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Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5804
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Kate.~>~>~>~>~>~>~>~>~>~

This answer was rated:

Hi Kate.~>~>~>~>~>~>~>~>~>~

Amen to that quote.


I'm heading over to your question to work on an answer. See you in a few.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Woa, you up already??!!!

Good morning Kate, such an early bird! I'm just biding my time while Poppy's cake is in the oven, then I have work with Kitty for a couple of hours. Poppy says she looks different today :) She had to tell D it's her birthday this morning! It's your birth month I know, I hope you share your day with me secretly ;)

Mark came by earlier, wanted to update me on his life. I haven't shared any of mine with him, I haven't for a long time, it will make things very complicated.

Back after Kitty. Have a good morning


Up already. I'm usually up pretty early but I am running around like a chicken without a head!


Happy Birthday, Poppy!! I hope she has a great day.


I will share my special day with you...very soon.


Ugh, sorry you had to deal with Mark. It's a stress you do not need.


See you later!



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hello Kate,

I am down. Down, down. Can barely move, hold my head up, speak. I am trapped, lost my fight, feeling hopeless. The children are gay and happy, lots of company on Poppy's birthday. D is out, has planted his feet squarely under the table again. I last felt this bad on my birthday. Kitty was away today, left me work to do. I wished she was there to talk to, even just chit chat. I wonder if she misses practicing as a therapist.

My lawyer hasn't got back to me. K was cross that he doesn't answer my emails when we spoke on Tuesday. I'll have to ring tomorrow, I have to move on. And I haven't heard from the domestic abuse outreach worker. I am feeling lost again, like last week.

I don't know what to do now, can't write, can't read. So tired, but can't sleep at night, night after night I lie awake. I keep thinking I need to see Dr H, but I don't know what for.

And Mark, asking, asking, I pretend it's fine. He didn't stay long, I was relieved.

I told Poppy happy birthday from you, she asked who you were, I said a friend I talk to online. :) The cake was GOOD!




What do you feel caused you to feel down? You mentioned that Dave is dragging his feet about leaving (if I interpreted that correctly). You also sound lonely :(


You haven't heard from the attorney or the domestic worker- is that part of the cause of how you feel?


It sounds like you feel a bit lost. I'm here to help if I can. Things will get better. You are bound to feel up some days and down others. It's ok to have that happen.


Let me know if you want to talk,



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I have allowed myself to come online at last. Thank you for your post. I missed you. I don't know what I'm doing to myself. I have cut, last night, I wrote 'I need hope' at the top of my leg. I am a fool.

I will be back soon, trying to see to the family, then I will have my time. I've seen Adele this afternoon but didn't tell her I'm feeling so crap.

Thank you Kate


Oh Rose, I'm sorry. It sounds like you are feeling a lot of pain. If you feel up to it, let's spend some time talking about how you feel. I want to be here for you.


Why do you feel that you could not tell Adele about what happened?


I'll look for your post. I have to get the kids and do some other things soon so I'll check back as often as possible.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you Kate, you are lovely. Soon, but no rush
SmileOk, talk with you soon!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have punished myself for my lack of control, I wanted to read your response, write, talk, share, it was really hard but I needed to be cross with myself for not coping, messing me up.

For several nights, lying awake, I have yearned for a small soft rabbit that I gave to Poppy a while ago. The night before last I got up and rummaged in the cupboard where I remember last seeing it, my wardrobe, put away bc Lola likes it. I felt desperate to find it, but had to give up and go to bed alone. Then last night after cutting, I needed it , I had been thinking about it since the night before, but had forgotten to look for it when I had the chance. I looked and looked in my cupboard again, turning it upside down, certain it was there. I was very upset when I couldn't find it, but decided I would have to find something else. I looked in a box under Poppy's bed which had her old soft toys in it, and it was there. I was so relieved. Today I took it with me to see Adele, I was going to leave it in my bag, but when I went to get my tissues I took it out and tucked it between my bent up leg and my chest. I spent the whole session stroking it, Adele didn't comment, neither did I, I have it with me now, I feel I am regressing, asking the kids for hugs, I want the dogs to cuddle up close, no matter how uncomfortable I am.

