Posted by: Marie | August 17, 2010

(380) Beginning of the end – 1:00pm

Post #380
[Email to my therapist written on Thursday, March 4, 2010 – 1:00pm]

Mark –

Just a thought . . . . would you be willing to have a phone call (or even better, a webcam chat) with my friend, Melodie, so she can talk to you directly about her concerns about me being in therapy with you? It would be very helpful to me to see if her opinions change after talking to you.

She is very reasonable and open minded — albeit, very protective of me. She would listen to what you have to say, and, if talking to you causes her to change her mind, she would give me her honest feedback to that effect.

Because she knows everything about me (or, at least I don’t care if she knows the stuff she might not know) — and because the same is true with you — I am willing to authorize a “no holds barred” conversation between the two of you.

I’m assuming we would treat it as session time . . . maybe do the phone call (or webcam chat) instead of a session, or as part of session . . . and, I’d be willing to listen in or to be absent, whichever way the two of you thought is best.

What do you think? I think it would be very educational for me . . . and I know she would jump at the chance to talk with you.

– Marie


  1. Oh my, I am really looking forward to what happens.

    My fantasy: fireworks!

    • That would be my fantasy, as well, Evan . . . because I could never allow myself to be so out of control as to shoot off my own fireworks . . .

      – Marie

  2. ditto. my guess is that he’ll completely freak out over this suggestion … although it came from him initially (or at least the basic concept did).

    • Hey, David –

      So . . . you think calling his bluff would scare him? It sounds like you know him well, LOL . . .

      – Marie

      • He is, if I may say so, an easy man to know. :-)

  3. I think the bottom line here is that Mark is not a good fit for you, Marie. Maybe he’s not even a good therapist, period, given some of the issues he has presented. But regardless, he certainly doesn’t seem a good therapist for you.

    My guess–and it is a guess as I don’t know you well enough to be sure–is that over time you will find out that YOU are really the key to this whole process. You have seemingly accomplished more through writing and reading and talking about your experiences then many people ever do, even with the best therapists in the world.

    The greatest therapist in existence can’t do a thing with someone who refuses to do the work.

    And conversely, someone who is willing to do the work will make strides even if they are dealing with the most inept therapist in creation.

    Still, you must and will search for guides and teachers along the path. That is natural, we all do this to some extent. And as you continue on the path you will come into contact with people that can help. You will get better at seeing who can be of help in that way.

    A guy like Mark is going to teach you things, and already has. But he isn’t ever going to change into the person you need him to be. Even if your friend spoke to him and came back with her mind changed…which is unlikely…YOU would like likely still have all the same issues with him. And you should. This is your life, your therapy, your path. NOBODY else can ever tell you how to do it, how to live it, how to do the work.

    That is a conclusion I have come to after a long road myself. The most dangerous thing I could ever do is give the power I have over to another person. Even if I take on a guru and devote myself to that person’s teachings, it is still ME choosing to do that and choosing to believe certain things. So nobody can ever really make a decision for you or figure it out for you.

    I know I’m rambling here but this is such an important point in my mind.

    You have something that most people do not have. You have a will to truth. That is the most important thing to have. As long as you have that compass which tells you when you are moving towards truth, NOBODY can do anything except provide tips and encouragement and perhaps an ear to listen to you.

    Even when you were going to that “interesting” woman therapist who tried to make you only think positive thoughts and all of that stuff…you knew how wrong it was in your gut. You felt the wrongness of it and your spirit rebelled. That compass which is inside of you will only get stronger and stronger as you continue along.

    I just hope that you will begin to really trust yourself and have the confidence to know that it really always will come down to you, and you needn’t fear that process.

    Whether it’s Mark, or some future therapist, or a romantic relationship. Ultimately you will need to listen closely to yourself and trust your own instincts and feelings about what is healthy and right for you, and what isn’t. There is no objective 100% truth in any of this. At least, not that I’ve ever found. There is simply what works for me. If I am being honest with myself, I know what is moving in a healthy direction and helpful, and what isn’t. And so I choose to go in the directions I find helpful. And even if I choose to head in the wrong direction sometimes–that will always be on me. Nobody to take the blame or the credit anymore, other than me.

    Sorry for the ramble!

    • Hey, Aaron –

      The one thing that stands out the most about what you have written here is how hard you are fighting for me. I feel your passion intensely. It feels good to have someone fight that hard for my wellness. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      Slowly, over time, I am learning what you are expressing here. I came into this process of therapy without a clue how to begin and what it was supposed to look like. In the beginning, I believed there was a “right” way . . . and, I’m all about getting it “right” . . . the thought of being labeled “difficult” or “non-compliant” horrified me.

