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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5786
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hey Kate. How are you? Ive been trying to take a step

Resolved Question:

Hey Kate. How are you?

I've been trying to take a step back from dealing with stuff because it is becoming overwhelming. But I was inundated all last night - asleep and awake.

I am feeling smothered. It's like I can't get time by myself. When I think I will - or at least with just p here, people will stop by, etc. after spending the entire last weekend with 3 other people, and knowing I have to spend a number of days in colorado in a few weeks to P's family reunion and scattering of he parents' ashes. her family is so big and close that I have trouble dealing just with holidays here - and that's not near the amount of people and I can come home. I know having 60 people around for all that time will be overwhelming. Thankfully, P's daughter and her girlfriend rented a cabin pretty close, and it has an extra bedroom so I can stay there. I kept telling p we need to rent an rv or something - I can't stand to not have anywhere to go away, and I get totally grossed out about sharing the bathrooms with so many people, having so many people sitting on the same furniture, etc. p and her brother were goin to go up and work on the cabin next weekend again, and although I like doing the work, I didn't want to spend another weekend with other people. But I have a littl banjo recital thing next saturday and need to go in and paint my new office, so had an excuse not to go. So I was looking forward to a weekend by myself. By now they decided not to go - they are goin to help me paint. Ugh.

And I have to go for the sleep study tonight, and so won't be alone. Just feeling smothered. I think p has a meeting tomorrow afternoon, so maybe I can have a few hours to myself.

I am glad I have an appointment with Linda on Monday. I really need to let some stuff out. I feel it's building up. I was feeling better, but that shame. On versatile and the stuff I read about it had an unexpected effect on me. I have felt awful and I don't know why. I don't know if I care why. I just need to cry and I can't. I wish I could just go way for a week by myself where nobody can get ahold of me. But I have responsibilities. I feel like I always have somebody I would have to answer to if I get uPset or if I do something harmful or anything. I want to go away.

I know none of this will matter. But it just does for now.

Can I ask you a few unrelated questions?

1. Is it just a therapist thing to stare at the client when not taking notes? Is it intended to try to show that you're listening and to make a connection, or is it because sometimes you need to read facial expression to help? And I would imagine it is not uncommon that a client can't look you in the eye when telling difficult things. Does this indicate something to the therapist, or is it just normal?
2. Why, when tv shows or movies show rapes, are they mostly doing it from behind? Is that just a preference of production, or is it more common in real life. And if so, why? I have never had sex that way, but it seems to me that would be more difficult, especially when the woman is not cooperating. Or am I wrong about that?
3. this is kind of weird - but we discussed before that masturbation is normal and could be helpful. But is it a sin? Also - I read the book I got on it. Very ... Interesting. Also, I had asked a doctor on JA sone time ago about the Chances I would have scarring still and whether sex would be painful or even a possibility. I have also discussed this with linda, and I think you and I have talked about it. I also read some stuff on "survivor" sites. Okay - the book and other stuff I read suggested using objects to experiment. I am obviously hesitant about using any foreign object because of my experience. But they do make things just for that. I might be okay with that, since it isn't a bottle or something random. But is that really a good idea to even try by myself? Should I just wait and see if I fall in live and get married some day and find out this stuff then? I'm not sure how to even go about getting such a thing - don't really want to have something like that on my credit card bill or have it delivered to the house. But I'm sure I could get one somehow. But is that something that might be helpful, do you think? Is that kind o thing normal or weird? Would I be crossing some line? Is it morally wrong? I can ask Linda, I know, but it is awkward in person.

I don't know why the sex thing is important to me now, but it just seems so. I want to know how/if it differs from what I went through, and I wan to know if I can even do it and if it is something that could feel good, without having to do it with a guy. I want to know if I'm just not able and should just consider living gay.
Hope this Isn't too bizarre a question. You don have to answer if you don't want to.


Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

It sounds like you need time to process all that has been going on in your life. You are dealing with some of the deepest issues you have dealt with since this has started. And that takes a lot of energy to work through. A lot of thought and emotions. Other people being around requires to you take from your emotional process and pay attention to them. And that can make you feel bothered, irritable, upset and tearful.

Talking this out with Linda will help a lot. You need someone like her who understands and is where you are. And she accepts whatever you feel as ok and that kind of reassurance is priceless when you are hurting.

You can ask me any questions you want to. I'll try to address them to the best of my knowledge.

Most of the therapists I know do not necessarily stare at someone they are working with. I use normal eye contact with the people I've worked with. That includes looking at them, down, around and in their direction. I also use my hands when I describe things. Like you would in any other conversation. I do notice facial gestures and other body language. I have a particular interest in body language so I may use it more than another therapist. But I don't usually stare, I just look at them normally.

You can't really judge real sex and how it is done by normal people by what Hollywood shows. Hollywood tends to portray things in a way that will grab your attention. And sex from behind usually does that for most people. It is also a dominance thing meant to accentuate the control over the victim. It may be hard to do when the woman does not want to cooperate, I'm not sure about that. I imagine it would be but men are stronger and bigger than women at least in upper body strength so that might make the difference.

