Broken Heart

Well, J called me yesterday at 1:30PM and told me that she didn’t think it was ethical to agree to be my individual therapist. I expected that to be the answer but I had hope that she would be different. My heart is broken. She is just another person, in a string of people, who could help but won’t.

I’m just a “dead-end call.” I heard the term on the show 9-1-1. The character, Gloria, refers to it as a call where you know there isn’t anything you can do but listen to the awful things happening on the other line. Those were too much for her character to handle, so she hung up, refused to listen as the awful things happened. I’m that call. I was hung-up on, metaphorically speaking. I’m not J’s problem anymore. Group is over. She won’t have me for individual, so that’s it. I don’t even know if I want to keep bothering with therapy anymore. How can I, when I know that I’m not paying for the best care there is for me?

K is perfectly fine. She is a “good enough” therapist and that’s exactly why J won’t put me on the wait list because I am already under the care of someone she sees as skilled. Nevermind that I am pleading for her to see that it just isn’t the same. No matter how good K is, she will never see all the parts of me. She got to see me broken down and vulnerable yesterday, after my call with J. But that’s only because the manager parts couldn’t keep holding it together. There was too much hurt.

K wasn’t sure what to do in our session yesterday. J had told her about the not eating, so she knew that needed to be addressed. J also told her about the phone call, so she knew that’s why I could only cry and whisper. K just kept asking what I needed or wanted from the session. All I could say was, “I don’t know.” In my heart, I wanted to answer, “I need you to be J.” But that isn’t fair. Things are what they are. Either I quit or I try to build a good working relationship with K, despite feeling no emotional connection.

There is also the issue of my not eating to contend with… K said we can’t do this work if I don’t eat. She said if this keeps going, she doesn’t see it going anywhere good. She said she doesn’t want to see me ending up in the hospital. I said I wouldn’t. I have plenty of meat on me for my body to go through before it starts going after my brain. She said it doesn’t work that way. Something else she said made me feel like she was going to push me off on someone else, because she said she doesn’t know how to treat Eating Disorders. I managed to express feeling like she was going to reject me too and she said she wasn’t rejecting me, that she does want to keep working with me, just that if I keep not eating I might have to bring it up with my psych and add people to my treatment team. K is a good therapist. She learned from J and she learned well. She did everything right yesterday, said all the right things… just, somehow, that isn’t enough.

13 Thoughts

  1. Uggh, that sucks. It’s so hard to settle for something that’s just “okay” when you can see a “better” option. I know in that situation my mind starts running around like a rat in a maze, exploring every possible angle and wondering if I’d done things differently I might have somehow gotten what I wanted.

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    1. That’s exactly how I feel right now. I’m in the bargaining phase of mourning this loss. I want to beg and plead and change whatever I can to make it possible but I know that no matter what I do, it has been decided. I just have to deal.

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  2. I’m sorry that J won’t agree to work with you. It’s not like she is poaching you from K. You met J before K anyway. It’s your choice as a client who you work with because you are paying. As far as I’m aware the therapist isn’t supposed to take it personally because you as the client have the choice to see a different therapist if one is not the right fit. I actually think that J is being unethical by choosing a professional relationship over a your best interests. I don’t think that it’s because you are too much and I’m gutted that you are not being given the opportunity to work with the right person.

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    1. She has justified this as being in my best interest. She doesn’t want me to stop working with K, while I wait for an opening with her. She said her wait list hasn’t budged in ages. She doesn’t know how long I’d be on it and if I quit with K, then it would be without care. And she thinks with where I am right now being without care wouldn’t be in my best interest. But she also doesn’t think it is in my best interest to continue deeper in work with someone else, only to transfer to her later. This is lose-lose for me.

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    1. Thank you… I need lots of hugs. I’m struggling accepting this… as I know a truly healing therapeutic relationship was just within reach and yet, apparently, still so far away. It doesn’t feel fair.