I am feeling lonely. But I am avoiding. My parents and sister yesterday. And lovely Kitty, working away. She doesn't know anything about my situation, but she does know I have depression, and I'm sure she can pick up on my state of mind. Sam and Poppy were happy with their friends after school. I had been waiting, hoping for contact from the outreach worker, they said Tuesday. I don't even have a contact number, they were going to text me something, I'm not sure what, but nothing has arrived. And my lawyer. I'm disappointed, I still haven't rung him, hoping that he would get in touch, respond to my email. Cathy texted me yesterday, would I visit her daughter Alice bc she was at home with glandular fever, and feeling sad. I didn't really see how I'd be able to bc I was busy with bits and pieces throughout the day, which I said, but I sadi I would try anyway. I felt bad at the end of the day when I remembered her text, and I hadn't gone.

Dave appears to be of the impression that he has won again, I have said nothing of the situation, he has just taken it for granted that I won't pursue it. Last evening I listened to a recording I made on my netbook the evening he threatened to OD on insulin. It's a 45 minute recording of an almost monologue, AFTER the OD episode, where he is sounding like a madman. I wish I could play it to someone, but it's so loooong. Nobody has heard any of it except for my sister Helen who couldn't bear more than 5 mins. Every time I have a little bit of hope, it seems to be so short lived, and makes me feel a whole lot worse when it is taken away from me. He doesn't even want to know how I feel about anything, I might tell him, but his feelings are more important than mine.

Kate, I have never voiced my cutting. K refers to it frequently, but she doesn't ask me to talk about it, anymore. I was cutting when I first met her, but I only wrote about it, and she was the first person I'd told. After I told K, she encouraged me to tell my Dr, not Dr H, another young Dr, but only bc she asked me the previous week, and I'd denied it, so I wrote it in a letter and gave it to her just as I was about to leave. She didn't want me to go til she'd read my letter, and I felt terrible, terrible that she knew and could see me, she wanted to talk about it, but i couldn't. K asked me about it one day, we were part way through a session, and it was a kind of 'just for the record' type question, bc she knows I get so undone talking about it. I was dumbstruck, and I was unable to get past it, so we had to close the session with some hypnotherapy.

I talked with Adele, about feeling hopeless, stuck again, alone, lost, she does know I cut, but we haven't gone there yet. How do I talk about something that is so self centred? What would I say? It's so foolish, uncontrolled, stupid. I know people have looked at the cuts on my arm, but only my chiropractor has asked me about them. She knows how they got there, I lie to the family, they don't think I would ever cut myself.

I needed to cut with meaning last night, I have wanted to write words before, but haven't. They are for my eyes only.


Rose, my heart breaks for you. This is one of those times that I want to be there, giving a long hug (with your permission, of course!) and just sitting with you, together.


You have had to be so strong in the past few weeks. And to be that strong, you have to push the sensitive part of you down, repressing and ignoring your own needs. As a person who is naturally in tune with others, full of compassion, it is even more difficult to do what you did. What you did to be in control was necessary, but it comes at a high cost. You are in pain from it, and some of the unmet needs you have are coming through. There has not been any comfort for you for a long time.


The soft rabbit is a sign of the comfort you need. The pain seems so deep that the soft rabbit and hugs from the kids are only scratching the surface of meeting your needs. You feel alone, which means you feel different than those around you, stuck in a situation that few can understand. You mentioned that there are people who are aware of your cutting but that you either don't want to tell or who aren't paying attention. That means that you feel isolated and alone in your pain, set away from others.


You also mentioned that others in your life need you (Cathy) or are ignoring your needs (attorney and outreach worker). Either way, you are not getting your needs met. No one is there for you, helping you through your difficult time.


Your needs should have attention. The cutting is a sign that you have internalized your pain and have no other way to cope with it. You may feel trapped or too fearful of telling others in your life what you need. You have handled Dave and the marriage issues, but now that things have been addressed as far as you can take it for now, people have abandoned you or you have withdrawn from them. The important thing is to find out why. Do you feel that no one will be able to help? Or do you feel that telling them would not help you? Or is it fear that stops you?


It's ok to reach out and ask for help. Contact the attorney and tell him what you need from him. There is not much you can do about the outreach worker except be the squeaky wheel and make yourself annoying so they pay attention. If you feel you can share with K, email her. Tell her about your pain and cutting. It is ok that you feel embarrassed, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. You are in pain. It's no different than anything else people do to cope with their pain. Share as much as you feel comfortable with your parents. Ask for advice if you feel you need it. Take breaks and most of all, express your pain. Getting this out will help you to avoid cutting. Here are some ideas to help you when you talk to others:


Focus on your feelings. Instead of sharing sensational details of your self-harm behavior—what specifically you do to hurt yourself—focus on the feelings or situations that lead to it. This can help the person you’re confiding in better understand where you’re coming from. It also helps to let the person know why you’re telling them. Do you want help or advice from them? Do you simply want another person to know so you can let go of the secret?

