Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??

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argh

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In a very small nutshell - have been No Contact with my mother for about 3 years - after I had an epic breakdown (haven't been able to work for three years). Before that a long history of enmeshed relationship. I've lived on the other side of the world for about 10 years. No contact with my father for about 15 years - although he did rock up at my workplace (yes, on the other side of the world from where he lives) about 5 years ago.

Despite all my self awareness I still basically feel sick and scared all the time. Ugh. While I am getting better, I'm still basically pretty dysfunctional.

I've had a number of average therapists over the last 20 years. The therapist I've been seeing since my meltdown has actually been the best and has been very helpful. BUT I still don't think he quite gets the extent of my mothers manipulation etc. He is now repeatedly bringing up that he thinks I should go back to visit my mother. She hasn't been well - although I think she's recovered from that. His view is that I should go back and see her so that I don't feel guilty.

I am really upset by this - the thought of going back makes me want to throw up - and I really don't think I am actually physically capable of it. It also makes me realise that he doesn't get how much her emotional abuse has basically damaged my brain - which I am trying so hard to fix (!!).  I think he just doesn't get how totally ingrained my guilt and enmeshment is.

I told him that I was going to have a break from therapy for 3 months and am due to go back in a couple of months. But Im really feeling that I don't want to.

I am finding it quite hard to write about because it just makes my brain want to shut down...Thoughts from the FOG team??

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Malini

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 01:04:19 PM »
Argh - that's a great username for what you just posted about.

Sounds like you're in a bit of a panic, no wonder you feel as if your brain is shutting down. It's so confusing when someone you feel so comfortable with and who you've come to trust throws a curveball at you and makes you feel as if they just aren't 'getting' it.

I have a couple of questions

Do you feel guilty at the moment about NC?

Do you think you will feel guilty if and when your NM dies and you haven't given it one last try (although I feel that an epic breakdown would be reason enough to believe you'd done your utmost) ?

I'm a believer in 'the gut' and wished I'd listened to mine before rather than following advice from people whom I thought knew better than me, however well intentioned or expert they were. And what is the plan ? That you go back and confront her, or go back and attempt to reconcile?

I think it's a good plan to suspend therapy for a bit until you figure out what is best for YOU, not what might be best, in an ideal world, with nonPD people.

I certainly wouldn't put myself back into the line of fire if I were risking my sanity, and would try and work through any crushing guilt differently and would hope that a professional could help you figure out a way to do that. Many of us here have been able to lay aside the guilt without being physically confronted with our abuser, so it's clear that there are other ways to do this.

So sorry you're going through this, it can make us feel so vulnerable again.  :hug:
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biggerfish

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 01:16:18 PM »
Argh, Your therapist needs a little reminding that you are the leader of your own mental health. This is an opportunity to educate him. Of course, that will take a little courage, but think about how good you will feel! I suggest just being firm and loving. Say to your therapist, "As we all know, making a decision based on avoiding a feeling isn't always the best means to mental health. And in my case, I'm pretty clear that it's not."

Two things could result:
  • Your therapist will appreciate this insight, and will start taking your lead better.
  • Your therapist will not be able to hear this, in which case you will then be better informed about whether to continue.

Sometimes therapists can become a little controlling, and think they know best. It's only human. It's quite possible he needs to hear your wisdom on this and that he'll become a better therapist as a result.

I once had a controlling therapist, and when I gave him my insight, he got defensive. That was a therapist not to be around. I left that day and didn't go back. You won't know which you have until you give it a try. There's no danger.

Just my thoughts.

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VividImagination

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2017, 02:04:39 PM »
No is a complete sentence, even for a therapist. They work for you. If they can't accept that, find someone else.
There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you cannot accept it, change it. I f you cannot change it, leave it.

Sometimes you're damned if you don't and damned if you do, so damn well do what's best for you.

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Fergie2

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 02:18:23 PM »
And what is the plan ? That you go back and confront her, or go back and attempt to reconcile?

 :yeahthat:

Yes, what is the plan? To confront them on their behaviours again, or to attempt to reconcile and rug sweep due to guilt? Because it's either one or the other.

I think it's good that you are taking a break from therapy. It will help you figure out what you want in life and future therapy.

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Eggshell Walker

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 02:20:59 PM »
IMO, therapist or not, unless you have survived an abusive relationship, you can not understand or appreciate the level of anxiety/fear the victim experiences.

