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T has broken my trust

Tea Drinker

New Here
Hi, new here and need some help/advice/whatever.

I’ve been seeing someone from Crisis Support since the end of January. I see him three times a week (Mon, Wed & Sat). I find these sessions very beneficial, and he agrees that I do get a lot out of them. His colleagues have also commented on how they can see a positive difference in how I present too.

Anyway, on Wednesday, we’d had a rough session, I went through the full rainbow of emotions, and we had to stop a few times for grounding etc. I was generally a mess.

We were about halfway through our time when he drops the bombshell that he is no longer working on Saturdays effective immediately. That it was temporary as he was filling in for someone on long term leave. He said that he thought he had a few more weeks and has been putting off telling me because he was worried about my reaction (having a routine is part of my risk assessment/safety plan) and has been concerned that I wouldn’t keep myself safe (recent SI & SH). He said that I could speak with one of his colleagues on Saturday, and he would still see me on Mon & Wed.

It was at this point where I went to a very dark place. I told him that I was angry that he hadn’t told me from the start or even a week ago to give me more time to process this. He also knew that this weekend was going to be rough for me anyway because of <reasons>.

He said that he understood and because of that, even though he wasn’t going to be working he would still give me a call on Saturday because, “I know that I’ve just pulled the rug right from under your feet.”

This phone call never happened.

I have had many conversations/rants with him about how badly it affects me when people let me down. I can have the most intense feelings of betrayal over something as small as a missed phone call. He knows this. He’s supported me when this has happened to me when my Mental Health Nurse didn’t call for an appointment or when the Response Team didn’t give me a pre-arrange support calls at the weekends. It f*cks my head up massively. If someone tells me that they are going to phone, I will literally sit by the phone until it rings. And now he’s done it to me. I don’t blame him for not working when wasn’t meant to, it’s the fact that he said he would but didn’t.

One of his colleagues did phone on Saturday though. Not to check in with me however, but instead to tell me that they are going to start me talking with two additional people so that I have support when my guy isn’t there. Logical me can 100% see the benefit of this but this is now too much information to process and too much change to my routine too quickly. It takes me ages to trust people and feel able to tell them things (even small things) and I’m sure that is the case for a lot, if not all, the people on here.

Since that call I’ve been spiralling so much so that I don’t even want to go to my appointment tomorrow. I don’t want to see any of them. I don’t want to have to start the process of this change.

I have a telephone appointment with my Uni tutor tomorrow morning because my next assignment (I’m doing a Psychology & Counselling degree ironically) has a lot of triggering content for me and my PTSD is nowhere near stable enough to cope with it right now. Going to my appointment after this phone call would usually benefit me, but I feel so much anger to him that I don’t know if it would be a good idea.

Thank you for reading (sorry it is so long!)
I realize that you wrote this yesterday, so your appointments are likely to be today. I hope you went to your appointment and were able to let them know how you feel. I think if they promised a phone call then that should have happened - but therapists are human and make mistakes, so would be good to give them a chance to explain or apologize.
I don’t want to see any of them. I don’t want to have to start the process of this change.
Sometimes, one of the most powerful ways to combat our cognitive distortions (like, he’s abandoned/betrayed me because he changed the days he sees me - catastrophising) is to behave in ways that will help our brains normalise the situation. Think exposure therapy, or cognitive-behavioural approaches.

For example, if the thought of dropping coins everywhere at the checkout gives you a panic attack…try it. See what happens. Breathe your way out of the panic attack, and allow your brain to process “okay, that was annoying, distressing, and very uncomfortable…but actually, the sky didn’t fall in.”

Your T hasn’t abandoned you. Sounds like he’s actually just looking after himself, which is essential to his ability to continue to support you. If you can, keep going to your appointments, so that your brain can process “it’s uncomfortable, and distressing, but actually, I can cope with this, and he is still supporting me”.
Sounds like the emotional shitstorm you’re dealing with is the opposite of reality.

Not only are your T, and the people he works with, attempting to be extremely careful of/for you, but they are actioning plans to make sure you have support you want, as well as need, during difficult times (IE people you have an established connection with, because trust issues, so when he is unavailable, backups -that you’ve come to know- are in place).

That is really the OPPOSITE of abandoned/betrayed.

That’s a profound, and deeply respectful, level of care.

To be Frank? I’m impressed, with both him, and his office.

You’re halfway, already, to the feelings-aren’t-facts bit, and rational instead of emotional logic. Keep up with the trend. Feed the wolf you want to win.

And daaaayum! Did you choose a helluva T & office, or what?!? Mad points to you.
I know very well the pain involved in trying to understand the meaning behind a therapist's actions when they aren't predictable or have changed in some way (esp suddenly)... so I really feel you..

My take: if he said he would call and didn't, that needs to be acknowledged and addressed as setting up an expectation and not meeting it isn't something which should just be brushed over... but, like @KayW said, therapists are human and can make mistakes... and like @Sideways was highlighting, these difficult moments can be addressed in order for us to learn that the world doesn't stop spinning when these surprising unpredictable things happen with T... we can over come them...

Try to keep in mind what you feel your T's over all intention is being your T..I know that's hard, esp when we're dealing with difficulties surrounding trust... but you willhave a gut feeling about this... is he trying his hardest (even if he's not gone about it the best way) to meet your needs in a way which protects you and serves your interests? Like @Friday Says there are many good things about this therapeutic set up and it feels like they are trying hard.. even if they don't get it right always..

Another thing I've been thinking in relation to myself is that my traumas have caused me a little to assume other people know what I'm thinking and feeling and should therefore act accordingly... which is a young mindset and all caught up with control so things can be predictable yadah yadah yadah .... but knowing this helps me to see when I'm expecting my T to be a mind reader, when he really isn't and never will be... so I have to learn to step back and speak my needs ... obviously I'm just talking for me but take whatever may be useful!
While I generally agree with what everyone has said here--esp. the parts about your T and the office trying to do what's best for you--I have a bit of a harsher take on the phone call that you didn't get.

