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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate. I don't feel good about my appointment with. She

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Hey Kate. I don't feel good about my appointment with Linda. She wanted not to go into anything intense, which was fine, but she wanted to talk about "who I am" and my "attributes" and that I'm a "good person.". Yeah - that is not going to work for me. I'm not playing that stupid game.
We talked about how to get rid of the shame feelings. I told her I wanted to work on that, because as the guilt got better, the shame/humiliation/embarrassment seemed to get worse. She kept asking me what would help with that. How should I know? She said that without so much guilt, she thinks my memories are probably more authentic and thus more raw, and I probably see more of the brutality and randomness or whatever of what especially the mean one did. I don't know. Maybe.
I tried to tell her - maybe I feel ashamed because these things ARE shameful. I will NEVER be proud of what happened or what I did. How can I NOT be ashamed and humiliated by the fact that I swallowed a man's urine? That they virtually mutilated me inside? That he tore me open having anal sex with me? That it ever happened??? I will NEVER want people to know these things. I think that is probably pretty reasonable under the circumstances. Does she really think that self-affirmations will alleviate that ? She told me when I looked in the mirror to say nice things to myself. Right. She said to at least not say bad things. I told her I didn't talk to myself in the mirror. I was trying to explain things to her. It is upsetting. I didn't cry, but I was upset thinking about things. It's UPSETTING. But she stopped things. And she suggested I not come back until next week. I said fine. I feel like now she is saying there Is something wrong with getting upset and that I can't handle it. We also talked about her asking me about the suicidal stuff on Friday. I told her what I had thought Thursday but, again, that is something I would never do. She said she didn't think so but wanted to make sure. Then she asked me to promise to call her of I ever did think about doing it. Really? Do I seem suicidal to you? Do I seem that desparate? Give me a break.
So for some reason I feel really mad. I feel like things have changed with her because I have been getting so upset and because of the flashback. She said she had never seen me act that way - that I was almost reacting to impact after impact. First, that makes me feel bad. Second, do you think it scared her and now she doesnt want to risk me getting upset? I am really pissed, and I don't know exactly why. I mean, I am so mad. Why? There's really no reason for it. But I am. And I feel like just handling this by myself. I can go back when I have better control.
Also, I think I told you I had left dr. M a message Friday, asking if there was any chance that the increased dose of Zoloft could have the opposite effect and make me feel worse. She called me back today and said no, it really shouldn't. She sad she thinks i am just grieving and that's why I am upset and that it's fine to grieve. She said that if I wanted to, though, I could go back down on the dose. I said "well, if I do that, will that make me feel worse?" she said it very well may. Then she was silent. Not helpful. I told her I'd Stay on the higher dose until my next appointment then. She said okay. I think I need to get totally off of it. I don't want to keep going back to her every month. I wouldn't - because I could care less about the other meds - except that the adderrall really is a big help. If I go back to my GP and tell him I've been on the XR &IR for 4 months & it's helping but dr m doesn't take my insurance so I don't want to have to pay a ton every visit, do you think he'd just start prescribing it to me? Again, I don't care about the Zoloft & Wellbutrin (except that the Wellbutrin may be helping with the ADHD along with the adderall. But I'm sure he'd prescribe that too. Thoughts??
Meanwhile, some good news. A new person from the family advocacy program on c's base called. She said I could not have put together a better packet of stuff for them. She said they think something is seriously wrong there and they were taking it very seriously. She said she was working with the CPS caseworker I spoke to last week and they now both have reviewed everything. She said this kind of abuse is harder to prove than if there are visible bruises or scars, but that we put them in the best possible position. She said they would do everything they could. She said there's a limit to what she can tell me b/c of privacy laws, but she would be calling to tell me anything she could as this goes on. She said we were right to report it, etc. I was surprised. I didn't think I'd hear from anyone up there again.
However, c's mom sent p an email telling her she has no idea what she's done, that she has ruined c's dream of being a teacher (really? He's too lazy to get up and feed his kid, but he's suddenly going to college? And she herself heard his wife say he wants to be a Tay-at-home dad and things woul gt better when she got Ho e because they were going to have another baby right away) & ruined his wife's military career and ruined A's life by killing her parents' dreams. That p was judgmental & did this b/c c didn't keep A as clean as p would have liked, etc. She said if she had thought for one minute there was a problem, doesn't p know that she would have gone up and gotten A? That's interesting, considering she agreed 2 weeks ago there was a real problem and was supposed to go up there and didn't. She totally threw in p's face that p was unable to have biological children. She was nasty and awful. I feel so bad for p.
I want to tell her I reported it, not P, and that a bunch of us were in agreement. She won't stand a chance confronting me. I'm smarter than her & not as nice as p. plus - I'm right about this. She knows how it would turn out, which is why she is going after P. It is unfair. P is an rasy target because she puts everyone else's feelibgs before her own, and that is easy to exploit she will rake reaponsibility for anything someone blames on her. It is not fair. Should I just leave it or tell her she needs to lay off p and that she is full of it? She knows we are right. She has to know. But she acts as though p purposely ruined their family. P loved her brother and I know it kills her to have hurt his family. But I keep trying to remind her how upset he would be if he were alive to see what his son was doing.
T (Another of P's sisters-in-law, S's wife) told us that when c and his sister were pretty young, he had marks on him from being hit and his teacher called CPS, so c's mom probably feels strongly about it. I had no idea, and it made me question my thoughts about P's brother. Ihe was so gentle by the time I met him. But S said he and J had a falling out because S visited them in TN once and discovered that D (c's mom) had put locks on the outside of the kids' doors when hey were pretty young and would lock them in their rooms a 8pm until morning. He was irate about it and that his brother was letting her do it. Things were screwed up. I had no idea. P didn't either. Oh well. Should I contact D to stick up for P and so they can take it out on me instead of her, or should I do nothing?
Hi, I am a Moderator for this topic. I sent your requested Professional a message to follow up with you here, when they are back online. If I can help further, please let me know. Thank you for your continued patience.

