Posted by: Marie | June 11, 2010

(333) Sorting through it all – Part 2 of 3

Post #333
[Private journal entry written on Friday, January 22, 2010 – continued from previous post]

While I am feeling very good about the clearing up of the misunderstanding, I am still feeling a certain level of explosive anger towards his lack of understanding . . . I think it would be wise to wait to address it with him until my anger cools down a bit and I have become a bit more detached from the impact of the misunderstanding.

An acknowledgement of the impact, and an apology, would go a long way towards healing my hurt feelings. Maybe he will see the folly of his behavior later. He may just need some time to process his new understanding . . . maybe, after he has had time to think through it all, he may come to recognize the impact.

However, if he never apologizes and if he never acknowledges the impact, it is not a deal-breaker for me. I mean, the continued intrusion of his beliefs into my therapy was clearly disrespectful and it made me feel unsafe. That had to stop. And, I believe it has now come to a stop. I believe I was successful in setting that boundary.

Pink by Martin Chen

I don’t need an acknowledgement/apology to move forward in my healing and to move forward with therapy with Mark.

However, an acknowledgement/apology would be nice because I think it would speed up the dissipation of the sting I am currently experiencing. But, it is not necessary.

I realize that, right now, the shock and the sting are still fresh – and I am very angry right now. However, in time, I think it will fade – probably pretty quickly. It is my intention to allow it to fade as quickly as possible. Right now, my teeth are gritted a little too tight to speak about forgiveness and letting go . . . but, give me a little time . . . I’ll speak of it soon.

And, beyond the issue of apologies and forgiveness . . .

I am angry that, for two years, Mark never stepped back from the situation long enough to consider the possibility that his understanding of the situation might be inaccurate – despite my repeated verbal and written confrontations, my threats to leave, my leaving, my angry reactions, my weeping and gnashing of teeth while begging him to stop, my attempts to explain it to him a hundred different ways.

In my mind, that calls into question his competency as a therapist.

(I know Evan, I’m thinking about you as I say that – thinking back to your guest post and how the most sensitive spot on your psychological skin relates to competency. I suspect the same is true for Mark – I suspect that is why he won’t allow himself to show any sign of weakness or lack of competency by considering his understanding of the situation might be suspect. I’m considering all of that as I’m sorting through this.)

It’s just that, well . . . he could have asked better questions, listened better, asked his mentor for advice . . . it wouldn’t have been that hard to prevent all of this. I am angry at his carelessness.

This makes me question the wisdom of continuing with him. My gut says I need to continue, for now. My gut says I’m not done quite yet. But, I know that his bull-headedness is a continuing issue – I may need to be less careful of his feelings and beat him over the head every once in a while.

And, I know I can’t allow myself to be so dependent upon him emotionally. I have to stand on my own two feet (which is healthier, anyway). I guess it is a good thing that I’m getting stronger.

The one thing I understand is that Mark really cares about me – he worked so hard to do what he thought I needed.

So did my dad – my dad did what he thought was best for me.

Maybe my dad struggled with the same competency issues . . . maybe that is why he could never consider the possibility that there was a better way to “keep me in line” – he couldn’t afford to allow his kids to be “sinners” and “losers” – that would be a failure for him as a father.

Mark pointed out that the way my dad punished us was more about what he needed than it was about what we needed – he needed us to be good kids. Nevertheless, he did the best he knew to do and he did it because he loved us. It was the best he knew.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. Hi Marie,

    Competency can be a charged issue for men. To be a ‘real man’ is constructed as an achievement – it is not something we are born.

    The training of therapists is usually based on this neurosis. Therapy training is usually training in technique (and you get good marks – which you are naturally supposed to do, these being good boys and girls – for practising the techniques). It’s quite conceivable that Mark has never questioned the neurosis of most therapy training (most therapists don’t for some reason).

    It’s great to hear and a real tribute to your strength and maturity that you are getting what you want from your relationship with Mark.

    The similarity with how your father related to you is really striking. That you are working this through is a huge thing to be able to do I think.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I see what you are saying . . .

      So, do you think he is even using the techniques he was taught? Or, is he using a disasterous combination of what he was taught in therapy training and what he was taught in seminary? I find it hard to believe that any school of therapy would teach the techniques he is using. But, on the other hand, he doesn’t seem to be applying any independent thought to his methods, either; he seems to be blind on all sides.

      – Marie

  2. My guess is a mix of both.

    I wasn’t there so I’m being presumptious I suppose: there are probably names in the various therapies for everything Mark has done. From appropriate confrontation to highlighting contradictory demands by the client and on and on.

    The problem of course is who says what’s appropriate? and whether there may be a way to reconcile ‘contradictory demands’ and so on. (If the therapist hasn’t succeeded in doing this then they are unlikely to believe it is a possibility for their clients.)

    I think it is often true that our pathologies become our philosophies (especially of therapy). And, yes of course, including me too.

    Looking forward to hearing how your relationship with Mark develops from here.

    • So . . . what do you mean by ‘contradictory demands’? Does that mean that I’m making demands of him that contradict each other? If so, can you give me an example? (This might be something valuable for me to know . . . )

  3. Hi Marie,

    When I said that I was trying to see it from Mark’s perspective. I was thinking of his remarks about you wanting to know the Biblical stuff and then reacting when he talked about it. My guess is that he saw you asking for something and then reacting badly when he provided it.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    • Got it! That makes sense! Thanks for the clarification!

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