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counseling dependency
March 21, 2001
12:13 pm
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cloud
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I just got out of my counseling session. I didn't put on the act I was planning on mostly because I was scared. I do this all the time. I go in with plans on talking about something or sharing everything, and then I don't do exactly what I have planned. I was going to put on a sympathy act like I said, but I didn't. Neither did I tell her that I am dependent on her. I detract from telling her the truth. And I know I am doing myself no good not telling her the whole truth.

And guess what she told me today? She asked me if I would want to see another counselor in the same place (at my school) this summer and next Fall because she is leaving. My heart sank. I knew this was coming soon, but I never expected it today. I felt like crying and screaming out to her not to leave me. But I didn't. I held back. For what? I should have told her the truth. But I held back.

Now I feel so deperate I don't know what I'm gonna do. She doesn't even care about me enough to stay. What am I gonna do? I can't live like this. I can't even wait another long week to talk about it. I'm going to go crazy. And she acts so nice about it. I wish she had said she was sorry at least.

I can't deal with this. I'm so sad right now.

March 21, 2001
12:26 pm
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azza
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look...i think u have forgotten about what is the purpose of getting to be counselled....it is to become independent..and everything must be originally from you...its okay to get help from some people sometimes...even if you dont have a problem you sometimes dont realize that you are still depending on people instead....but most of all how you get things to be controlled..thats the most independent thing that you can do for yourself

March 21, 2001
4:28 pm
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Sal
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cloud, for us, becoming independent is intrinsic to learning how to be dependent. Like we have to know we can trust people, before we feel we can rely on ourselves. It sounds like you keep getting right to the doorway, and then turning away, slamming the door shut behind you. What you want it across that threshhold, and it is a threshhold, not an abyss(as it seems). If you are going to have to terminate anyway, how about a risk? She's trying to be professional, you want to be personal. I don't understand how these dynamics are supposed to work. We go to counseling saying, "Please care about me! Let me know I'm valuable enough that you care about me." With the purpose of being affirmed so that we can believe that ourselves. They want to help us realize our worth also, but without getting personally involved. Seems like a catch-22. If they are not willing to invest themselves in us, we must not be worth investing in, and the cycle is perpetuated.

Please tell her!!! Before you start another counseling relationship and the old patterns kick in. It's possible she doesn't have any idea how important she is to you, and thinks you would rather see someone else. I know you want to be a "normal" person who can transition to this new set up with no trauma, but pretending that's the way it is, when really you're a MESS is BAD. I would be having a hellish time myself. Mostly because I want to be mature and able to handle it, when it truly makes me panicky, even suicidal.

Talk about it. It may not go away, but it will lose its grip on your soul.

DO IT!!!

March 21, 2001
4:52 pm
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cloud
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What am I supposed to do? Just come out and say to her, "I'm angry that you're leaving me and it makes me feel desperate like I would do anything to make you not leave?" I don't think I could get up enough courage to say that. I don't want to see somebody new, who I couldn't care less about. I want her to stay.

I can't even tell her I'm suicidal about her leaving me, she would then have to tell somebody like my parents. And I don't want that. I don't want anybody to know but her. I'm so scared I'm not going to be able to let her leave me and that I'm going to do something drastic.

I know that if I tell her, I will feel much better though...so there is an incentive. I don't know. I'll have to think about this for next week. (Not like I don't think about this all the time anyway, it's all I think about.)

Thanks Sal.

March 21, 2001
4:55 pm
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cloud
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Is there a term for what I am describing? Like maybe: "dependent personality disorder" or something???

March 21, 2001
5:39 pm
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Sal
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Sounds apt.

You WILL feel better. AND I think what you propose NOT to say is exactly what you SHOULD say! Can you write her a letter? Can you tell her about MY experience, and let it lead into your own? Feel free...

March 21, 2001
9:12 pm
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I guess maybe writing her a letter would help because then I don't actually have to say the words with my mouth.

I know I have to tell her. It's just going to take some time.

