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Is it normal to feel worse after a therapy session?
October 17, 2005
8:41 pm
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Does anyone feel worse after they go to therapy than they did earlier that day? I just came back from a session and I feel terrible. Just listening to myself talk about things, laying it all out like that... it sounded so horrible. And the things of course that are unhealthy and need to change, my therapist is trying to get me to see more clearly. So it's all so hard.

I used to feel comforted, but now it's painful. I feel like I have no sanctuary except if I am asleep or at the movies or something. It was better when I was ignorant and deep into all the shit I'm trying to recover from.

Thoughts?

Anyone have similar experiences?

thanks,
ella

October 17, 2005
8:50 pm
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mamabear
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Definitely similar experiences here! I could have written what you just did.

I am committed to sticking it out this time though. I have quit several times in the past when it got too hard for me.

I can't say that I am normal though. Unfortunatley, I am not that sure what "normal is."

We are in this together, you and I.

((((Hugs))))

The people here are a great support!

October 17, 2005
8:51 pm
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human drama
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Hi Ella,
I don't know this answer!
But I am glad you are posting!
have a great night
HD

October 17, 2005
8:52 pm
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lollipop3
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Ella,

YES! It seems that happens to me just about every week! Sometimes recovery is painful but I believe that dealing with that pain is what recovery is all about.

It may not always be easier but I believe it will be worth it.

Stay strong and keep up the good work.

Love,
Lolli

October 17, 2005
9:51 pm
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Rasputin
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Hi Ella,

Glad to see that you sound peaceful and serene after your heated and problematic thread earlier!!!

Yes I once had an encounter with psychologist and I honestly regretted it. She really looked so sombre, gloomy and had one of the saddest faces I've ever seen in my life. I was so scared during that session and decided to never see any therapist any more.

So, follow your gut feelings honey. If you feel uncomfortable with your therapist, change her or do whatever so that you or till you feel that click with whoever can help you in your healing journey.

After this encounter, I only had few sessions with social workers and the rest of my journey I was totally independent with the help of those self-help books I mentioned to you in our thread. If you purchase them honey they should help you a lot, whether with therapist or without one.

All the best! ~Ras~

October 17, 2005
10:28 pm
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Rasputin-

Hi. I posted to you on the old thread.

It's not my therapist. I've been with her for years. I really like her. It's just hearing all my stuff lately. I don't know.

In the past I used to be big into those self help books and NA. I don't feel like that would help me right now. One on one therapy is what I need.

Also a change in lifestyle.

Getting over my ex, or extinguishing my hormones would help.

Did you know that the urge to procreate is one of the strongest forces in all living creatures? (source: PBS documentary).

Pretty much explains this persistant misery when it comes to shaking the feelings for significant others.

-ella

October 18, 2005
12:21 am
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cpt1212
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Ella,

I too feel worse after some sessions, especially if we have discussed things that are difficult for me or things I have been avoiding. I think that yes, it is "normal" to feel worse for a time after a session like this b/c you have just faced issues that are painful, uncomfortable and you have probably been avoiding. Eventually it all pays off, but at first it can be depressing and overwhelming. I believe that in order to make progress in therapy at times we have to challenge ourselves and as with anything else when we step out of our comfort zone it is natural to experience unpleasant feelings for a time.

October 18, 2005
2:21 am
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lessthanalive
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i learned something very interesting in psycology that may help. sometimes a theripist is a therepist because they need to focus on other peoples problems. they have their own stuff to deal with and havnt. theres one point.

now do you think that the things being addressed in your sessions are true to you? maybe thats why it hurts so bad cuz these issues are coming to a head. ignorance is bliss and awarness is a bitch. but once you work through these things youll feel alot better. maybe tell your therepist you feel like crap after your sessions and ask if they have any advise to help you feel good about your healing process. healing takes time and pain is allways involved. hope you feel better.

