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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Things went okay with tonight. As we surmised, it wasn’t as

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Things went okay with Linda tonight. As we surmised, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.
I told her on the way downstairs (we had to meet in a different room again) that I hadn’t gotten her message from Tuesday until this morning after I spoke to her, and she said that after we spoke, she recalled our conversation last week that I couldn’t do an appointment on Tuesday. She asked what had gone on this past 2 weeks and how I was. I told her it wasn’t the best week or two, and she wanted to know what happened. She talked about how she was concerned all week and also that she didn’t get my letter. I told her I changed my mind, because I didn’t feel it went so well last time I gave her the letter.
I told her there were some things I needed to say, and she said that was fine. I told her that my feelings were really hurt last Monday. I told her that I understood it was difficult for her to read my letter in front of me and respond right then, and maybe I didn’t explain well in the letter, but I felt like she didn’t understand what I was trying to say. She started to get out the letter and I asked her to please not look at the letter and just listen to me. I told her that when I was saying that I saw her as maternal, etc., she kind of went off on the physical contact issue, but that wasn’t the point. I was trying to tell her how I saw her – I wasn’t asking her for anything. And I had been trying to tell her she was missing the point when she was going off about the physical contact stuff. She said that my letter was clear and she did understand, but she was just thinking out loud, going back and forth in her mind, trying to resolve things for herself. She said that when I am struggling and especially when I am crying, she feels like she should comfort me and has fought the urge to do that, but was also thinking that I need that kind of comfort and that maybe there shouldn’t be such a bold line, but there is. She said she should not have told me any of that or said that stuff out loud. I told her I assumed there were rules about that and I was fine with that, but in her jumping all over the place talking, I’m not sure if she realized what exactly she said to me. I explained what she said, and she said, “and you felt like I was denying you by choice.” I said that wasn’t the point, but she kind of made it the point with what she said, and that the real point was that she knows my childhood issues – we discussed them – and yet she ended up giving me the exact message my parents gave me, which message she said had been wrong. She just nodded and said that she actually had been going through that in her head last night. She said she was so sorry – she just really screwed up and she didn’t mean to say that and didn’t mean that. I told her I knew that she wouldn’t purposely hurt my feelings, but it did, and I would have thought she would have been more careful, considering my issues. She said I was totally right, and she shouldn’t have even been talking to me about all that stuff she was thinking.
I asked her why she gave away my regular appointment on Monday, and she said she was sorry – that she should have made sure that not so much time passed between appointments, but that she had planned a family day, which apparently didn’t work out anyway. I told her I thought she gave it to another client, because she said she had committed that time already. She said yes – she committed it to her daughter, who was coming in from out of town. She said she was sorry – she should have made time that day. I said no way – she should spend time with her family, and I wasn’t upset about that – I was upset because I thought she just gave my regular appointment away. But that wasn’t the case. I apparently misunderstood.
I told her that I used to feel safe with her, but I don’t anymore. I asked her why she didn’t know something was going on, when I had never before covered my ears and rocked. She said she should have known but she didn’t. She said she failed me and she is sorry. And she explained a lot about why she didn’t know what was going on – her experiences with me before then, the fact that I had never dissociated before, etc. But she wasn’t making excuses. She said it was totally her fault and she doesn’t blame me for being angry, because she let me down. She said she just kept thinking about the fact that this was the most traumatizing and intense and upsetting thing that has happened while I have been in therapy with her, and she didn’t help me – she said even though I wasn’t alone, I had to have felt alone like I was after what happened. She said she feels terrible about that. She also said that the whole thing reminded her of how traumatic what happened was and how much it still terrifies me. We talked a long time about what was going on with me and that it was so weird to me that there was so much going on in my head, but when I kind of “came back,” and saw that she was sitting a
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I think part of your post got cut off at the end. I wanted to wait to read the whole thing before I say anything.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

oops ... not sure what happened. Here's the rest of it ....

but when I kind of "came back," and saw that she was sitting a few feet away from me, it was hard to register that she didn't know what was going on.

I told her I knew she didn't know what I was going through, but I also couldn't tell her at the time. So that's a problem and one of the reasons I can't feel safe. mIt could happen again, and so I'm not sure I could go into anything difficult again because I would be scared. She said that she had already decided (as she told me last time) that no matter what, she would not assume anything in the future, and she would always ask where I was and if I needed to cry or if something else was going on, and if I didn't respond, she would be louder and do what she needed to do to help me.

I told her also that I didn't feel like she really cared or wanted to help me as much because EMDR didn't work. She said that wasn't the case at all. She said she is sorry she made me feel that way, but that's not how she feels. She said she wasn't banking on the EMDR alone, and that I had made so much progress and worked so hard doing other things. She said that she already had some ideas about how to proceed that she wanted to discuss, and she was going through my file coming up with other stuff. She said she still had ½ my file to review again.

I told her it was just a lot of stuff at once and I feel like things between us just are different. I also told her that I felt like the whole EMDR thing set me back, especially in the shame area. We also discussed her failure to do the "safe place" stuff that day). I told her I needed to decide where to go from here, and figure things out. I told her I knew if I stopped, I would likely not come back and I would rather not have to try to find someone else with whom I could feel as comfortable. But I didn't know what could be done. I told her I felt like my trust in her had been damaged and that the EMDR really damaged me in other ways,

She asked if I had had any more flashbacks and I said yes. I also told her, though, that I didn't feel like I could call her. She said I always could call her, and even though she's far from perfect, she tries to help when I do call, and if I don't feel like she's being helpful, I can hang up on her. I told her that I just didn't feel comfortable putting myself out there again.

She asked me if I would give her the opportunity to work through this with me and continue to work on the other stuff with me. She asked if we could try to start afresh with a new understanding and try to repair the relationship. She apologized again for her "mistakes" and asked me to please, if she was pissing me off, just say "Linda, you're pissing me off," do we can talk about it. I told her that I wasn't upset last Monday until after I got home and thought about it, and she said it would be better in the future if I would call her in that situation so we can try to work on it.

There were a few times I felt like she didn't quite understand what I was saying, and I couldn't explain it any better, and I got a little frustrated and just told her to forget it. But she got the important things, and certainly had put in a lot of thought in the past week or so. She said she wanted to call me like 10 different times this week, because she didn't know if I was okay, but she said there was a fine line between seeming concerned and seeming like a stalker. I thought that was funny. :]

So we agreed to try to go forward and see if it can work. I felt really bad because she felt so bad about everything. I know it had to be hard for her to hear all that, but she handled it and responded very gracefully. So, we'll see. I do feel very relieved and much more optimistic about it.

So .... I know this was really long ... but hey, I'm an attorney - brevity is not my gift. :]

By the way - you said in your last post that from my description of my interactions with Linda, she seemed almost nervous and jumpy, but you didn't know if something was going on personally in her life or that's just her personality. What exactly were you referring to? She is a pretty hyper person, except is pretty calm while we are actually in session. If you can remember what I said that made her seem that way, I can probably figure out if it is out of character for her, at least in my dealings with her.

