Posted by: Marie | September 14, 2010

(400) Putting a lid on it

Post #400
[Email to my therapist written on Tuesday, March 23, 2010]

Hi, Edward –

In preparation for next week’s session, I’m forwarding some thoughts around my focus of the last few weeks – which has mostly been the discordant ending of my therapeutic relationship with Mark.

It is my intention to find a way to make sense of what has happened and to make peace with it so I can move forward in my therapy with you unencumbered. To that end, here is how I’m choosing to look at what has happened:

1) In the beginning of our relationship (two years ago), Mark was very helpful during the time I first started recovering memories of sexual abuse. He handled that process very well by providing support while minimizing his influence on my remembering. He also helped me address the flashbacks I was having about a sexual assault I experienced as an adult. For a few months, I did feel accepted and validated by him, and I appreciate that gift.

2) I chose Mark as my therapist more than two years ago because I felt a strong attachment to him from the first moment I met him. I now understand, with me, such attachments usually indicated unhealed wounding with a similar personality – and an unhealthy relationship that involves enmeshment will almost certainly result if I act on those strong attachments (which was the case with Mark).

The Flower by Martin Chen

3) To add to the issue, Mark has some significant personality defects. Moreover, he is very blind to them. I have been passionately invested, for so long, in trying to get him to recognize how his behavior was destroying our relationship. I have begged him repeatedly to shift his behavior so I could feel safe. I have given him every benefit of the doubt. I have defended his behavior to my friends and to myself. Now I can see my faith and trust in him were not warranted and I feel tremendously betrayed.

4) I am very clear that I have done everything within my power to make this relationship work in a healthy way. However, Mark is unwilling to take any responsibility for his part of the conflict, which necessarily means he cannot participate in the relationship in a healthy way. The conflict is no longer about my “stuff”; it has become fully about his “stuff”. It would be a waste of my time, energy and money to continue trying to “fix” it. By choosing to end it, I am protecting my own sanity and health.

5) Some good things resulted from the second round of therapy with Mark:

– I found and started using my truth-telling voice (which is life changing for me),

– I learned I can trust my internal voice when it tells me I am in an unhealthy relationship,

– I learned that my “picker” (the part of me that decides to whom I am attracted) is broken and that I need to fix it,

– I consistently feel as if I’m getting squashed in relationships because I am getting squashed (because my picker is broken and I keep picking selfish people) – so, no, my skin is not too thin – and yes, many people really do treat me disrespectfully, it is not just my imagination;

– I finished the unfinished business I had with Mark so now I can lay it to rest,

– By proxy, I finished some of the unfinished business I had with my dad (because Mark is so much like my dad – in beliefs, in manner of speaking, in being controlling, etc.):

– I was able to see how things might well have been with my dad in a similar situation (I was so young when he died that I don’t remember how they were),

– I got to establish some boundaries with Mark that I never established with my dad (but should have),

– I gave a voice to some of the hurts I experienced with my dad – because they were the same hurts I experienced with Mark.

6) I am proud of myself for:

– establishing and protecting my boundaries with Mark,

– going back for a second round with Mark so I could find answers I really needed,

– following my own instinct (which told me going back was what I needed to do) despite the fact none of my friends and supporters agreed with me,

– creating a substantial plan for finding a new therapist who would be a good fit for me, and sticking with that plan even when my internal dialogue told me I didn’t deserve all the time and energy the prospective therapists were investing in me and my process.

7) I am grateful to my friends and supporters who valued me enough to speak up and honestly express their concerns about my choice to go back to Mark – and, I’m grateful they honored my choice and assured me they believe I know what is best for me.


So . . . I’ll see you next Tuesday! I’m looking forward to whatever comes next!

– Marie

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