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Last january (or maybe even earlier) this year, my therapist told me something traumatic...

Discussion in 'Treatment & Therapy' started by littleoc, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. littleoc

    littleoc Making everywhere I go a better place Premium Member Donated

    ...and I can't get over it.

    She actually told me two things.

    I was unable to react to let her know in any way that it troubled me. But before she told the story, she even said, "I hope this doesn't traumatize you, but..."

    Does anyone know how to move forward with such a thing? It's something that I am assuming she doesn't see as traumatizing, and honestly I'm not sure if most people would...? But the images she described are haunting me and it's been months, and I'm afraid to bring it up in therapy or even in my trauma diary.

    Not that I'll be seeing her so soon anyway. I'm unable to get therapy again until after August or so (in a different city) so maybe I'm not going to be bothered if I give it time...?

    Anyone have any experience in this?
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  3. hithere

    hithere Active Member

    I don't have that experience you mention. However, I do know from experience that the way to deal with this is to take some time and sit with the images. Just stare at them. Force myself to stare the disturbing image (in my mind). do this for as long as you can, try a whole second, then move on to two seconds, etc. You will find that very, very quickly the images will not haunt you anymore. If it's your own trauma images, I suggest doing it with another person present. I had some images that I thought would make me go literally "mad" if I stared at them, and I learned after the initial panic that the whole things just settled down and they don't haunt me anymore
  4. somerandomguy

    somerandomguy Learning how to be myself Premium Member

    If she didn't see it as potentially traumatizing, she wouldn't have prefaced it by telling you she hoped you wouldn't be traumatized. It sounds like not very good therapy to me.

    It sounds like you need to work through it. Is there any chance at all that you might be able to see someone local?
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
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  5. scout86

    scout86 I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    Can you email her? If nothing else, just to say, "You know that thing you hoped wouldn't traumatize me? I think maybe it did."

    You said you're afraid to bring it up or even write about it. What do you think would happen if you did? It could be that discussing it here would help take away some of its power.
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  6. littleoc

    littleoc Making everywhere I go a better place Premium Member Donated

    I've tried this with some things. It seems to work pretty well, for "simpler" traumas. So, thank you for bringing it up :) Not to pry, but did your image cause you any physical pain or maybe something existential? Because I'm having problems with pain in my belly, some olfactory flashbacks(?), and some (I guess?) existential dread(?). Some of it from my actual memory, but a good bit of it, suddenly from her memory. I'm afraid of getting too deep into the memory, I think?

    I was going to just say no, but I realized that I technically could. If they're willing to meet me nearby. I'm on top of an isolated mountain community at the moment, for a job. The University. They have psychologists but they will not see me anymore because I'm an alumnus. Plus, I already got their personal history out of them, so it might be weird. (They gave it to me after we terminated our therapy relationship because I was curious. So the power balance would be wrong now.)

    The one therapist who is around, I'm very carefully avoiding.

    I guess I could technically go back to my hometown and see this therapist and tell her that the memory is bothering me, but she doesn't really know the other image it's bringing up for me and I physically can't talk about it.

    I guess she had an idea that it might traumatize me. But she didn't really know how... empathetic? my brain is.

    For some reason that absolutely terrifies me. I don't even want to bring it up. Because then I'd have to remind her of which memory and why? I guess? Also, I think it was traumatizing for her, too...?

    Therapists drop me like a moldy fly because I'm "too insightful" and I'm a bit afraid this one will also. I mean, that's my excuse, at least -- there's probably more to it.

    You have a point. Words feel like reality to me and I'm afraid of making it too real. Is there a way to make it less real?

    Someone in my diary offered to help me with it once, because she was an emergency dispatcher and could help me organize it. But I haven't really wanted to use up their time or personal energy. And I'm partially afraid to type it out here because it might also traumatize someone else, if it traumatized me.

    Though, there is that one section on this site for premium members to say things privately. So I guess I could put it there if I was okay with never getting feedback on it. Or I could write it down in a not-safe area here, so I don't dirty it with the memory, and then burn it so no one can read it, ever. Including me.

    I feel like I'm on the wrong track though.

    Reading back on everything I just said -- looks to me like I'm both trying to avoid the memory and trying to address it with the hope of getting rid of it. So I need to act on one of these solutions or I'll be walking in circles with you guys. I sort of feel like I'm opening the fridge for a snack, not finding what I want, closing the door, lowering my standards, and looking again for a snack. Then closing the door, lowering my standards again...

    Guess I should make myself some dinner :p

    Thank you for the replies. :) They are very appreciated.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2018
  7. TommySunlight

    TommySunlight Member

    "But she didn't really know how... empathetic? my brain is." Sounds like what another poster mentioned that maybe said therapist is not a good fit for yourself. The issue with being overtly empathetic is it makes one a sponge for negativity and perturbed sensations, as empaths will try to make sense of such occurrences. I could be wrong but it seems now you are looking for resolution?(sorry if I'm off the mark just that is what I got bit if I'm wrong apologies) from said trigger.
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  8. littleoc

    littleoc Making everywhere I go a better place Premium Member Donated

    @TommySunlight I haven't welcomed you yet, so: Welcome to the forums!