I'm going to try to get some sleep now. (btw - I feel much much better than I did earlier today. Still have no clue why I had a fever, but it seems to be gone).

Buenos suertes.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. I can't believe how tired I was when I got home!

I slept better last night. Still woke up a number of times, but kept the mask on all night. I cut back to the starting dose of the Clonazepam because I have been feeling "buzzy" every morning. That seemed to help, because I don't feel that way this morning.

Thanks for your help with all this.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

It sounds like your session went very well! You told her all of the things you felt were important for her to know, and she responded by answering the best she could. I'd say that was very successful.

But most importantly is how you feel about it. If you feel better and think the situation was dealt with in such a way that you feel safe continuing, then it worked out. It may not be perfect or even the same as it was before, but it may also be a good thing. By that I mean it can make Linda more aware of your needs and how she reacts to them, which can help you get better results out of therapy. And you may be more aware that if she does make a mistake, she doesn't mean harm and you can call her on it.

Another good part of this is Linda's willingness to listen to you, see your side of this and change her responses so you get what you need. That shows she is flexible and willing to work with you any way she can. It would have been easy for her to say, ok, this is not working out. Let me refer you to someone else. But she is open to the difficult times as well as the easy times. And that is a good sign.

I am very glad to hear that she did not give your regular appointment away on Mondays. It sounds like there was a communication break down and she did not clarify that the appointment will stand, just not for that Monday. Now that it is cleared up, I'm sure she will be more clear in the future.

You mentioned a few times that Linda seemed distracted in your sessions and that she tuned out (I'm not sure those were your words but that was the impression I got) sometimes when you were in session. You also mentioned that she missed the point a lot, which suggested to me that it could be due to something going on with her. It was a possibility and I brought it up to you in case it rang true and could explain her behavior.

Overall, it sounds like this was a communication issue that the two of you needed to get on the same page about. It may be that you communicate in different ways and you missed each other in the different situations. But now that you have talked it out, I think it will improve a lot from here on in. It will at least cause the two of you to consider the communication issue first before concluding that the other person has different motives.

I like your joke about brevity! You have a good sense of humor, Shay.

It sounds like your medication was up too high. It's always an adjustment to find a way to get the benefits from the meds but not have to deal with the side effects. Being that everyone reacts differently, it's an individual choice and not so much about taking the standard dosage.

I'm glad to be here for you, Shay. Anytime.

Bonne journée!


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


I feel good about it, I think. I did feel heard, and like she wanted to understand. And as I said, I think she did understand the main points. She took it very seriously, it seemed. I actually think that the fact that she thought I had gotten her messages (she had also called work, apparently, and told Nic who it was but didn't leave a message - she assumed he told me she called, but he didn't), and didn't call her back and the fact that she's been thinking since Tuesday that I just didn't show up to my appointment, helped, because she obviously had reviewed, in her mind and her notes, everything that went on in the past several sessions.

She seemed to feel like she really let me down. I don't want her to feel bad, and that made me feel bad, but it validated what I was feeling, because I did feel let down. But when she explained what she was seeing, what she had seen before, and why she thought I was just crying and didn't see that something else was going on, it really made sense to me. Plus - that was the first time we had changed rooms, and I was sitting in a chair instead of on the couch, where I always sit, I was sitting indian style (apparently now the PC version is "criss-cross-applesauce"?? :] ) And she said ended up almost curled into myself, so she couldn't see well, and she was sitting off to the side of me - not across from me. A lot of things were different that day anyway. But I also really, really appreciated that she said these things in a way to explain what happened and that it wasn't that she didn't care or wasn't concerned with what was going on, but not at all like she was trying to make excuses. It makes me feel like she accepts responsibility to keep me safe and okay while we're in there, and that it was appropriate for me to think I could rely on her for that (even though it didn't turn out well).

She seems to really care and really want to help me. She seemed pretty upset, I could tell, but she didn't act like it, other than to express she felt bad about what it meant for/to me, which was good, I think, because it didn't become about her.

And the biggest thing she "got," which I'm not sure I had even totally thought through - is that because she didn't recognize what was going on, and didn't do anything about it, she left me by myself to deal with it, which is EXACTLY how I felt after the incident happened.

She said she was so floored when I told her what had been going on that evening, and then more surprised when I told her more in the letter. She just felt really bad.

Bot***** *****ne is I feel like a lot of it was a communication problem, although the EMDR thing was not. I feel like she really does care and really does want to help me. I was wrong about her giving away my appointment, and I believed her when she said that she didn't feel any less motivated to help me. It doesn't mean it will work out - the communication is a problem. But I sometimes just can't explain things so she understands. It frustrates me and I can tell it frustrates her, when I just say "forget it." Maybe that will get better, maybe not. But I think at least we will be more likely to ask "is this what you are saying?" and even if we don't know exactly what the other means, at least we can rule out some things that were NOT meant.

I don't know that she "tunes out" in our sessions, but she does go off sometimes on little tangents - about random things that have no relation to me or my therapy - and sometimes, when she says things, I just want to cock my head and say "what the heck are you talking about?" But I don't bother when it has nothing to do with therapy and is just chit-chat. Other times, it does seem to take her a long time to "put things together" or figure things out, when think she should have found it pretty obvious. I figure that if I can make the connection after I say something, then she should have, since that is what she is trained to do. But maybe I am wrong in expecting that. I don't know. Sometimes she has great insight, and sometimes, it seems like she is totally lacking. So - she does do weird things, but I don't know, either, if it is just her or something going on. I know she is having major sleep apnea issues. She has gone through the sleep study, too, and the number of times and length of time she stopped breathing totally is disturbing. Yet - she hasn't done anything to get her machine yet or anything. I told her I was surprised she wasn't brain damaged for lack of oxygen. So maybe that's part of it. (I mean lack of sleep - not that she actually has suffered brain damage). I don't know.

I do agree my med dosage was up too high. I can't tell if it works for what it is intended anyway, since I have no idea what I'm doing when I'm asleep, unless I hit myself or something, which didn't happen very often anyway.

A question - when I was walking out the door last night, she told me to call her. I am assuming she means to call her if I need to, right? I have an appointment with her on Monday and nothing I need to talk to her about .... certainly she doesn't expect me just to call for the sake of calling?

I had to look up your French phrase :]

良い日をお過ごし下さい, 楽しくお過ごし下さい (Good luck with this )

(that's my name)

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
By the way --- I'm not ready on Monday to jump into hard stuff with linda or to make any definite decisions. What do you think she'll want to do? Since she said she was re-reviewing my file and her notes, would this be an appropriate time to ask her if she could show me some of them?
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

It's ok that you feel validated in all of this. Linda may feel bad, but that is a good sign. It's a sign she cares about what happened. If you were not seeing that in her, it would be a good reason to worry.

It is also good that she spent time reviewing your situation to see what might be the reason you did not call her back. It will help her to be more informed about your situation. Along with having this issue ironed out, things should go much better.