I feel a little better about today since some time has elapsed. But God, that horrible desperate feeling right afterwards is a living nightmare. Enough to make anyone go crazy.

Guess I'll focus my next 6 days on thinking about next session. However, with any luck, maybe I WON'T be thinking about it nostop. There's wishful thinking!

Sal, do you fear that this will happen to you again and again?
(Because I feel like it's my destiny.)

March 22, 2001
1:14 am
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I think the only way to keep it from happening over and over is to own up to our stuff from the outset of a relationship. I know that punishing myself doesn't help, just makes it worse. Swearing it won't happen again just makes it worse when it does. Pretending it isn't happening doesn't work. Honesty is the only recourse. I want to wear a sign around my neck that says "Care at your own risk! Clinginess likely. No promise of return on investment." Think that would win me any friends or influence any people? The only relationship that I can have that kind of disclaimer on is with my therapist. It's like playing a card game open-handed. You have this relationship where all the cards are on the table. You don't try to fool her by playing the helpless card, you play it right out there on the table. That's how you figure out how to play the game in your day to day relationships. Give yourself the gift of this kind of learning environment.

Instead of dwelling on the next session for the next week (groan), write her a letter. More than one if you want. You dont' have to give them to her, but it will be therapeutic to write it out, and get your thoughts on paper. GO for it! Really rail at her, if you want. Beg,if you need to. Let yourself get it out. Then whatever is still there next session, you can articulate, because you'll have given it some thought. Write it out here, if you want! I'm cheering for you.

March 22, 2001
1:56 pm
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cloud
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Sal, maybe your sign would really work. You're right; it would be honest. Although, like you said, who would take the chance with us?

Okay, here is goes. This is a letter that I wish I could give to my therapist, but I'm too afraid.

****

Dear ________ (I don't want to put her name in case she somehow sees this -- paranoid me!)

I am mad at you right now. Hurt. I feel like you don't care about me. Did you ever? There was a time when I believed you did. Now that you told me you're leaving, it makes me feel helpless. I've grown to depend on having you there to talk to once a week. And now you will be out of my life forever. How am I supposed to deal with that? And you want me to see someone else? Go on with someone else; someone who is not you?

I do understand that you have your own life and that you want me to have my own too. But when thinking about you leaving; I take it personally. I see it as you leaving me, even though in reality, I know that's not the case. You've made a big impact on my life and I'll never forget about you. I'll always wonder how you're doing, what you're doing, and if you ever think of me at all. As I see it now, I don't see a way that I can handle this. There is far too much going on in my life right now and you leaving only makes things worse because you were my only outlet.

****

I guess I feel better that I wrote that. At least I got my feelings out. Today's Thursday, a rough day because it seems like there's nothing to look forward to until next Wednesday. But Wednesday is the worst day of all. Right after the session. I'm torturing myself.

March 23, 2001
11:18 am
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Sal
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The day right before therapy is the best, because you anticipate, and it's so close. The day of, you know that you will be done, and have to wait another week. The day after seems to call for some kind of crisis to speed the week along. Right? 🙂

Your letter is GREAT! It's FANTASTIC! I don't think you vocalized the deep panic and rejection that you feel (I think you were too busy trying to make sure she knew YOU knew that this was unhealthy). But it is a great letter to give to her. I wouldn't edit a thing out of it. (I think you still need to vent, though!)

Can you give it to her? I double dog dare you!!! You'll feel SO much better, and she'll understand so much more, and be able to help in all sorts of uncharted ways! If I were your counselor, I would be very proud of you for risking the communication. Heck! I'm proud of you anyway! Can you ask for 2x weekly sessions for the remainder of time? If you can, will you work through the real stuff, or just keep milking the relationship? For me, double sessions for a while really helped. There's a legitimate need in there that the therapist partly meets, and we latch on to it, hoping to be fulfilled. News flash: no one will actually ever fully meet the deep need. What the therapist can do is help us see the need, understand the hurt and learn how to face it in a safe, trusting, vulnerable relationship. They are facilitators, no matter how badly we want, or need, them to do "it" for us. "It" is life, maturing, self-care... all that crap. If our parents did a lousy job of walking us through and training us, how do we think 1 hr. a week will do the trick? We have to show up for ourselves.

