Therapy is Tearing Me Apart

Recently I have noticed that every time I leave therapy I feel so much worse than I did when I arrived. I know all that cliché shit about how “it has to get worse before it gets better” and “no pain no gain” and all that. But recent weeks have felt different and I think she is feeling it too. It is as though the therapeutic relationship and current issues between the two of us are overpowering all the other work I need to do – so that literally the only thing we are talking about is “us” and the numerous ruptures in our relationship. 

I’m so tired of my issues with attachment getting in the way of, well, working through my issues with attachment. It is such a paradox. I go to therapy to try heal from my difficulties, but instead, because of the nature of my struggles and how attached I am to my therapist, I end up in more pain than I was in in the first place.

A couple of days after issues arise in therapy I may start feeling slightly more stable and at peace. I go to therapy for my subsequent session, and bam, I become dysregulated and emotionally, physically and mentally unsettled all over again. It feels like yet another lose-lose situation in my life. I am working really hard but these issues are just permeating through everything, making the healing process so much bloody harder than it otherwise would be.

I wish I had no attachment whatsoever to my therapist, it would be so much easier. Then I could just go to therapy, work on what needs to be worked on, and leave with a sense of closure. (I know it’s not that simple but ya know.) Instead, the therapeutic relationship just leads me to become even more dishevelled than I already am. 

My attachment issues are definitely my core struggle but it is just so ironic how this is also the core obstacle stopping me from effectively dealing with the core struggle! I cannot get over how messy the healing process from this is proving. It is just so disheartening how consistently “attachment stuff” continues to get in the way of my therapy, no matter how hard I work in all other aspects of my process.

It gets better for a while but then it inevitably gets worse again. The whole thing is so slow, and I worry I am not making much progress, if any (with regards to this). I feel so stuck. It has been so many years of the same struggle. Maybe I would be better off being out of therapy?

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15 thoughts on “Therapy is Tearing Me Apart

  1. Attachment issues BY FAR is the hardest thing with BPD (just my opinion anyways)….especially when we know the path it takes us down is so unhealthy, yet its like addiction isn’t it. Does your therapist know your attachment to her is causing this strife or does she just think its ‘general BPD anxiety’? Are the ruptures in your relationship anything to do with her, or just your insatiable need to get more from her (emotionally) than what she gives or morally can give?

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    • Yes she is very much aware, as shameful as it feels, I am really honest with her about it. We both know how immensely difficult this is for me and both seem to hit blocks in the road from time to time – just not knowing what to do with me etc.
      The ruptures recently have been my own doing. I mean sometimes it’s to do with her because I feel so easily rejected then get mad and act out with her…. but generally it’s just me. She’s a really good therapist. I’m just in a rut right now. And she’s being strict which is making it harder for me, even though I know she has to be. Thank you for commenting and relating 😦

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  2. By the way – all kudos to you for being so honest with your therapist…many would hide their attachments issues but you are so open and honest..I admire that…Go you!!

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    • Thank you that’s really kind. I think after years of this it’s the first thing I tend to disclose to therapists as a warning haha…. It’s such a pattern in my life. Don’t know how my therapist hasn’t fired me yet. Thanks again and I’ll check the link 🙂

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  3. Is another therapist a possibility? I know where I go for DBT, they try not to switch therapists but sometimes, there can be a bit of a clash or a change may be needed for the sake of treatment. I do know that if you leave DBT before the year commitment ends and you come back, you get a new therapist. The one I’ve been with I have a little bit of a history with because he wasn’t always a DBT therapist. In fact, years and years ago, he saw my parents. He also kicked them out because it wasn’t going anywhere. But he does know the family history which can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

    I’ve had a few sessions like that though where I left feeling worse and it sucks! And then you ruminate and ruminate and you wonder and judge yourself and your therapist and you end up a big mess. One time, it actually spilled over into group (at the time, I had different therapists for group).