These kinds of things do happen in therapy. Although some of what went on concerned me, most of it could be worked out. Therapy is a sensitive process where one person is putting themselves out there, very vulnerable, while relying on the therapist to keep them safe and help them feel better at the same time. Good training and experience helps, but sometimes that human factor slips in there and the therapist doesn't hold up their end. That is why what happened between you and Linda is good. Both of you were willing to put yourselves out there again (more so in your case) and work this through.

It could be that Linda's lack of sleep causes her to be unfocused or not catch on to obvious details during therapy. One of the first things to go when you lose sleep is your concentration (as you are probably well aware) so that could be affecting her ability to pick up on your reactions to what is going on during your sessions.

I think Linda did mean for you to call her only if you needed her. She may have been thinking about all the missed phone calls and feeling bad that you did not contact her when you had your last flashback so she said that to be sure you knew that was available to you. I would find it odd if she wanted you to just check in randomly. There would be no reason for that and it would also border on the strange to ask you to do that.

I would let her know that you are just not ready yet to get back into the reasons you are in therapy. It might be a good idea to ask her to let you see her file or to even explore the communication issue a bit further. Either one or both. But she may need some preparation to let you see the file. It often has to be cleared with a supervisor first, in case there are any reprocussions.

Ok, that was a challenge, especially since I did not recognize if it was Chinese or Japanese. But I did figure it out.

Spero che tu abbia una buona giornata!


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Are there some things that concerned you that you DON'T think can be worked out? (Btw - it was nice of you to say you were concerned at all).

That is weird that she might have to get permission from her supervisor to show me her notes. I think therapists are more paranoid about being sued than attorneys! Maybe I'll arrive on Monday with a pre-signed and notarized waiver, promising not to sue her or the organization if I end up flipping out over something in my file, promise (for myself and my legal guardian to be appointed if such flip-out were to occur) to hold her and the organization harmless for any prolonged or permanent mental illness, or if I scratch my eyes out or end up writing "redrum" on the wall or something.

Although, I have to say, that if I stop representing a client for some reason (either during a matter or when it is over), and I either turn the file over to the client or another attorney, I do remove my notes. But mostly this is because I am a doodler and also because if I am on the phone with a client or another attorney or something, I may get frustrated and write "dumba**" or something in the margins, and nobody needs to see that :).

Speaking of doodling, Linda and I had a conversation about that before (who knows why - I think I was showing her something from my journal and I had doodled all over the place). Anyway, she said she wasn't much of a doodler. But boy was she doodling last night! I think she was nervous and also trying not to look through anything in the file, because I asked her not to. I think she drew our entire mountain range by the time we were done. It was kind of funny.

I think she was really surprised that I had been considering stopping altogether or going to someone else - or maybe she was just surprised that I told her that. I mean, she had to know that was a possibility, right? Especially since she thought I was avoiding her calls and just didn't show up.

I had put in my last letter (that she read last Monday) that therapy is a unique relationship anyway, because it is so one-sided. She has all the information, and therefore all the power, and if she wanted to, she has the means to easily crush me. Plus, I need her - she doesn't need me. That's the nature of this whole thing. She, of course, said she would never do that and would never think about doing it. And I said "I know, but you could. I have to trust that you won't." I reminded her of that last night, and she said "oh my gosh, did I crush you?" I said no - she didn't crush me, it was nothing that dramatic, but the reason she had the ability to hurt my feelings as she did is the same reason she has the power to crush me.

Nice try with the Italian :)

وليس من العدل الى مترجم استخدام الإنترنت

أ.الشيز, عربة خفيفة

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Oh my, Shay. I was laughing so hard reading about you bringing your waiver, protecting Linda and her agency from any possible flip out you may have. Redrum was a nice touch!

Unfortunately, therapists do have to protect themselves just as much as anyone else. But although that is a consideration, it is more about protecting the person you are working with. You don't want to do all that therapy just to have something misinterpreted and it all fall apart. It is about trust. And there are some people who are so fragile in their circumstances that actually seeing their diagnosis or any other information in black and white might cause a lot of harm. It is unlikely that another attorney or even a client of yours is going to have the same reaction if they see your files on them. But many clients we work with are dealing with some very intense and painful symptoms. A seemingly small detail could really hurt them and you want to avoid that at all cost.

It is also relevant in terms of therapy itself. Trust is a major factor (as you know) and if you feel you cannot trust your therapist, it can do such harm that your problem gets worse than it was when you presented to therapy. Although that can happen in other professions, it is unlikely to impact a person as much as it does in therapy. So therapist must be very careful in any action they take, including showing the files. That is why it's good to have approval, so there is two sets of eyes on the situation to be sure the client is protected.

There are some things in therapy that cannot be worked out, which is almost always about the therapist and their abilities. If a therapist crosses boundaries all the time, with no therapeutic benefit, that is an ethical issue. If they address problems or symptoms they do not have training or experience in and do not adequately provide for a lack of training (having a supervisor or obtaining addition training, etc) and hurt the client, that can be considered unethical. Some of those things have to be considered as issues and reasons to think about ending therapy and referring out.

I think it will take time for you and Linda to gain back the trust between you. Taking it slow is a good idea. See where this goes and if you feel ok with your progress.

Ok, that was hard to translate! Unfortunately, I don't know Arabic so I did use the translator (for the record I do know French. But not Italian :) ) I think it came out something like "It's not fair to use the internet translator." Then something like "Chaise".

Nói chuyện với bạn sớm!


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Yeah - I've been using the translators, too, obviously :) I only know Spanish (and not as much as I should) and I remember very little Japanese. It took me a little while to figure out that was Vietnamese. The "chaise" Arabic translation was supposed to be "Shay."

I understand what you are saying about having to be careful in your profession. What I always tell people here, when they mess up or something, is that no mistake they can make is going to kill somebody. We don't do criminal or family law, so everything we do comes down to money and property. Even though I certainly want to do everything I can in my clients' best interest, and I do stress out about it, I can't imagine the pressure for you guys.

And I never thought about the fact that seeing a diagnosis or a small comment could really harm someone. Yikes. It's true. And you're right - nobody would have a remotely similar reaction by looking at my files. It might make them mad, but for the most part, any negative thing I think about their position or case, I have already told them - I have to - and in my profession, it would hurt them not to, because they need to be able to assess and understand my assessment of their situation and whether it's worth fighting, or whether they could end up in a worse position - but this is all financially. It's not to say that I don't have any mentally ill clients, but I'm trying to help them legally - not psychologically or medically.

And thinking about it, maybe I shouldn't even ask to see Linda's notes. I mean, I know the file is not going to say I'm batty or have any actual mental disease, and that it will say have PTSD. But what if she wrote in her notes that I was overreacting or overdramatic and whiny and needy and should have been over this a long time ago? That would hurt me, and I wouldn't go back. I mean, if that's what she thinks, I kind of want to know, but maybe I shouldn't know, I guess? Or what if she wrote that she thought I made the whole thing up or something? I'm pretty certain she wouldn't think that - but what if she did? That would kill me. I'd never trust anyone else with any of that information. So even though I'm not generally overly-fragile (I don't think), it really could harm me. Interesting realization. However, I would think that if she had been totally honest with me, then seeing her notes would build trust, wouldn't it? Maybe too risky.