(I'm trying to talk myself into it.)

REALLY VENT! Don't worry about how it sounds, who might read it, burn it when your done, if you must, but do a thorough down load. Rant and rave. We are only as sick as our secrets. Shed a light! You're making great strides, huge progress, just by owning up to all this.

Give her your letter!!! You've already edited it for acceptability, you've vocalized the issues without sounding desperate and I only worry that she might still not see your woundedness surrounding the issues. It's a HUGE start! DO IT!!!!!

March 23, 2001
12:13 pm
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cloud
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Sal, you wrote: "The day right before therapy is the best, because you anticipate, and it's so close. The day of, you know that you will be done, and have to wait another week. The day after seems to call for some kind of crisis to speed the week along. Right? :)"

Oh my God, this is so true! Thanks for putting it into words for me!

You're right. I really didn't express everything in that letter. I did edit it in my head before writing it. I shouldn't have. I will try to write another one this weekend. Although, the extreme desperate feelings have subsided since Wednesday. But they're still there. So I'll try that.

Sal, your idea of going to counseling 2x a week makes me excited. (You know what I mean.)

Wouldn't this just fuel my obsessions even more though? (And give me 2 days out of the week to anticipate and then feel horrible after they're over???)

If I had any idea of even how to ask her if I could come 2x a week, I would. But I wouldn't even know how to ask. See the place where I go is at my college. She works there, I think, 3 days out of the 5 day week. It might be the kind of thing where you're only allowed to go once a week. I don't know. I feel like I would seem too needy if I asked to go 2x a week.

Is there a way to get this information across without actually asking her? And is there a way to get my desperate dependent feelings for her out in the open without telling her or giving her a letter?
I guess she will never know unless I tell her. I'm in the progress of discussing with her my desperate dependencies on other people (an old teacher in particular) that I am 99% over now. But I find it extremely difficult to tell my counselor that it's happening with her.

March 23, 2001
9:47 pm
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Sal
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"Do you ever see clients more than once a week?"

"I'd like to do as much work with you as possible before you leave."

As for her helping you with these desperate/dependent feelings, the only way you'll get to where you can work it out is to get it out in the open. If you don't want to tell her, I will! What a deal! You call my therapist, I'll call yours!

It seems like an obvious way to segue into discussing your relationship after discussing past dependencies. Be obvious! Be honest! Maybe she's inept if she can't discern your state of need. What are these people doing in the business if they can't even ID an obsession right under their noses? It's their fault! Yah, yah, and I could blame lots of other people and events, too!!! Wouldn't be productive, but I could. YOU GOTTA GIVE HER THE RAW MATERIAL TO WORK WITH!!! If you're giving her only the rib eye steak, and expecting her to reconstruct the whole cow, your seriously sabotaging your own process. (Does that analogy make any sense?)

My therapist told me to write an angry letter to my Mother, and I apologize if I sound angry and cynical. I'm trying to get in the mood. Problem is, I can't actually FEEL any anger at her. I'm sure it's there, it has every reason to be there, I just don't FEEL it. Must I??? GOt mother issues?

PS Do you get dependent on this sight? (Now you're going to wait 3 days to answer to prove that you are perfectly fine, with or without it, right? That's what I'd do.:)

March 24, 2001
12:15 pm
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cloud
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Sal, I do check this site everyday to vent. I'm not dependent on this website, but I find it helpful to get my feelings out because I don't do it any other way. And I find your comments and suggestions very straightforward and helpful to me. The things you say, make total sense to me because I am feeling the same things. Don't worry, I'm not getting dependent on you now too 🙂 I just find talking here helpful.

I think your second sentence:

"I'd like to do as much work with you as possible before you leave."

would probably work for me. I'll give it a try on Wednesday.

You're right. There really is no way my therapist can guess that I have a dependency on her unless I made it totally clear. She can't unless she is able to read minds, which she can't. You're right. And I can't expect her to just know either.
Your cow (mad cow, maybe?) analogy does make sense!