Communicate in whatever way you feel most comfortable. If you’re too nervous to talk in person, consider starting off the conversation with an email or letter (although it’s important to eventually follow-up with a face-to-face conversation). Don’t feel pressured into sharing things you’re not ready to talk about. You don’t have to show the person your injuries or answer any questions you don’t feel comfortable answering.

Give the person time to process what you tell them. As difficult as it is for you to open up, it may also be difficult for the person you tell—especially if it’s a close friend or family member. Sometimes, you may not like the way the person reacts. Try to remember that reactions such as shock, anger, and fear come out of concern for you. It may help to print out this article for the people you choose to tell. The better they understand self-harm, the better able they’ll be to support you.

Talking about self-harm can be very stressful and bring up a lot of emotions. Don’t be discouraged if the situation feels worse for a short time right after sharing your secret. It’s uncomfortable to confront and change long-standing habits. But once you get past these initial challenges, you’ll start to feel better.


And if you feel it would help, try some of the techniques we talked about to help yourself from cutting.


Also, self nurturing can help. Here is a very helpful site I found for you:


I am here for you, Rose. I am sorry that you feel so down and alone. Keep in mind, this will pass. And try to accept that you are a wonderful person. Kind, compassionate, smart and resourceful. That is you. Remember that.




TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Kate, you are with me, I am feeling your long warm hug, you make me feel better. I am sitting with bowed head, glad of your company, thank you for being beside me.

I do feel abandoned in a way, just as I had a glimpse of stability, a crack has appeared. I don't know who to contact about the outreach worker, but a little googling might help. I will go to the attorney's office tomorrow, I have to take my bank statements in, I might be able to talk for a minute or two.

I am feeling afraid thinking about talking about cutting, I don't see I'll ever be able to speak words about it. All day I've been thinking about different scenarios where someone might see what I've done. I hope I will be safe with my secret.

Thank you for being so nice to me. Sometimes I wonder what I'm really like, think that I'm mean, horrible, out of order, selfish, think that my perception of myself as a good person is wrong. Especially after listening to the recording last night in which D was running me down, and Sam was crying bc he was being at me all the time, and the kids were saying Mum hasn't done anything wrong. At least I heard the kids say that.

Kate, I want to talk more but am too sleepy now. Thank you for listening and supporting me, you have incredible insight. I am meeting with Deb, a lawyer friend, once she's finished in court tomorrow, for coffee in town tomorrow. I will tell her some things, but not all.

Thank you for the link. I will check it out in the morning.

Goodnight, hugs


I am glad you feel me there, Rose. I want to support you and help you feel better.


Taking some actions tomorrow will help. But keep in mind that it is very hard for anyone to stay so strong all the time. You need to nurture yourself and take care to pamper yourself. The softer side of you has to have that kind of attention or it will find a way to get out and get attention. Then it will no longer be a choice.


All those negative words are not who you are. They come from your past and the abuse you suffered as a child and with Dave. They were told to you. Never in a million years would I describe you as selfish, mean or horrible. I think you need to be more selfish if anything. But taking care of yourself and setting boundaries is not being selfish. It is respecting yourself and seeing that your needs are just as important as others around you, sometimes more important. You know when you fly and they tell you to put your oxygen on first before you help anyone around you, even your kids? Well, you don't put your oxygen mask on ever. Then you end up going down before anyone else and you can't help them or yourself. Think about putting that mask on first, Rose. It will make a world of difference.


Let me know how tomorrow goes, if you get a chance. I know you are so busy so only if you have time. I'll be thinking of you.


Good night, Rose



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Dear dear Kate,

Your posts are so incredible. Each time I read them I see something I didn't before. Thank you.

