THE THERAPIST (J.G.)

therapist and client

Having not having written regularly for some time due to family circumstances, I suddenly find myself writing again and recently this and the previous post (poem), both of which have a lot of meaning for me, are very serious topics.

As those of you who have known me for a while will be aware, I had, some years ago, an emotionally abusive and very damaging relationship with a therapist (who I am no longer with). This affected my mental health hugely and I was hospitalised for a while following this ending.

I still carry a lot of anger about this although I have tried to deal with it in my current counselling. I wrote this poem which I feel, is certainly ‘telling’ of what was happening during those years with her and why I am finding it hard to deal with my anger and find forgiveness as I, perhaps, as I should for my own benefit. 

I lie amongst the shadows

The new born of the old

Such innocence destroyed

Yet, none of this foretold

~~~

The tales we spun together

Which she led me to believe

Magnified reality

Their purpose to deceive

~~~

The I Ching books and Angel Cards

Were poetry in motion

* William Blake’s descriptions

Assured of my devotion

~~~

My identity was stolen

Soon a puppet on a string

I learned to tell more stories

And I wrote of everything

~~~

She pulled me to her bosom

She offered me affection

A love I thought forever

Then came the cruel rejection

~~~

I wonder where she came from

As she led me down the lane

Leaving me abruptly

In excruciating pain

  • The reference to William Blake refers to the fact that his book, ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ was the poetry book that JG gave me as the first of many gifts

It has taken me a great deal of courage to write this and I know much can be read into this poem so if you have any comments or views, I will happy to reply to them. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Ellie.

SURVIVING THE STORM

storm waves crashing

My previous post spoke of how it feels to lose someone or many people, close to you; how the waves of grief come crashing down on you. It is talking about death in these instances. But what if the person you are grieving for is still alive but just out of your reach. This is also excruciatingly painful.

When the person is still alive but not in your life any longer, the pain and heartache are also almost unbearable as the waves still come crashing down on you time after time. These tidal surges continue as if they are beating against a ship, wrecked out at sea.

[In advance, I apologize for the length of this post. I wrote it for me. I wrote it because I needed to. I’ve needed to for a long, long time. Even if it is not read by anyone else, that does not matter. This is me … Ellie.]

I was talking to my therapist this morning. We spoke of my late night, yesterday. I was sitting, staring at my computer screen for hours, trawling the internet. I was searching for details of my previous therapist, *K, who I now, (after some years), recognize was emotionally and psychologically abusive to the point that I was totally in love with her, hung on her every word and believed each sentence she spoke. I was desperately searching for her name, her address, her photo, anything; a memory of this woman that I loved so much.

I travelled a round trip of two hours (at a cost to me to the point I was seriously in debt), on three mornings a week for eight years, to be with her. I was so emotionally dependent on her; I could barely breathe without her approval. All those years … all those wasted, damaging, life-threatening years. I don’t use the term ‘life-threatening’ lightly or as a casual, throwaway remark but because on one occasion when she was presumably cross with me for some reason I cannot remember, she actually said ‘Why you don’t go home and kill yourself’ and I tell the God’s honest truth here.

I attempted to take my life. I say cross as opposed to angry because the roles we took were of she, the strict, authoritarian parent, and I, the obedient child. She encouraged and nurtured this to the point where I loved and depended on her more than I did my own mother. There were hugs, kisses, gifts, cards etc. Every time she didn’t reply to a text or answer the phone (all of which were smashing the boundaries leaving nothing but a ship wrecked at sea), I punished my body in a self-destructive way because I assumed she didn’t ‘love’ me anymore and therefore, I envisaged that I had done something wrong; I had been the disobedient child. I actually took a blade to my skin, a bottle to my lips and dozens of pills to my throat on many an occasion.

