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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate, I hope things are going well for you. I have been

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Hi Kate,
I hope things are going well for you. I have been playing the distraction game for the past week as my therapist is away on vacation. I was really worried about her being away but since I am barely thinking about any of my problems, it hasn`t been too bad. But it is very tiring to keep pretending and bottling everything up inside. I feel ready to erupt soon. Lucky I have an appt. with her on Tuesday.
I was also sick again and had to be in the hospital on Easter Sunday for a couple of days. I`m not the healthiest person. I passed out and couldn`t be revived for nearly 20 minutes. I hate going to the hospital but sometimes it is nice to be taken care of by others. I would like it more if I didn`t have so much pain and discomfort with it.
I was also busy with my daughter`s birthday parties. She is officially a teenager. Yikes, I hope there is lots of reading materal on raising one. I think I`ve done okay up until now but the `teenage attitude`I could definetly do without.
Now that my appt. with my therapist is nearing, it has been increasingly difficult for me to keep my painful stuff at bay. I wish I didn`t have to deal with it. It seems like such a huge mountain to climb. The problem is I cannot seem to keep my painful memories at bay for too long anymore. They keep creeping up to the surface on me.
It makes me feel incredibly sad to think of all that stuff and how much I went through. The note I received from the therapist that used to watch over my daughter`s visits with her biological father, brought everything up again. I thought I was finished with that pain. But it came up quickly and flowed quickly as well on me. It felt like old times when I had to bring her to those visits. Our happiest day was in September when we found out we didn`t have to go anymore.
Why is it that I thought I was over all those painful memories only to find out that I have not at all. I still give him the power. My therapist told me it was time to take the power back and get him out of my life. I thought I had when visits stopped. But now i find that they have not at all. I don`t understand.

Hi Kathy,

I am sorry to hear that you were in the hospital over the holiday. Did they ever find out what was wrong?

It sounds like the letter from the therapist tapped into something you felt was resolved. Sometimes, even if you do address trauma and pain at the time they occur, you can have them come back. It's because as time goes on, some of the buried pain that you did not know was there comes out. The bad thing about this is having to relive all the memories and the pain associated with it. But the good part is that you have dealt with this trauma before and know how to resolve it.

When someone in your past had power over you, it can be hard to get completely away from that feeling. It takes not only getting away from them physically, but emotionally as well. And that is the most difficult part because of how enmeshed you can be with that person. Any reminders of them and what happened can bring up your feelings.

You may have to spend some time with your therapist going back over some of the memories and talking them out. Identifying your feelings and putting them into perspective can help you put this behind you again. Self talk can help as well. Telling yourself that you are no longer in danger can help a lot. Remember that no matter how you feel, the same trauma cannot happen again. Even if you feel the emotions connected to it, the situation will never be the same again.

Happy birthday to your daughter! The teen years are difficult, I agree. I think sometimes it's just taking one outburst episode at a time! They can be so grown up one minute and the next it's like they are two years old again. There really should be a survival manual :)


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

Thanks Kate.

You always put things into perspective. Some of the stuff I know already but just don't want to hear it. For instance, I know that I am not over him yet. Being away from him helped me and my daughter immensely. However, all the stuff he put me through has not been resolved completely. There is a vast amount of emotionally pain he put me through that I may have mentioned once in therapy but obviously it was not enough.

I always have this feeling that I will never be free of him. I always feel that he is plotting something against us (I don't think this is me being paranoid as he often is up to something that surprises me). I feel I can never let my guard down and just feel free.I often wonder if I will ever be able to feel that way. If I can't, then there is no point in therapy, there is no point in anything:(

I have a blockage of my pancrease and severe anemia. i was also extremely dehydrated. But it was the stomach pain that was so awful. But I'm back home now on medication and will wait to see a specialist. Thanks for asking.


You're welcome, Kathy. I want to be there for you and help in any way I can.

If you are still dealing with things that your daughter's father is doing, then it is hard to let go of the situation, especially if those things he is doing are meant to hurt you in some way. It would always feel like you are connected to him and can't get away.

