Vulnerable To Criticism

Not open for further replies.


My T walked out of an appointment 2 weeks ago. I was in the middle of trying to explain to him why a particular string of emails he'd sent me was so hurtful, and he announced that he was sick of my constant criticism and up and left.

I was being critical at the time. The emails I was talking about had each brought me to tears. And it was the second time in 3 months that I'd received a string of emails from him that were that hurtful, so I thought I'd raise it with him.

Prior to that? I'd spent about a month trying to reassure him that the new trauma team at the inpatient facility where I did a 3 week course thought he was great, that the work we did together was great, and I was lucky to have someone so supportive as my T. Somewhere in there he'd been feeling criticised. I know that it was only a few months back where he told me (by email) that I didn't need another psychotherapist, I just needed to work harder, and even though he doesn't have an egotistical bone in his body, I can't help wondering if his nose is a bit out of joint that I do now have a new psychotherapist (that specialises in trauma). My idea was that the two of them would be working with me from different angles on the same sorts of issues...I'd be working harder...good thing..?

But he obviously feels like the criticism from me has been overwhelming. Not my intention, but that's how he feels.

I feel so vulnerable moving forward. I should apologise for making him feel that way. But how I feel seems largely irrelevant. And between the 2 of us, I'm the one with complex ptsd and shocking memory and borderline traits. If I was mediating between him and me, I'd be far more inclined to believe him and his version.

So I'm left questioning - could I have been that critical for so long without realising? As the emotionally and mentally unstable person in the room, how am I ever supposed to have my side of the story accepted when I'm countering the version of my therapist? And if he decides not to see me again, it's his version that goes in writing to the rest of my treatment team, and even if they hear me out, I wouldn't take my word over his given my mental state, so why would they?

With all my issues on board, do I just accept that it's me that was doing something wrong, even though I had no idea I was doing it? How do I have confidence that my version is legitimate when a perfectly sane person says otherwise? And how could I possibly expect others to side with my version, given how many issues I've got on board?

My ptsd makes everything I say, all of my behaviour, suspect. If someone takes issue, especially a therapist, how am I ever supposed to be believed??


@Ragdoll Circus this is just my opinion but it sounds as if this T is insecure and taking that out on you. The very fact that he walked out on a session would for me be such a trigger that I would never return. A good T needs to be able to accept criticism and understand that if therapy is one of the few places we feel safe there may be times that we lash out/criticize our therapist and they need to accept that and deal with what ever emotions it brings up for them on their time not on ours.


That's awful, it's not ok that he walked out of your session or that he reacted that way to his perception that you were being critical. Any adverse feeling he has about his work, issues with his client work, feeling criticised or whatever belong in supervision not in your therapy.

It's right that you should feel able to raise every and any issue about your therapy or your relationship with him without him being defensive or blaming. It is not ever your job to look after your therapists feelings.

If you plan to continue working with him, I'd be talking to him about your expectation that you can bring issues and he can respond openly and deal with his own feelings otherwise how could you possibly feel safe with him. Try not to second guess yourself - it's his problem, not something you did wrong.


@FauxLiz - that's exactly how I'm feeling. Like he's insecure. He has way more invested in me than is healthy- emails go back and forth every day (until now), sometimes as late as midnight. That's not healthy.

Even so, I remain the one with ptsd and borderline traits. When it comes to an exchange of "he said/she said", if I was an objective observer, I'd go with the therapist's version.
I think it's really, really tough to separate the million issues sometimes.

I also think therapist are often wrong.

You should trust your gut. Sometimes they aren't right at all - I've had my fair shares of those. Plus, sometimes we outgrow what they can offer, which isn't being critical, just being real. They are human too, so being humble and accepting that is often really hard for them.


When it comes to an exchange of "he said/she said", if I was an objective observer, I'd go with the therapist's version.
Not when you have a chain of emails which reduced you to tears. I know in the UK the very existence of that level of between session contact would indicate issues on the part of the therapist - at least in terms of fostering dependence and lack of professional communication.


It is baffling to me that a therapist is seeking reassurance from a patient. You are paying him to treat you, and not vice versa. Him monopolizing your time for self assurance, in session and through email. It sounds like a very unhealthy T/patient relationship. If it were me, I would find a new therapist. Your time is worth more, you are worth more than what he is giving you as a therapist.


emails go back and forth every day (until now), sometimes as late as midnight. That's not healthy.

Again just my opinion but this sounds a lot like counter-transference. He has become too involved in your day to day life with daily emails. I am one that has the ability thank heavens to email and text my T when I need the assistance. I also received a surprise supportive email this week on a day that he knew was the anniversary of a trauma and we had discussed that I was not doing well with self-care this week and had spent the weekend re-enacting the trauma and self-harming. I trust my T but I think he has too much invested in the Therapist/Client relationship and you are probably at the end of what he can do to help you with right now. Again this is just my opinion.


So I'm left questioning - could I have been that critical for so long without realizing?

IDK about you, but I know I certainly can be!

But just because I can be, doesn't mean that I am, or was.

I wouldn't take my word over his given my mental state, so why would they?

Why would they look at this situation differently than you would look at it?

- Some people won't. They'll be right in line with your thinking.
- Others? May be 6 degrees left. Yes. You've clearly been hypercritical, however, they also completely believe you that it hasn't been your intention to be, and see this as something to learn to recognize and work on, AND see his actions as completely inappropriate, // siding with you against him, for exactly for the same reason you list as reasons to side with him against you.
- Others? Are going to be more balanced. Yes you were hypercritical, and yes he overreacted, but there are no sides in this. It's not black and white.
- Others? Aren't going to care a whit about what actually transpired, and are going to be far more interested in your leap to judgement (one of us is right, one of us is wrong, there are sides, and no one will take my side, no one will believe me), or need for someone else's approval, or....

Yikes. I could keep going on diverging points of view, and posit what they may or may not be for 10 more pages. The short of it is:

Some will believe you and side with you
Some will believe you and side against with you
Some will not believe you and side with you.
Some will not believe you and side against you.
Some will not take sides.
Some will believe both of you.
Some will not believe either of you.
Some will seize on an entirely different aspect or angle of what happened.


This sounds very manipulative.
Also since this sounds as if one or more parties might be misunderstanding the other, I would put my foot down and refuse to communicate via email with him. Period. Too many chances for for confusion or misinterpretation


If this therapy isn't working for you then you don't have any obligation to stick with it to make him feel better. Dumping therapists is tough but sometimes it needs to be done. I'm glad to hear that you have another therapist so that you won't be left scrambling to find someone else. I'm sorry to hear this happened to you.
Not open for further replies.