Hey, maybe you're just not ready to write this anger letter to your mother??? How can you write it if you don't feel the feeling???

March 24, 2001
6:35 pm
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Sal
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Cloud, I am proud of you. To even plan to speak up is HUGE! DO IT!! I heard today, "You have to be selfish about your recovery." Goes contrary to my programming, but I'm contemplating it.

I think its helpful here, too. To have a forum to speak, to verbalize hurts and fears anonymously is therapeutic in itself.

I started my mother-letter. I know I'm hurt, but I can't feel the anger, or blame her for the hurt. But I'm willing to look. If not now, when???

Wednesday is just 4 days away. Do you have high expectations when you go in? Are you let down when it's over? Do you hate the awkwardness of the end of the session? At what point in the hour do you start to prepare to leave? For me, when there are 15 minutes left, I get panicky, knowing I haven't said what I wanted to, she hasn't heard or understood, and I'm convinced that she is gearing down, just when I'm ready to talk. PLEASE be sure you don't leave without opening up this hidden hurt. You want to be KNOWN! So be vulnerable, and get what you NEED!

March 26, 2001
11:42 am
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cloud
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Sal, when do you need to have your mother letter finished by? And how is it coming along? It is hard to write a letter to someone when you are not feeling that anger at the moment. Is there any way you can provoke that anger in you?

Well, Wednesday is the day after tomorrow, so you can probably tell, I am excited. I guess I have high expectations for myself when I go in and when I don't do what I have planned, I get really mad at myself. Sometimes I must come across as not wanting to talk about stuff anymore, when I'm in session. And my therapist tells me that there are only a few more minutes left. I think, "NOOOOOO!!!" Then I start to feel panicky because our session is coming to a close and she has no idea how bad it makes me feel. I never cry in her office. After I leave her office, I'm so depressed and desperate. And that's when I go somewhere, like a bathroom or something, and just cry. I can't stand it. That's also when "thoughts" begin to pop in my head.

March 27, 2001
1:40 am
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Sal & cloud I just set here and read every thing you guys have written on counseling dependency. First cloud I wish you the best of luck on being brave to talk to your counseler. Im also going through the same thing. I havent been going to my counselor that long but I also have become dependent on her. I wonder if she ever thinks about me or if I'm important to her. I also see her once a week and think about it all the time. Sal you have alot of good things to say. I'm glad I'm not the only one that dose this. I was almost going to stop therapy because of it. Ill keep reading your post. cloud I hope you do whats the best for you. Let us know how it went. ang

March 27, 2001
3:31 pm
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cloud
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ang, thanks for joining us. I think this site is really helpful in the respect that we can meet others who are going through the same thing. I never thought there were others out there that felt what I'm feeling too. are you really thinking about stopping therapy???

Well, tomorrow's my BIG day, so to speak. I'm quite nervous now. I know I'll be posting something tomorrow after my session.

March 28, 2001
9:18 am
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I must be so excited right now. I have less than 2 hours to go before my session and have to sit through a class first. Wish me luck!

March 28, 2001
10:42 am
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Sal
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I can't wait to hear. No doubt it didn't go like you wished it would, right? I bet it was really hard and didn't feel good-- that is if you plunged in and risked it... Please tell me you did!!! I bet there's some relief. I also bet she didn't respond like you wanted her to. Mostly because we want them to say, "You? You are the most important client I have! You are the reason I do this. If I could I would ask you to let me just be your mentor for free, and to check in with me every day, and allow me to call you. I feel like we're already good friends, and I hope we always will be." But the truth is, we're their job, and they have to be professional, and I wonder sometimes if that is the very reason we feel safe in needing them. Whatever happened, please dont' leave out any details! I hope your guts were spread out all over the floor, and that she tenderly picked them up, dusted them off, and put them back for you. I'm sure thinking of you!

ang39, it is a mixed blessing to know others have the same uncomfortable feelings we have. I'm glad for me, and sad for you! Quitting therapy seems like a mature thing to do, but it is more honest, and more productive to talk about it with your therapist. You still need the help, and if you go to someone else without having dealt with this, you'll just end up back in the same cycle. Hang in there, and risk, risk, risk!