I don't think masturbation is a sin. The Bible does not say it is. It only says to not lust, which I think for men is an issue more than women. Finding out what your own body is like is a good place to start for you. Being familiar with what feels good and what does not all while in your own control is a great way to start. It's a positive way to get yourself back into sex in a normal way. When you do meet someone, you will be more comfortable with yourself and your body.

You may not want to start with toys first. The association might be overwhelming. You may want to think about that after you get used to yourself first. Then think about it.

I think it's a great sign that you are thinking about sex and relationships. It means that you are beginning to see yourself as separate from what happened to you. You are your own person, with sexual needs and a desire to have a relationship with someone. Those guys no longer totally control what you think and feel sexually and in relationships.

I hope your sleep study goes very well tonight!

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

About the staring ---- do you keep watching someone if they aren't looking at you? I mean, when I am talking to Linda regularly, she just looks at me normally. But when I tell her difficult things, I don't look at her, because it's not comfortable. Or when I am processing things or am crying, I look at the wall or floor or something. But I feel like she is staring at me. I know she's not all the time, and sometimes she purposely looks down, I feel, if she can tell she's making me uncomfortable. I just wondered.


Also -- you didn't answer whether it was pretty normal for your clients not to look at you while they are telling something difficult. And, again, does that send some message to you, or is it just something that happens?


I guess what I want to know is if I should try to look at Linda when I am telling this stuff. If I do, I won't feel like she's staring at me, but it is hard to face her. But I also don't want to be "saying" somethiing and sending some message to her by not looking at her.



Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.

No, not really. I look away if the person does, unless there is a reason to look at them, like if they are upset. But it's not really staring. It's more of just interest and concern.

Some people will look away when upset and some do not. It depends on the person and what they are talking about. Some people feel ashamed, which is pretty common, and others are angry or are making a point and need to look directly at someone. It does tell me about what they are feeling. But feeling upset and looking away is common in therapy. Therapists see that as a normal part of therapy.

You are looking at this as very significant. In therapy, what you say and do does show how you feel, but it's not like the therapist stares at you intensely and sees every little thing as significant. It all tends to blend in together as part of what is going on.

You can choose whether or not you look at Linda. It doesn't matter either way. What matters more is how you feel and what you are saying. And if you do feel uncomfortable with Linda looking at you or you feel strongly about looking at her, try talking to her about it. I know you have done that before, but maybe it is a bigger issue that needs talked out. There is nothing wrong with that.


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay. I just wondered if that was part of the shame and embarrassment I feel. Because I usually maintain eye contact with people to whom I am speaking. I was thinking how different it is when I'm in therapy. Linda probably really isn't just staring at me. It just feels like it because I wonder how she is reacting to what I am telling her and my expression of emotions, and what she is thinking because of it. It is different for me, and so I probably am too concerned with what she thinks about that stuff. And I can see that she probably is looking at me when I'm upset solely because I am upset. Also, I think she watches more closely after that whole EMDR session when she had no clue I was having a flashback and dissociating. And we have discussed it. I told her that I sometimes can't stand being in there with her, because of what she knows. She has offered to turn around with her back to me while I tell her stuff, which would make things more awkward. She got to where she would sit kind of off to the side when I was telling the stuff. But their new offices are done and her office is so much smaller than her old one and the ones she was in temporarily. She's right there now. It does help me sometimes to see the expression on her face every once in a while. And if she never looked at me at all, I might think she wasn't listening or wasn't interested or was reaffirming that I am horrible because of what I am telling her.


I don't know why I was thinking about all this. I just was. I wonder if I became able to look her in the eye when discussing these things, if that would be an indication that my shame is gone or lessened. ??


Kate, how screwed up am I? I thought I was so normal, but none of this seems normal. I am so up and down and I am not used to having a general feeling of sadness or just feeling bad day after day. Don't you think this has gone on for an awful long time? Way too long? I've been in therapy for almost a year now, much of the year, I've been going twice a week. Am I just stuck in a situation where I am perpetuating my own victimhood and feeling sorry for myself? Please be honest with me, because if it is a matter of me having a bad attitude, I can remedy that, if I know. I can't believe how much trouble I'm having dealing with this. I mean, I made it through being torn up inside and out, my arms and legs being almost black because of them kneeling on them, bleeding for weeks ... And was able to recover without pain meds or medical help, and even hide it from everyone. But I can't handle this emotional stuff. One of the links you gave me had a quote from a woman saying that emotional pain flat out hurt worse than physical pain. I think that is true, although it seems that shouldn't be the way it is. What do you think?


I know you told me before to "sit with" my feelings. Is that still what I should do? Even when I am feeling more and more regularly down? Will it help me work through this, or is it self-perpetuating? Am I making myself unhappy??

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I started a new thread early this morning, so could you answer on that one? Thanks.

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