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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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Morning Kate, Thanks for your previous post. It helped some.

Resolved Question:

Morning Kate,
Thanks for your previous post. It helped some. My therapist always tells me her office is a safe place to talk about and express my emotions. It took a lot of time but I do feel that way now. It is the same with talking with you. I feel it is safe and you won't laugh at my issues or emotions, etc. So I am fortunate to have two safe places to turn to.
To try to get a hold of my emotions, after picking up my daughter from school yesterday, we went out for an early dinner to her favorite place. I like it too. Then we did some mother/daughter shopping. She had lots of birthday gift cards to use up and I thought since we had crummy weather it was not only a fun thing to do together (I want to make sure as she gets older we still have a strong bond) it would distract me from my feelings.
I had a lot of trouble enjoying myself. And although I promised myself that I wouldn't steal, I did. I seem to have no control and it is getting to the point that I don't even realize it and I am taking stuff I don't even want and don't know what to do with!
My therapist will not be happy with me because we discussed this and I was supposed to journal instead of steal after talking about such tough stuff in our session. But this was impossible with where I was and what I was doing - being with my daughter. Will I be able to stop this? I seem to have no control over it.
My therapist told me to take note of what I am feeling before I do it, when I'm doing it and after I do it. Then we could take a look at that and see if there is any common elements. If so, or even if not, we could tackle the feelings and then the stealing would decrease. Do you think this could actually work?
It's the weekend and I am scared to face it especially with my daughter home. When she is at school, I can just sleep my feelings away. Or go to the store for some relief. But now what do I do that she is home? I went to bed before her (she's a night owl). But I had to put an end to my pain and sleeping was the answer.
Talk to you soon (I hope)
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I am glad to hear that you feel safe with your therapist and with me. Having places and people with whom you feel safe can go a long way in helping you in your recovery.

You can stop the stealing, eventually. It may help to keep in mind that this is a process. In the beginning of dealing with this you are going to struggle some. It takes time to alter how you see it and break the automatic responses to your stress and anxiety. You are used to feeling something then responding in the only way you know, by stealing. Your therapist is right. By identifying then writing down your feelings before you steal, you can start to see a pattern. You may still be stealing at that point, but it is a start. Then once you know the pattern, you can start to work on finding alternative ways to deal with your urge to steal.

When your daughter is home, it may help you to go into another room and jot your feelings down. Or keep a small notebook with you and call it your reminder notebook. You don't need to lie to her. But if you feel that sharing the truth is potentially harmful to her, then use the little notebook for reminders and your feelings. That way, you can keep it with you at all times. And once she knows what it is for, she will probably begin to ignore when you use it.

Dealing with the feelings is a great way to address what is making you feel the need to steal. Whatever it is, the feeling is creating a deep need to respond by quick satisfaction through stealing. Once you know what that feeling or feelings are, you can deal with it directly and not need to answer it with stealing.

Most of all, try to be good to yourself. You are making the effort to address this. And issues like this can take a while to work through. Expect that it may take some time but you will be able to resolve it.

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you