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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hey Kate. Katies funeral was very sad but very nice. Her family

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Hey Kate. Katie's funeral was very sad but very nice. Her family seemed very appreciative and glad I was there. Also - best news of all - the minister said Katie came to her in the fall and talked and she got baptized! From what I gathered, she accepted Christ, although that's not how this reverend worded it (I think it was episcopal?). I feel so much better knowing she's probably in heaven right now.

So - I have a question. About what we were discussi g earlier. This first step - it seems like a pretty big step. Are there some smaller include steps to help me?



I'm glad to hear all went well today at Katie's funeral. It is very good news that she probably accepted Christ into her life! That means she truly is in a better place and you will see her again.


When it comes to changing your thoughts, it can be broken down. Usually, this is done in therapy so the therapist can guide you and help you process what you work through. You and I can certainly do this through our threads but you may want to ask Linda for input as well.


Start by identifying the thoughts that cause you to feel guilt and blame. As you go through your day, how do you process what happens to you? When something goes wrong, do you automatically blame yourself? Do you feel guilt when something occurs that is really not your fault? Start noting when you have thoughts that are meant to make you feel bad. Listen to your self talk. You may even want to write your thoughts down to help you see what you are thinking.


Also, try identifying thoughts that came from your parents. What kinds of things they said to you that reinforce the thought that you are to blame and are guilty, even if you didn't do what you feel guilty of doing. Write down the statements that come to mind. You can compare your current thoughts to what your parents told you. Are they the same or have you altered them over time to match what you feel about yourself?


When you think these thoughts, they are reinforcing what you were taught by your parents about yourself. They are part of the pattern you learned that tells you that you are not worthy of love and nurturing. In order to open yourself up to being loved by others as well as yourself, you need to change the thoughts that prevent the self worth and love to come through.


Try working on this exercise for a week. See what you come up with. As you work it through, you might begin to see a pattern. This is what we can work on to break down and replace with healthier thoughts and eventually the related feelings.


I will be busy most of tomorrow so I probably won't be able to check in until evening. I know you'll be flying out to see your parents so you may not be able to write but if you want to talk, I will probably be able to catch it after dinner. I just wanted to let you know so you don't wait for me to respond and you don't have to let your question sit on the queue all day.


I hope your flight goes well tomorrow!



TherapistMarryAnn and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks! I am guessing I won't have a hance to write until tomorrow night or Monday morning unless I get stick at the airport. I have only texted with p. wondering how it's goon for her alone with my parents. Yikes.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.



I just wanted to write you because I can't get to sleep. Even though it's not that late in NM, I should be asleep, considering I fell asleep after 3:30 and woke up at 7:00 this morning. I'm not used to ET yet.


I am really anxious about going home tomorrow. I talked to P. tonight. She said everything is fine there. She said she went to dinner with my parents, my brother and his family, and my great aunt tonight, and it was fine. but I am already feeling defensive. I need to keep in mind that just even a few a months ago, I would have been fine (although I also probably wouldn't have come here). I also need to remind myself I basically only have 3 1/2 days there. I just really don't need and can't handle their BS right now. I feel so emotional already, and this is not the week to let that out.


I wanted to respond to what you were saying about keeping track of my thoughts and comparing them to statements I have heard from my parents.


But you said that the self-blame was common and normal for people with this kind of thing. Also, don't you think that some things I feel guilty about are actually my fault? I should feel guilty about some things, because I am. So is it a matter of also looking at each thing to assess whether I'm at fault or not?


I will try to start keeping track of all that this week, but I may not be able to start until I get back home next week. I'll try, though.


okay. well, I guess I will try to go to sleep. Thanks for letting me try to write away a little anxiety. :)



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Also - why do I feel like I have pretty good self esteem if, as you say, I am doubt on my self worth?

Hi Shay,


Self blame is normal when a person has been attacked. The survivor will usually review the situation over and over and see where they might have gone wrong. This may include what you were forced to do in order to stay alive. But this also is where your parents emotional abuse of you comes in. It is making it hard for you to see that you were not to blame for what you had to do to survive. It is the guilt they taught you that keeps you in this place.


You can take a look at each thing and address it if you think it might help you to do it that way. It might help because that way, it will address each issue you have with what you did.


Your self worth is dependent on the messages you received as a child from your parents. When your parents, who are your whole world as a child and therefore your only source of value and self worth, acknowledge that you are loved and cared for, then you develop a positive self esteem. But when they convince you that you are at fault, ignore your needs and ignore you as a person, then you learn that you are not worthy. So you compensate in other ways. You can seem to have a good self esteem by compensating with your intelligence and good defenses. But continuing to accept your parents message that you are to blame and guilty says that there still are self esteem issues. When something bad happens, no matter what it is, you replay the messages you got as a child and blame yourself.


I hope it's going well with your parents. Try to remember to take deep breaths and let anything they do pass. If you need a break, claim there is lots of pressing messages you need to tend to and get yourself out of there. Take many breaks, including time with P. Maybe a drive somewhere so you can talk and get the stress off your chest. And let me know how you are doing. I should be back on tomorrow as usual.


I'm thinking about you and praying all goes well,



TherapistMarryAnn and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks, Kate.

Things are going well so far. Got to see my nephew this morning before he went to school, which we great. He's 7 and growing up so fast! It's so cold here. I'm not a big fan of the cold.

