Not sure- therapy relationship concerns (again)

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
I have another thread about my relationship with my therapist. Some basic facts. I've been seeing her for years. After years of paying, I had some huge financial constraints and she gave me free sessions for a time. Now she gives them to me at a hugely reduced rate. I wish that didn't matter, but it does to me. T went through a lot of stuff. Illness of husband, several surgeries, etc. So she had life going on. I went through a lot of life stuff too. And then there's covid. Since then things haven't been as good. I've always found T about flaky. Once therapy started she would be focused and super insightful. But some of the admin, and getting into therapy mode could be all over the place. Once covid hit and we went to telehealth sessions that got worse.

She has always asked for emails between sessions. She either wasn't getting or wasn't reading emails. She was taking for ever to settle down and focus when we had our sessions. She also just didn't seem as mentally present. One day it was especially bad and she joked that she was only that way with us. I guess that triggered us or something. One of our parts finally said something to her about it in an email. We made the mistake of using the word flaky and she took offense and took it to mean things we didn't mean. A lot of talking and we worked things out?

Back to the money and sliding scale. One of the things she talked about was how much money she has not charged us and how she squeezes us in and often it's when she'd take a lunch break. Which... a snarky, defensive whatever part of us wants to protest because we schedule online. So unless she sees us on the schedule and then opens up other appointments it doesn't seem right. Anyway, we are just being difficult. She said she was telling us about the money, not to make us feel bad, But to explain why she took time transitioning into schedules. And to show how committed she was and that if it wasn't working for us, we really needed to do something different.

So, after talking things were better but not great. Then I *briefly* got involved in some unhealthy, for me, bdsm stuff. I pulled out and got into a healthy bdsm relationship. T has freaked out though and sent a very hurtful email. I get why she freaked out. In the past I was in a very harmful bdsm relationship which was re-traumatizing me.I get the need for caution and expected questions and concern. I wanted that becuase I knew it's good to have reality checks. She now admits the email she wrote was hastily written. There were prior emails from me with info she didn't receive because of some server issues. There were emails from me she didn't read. She says that she was reactive and didn't have all the info. That email and some subsequent conversation, before we sorted things has broken a lot of trust.

So, I'm still in the bdsm relationship. I am still willing to have conversations about it. T keeps saying she doesn't know what's going on and if it's healthy but I keep talking about it and telling her. That's hard. I feel unheard. It is different than past, unhealthy relationships. In our last session I pointed out to T that none of our insiders are saying there's a problem. No one is panicking or feeling hurt. T says every single session that she's traumatized by the unhealthy bdsm relationship I had and feels protective and is acting out of that feeling. I feel like she's stuck. I mean, I'm still willing to allow the possibility that I'm in the biggest case of denial I've ever been in. I don't think so though. And even if I am, what's happening isn't shifting me from that.

It's not just that though. I sent her an email before session like she has asked for. And it was kind of a big deal. I had surgery and it was an update on that as well as talking about other things. When our session started T said I hadn't sent an email in a long time. I reminded her about the email I'd sent (a few days ago). At first she seemed skeptical. I knew she'd gotten it because she'd replied and said she'd reply more later. (she almost never does, when she says that). She then said she'd gotten it but hadn't read it. So I started to talk about surgery and how there had to be a second surgery and she interjected and said she had read the email. And ok, great. But it just is kind of discombobulating. Things like that happen moderately often. And I don't want to send her emails anymore. Even though she has asked for them. There's been too many issues. The server is fixed so she's getting all my emails but I'm kind of done?

Also, she talked some about her dog dying. And I feel like a shit but I am tired of hearing about her shit. I mean, she's had a ton going on. I know that. And I feel really bad her dog died. But it seems like there's always something. The session before that she mentioned how she was working from breakfast to bed time without a break and was exhausted. It's not like she goes on and on about that stuff. It tends to be a brief interlude but it's always making me conscious of the fact she's struggling in life. And I start thinking since I barely pay her anything I should just stop seeing her. At least it would be one last burden on her (ok, that I know is old tapes). Bah, I'm probably just being horribly insensitive and unappreciative.

Maybe I take a break. Maybe I wait until telehealth disappears and see if that makes a difference. It was better when we were in person. Also, I'd be able to pay her more because insurance isn't paying anything for telehealth as she's out of network. I don't know. Maybe I'm just using these issues as an excuse to avoid therapy?