      So, I do understand what you are saying. And, I agree 100%. I have to figure out, for myself, what is “right” for me. And, it is not going to look like anyone else’s journey. And, I am learning to listen to that inner voice . . . and my inner voice is getting clearer and stronger.

      The good news about my story – at this point in the story – is that I was fighting the last of my demons that were keeping me tied to Mark. I had been trying to heal the effects of not being seen and heard by my dad through my efforts to be seen and heard by the man who reminded me so much of my dad. I was struggling to tolerate the thought that someone like my dad could not see and hear me despite my best “adult” efforts to change it.

      Logically, I could see that this thing with Mark was not working. But, I felt like a part of me would die if I walked away. It took me a few more days to convince myself otherwise.

      So . . . I hear what you are saying and what you are saying is so true . . . and one of the most valuable lessons I am still learning. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

      – Marie

      P.S. I love rambles!!!! You are welcome to ramble anytime!

  4. Hey Marie. Glad my rambles don’t bother you too much.

    And I do understand your wish to connect with Mark and learn from, perhaps change that dynamic. I think the way you undertook that challenge was admirable and beneficial.

    Everything you’ve gone through is part of the process that you have set out for yourself. Your process is different than mine. Everyone has a slightly unique take on these things.

    Where there are similarities, perhaps we are of help to one another. For instance, when I got nasty with another commenter on your blog and you gently corrected me, that was an eye-opener for me.

    And it showed me something about your character as well…

    My path is what it is because of the things I’ve gone through in life and my somewhat unique struggles. I have to deal with my anger and my fears and neuroses. They are somewhat different than yours, maybe some overlap.

    But because each of us have unique issues, we all will have our own methods that we find helpful in dealing with and working through things.

    At the end of the day, we make a choice about what works, what we believe, and the direction we want to go in our life. And that choice is very important.

    What I find admirable and inspiring in your story is that you have done so much of this work on your own. And it proves that the desire and will to get healthy is really at the core of the ability to do so. You don’t appear to have had the benefit of many helpful teachers or guides, and yet you still found a way to do this.

    That is very important. I think it somewhat proves the point that you are indeed in control of the process and know what works for you.

    I fight for you to see that in the same way that I wish I could remember it sometimes–and other people who fall under the spell of some kind of guru/disciple power trip or bowing to the whims of their parents, teachers, husband, wife/authority figure.

    But it’s so important to remember that even if we try our very best to give our power to someone else, it is impossible to do so. Ultimately we will always pick and choose what we believe and what actions we take.

    There, another ramble!

    • Hey, Aaron –

      I so appreciate your kind words! I do feel like I have done so much of this work on my own. It is good to have that recognized!

      I’m glad you brought up the situation with the other commenter . . . I have been doing some thinking about that during this week . . . knowing I had a post coming up in which I talked about Mark being a “narcissistic, stubborn, prideful, lazy, arrogant son-of-a-bitch”. I kept thinking . . . what right do I have to say anything to you about the nastiness of what you said when I’m saying nasty things about my therapist. I’m still working on that one.

      At any rate . . . I have enjoyed all this discussion! Thank you!

      – Marie

  5. Marie – Hi. Aaron brings up some good points. I’ve had problems with therapists in the past. It’s hard because you waste all that time & emotional energy to build a foundation where they have enough details to help, to treat. It is hard just to pick up and start again somewhere else.

    I do a lot of work on the internet, outside therapy, to ensure that what takes place during therapy is going to yield the best results. It’s difficult. I may not be the most objective researcher. But it becomes important. This is their job, the 9-5 thing they do. This is my life, the 24/7 thing I live.

    Reading through your recent posts, I’m hearing that you need to be validated. I have a similar issue with validation. Our paths are different. But similar in some ways. I wonder if Mark needs to really hear you and acknowledge your feelings more often than he needs to ‘fix’ your thoughts. To confirm that it is so ok to feel the things you are feeling.

    Please remember, while he may have book knowledge on effective treatment, he has never walked in your shoes. He doesn’t ‘know’ how you feel, or what it is like to go through what you went through.

    Sometimes I have to spend a while muddling through irrational thought until MY brain can see it as irrational. Being told it is irrational doesn’t work. While I may agree consciously, my sub-conscious mind ‘knows’ better and remains trapped in the irrational belief. After some time breathing and thinking, even it can see the irrationality.

    I have decided that therapists are only as good as the patients they serve. While his methods may seem unproductive, you do need to hear them and have him educate you on the process. I don’t know. This helps me. It’s what I do. I don’t pretend to know that it will help you.

    Keep fighting strong. Remember that people like you & I don’t get ‘fixed’, we learn effective ways to manage our lives. We learn how to fill our days & nights with contentment. We learn to live with the scars effectively. We teach others how to be respectful of those scars that cost us so much.

