Abby Talks About Therapy

TW: abuse, therapy, abusive therapy, weird ways my brain works

So! I’m going to see a therapist.
I don’t trust therapists. I have been to a ton of therapists, and even the ones who didn’t do things like throw kids on the ground or scream in our faces or twist our arms behind our backs have had a combination of these ideas:
– Everything wrong with my family is my fault
– Acting normal is a really important thing for me to do
– I actually could do things I said I couldn’t do- I was just not motivated/too scared/a bad judge of my own limits (this one was occasionally true but not nearly as often as they thought it was, and the way they applied it was quite damaging)
– My mom said (whatever the thing was) never happened; I must be lying/delusional/have trouble perspective taking, and a really important therapy goal should be to get me to realize that my mom was right about everything
I could go on…
(Note: I’m not saying there aren’t good therapists, and I’m not criticizing anyone who has chosen to go to therapy. If you’ve found a good therapist, I’m really happy for you.)
And therapists are really good at manipulating people (I mean, therapy is about changing the way people think? So it can be a really powerful tool for good, and also a really powerful tool to misuse) and I’m super easy to manipulate a. to say what you want me to say in verbal communication, because of my scripting and low processing speed and general trouble saying what I mean in mouth-words and b. if you get me to dissociate first, because, how can I tell I’m not dreaming? How can I be sure I’m not eight? How do I know that it isn’t a good idea to put grape jelly in my ears? Okay, that’s sort of a ridiculous example, but in that state you could probably get me to put grape jelly in my ears if you wanted to, and, more seriously, you could convince me that I’m broken in whatever way and that I need to try and fix myself- and this kind of therapy has put me in long term mindwarps, and I’m afraid it will sometime put me in a permanent mindwarp.
The thing is, there are some things therapy could really help me with, such as my terror of telling people things because I know I’m going to say everything wrong, or my assumption that anything anyone says to me or doesn’t say to me actually means “you’re a really horrible person and I don’t like you” (part of that may be because of past therapists telling me that people are just pretending to like me – I would love therapy to reverse previous therapy!) But, almost every time I’ve revealed information to therapists before it has been a really bad idea- can I tell you about the horrors of abusive-parent-and-abusive-therapist-work-together-to-abuse-kid?
And that brings me to the fear that working with a therapist will make things get worse again. Because things have got better, so much better – I mean nothing has even been thrown in a long time- and I want them to stay better. But therapists tended to make my parents terrified that Really Bad Things would happen if they did not Control My Behavior and they also tended to suggests ways of Controlling My Behavior that involved, for example, slamming me into walls. (Can I tell you about therapist language. About how Escort To Safe Space can mean Drag Kid By Hair and no one but the parents-kid-therapist or just the kid-therapist can know it, and the parents-kid might not know it’s an unusual definition and no one will believe the kid.)
I’m going to get a therapist because school says I have to or they won’t let me go to school anymore because they’re afraid I’m going to kill myself (look, I got practically kicked out of school and I did not get thrown into a wall, things are very safe and they need to stay safe (one of the things I wish a therapist would help me with is my reaction to safety being “I’ve-got-to-keep-this-I’ve-got-to-keep-this *golem voice* my preciouss safety! *knocks on every piece of wood in the room, tries even harder than before to be perfect, stops talking to safe people because I might say the wrong thing and make them stop being safe people, has panic attack because I know I’m going to ruin it*” (Yes, noticing that I’m safe actually causes me panic attacks. “No one has hit me in a while OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO DIE!” I have a very ironic brain.)))
TL;DR: My school is making me get a therapist. I would put myself on the list of People Who Need Therapy except that therapy has never been anything but awful and damaging. I wish I could get therapy to reverse previous therapy.

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4 thoughts on “Abby Talks About Therapy

    • Not a contradictory concept.
      Not one therapist; at least five.
      Therapist does not need therapy. The purpose of therapy is too make someone’s life better. Abusers may benifit from therapy for other reasons, but the problem with someone abusing someone isn’t that the abuser needs their life to be made better.

  1. I hesitate to make a suggestion with so little knowledge, but, here goes anyway… I recently read a book that talks very specifically about what you are describing here—therapeutic abuse, and the need to undo the damage a therapist has done—and offers an alternative, a different, kinder approach. You may find it interesting. Human Givens.

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