October 18, 2005
12:15 pm
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kathygy
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I have been in therapy for many years. There have been times when I felt worse after the session. I find that it can be for two different reasons. One, it maybe because the session bought up some painful material or two, the therapist opened me up and left me that way. I always tell my therapist how I feel after a session if its a bad feeling. Then she works with me to help prevent that from happening next time. Your therapist should have some ideas about what to do so that you feel better when you leave the session.

October 18, 2005
12:51 pm
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addicts wife
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(((((ELLA))))
I have soooo had this feling in prior therapy sessions, And ((for me)) It usually meant a breakthrough was coming next. but the few sessions I had that made me feel worse than earlier were mostly due to the fact that it was A) starting to work.
And B) that I was able to stop feeling so numb, bewildered and that I was starting to allow myself toacknowledge and "own" some of the major stuff I was in there for to begin with.
It can be very frustrating thiugh, I can so relate to this.
I am restartign therapy on the 25th, and am a little weary of it, but i also know I really need it and that "it's time."
(((hugs)))
AW

October 18, 2005
12:54 pm
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balancesekr
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hi ella 🙂
I think it is very normal to feel worse. Sometimes you probably feel better though!

You are in there, discussing all the things that upset you, bug you, have damaged your feelings, etc... so it makes sense that you are overwhelmed hearing it all. Part of you is probably saddened by it and another part may feel annoyed that you have to deal with all this stuff.

Keep working on getting that clarity. I think its great that you are taking care of yourself and getting the help you need.

balance

October 18, 2005
4:52 pm
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there is WORSE and there is MISERABLE.

I had a therapist who was MISERABLE. Maybe she was right, but in the end, her approach was HORRIFIC and it wasn't getting me to where I needed to be. She was rude and nasty - she talked down to me and made me feel WORSE about myself and my situation than when I walked in - I dreaded those appointments. I didn't feel SAFE with her.

Now - there are other therapists who make you do alot of work. And that work may be uncomfortable. But if you feel SAFE there, it's probably normal. Sometimes we have to dredge up old "pain" or painful memories - or we have to do work we don't want to do - but in the end, it's for our own benefit - to grow and recover.

I go to coda meetings - and one week I was on top of the world, thought I had my shit together - others started sharing and when I took my turn, the floodgates opened and alot of pain came GUSHING out - stuff I wasn't even aware was bottled up there - "stuffed" as they call it - and it came rushing out - I spent my time sharing, not making much sense of it all - and ended cuz I couldn't talk any more...I wasn't coherent and I couldn't focus or speak.

But that was okay - I needed to feel the pain - in the pain, I found my answers and solutions and things have been good ever since.

today my BF went to therapy - and he wasn't happy either - because the therapist basically told him to get off his ass, stop making excuses and get his shit done...and gave him a deadline - which he HATES.

so yeah, some type of pain is normal - but the real way to tell is if you feel like you are "safe" with your therapist and that the painful work you are doing is helping more in the long run, than the pain it feels in the short run.

hope that makes sense.

October 19, 2005
12:31 am
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There is a lot of good feedback above and I thank you all for responding to me. I will mention many of these things in my next session.

It does seem mostly to be a matter of talking about deeply buried stuff. Some of which I thought I was over a long time ago, like childhood issues. We touched upon my parent's relationship to each other and to my sister and I- especially things between my dad and me. This stuff is VERY hard for me to talk about. Some of it borders on incestuous issues- psychologically. But it complicates things because my dad always made me feel weird in a way because of certain behaviors.

This has been discussed in my past therapies, but I don't want to go there again though it might be necessary. I quite simply don't want to think about my dad being that fucked up. And I don't really know that he is. I can't say I was "molested" but his behavior was inappropriate- without going into detail right now. Ugh. It's ugly shit but relates to many things and issues that haunt me to this day.

Does anyone have a past without physical molestation (or just inappropriate affection) and child-parenting types of things? Did it give you distorted body image, obsession with appearance, self destructive behaviors, bad self esteem all around? etc, etc.

