume any reaction is an overreaction instead of ...valid. (and I still kind of do overreact many times....the things I'm having meltdowns over these days? Almost embarrassing)

And you don't dwell on overreactions. Because they're f*cking overreactions. Get your shit together, please.
 
#20
Just an observation. It seems to me as if you are being incredibly hard on yourself. Judging yourself for perfectly understandable and valid thoughts and feelings.

Like you, I also have a difficult time differentiating between genuine concern and platitudes. Real life is tricky for most, but for people with a trauma history it's even more complicated to navigate.

I don't have any answers. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

Sending you safe hugs. 💗
 
#21
Trauma....easy. Daily struggles.... no one cares, so you just learn to hide and live with them. And when you've done this for years, decades.... very very hard to come out of this.
But don't you think the daily struggles are linked to the trauma and probably some of those struggles are related to things that trigger or cause you stress because of their meaning and patterns of relating you mihjy have developed as a consequence. So talking about daily struggles = acknowledging the impact or becoming more aware of relational patterns that you have because of how you learnt to survive?

So that's why it is important to talk about but it also means being real and in touch with that which is hard. Wishing you well.
 
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siniang

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But don't you think the daily struggles are linked to the trauma and probably some of those struggles are related to things that trigger or cause you stress because of their meaning and patterns of relating you mihjy have developed as a consequence.
Yes and no.

I have an actual handful of co-morbid disorders, each with its own clusterf*ck of symptoms. Not every struggle I experience is trauma-related :) And then in addition there's just normal daily life with the totally normal stones it throws at you.
 
#23
@siniang I like to break down my week in to two categories, good things/bad things so that I can step away from the "I'm fine" answer. "I'm fine" is actually partially true so I do report on the things that are fine, but I also report on the things I am still struggling with. I was an "I'm fine" patient for a decade so don't feel bad. It has taken me a very long time to figure out what works for me. I think there is a certain amount of shame that accompanies not being ok, kind of like I am failing at life or something. I desperately WANT to be ok but I realize the only way that can happen is if I actually address the things that aren't ok. 2 lists, one about what is fine and one about what isn't fine. That way it still makes you feel like you have some control..... I hope this helps. I can really relate to being passive about that. Just remember that therapists aren't there to help you with the stuff that is fine.... they WANT and CHOSE to help you with the stuff that isn't. That brings me to the next mind debacle in my head which is vulnerability and trust. Those are two very personal and strong issues that intervene in a healthy therapeutic relationship. I can only tell you that if those things are an issue for you personally, you should share them with your therapist and have a good chat about them. Its important to get to know him/her and how they feel about those subjects. Maybe that is on your "not fine" list this week??? Best wishes!
 
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