It ended suddenly. It ended on the day of my father’s death when she questioned me as to why I was so upset and wasn’t I happy on this day, bearing in mind he had seriously abused me for all of my childhood? Nevertheless, he was still my father and somewhere amongst the hate, the terror, the disgust and the shame, he was still the only father I had and yes, I was upset that my father had died. In disgust and frustration, (because she had been insisting I relive the sexual abuse that took place all those years), she walked out on me and never came back. As well as losing my father that day, I lost my therapist, my guide, my mother, my friend and ally, my everything. I was devastated. I wanted to die along with the loss of her. I attempted this and woke, days later, in intensive care, but I survived and recovered slowly, at least physically but never, emotionally or psychologically.

Despite all this, four years later, I still miss her, pine for her affection, long to see her again. I love her. I hate her. I miss her, with those waves crashing down on me so often that I feel I will perish like a ship at sea. The pain of losing her is sometimes unbearable and I don’t want to be living and breathing on this Earth at those times.

shipwreck2

But … I am here. Despite everything, I am still here. Somehow, my time was not up yet. And although those waves still frequently come crashing in around my ears, I survive them, all be it bruised and battered emotionally. I recognize her for the controlling, sick, manipulative woman that she was and I hate her for what she did to me.

I love her. I miss her, I want to remember her face which has strangely faded from my memory. I search for her. I need her. I want her back … but do I? Do I, really? Do I want my life smashed against the side of the shipwrecked vessel, time and time again till I am worn away and engulfed by the sea?

NO! I don’t. Not anymore. I have come too far. I do not wish to turn back as often as I’m tempted to. I deserve better. I am stronger than that. I am here. I am me and will remain so until my true time comes. I am a survivor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TOXIC THERAPIST

On discussing my relationship with my two children (yet again) with my therapist, T, yesterday, I realised that the reason they dislike/mistrust me so much is because of my past reckless behaviours during the time I was seeing the therapist, J, referred to in my last post, ‘Killing Me Softly’. They are blind to the fact that my mental health was so poor then but is now much improved and that I do not indulge or need to take up these behaviours again (those being my drinking, anorexia, all the self-harm I did to my body both by cutting and by abusing medication and all the risky overdoses I took, some of which were very nearly fatal). I do also recognize that she didn’t literally force me to drink, cut or OD, and that we all have our own free will. It was the influence she had over me when I was very vulnerable and the abusive responses during that eight-year period which made me react in such a dangerous way. Having said that, there was one occasion when she did literally say to me at the end of a session, “Why don’t you go home and kill yourself then?” Unbelievable, I know but I state that in all honesty which I then proceeded to attempt.

This, amongst other reasons such as my disability, I think may be at the core of why my children do not want anything to do with me. After all, how awful of me to put such young, vulnerable minds through such experiences of nearly losing their mother so many times etc. You see, the toxin within J was being transmitted as toxin to me which I absorbed like a sponge which then became the sting that hurt my innocent children so much (and I think still does to this day). So, basically, in summing up, J’s inner toxin was transferred to me which then acted like a cuttlefish or jellyfish sting to *Tom and *Clare, thereby poisoning their minds.

I wish I could put this past experience (along with others) in a box, leave it there and move on from it but however hard I try there are always the tentacles of the cuttlefish or the entrails of the contents of the box climbing through the gaps or hanging out of the lid that won’t quite shut. I have not, however, yet given up on hope:

I need to shut you tight into a box
with all the hatred I have for you.
It is a sturdy box, high sided,
but still the viscera ooze
through its seams and corners.

I long to seal the lid
but it is too late
for you have contaminated my world.
How on earth do I contain this filth
when you have sullied so much of my life?

The toxin within, still seeps out
like cuttlefish tentacles
that strike out upon contact.
Your viciousness intended
unlike the sea creature’s act of survival.