Just a photo of my uNPDm can set my fear and anxiety into motion....much less a meeting with her.  :sadno:  The  guilt I feel for not trying 'one more time' bothers me often but then I come back to
the realization that nothing has changed or improved in our relationship just because I wanted it to.  One more try is only going to result in more anxiety and less closure.

I hope you find an understanding therapist and that you start to feel better soon!
** Don't say you miss me when you're the reason I'm gone. **

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argh

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2017, 02:51:07 PM »
Thanks all so much for the replies - soooo helpful.

I'm really not sure what he envisages the plan is - I think he thinks that I'll be able to establish some sort of basic superficial relationship. Which I'm actually managing at the moment to do with my sister (who lives in a closer country and I do see - because of my nieces and nephews) - but its still unbelievably traumatic when I see my sister and there is no way I would do that if it wasn't for my nieces and nephew.

I said in my last session that I really couldn't see the benefit. She won't be satisfied unless I move back home and live three doors down from her and be her spinster daughter who looks after her. So - my going back for one visit and having limited contact isn't going to make her any happier, she's not going to suddenly change and it would stress me beyond belief.

Ugh - just typing about it I can feel my brain shutting down. I've wanted to post about it for weeks but just haven't been able to.

Well - that's my body telling me isn't it. If just typing about it makes my brain shut down, imagine what going back for a visit would do.

I understand that I need to work through all this so I don't have such a violent reaction - because of course I replicate this reaction to so many other areas of my life. But surely going back to the scene of the crime isn'g going to help. I think that I have some sort of CPTSD.  And it's like sending me back to the war zone.

I have said to him - "but surely the answer is to help me not to feel guilty, not to go back there so I don't have a reason to feel guilty". He sort of got it - but then kept on bringing it up in the next few sessions. I just think that saying that it will stop me from feeling guilty completely reinforces that I should feel guilty - and why on earth should I?? I have twisted myself into knots and had a barren personal life just to fit into her expectations  - the dynamic she has set up is that she will always be my victim, and I will always have to feel guilty. I'm not looking after when she gets old and ill. End of.

I've actually tried another therapist - I've met with her once - but to be honest I'm not sure I've got the energy to get someone else up to speed. And I kind of feel like I've reached the stage where I'm so self aware of what my issues are - and I know what I've got to do - it's just doing that and letting the healing happen.

I do think its true that only someone who has really been in the situation understands it. I NEVER thought that I would be someone who did internet message boards - but I find this forum to be unbelievably helpful - because people on here totally get it.

Okay great - thanks all so much!! I feel much more resolved on this.

I'm doing so many good things at the moment that I would simply never do if I was still in contact with my mother - I'm getting a puppy next month (a Cavalier King Charles!!), starting my own business, having expensive hair cuts.....the thought of the comments I'd get if she knew make me cringe.

I think I'm reluctant to stop seeing him because I'm worried that this is not a good way to deal with problems in a relationship - and I should be able to work through it and still see him. But then I think given that the whole point of this relationship is to help me deal with Mother Issues - then it seems that if we fundamentally disagree on this then really his help as a therapist for me has really run its course.

Anyway - I'm starting to ramble now. Malini is totally right - this whole thing makes me panic and my brain just scrambles! I need to keep myself safe!

Thanks all.

xxx
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 02:53:21 PM by argh »

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biggerfish

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2017, 03:26:59 PM »
I think I'm reluctant to stop seeing him because I'm worried that this is not a good way to deal with problems in a relationship - and I should be able to work through it and still see him.
Naaaaah.  You've already given him plenty of notice that the two of you don't see eye to eye, and clearly he hasn't listened well. If he wants to judge you for "burning your bridges," then he's entitled to be wrong. And no, you don't have to explain yourself to him if you don't want to. Just tell him you're taking a break. It might be permanent, but you don't have to say it's permanent if you don't want to. Just gently let go if that's what you want.

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Blackduckdiva

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2017, 03:33:30 PM »
Argh, I hear you!

Malini has given such a kind and thoughtful response. And yes isn't this forum wonderful! I never thought I would be an internet forum person either but I find the compassion, wisdom and understanding of the survivors on these boards incredible. I've come so far since I started posting only a few weeks ago.

