A Letter To My Ex-therapist

* It’s been hellish this last week or so and seeing as I can’t reach out to Em anymore to talk about my feelings around the termination of the therapy I have decided to try and put some of it down in a letter (that I won’t send). I have so much to say here on the blog and yet I feel so utterly broken that I just can’t yet. So.… Em….I wish you could see this.

Dear Ex-therapist,

It’s been almost two weeks since I saw you for our termination session and since then, I seem to have been caught up in and emotional storm that I can’t find a way out of. I am so exhausted and disorientated by what’s happened between us that I do not seem to know which way is up and am clinging on for dear life.

I am absolutely devastated about how we have ended this therapy – our relationship. I can’t believe that when it came down to it the relationship we have built over all these years disintegrated in the course of a few weeks and now there is nothing left. I don’t even feel like we really said goodbye.

Things have been hard for a long time. I know that. I am not an easy client to work with, that’s no secret. I keep a lot of things close to my chest and often the moment we get close to the sore areas in session I dissociate which has made it difficult to get to the work- but we both know when I disappear it’s because more than anything, I live in fear of being abandoned and rejected by you and need to protect myself from getting hurt. That fear has always been behind the times when I have crossed your boundary of no outside session contact.

I have been so frightened of being wholly me with you and really showing you how damaged parts of me are because I didn’t want you to repeat the script and leave just like everyone else. I didn’t want to keep you out. I didn’t want us to be working in the dark. I wasn’t trying to be difficult. I wanted to let you in and be close to you – more than anything I wanted that. And I have let you see a lot of me- you know me better than anyone and that has made me feel really vulnerable and so it’s been slow going in the therapy.

I haven’t been worried about the time because, like you said, this kind of work takes time and even though we’ve been working together a long while it’s not all that long in the big scheme of how much trauma there is. I believed that we were in this for the long haul. I knew that there would be times that would feel like we had reached the edges of what was possible but if we just dug in deep we’d come through and each time we did that a little bit more healing would take place. I thought that’s what therapy was all about.

I have so many feelings around what’s happened between us and losing you really feels like a bereavement. For the second time in my life I have lost the person that knew me better than anyone else and I can’t even begin to explain how crushing that feels. The difference is that you are still alive and you’ve left because I am too much and in some ways that makes this even harder to bear than an unexpected death. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to you yet.

This is absolute agony because the end of this therapy has confirmed my worst fears about myself and how I am perceived in relationships. Some of the things you have said recently have really hurt me and I am struggling to let that go. You say you weren’t trying to hurt me but the young parts who you see as ‘adhesive’ and ‘like a tick’ are broken . I was breaking my heart and you said, ‘it was a metaphor’ and that I am ‘sensitive and defensive’.

I so wanted to believe that whatever happened with the therapy we could get through it – I mean we’ve done enough rupture and repair over the time we’ve worked together – but somehow we got to here and there was no repair this time.

To tell you what I did in my notebooks over Christmas was massively risky but I figured it was crunch time. I was scared but at least some part of me also believed that whatever I might say now or whichever part was fronting you’d hold the space and try and encourage me to keep working through it even if I was threatening to throw in the towel because you know that me being vulnerable makes me want to run a mile.

You recently said that you thought the teen part was about as well as other young parts. They are always there but that’s been especially so since the lead into Christmas and it’s been those parts that were so affected by the break and you rejecting the gift I gave you, and then being ignored when I reached out. I can tolerate quite a lot but not all at once and not at this time of year.

You’ve said so many times how things escalate around breaks and how it seems to funnel all the fear about being left and forgotten about into something really difficult to manage for those parts. This happened in a spectacular way this year. I cancelled sessions, text you, sent you my notebooks, and disconnected the skype call… things felt really bad BUT at the same time part of me must have felt safe enough to do that, to act out because it is very rare.

You’ve told me it’s ok to express my feelings and that there wouldn’t be any repercussions for that, you have encouraged me to bring my anger to the room, you told me it would be ok …and when I finally did that look what happened. It’s all fallen apart. You felt you reached the limit of your competency to work with me. I can’t really believe it. Honestly? Out of all the complex clients you must see in a week, it’s me that’s pushed you to the limit?

The defences I have built over the years work really hard at trying to keep me safe and yet often you’ve said that perhaps they aren’t needed in the same way anymore and perhaps they could step aside – particularly the critical part. It feels like now they had good reason to be there…which again is so painful to acknowledge. I wanted to believe things could be different and now I feel like I am back to square one.

Our termination session was so hard for me. I have never really cried with you and even then I didn’t let you see just how bad it was. I have been in pieces since you said we had to stop the therapy. I have been a wreck, crying so so much. I dread going to sleep because in the dark of my bedroom it all catches up with me and I cry myself to sleep. I don’t think you have any idea how painful this is for me. My attachment wound is big and I feel like you’ve poked it with a stick.