I felt like, when I was reminding Linda what she was telling me about growing up in an unaffectionate family, that she cold be affectionate with her daughters and mother, etc., she realized that she had shared more than she should about her personal life. Now, how that is going to translate into everyday stuff, I don't know. I wonder if she will stop telling me personal things. I used to want her to tell me stuff, but after you explained some things, I don't really want her to. There are one or 2 things I really shouldn't know about her at all. Do you think this is a fixable problem? I did also kind of lash out a little last night and told her that I didn't give a s*** how she acted with her own kids. I agree it was important for me to understand what a normal family life would be, and to realize mine was maybe not normal - because I had no clue. But I don't need to hear about how great other parents (including her) treat their kids - it's almost rubbing it in.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
All the same, I think I'll show up on Monday with a 40-page waiver, just to see what she says. :)
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
It's ok that you want to see your file. It's built into the law that you are allowed. I just wanted to help you understand why therapists are so careful and even hesitant to allow it without a lot of caution.

I am sure that Linda has not written anything remotely like you described. I understand that crosses your mind, but that has more to do with your fear that Linda really doesn't want to help you or that she doesn't even like you. And that is a natural fear in therapy. There is a lot of investment on your part and a lot of vulnerability. Like you said before, if she wanted to hurt you she could. And that is a good thing to get out into the open.

But even if the worst case scenario happened and Linda did write those things, it would be completely about her and not able you. No one would say such things without having self esteem problems, anger issues and other problems. And I highly doubt her supervisor would allow it or she would have gotten this far as a therapist if she was that way.

You could weigh your reasons for seeing the file against seeing something that might upset you. You could also ask Linda to omit anything she feels might bother you. That way, you can get an idea of what is in there without worrying.

It is ok that Linda has shared some of her personal information with you, but she may want to hold back from now on if you feel it is affecting you too much. As you can see, sometimes sharing can cause issues so it's always better to err on the side of caution and only share if you really need to and only to help.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I'm going to ask Linda what her thoughts are about me looking at my file with her. See whether she thinks it would hurt or help, and also about timing. Right now, the fact that I have shared so much and so many private and painful things with her and with you is making me feel panicked. You know, YOU have the same ability to really hurt me if you wanted --- I mean, maybe not to the same extent, because we don't meet face to face, and I've never technically met you (strange :) ), but I talk to you more often than I do Linda and you know a lot of what she does. I do not think you would, but the thought raises my blood pressure. And this is also where the shame comes in again. Would I feel as ashamed if only me and those 2 guys knew? Maybe I aggravated it by telling?

And I have nother question - you kow how we were talking about the fact that I am less and less able to just bury my feelings and they are blending in with my real life? What happens? Is it going to, then, eventually feel like it's kind of "coating" my whole self for a while before it settles into a normal and appropriate placement? Or will it just kind of mix in from the beginning? I guess what i am asking is this -- now that it's all being incorporated and there doesn't seem to be any way I can totally stop it, even if I wanted to (well, I would want to -- but I know you would say otherwise), is it going to get worse again before better or will it start upward towards better? Do you know?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Okay - I had called Linda and left her a VM message, saying that she said she was going through my file and her notes to see where we've been and where we are going, and I wondered if she could go over them with me -- I didn't want a copy or anythng, but maybe we could go over them together, and that I understood she didn't have to let me see them and that thre may be some very good reasns not to, and that I won't distrust her just because she says no. I asked her to think about whether or not it was a good idea, and let me know.

She called me back and said she thought it was a good idea -- that it might be helpful, especially with the recent setbacks, for me to be able to see and remember how far I've come since I started in July, when I couldn't even speak to her about any of it.

She said she would go through it again this weekend, and we would just plan on spending Monday and maybe the next session doing that and discussing it, and that way, too, we can ease back into things and not try to jump into anything. I told her she could take out anything that she thought wouldn't be good for me to see, or thought might upset me. She said she didn't think any of it would upset or surprise me, but also wasn't sure I could read her writing or understand what her notes meant, so it would be good that she is there to explain them, and she just asked that I ask her anything I don't understand and not assume anything. (I didn't even have to offer a complex waiver!)

She said she thought this would be a good thing for us to do together right now. She asked how I was and I said fine and that I was relieved a bit after talking to her last night. She said she really thought everything was going to be okay and she is just really sorry she didn't give me the support I needed, and she was glad I talked to her about it.

And she said for me to call her -- if I needed to - this weekend, and if not she'll see me Monday (we were right -- she wasn't saying just call regardless, which I agree would be bordering on creepy).

Well, just wanted to fill you in. You are right about a lot of things, Kate. Most things, actually. you must be very qualified. I don't think a lot of people are.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

It is normal to have those concerns, Shay. Linda and I could both hurt you, yes. But at the same time we could care very deeply about what happened to you and want to help you. This is about trust and shame which are warning you that you are in danger if you talk about what happened to you. Keeping this between you and those guys was a possibility. But the damage it would have done to you in the long run was potentially a lot worse. Keeping this in would have hurt you and kept you from ever leaving this behind. But now that you have shared your feelings, your trust and shame are saying that you are vulnerable. Somewhere in your past you were hurt badly by someone who took away your trust and made you feel ashamed. Finding out where your feelings came from can help you understand why you feel as you do now.

You did not aggravate anything by telling. You actually made it better. The only thing you aggravated was your trust issues. Talking about what happened to you brought your childhood issues up with it. So now you are not only dealing with the attack, but the trust issues you have from childhood too.

You took a risk and reached out for help. Sharing your inner most secrets is not a natural impulse but you pushed forward anyway, which is a sign that you want to trust and you realize that therapy is the best way to get better. You ultimately know what is going to help you get better and you chose the best way to get you there.

Trust is something that is important to talk about in therapy. It is an important issue for you. You may want to start back in your therapy by talking out your feelings regarding trust.

When I mentioned that you are not able to bury your feelings as much anymore, I meant that the more insight you gain and you become aware of your feelings, the more integrated you will be. Before therapy, you kept your past and your present feelings very separate. You repressed the past, both your childhood and the attack. But your nightmares kept reminding you that you had stuffed all those powerful emotions down. The nightmares were the "leak" in your bottled up feelings. As you let those feelings out and acknowledge them, they will become part of you. They will not take over, but instead blend with who you are now, much like water into a sponge. You may feel worse before you get better because the feelings are new and therefore will seem to be bigger than they are, but as you work through them, you will learn to accept them and they will seem just like your other feelings. Think of it like dumping a big bag of rocks or sand. At first it is a huge pile that seems overwhelming. But as you work with it, you put it all in it's place and it ends up blending in.