March 28, 2001
12:35 pm
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cloud
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I suck. I didn't do it. I failed. As much as I wanted to say it, I didn't. While I was there, I kept saying to myself that I am okay and I'm not actually dependent on her. I kept telling myself that. The hour went by so fast. Before I knew it, I was leaving already. And now I have to wait another week. I didn't even bring myself to ask about coming 2x a week. I couldn't. I feel like such a failure now. And she has no idea of how much this is killing me. I hate myself right now because I've put myself in this situation. This is a vicious cycle that I'll never be able to stop. I don't feel as desperate right now, but it's coming. I can feel it. We only have about 5 more sessions left. Then it will all be over. She will be gone and I will be abandoned. Left in the dust with no where to turn. No where to run. My brain hurts so bad now. She'll never know. I'm so sorry to even be sitting here typing this, for you to read and say what a failure I am for not doing what needed to be done. I feel like crying. This agony. I can't deal with this.

March 28, 2001
12:49 pm
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I am so mad at myself right now for not telling the truth. It's only hurting me in the long run.

March 28, 2001
3:52 pm
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Sal
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Don't despair! Go ahead and cry if you want, but there is hope! It's not over yet. PLEASE send her a letter. The sooner she knows the sooner you can really face it and do the work. It doesn't have to be a vicious cycle. I remember feeling like I must be nuts the rest of the week because when I was actually with her, I was fine. I started emailing her, and risking hitting that SEND button, and throwing caution to the wind, knowing I couldn't feel worse. And I didnt' and the world didnt' end, and she didnt' throw me out, and we got to talk about the stuff that's under the desperation. But I never would have gotten to that if I hadn't truly opened up that scary neediness. You MUST write to her. Tell her just a little at first if you want, then maybe some more, but actually send something to her that opens the woundedness a tiny crack. Write to her when you're feeling the depths, dont' edit it later when everything is fine, and that seems so silly. Come on cloud! I'm pulling for you!!!!DO NOT wait till next week. Do it WRITE now!!!:) It's ok. It's the best thing for you. If you want to get past this, ya gotta go through it. Press on!

March 28, 2001
4:19 pm
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I did. I sat down and wrote two different letters, but there's no way I could give them to her. I had the opportunity to just end it all today, but I didn't. Guess I'm chicken, huh?

March 28, 2001
9:37 pm
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Sal
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Perspective, sweetie, perspective. Look past all this, there is an "after" and then this will be like a passing shadow. This is a trial, tribulation, trouble, but it's not permanent... unless you continue to refuse to deal with it face to face. I'm glad you chickened out. Where there is life, there is hope.

You can TOO give them to her! How about just part of one? One that just casually hints at the muck? Was it helpful just to write the letters? I find it a two edged sword, I feel better getting out somehow, but then I reread it and feel stupid for everything I wrote. Yet to deny that that is my reality, and to pretend that I'm fine and I can handle it is just lying to myself. It wasn't until I actually sent them that I knew I had passed the point of no return, and would have to accept myself, and take responsibility for myself. Do something to risk it. Call and leave a message on her answering machine, email her, leave her a note.

Above all be gentle with yourself. You're covering new territory, and I think you are very brave to not give up.

March 29, 2001
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cloud
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I was just thinking today about leaving her a note, or calling her tomorrow and leaving her a message. But I'm not sure what to say. I don't want to leave a message that pours out my heart and soul, I just want to hint to her that I really need her.

Writing those letters did help but just like you said, Sal, when I reread them, I felt so stupid for what I had written.

You're right though, I have to face my reality. I'm starting to rebuild up that courage to actually say something to her. Because I need to or else I'm going to end up in an institution or something. I'm at the end of my rope.

I will tell her. I just have to figure out the correct way and the right time. But I will. I have to.

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