There is so much I want to say to you. I needed more than one closing session…I needed more than six… I was not ready for this to be over but knowing that I had no choice in your decision what could I do? As you said, it would just ‘prolong the agony’.

Walking away I feel like I have been dropped from a great height and yet there is no safety net to catch me. We’ve gone from two sessions a week to none. What am I meant to do with all that’s been thrown up because right now I feel like I need therapy every single day to try and get through this. It’s triggered all the trauma feelings and my go to coping strategies are lying in wait. I don’t know how I have managed to hold myself together through this and not resort to self-harming behaviours. It’s a battle, that’s for sure.

The saddest thing about this is that I have started to really blame myself for what’s happened. Now, more than ever, the little girl inside me is certain that she is unlovable and that she is too much.

I am so sad and I miss you so much.

x

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18 thoughts on “A Letter To My Ex-therapist

  1. LovingSummer February 13, 2020 / 10:19 pm

    Dear rubberbandsandchewinggum, reading this stirred me to want to become a therapist so I can scoop you up and offer you everything you need. It pulled my emotions to hear you talk of dissociation as though you had a choice; it’s an age-old coming mechanism that serves people well to help them survive, it is absolutely nothing to apologise for. Please, never blame yourself for someone else’s shortcomings. You have absolutely shone in this whole experience and I hope you soon find real and lasting comfort in your sorrow 💜

    Liked by 5 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum February 15, 2020 / 9:40 am

      Thank you 😊. I’m doing the best that I can. It’s tough going through all this, though because I feel like the very core of who I am has been rejected. I’m trying to convince myself that it’s just a bad fit now and it’s time to move on but actually I’m so very hurt by the way this has all played out. It’s going to take a lot of getting over, that’s for sure. I begrudge being in therapy to recover from therapy!! X

      Liked by 2 people

      • LovingSummer February 15, 2020 / 9:58 am

        Yes, if only you could sent the old therapist your bill.
        I can really understand how it feels like the very core of you has been rejected. Maaannnn… I feel hurt FOR you! So I can only imagine how much you’re feeling it. At the moment it’s like a wound you don’t want to even let the wind blow on, but I hope your healing can be so fast you’ll soon be able to touch that wound and feel nothing; not so much as a dull ache. It’s so fresh and raw right now though, it must feel like torture. You’re such a brave warrior RBCG. You’ve been utterly amazing in all of this 🤗

        Liked by 2 people

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum February 15, 2020 / 11:00 am

        And a refund too??? Hello, please can I have a refund of £12k+ as well as ongoing money to repair damage?! Lol.

        It hurts so much – I can feel the littlest parts screaming inside. Even the teen is crying in agony… in fact I think she’s probably hurt the most as she’s the one who finds it impossible to let people in.

        Thank you for being so kind. I feel like I’m a moaner!

        Liked by 1 person

      • LovingSummer February 15, 2020 / 11:16 am

        You’re absolutely NOT a moaner, you’re a hard-core, full-on survivor of something anyone in therapy would fear the most. And you’re doing it with such integrity of spirit.
        Love the idea of a refund. I wonder if there’s ever been a test-case for getting your money back?!
        I’m guessing there will have been a degree of benefit among that wasted 12k, although I could really understand you having a hard time sitting through, determining the wheat from the chaff, as the saying goes.
        One thing I am certain of… no, two things actually; one day this will not hurt as much, and you have shone like the brightest star in all of this. Truly commendable.

        Liked by 2 people

      • LovingSummer February 15, 2020 / 11:29 am

        And to your little part, I would say: cry all you need, take all the genuine love and hugs you can from as many directions as offered, and know you will be okay in the end. It doesn’t feel like it now but you will survive this too.
        To the teen crying in agony, I would point to the beauty of the strength and resilience we see in the RBCG if today, reflected (in part) by written word here on WordPress, and say, look! Look at who you are becoming. This is the ‘future you’ and that person has a beautiful, raw honesty despite being crushed. She’s the one who conducted herself in such a way that she easily outdid her ex-therapist when it should have been the other way around. That is who YOU are becoming. Hold onto that knowledge and see your true worth.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lucy King February 13, 2020 / 10:48 pm

    I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. It’s not fair and you don’t deserve it. I really wish she could read the letter. I hope this is eating her up. Sending you big hugs which I realise is completely useless to you but it’s all I have 💕💕💕

    Liked by 3 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum February 15, 2020 / 9:42 am

      Thanks L. It’s pretty dog shit that’s for sure. The fact that she is probably completely unaware of the pain this has caused me and that she’ll already have filled my sessions with other clients is a bitter pill to swallow. It’s going to take a long time for me to get over this … and it’ll never really go away. The wounding has plunged right deep into that hole again. Thank you for hugs. Gladly received! 💜

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lucy King February 15, 2020 / 4:03 pm

        I can’t imagine how she could sit with you for all those years and NOT know what you’re now going through.

