A Letter to my Ex-Therapist

Dear C,

I write this not because I think you will ever read it (in fact, I’m like 99% sure you never will) but because I have hope that I will find some healing and closure through the epistolary form. To speak to someone without directly speaking, seems potentially cathartic. I mean, it was wildly popular in the earlier centuries. Why not now, too?

Gratitude: 

I want to start with all the ways I’m thankful for having had you in my life for 6 months.

I’m thankful that you introduced me to neuroscience. I soaked it up. Loved it. I never knew. Your recommendation woke my brain up again.

I’m thankful for the hope you held for me in my darkest most hopeless times. I’m thankful that you gave me what I needed in order to trust that hope.

I’m thankful that you showed me what it felt like to be cared about even if that wasn’t sustainable.

I’m thankful that you helped me feel again and to express those feelings even if it meant breaking my heart just after I lost someone I loved.

I’m thankful that you gave me a space to choose loving touch.

I’m thankful you threw me out on my ass and more or less closed the door. Your new, rigid boundaries showed me I do have the strength to do it on my own.

Forgiveness: 

On the note of pain these are the things for which I offer forgiveness (we will get to those which I hope I am forgiven for later).

I forgive you for blurring the boundaries in the beginning. I trust that you thought you were doing the right thing.

I forgive you for lying to me about the changed policies. I think you were trying to avoid making me feel like I was “too much.” I felt that way anyway but it’s okay.

I forgive you for thinking power means “power over” and for forcing my hand. I forgive you for putting me in the position where the only way I could have any choice for myself was to walk away from the hurt.

I forgive you for not listening. I know you didn’t want to hear or read the things I said. I know they were harsh, biting, and probably to some extent true. Maybe more true than you expected.

I forgive you for trying to teach me to question my inner detective. That part of me is brilliant. That part of me knows with about 98% accuracy when something is wrong with someone even via text or email. I forgive you for wanting to get away from that part of me, for feeling analyzed by that part of me, for being made to feel uncomfortable by that.

I forgive you for not wanting to work with me to repair the rupture. You felt like I was aggressive. You felt attacked by my words. I get that.

Apologies: 

These are the things for which I feel I owe you an apology, the things I know I could have done differently or better in the therapy relationship. I know that it wasn’t my job to have to fix these things on my own… I know that it should have been part of the work. But, I’m still sorry.

I’m sorry that I let the texting and emails become too much. I’m sorry I didn’t trust my gut. I knew better, I just liked having that access to you, so I went with it.

I’m sorry that when I was hurting I wrote so many unkind letters filled with vitriol. I felt so unheard and unseen. I felt the same as I always felt as a child and a teenager. I felt like my needs were being ignored. I felt like I didn’t matter. I felt abandoned by the only other person in my life who could possibly abandon me aside from my parents.

I’m sorry that I couldn’t move past the rupture. I really wanted to but it felt like you didn’t. I couldn’t convince myself that you cared anymore. I couldn’t convince myself that you were going to be honest with me. I couldn’t convince myself that you were actually listening to what I was saying, that you actually knew what I was feeling. It felt like if you knew how badly I was hurting then your compassion would take over and you would have made an effort to work with me for change. You didn’t. I couldn’t.

I’m sorry that you felt attacked by my words. I’m sorry we never got to explore why I reacted that way. That was how my mother always reacted to me. She would write me these scathing letters. They would be smart, articulate, irrefutable. They burned. It’s how I learned to defend myself against hurt, too.

I’m sorry I accused you of never being able to understand me or where I was coming from. I don’t know what you’ve been through. And, I don’t know if you need to have gone through what I have in order to have empathy for my situation. It’s just, I never felt the empathy, so I accused.

Closure: 

When we had the Termination Session I thought that was going to be the closure I needed. Instead, it just opened the wound back up and left me hurting again. So, it is my hope that this letter gives me closure instead. In writing it I realize that we did have some good things going for us. It was natural with you in a way that I had never had with a therapist before. I still feared judgement but I learned how to see warmth in your eyes. I learned how to interpret your smirks as care. I learned how to interpret the lean forward as concern. I learned how to let you close. I learned how to express needs. But then I learned again how to be afraid of having those needs. The changes you made undermined so much of the work that we did together. I just needed to be seen and heard in those moments when I lashed out. I just needed to be understood. I just needed to know that it wasn’t because I had needs that I was being abandoned again. But, I couldn’t have that. There were things you couldn’t give me that I desperately needed. And that isn’t anyone’s fault. It was just because of who you were and who I was. As compatible as we were in the beginning, we were equally as incompatible toward the end. Maybe we brought out the worst in each other. I don’t know. I guess now is the time when I have to learn how to be okay with not knowing. I’ll never know.

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3 Thoughts

  1. Hi KD. I can’t seem to follow this blog. There isn’t an option for that. Maybe you could look into installing Jetpack by WordPress in order to have a follow and comment section like on the free WordPress sites?

    Like

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