Navigating The Termination of a Therapeutic Relationship

As outlined in this post here, on Friday I decided it was necessary to finally terminate with my therapist J. Last night, at some ridiculous hour, I thought it would be a wise idea to go through every single text interaction we have ever had since April.

Obviously, it was not so wise…

I am now even more confused by the whole experience, as well as my perception of the relationship. The sadness and loss I feel does not seem to be compatible with the anger and conviction I have that this break-up is for the best. Internally, I am so conflicted, especially now having realised that there were indeed times I felt incredibly held and supported by her, and many moments she genuinely did help me through.

I thought it had been “all bad”, but now I have been through the evidence that this is not the case; perhaps I had simply forgotten these positive times because I am so stuck in Emotion Mind around the whole palaver. No doubt there is a ton of Teleological Thinking going on, on my end, too. It is so easy to pinpoint absolutely everything around me that acts to back up a strong (especially emotional) belief, dismissing any evidence to the contrary – especially whilst in this state and regarding something so painful and complex.

At the same time, my way of thinking in relation to her is reminiscent of the push-pull often seen in abusive relationships. I am NOT saying she is abusive (she is not), although I have felt emotionally and mentally flung around by her somewhat frequently. It is just that I recognise a pattern within myself; similar to the way I thought about my first love, L, for example. Like I did with him, with my therapist, I always seem to “bounce back” to a place of forgiveness, giving her the benefit of the doubt, questioning my own judgement and sanity, and letting her “off the hook” per se. Because the attachment I have to her is stronger than the anger, perhaps, and a huge part of me does not want to lose her. So, I blame myself, and everything she has done wrong somehow becomes my own doing. I convince myself that “It will be different next time“. The cycle then restarts, until we have another similarly painful interaction, when I again query the competence and inconsistency being shown.

I cannot count the number of times this has happened; the number of times I have swung from loving her to hating her; the number of times I have considered terminating our relationship. On one hand, this is typically Borderline, on the other hand, my Wise Mind reasoning is totally valid.

It is such a paradox. Ultimately, I do not feel that I am progressing with our relationship issues being such a large factor for me in the work we have done. I do not feel she has handled certain situations professionally, even if in other circumstances this has not been the case. There has definitely been inconsistency shown, as well as a lack of responsibility being taken for this.

Whilst the intensity and impact some of our interactions have had may be more subjective (essentially, “in my head”), there is no denying that the overall effectiveness of the relationship has not been particularly high. For me, it has been more damaging than healing. I know in my core that it’s the right decision to terminate.

Right?

Yes, my expectations are very high, and then again – there is no reason they should not be, especially considering some very different experiences of therapists I have had in the past. I am too fragile within my BPD to settle for second-best, and the importance of the right therapist for someone like me is essential.

So why do I feel so pushed and pulled within myself with this decision?

I feel guilty, because a part of me recognises that she really does care, and has been trying her best; which simply hasn’t been working for me. Is it my fault for being such a difficult (albeit typical) Borderline? Are my expectations too high? Am I misinterpreting and putting my own shit on to her, unwarranted?

I feel sad, because there have been times I have truly felt supported by her, and which do mean so much to me. Letting go of the relationship to say goodbye to the negatives, also means bidding farewell to the positive aspects. It is a loss, and one that I will need to grieve.

I feel scared because DBT is so hard to come by here, and because I do not know what the future holds for me now. I will be without a DBT Skills Group, have no access to crisis coaching and no individual therapy under a DBT team. For the moment, I have no therapist, full stop. I have not not had a therapist for years.

There are so many reasons for staying with her, and there are so many for not.

I just do not know.

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5 thoughts on “Navigating The Termination of a Therapeutic Relationship

  1. This is so tricky. I had such similar thoughts and emotions after the termination with my previous therapist. In that way, I’m grateful that she terminated because although I’d had the feeling/thought to end our work, I was too scared (and too self-doubting) to walk away. She made that easier for me. But I still went through a similar process of push-pull over the interactions we had throughout treatment. And I definitely re-read our entire text (and email) conversations, more than once.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah it’s great to hear how much you relate and that your experiences are similar, I feel far more assured knowing I am not alone with this. Unfortunately J didn’t make this easier for me, however I am holding onto the support I HAVE been given in coming to this decision.

      Liked by 1 person

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