>'now that things have been addressed as far as you can take it for now, people have abandoned you or you have withdrawn from them. The important thing is to find out why. Do you feel that no one will be able to help? Or do you feel that telling them would not help you? Or is it fear that stops you?'<

Well, I feel I may have withdrawn a little, I think I am exhausted, and like you say need to step back for a little while. I had thought it best to keep pushing forward, hence the letter last weekend, which I'm glad I gave, but once D pushed back on Monday I felt like I couldn't push anymore, and I thought it hopeless, that he'd won again. I know the attorney can help by putting the next stage in motion, but again, I wrote on Sunday, ready to push on, but now I haven't heard I don't feel I can do anymore just yet. I went to the office to give the bank statements in, I could have so easily asked to speak to him for a minute or two, but the words wouldn't come out of my mouth, and I just left. Who else could help? What will the role of an outreach worker be? I want to have that contact, but am too done to pursue them, especially as I have no direct details. I just feel that the next stage is down to me, with guidance, and a few bits of paper to help me along.

This morning D said he would like to come to the mall tomorrow with us all for Poppy's birthday shop. It's an hour and a half motorway trip to Bristol. I thought oh no, I can't bear the thought. He said it would be good for us to all have a day out together. I was silent. I went downstairs to my room, in a hurry to get to my aunt's, he followed me. I wrote something on my bank statements, and circled the particular information the lawyer needed. D said do you have a problem with your account? I know he knew my lawyer needed them bc I'd left the letter on the table, I know he'd read it. I said no, accounts fine. What are you doing with them then. Well, why do you want to know? Bc I'm paranoid now, everything makes me paranoid. I said, I gave you the letter, I'm standing by it. He said NO, you have to give me a chance, I love you. I've lost a stone in weight. (What, in 3 days!? I said that's because you have been drinking so heavily) NO! I don't drink much. I said this isn't a whim D, this has been months in my thought processes. I DON'T LOVE YOU, it will not change. He said, maybe you don't right now, please, I can't go, nowhere to go, won't, can't. I was screwing up tightly, I was sitting in the car at this point, he had opened my door to continue when I tried to get away. He was pleading with me, crouching down by my door, put his hand on my leg, making me feel BAD, SICK, twisting me up, up, holding my head, ready to scream. I said let me go, I'll be late for my chiropractic. I drove away in tears, struggled through my aunt's visit, then went for my appointment. She was lovely, gave me encouragement to keep going, that I have the strength. Lots of different pains today, up the side of my neck to my ear. She did some cranial adjustments, but it hasn't helped so far.

I've had my hair cut! First time since way before Christmas. I'm getting quite good at trimming my fringe to keep it going a bit longer! So now I'm coloured and trimmed. I met Deb in town, it had to be quick bc her court slot had been moved to the afternoon for some reason. We just caught up with the SW visit, lawyer involvement etc. She said I seem to be managing better than when I saw her last. Home then. D came home early. He's not spoken to me, I keep thinking words that I could say to him (just how was your day, or Jack isn't too well today etc), but no words have left my mouth. He's gone to bed as I expected. I am messing up his head now.

I love the site you found for me. I have read some but not all. I will go there again now. I have bought some 'truly irresistible' lemon cupcakes- taking care of me in one sense will be detrimental to me in another sense (but I did lose a bag of pounds during the SW visit week, so no harm!!)

My chiropractor said could I get away this weekend. That sounds nice, but no, not yet. I won't book anything again til I'm sure I'm ready, but I will try other ways to look after myself. Do you think I should just let it flow for a while and not take action?

Adele said was it someone from the Bible who was turned into a pillar of salt for looking behind him/her? I said that sounds familiar. She said that's you, just keep looking forwards, there should be no turning back, don't look behind you.

Til later


You're very welcome, Rose! It's good to know that you benefit from our talks. Anyway I can help you, I will.


It's ok if you stop for a while in the situation and maintain. It's hard because Dave is keeping at you. But from your description of how you handled his behavior, you did a wonderful job! You stayed focused and repeated what you wanted, even when you felt upset and shaken by what he was saying and doing. He is trying to manipulate you back into the relationship by making you feel guilty for how he feels. It may help to tell yourself that this is not your doing. Part of being abused is getting stuck in the guilt game- as long as you cooperate, then everything is "fine". But as soon as you want to get away from the abuse and be your own person, then everything goes haywire and it's all your fault. You are expected to keep the "status quo", just the way the abuser wants it. In other words, as long as the abuser has his way, everyone should be happy. But you are strong and won't allow that. You refuse to accept that Dave's happiness is enough for you. You deserve to be happy too.


