I've been reading a lot of posts recently about becoming dependent on your therapist.
* fear of becoming dependent on your therapist
* feelings of being dependent on your therapist
* panicked feelings of abandonment when you become dependent on your therapist for help and your T suddenly changes his/her "boundaries' (availability, communication process, etc)
I have struggled with my own dependence on DT. It took me a long, long, long, time to trust DT - and this trust was built by her being there for me in a way no one else ever has. When I say she was *there* for me, I don't mean in just the "hour a week session at her office". My trust for DT was not built through that one hour a week. One week I mentioned to DT that it was impossible for me to tell her things because of the shame and fear involved in my past. I could not be in the same room and talk about my childhood, and all that it entailed. I suggested that writing might be a better way for me to tell her things that would be important in this process and we agreed that email would be the mode of communication.
I will say that initially, it was never discussed whether DT would respond to my email communication, but she did respond. And not only did she respond, but she responded every single day, encouraging me, telling me that she could *hear* me, comforting me...every single day. And although there was never a 'contract' drawn up about her responding to my emails- my dependence on this communication grew and because she did respond every singe day for a year and a half, I guess it became an expectation of mine.
I "trusted" that DT would be there...she had trained me like Pavlov trained his dog. I would write, she would respond. Every day. Until one day - she wouldn't. And then all trust was broken - the walls went up and I couldn't believe that I allowed myself to trust her, to depend on her, to believe in her.
I had never depended on anyone before! I learned at a very young age that people could not be trusted and I would never allow myself to be dependent on anyone for anything. I would always take care of myself. This is not to say that I didn't develop relationships with people because I did. But I did not DEPEND on them. I was an independent woman who lived an independent life. How did I fall into this "TRAP" of depending on this woman, who, in reality, I knew NOTHING about? What was I thinking????
She made it so easy. I found comfort in her. I felt accepted. I felt cared for. And for the first time in my life, I allowed myself to feel cared for. Could this be real? Could someone who knew more about my past than anyone else actually care about me? Could someone see the shame of my past and still accept me, still care?
But then her life "changed". And where she was able to do those "special" things for me then - she could not now because now she didn't have time. WHAT? She no longer had time? But that isn't fair! I'm still in the same place - even though her life "changed"...what about me? She had not yet "taught" me the skills I needed to "deal" with the pain of my past. She was the mother I never had, she did it for me. How could she pull her care and, as I saw it, herself, away from me, when I didn't know how to do the things for myself that she had done for me? Before, she would email me at 1:30 in the morning, when I felt unsafe, and she made me feel safe. Now that her life changed, instead of finding comfort I was met with: "It is not my job to keep you safe." WHAT?
I felt like a stuffed animal won at a carnival. Someone spent time, money and effort to win me...and then took me home and stuffed me in the back of their closet - forgotten.
Tonight I was thinking about that song by the Rascal Flatts, "Backwards" - and I found myself wondering what would I get back if I could "play" out my "therapeutic relationship" with DT backwards.... What if she had taught me the 'self-soothing' skills - the ability to actually DEAL with the different parts of myself first! I think I'd be a lot further along this road of "healing and integration"... than I am now....
And I wonder, if things had played "backwards", if right now, tonight, instead of hearing the fighting voices inside my head, and being unable to calm them, instead of not knowing if I can find a way to soothe them without dissociating, taking too many drugs, drinking too much, or any other self-destructive behavior I keep in my back pocket - I would have everything back that I lost by allowing myself to trust her and depend on her.
Perhaps this process would be more effective, played backwards.... Because tonight I'm angry and afraid...and I know that DT isn't going to "be here" helping me, like she was before I "trusted" her...and "depended" on her....because tonight, a typical Friday - PAG won't have the "skills" to do this without hurting that 5 year old - because DT comforted the 5 year old "before" her life changed - never teaching PAG to do it.
I've seen so many other survivors struggling because of the SAME SITUATION - And I think it sucks!
I personally think this process is played out backwards.
And I'm kind of pissed off about it tonight ~ and not just for myself ~ but also for everyone else out there 'struggling' with this "dependence" bullshit that we all bought into...finding an empty void where she once felt comfort, feeling frightened and reaching out - but now finding no one there, crying but unable to soothe herself... and beating herself up for ever allowing the trust and dependence to occur.