More on p-doc

So, I had another appointment with p-doc yesterday. It didn’t go very well. The best part was that he remembered who I was.

I came home hysterical. I cried. I threw up. I cried some more. I slept. I wrote. I talked to some friends here – thank you all for your love and support.

I still feel like a train wreck, but I’m trying to believe that it will be ok – I will be ok – this too shall pass.

Thanks to my regular therapist I mustered the courage to tell p-doc how I felt after the last session. I was calm, if teary – but not angry as I’d feared. I said that I’d felt bullied, betrayed and belittled. He was very defensive and didn’t accept that he’d done anything wrong. We agreed to disagree. I said something about being annoyed that he wouldn’t accept my point of view – he said he didn’t need to. !

He asked if it was worth trying to salvage the relationship. I said I wasn’t sure but the first session made me think it was worth a try. He said he wasn’t fussed either way and that he was comfortable with his reaction because it meant he wasn’t “locked in” or experiencing “counter-transference”. Ugh.

He suggested that we put the letter on hold for the moment and focus on rebuilding “the therapeutic alliance” (I cringe whenever I hear psycho babble, even if I understand what it means, as much as a layperson can. I don’t mean that disrespectfully. I think I just prefer it when I don’t feel like a science experiment.)

He asked if the letter had brought on flashback/nightmare hell. I said no. He’d asked me in the last session how I’d cope afterwards. I told him at the time that it was fortuitous I was seeing my regular therapist, and that I would probably eat myself into oblivion. He laughed (as was my intention) but didn’t offer anything else. This made me mad because if he thought that a downward spiral was a possibility, then he should have suggested something.

He asked me a stack of personal questions about my libido and previous sexual relationships, to which he only got half-truths. I just don’t trust him enough for that yet.

He mentioned something about some work he does with a particular therapeutic intervention. It makes me cringe. From what I’ve read its just soooo not me. Role playing. Yuk. I’m sure it might work for some people, but to me it’s just hocus pocus. I may as well drink holy water.

We talked a bit about my job. He said I must thrive on the organisational politics because I am a “combative person”. Hmm… not a description I would have used. Emotional me went into a tailspin about this, but rational me now thinks it might be saying something about my guardedness with him?

So, in all, it wasn’t great. Is it worth me persisting with him? I don’t know. I don’t like the person I am with him. I don’t like him sometimes. But I don’t want to fail with another therapist. My regular therapist tried hard to find someone decent after the Stone Therapist episode, and I don’t want to stuff her around. I don’t want to feel like I can’t make it work with anyone else.

I feel like my regular therapist is starting to bring out the best in me (or trying to, even if we have to wade through a mountain of toxic waste to get there). I don’t know how or why, but p-doc seems to bring out the worst. I’m so incredibly guarded with him. Defensive. Prickly even.

With my regular therapist I feel supported – she “holds my pain”. With p-doc, he just points out my pain to me and tells me to hold it. Yuk.

I’m wondering about him being male. Is my guardedness because he’s male? Or just because I don’t trust him and think he’s a tool? I feel disappointed in myself; a failure, and that I will have let my regular therapist down if I give up on the male thing. Ugh.

My hysteria has abated, but I’m still a wreck. I’m completely exhausted. I know I’m still fragile from seeing my therapist this week. And I’m also still sick. All not helpful, I’m sure.

I know many of you will say it’s time to cut myself loose from this guy. I’m just not sure. I’m so conflicted about it, particularly as my regular therapist goes on holiday this week, and I don’t want to be left without anyone. Then again… is it worth it if he’s doing more harm than good? I don’t know. I just don’t know.


13 thoughts on “More on p-doc

  1. Ok…just a little reaction here, maybe. But I’m thinking “why should you trust him?” Apart from being told that he doesn’t have to accept your point of view,(which would immediately put me on the defensive, I know) you’ve only been seeing him a very short time. In my little world that wouldn’t be enough time to trust anyone. I would be pretty upset over some of the things he’s said – the word “combatant” would have negative connotations for me if I didn’t trust someone. I’m thinking that early on if T had said something like that I would have been outta there – but now, I’d listen. So I guess what I’m wondering is whether p-doc has sort of pitched it all wrong? And if maybe his method/style is so different from your normal T. I know my experiences of psychiatrists are that they break the world up into “us and them” type people and see their clients as essentially “different” from themselves – which I’ve never been able to handle or agree with. I’m also wondering if you and p-doc haven’t found the meeting space in the middle where you can communicate? Does that make sense at all? Or maybe you found it in the first session but not in the follow up ones? So…I know that’s no help at all as to deciding whether or not to go back. But I hope you’ll be really kind to yourself about the idea of “failure” – there’s no reason why you should have feel comfortable with him or positive about him after such a short period of time no matter how attuned or not he has been. It’s not a failure on your part. I would think you would still be in the “auditioning” stage – auditioning him, that is.

