Posted by: Marie | July 15, 2009

(105) Please don’t make me do it

Post #105
[Journal entry written to my therapist on Wednesday, March 11, 2009]

Hi, Dr. Barb –

I should be sleeping, but my brain is spinning . . . so, I’m going to tell you what is on my mind.

I really don’t want to do the visualization exercise:

– I don’t like the lying down part of it (if that is required)
– I don’t like minimizing my awareness of my surroundings
– I haven’t been able to “let go” and allow similar exercises to be effective in the past

So, I admit, up front, that I am outright resistant to the technique.

I heard you say that one purpose of the visualization is to see how ready I am to let go of the past and move on. I don’t know if that is the main/only purpose. Maybe there are other purposes that I don’t yet know about.

However, if it is mostly to see how ready I am to move forward, I believe I already know the answer – I’m not ready at all. I am overwhelmed and consumed with the need to make sense of my collective experience of men. I need to understand, from an external/clinical/factual perspective what happened, why it happened and what I need to do or not do in order for it to not happen again. I need explanations and logic. I don’t think I can move forward until I have that.

Flower by Martin Chen

Flower by Martin Chen

I don’t want to hold a grudge or be a victim. I don’t want revenge. I don’t want to be angry, frustrated or fearful. I just want to understand what, why and how. I want to end the ever-present chaos in my brain. I want to get it organized and each piece in its place – so it makes relative sense to me. Right now, I’m very confused about it.

So, I’m left wondering about the value of doing the visualization exercise right now. I only have 50 minutes with you each session. Is the best use of that time – and of the progress I could be making in the weeks following – to use visualization to discover how ready I am to move forward when I believe I already know the answer?

If you still think it would be an effective technique, then I will go along with it. Maybe my resistance is an indication that the visualization technique is exactly what I need most . . . ??

Is it okay for me to be this opinionated about the techniques you employ and the direction of my therapy? Should I just be quiet, trust that you know what is best and do what I am told? Does my disagreeability and habit of challenging your technique hurt my progress?

– Marie

Quotes 016


  1. If I’m resisting perhaps the other person is insisting.

    If they ask me to be aware of my resistance, it is fair that I ask them to be aware of their ‘insistence’.

    • Hmmmm . . . I hadn’t thought of that before, Evan! That seems to be a wise way to check the dynamic of a situation such as this . . . thanks for adding this to the discussion!

      – Marie

  2. PLEASE!!! I need to know what came of this.
    Fascinating, if I may say, you must be a lovely challenge as a client!
    I loved this Post.

    • Oh, Vicki, I’m giggling as I read your comment . . .

      A challenge as a client . . ?? Yes, I’m afraid so. And, as a housemate, as an employee, as a student . . . . LOL. The feedback I get back is that I am often too “intense”, “single-focused” and “tactless”. For the life of me, I don’t see why that is a problem . . . I think I’m just telling it like I see it! LOL

      So . . about the visualization . . . she wouldn’t provide much information on what it would entail. She just kept telling me that it was a necessary part of the healing process and that I needed to trust her to lead me where I needed to go during the exercise.

      The idea of doing the exercise ratcheted up my anxiety level very high . . I didn’t see how I could do it, even if I wanted to (which I didn’t). We finally decided that she would quit pushing me to do it and that, when I was ready, I would let her know and we would do it at that time.

      At the point I wrote this journal entry, our therapeutic relationship was still new – I was still a bit hesitant to trust her. However, I knew that, over time, I would become more comfortable with her and would trust her more . . . and that would allow me to feel safe enough to do the exercise.

      – Marie

  3. I’m still not liking this therapist – I think survivors should be in charge of their own healing. If you don’t want to do the meditation or don’t want to do it yet, she should respect that.

    The concept of ‘resistance’ might be useful for men, or for people who haven’t been overpowered, coerced and overwhelmed as children, but I believe the research backs me up that survivors need to be empowered not disempowered to recover and being directive (except maybe with a person who has BPD) is not useful. It just says to me that this therapist doesn’t know her stuff.

    I know this is all in the past, so it’s a bit odd to comment on it, but since I don’t know how it worked out, I’m just commenting as if it’s current day.

    I’m sure you figured out what worked best for you.


    • Hey, SDW –

      It is rather strange to be commenting on something from the past . . . but I appreciate the comments because sometimes I learn stuff from all of you that I didn’t learn then and haven’t learned in the time since.

      Also, other readers may be struggling with the same situations and may benefit from reader comments . . . I appreciate your input despite the strange timing.

      So, Dr. Barb hasn’t won you over yet, huh . . . .??

      I have a history of bailing quickly (often prematurely?) on relationships. Given my history, and her expertise, I was placing my bet on the problem being with me. I am really good at creating conflict . . . I wasn’t sure if this was just me creating conflict or if there was truly an issue with our compatibility that would not be fixed with perseverance.

      I figured I’d stick around for a while and give her the benefit of the doubt.

      Now, about the BPD . . . the timing of your comment is interesting . . . tomorrow’s post (to be posted on 7/17) addresses that possibility . . . I’d be interested to hear what you have to say after reading that one.

      – Marie

      • And, SDW, keep in mind that you are only hearing one side of the story. If Dr. Barb were to add her perspective to this discussion, you might find her, and her approach, far more appealing . . . and you might find my perceptions unrealistic.

        – Marie

  4. Hi Marie,

    I agree with SDW.

    I don’t like her as a therapist. Especially for a survivor. I don’t like anything about her.

    And visualizations are not about who willing you are of letting go and moving on. I can’t imagine her having you do a visualization for that especially. It sounds ridiculous to say to someone who is trying to heal from abuse. No I don’t like her.

    There are lots of visualizations that can be done to help you right now to heal and are not assessments of things that you already know.

    I understand you feeling like you should take some time to explore the therapeutic relationship. There have been times I did stay around when my sense was that there were problems and they did not go well.

    What is her approach? What are her beliefs about healing, about abuse, about you, about the kind of therapy she uses?

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    • Hi, Kate –

      It sounds like you know your stuff!

      Her approach was basically to focus on the positive and leave all the crap behind. Her attitude about stuff in the past was, “does it really matter now?” She may have had other components to her approach — but, if she did, I wasn’t aware of them.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      – Marie

  5. Hi Marie,

    “Does it really matter now?”

    Hell yes.

    If it affecting/effecting you, yes. If you have unprocessed memories of abuse, yes. If you are having flashbacks, yes. If you have an on-going history of difficulty in relationships, yes.

    When someone is trying to throw away everything that we are and everything that we need to heal and says hey does it really matter if we throw all this out and pretend it is gone, instead of it being healed, isn’t that good enough?


    Good and healing thoughts to you.


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