I am sorry that your session with Linda did not go well. It is ok that you feel mad. Talking about shame and the feelings around that can trigger intense emotions. I suspect that your anger has a lot to do with Linda touching on some pain you might be feeling. Part of the issue comes from how you feel about what those guys did to you. You are ashamed and that is a normal response to what you went through. But I think there can be a big assumption on the part of survivors that when they tell their story or even just think of the attack themselves, that what occurred means something about them. That people judge what they went through and the things done to them as having something to do with who they are. Being attacked like you were reaches to the very core and can stir up shame and feelings of self loathing. I suspect that Linda was trying to help you see that you are not that person. Separating who you are from what happened to you can help the shame reduce. Now that is not easy to do, I know. And it doesn't mean you won't feel shame. It will just put the shame in perspective and reduce it.

There is nothing wrong with what you are feeling by being upset. Your feelings are an indication that what you are talking about is touching on deeper feelings. The anger and increased energy says that you feel hurt and maybe scared.

Linda is just making sure you are safe when she asks about suicidal feelings. You have been through a very rough time and Linda just wants to be sure where you are with feeling down and depressed. The key to understanding this is to find out why Linda asking you makes you so angry. Is it her concern or could it be that she is making the assumption that you feel that bad? What about suicide bothers you? Answering those questions can help you see why this makes you feel so angry.

That is very good news about A and her situation! I thought the agency might be very happy with the evidence you put together for them. Yay! It's great they are taking this so seriously. It's hard to believe that A's family has been so mean to P. But I can understand it. They do not want to see what they are doing as wrong. And abusers count on secrecy so they can abuse. Dysfunctional families never like anyone taking a closer look because they don't want to have to conform to society and therefore any healthy behavior. In other words, everyone else is crazy except them. Thanks for keeping me informed. I have a special interest in what happens to little A.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What is it about suicide that bothers me? For one, I think it is about the most selfish thing anyone can do. No matter what, it leaves everyone around you feeling guilty and responsible. Also, I think that the threat of it is sometimes used by people to manipulate others.

I guess I was mad about Linda asking me because it implies that she thinks I am weak and can’t handle this. I guess that it also felt that it implies that this is a more serious thing than I would like it to be. Plus, the fact that she initially brought it up Friday, when I was already feeling weak and unstable, made me feel more so.