    Be well…

    Gia :)

    • Hi, Gia –

      You have made some excellent points here!

      You are right . . . I really needed Mark to validate what I was feeling. I asked him to do that and he refused.

      I tried and tried to understand his methods . . . and what I discovered is that his therapy skills are very poor, at least for someone like me. His own issues took over my therapy and made our work together impossible — and even harmful.

      The lesson here for me was to learn how to let go — I was so enmeshed with him. I had to deal with the stories I had rolling around in my head before I could walk away.

      I can see where what you are saying would be much more applicable with a qualified and skilled therapist . . . in that case, it would be wise to listen and learn from the therapist.

      Thanks for chiming in on the discussion!

      – Marie

  6. Hi Marie,

    I’d like to offer a bit of a different perspective – it comes from my interpretation of gestalt.

    As I view people and the way we change I am impressed by the importance of our surroundings and our ability to learn and adapt.

    To explain: We respond to what comes our way and do our best to get what we want and create what we want. Our behaviour makes sense in context – the way we behave checking into an hotel would not make sense on a squash court.

    With people I think we carry our past contexts with us – our attitudes and so on. I have found it easy to believe that women are intrusive because my mother was. (And because we create in accord with our past contexts also, it is easy for me to get together with those women who are intrusive.) There is always good evidence for our beliefs and attitudes.

    Another way of looking at this is that we learn most things about ourselves, others and how to relate to them.

    We learn what a man or woman is (usually) from our father or mother. And we behave in accord with what we have learnt. A woman who was abused by her father will be naturally wary of trusting men. In this sense therapy is a process of re-learning. We check our beliefs against our current reality and acquire new experiences, perceptions and behaviours. This description is a bit cold – it is usually, in my experience, a very emotional and dynamic experience.

    In terms of context – the therapy becomes a different sort of relationship, one that our past relationships haven’t entirely prepared us for – and so we develop new experiences and perceptions (and perhaps take these into new behaviour).

    Apologies for this long rant – I hope it does respond to the relationship you have had with Mark. I think you have been remarkable in how clear you have been about what you wanted and why you have done what you did the way did. You have my admiration and congratulations.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Great input . . . I like the different angle . . .

      I can see how this applies to my situation with Mark. I selected Mark because I know how to interact with him . . . it is a familiar and comfortable type of relationship.

      Well, it was comfortable until I started growing and started wanting to show up in a new, healthier way. Then, being in a relationship with someone as abusive as my dad no longer felt good to me. It was still familiar, but it was no longer comfortable. And this second round of therapy with Mark was my way of breaking out of the old way of being.

      Thank you for your kind words . . . I value your admiration!

      – Marie

  7. “I have found it easy to believe that women are intrusive because my mother was. (And because we create in accord with our past contexts also, it is easy for me to get together with those women who are intrusive.) There is always good evidence for our beliefs and attitudes.”

    I think Evan makes a very good point here. We form our attitudes, usually, at a pretty young age and carry them with us. When we have gotten someone poor experiences, it can further taint our future experiences because of how it leads us to choose and behave.

    For instance, a healthy person who has strong self-esteem and a strong relationship with a kind and giving father (as a child) would probably be a whole lot less likely to seek out an abusive male relationship as an adult. She would simply have little to no interest in such an abusive man, and would likely be losing interest after a date or two (or whenever the abusive behavior began manifesting).

    I can even say this is true because in the past I was quite verbally abusive and there were for sure women that avoided me like the plague. In fact, we probably didn’t get past the first conversation before they realized something was “off” about me.

    A man or woman who is used to dysfunctional behavior will be more accepting of it and will not quickly remove themselves from the situation the way someone used to healthy behavior would. They may not see it clearly as wrong, because it is so familiar.

    Therefore they may continue to have reinforcing experiences, as Evan said so clearly in his comment.

    That is why–coming back to my usual point–I encourage you to trust your deepest instincts. Because usually the alarm bells do ring, you just may be so used to ignoring them that you don’t hear them!

    • Hey, Aaron –

      Amen! That is what I’m learning . . .

      Actually, I hear/see the alarm bells, but I’m slow to get concerned about them because I’m so used to them going off. I know I don’t like being cut down verbally, but I’m so used to it that I have believed that it is normal.

      It is only very recently that I have started to understand it is not normal . . . or, at least it is not acceptable. I have only recently started believing there are men who operate in a different way.

      I’m assuming I didn’t know there were kind and giving men in the world because I wasn’t interested in them and they weren’t interested in me. They were busy hanging out with people/women who were attractive to and attracting kind and giving men.

      Another great rant! Thanks for sharing!

      – Marie

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