I hate this stuff and it messes with my head big time. Sometimes I see certain movies or tv shows and they kick up some shit I don't like. I love my dad so can I be wrong? Then is it ME who's the fucked up one?

-e

October 19, 2005
1:11 am
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Rella

I have a past without molestation and abuse, and yet as an adult I alllowed a man to abuse me. Don't know why, maybe I really loved him and somehow I thought I could help him be a better person. I feel any type of abuse wheter it comes from childhood or adulthood really distorts your overall view of everything. Some how we learn to love ourselves and that helps to deal with the pain.

You are not fucked up, your just hurting and that in itself is hard to face. Sometimes it seems worse when we hear the words from our own mouth.

Stay strong Rella. Believe in your own power.

tink

October 19, 2005
1:20 am
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Ella,

I feel like that too. I don't know what happened when I was a child, but sometimes feel like something happened to me at an early age and that is why I am so self consious, don't like to be naked, and just feel uncomfortable around most men. You are not alone.

Jewel

October 19, 2005
2:03 am
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lessthanalive
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i had an uncle who was inapropriatly effectionate. my family is very hush hush, dont talk about things and they will go away, kind of crap. now he acts that way tword my younger cousins and it makes me ill. i do have a very poor self image. i am not sure how much of that relates to that incident, but im sure i will be digging it up in therapy and i know it wont be pretty. i truelly feel for you right now and my prayers and thoughts are with you now. i know there is a good outcome awaiting you. no doubt about it 🙂

October 19, 2005
12:48 pm
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kathygy
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ella,

It sounds like you are protecting your father at your own expense. Tell your therapist what you said here. She should be able to help you see your father more realistically.

I felt that my father looked at me inappropriately and said inappropriate things to me sometimes in a sexually suggestive way. I hate to say that about him because I feel like I am betraying him but I have to be true to myself first. After my teen years my father never hugged me because it felt sexually suggestive. I always envied movies where the grown daughter would get a solid hug from her father.

I don't think this affects how I feel about my body or feel in my body. I love my body.

October 20, 2005
8:19 pm
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I didn't know if other people felt that way. I was never abused sexually but I too felt that my "dad" (who was actually my mom's live in (they still live together now, it has been 18 years they've lived together))was sexually suggestive, and looked or acted inappropriately sometimes. One incident I do strongly remember was when I was probably 14, and I was a late bloomer, pretty innocent and naive. I was starting to realize that I was growing up, and he was pulling away from me(or was I pulling awayfrom him), didn't know how to deal with me, made me uncomfortable. He made me sit on his lap, which felt wrong, so I scooted off his lap and lay down beside him kind of and he pushed my head onto his lap. I didn't like it, I vaguely remember thinking that oh my god, does he have a hard on, but I wasn't sure because I had never seen or felt one before but I had heard of it. I head butted him down there because I tried to get my head off him and he wouldn't let me, so he cried out and grabbed my breast and twisted and squeezed. After that I was so careful around him. Don't know if he really had an erection or if I imagined it, but I felt that he was being sexual toward me but I was so unsure of myself at the time that I wasn't sure.
Anybody have any thoughts on this?
Mamabear

October 20, 2005
8:39 pm
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mamabear-

He put your head in his lap and grabbed your breast? I don't think there is any doubt that this is inappropriate! Of course you were unsure of yourself at the time, if you weren't, he wouldn't have tried it.

My father had asked me to sit on his lap and this made me uncomfortable when I got into my teens (!), yet I felt obligated. It felt sexual to me, not that I was aroused but I felt like he was- does that make sense? But I always felt like I was so twisted to think so and felt deeply ashamed.

He used to come up behind me and kiss my neck, and to me it was in a way a father should not. At this point he was no longer affectionate to my mother in front of me, just mean. And he used to talk about her disrespectfully. He was always lusting after young girls and flirting with waitresses in front of my mom and stuff.