A few thoughts from me. I had a wonderful counsellor a couple of years ago. He recognised that my mother had a PD and that my father was enmeshed. He could see the triangulation that was happening between the three of us. (We had some group counselling sessions so it was very affirming.) But he didn't get the benefit of NC. He thought I could just establish firm boundaries and that she would respect them.

My current T told me straight out I needed to go NC. It was too much, too soon. And she had nothing in terms of how to cope with the fall out or my own emotions. She was like, "just do it or you'll regret it". She even evoked the comparison of women who don't leave their violent husbands. It wasn't especially helpful. I've taken six months off counselling and I've just been doing the inner work. I know it all, as you do too. I may go back to her, but to be honest this forum is helping more. I had a massage last week too which cost as much as two counselling sessions but was more soothing and probably more helpful!

A new puppy and expensive haircuts sound like an excellent tonic. My NC sister is buying a cat and has started growing her hair. She's thrilled because people are starting to comment on how nice her hair looks!
Best wishes to you,
BDD

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Amadahy

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2017, 06:06:12 PM »
I am so sorry!  It sounds like you need more time and space to heal.  That is not cruel and should not induce guilt -- it is survival.  Please give yourself a gentle squeeze and an affirmation or three and know that your needs are priority and, really, sacrificing yourself on the altar of narc neediness helps no one, not even mom.  Blessings.
Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There's a crack in everything ~~
That's how the Light gets in!

~~ Leonard Cohen

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footprint

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2017, 10:03:41 PM »
I agree with pps who have said you've given this therapist enough time and he hasn't figured it out.  You need to be with a therapist who really, truly understands NPD. This therapist does not.  Your therapist may be excellent in many ways, and a good person, but no therapist who truly understands NPD would suggest you get back into contact with your mother in this way.  As you say, he doesn't understand the manipulation that some PDs are capable of, and for you to heal, you need to be with someone who FULLY validates you and who knows that going NC is the best option for you.

It is also possible that some of the anxiety you're experiencing relates to the fact that you know your therapist doesn't fully validate you.

Best wishes to you as you navigate this difficult path.
footprint

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2017, 12:39:06 AM »
Hi Argh - and good name!   :)

I really don't like when anybody projects feelings on to us - like guilt.

Maybe the T would feel terrible about not seeing his or her mother, but you're not your T.  You're YOU.  YOU get to decide how you feel and if you don't want to see her, you don't want to see her.  Case closed.

That you're uncomfortable going back tells me you should probably look for another T.  It may have been a good fit for a while, but now it doesn't seem like it is.

You don't have to call and explain - you just need to find a T that better suits your needs and ask for your records to be transferred.   :yes:

I know my own history with unBPD Didi and if anybody ever suggested I visit her, I'd have smiled and started Medium Chilling them while backing out of the room slowly, gosh, would you look at the time - I've got this thing with a thing and I gotta go for like, the rest of my life...    :bigwink:

*Unintentional* flying messenger monkeys come in all shapes and sizes. 

Your T thinks he/she is pushing you in the right direction - and for you, it's NOT.

Didi was on her deathbed and I wouldn't visit because I knew what I was going to get - nothing but venom.  Her final chance to really rip into me, tell me how she felt - and expect me to console her.

I opted OUT.  I haven't felt a moment of regret.  Three years on, I doubt it's going to come.

Do what's right for YOU.

 :hug:



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moglow

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2017, 06:25:59 AM »
Playing devil's advocate here - Maybe possibly this therapist feels you're at a place where you could see your mother again if you want to, thus the "encouragement." Thing is, he's not seeing that you have no desire to go there and stir up a lot of stuff that's reached a manageable level for you. And he's not getting that there's no need to stir it up, not now and possibly not ever. Absolutely take a break - and find someone else if/when you need to. You may have reached a point where this therapist served his purpose, and got you through an awful time.


For you and your feelings of guilt, consider what you actually feel guilty about. Are they things you can or are ready to address with your mother (sounds like not)? Have you done deliberate harm and know an apology is needed, thus feel guilty that you haven't? Or is it more like guilt trips that have been thrust on you, and you are expected to somehow address it? There's a big difference between the two - actual guilt and guilt that's been assigned to you. Figuring out which is which makes sense and will help you decide what you want going forward.


If you don't want to see or have contact with your mother, don't. Not everyone will understand or agree, but they don't have to. Actually most people who don't know where you've been with her, will disagree. That's okay, they didn't live it and you don't have to explain or even talk about it. It's YOUR relationship, not theirs.