And will one day, the damage you have caused
be healed by some miracle or other?
Can so many negatives be transformed
into even one miniscule positive?
Well, I tell you, I will fight.

I will fight tooth and nail
to right the wrongs you created.
There is simply too much at stake
for me to allow you the victory
of trampling me to the ground.

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ROCKING THE BOAT

rock the boat English idiom

At the moment, so much around me is changing or becoming unreliable and I really don’t ‘do’ change at all well and really don’t like my boat being rocked one bit. I need stability, I need consistency, I need reliability, I need to feel safe and secure. I just don’t like change.

Currently, my care agency is very short of staff so instead of getting my regular carers, who I am used to, I never know who will be walking through the door next. Don’t get me wrong…I am extremely grateful for the excellent care I receive and all the carers I do have are great. I just wish the Management treated their staff better and fewer people would be leaving what is beginning to feel like a sinking ship. In addition, my Support Worker is off this week and there is no replacement available; my CPN goes away at the end of this week; my Home Help is also off this week and next and they are kindly sending a young woman to replace her but she won’t be the same, I know. And just to top it all, my therapist is away in two weeks.

Most of my support comes from you guys (and I don’t know what I’d do without your friendship, love and support) <3. I can’t talk to Mum anymore, not like I used to, as she’s always frantically trying to chase her tail, having got up far too late in the morning! My kids are completely out of the question as most of you know.

Also, I’m changing my dentist, after all that fuss and commotion of trying to get a ramp put in….I’ve given up with them although I’ve been there 34 years, because if they can’t do that one little thing (which they are obliged to do by law anyway!) then they have no consideration for me so I will be sticking two fingers up behind my back when I next pass them and I’m going to a new dentist about half an hour away in my wheelchair, so nearer as well as having very good  disability access and facilities.

And there is a whole new ball game just about to start rocking my boat in a big way although it is of my own choosing but it would take up too much space to explain right now so that’ll be my next blog….

 

FORMAL COMPLAINT (IN AT THE DEEP END)

Well……that’s decided it! I’ve spoken to the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) about the aforementioned, nightmare therapist, J, and they have said that yes, indeed, she is accredited to BACP and they advise me to make a formal complaint against her for the damage she did to my life and is still responsible for lifelong and ongoing damage as a result of her abuse. And yes, I know ‘abuse’ is a frequent topic in blogs, but this isn’t physical or sexual abuse (both of which I’ve been subject to in my lifetime), but professional and emotional abuse. It has left its legacy of destruction in that my body is now badly scarred because I was cutting at that time, my liver damaged due to the excess alcohol intake, goodness knows what damage has been done to me from taking so many cocktails of pills in my many attempts to kill myself. I’m relieved to say that I no longer drink, takes pills or drugs and have been clean and sober for nearly two years. Unfortunately, I still struggle with self-harm which I had hoped J would have helped me to overcome, instead of which, she worsened this to a great degree. I still have an ongoing battle with anorexia which I had hoped would improve, instead of which it deteriorated to the extent that whilst under her care, I was admitted to hospital twice, for six months each time at a weight of 5st (70lbs)!

Worst of all, is that because of my mental health deterioration at that time, I have alienated my two adult children, so rarely see my daughter and granddaughters and I don’t have contact with my son and therefore my baby granddaughter and they all are my greatest loss of all.

I have received a formal email from BACP this morning enclosing thirteen pages of necessary information for me to read and reply to. I have to say that although I have chosen to go down this route, I am, nevertheless, terrified of the whole situation. She wielded so much power over me, the thought of possibly having to face her again is extremely frightening and I feel sick at the thought of going through with this but I just cannot knowingly allow her to continue to destroy other clients’ lives.