ETA- Much of the time things are good. We do focus on therapy. We talk about issues. I'm making things sound worse than they are.
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I remember your other thread.

These things spring out to me:
She has offered reduced rates. That was her choice. She needs to take responsibility for that and move on. I see no theraputic value in bringing that up with you again, unless it is to change the sliding scale. Otherwise of course it would make you feel bad. Don't feel bad, and don't accept things you wouldn't accept if you were paying more. You haven't made her accept less money. She offered. That is on her.

The self disclosure from her: hmmmmmm. Over sharing. Why so much? I know nothing about my T save for she lives in the city. That's it. It IS a one way relationship and self disclosure needs to be very very very carefully thought out.

The other things you raise seem to me (someone unknown to all of this and you) to be extensions of where her over sharing comes from: her being unboindaried, for whatever reason. I can see why you feel done with it.

Sorry to say but I don't think you are over reacting. I think it sounds as though you are trying really hard to make this theraputic relationship work given all it means to you and what you have invested in it.

Is the therapy helping you right now?
 

Rumors

MyPTSD Pro
I agree with ^^^ movingforward10 that she chose the sliding scale. However, I do "parts" work with my therapist and she is inclined to talk a lot about my younger version. I don't refer to myself as "we" and wonder if by addressing yourself as plural perpetuates a less integrated perspective. I understand a part of you feels that you are not being heard, but when you say "we made the mistake of saying flaky..." I feel like you are partially not owning that YOU feel like she is flaky...which I believe sets you up for feeling like you can't own your own adult feelings about her behavior. I am not trying to be judgmental or not embrace the part of you that feels slighted. You have every reason to feel slighted. In her defense your history of bdsm could be worrisome as it pertains to triggering abuse memories so I think you should talk it through thoroughly with her. She has been your person for a while and you obviously have trusted her in the past.... talk to her in depth.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you both for your comments. Lots of good things to think about.

I understand intellectually that the sliding scale is her choice and I shouldn't accept less or feel like I owe her. Emotionally I'm stuck, I guess. I hate not being able to pay. And it does seem like me needing more than I should or something? Like if I wasn't so messed up, she'd be willing to drop me as a client because I can't pay.

Over sharing. Why so much?

She says that therapy is about the relationship so I guess she's trying to be relatable?

Is the therapy helping you right now?

Ouch. Umm... I guess I haven't found it super helpful lately. But that could be becuase I'm being difficult and not letting go of stuff and opening up to her. It could be I need to try harder.

I don't refer to myself as "we" and wonder if by addressing yourself as plural perpetuates a less integrated perspective.

Well, I/we have DID. It's not just doing parts work. And using we tends to be integrating more than not because it's acknowledging it's not just me in this body.

but when you say "we made the mistake of saying flaky..." I feel like you are partially not owning that YOU feel like she is flaky...which I believe sets you up for feeling like you can't own your own adult feelings about her behavior.

Hmm.. this is an interesting point and I think you are right. I do feel bad though, becuase it hit a nerve for T. And I really wasn't using it in the condemning way she took it. Not blaming her for that. Language is weird and she had a different, much more severe meaning in her head for that term. More like what we would call irresponsible.

In her defense your history of bdsm could be worrisome as it pertains to triggering abuse memories so I think you should talk it through thoroughly with her

Yes, I totally get that in know it's important to keep talking about the relationship. I'd like to talk about what's happening instead of feeling I need to convince her it's not a repeat of the past relationship.

hmm... I guess, what level of feeling protective is normal?

She has been your person for a while and you obviously have trusted her in the past.... talk to her in depth.

I have been. I do agree that's very important. At what point, does the talking reach an impasse? Or become ineffective?

