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Should I get a new therapist?
July 21, 2007
11:52 pm
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Anonymous
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I've been wondering about this for the past couple of weeks now. I once briefly dated this guy who seemed like he had it all together (funny, charming, handsome, great job, great place, great manners, nice car, nice clothes, etc) and he turned out to be a crack addict.

When I brought this up in session, my therapist told me that if the guy was serious about going into rehab and turning his life around, I might consider seeing him again. The guy did go into rehab and then contacted me after a couple years. He'd moved back with his mom and gotten a job and was trying to get his life back together and though I did date him a couple of times I quickly lost interest when I saw that desperate look in his eyes every time he looked at me - like I was his lifeline or something.

Then the whole fiasco with my most recent ex. Similar story (except this guy was already living with his parents and jobeless when I met him). When I found out he's a raving alcoholic, again, I brought it up in therapy, and again, my therapist said the same thing "a lot of people manage to get out of addiction and are then able to lead normal and productive lives and have meaningful partnerships".

But from what I'm reading here, and what I'm finding out firsthand about addicts, their manipulative ways and the fundamental character flaws that makes them addicts in the first place... I'm not sure it's such a good idea for me to be involved with someone who'se EVER been an addict. I've always been very open minded and non-judgmental and what have you, but it's gotten me nothing but grief and trouble it seems.

I'm really questioning my therapist's motives now. Does he think that I'm not capable of having a relationship with someone who'se not irreperably damaged? Should I really keep spending time and money with someone who'se given me such rotten advice? I will be bringing this up in our next session of course... but I don't know, at this point I'm wondering if there should even BE a next session.

July 22, 2007
11:26 am
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It No Longer Matters
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I noticed you posted this yesterday and no one responded. I really hate it when something is really on my mind and no one posts.
Most people who get into therapy are there for a reason. A lot of therapists got into that line of work because they were trying to figure themselves out. He may have been an addict himself at one point and is trying to point out that he is a productive member of society. Only you can decide your comfort level with him.
TRUE FUNNY STORY:
I have some friends that have been married for 21 years. He had a rough relationship with his father, studied psychiatry and worked in the DC mental health system. One day he woke up realized he eventually wanted to get married. He decided he didn't want to listen to someone's shit all day and then have to come home and listen to a wife's shit. Solution: He went back to college, got a different degree, and eventually got married. Every time I think of it, it just cracks me up.

Bitsy

July 22, 2007
11:29 am
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Also from my personal therapy experience: A good therapist will not keep you in terminal therapy. Their goal should be to get you to the point you can deal with life on your own with occassional check-ups. I call it my 50k mile tune up. Once I made an appointment and he told me this was real life, deal with it. Harsh? Yeah, but it made me realize I really wasn't too different than any one else out there. If I could afford it I would be in therapy right now. I can't so I'm not. I'm here.

Bitsy

July 22, 2007
11:48 am
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jasminum sambac
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Hi, girlfriend

I read your post late last night when I was signing off. I've reread it and the same thought this morning comes up that came up last night.

Your therapist sounds like he's responding with an abstract generalization to your need to work through specific things in your life.

The dissonance I read is that of course human beings can change, of course there's some chance that every addict has to work through the addiction and get on into a normal life. But it's you that's in therapy, not that abstract addict.

The therapist's telling you that everyone has a chance can't be much. What you've reported is trouble with partners who WEREN'T recovered. (Duh.) You need help from your therapist about THAT, not (as I read it)him somewhat condescendingly reminding you that the human being has potential.

Of course we do! Of course addicts do! But that's a disconnect, and maybe an avoidance, of tackling YOUR learning how to deal with addicts or addicts in wobbly recovery...or working through making a decision for yourself that they as a group are a low-probability group for you to be dealing with.

Hope that helped. It did read that your therapist was either patronizing you or floating around in the ether of abstract definitions of human potential.

July 22, 2007
12:13 pm
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jasminum sambac
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P.S. That "duh" was aimed at your therapist. 🙂

July 22, 2007
12:18 pm
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marypoppins
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Hi Girlfriend,

I've had 6 or 7 therapists over the years, and not all of them were great fits - something I wasn't always aware of at the time. Our codependency keeps us in all kinds of relationships we don't feel comfortable in. I saw a therapist last year for about nine months. It never felt quite right

Your therapist doesn't seem to "get" you. His job involves not giving up on addicts, but you'd like to get stronger so you can attract healthier people. Seems you have another chance to tell someone what you need. If he can't come through, you know what to do. And if you think he should have already understood this and you don't want to "teach" him how to help you, then your next session may simply be to tell him what you've already decided.