I feel like this whole thing has grown out of proportion. Am I really having conversations with my therapist about suicide? It just has become where it is being treated so seriously, and I guess that’s my own fault. But I don’t like it. I feel like Linda seriously feels she has to hold me below a certain amount of upset so I don’t lose it like I did Thursday. She said yesterday we need to keep the SUDS below a 6, preferably below a 5, because she thought it was 7 or higher on Thursday, and it is "too much" for me. I mean, I’m sorry I had a flashback and I’m sorry I have been getting so upset, but I thought that was okay. I don’t know why I had the flashback - I don’t know what was different than the few previous sessions, where I was even more upset. And I don’t know why I do things when I am having them. I thought I was still when they happened before, although I know during the one I had during the session where we tried EMDR, I was covering my ears and stuff. I am sure it was disturbing to watch, and I am disturbed that it happened and embarrassed that I acted out, but I feel that she is acting like that was dangerous or something. Or maybe it’s because I was so upset for the next couple of days. I don’t know.

I still feel really mad. Not specifically at Linda – but it is specifically related to therapy and my session yesterday. I want to not need therapy and be able to handle this on my own.

As for the shame thing, I do understand what you are saying and what Linda was trying to do. But telling myself I am a good person is going to have zero effect. I feel fine about myself. I agree about what you said – I know I feel sometimes that something is wrong with me that this happened or something is wrong with me because this happened. It does say something about who I am, because it happened to me. I can’t change that. I did, in fact, change from a person who couldn’t be treated in certain ways and would not ever compromise certain things to a person who can be and was treated in those ways and knows that I will, indeed, compromise those things. Actually, I don’t know if it changed ME – I think I just found out more about myself than I knew before. The same as I found out that many of my assumptions about people and the world were wrong, I also found out that some things I had assumed or thought about myself were wrong. That’s just the way things are. Sometimes that happens just by virtue of growing up, and sometimes because these kinds of things happen, I think.

I guess I do feel like these things that happened are me to some extent. But generally, I feel pretty good about myself and I know that certain feelings about me only come from what happened. But you know, other things come from this whole process. I can’t say I feel better about myself since I started on all this. In fact, I have discovered that some of the way I thought about myself even up to a year a go or less, were wrong. I was over-estimating myself and over-valuing certain things about myself. I think sometimes becoming more realistic about one’s self means finding out you’re not as great as you thought you were.

I do know I have shame issues, and they are becoming more and more of a problem. If I let them escalate much more, I’m not even going to be able to speak to Linda. I told her that I thought the shame got worse as the guilt improved because if it was not my actions that caused this or that were wrong or my choices that lead to the different things that happened, then what? If it wasn’t my actions, then I think the logical answer is that it was just ME. Right?

Is there a difference between shame, embarrassment and humiliation? Because I have been using them interchangeably, and I may be using them wrong and maybe I need to separately recognize them.

I am glad that they are still making an effort on A’s case ,too. I don’t know what can be done or should be done, but I know something needs to be done. I am glad you feel little A is special and are concerned for her well being. She is worth it :) And you have your energy and advice invested in this, as well. Too bad you can’t adopt her. (Although I’m sure having a 2 year old and teenagers at the same time would be something else!)

Well, I need to get my anger under control here. I don’t understand why I am so mad. You may be right that I am feeling hurt and I agree I am probably scared. But why? Of what? I don’t understand.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

oh yeah -- you didn't answer my questions:

1. Do you think I scared Linda by how I reacted when I was havng the flashback Thursday?

2. Should I leave things alone with C's mother and sister or should I let them know what I think and that P was not the one they should be upset with?


Linda was not implying that you were weak. She was just being sure you were safe which is the responsibility of every therapist. But because of your background with your parents making sure you were never "weak", that is how you saw it.

It is not logical to think that those guys attacked you because it was you. They had no idea who you even were. They attacked because they could and because they were evil in some way, sick mentally. It had little to do with you except that you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is nothing more to it. You had nothing to do with their choices.

Shame is about who you are, humiliation is feeling your actions are below your own standards and embarrassment is feeling inadequate. They can be very similar in how they make you feel and can be used on an interchangeable basis (everyone has felt them so they understand what you are saying) but if you want to truly go by the definitions, then shame is the term you are probably closest to.

Being scared of facing your feelings is probably why you are mad. In the end, only you can tell specifically why, but anger is usually a reaction to being afraid and hurt. So your reaction is probably to help protect yourself.

I'm not sure what Linda is feeling. It's hard to say without seeing her and knowing exactly what she was reacting to.

I'm not sure it matters to C's family who is to blame because they are just angry. But you can talk to P and see what she wants you to do. And P can also take steps to cut off contact with them if they are just out to hurt her.

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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Customer: replied 5 years ago.