Unfortunately the Foundation have advised me that my eight year’s of official notes for that time, disappeared at the same time that J left the Foundation. They, and I, find it more than a coincidence! These could have been used as evidence in my favour. 

I’ve never done anything like this before and feel I am really jumping in at the deep end. I know these cases can take many years to resolve and there are always consequences. It is possible that I may lose my current therapist who is really helpful because she works in the same Counselling Foundation where J was a member although is no longer. That would entail having to start all over again with someone new and I really don’t like having to be passed from pillar to post.

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THE THERAPIST WHO CAUSED DAMAGE….MY ANGER!

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(Image credit – Pinterest)

I went to therapy this morning. I’m still dealing with the aftermath that my last counsellor, ‘J’ did to me for eight years, My current therapist, ‘T’ suggested a write an unsent letter to her because I am so angry and need to get it out somehow because it is poisoning me.

I can’t believe that she did so much harm and damage in hindsight, and yet she is still practicing privately and potentially harming other vulnerable people. I loved J even more than my own Mum and that’s not right for a start. It was because she would cuddle me, hold my hand when I was upset and we always had a long hug hello and goodbye.

In between those three days a week (which is also wrong in counseling), we used to text each other and there were phone calls, cards and presents! Not good, I know now. She made me  totally dependant on her. I dropped all my friends, hardly spoke to my family and couldn’t sneeze without her permission!!

It became a very codependent relationship (also wrong) where she needed me as much as I needed her. She told me about her private life and that was sexually abused as a child too. I think now, that she was trying to work through her own issues through me.

I saw her for an hour three days every week and was getting into debt, paying for it, to say nothing of the taxi fare there and back as my disability was beginning to worsen at that time and there was no other way I could get there. I worked out that I spent more than £30,000 going there over those years!!! That was all my Disability Benefit gone every week, plus skipping out on a lot of food and then becoming anorexic, plus I had to work part-time to make up the money, and was trying to raise two children at the same time. No wonder I have two very dysfunctional adult children who won’t have anything to do with me, thereby depriving me of seeing my three granddaughters.

I don’t yet know how much physical damage I’ve done to my body because of all those pills. Personally, I think they damaged my nerve ending in my spine and other places, thereby causing my disability. I can’t be sure of course, I’m just taking a partly-educated guess. I don’t yet know what toll all that has taken oN my other organs, i.e., my liver, heart and kidneys.

J STOLE EIGHT YEARS OF MY LIFE; WOULDN’T ALLOW ME TO ‘MOVE ON’, AND I VERY NEARLY ENDED MY LIFE AND THEN WOULDN’T BE HERE TO WRITE THIS TODAY.

I GOING TO STOP HERE BECAUSE I AM TOO ANGRY TO WRITE ANY MORE AND I COULD GO ON FOR A LOT LONGER BUT THAT WOULD BECOME DEADLY BORING FOR YOU TO READ, (IF YOU GET THIS FAR) AND I THANK YOU HAVE STUCK IT OUT TILL THE END). (I AM EXHAUSTED NOW).

 

 

I WON’T LET LIFE BEAT ME!

I posted a very desperate post this morning. I have calmed down a bit now and am beginning to ‘pull myself together’, for want of a better expression. The relatives I mentioned in that post were actually very much closer to me than I made them sound and it still affects me badly, every day (but I’m still not at liberty to say which relatives they were). I still love them both to bits but now don’t have any contact with them at all (their decision and choice, not mine).

I’ve been through a hell of a lot in my life (as have many of you) but today has been particularly difficult especially as it coincided with the anniversary of my friend’s death (she died suddenly at the age of 53 – she was beautiful, inside and out). It’s been five years since I lost her.

I was so upset this morning and I said that I wanted to take a load of pills (and it wouldn’t have been the first time), but instead of that, i rang my therapist and we talked which helped. I also rang my Social Worker who came over this afternoon. I was very blessed that they were both able to give me some of their valuable time.