//

Ok, one other comment she dropped which bugged us more than it probably should have. We dropped contact with our family years ago because of continued harassment and abusive type behavior. We don't have a spouse/partner/kids. So we are on our own and have been most of our life. And mostly, that's ok. But... that loss of family and the support that can come with it sometimes is hard. Anyway. We had sinus surgery two weeks ago. The next day we woke up and were bleeding from our nose and it wouldn't stop. And we were bleeding through the bandage material we had up there. And... technically we were supposed to have someone with us but with covid things were difficult. So we stretched the truth a bit. Heh. I live in a mother-in-law house and my friends are my landlords. There house is on the same property so we said they were staying with me. So in the morning when my nose was bleeding and I was alone and blood was getting everyone... it was not fun. And I texted my landlords when it looked like I was going to need to go to the ER. And they took me and that's amazing and they went above and beyond. But, for that time in the morning, I was alone. And I said something to T about it making me realize how much stuff I've dealt with alone in life. And she then commented about how with covid she'd been alone with her surgeries. And it was like... I know her husband and son live with her so I don't think she was completely alone? But even if she was...I'm not sure. It felt like she missed my point or something... And I don't even know why it bothered me that much.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
And I said something to T about it making me realize how much stuff I've dealt with alone in life. And she then commented about how with covid she'd been alone with her surgeries. And it was like... I know her husband and son live with her so I don't think she was completely alone? But even if she was...I'm not sure. It felt like she missed my point or something... And I don't even know why it bothered me that much.
That would bother me and I think most people! Therapy is about you. You shared something that was important to you. And she made it about her. That isn't being relatable. You didn't need her to share that. You needed her to validate what you shared, and to process, and to focus on you.

Like if I wasn't so messed up, she'd be willing to drop me as a client because I can't pay.
This is you taking on the responsibility for her accepting sliding scale? Maybe?

She says that therapy is about the relationship so I guess she's trying to be relatable?
My T says this too. Nearly every session. And that's when I talk about my feelings about her; where that comes from etc. She might share her countertransference with me in the terms of her picking up emotions like wanting to stop my emotional pain etc and checking that she isn't interjecting too much. That's about being in relationship with each other: not you learning about her. It's still focused on you.

It could be I need to try harder.
Sounds like you are trying really hard.

I'm sorry @Muttly, I think she needs some serious supervision here.
 

Friday

Moderator
You don’t have to end this relationship forever and always to try out a new therapist or six.

One of the few upsides of Covid is that most therapists are doing telesessions now, so you’d be able to interview some who specialize in trauma/ PTSD/ Dissociative Disorders who are IN network & covered by your insurance...even if they’re halfway across the state or across the county.

You know your therapist. You like her. The problems you’ve been having with her you’ve been having for years, and will probably continue to have for as long as you’re working with her. You know you can work with & around those problems. So she’s a relatively safe fallback option if you don’t find anyone else you’d like to work with AND she’s someone you can return to, even if you work with someone else for awhile.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
Now I'm back to thinking everything is good in therapy and I'm exaggerating the problems. That I'm just creating problems.


This is you taking on the responsibility for her accepting sliding scale? Maybe?

Yeah, probably. I do feel responsible. I felt bad enough about being on a sliding scale before she told me how much it had cost her financially. I just... I mean, It seems like I should figure out a way to pay. Somehow.

. That's about being in relationship with each other: not you learning about her. It's still focused on you.

Hmm... I mean, I can see sharing some things. Like, knowing some of her experiences when she was young lets me know she understands some aspects of trauma. And therapy is mostly focused on me.

Sorry, I think I'm being difficult here

So she’s a relatively safe fallback option if you don’t find anyone else you’d like to work with AND she’s someone you can return to, even if you work with someone else for awhile.

Ok, this is helpful to keep in mind. I do know her and have been able to work with her. Things have changed but she's definitely a known entity. I don't know that I have the bandwidth to look for a new T right this moment but it's something I can think about (healing from a surgery and having a bit of a rough go, right now)
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
That I'm just creating problems.

I felt bad enough about being on a sliding scale before she told me how much it had cost her financially. I just... I mean, It seems like I should figure out a way to pay. Somehow.

Hmm... I mean, I can see sharing some things. Like, knowing some of her experiences when she was young lets me know she understands some aspects of trauma. And therapy is mostly focused on me.

Sorry, I think I'm being difficult here
I don't think you are being difficult or causing problems or anything negative. You're just trying to work out the dyanmics between you and your T, and your needs and your feelings.

I hope things work out with you and her. And that you are able to express what you need with her.

The self disclosing she does: if that helps you to feel connected to her and that she understands , then that works for you? I don't think it would work for me, but this is about you and her. And if it feels right for you then that is all that matters.