As a therapist asked me, "if this wasn't your mother, what would you do?" I had an immediate eye opening, gut punch reaction to that one. Think about it - and learn to put guilt in its place! It may not be your guilt at all.  :bigwink:

“Nothing exposes our true self more than how we treat each other in the home.”  ~ Joseph B. Wirthlin

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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argh

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2017, 05:33:21 AM »
All - thanks so very much for the replies. Which I have read many times and will continue to return to.

Yes - I think its time to move on from this therapist - he really does mean well and he has helped me. But he never quite got it.

I am so glad I was finally able to post on this. I feel relieved and ready to move on to the next step of getting better.

Its a long hard slog isn't it. I think my new puppy (get him in 4 weeks) is really going to help. Cuddles on tap!! I can't wait.

Thanks again all so much.

xx

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daughter

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2017, 07:43:46 AM »
I noted therapist's "go see her so you don't feel guilty" viewpoint, contradicted by your "I don't feel guilty; I feel safe being detached" response.  Perhaps therapist is confusing your PTSD symptoms with OCD symptoms.  OCD's treatment includes "habituation", that is exposing yourself to what you "fear" most, to eventually cause those fears, and so related OCD symptoms, to become manageable.  But we ACONs and ACOBPs don't have OCD.  In fact, many of us have PTSD, resulting from our relationship experiences with our parents, where "detachment" and "management of triggers" are part of recovery-process.   

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argh

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2017, 09:17:32 AM »
Daughter thanks so much - that is a BRILLIANT insight

xxxx

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Fuzzydog

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2017, 04:10:47 PM »
Or perhaps your therapist simply can't deal with the idea that No Contact with your mother is a viable, positive thing.
After my dad died, my NM escalated the awfulness to a point that it drove me into therapy.  My therapist pointed out that she might be an N, so I researched it, and sure enough.  Anyway, this woman helped me a lot over the next nine years.  I went from being the scapegoat/servant to a pretty low contact situation, all with her help and guidance.  I learned a lot about self-care, about setting boundaries, about healing.  That still wasn't enough, so I decided on No Contact.  The entire process of building up to sending the letter (timing was key, both my nephews had weddings approaching and I didn't want to, in any way, cast a pall) was like wading through treacle with my therapist.  I felt like she wasn't supporting my decision at all, and that she really wasn't on my side with this.  She kept reminding me that it might be something I couldn't undo, telling me that I would profoundly regret it, etc etc etc.  She did vet the letter I sent, to make sure it was concise but not mean, then cautioned me against sending it.  At one point she told me I was over reacting.
I sent the letter, then told her that as much as I appreciated the help she had been to me for nine years, I was done.

The point here is, that some people can't seem to let go of the Sacred Maternal concept under any circumstances.  The extra sad part here is that most people who feel that way wouldn't question for a minute the idea of NC if there was ongoing physical abuse.

And, as an added irony, I really could have used a therapist to help me through the profound depression that followed, but I didn't trust her with this topic and it's just too exhausting to find a good match when you're depressed.
I have not, for a moment, regretted my actions, but as we all know, it's a hard thing to do.

Argh, stand firm on your own convictions.  Maybe discuss some of the ideas that have been presented here?  Your therapist may be able to benefit from some different perspectives.

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bopper

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2017, 04:40:29 PM »
Imagine your mother would physically assault you if you visited (instead of emotionally).  Your therapist has equipped you with padding and a helmet with a facemask.   So you COULD go visit and not get majorly hurt, but why would you want to?
Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
Anything makes the false self appear real is supply.

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JenniferSmith

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Re: Therapist keeps on bringing up seeing my mother again - thoughts??
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2017, 05:54:44 PM »
I believe a wiser and more skillful response on the part of your therapist, in reaction to you saying you don't want to visit/see your mother, is to explore that further rather than to dictate what response you will take. He would be of more help/service to you by helping you articulate and gain clarity around your decision.

Often, just by saying things out loud, to another person, it helps us gain clarity and insight.

When therapists prescribe specific actions/behaviors, I believe it sets them up for problems just like this one. Its a sign that he has lost focus on your process, and shifted instead to his own process/beliefs/values/views.  Maintaining the focus on the client and his/her internal experience is a challenge, and the ability to consistently do that over time with each client is what separates very good therapists from average ones in my opinion and experience.

best wishes to you