Last night on the way from Columbus after they picked me up, my mom asked me how I was getting along with LP. I thought it an odd question to ask, and thought maybe P had told them I was thinking about rejoining him (although I know better). So I went ahead and told them. They were pretty surprised but dad asked me a few times why I would want to do that, and I told him. He brought it up again later, and I just said it is something I want to do and thought was best for me. I held my ground and didn't ask their advice. He finally said things like this are why it's better not to burn bridges. I can tell he's not thrilled, but it's fine.

I think my brother and sister-in-law are going to let my niece and nephew miss school tomorrow to spend the day with me. I'm surprised, but think it's great, and it will be fun.

P and I are going to pick up my car today and go visit some other friends an relatives. I think time here will pass quickly.

Didn't sleep great last night, but I think it's because I am stressed out.

A girl who lives in my college town wants to see me. She's a lot younger than me. She was 7 or 8 when I was in college. Her parents were alcoholics and lived next door to a fraternity house and near my apartment jr year. Their parents paid no attention to where she and her 5 year old brother were, so we used to take them to our sorority house to eat with us all the time. Anyway, now she just got out of the army, and she reconnected with me while she was in Iraq a few years ago. Depending on which way we decide to go back to NM, we may go right pas my college town and am considering stopping to have lunch with her. But I'm not sure this is a good time to even be in that city. Or maybe it would be good? Just with all that's going on and with what I've been been dealing for the last 6 months, would that be a good or bad thing? Or would it make a difference? What do you think?

Thanks for your prayers. I think this is goin to be okay.


It sounds like everything is going very well. I'm glad you had this time to face how you felt about being home.

Whether or not you decide to go back to see this girl depends on how you feel about it. Confronting your past can trigger strong emotions but as long as you feel you want to go and you bring someone to support you (like P), then you should be fine. Just be aware that you might feel an increase in some of your symptoms like nervousness and sleeping difficulties. This is a "might feel", not a guarantee. You may find that visiting helps you work out your issues better as well.

Take care and travel safe!


PS JA is experiencing technical issues so if you write and don't hear back from me as usual, it's probably just because JA is down
TherapistMarryAnn and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hey Kate!

I don't want to go anywhere near my college, actually. And I don't feel a need to see J. I just would feel bad if I drove right past on the highway and didn't make an effort to see her. I thought that if you thought it would somehow help me, I would consider it. However, I would like to just go another way, honestly.

Things here are going fine still. At lunch today, I was saying that my nephew cried when he led us to go to school this morning, and my dad went into a long thing about how he needed to toughen up, and my mom agreed. P and I just looked at each other. Thankfully, they wouldn't say that to my nephew or my brother.

Well, gotta run. I didn't really have time to say much, but i like hearing from you, so anything you have been thinking or any advice or whatever would be great :)




It would be nice for you to visit with J if you feel it would be a good experience. I just thought you might want to be prepared for any possible reaction you may have. Some people feel it is good to go back to the site or area of the trauma to face what they feel. It also gives you the chance to face demons and make new memories of the place. And if you felt that meeting with J might help you with that, then by all means. But that is why I suggested P go with you just in case you decide to back out or felt upset at all.


Sounds like your mom and dad haven't changed much, at least in terms of others showing their emotions. What was it like for you to hear that now that you are an adult and have a better understanding of their issues?




Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am just more aware of it this trip. I don't really care. If I am going to stop to see someone, I would rather it be my sister and her kids. Plus, I don't want any symptoms to get worse. I want it to get better.

I really don't want to go back there. And as I said, I have no particular need to see j. I think we are going to go a different route anyway.

Sounds like you made your decision. That's good. Taking care of yourself right now is the priority.


Enjoy your time. I'm thinking of you!



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX it a bad decision? I just don't want to risk increased symptoms. I would rather poke myself in the eye.

Thanks for your thoughts! :)


Absolutely not Shay! It is whatever you feel you need right now. If you ever feel the need to confront the place where it happened, you will know. Right now is not that time and that is fine.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Kate ....

All is still well :). Just wanted to connect. I just feel on edge for some reason. But everything is going really well.

Get to spend the day with my niece and nephew. It will be a blast! The 7 year old said he wants to play video games and basketball and soccer all day with us. The 15 year old says she wants to go shopping. It will be interesting to see what all they settle on. :)

How at you?

It sounds like you are having a great time, Shay! Feeling a little on edge is ok. It may just be from yesterday thinking about going back to the place where the attack happened. That can unconsciously trigger feelings. It will pass as your day progresses. If it does not, we can talk about it if you feel it would help.


Enjoy yourself! Talk to you soon,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Am I that thin-skinned now that I can be thrown off-kilter by just thinking about something I MAY do? Disturbing.

All is still well here. We leave Thursday morning. P and I are both getting sick. Had fun with the kids today. Got all the paperwork done for my car.

Mostly just wanted to say hello.

It's not about being thin skinned. Everyone who has gone through a trauma experiences this. The thought of returning to the scene of the incident can cause symptoms to come up. It's part of having PTSD.


I hope you and P are feeling better soon. Do you both have colds?



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
P has a UTI, apparently. But when she gets one, she gets vertigo. But her dr called in a prescription here for her. I thought I was getting a cold (which is rare for me), but now I'm thinking that I have jut developed an allergy to my parents' long-haired cats, because I felt better last night, when I went upstairs to bed, and the cats haven't been allowed up there. I hope p feels better, or she is going to be miserable on the drive home.

Have a good day.

Ugh, P must feel terrible! I hope she recovers soon. I'm glad to hear that you might just have an allergy. It's better than a cold and goes away a lot faster!


Have a safe trip back if I don't talk with you,



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

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