That is good news about Linda agreeing to share your file with you. She must feel it would help you to gain trust and see that you have come a long way in therapy. I am interested in your thoughts about it after you review it.

Thanks for the kudos! It's nice to hear I'm right sometimes. Would you mind coming over and telling my kids that? According to them, I'm never right :)

Good night, Shay. I hope you get some good rest.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Good timing. I was just about to shut down my computer and go home.

Your kids wouldn't believe me anyway --- but you will suddenly seem very smart and very right to them when they hit their mid-20's, I would guess. Good luck until then!

I remember thinking, very consciously, that my mom had no clue what she was talking about with certain things. One specific thing was that she told me that just because the burner on the electric stove was no longer red did not mean it was no longer hot. I thought she was an idiot. I was in the 3rd grade, and I remember my thought process very clearly. I was going to prove she was wrong. So I turned the stove on high, waited until the burner turned red, then turned it off and stared at it. As soon as it turned from red to black, I stuck my hand on it. i didn't just touch it quickly with a finger or sprinkle water on it -- I laid my palm flat down on it. I was that sure that my mom was wrong. Well, I'm sure you can guess who was right about that one. :) My hand got stuck to the burner and I had the outline of the burner coils melted into my hand. And I didn't want to scream because I was embarassed I had been wrong and did that to myself, so i had to wait until the burner cooled most of the way down to get my hand off. (One fo my finer moments, for sure). Boy did that hurt, but it was easier to take than the "I told you so" and having to explain to people why I had a big gauze mitt on my hand for a month. But still - I thought "okay, she was right about that one thing." It took me until probably college before I realized they actually knew a lot more than me. Again, good luck with that :).

You said:

"Somewhere in your past you were hurt badly by someone who took away your trust and made you feel ashamed."

Do you mean a single incident or do you mean everything taken as a whole? And you don't mean what happened with those guys, right?

Well, I'm going to go home now. Have a good night!

Buenos noches!


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Do you really care deeply about what happened to me? Why? How? You've never even met me. These things happen to people all the time. How come you care at all? Why do you maybe care a lot more than my own family? It doesn't make sense.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Oh Shay, that sounds so painful! Nothing teaches like experience! I hope you did not have any lasting scars from it. Ouch!

I agree, my kids would not believe anyone who said I am smarter than they are. But they aren't as bad about my intelligence as they are about my taste in music and clothes. Mom just doesn't have it together, I guess :)

When I mentioned someone taking away your trust and making you feel ashamed, I was thinking of your parents. But if you can think of an incident that stands out for you, that is also good. I put that out there because I can see the results of whatever happened now, but I was thinking it might trigger a specific memory for you, something you could pinpoint and say yes, I remember feeling that way when....

But overall, the way your parents treated you would have caused trust issues, in yourself (if I feel this way it is wrong for example) and with others, and also the way they taught you to repress your feelings involved shame. Lots of it. They made emotions, a natural part of being human, something to be ashamed of. They made them wrong. That alone would cause what you feel and be an automatic response when you confront feelings.

Yes, I do care deeply about you. Meeting you face to face would be a bonus, but I have gotten to know you over our conversations, which we often have over the whole day. Talking to you that often, I've gotten to know you. You have reached out with your most painful experiences and that alone brings up strong feelings for me. I want the best for you. Yes, these kinds of things do happen to others. And I care about that too. I don't like to hear about anyone in pain. But I know you personally, so that is where my focus is. Your family probably does care, but they repress it and their own issues may get in the way of their expressing it. But I don't have that same issue so I can be there for you and focus on helping you.

I'll be in an out today but I will write back as soon as I can. I hope your day goes well!


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No - no lasting scars :) But I DID learn my lesson!

No kid thinks their parents dress cool or like their music -- at least as teenagers. Austin, who was my runner/file clerk for a few years before leaving to go to another college (he's 20 and going to be a youth minister) always made fun of my music. He just didn't know good music! Now, Nic, my new runner, who just turned 19, has exactly my taste in music. What kind of music do you like?

Thank you for saying you care. That is nice. :) I don't know what to say.

I can't think of any specific thing from my past where my trust was taken away and/or I was made to feel ashamed. There are some smaller incidents I recall, but nothing major. I think that if it's anything, it's just how we were raised in general. But then, when I was kind of getting over that stuff in college, I think, the incident happened, which was another indication that I can't trust and of shame, then with what followed after that (when I eventually went to the doctor and eventually told someone), it was reinforced even more. But how can it be fixed? You were right before that I do want to trust and I do want help to fix all this. But it seems the only way to do that is to trust first, which is really risky. I only think I 100% trust God and P. I think maybe it makes me feel alone, but what is the alternative? And the therapy thing is so weird -- because not only does it require that I trust someone you haven't known very long, but trusting beyond what I would trust even P, with the most personal, embarrassing, worst things and the things that could be used most to hurt me. But you were right -- I do know that therapy is the best and perhaps the only way to get better. But if it backfires, I am totally screwed. Look at what happened with the setback with Linda. I felt a mess. It's really scary. Did you feel the same way when you were in therapy? How old were you when you really started working on things?

Well, I am still in my PJs ... am going to do some work from home and just try to chill out. No plans out of the house today! yay! and P is gone for the afternoon, so maybe I'm going to try to think some things through and write some stuff. Or maybe not :)

I hope you are having a good day!


Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


I like all kinds of music. It really depends more on the song than the type of music. But I was trying to tell my kids that knowing bands like the Beatles are essential to understanding music and where it came from. They just look at me like I'm crazy and say "Who?". Scary, huh?!

I think you are right. The timeline makes good sense. You were just working on shedding what you learned as a child and then the attack occurred, which set you back by bringing up your defenses, the only ones you knew which was to repress. And because it was such an overwhelmingly emotional event, the repression had to be strong. That also triggered your trust and shame not only because of what happened to you, but because the emotions connected to the attack involved a strong sense of shame.

What happened with Linda does test your ability to trust in therapy. But it also showed you that even if your trust is tested, you handle it well and you can repair it even if it goes wrong. Your initial feeling was that you could trust Linda. You trusted your gut. And that turned out to be a good thing, because in the end, you and Linda worked the situation out.

You are never going to be able to trust anyone 100%. I know you mentioned trusting P that much, but P is human too and could make a mistake, one that tests your trust. Maybe not on purpose, but it is possible. But putting yourself out there and taking that risk is part of life. Therapy does ask you to take more of that risk than you do in your everyday life. But there are also rules built into therapy to help you feel more protected than in normal everyday situations. Therapists can't just set up practice and see anyone, making up the rules as they go along. There are ethics that must be followed and there are serious consequences to breaking those ethics. Therapists must keep what you say in therapy only between you and the therapist (much like attorney/client privilege) or they can lose their license and be sued. To be a therapist takes many years of study (I was in school for almost 8 years) and they have to have a special license which is not easy to get. Most therapists who would do any harm are screened out well before then and the ones that make it through do not want to risk losing the hard earned degree and licenses.