Whatever you decide to do now, doesn't need to be the decision for ever. You can always revisit how you feel and what you need

Hope it goes ok @Muttly
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
I'm suddenly a bit melty and I'm tired so this post might be all over the place. I happened to be driving kind of close to where my therapist's office is (it's about a 40 minute drive from my house) and I found myself missing it so much. Being able to sit in her office. I don't know, I'm complaining how therapy with her hasn't been so great but I just wished I could be there. I guess insiders feel safer in person than in telehealth appointments. And I guess I just felt a bit more connected to T. So then part of me wonders if I've created all these supposed issues because telehealth doesn't actually work great for us.

Having said that..... It's 3 weeks since surgery and it's not been easy, I guess. And I'm working full time and in school (to get a veterinary technician degree) and the next few weeks I'm doing a pet sitting job on the side. And I'm f*cking exhausted. And I know as I heal from surgery I'll be less. I have at least one more doctor follow up but I think it's more. And I don't want to see T. I see her the friday after this and I keep thinking how I just want that day off to be a full day off (well, except the pet sitting job). But I don't know if that's avoidance. If I'm just not wanting to deal with the issues.

At the same time, taking a longer break sounds really appealing too. But at the same time I worry she will assume that means there really is horrible stuff happening with my dom and I'm acting out and I don't know. It's not that. But... then, if I have time to engage in that behavior I should be able to make time for therapy right? If I have time for fun, I should have the ability and time to do therapy work.

I'm really stressed out about how behind I've gotten in school. I do need to work on that. But again, clearly I'm just making excuses. Because I do spend time at night talking to W (dom) so that means I can do school. It doesn't matter if it's after work and I'm brain dead. I should be able to suck it up. Pets, work, school, therapy that should be my list of priorities. And only if there's time, energy, mental focus left over should anything else happen.... except I can't keep doing this. I can't.

Maybe this rough recovery (whiner!!!!!) from surgery has broken me a bit. I just want a break. I don't want to do school but I'm going to have to suck it up and do it. And I don't want to do therapy. And maybe if things were going smoothly and felt comfortable I'd want to push through more. But it's so freaking frustrating and I'm not sure how much I'm getting out of it right now.

f*ck, now I'm doubting that. Really twisted up at the moment. I want to decide in the next day or so, so I can give T a week's notice so she can free up her schedule.

I'm not sure if this post has made any sense. I want to delete it because I think it's me being stupid and incoherent. If you made it through you deserve a medal
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Your post makes absolute sense. Nothing stupid or incoherent about it.

I wonder if the 'stress cup' analogy night help? S it sounds there are so many competing things happening for you right now?

Hope it gets easier. It really sucks feeling the way you're feeling right now.
 
I think not all phases in therapy can be the "intense, productive, heavy lifting" type.

It's okay to take breaks from therapy.

It's also okay to take breaks in therapy.

To communicate to your T that your brain isn't up for any heavy lifting atm and that you need a few sessions of talking about lighter stuff, about life in general, or of just venting whatever is stressful right now, without going into the analysis of it - just venting.

It's legitimate for therapy to have deeper phases and also phases which are less deep.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
I felt bad enough about being on a sliding scale before she told me how much it had cost her financially. I
Can I say something about that? (I hope so, because I'm going to.)

I have my own business. I'm not a therapist, although sometimes it seems like it, I'm a farrier. One of the pluses of having my own business, far as I'm concerned, is I can charge people any damn thing I want to. I have a bunch of people who get a "senior citizen discount". I've got some people who get a "kid paying their own bills" discount. There are a couple people where I work for free because I know they love their horses, don't have much money, and I enjoy their company. I would NEVER mention how much I'm charging them, much less how much I charge anyone else. That seems to defeat the purpose of the discount. One lady, I trimmed her horses for $20 years and never raised my prices. SHE didn't know that. Why would I tell her? If I had a problem with what I was charging her, I should simply have raised the price.

So, I can't help but wonder what's up with your T. I LIKE being able to give nice people that I believe deserve a break a break. That's what's in it for me. Obviously I can't give everyone a break or I'd be out on the street myself. But the point of doing this kind of thing ISN'T to guilt somebody. Is it?
 
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