Posted by: Marie | May 4, 2010

(305) This day finally arrived – Part 1 of 4

Post #305
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, January 7, 2010 – 3pm]

So . . . I had my session with Mark today.

I scheduled a two-hour session because I wanted time to deal with how we ended things, then to get somewhat into the body memories, and still have time to pull myself together before the end of the session.

First, Mark asked me how things had been going for me, in general. I told him that I was feeling better in general (less depression, more excitement about life, etc.) because I had been addressing some pretty heavy issues on my own. I felt I had found some significant healing on my own.

Looking by Martin Chen

When he asked how I was doing physically (exercise, eating, hygiene, etc.), I told him that I was not doing well in that area. I told him I was feeling very frumpy and that I was in a worse place than I had been 18 months ago. He asked what had kept me from making progress in that area during our time apart.

I told him that the way our therapy had ended really threw me for a loop. It had been a tough choice for me to leave because, at the time, I didn’t think I could survive without his emotional support, so my energy had gone into just surviving. I didn’t have enough energy to go above and beyond that.

His response was that, if I ever got to the place that I felt I couldn’t survive without his support, I should tell him so he could help me not feel that way. He said it is not good to feel that way because it is a “given” people will let us down – because people are fallible, including him.

That answer pissed me off a bit because I wasn’t expecting him to be infallible. I only needed him to be reliable – to keep his promises and not violate my boundaries – or, at least to acknowledge when he has messed up and come back around to clean it up with me. It seems reasonable to expect that of a therapist.

I then told him about my attempt to work with Dr. Barb – that it had not been good – that it had also thrown me for a loop. I told him I have spent a lot of the last year trying to make sense of the ugly drama related to my therapy experiences.

I also told him that I had given up on trying to look good – look attractive – because I had pretty much given up on dating. I have been doing the minimum required to appear somewhat professional (minimal body odor, not in sweat pants), but I haven’t been doing anything I would do if I were trying to be sexually attractive.

He asked me why I had given up on dating. I paused for a second; then I gave him the following answer – partly because his behavior did have an impact on my attitude towards dating and partly because I wanted to see how he would respond to what I said. I wanted to give him an opportunity to show he now recognizes the role he played in the ending of our relationship 15 months ago. (I know, I know . . . that is manipulative.)

I told him that the relationship I had with him was the one and only emotionally intimate relationship I have ever had with a man. The relationship gave me hope that I could have emotionally intimate relationships with other men. When he violated the religion boundaries, I realized that he was just another man I couldn’t trust. I felt stupid for allowing myself to hope.

He then asked . . . if I felt he had violated my boundaries, why did I come back to him?

I answered that I needed to deal with some stuff I had gotten stuck on – and that I believed he was uniquely qualified to help me get unstuck.

And, I told him I now feel strong enough to enforce my boundaries – that, if he insisted on pushing me to convert to his beliefs, I would warn him once – then, the second time he did it, I would leave and never come back. I told him I no longer felt obligated to tolerate his behavior and I felt like I had the tools and the empowerment to stand up to him.

In response, he told me a story about a guy he knew who was deeply offended – who ended relationships – when people disagreed with him. He said that the guy unnecessarily threw away healthy relationships over disagreements. He said I was doing the same thing – that he and I had only been disagreeing – that our differences had been nothing worth ending therapy over.

I didn’t take the conversation any further – it became obvious to me he still doesn’t understand that calling my spiritual beliefs “illogical” and “invalid” when there is a distinct inequality of power in our relationship goes beyond a simple disagreement. He still doesn’t understand that using my therapy time (that I am paying for) to evangelize his Christian beliefs in what is supposed to be secular therapy is not acceptable. He doesn’t recognize that gave me his word that he would honor my very-clearly-stated boundaries – and then didn’t honor them.

He still thinks the risk of my eternal damnation justifies the violation of boundaries and the breaking of promises.

He doesn’t get it; he never will. So, I got the answer to my wondering . . . I now know nothing has changed in his mind in the last 15 months. I now know (as I suspected) that I can’t trust him in that area and that I will have to be on guard in that area. I don’t like it, but it is the reality in which I will have to operate if I want to be in therapy with Mark.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


Responses

  1. People are fallible is of course true – and SUCH a cop-out. (Ie. I can never be held to account for any commitment I make! Funny, my version of Christianity does include concern for others and the impact my behaviour has on them. It is my understanding that this is quite an orthodox line in Christianity!)

    I’ll be interested to read the next three instalments in this story – and if you can manage the relationship where you can trust the therapist in one area but not another.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I hadn’t thought about his “infallible” comments being a cop-out . . . yet, I can now see that is so true! Thank you for that insight!

      – Marie

  2. I get what you’re saying about trusting someone in one area and not in another. I would trust my husband with my life, but I keep him away from the checkbook.

    • Hey, EH –

      Yup . . . it makes me feel like a parent with an irresponsible child!

      – Marie

  3. Whoa! You sure have been dealing with a lot. Damn! There are so many people in our lives that don’t respect our boundaries (family of origin for example) I sure wouldn’t PAY someone who can’t do that. I think that you are right in your assessment of this situation. It is true that some people DO push others away….but he is using that as an excuse to “guilt” you out of your boundaries. Shame on him!

    I have suffered a lot of spiritual abuse. I am dealing with this in my therapy right now. I would not be able to tolerate a therapist who tries to shove their religious beliefs down my throat. Had enough of that in childhood, thanks very much.

    I am sending courage and strength vibes. This is a lot to handle, but I think you are handling it very well. I know it’s a cliche, but hang in there!

    • Hey, Marj –

      Thank you for your kind words! I feel like you are sticking up for me in a big way!

      I don’t understand how someone can feel justified in cramming their beliefs down someone else’s throat!

      – Marie


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