He would say things like "How come you don't bring home any pretty friends?" or "How come you don't bring home friends that are as pretty as you?" LIke why should that matter? It's not a compliment, it's just shallow and inappropriate and this was said in elementary school.

kathygy-

I hug my dad now but feel weird. I still feel weird about him looking at me. This summer I was wearing a camisole and I felt very self conscious and kept catching him looking at me and thought "It must be my imagination- no way is my dad checking out my chest." it's creepy as all hell. I just don't want to believe all this.

-ella

October 20, 2005
9:17 pm
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I have in the past and every once in a while still do have this horrible dream where me and my "dad" have sex, and I am filled with shame and feel horribly guilty and afraid that my mom will find out and hate me for sleeping with her boyfriend. Then I wake up, and for a split second am think it is real! Luckily it only takes a second to realize that it was only a dream and then, sweet relief! But it is strange, and I am sure means something, I just don't know what.

Then I can't even look at him because I am afraid of what the dreams mean and what if he ever knew!?! I could never tell ANYONE about these dreams. What if it means I want to have sex with him on some subconscious level? EEEWWWW.

October 20, 2005
10:14 pm
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anyone have thoughts/interpretations?

October 21, 2005
5:51 pm
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October 21, 2005
6:05 pm
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I have walked out of therapy feeling worse then when i went in, however usually it just means that I have faced emotions that are painful. From what I am learning, therapy forces me to bring topics, feelings to the surface that normally wouldn't be there. I never know what kind of reaction I will have to these feelings or thoughts. Its okay to feel worse. Because that means your dealing with them.....JESSLEEELIZ

October 21, 2005
11:50 pm
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mamabear-

Honestly, I don't know what your dream means and would not presume to interpret it for you. I believe only the "dreamer" of a dream can ultimately know what these things mean and what the significance of them are.

But I will share with you this, that what I mentioned above about being set off by movies and tv shows with certain scenes- incest the like- maybe that is just a natural reaction to the abhorrent. When we see these things we may apply them to our own lives and it might stick with you.

Also, in many parent/child relationships there are elements of the relationship that are NOT PHYSICAL but that are incestuous as far as roles go. Having a daughter stand in as the wife role (like my father did) can lead to some of the same problems as actual physical molestation. This was mentioned by a more recent therapist describing mine.

A therapist previous to her, jumped the gun, put me in group therapy for sexual abuse victims with out even exploring my case. There is such a thing as encouraging a patient to remember or see things in an exaggerated way or a way they weren't at all. Especially an unstable one. I was very well attended to medically as a child, I do believe my doctor would have picked up on signs of major physical abuse.

In a warped relationship like one described posted above by me, and certainly more overt abuse, can cause a child- especially an adolescent to read into touches by the parent in question as sexual- even if they are not intended as so. I am not clearing my dad, or any others from blame, I am saying this is what happens, the extent of abuse itself. A child's world can be tainted by it in very confusing ways, maybe for life.

What you described, could have happened to someone when they were a baby? Do parent's take their baby's in the shower with them? Maybe not often in our culture, but if the baby is tiny... they might not think it is wrong or percieve it as a sexual act. I'm not saying that's your story, but apply what I said above about the psychological abuse if that was in your family, and extend it to any touching at all and one would think that might leave a lasting impression? Who knows what makes us think of things and later dream about them... but I've had similar dreams. It is yukky to say the least.

-ella

October 21, 2005
11:57 pm
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I once had a dream about having sex w/ my father- freaked me out. I don't remember anything specific about anything he may have done but he did have pictures of topless women all over the garage. He also would have porn parties - he had all kinds of films, even some w/ women and animals. When I worked summers at his job, he would have these parties and invite a bunch of his male coworkers over, and my sister and mom and I would have to leave the house. Then I would have to go to work w/ men that had been at my house and had watched these movies. Gee- I wonder what they thought of me.

I also used to get creepy feelings from my cousins dad. He was my dad's age and I used to spend a lot of time w/ him. He definitely touched me inappropriately and was always trying to kiss me on the mouth. Never told anyone, this is the first time.

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