Frustration

I’m so frustrated with A.  I feel like I need therapy to get over my therapy.

For the last two or three months, it seems like every time I see her, by halfway through the session I don’t want to engage at all except to scream at her to shut the fuck up and leave me alone.  She always asks the wrong questions, though I have no idea what the right questions would be.

I know it’s protective parts coming forward.  They/we feel like since she doesn’t really want to know us as people, there’s no use talking to her.  She wants to talk about us, not to us.  Even when it’s obvious we’re there and she obviously knows we’re there, she just talks to Hope.  “These protective parts of you, are they angry at me?”  Stuff like that.  It’s patronizing and dehumanizing.  It’s no different than being in a room with five people and just asking one of them all about the other four.

And then every time it happens, she wants to ask us all these “present-oriented questions” to get Hope back.  We’re not spacing out or anything–we’re just not her.  We don’t need to be fixed.  We don’t appreciate being treated like we’re something that needs to be gotten rid of or pushed back.  Don’t we have every bit as much right to exist and be out as she does?

Some of us want to say all that to her, but we never do.  It doesn’t seem safe.  We’ve had trouble trusting A since we were in respite and the people there threatened to hospitalize us.  We called A, but she took their side even though she knew how bad hospitals are for us.  I mean, she didn’t tell them to lock us up, but she didn’t fight for us, either.  If C hadn’t come and talked them out of it, they would’ve locked me up, and A would’ve let them.  After that, not much trust.  We don’t know how she’d react if we suddenly announced ourselves as being someone other than Hope and insisted on being treated as real people.  It’s too big a risk.

Then again, it’s also a risk not to say anything and continue with the status quo.  We’re getting nowhere, and we usually leave therapy feeling worse than when we went in.  Some of us want to quit therapy and write it off forever, but others of us know we need support.  It’s turned into this big deadlocked internal mess, and it feels like there’s no way out of it.  We don’t know what to do anymore.

–a bunch of us

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Frustration

  1. kat

    ithink you have the right idea when you say you should tell her who is really out, who is really the one(s) present, and that you want A to address those present directly. as you say, if you dont try something different, it wont change, and so itll keep being frustrating to go therapy and not be productive either. if you try to get her to talk to who is really out, maybe you all can make some progress. good luck and warm and caring thoughts your way.

  2. digitalgranny

    I think you should tell her you all have the right to exist and express yourselves.
    One thing that is really important is that you do have rights!!
    Inside people have rights!!

  3. That sounds so counter-intuitive to me. I’m not sure I understand her approach but then, I have a different diagnosis than you so maybe I’m missing something. I wish there was a way for you to guide the sessions more, just in the short term, to get her on track and then maybe she’ll carry on? (Lol..sorry…I know how stupid that sounds). I’m sorry your therapist seems stuck in a place you don’t want to be. I can clearly see how frustrating it must be. xoxoxox

  4. Yes, you all deserve to exist. Unfortunately, her behavior towards you reflects the paradigm some professionals operate under. When our current therapist found out about us, we made it clear we didn’t like or appreciate that approach. She said it was outdated, but IIRC the ISSTD still has materials out advocating it.

    On the one hand, by all technical accounts, she can’t get you locked up over being multiple. On the other, that doesn’t mean someone can’t find a way if they’re determined to be shitty.

    Anyhow, without trust, there basically is no therapeutic relationship. And it seems that A is headed in the opposite direction of building one. However much you might need support, you don’t necessarily need it from her.

    • I wasn’t aware that the ISST-D was still advocating that approach. Really, ugh. When I was at Sheppard Pratt, they didn’t do that. They would help us switch if we wanted to–like when I was feeling overwhelmed, they would help me find someone else who was safe and willing to be out so I could take a break for a while. The rule was you had to have adult (or older kids/teens) out for groups, but there was no rule that it had to be the host or whoever they decided was “the real person.” And my therapist would engage in conversations with other parts if they were out during our sessions. (Even when we didn’t want her to acknowledge that we’d switched!)

      Yeah, I feel like A just wants us to trust her and keeps pushing it even though she knows we’re not there right now. That’s just not how it works. She kept saying today that she respected the protective parts who don’t trust her, but then she’d say she wanted them to basically go away and let the “more adult parts of you who want to get better” to be the only ones in therapy. By which she basically means she just wants me, and even I don’t feel willing to trust her much anymore. I mean, how do you think it’s not offensive and hurtful to say, “I respect you, but I don’t want you to say anything or even be here”? That’s basically what all of today’s session was. So just…no. I don’t think ANY of us are inclined to trust her right now.

      • To be honest, I’m not sure what they push now. I believe my current therapist has been certified with them, and indicated that on the ground level, things have moved in different directions. What I do know, however, is that it’s easy to come across literature from them which is not only pro-integration (as the only desirable treatment outcome), but specifically indicates that it is important to not reinforce the idea that we are separate individuals. Which fuels so many painful practices and attitudes I can’t even begin to get into them all — and probably don’t need to. Taken to its extreme, though, it can easily end up the way it has with A.

        I know things have shifted since this post, so I’m not sure what else to say about that than I understand the feeling, and hope things are getting better, or at least stabilizing towards getting better.

  5. I’m sorry you don’t feel heard. From what little I understand of DID, it seems hugely important that all parts are acknowledged, recognised and heard.
    Pernaps all of you could write it down in a letter and give it to her?

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