You have the right to tell Dave that he is not invited to Poppy's birthday shopping trip. Just because he wants to go (and ruin it) doesn't mean he gets to go. You have the right to say to him that this is a girl's only trip. And stand your ground. If he makes it awful for you, pick another time and don't tell him about it. Then go when he is out or not paying attention.


Right now, you have little choice but to wait for others in your situation to make the next move. You have contacted the attorney and have done what you can with getting the outreach worker situation moving forward. Now they have to take action. As long as the attorney knows you are ready for the next step, then hopefully he is working on it.


As far as I can tell, the outreach worker will help you get all the assistance that you are allowed to have through the mental health system. If I understand UK's system, it is much like a case manager here in the US. They work to ensure that the person they are working with has all the services they need. In your case, it may mean that they hook you up with financial and support services, if any are available for you. You already have a therapist so that won't be an issue. They usually assess your situation during the first visit then offer what they can to help. Not too intense but rather supportive and helpful.


I bet your hair looks lovely! You sound so happy about having a chance to care for yourself. It is so nice to see! Enjoy those lemon cupcakes, and have one for me. I love hearing about all the wonderful treats you have. It gives me inspiration :)


Adele is very resourceful with her examples! Lot's wife was the one that looked back and was changed into a pillar of salt. The angels had told her not to look back but she didn't listen. Not quite your situation, but it gives a good example of the temptation of looking back or going back into the old behaviors. Adele just wants to encourage you to keep looking forward, no matter how tempting it is to go back to the old ways. Even if you were miserable in the past, where you are now requires that you fight an exhausting fight. That makes it appealing to just give up. Adele wants to encourage you to keep looking ahead as do I.


I'll talk with you soon, Rose. I hope your day is going well.



TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you Kate :)

Well, you WILL be impressed..... I'm going to have a wallow in the bath, hope I can find some bubbles. I haven't had a bath for, well, I can't remember, a long long time. And I'm looking forward to a cuppa decaf and a lemon cupcake- have been saving it til now.

D is talking to me again, just. Kissed the top of my head as I was at the sink. I went to pick Sam up from the bus just before tea. When we came back, Poppy was upset, very cross. Sam tried to have a conversation with her, but then HE became cross because she was tetchy. Poppy was cross with D. I can only guess at D's attempt at conversation with her, but I gather she didn't want to talk about 'THAT', and so declined to respond to him. He told her there was something wrong with her bc she was busy on facebook, and didn't want to talk to him. Sam and I assumed that he asked her about the 'situation'; she came to me in tears a little later, but didn't want to tell me why. He then said to Sam that he would drive him to work, Sam looked at me, and I said I think he might want to talk to you, maybe the same conversation as he had attempted to have with Poppy. I don't think it's fair to try to get them to fight his corner, I just have a feeling that that is what he is up to.

Anyway, bath-time :)

Day is reasonable, all things considered, thank you Kate. Hope your's is good too. We have a 3 day weekend, Mayday Bank Holiday.


A bubble bath! I think that is wonderful. And decaf and cake. It all sounds so delightful :) Enjoy yourself. You deserve it.


Dave is up to his usual stuff it sounds like. You are right, it is not fair to make the kids pick a parent. It's very traumatizing psychologically to them. If you think it might help, let the kids know that they do not have to pick a side or even respond to Dave. Tell them to hang in there and let you handle the tough stuff.


Have fun on your three day weekend! I hope there are more wonderful treats and much pampering in your future :)



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Kate,

i have bubbled and bathed, and lotioned and potioned, and eaten scrummy cakes (but not in the bath, coffee, yes). i am disappointed my pain seems worse for it all, but I can't have it all at once! D is out (yes, it did get even better!!)

I enjoyed reading the support group thread on Daily Strength, I've attempted to register (no email to confirm yet), so I will go back to explore more soon.

I knew you'd help me out with the pillar of salt! As soon as she said it I thought Kate will know!

goodnight Kate, have a good Friday evening :)


You sound so snuggled in and cozy! All those lovely bubbles and wonderful treats, and no Dave. You are really living it up, aren't you? ;)


I liked that support group thread as well. I could no help but think that it sounded so much like what you are going through. If you do end up signing on, let me know what you think.


My Friday night was very busy. I bought some plants and a peach tree for my yard (just a small dwarf tree, not enough room for more) and a few flowers for hanging baskets. Trying to get some of the spring planting done before it's summer already!


I hope you are having a wonderful rest right now. Sleep well. Sweet dreams!



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