I’m sorry if I worried any of my friends; it was selfish of me. Sometimes, I think I need to grow up a bit more and take more responsibility for my actions. Nevertheless, I still need and receive a lot of support,not just physical because of my disability, but I have a wonderful therapist, a kind (although not terribly effective) Social Worker and a Support Worker who comes in twice a week for four hours to take me my numerous hospital and doctor’s appointments and other necessary trips out.. My wheelchair fits into her adapted car). So, I have to think to myself, I am more fortunate than very many in this world and therefore I should be and indeed I am, very grateful.

I know I have a lot to contend with but I refuse to let this life beat me. I just refuse, point-blank refuse! I may have very serious problems but as much pain as I am in, both physically and emotionally, to say nothing of having to endure BPD and DDNOS as well, this life will not beat me! We can get through this mess together.

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MY EMILY

I’m finding it difficult to write this evening. Baby Emily has been present much of the day leaving me feeling sad, vulnerable, hurt and in need of a hug. Emily is tiny. She is the youngest of my ‘inside people’. There are six of us as blogged about previously but it has been our little Emily who has been here most of this afternoon and evening.

My carer came this evening to get me ready for bed and make my tea. She’s nice to me, my favourite carer, Kim. I find her easy to be with and she is interested in me and wants to understand more about BPD and Dissociation Disorder. She asked me something about my past – I told her I’d been abused as a child. That triggered me into a vivid flashback. I very suddenly burst into tears. She came running over and gave me a hug which was so, so needed. Hugs are rare things to come by in my life. But Emily was here and we sobbed and sobbed, our tears making a damp patch on Kim’s shoulder.

I have a doll. She is very life-like and I have called her Emily in the hope of offering comfort and love. She looks like a real baby and feels like a real baby. She is sleeping peacefully.

baby emily ashton drake

photo credit -Ashton-Drake, ‘Welcome Home Emily’

Some people may think me crazy and pathetic to have such feelings for a ‘doll’. But, to me, she is my Emily and when i hold her close, i feel whole, complete, content, calm. Normally, my mind is so often fragmented. My disabled body feels restless and constantly in pain which so often distracts me from my reality. But when I embrace Emily, all that tension, fear and anxiety fades into the background.

I need Emily to be with me always. She is, of course, psychologically speaking, and will be part of me/us for eternity along with the rest of our family. I’m working with my therapist through this. I’m ok; well, sort of……

 

I CAN’T DO THIS ANY MORE!

I just can’t do this any more. Today has been the day from hell and i am totally exhausted and wanting to sleep but am too afraid too. I need to share today’s experience with you, then maybe i’ll be able to get some sleep tonight. Last night was a night of nightmares which ended at 3am when i got up because i couldn’t take any more. After yesterday, i thought things would be a little calmer and a little quieter today, but how wrong i was. I want to say so much. Chloe is screaming. Caroline is trying to charge of us all but is fighting a losing battle. She doesn’t want to make this post too long because that makes it difficult for others to read, but i so need to get this out.

 

I went to therapy today with Chloe trying to hide in a corner. My therapist *Lucy* surprised us when she asked why Chloe was hiding. “I’m hiding from the crack in the door where the light comes in”. Instant trigger into huge flashback! WTF?! “I’m back there in my bedroom, in bed, clutching my bear tightly to me. I hear the attic stairs to my room creak. I know he’s coming; he’s coming to get me; he’s coming and he’s gonna hurt me again. I’m waiting for the crack in the door to appear cos i know he’s coming, i know he’s coming. The crack in the door that lets the landing light shine in, just for that moment until he closes the door quietlly behind him and i am plunged into darkness againbut i hear a voicee telling me not to make a sound…his voice. I’m rigid with fear. I can feel the blankets being pulled back and i feel the cold air rush in. Then his breath, his smelly breath, stinking of his pipe and the sherry he had befor dinner tonight. He’s starting to take my jamas off, it’s cold, help, go away daddy, please go away daddy. Peter doesn’t want you to throw him on the floor again, he’ll get cold, i want to cuddle him. Daddy thrown my bear, Peter onto the floor and now he’s climbing into my bed. Noooooo, pleeeease, nooooooooo”.

 