It's up to you. In my case, ending my unhealthy relationship with my ex friend/boyfriend has given me courage to face other unsatisfying relationships.

Take care.

Mary

July 22, 2007
8:57 pm
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_anonymous
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I think you are the one who is responsible for choosing your mates. I think that what the therapist says is right that people who stop using drugs and alcohol can lead productive lives. That is the key people who stop. Not the people who you know who are still using drugs and drinking alchohol. Just because a person has completed Rehab and holds down a job and pays their own way doesnt automatically enter them into the relationship material category.

July 22, 2007
10:27 pm
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It's a tricky one. I've been seeing this therapist for several years and I only go in for the occasional "tune-up" and then more fequently in times of crisis. I've really been quite happy with this therapist overall - he's given me some very useful tools and good common sense advice as well.

I've gone though a lot of upheaval and emotional distress in the past few months, so I've been going more regularly. I'm going through such a big transitional period right now, that sometimes I'm tempted to change everything.

I'm sure he wouldn't advise to pursue the relationship with the ex at this point.

I'll just bring up this issue about addicts in general in my next session, see what he has to say about it, and decide how I feel about it then. Thank you Bitsy, JS, MP, DS for you feedback, much appreciated.

July 22, 2007
11:42 pm
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jasminum sambac
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I'm glad you've got a good therapist, girlfriend.

You've had a *heck* of a week. Your ability to come to conclusions about what's going on while you're in the middle of it is impressive. And I thought it was great that you got out for that jog and to the movies.

There's a book I picked up called "Nasty Men" (a sequel to one called "Nasty People" that I haven't seen) in which the writer, a man and a therapist, advises women who are under some kind of an onslaught not to introvert and stay defended, but as he says, to "pop out", meaning get some distance and just look at what's going on, and act based on what you see.

You've been doing a lot of that. I'm proud of you. I don't think I'd be able nearly so well to start getting that cooler head, while in the middle of an intense situations.

I'll look back in and see how you are tomorrow. You take care. It's not over yet, but you're doing great. Your last posts are stronger and stronger.

Jas

July 23, 2007
2:42 am
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Thanks Jas. Not feeling so very strong right now. You know... I'm really good at rationalizing and taking care of myself when I'm caught in the eye of a storm which is something I've had to do from a very young age... but usually I have to pay the price AFTER, which is when I get incredibly depressed and blame myself for everything. Like now for instance.

And I've just started on new meds and it'll take a while for them to kick in... and it's the middle of the night and I just can't sleep because so incredibly anxious, and too late to take a sleeping pill now and warm milk not helping any, and I keep thinking "Should never have even talked to my ex that first time, let alone brought him into my life in any way at all, it's not like those puppies I used to bring home as a kid... I SHOULD KNOW BETTER!!!". So much drama. He's just brought complete and utter chaos into my life at a time when there's so much for me to work out already.

The biggest irony is he keeps saying he loves me. That's not love. Love should set us free. Not keep us in a place of fear and anger and pain for heaven's sake!!!

July 23, 2007
9:19 am
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jasminum sambac
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🙂 I told you I'd be back. Wish I could have done this in the middle of the night: here's a special one

(((*(*(*(*(girlfriend)*)*)*)*)))

You know, about this love. Whatever happens later on in his life, your nearly completely ex b/f (he's doing that, you see, doing things that bring the old relation to an end, with his acting out...it's not all on your shoulders...it must be like watching a train wrecking itself to see that he's torching his possibilities for a relationship; and he'd be torching them with ANYbody who was in your shoes)...this nearly completely ex b/f has some work to do before he's in shape for a committed relation.

That's something that has come out of this in letters as big as a billboard: he needs more recovery work; he still ought to be in rehab, bigtime. I don't know if or when he will recognize this. Linking up with you, or anyone, now, in the shape he's in, with his panic attacks, would likely completely stop his recovery, because he's doing his addiction in this whole thing with you. He's too tangled up in his addiction to love the way that will add to your health now. Or his. As you say, it's not love.

I know he's got good in him, or you wouldn't have fallen for him. But he's not in shape for you, or anyone, now. It's his road to see this, though.

I'm not talking from a position of strength...every day is a wobbly one for me. But there are plusses for having been at the bottom. I've been in despair and depression enough to know for a fact from what I read that you're courageous and don't give up. I hope you're getting some rest now.