But even with all those regulations and protection, trust has to come from you. And I think that is part of what is going on and why you are struggling. You want to be sure and there is no way to be sure you will not get hurt. Exploring what getting hurt means to you and why it is a focus for you is important. I encourage you to talk with Linda about it. And we can certainly explore it as well.

I hope you are well into relaxing and enjoying your day! Have fun!


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well, someone breaking my trust on purpose or because they don't care is one thing, an someone making a mistake is different. Jamie (my legal assistant - she also goes to my church) says that it's no wonder I don't like anyone (not true) and don't want to let people be friends with me (also not true - just her perception - just because someone wants to be my friend or hang out with me doesn't mean I am obligated to feel the same way. I don't have a lot of extra time, and anyway, all these people think they know me and they don't), because she says I never take people at their word, am always looking for some hidden motivation. She says that there are those people who, no matter how bold and honest you try to be with them, always think everyone loves them and interprets everything you say in the best possible light for themselves, which is really annoying. But she says I do the opposite, and it is equally annoying. maybe so.
It really grieves me when I see people who are married, and either one cheats on the other and the spouse ha no clue (in which case, if the cheating has stopped, I'm not sure whether it's better for the person to come clean and destroy the other's trust and reality, or to not be honest, in which case the trust is a farce) or when a couple gets divorced, and it gets nasty. It's like all these intimacies and everything shared between people who love and trust each other can be (and a lot of times are) used against each other and to hurt them. I think that's tragic and so sad.
You didn't answer about whether you, too, we're scared to trust in therapy. If you don't want to answer, you don't have to. I just didn't know if you were purposely not answering or missed my question. I would imagine everyone has some fear about that in therapy, right?
That is scary that kids today don't know who the Beatles are. My favorite Beatles songs are "across the universe" and "the fool on the hill," but I like most of their music. I like America aand Queen a lot, Simon & Garfunkel, ***** ***** Band, Violent Femmes, REM, eagles, bob marley, eric clapton, ***** *****, rush, indigo girls, crosby, stills & nash, Jude, Barenaked Ladies, Cowboy Mouth, and just a lot of stuff. My favorite song of all time is "everything I own" by Bread. I seriously think I could express my feelings much better by just making a playlist or CD to bring to therapy every week. I'm kind of a music fanatic. Frequently there is a song that can say how I feel much better than I ever could. I try to famiarize all my friends with the music I think is great, because frequently, I will say "tho is exactly like that song by ...". and they just stare blankly at me. I make a lot of CD sets for people. I made a whole travel set for my pastor an his wife when they were driving on a long trip, which they really enjoyed, but they told me that they pulled into a drive-thru or toll booth or something and the song "I touch myself" by the DiVinyls started blasting and they were really embarrassed. But I thought it was hilarious. :). I'm sure they needed to shake up their day a little.
Today has been relaxing! Watching "independence Day" (awesome movie) and lounging with the dogs. Trying to come up with some intentional thoughts or actions I can do to move this whole healing process forward. I will talk to Linda about the trust thing. We've discussed it before, but it's been a long time.
Have a great day and evening, Kate!
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

How do you feel about what Jamie told you about your view of people and their hidden motivations? You mentioned that you disagree with some of what she said, but I wonder how you feel about it overall.

Trust is an important part of life. If you do not trust others or question their motives when you deal with them, that means that your fear of being hurt is primary in your relationships. Trust is a matter of degree. Everyone has times they are unsure about whom to trust, how much to trust, and if they should not trust someone at all. Every day we make choices about who to trust, how much and why. It is important that we do that because to just trust anyone without judgment would mean you have a serous psychosocial issue.

At the same time, spending too much time focusing on whom to trust and not to trust can mean that you fear what a person can do to you if you make the wrong choice by trusting. Your upbringing made it hard for you to trust your own instincts and emotions because you were not allowed to develop them in a normal way. And when you were attacked, you questioned your judgment because you chose to trust those guys when they told you to follow them. That was a pivotal moment for you in trusting others.

It is hard for you to see another person get hurt being cheated on in a marriage because you identify so much with the pain of mistrust. It feels too real to you. In your relationships you spend your time deciding if you can trust the person you are dealing with and looking for evidence that you can let your guard down with them.

I did trust the therapist I saw. But I knew him already and that helped. He made some mistakes with me as well, but my experience was a good one overall. I gained a lot from it and was able to put my issues in the past.

You do like music! I like a lot of those bands as well. The Beatles are a given and I can't quite understand anyone who doesn't like them. They have music for everyone from slow to intense. Everything I Own is a great song. My favorite is Steely Dan Rikki don't lose that number. I have no idea why. But I can listen to it anywhere anytime.

Independence Day is one of my favorite movies! Harry Connick does a great job and Will Smith makes me laugh. Welcome to Earth!


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.


I totally forgot about that song!! My favorite Steely Dan song is "Hey Nineteen" (I think it's the reference to rollerskating that gets me).

I don't really care a whole lot about what Jamie says. She is wrong that I don't like people. I do. And it's not like I don't want to be friends with people -- I do to some extent -- but I'm the kind of person who is more comfortable with a small number of very good friends, as opposed to a large number of surface friends. And I don't have much spare time, and when I do, I want to relax or do something by myself or someone close to me. I don't just want to hang out with random people.

But Jamie's perspective is skewed. I have become friends with her since she has worked with me, but I think she wanted to be friends before then, and she wants to be closer than we are. But I didn't know her very well before and didn't have any kind of connection with her. I don't know what it is about people at church, but people seem to want to be friends with me all the time. I don't know why. (I mean, other than the obvious reasons that I am fun and funny and have a sparkling and magnetic personality :) ) It's weird. People get upset because I don't like to do a whole lot with people socially (and don't have time) and don't like to go to fellowships and stuff. I actually do well in those settings and make friends very easily, but it's not what I am comfortable with. But people don't know me, either. They think that I am happy-go-lucky, show-everything-on-the-surface and say whatever I'm thinking. They might be partially right about the last thing, but they are so wrong about the others. They might not even get along with me if I acted how I am :).

Anyway, it's people's misperceptions, but it doesn't really matter. I think it's all more than strange between adults.

So since I can't explain to Jamie why I am like that (I mean, who knows? everyone is different), she came up with her own theory that I just don't like people or spending time with people. Apparently, I am an a**hole ifI don't want to be friends with everyone. Oh well. She is wrong about those things -- she just doesn't understand and I don't really need to spend the time to try to explain. But she is right about my questioning everyone else's motives. If someone says something nice, I do tend to think they are not being genuine. And especially at church --- people make a point to be nice and encouraging at church. How do I know if they are being honest or not? For instance -- this is a dumb example, because it doesn't matter, but I have heard people sing solos or something in church and they were terrible. I would never,, of course, tell them that. But C will go out of his way to tell them good job. Therefore, I would never believe when C tells me I did a good job. That seems logical to me. I happen to know that he isn't entirely truthful in those situations.