‘Ellie, Ellie, come on back, it’s safe now, you’re sfe now. It’s ok. I’m here’…I hear Lucy’s voice. I’m sitting in my wheelchair, shaking violently, unable to catch my breath. Chloe won’t stop screaming despite Lucy’s assurance. ‘Breathe, Ellie; take a deep breath and trying and come back. Look at me. You”re safe now, Ellie’. 

 

I’m staring out of the window at a tree, tears sstreaming down my face, my nose running. I’, trying to breathe. I try and ground myself, looking around Lucy’s room, at the laamp on the desk, at the chair Lucy is sitting in, at the fluorescent light on the ceiling, anything. I’m breathing but i’m still shaking. I’m having trouble talking anymore, i’m exhausted; but i wrote this poem many years ago, but it wasn’t like this when i wrote it. I was calm, matter-of-fact, almost nonchalant. It was called ‘The Killing’…

He came at first, meekly

Then more than thrice weekly
Before he got into my bed
He attacked in the dark
Like a large, hunting shark
‘Cos he wasn’t quite right in the head

 

My breast-buds he’s licking
His conscience not pricking
When he came and demanded his fill
And I dared not to cry
Though had just reason why
When he came in and went in for the kill

Was I naughty or bad?
‘Cos he was my dad
When he stole my life from me
And still I am paying
The price for not saying
And him taking my liberty

I was young, bone and skin
He’d no morals, just sin
And I was his just for the taking
And when he had fled
Leaving mess in my bed
I lay there and couldn’t stop shaking

And the landing light shone
From the back of beyond
And I knew I was caught in his noose
And mum, she’d be sleeping
Although she’d be peeping
When, with me, he had no more use

And I was so small
And he’d come for it all
I knew then that I couldn’t fight him
And never a tear
Left my eyes with him there
Till the crack in the door let the light in.

 

I don’t want to re-read what i’vee written, i’m still shaking so sorry if there’s mistakes. I just wrote what came out but i can’t write any more. I can’t do this any more. I’ve got to go to bed with Huggy, my now bear. I need to hold him tight to me.

 

JUST FOR TODAY, I NEED YOU BACK

“Just for today, Kathy; i need you back. Just for today…..please. Just for today, i want those boundaries broken, the barriers torn down, the pain gone. I just need your love back. I need to feel you hugging me safe, hugging my inner child safe; telling her it’ll all be ok. I need to feel your motherly kiss on my forehead each time we said goodbye. I need to feel your arms around me, comforting me when i am upset and when i am hurting and to feel your soft hand gently holding mine. I am hurting now, Kathy. I want you back. I know i shouldn’t but i do, i so do today. I loved you, i still love you, although i hate you too, but love and hate run in close lines together. I miss our long Sunday talks on the phone; i miss our neverending texts to each other. Oh, Kathy, why did you leave me? Why did you hurt me so much that day? I needed you more than anything or anyone that day, especially that day of all days, I was in such pain and you could see that and you left me, suddenly, unexpectedly, angrily and there was no goodbye hug with your arms wrapped around me; there was no kiss from my ‘mummy’. You left. You left me. You abandoned me and in hurt so much; it still hurts that much but i tell very few people of the love i had for you. I need you back. Just for today, i need you back”.

 

I spoke with my therapist this morning. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a flashback of me curled up tight in my bed as a four year old, in the hope of being invisible, being so small so as not to be seen, hugging my bear so close to me, so very tight as the crack in the door let the light in and suddenly i wasn’t invisible. I wished, i wished, i wished that i was, that he wouldn’t find me, that he wouldn’t hurt me but i had no way of stopping him. He pulled the covers back. I shut my eyes tight, pretending it wasn’t happening as he raped his vulnerable, young, four year old child. My therapist pulled me back to reality. I was shaking so much. Right then i would have welcomed those arms around me, holding me safe; that reassuring kiss on the forehead. Right then, i wanted Kathy back but i knew it was impossible. I cried out “I miss Kathy, i loved her; she was my mummy!”. I was forlorn. My therapist gently reminded me of the reality of what i was saying, the reality of the situation.

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Kathy was my ‘nightmare therapist’ i’ve spoken of before who stormed out on me because i cried when my dad died. The dad who had abused me for so long. That day, that day, i needed her more than anything. And today; just for today, i want her back. I hurt.