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  3. Oh love! I am so sad to read this. Is this definitely an absolute no for forever? I understand her concern about not wanting you to be without care if you quit with K to wait for her but it seems unfair to not at least put you on the wait list and see what happens. You may continue with K, the relationship may deepen, and you may choose to stay with her but it’d be nice to have the option. I would feel utterly heartbroken too. There is a way through this, we are all here for you, sending so much love 💕

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    1. Thank you, that means a lot. She made it seem like it is an absolute no. Nothing I said changed anything. She stood firm on “it wouldn’t be ethical.” I’m just not ready to give up though.

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  4. This might not be what you want to hear, so you can take it or leave it. But, to me, J is giving off red flags all over the place. I think she is clearly scaling back her practice – first by dropping group and now by not even considering adding you to her waitlist. I think there is stuff going on with her that has absolutely nothing to do with you.

    Second, based on my own experiences in this space, I am inherently distrustful of any kind of shrink-worship. They are not perfect. They are just as flawed as the rest of us, sometimes more so. You do not need the perfect therapist. You need a good-enough therapist. I say this because I firmly believe that you need a therapist that you can leave in the end, either by choice or necessity. I think it’s easier to leave the good-enough one.

    So maybe the sessions won’t be as deep or as intense, but is that what you really need? Do you really need a super-strong attachment to be able to navigate in your own life? Or is a good connection enough?

    Sometimes I think about the risk we take we date someone new. The risk of opening up and taking a chance even though it might end in heartbreak. But therapy is not dating. It’s not even in power or balance from the start. The therapist always has the upper hand and can always choose to end the relationship. I don’t know, I just have this instinct that with J, you are bound to end up truly, really heartbroken. You have her already so high on a pedestal that she has no where to go but down. You might end up spending all of your time focused on the ways that she has failed you and not focused on YOU.

    And this not-shifting waitlist alarms me. Of course they have waitlists, but why doesn’t a spot EVER open up? Sure some clients stay for years but do all of her clients stay forever? To me that sounds like a recipe for disaster all around.

    So I’d try to stick it out with K. Good-enough can sometimes turn into what is actually best for you right now. It did for me. I’m in a much better place with the good-enough therapist that I ever was with the one who seemed so “perfect.”

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    1. I can see how those appear like red flags. She has been transparent about scaling back her practice. She went from 4 days to 3 days, with less evenings. She has 3 kids at home and as they grow, she finds she needs to spend more time there for them. As for why no one has left, I think some may have, but since she cut her days, it is getting her down to the case load she wants. But, she also works with mostly complex trauma cases and she is one of the more highly qualified therapists in the area. I think the complexity of cases might be a reason for the lack of spots available, even after the 12 weeks she initially told me.

      But, despite all of that, you make a good point about placing her on a pedestal. I know she is just as human. And she openly shares her humanness with clients. I think, for me, it isn’t so much about the offering of a super strong attachment (though that’s probably already happened), as it is about for the first time in my life feeling truly seen and understood. I’ve never had that with anyone, much less a therapist.

      K is great. She does and says the right things. But she flounders. She doesn’t see me or get me. She tries her best to and I really appreciate that about her. But, it is so hard to give up being truly seen and understood… which I wholeheartedly believe J does… for someone who can only struggle to see me. I guess I’m the type of person who has to learn things the hard way. Who has to experience the heartbreak first hand. But, maybe you’re right, maybe J saying no is a blessing in disguise, preventing me from feeling even deeper heartbreak than I already do now.

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  5. Hello! I’ve just come across your blog and I’m reading it with interest. I’ve read back a few posts and don’t know your story but I just wanted to let you know that we as humans are unbreakable, no matter what our past experiences or stories. We live in a world that is created for us purely by our thoughts, and often when we have a lot of thoughts going round it can hide the innate mental health we have inside. Inside we are whole and perfect. But I just want to reassure you that everything we experience in life is created via our thoughts. Everything. And behind those thoughts is a perfect system, running as it should, unbreakable. It’s the part of us we can’t always hear when our thinking gets too noisy but it’s always there, regardless, guiding us. If you want to chat more, get in touch! I hope this somehow helps. Sending love! X

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