He said that he understood and because of that, even though he wasn’t going to be working he would still give me a call on Saturday because, “I know that I’ve just pulled the rug right from under your feet.”

This phone call never happened.
I don't think there's anything pathological or dysfunctional in thinking that this is *wrong* and in being upset about it. Yes, therapists are human (most are, anyway), but simply by virtue of the fact that they are therapists means that they have taken on a greater responsibility and should be held to a higher standard. If my therapist promises to take emergency calls (which I never make because he's not) and then leaves a message that he's not available but doesn't tell me, he absolutely shares responsibility for whatever happens.

That said, we tend to catastrophize everything, and it is useful to step back and take a look at all the good things this office has done for you. Were it I, I'd be spending the next appointment talking about his not calling. You never know. Could be he had an emergency.

In any case, I hope you will continue to move forward with your therapy!
Hi again and thank you for your replies. Your insights were very much appreciated.

Just thought it give an update after what has been an emotionally charged week.

I did keep my appointment with T on the Monday. He was very apologetic from the off and explained that his manager had said that he wasn't allowed to phone me during his time off (data protection breach if he would have taken my phone number out of the office I imagine). I completely understand this. I did suggest however that this could have been relayed to me on the Friday when he was in work either on voicemail or by email so that I was prepared. T agreed that it would have been better this way. T also told me that, as a consequence, he'd ended up feeling pretty crappy all weekend about the situation knowing what I would be going through.
I told him that my Mental Health Nurse had suggested that my anger was misplaced (by directing it towards T) but he disagreed. He said that he had dropped the ball on this and we would work together to rebuild that trust if I still wanted to work with him. I told him that I did, as I know the time we have worked together has had such a positive impact on me overall. He was very pleased of course.

We talked about the benefit of the two additional Ts and although I get it 100%, I was still reluctant (to put it mildly!) to deal with the change at that time and have others knowing my deepest and darkest. T understood and agreed that we work only at my pace on this.

I've had very rough week for various reasons and triggering situations so I've accessed support with T on Mon/Tue/Wed&Thur (Mon and Wed are my standing appointments but Tue and Thur can be used for 'drop-in' in needed) By Thursday, I had improved a lot and we even went as far as classing Thursday as a 'good day' (it was a bit of a stretch but me and T agreed that I needed a win somewhere!)

However, there was a hiccup on Thursday night thanks to an unexpected text. I managed to work through it though with only a couple of negative coping mechanisms and got through work yesterday.

This morning (Saturday) I tried my best to distract myself and managed to grab a shower and do some ironing. Unfortunately, my chaotic brain went and grabbed the wrong side of the hot iron and I knew that I was going to have to go an speak to one of the additional Ts. Big, scary leap forward!

I was sat there for over an hour, just having a brew and trying to calm down in the communal area. They kept checking on me and seeing if I wanted to talk etc nothing pushy though. I went for cig and broke down crying. Stood in the rain for about 30 minutes chain smoking and crying before I went back inside.

Once inside, my upset was turning into a panic attack and despite my best efforts, it wasn't for going anywhere. Additional T saw this and told me that he was going to make me another brew and if I felt able to, he'd like me to come into his office. He took the brew into his office and came and reminded me of his offer.


I went in, there was no expectations from him or me I was just able to have my panic attack in peace whilst he coached me through it. I didn't give him any details and he said that he didn't want me to talk until I was comfortable with him etc so he told me about himself instead and gently asked questions about general things.

I did end up telling him that it was the text on Thursday that had set this off but didn't go into detail. He asked for permission to access my case so that when my main T isn't there, he can have a better understanding of my tells and triggers so he can support me when I don't feel able to actually ask for help (which I never do!)

Honestly, I'm so frickin proud of myself. I'm shaking as I type this as it's been a rollercoaster of a day but two months ago, this situation would have had a VERY different outcome. I know I've still got a looooooooong road ahead of me, with bumps and sharp bends but at least today I feel like I'm on the road and not sat in a ditch by the side of it!

I could never thank my T and his colleagues enough for the work they put in with me (I can be a very stubborn and difficult person at times). They are the reason that I smiled today.
Good job. Sounds like you did some really hard and brave work. It also sounds like you have a great T and his crew.

I hope this week is easier for you
Thank you.

I kept my appointment today and brought up my worries about some time off work that I have coming (mandatory time off).

Historically, I don’t do well being off work and being by myself and my overthink brain, so we’re putting a plan in place on a timetable to make sure I’m out of the house and accessing support. We’re finalising this on Thursday, before the Easter weekend.

It’s scary etc, but I have to keep telling myself that T+ are looking after me and trust in the process.

That being said, I’m drinking more than usual and eating less than recommended as unhealthy coping mechanisms (plus a few other things)

I do try and see the positive side of things, but brain takes over and it all goes to shit!

Gotta trust the process!
Gotta trust the process!
This is great 😊

I think you're doing great... Just keep going, one step at a time... and if you have a bad day, just remember to tell yourself, it's just that. Just 1 bad day. Everyone has bad days. And things do evolve and change. Easier said than done. But you're already doing the hard work. 👍
This is great 😊

I think you're doing great... Just keep going, one step at a time... and if you have a bad day, just remember to tell yourself, it's just that. Just 1 bad day. Everyone has bad days. And things do evolve and change. Easier said than done. But you're already doing the hard work. 👍
Thank you

Today I’m all about ‘gotta trust the process’

Tomorrow may be different

One day at time and all that jazz!

Keep well 🙂