You fought a good fight so far, girlfriend, a good one, and just the very fact that in your last post you were trying to get some sleep tells me that you're going to keep after your health and growing. I may not pop up in posts much here, but I'm going to be looking to see how you are.

I've been through a couple of those blitzes you sustained this week. The whole thing is about destabilizing you, making you doubt yourself, making you give up on yourself, making you crumble. You didn't. It was a bombardment, and you were personally targeted. The guy, in his illness, was hitting on every weak and soft spot in you that he knew anything about. He wanted to make you crack, in his delusion thinking that he would "get" you if he made you crumble. You DIDN'T. I know you'll have to work hard at getting your confidence solid again after it's over...who wouldn't after an attack like that. Yeah, I know.

:)It's fantas' kind specialty to say, keep posting, keep checking in. Let us know how you are. Give that therapist an earful.

July 23, 2007
2:05 pm
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Jas... I have to run now, just wanted to say I read your email when I got up and it made me smile wide. So very sweet of you. Also helped me do the right thing today. I've posted about it in the "threatening suicide" thread. I WILL respond to you at more length later.

(((((((big hugs to you too))))))

gf
🙂

July 23, 2007
5:13 pm
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glittered when he walked
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Look, this might seem jaded...but yeah sure, addicts can get into recovery and become beautiful wonderful loving people...but they can also screw up everything too...ask anywhere about relapse rates and how many addicts actually come out clean the other side. If they've got some major clean time under their belt and are working steps OK you've got a chance there.

But, my ex is an addict..and frankly addicts piss me off..I'm still angry about all the shit I had to go thru...I'm angry that i was blind to stuff and how i helped enable her problem. so my motto is....why bother building a new relationship with an addict unless they have siginificant clean time and are working the steps...it's just not worth the risk. Oh I'm sure a lot of addicts might get upset at that, but you know what...that's what you've earned from me. why should i bother building a new relationship with someone so damaged?...forget it..it's just too risky. sure nothing ventured, nothing gained...but plenty of fish in the sea.

Now if the addict is someone you already love and have a relationship with...that's different a bit...if you haven't been too damaged by the addiction then perhaps it's worth it to love at a distance and provide a little support.

July 23, 2007
10:19 pm
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Hi again Jas,

I spent the better part of the day out of the house, which was a nice change. You were so right about the train wreck comment, i.e. "it must be like watching a train wrecking itself to see that he's torching his possibilities for a relationship". I felt really sad about that today, and also about the fact that no matter what, we DID have a special connection. But holding on to that was not enough to prevent me from seeing that there were just too many red flags and too many problems now... and I could see plenty of big problems down the road as well. I do understand that things are as they're meant to be. And the fact is I can't be focusing on HIS recovery - I've got my own mental health and career to worry about. You know that saying "behind every great man is a great woman"? Yeah. That's just great. Great if you want to be standing BEHIND your man for the rest of your life. And I am just not willing to sacrifice my life that way.

The good news is... his addiction and whether he's serious about recovery or not isn't my problem anymore. The bad news is... now that I don't have that drama to focus on in my life, I need to start working on myself in earnest to get myself to the next stage. All in good time though, because the truth is I'm completely exhausted and very shaky... my self-confidence is shot and I have no idea what I'm supposed to tackle next. But again, as you say, I guess this is normal after the repeated emotional assaults I've been through for the past few months.

You can bet you the therapist'll be getting an earful!

glittered - thanks for your perspective on addicts. After this latest experience, I assure you I have no interest at all getting involved with addicts... be they fully recovered, or anyone else either for that matter. I need time get my own house in order and dating is most definitely NOT something I intend to feature in my list of to do's anytime soon.

July 24, 2007
2:47 pm
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truthBtold
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When I first read the initial thread - I kind of came to some of my own conclusions and then I read Bitsy's posts immediately after and was thinking along the same exact lines.

Like Bitsy said, it sounds like this therapist may have been an addict himself and is indeed trying to point out that he is a productive member of society etc.....

In any event, if that is the case - then this therapist has an agenda of his own when he should not have.

I've had therapists in the past that, well frankly, were not that good and let their own crap leak into what was supposed to be MY process only.

Your therapist should be showing you ways on how to TRUST YOURSELF PERIOD!

You gotta know that a therapist is completely on your side and ALWAYS has to have your best interests at heart.

I'd just flat out ask him if he ever was an addict himself. His response should help you to clear up some od your own confusion, I would think.

Also, sometimes, if it feels right to you in your heart of hearts - just taking a break from therapy can really help too!

Please continue to post.

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