    I think one thing that does this though is that the therapist becomes one of the safest people to be around for us. When you are able to be fully open and honest with that person in a way you are with few other people, it can really bring about that attachment issue. I’ve talked with mine about darn near everything under the sun. I’ve told him things I don’t tell my husband or really, anyone else in my life. Heck, we’ve talked about my sex life! I don’t have friends that I’m even that close to and yeah, having someone like that who knows that much about us leaves us in SUCH a vulnerable position that it doesn’t take much for them to hurt us even unintentionally. And becoming that close to someone DOES make it harder to move on to other relationships because of that emotional attachment. It takes a lot to feel safe (at least it does for me!) and expose parts of ourselves we normally keep under a rock.

    Curious, how long have you been in DBT? I’ve been in myself almost 3 1/2 years (started February 2, 2013). There are some people who have been in longer than that. The process IS slow and my understanding is that you’re never fully cured but people don’t understand that, they sort of expect that if you’re in something like DBT you’ll never get mad or show emotion. Ha! I wish! It would certainly make life easier sometimes! But last I looked, we were humans, not Vulcans. 🙂

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    • Thanks for your message. I definitely don’t want to change therapist – I have had about 15 therapists and this is the first time I haven’t (yet) been fired, my therapist is really high in her field and for the most part knows what she is doing, she’s put up with so much from me and continues to do so, she doesn’t put up with my bullshit or enable me. I think the latter 2 points can be really difficult short term and are what often lead me to struggle and experience ruptures with her. But honestly she hasn’t done anything wrong – this is all about me. Also, this happens with every therapist, it is such a pattern and so moving won’t make any difference, it will just shift the problem most likely.
      As for everything else you said, it totally hits the spot and I relate massively. It is a very lonely and painful place to be, I appreciate you sharing your similar experience. But am sorry to hear you’ve been through this stuff too!
      I’ve been in formal DBT for a year and a half, with a couple of different therapists (this one for just over a year so far). I’ve just finished groups. We are meant to be moving onto trauma work but I messed up a bit this week so I guess that’s on hold.
      Thanks again lovely xxx

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      • Ah, that makes a lot of sense. I hear you about the multiple therapists. I’ve had my share of them since I started therapy at the age of 11 (I’m 34). This current one probably has been my longest though I’ve had others I’ve seen for around 2 years or more. And yeah, he calls me out on my crap too. But he also encourages me and pushes me to improve so there is that. Change just gets rather uncomfortable though. And dang does it get all to easy to go back into bad habits.

        As for trauma work, I almost went into that which would have changed my therapist because the my therapist is not yet trained in trauma therapy. I was really nervous about that because I didn’t feel as comfortable with her. I had her for skills group and we just didn’t mesh in some ways (I guess I always kind of felt she was judging me). However, it was determined that though I have been through trauma, the DBT program itself helped a lot with that and that trauma therapy wouldn’t be necessary. Which turned out to be a good thing because she suddenly retired back in October. And by suddenly, I mean we all got two weeks notice she was leaving.

        Anyway, hang in there! That can be a rough part of the DBT process itself, the whole things get worse before they get better kind of thing. Best thing to do though is keep on keeping on. That can be easier said than done, believe me I know!

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  4. I’m with you on this one., feeling worse after having therapy.
    I feel like I’m trying so hard not to become attached to my therapist that it’s getting in the way of me engaging with her properly. I feel so ashamed of my feelings.
    I hate the whole “it will get worse before it gets better” thing. I mean I don’t know “how much worse” I can actually cope with. Everything is just a jumbled mess of emotions and I’m struggling with it all.
    I love your blog by the way. It’s actually become a bit of a beacon of hope for me. I feel less alone reading it. Thank you.

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    • I really relate to this. I am very open with my therapist about my attachment to her and she reckons that all my feelings are massively helpful in showing us how I am in a whole host of relationships in life, coming out to the greatest degree possible in therapy, and that if we can work with what goes on for me in therapy, it will help me a) heal from where it stems for and b) generalise it to other relationships in my life.
      I’m so sorry you’re struggling with it so much. It is indeed the most painful experience. I wish you so much love and compassion and thank you for your comments xxx

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