In light of ongoing difficulties with my DBT therapist, and after an especially difficult week with her last week, I decided on Friday (after months of deliberating, to be honest) to finally terminate our work together.
I’m not going to delve into what has happened right now, because I’m aware that I am deep in Emotion Mind about this and that it could skew my judgments regarding both the situation, and her as a person. Also, there is so much to say, it would probably take me hours to explain, and my brain just can’t be dealing with that right now. I genuinely do not want to write about her or act from a place of malice, however I recognise that at some point I will need to decide if this is something that needs to be taken further, or not. For the time being, I need my space from her, so that I can cool down and be effective in finding a new therapeutic support network ASAP.
Unfortunately this means that I won’t be able to attend my weekly DBT Skills Group any longer, as she is one of the facilitators; I know what I am like and that if I continue to go it is likely to be extremely dysregulating for me due to her presence there.
Even though I know that terminating with her is 1000% the right decision for me, I feel infinitely confused, hurt, angered and unsettled by a vast amount of her behaviours and the interactions we have shared. I am subsequently feeling a lot of emotional (anger, sadness, fear) and mental (confusion, concern, disbelief) pain.
I am not going to lie and say I’m managing this ‘break-up’ well; I’m not. I am struggling to stay present; spending hours each day focusing on what went wrong in our relationship; questioning my judgement and ability to accurately perceive the situation; swinging between every imaginable painful emotion there is relating to what has happened; and spending an unhealthy amount of time in bed, crying, and avoiding the outside world. This is on top of and partially related to having sunk mood-wise over the last few weeks, anyway, (which I am finding hard to admit).
I have never felt the need to terminate therapy so strongly before. If this was a common pattern for me, I, and others around me, would feel more inclined to question the accuracy of my judgement regarding the situation and relationship. However, as my psychiatrist reminded me, I have a long history of therapeutic relationships of varying kinds; I know what to be wary of and what is effective, or what is damaging; I know what works for me and what does not; I can recognise limitations and faults within a therapist; and ultimately I am intelligent and intuitive, at least emotionally. If my psychiatrist is telling me that this is not all in my head, I take his word for it, right? I am not being manipulative, or altering the situation to suit my agenda, am I?
There has been a lot going on recently in my life. The last few weeks have been the most challenging for me mood-wise since Boston, and ironically I am now getting the least support at a time I am needing it the most. I feel incredibly alone and lost. I miss my friends who have gone back to university in other cities and it just adds to the aloneness. I have been feeling rather depressed. The situation with my therapist has, of course, not helped.
What I find most upsetting about how things ended between us is her seeming lack of willingness to help me achieve the closure I was after – especially having directly communicated that need to her on Friday. I know more than anyone the importance of having an effective ending when a therapeutic relationship terminates, especially after a great many messy and somewhat traumatising ones over the years! However, I felt as though I was unfortunately met with resistance and dismissal instead of compassion and professionalism when asking for guidance on how we could make the ending as smooth as possible. Perhaps she did not realise I was so serious about my decision, although this is no excuse. Closure is vitally important to me, and I fear not being able to move on without at least the acknowledgement and apology I feel I am owed.
What I really need is a professional – ideally DBT and BPD specialist – with whom I can discuss the above. Until then, I will continue with everything I have learnt and everything I do know about myself, DBT and BPD; and prove how effective I can be, regardless of her place in my life, or the lack of it…