I see that I have a trust issue. I guess I didn't think so before I started therapy, but I can see that I do. But what do I do? As I think you pointed out, we can't blindly trust everyone, and must trust people at different levels. But from what you said, my need to look for evidence that I caan let my guard down and proof that I can trust people I deal with, is an opposite extreme? What's the middle ground? What is healthy? The fact is that people are going to take advantage of trust and are going to lie and are going to not be trustworthy sometimes. It is unavoidable. How can I prepare myself so that in that event, I take it for the limited thing it is and don't go back to square one? And how do I get beyond square one to begin with? And what is the benefit of trusting more?

I know, realistically, that the consequences of putting my trust in the wrong person are not ever likely to be as severe as they were with those guys, and I also know that a reasonable person wouldn't have really trusted 2 strangers anyway, and I wouldn't do it again. But I would have never thought before that that trusting them when they said they parked down the little road and walking a little ways with them could have had the consequences it did. I wish I had known, obviously.

Just thinking about that and what that decision led to makes me feel all flushed and teary. Why can it make me feel bad all of the sudden like that? Geesh. I used to be really even-keel. Now I'm so up and down. (Guess it's good practice for menapause, huh?) It's kind of weird, since I've gotten more used to crying -- it's surprising how much crying I feel like I need to get out. I mean, obviously it doesn't literally build up. I am assuming that there are more tears now because I am dealing with some hard stuff I haven't dealt with before and because I'm kind of new to this, and it will calm down when, as you say, this all integrates into my present, right? I can live with that. Crying has proved to be surprisingly relieving sometimes - although it is still tempting to do other things for relief sometimes.

Well, I'm a little upset now. (????). So I am going to sign off and go to bed. Talk to you later, Kate. :)

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


There is a lot of energy for you around what Jamie thinks about you, and that is ok. I point it out because the attention you are paying to it means that there is something there for you. You are bothered by the fact that either it is the truth, or that Jamie believes it is the truth and that bothers you. And it sounds like it is also tied to your issues with trust, which is the basis for a lot of your decisions in life.

Not being able to trust others is a way to protect yourself from getting hurt. Because you trusted the guys who hurt you, you ended up with a lot of pain, both physically and emotionally. You were not allowed to trust yourself as a child, or your parents. Your life lessons around trust have been full of painful consequences. So naturally, you are very careful about trusting others, using your intellectual abilities to screen out those individuals and situations that may cause you any pain. But at the same time, it has prevented you from being open and trusting of others. Those closest to you see it, but others only see your surface, what you choose to present to them.

You can learn to trust again. Part of it may be that you do not trust your own instincts to know when someone will hurt you. Not all lies are detectable, but just as you pointed out with C, you can usually spot most of them. And there are levels of mistrust. For example, someone who says they like your new haircut may be lying, but how much harm is their lie doing? You may see through it or you may not. But it really doesn't matter that much. So being hypervigilent about those kinds of lies is not needed but you do it anyway, saying "see she lied to me". It is driven by your fear of being duped and hurt again. Because of your experiences, it is hard for you to determine what will hurt you and what is just a simple lie that will not cause you any harm.

By not trusting, you miss out on opportunities with others like Jamie. You also put yourself under undue stress trying to detect who is lying and who is not. And the most damaging part is the cost to you. You are always on the defensive trying to protect yourself instead of living your life. That may be the reason for the tears you had. It is hard to keep yourself safe all the time and realize that when you can't you might be really hurt.

We can work on rebuilding trust together. It takes time but it can be done.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
First, think I must have seemed like I care a lot more about what Jamie said than I really do, probably because I was trying to explain it and wasn't doing a very good job. What jamiesays or thinks doesn't really bother me. And i like Jamie and think she's a great mother and care about her and her family and appreciate the good job she does at work. But she and I will never be as close as she wants. We get along and we spend a lot of time together at the office. But some people you just don't "click" with as much.
The concern about what Jamie says is that it has been an issue at church, where people have had their feelings hurt because they feel like we aren't inclusive and people said that we wer "select" or the "chosen," which made me mad and I thought was really ridiculous. Again , we're not 12. And I certainly didn't mean to hurt anybody's feelings. It wasso dumb. It never dawned on me that adults would feel that way. And some of the people I do hang out with kind of perpetuated that attitude from people. So I'm a bit sensitive about that whole thing, because I had no clue anyone had any issues until after I apparently hurt a bunch of peoples' feelings. But everyone is not going to be friends with everyone else, and I'm no exception. Also, I think because of the parts of me that I do let everyone say, people see that I am outgoing and open and like everyone (because I am nice to everyone (usually)). So thy would expect I would want to be many people's friends, maybe. I don't know, but the whole thing really irritates me. But Jamie doesn't really have anything to do with it.
You are totally right about there being lies with little consequence and that aren't worth my time or discernment. No - it doesn't matter whether someone lies about liking my hair or of C thinks I did a good job or not. But it is hard to tell whether these kinds of lies are an indication of someone's overall veracity or not. Bit I'm not always honest about everything. If someone sounds awful and asks me how they did, I I'm not that close to them, I would say they did well. And I would say I liked soneone's haircut when I didn't (unless it's a close friend an I know they want my truthful opinion). I agree - those kinds of lies are kind of just being polite.
But where is the line?
It kind of comes down to giving someone ammunition to hurt you. And whether it's worth it. There is the desire to protect myself, but also the desire not to help someone hurt me. Does that make sense?
And the effort and energy it takes to keep my defenses up is definitely worth avoiding that kind of thing from happening again. But I know it's statistically unlikely I would ever be in that position again. Also, on one hand, as far as love goes, it may seem better to avoid trusting - because it hurts so bad when the trust is broken or you find out it was misplaced to begin with. But is it worth giving up on ever being in love? Probably not.
But you're right - I can't keep myself safe all the time. It is scary. But what do I do with that? Because there will always be the chance that i can be really hurt, and the more trust, the more likely, I think.
This is why I think it would have been so much worse t
If I had knows those guys or if they were trusted friends or something.
I think I was teary last night because I thought of how easily I could have avoided being in that position. And then that led to thinking about the whole thing. I feel kind o stuck there right now. It certainly comes into y mind a lot considering how long it's been. I feel so damaged right now. And I feel guilty for feeling that way. I feel totally self-centered and dramatic. I feel pretty pathetic. And it's pathetic how scared I have apparently become of what people could do to me.
I know you must be sick of me going back and forth and bringing up this stuff over and over and keep having the same issues and getting upset. I just can't seem to resolve one thing and move on to the next, you know?
I'm sorry. I think I just feel a little depressed.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


I am not sick of you bringing up how you feel. I like helping you. Bringing things up as often as you need to is part of working them out. If you don't do that and try to move on, it is not resolved. It is like reading a paragraph in a book that you don't quite comprehend. If you just skip it, you won't know what is going on in the rest of the story. So you review it until you understand the whole thing. It's the same with your feelings.