    But anyway:

    I've gone through a lot of therapists. This one is actually a pretty good fit.

    Although, as soon as I said that, I was also about to say, "She was my little brother's therapist, and my twin brother's therapist, and I've met her husband and son, and I know why she divorced her last husband" although to be fair, that reason made me feel better about my financial problems. Though come to think of it again, she could have told me her financial problems without telling me that it had been because of her husband's problems...? And maybe she shouldn't be mentioning in therapy that she feels that my little brother has "bad coping ability" when I've revealed that I'm afraid for him? After we found out in EMDR that I wasn't afraid of him for the expected reasons...

    I'm not really sure how to react to those thoughts. I'm not feeling like it's a particularly good idea to change therapists right now, though, so I guess I'll just think on it for the three months I don't have one?

    She has been there for me though. She is a flawed human being like the rest of us I suppose? Or do other people's therapists not do that...? Maybe I should start another thread.

    We get along pretty well, though, and she really likes me. She has trusted me with a lot of her personal information [I underlined what I thought was possibly a bad sign, for my own use when I'm thinking about this later. Didn't want to change the thought on "paper."]

    Although, I only remembered all that when it was said once, so I will think on it and start a new thread about it if it seems to be something to worry about. So far, nothing else has happened. We are usually a good fit.

    Yes, before trying to switch therapists or anything else that's a large change, I felt like it would be a good idea to try to resolve the actual problem in my head first.

    Or, how to react to it, actually, because I kind of just haven't. She told me the memory she had that was traumatic, I had a flashback, my service dog looked at me, and I was careful not to react because I didn't want to make my therapist feel guilty. Then, I said, "That's horrible, I understand that" (basically), and she took it as a cue to tell me about a similar story that had actually happened on "on of the couches in the waiting room" and she went into detail on the gore a bit.

    I was kind of wondering why she said that but I gave her positive feedback. Sounds like I have multiple problems to figure out here. Seems mostly like a me thing, not a her thing.

    It was incredibly gory. I would actually not tell my mother what she told me... come to think of it. I tend to keep more secrets the more something bothers me, though.

    Edit to add: It is technically not a secret, though.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2018
  9. Sietz

    Sietz I'm a VIP

    Yes I've had that experience. I don't think it has any therapeutic merit nor do I think it has value in your process. Desensitization is a thing, but I dislike it. I don't want to be desensitized to horrific things.

    I didn't think that T was a right fit for me, and was in denial about it for a long time.
  10. MyWillow

    MyWillow Well-Known Member

    Putting my animal behaviourist hat on again, the line between desensitization, flooding and sensitisation is very, very fine. It’s not to be taken lightly.
  11. scout86

    scout86 I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    This sounds pretty messy.

    It's not your job to protect your therapist. I have a tendency to want to protect other people. That's not a bad thing, the way I see it, but, sometimes, it can over board. Sometimes, for example, you keep secret things that are better off told, because you're trying to protect someone else. Finding the right balance is hard, at least for me. But, at least for me, therapy wouldn't work if I felt like I had to protect my T. He's spent a lot of time & effort convincing me he can take care of himself. People probably have to be able to unload stuff on others, that's fine. I'm sure my T does that, but not with me. At least not about anything that relates to stuff I have trouble with.
    How is that a problem? Did they actually say that??? I thought "insight" was a GOOD thing.

    As far as writing about it here and traumatizing anyone else, I don't think you have to worry about that. People can pick and choose what they think they can handle. Words really don't have magical powers. Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure someone here has not only heard worse, they've probably lived worse.
  12. littleoc

    littleoc Making everywhere I go a better place Premium Member Donated

    Well, maybe I should consider seeing a local therapist here like @somerandomguy suggested, solely to see if I can find a better fit? Maybe another therapist could help me out in figuring it out?

    It's weird, because that one really bad therapist I had, I did complain about to my current therapist. I remember her being supportive and saying that a degree in feminism wasn't a degree in trauma therapy. Ended up not having to pay for any single visit I had with that bad therapist :p

    What are those? :)

    That's really great. I don't think mine even knows I worry about this. I just haven't brought it up. So -- it might be a me issue, but I should try to find out, because maybe it's both of us and maybe it's worth working on? I've spent a lifetime being really careful with what I say, so maybe that's why.

    I think normally it's a good thing! In this case, the therapist said something consistently that was wrong, so I started correcting it and then in a group setting starting throwing what psychology I do know at her. All of them told me I was giving her therapy and I should be moved to another department. That was a weird time though. But yeah, I was possibly behaving inappropriately. But glad she heard what I had to say just enough to be annoyed

    I will try to teach myself that.

    That's a great point. The person who offered to help me out in my trauma diary herself had told me she saw something that was basically the same thing. She seems to have handled that okay, herself

    Plus, this is a trauma site.

    I think I'm just catching myself hoping you guys will tell me some way to not have to talk about the memory again or think about what my therapist told me, without having to mention it to my therapist (that feels impossible for some reason) or mention it anywhere where I could work through it.
  13. TommySunlight

    TommySunlight Member

    thanks! glad to come across...first I just to say im so very sorry this happened
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