        I want you to know I think you’re immensely strong and resilient for pushing through this. It’s really amazing actually. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  3. pocketcanadian February 13, 2020 / 11:14 pm

    I’m sending a lot of care your way, rbcg. The parallels between your t loss and mine are uncanny, really, including our grief trajectories. I am heartened that you are able to cobble together words, i look forward to that time, i feel like I’ve been rendered mute and have been stuck in what feels like an endless soundless freefall of a scream, where, one by one, i just decimate all of my intimate relationships in anticipation of them leaving, too. Where i create the reality I’m terrified of, the one I’ve always been told I was destined for.

    Wow, that’s cheery. Sorry.

    I think the fact that you have not reverted to ye olde self harm strategies, and that i haven’t (to the same degree) either, must mean something. And i will cling to that, especially as i feel sure 99.9% of the time that I’ve reached my limit, that I’m not going to pull through this.

    Know I am reading along and that you are not alone. I know it doesn’t much help in the dark of the nights where you cry yourself to sleep except maybe just to know that there’s loads of us, all around the world, doing the same. A cry-in, if you will.

    (Now I’ve just made it weird, haven’t i? I seem to have a knack for that.)

    Liked by 4 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum February 15, 2020 / 9:47 am

      Oh love. I’m so sorry that you’re in the ‘crying into pillow club’ it’s so brutal going through this isn’t it ?Trusting someone with your most vulnerable self and then to be dropped from a great height is beyond painful. I feel like I’m shutting down and stepping back from relationships too – I don’t know how else to be. It’s the last bit of self protection I have but also, like you say, is destructive. How can you trust anyone when the person you pay to hold tight to the other end of the rope lets go? I’m glad you’re holding on to safety as best you can. It’s a trial. You’re not weird at all. I think this is perfectly reasonable given the circumstances… I need rage to come online as I’m just on an energyless void depression! Big hugs to you xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum February 15, 2020 / 9:48 am

      Part of me wants to send it but what’s the point. She won’t hear what I’m saying. She’s vacated the building. Unfortunately, I’m stuck here and it’s on fire!! 😥

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Q February 14, 2020 / 6:52 am

    It is a cruel and bitter irony to have the person who tells you it’s safe to be your full self and bring all your emotions to her then tells you she’s reached her limit. What happened? Did she over-estimate her own capacity for holding intense emotions? Surely she must see how damaging it is to tell someone that they are acceptable and then to refuse to accept their sensitivity and defensiveness.

    Of course you are grieving and devastated. It’s the worst thing you could have imagined.

    I don’t believe, however, that you are back to square one. I believe you, for sure, that it feels like it sometimes. But I also see so many signs of self-reflection, self-knowledge. I see that despite incredible self, you aren’t harming yourself. I see that even though the little ones are terrified it’s all their fault, other parts of you see something wrong in the way it all blew up. These are delicate and beautiful strengths you have now that you didn’t before, and that’s why I say I don’t think you are back at square one, or you won’t be when the worst of the intensity starts to subside.

    (I’m not sure, as I write this, if now’s the right time for you to hear that message, so if it just aggravates you, please ignore it. But if it comforts you to know that you display clear strengths and courage, please hang on to that comfort.)

    And know either way, I’m thinking of you and wishing you well. xxoo

    Liked by 7 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum February 15, 2020 / 9:52 am

      Thank you, again, for your steady wisdom and support. You’re right, when my adult is online I can see this and take a step to one side and be quite pragmatic about the situation. Unfortunately there’s a bunch of traumatised child parts losing their minds too! It’ll be ok in the end but it is devastating to be told you’re too much for the feelings you have. I mean at the end of the day it was just love … but clearly it’s suffocating to her. Argh! X

      Liked by 2 people

  5. lifeaftercancer22 February 14, 2020 / 3:08 pm

    I am crying reading this. My last session is tonight. I’ve seen him for 3.5 years and he told he I needed to be transferred. I thought he would be my only therapist, and now I’m left with someone else. Tonight we are going over the past years, but I’m already sad about it. I feel ya and wish I could be your friend. This is tough stuff

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum February 15, 2020 / 9:55 am

      Oh you poor thing. I’m so sorry you’re going through this too. I really hope your session went ok and that you were able to create a good ending. Endings are hard regardless but these situations are agonising. If you want to email me ever it’s rubberbandsandchewinggum@gmail.com I’m not always very quick to reply but I do eventually once I come up for air. I’m sorry you’ve also come through cancer… it’s so much to contend with and changes your life in ways people can’t understand. Take good care of yourself and I’m thinking of you x

      Liked by 1 person

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