Resolving how you feel is going to take time. This isn't a simple adjustment issue. This is trauma. You suffered and need time to work your way through.

The line with trust and lying exists is where you can live your life without trust being the forefront of all your relationships and how you see the world in general. It is also when you feel comfortable deciding who to trust without having to "investigate" them thoroughly. You will know when you reach that line.

People get hurt by others. It is inevitable. But learning to trust has it's own rewards. And you already have the ability to protect yourself. It's is just in overdrive right now. You distance yourself so much that everyone is tested to see if you are safe in dealing with them. And there is nothing wrong with that given what you have gone through. It's actually a very normal response. But letting go a little and learning to trust your instincts would help you a lot in your relationships. And accepting that you can deal with anyone who tries to hurt you is part of it too. It will not be as painful as what you have gone through because you will have better coping mechanisms than you had then. You have learned from your experiences which automatically makes you able to deal with others better.

There is nothing wrong with where you are now with the attack. You repressed it so long that it's coming out now instead of when it happened. It's not the length of time that it took but the fact that you are dealing with it that counts. It would have been just as easy to keep trying to repress it and in the end causing yourself, and maybe those around you, a lot of pain. But you are facing it very bravely and that is admirable.

Good night Shay. Sleep well.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

How could my further repression cause pain for those around me? I think it would make things easier for them - it would be more pleasant, I think, if I wasn't having issues.

I'm sorry . I just feel like I keep revisiting and revisiting and making little progress. Meanwhile, I am finding out more and more stuff I didn't know about myself and is not the best stuff. I have learn things about myself which are disappointing, to say the least. I didn't know I had so many flaws before I started all this. I thought I was pretty well-adjusted and healthy. Apparently I was wrong. I feel like I am finding that more and more stuff is wrong with me.

You see? That is the kind of thing I had no clue about. I thought one thing - was pretty sure - and was apparently totally wrong. And the thing with what happened, I didn't have an expectation that I could trust those 2 guys. But I did have an expectation that the world was a certain way, and that I could trust myself. You say I grew up not being able to trust myself, and that may be true, but by the time I was 21, I was darn confident and did trust myself to take care of myself. But the world wasn't as I thought - I was wrong. And I couldn't trust myself. Not only did I react in a way I would never have guessed I would have (again, I was wrong), my instincts showed me nothing. I wasn't scared at all. I didn't know that anything was wrong until it was too late. Nothing in myself alerted me to any danger. Again, I was wrong. Is it surprising that I can't trust myself? I was wrong. And it had major consequences. And it is becoming abundantly clear that I don't even know myself. I feel so pathetic. And I feel like the biggest baby.

I need some advice. One of my friends, D (who is also our head pastor's wife) and I have always "clicked." We have similar senses of humor - dry and sarcastic, and she is a bit mischievous as well. We have fun. I actually click with her husband, too. I really like them, and they are very down to earth. Anyway, D asked me this morning why I was going back to my old firm, and she said she thought I may be miserable. One of our other ministers asked me, too. I told them that it was just the right thing for me, and I just have no question that it's the right thing to do and it's what I am supposed to do. D asked me whether that had been my "unspoken" prayer request. I told her no. She said: "I don't know what you are struggling with, but I'm here if you want to talk about it. You don't need to share it with me, but whatever it is, you've been struggling a while, it seems. Sometimes it is helpful to get input or share things with someone who has lived a lot longer than you, and I know your parents aren't Christians. " She said that she was sure P was helpful with whatever it was, but she knows that I have had to support P a lot lately with all that's gone on in her family, and it might be helpful to have some additional support with whatever it is. I told her I appreciated it and would consider it. She wants to go out to dinner this week, and that if I wanted to talk to her, talk to her. She said she didn't want to pressure me, but if it would help me, she was there, and to please know that she wouldn't share whatever I tell her.

What do you think? Should I tell her? I don't know what I would even say. I do not want to tell her everything, obviously, nor would it be appropriate, but I would want to make sure she knew it was more than sex. I think I do trust her - I think she would be careful not to say something or react in a way that would hurt me, and she wouldn't tell anyone. But I'm not sure she would even want to know this. She might be sorry she asked. She probably thinks I've been praying for a boyfriend. :] She might understand a bit more, because her husband said during a sermon a few months ago that he was sexually abused as a child by his uncle (I think). So she as probably dealt with him about that. But that also might make her think "He was a kid and it was ongoing - he's over it. She was an adult and a one-time thing. Why isn't she over it?"

So what do you think? I really want to know your thoughts. Will I gain anything by sharing it with her (whether vis-à-vis the primary issue or the trust issues)? If so, what should I say? I know you won't tell me 100% whether to do it or not, and I know you obviously don't know her. But with what I have told you, what are the ups and downs, and which way would you lean? (don't worry - you want one of those waivers? :] ).

What can I do to make some progress here? I am getting really discouraged and I feel like I am stuck. I don't want to feel this way for a lot more time. I'm feeling a little desperate and like I need to stop being so negative and feeling sorry for myself. But Im'm so sad and it's really hard.


Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Repressing your feelings doesn't mean you wouldn't have any issues. It just means that you are burying them. Many people feel that if they don't express their feelings, there is no harm done. But because it is not natural to repress feelings, they often come out in other ways. And that could be in how you interact with others.

The fact that you are finding out more about yourself as you go back over your issues is very good. You want that kind of progress. The more you know, the better you can recover.

This is not about what is wrong with you. That comes from the pattern you learned as a child. If you feel something, it's wrong. Being a human means that there will be things wrong, you will feel down or upset, and that expressing what you need is normal. You were not allowed to learn these things as a child so now they seem overwhelming. And you did not judge the situation right when you were attacked. So what? Yes, there were consequences. But you were also only 21 years old, you had been raised in a home with parents that did not allow you to trust your own feelings and you had no guidance to what was right or wrong. That alone would make using your judgment almost impossible, no matter how confident you felt.

If you feel your pastor's wife would be of help to you, then by all means share with her. I can understand your hesitancy. Trusting someone with your story is hard. But I think you are also transferring your feelings onto her. She is not going to judge you because you haven't worked this through yet. That is your own judgment of yourself. People usually respond with sympathy and understanding, if they are normal emotionally.

I would tell her that you were severely attacked when you were in college by two men. She can fill in the blanks from there. Then let her know that you repressed dealing with it until now. Let her know you have support (you don't have to say therapy unless you want to) and you can also tell her that you have PTSD (which will cover the nightmares, flashbacks and stress they have noticed with you). Then see how she reacts. If you feel safe with her, share more. But either way, that will give her enough to go on to support you. (I'll take that waiver now..... :) )

I know you feel stuck, Shay. But from my perspective, you are doing extremely well. Try allowing yourself to sit with this. It is ok to feel upset, scared, depressed and stressed. Don't try to skip through this and bypass your deepest issues. That will only leave you feeling unsettled and upset. And I can tell you that once you do work through this, you will not believe how much more focused and calm you feel.

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