Keeping your guard up is good in a way. It may not feel good, but protecting yourself the best you can is vital. The part of this that is bothersome though is the lack of control over what he does and how it impacts you emotionally. Anyone who has gone through similar situations feels an underlying stress and anxiety. It is not easy to cope with.

Eventually, he will have less access to you, once your daughter is old enough to be on her own. But in the meanwhile, coping the best you can is the goal. Is there anything you can do to maintain some control? Asking for help is another option. An attorney, your therapist and any other professional that can step in and provide a barrier between you and your ex will help. And be sure to take care of yourself as much as you can. Worry and anxiety can cause you to forget that you need time to relax and reduce your stress.

I'm sorry to hear that you were so sick. I could not imagine how you felt. I hope the specialist can do a lot for you and you are on the mend soon.


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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Morning Kate,

Waiting until my daughter is old enough to be on her own seems like a lifetime away. I do have a lawyer and my therapist was great in assisting with the letter. She promptly called the other doctor and said a meeting was not in my best interest and would be too traumatic for me. So for now, it is a stalling game or at worst he could provide a list of questions of what he wants to know.

But still, it feels like an intrusion on me. It means he is still involved in our lives. When that happens, all the feelings from the assaults come rushing back to me. I try journaling but it only works for some of those intense moments. Plus my flashbacks have returned. I hate these. They are so real. I've had them before but somehow they seem different now. More intense. They are difficult to deal with. My therapist is always telling me to "stay in the moment" and I do my best but sometimes I fail at it.

I guess I just feel he has had a hold on me for nearly 14 years and I just wonder if I will ever be free of him both physically and emotionally. I cannot indure another several years of this. Plus I, who rarely feels anxiety, now often feels so anxious.

Thanks for listening Kate. I missed our "chats" while I was sick.



I'm glad to be here for you. It can make coping so difficult if you don't have a way to express how you feel and are stuck alone with your thoughts.

I can understand your feelings about being tethered to your ex all this time. His behavior sounds intrusive and demanding. And to always have to respond would feel like you never have any rights or boundaries.

And being in contact this much would also stir up your feelings each and every time, making you feel re traumatized over and over again.

Since you have to deal with him legally, one of the best ways to cope is to try to distance yourself emotionally from him as much as possible. Try not to give him any control or if you have to give him something, make it as difficult as you can. That way, it provides negative reinforcement to him. In other words, it won't be easy and pleasant for him to try to get something from you. It will be hard and difficult, making him think twice before going through it.

Grounding yourself during flashbacks is one of the best ways of getting yourself to come back from them. Here are some you can try:

Touch- grab something that is cold or has texture. It will bring your mind to the present.

Smell- keep herbs or something like cinnamon nearby. The smell will be strong enough to stop your flashback

Sound- use music or something loud to snap you out of the flashback

Taste- hot coffee, ice or even a lemon can bring your attention back.

Also, keep track of what might have triggered your flashback and also when, where and what time you experienced the flashback so you can learn ways to control them and eventually eliminate them.

By using these techniques, you can help yourself and have some control over how you feel.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

How do I accomplish any of those things while in a flashback? How is it possible to "bring myself back" to the present moment when I seem to be far away from it? I don't exactly know how this works or is possible?

Maybe you could just explain how I can use your wonderful suggestions when I'm in a flashback.

Thanks as always Kate.


You're welcome!

Try to keep these things on hand. You can tailor what you use to help you so you can make it easier on yourself. When you feel yourself starting to slip into a flashback or you feel particularly stressed (whatever your trigger may be), then try to use at least one of your senses to hold you to the present. Or if someone around you is aware of your flashback, they can help as well.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I have a big problem I think. I don't know what my triggers are exactly. I wish I had more insight into it because then I could use your suggestions.

I am assuming that unless I know what my triggers are, I will fail at pulling myself out of the flashback and back into the present moment. Would this be fair to say?


No, you don't need to know what your triggers are to pull yourself out. All you need to do is be prepared by having everything ready. And from now on, when you do have a flashback, try to note what was going on around you that might have triggered it. Sight, sound, thoughts etc. Keeping a journal will help. You can also talk with your therapist about this to see if she has any insights that might help you.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Okay. Thanks Kate.

You're welcome.