  2. In my humble opinion, cut your losses. The one thing research shows over and over again is that nothing else matters in therapy as much as how much a client actually likes her therapist. Isn’t that a hoot? So, even if this person is a great therapist (which he isn’t), it wouldn’t matter for shit if you don’t like him (which you don’t). So, I think it’s time to move on to friendlier skies.

  3. I have read all three of your posts on this guy and I am tossing my hat in the “drop him like a rock” ring. If it were me I would, anyway.
    I agree with Sword Dance Warrior from your second post that a lot of p-docs become p-docs to cloak their own issues and power trips. It may be that no one has filed a complaint against him for that reason too. I know I didn’t say anything about my old p-doc for that reason, now I know. It’s still a scary thought but I’m still thinking about finding out how to make a complaint and I have let all my docs and my new therapist know “Don’t send people to Dr. F”! I stayed to long and it was more harm than good, definitely NOT worth it.
    If you don’t feel comfortable then, ditto to what others have said “trust your gut!” Don’t beat yourself up if you decide to let him go. Your not being difficult, you just know what you want and haven’t found it yet in a p-doc. I’m sure it’s probably out there somewhere though.
    Is there someone else your therapist might be able to have you contact if you need while she’s away? Sometimes mine gives me the name of a colleague for emergencies/fill in even though I haven’t met them. For me it helps knowing there IS someone there and if I don’t like them I don’t feel stuck with them.
    Best wishes whatever you decide.

  4. Hi,

    I have not read the other two posts, just this one. So I might be more enraged after I read those.

    You are right. He is a tool.

    Not just a tool. An ass. He is mouthy and inappopriate. This is not good.

    This is much worse than a bad fit. A bad fit is okay to leave.

    This guy is okay to leave. It is not about failure. No one can save someone else, least of all a p doc who is supposed to be a professional who cares and emapthizes with us.

    I’ve had a good guy who was empathetic. He made me feel like he cared about his clients. He made me feel good about myself, even though I didn’t have a lot to feel good about at the time.

    And then I had a mouthy guy with no compassion. I saw him once. I was underneath too much crap to let him poop on me.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  5. I think you have the right to feel comfortable and respected. If you never felt comfortable with *anyone*, that might be a sign that it’s more about you, but you do seem to have forged a good alliance with your primary therapist.

    I hope you resolve this in a way that is self-protective, whatever that may look like for you. And you know — even if he’s not your dad, there may just be too much trigger capacity in dealing with a guy in a position of authority. There’s nothing wrong with that. I can’t see male therapists for the same reason — even if they don’t resemble my dad at all, it’s too triggering to have that power dynamic. That’s not my failing; it’s just not helpful to enter into that type of relationship, and that’s that.

  6. Hey, just to recap on yesterday’s convo…

    -What’s the difference between a psychiatrist and God?
    -God knows he’s not a psychiatrist.

    He sounds like a fuckwad, but maybe they all are? Still it seems unlikely. Must be more (less slippery) fish in the sea.

  7. I’m on the ‘dump him’ team too. I especially went ‘wait a minute’ in my mind when you wrote: “my regular therapist goes on holiday this week, and I don’t want to be left without anyone”. You needed your regular therapist to *recover from* seeing this guy and you want to see him *without* her as backup? If you’re going to work on male authority figure issues by seeing a male therapist, why see someone who you don’t click with and who doesn’t respect your boundaries? How is that a different experience from your dad?

    Here’s what I’m wondering. Do you have gunk that makes it hard for you to set limits or say no to male authority figures? If so, it makes sense why you’d be having difficulty dumping this guy, since he’s so clearly not a good fit (and not the kind of guy that should be working with survivors, sounds like). It’s okay to ‘wimp out’ and take the easiest route to dumping him if it’s tough for you. Write him a note or call his receptionist and cancel and tell her you don’t want to book another appointment. You could ask your regular therapist to call him and terminate for you. (50 ways to dump your therapist…) If you need to save face, you totally have an out with the fact he’s the same sex as your abuser. Finding a psychiatrist who is going to do some good is a separate problem, one thing at at time.

    I had a similar situation in a way. I needed to report some suspected child abuse happening with some distant relatives and spent years gathering info, obsessing and working up to it. I felt I should do it, but I was scared to call child services, afraid that they’d make me feel like I was making it all up (gee I wonder where I get that from…) I just couldn’t do it. Finally I told my therapist about it and she said that if I told her the names, not only would she report it for me, but she’d be obligated by law to do so. I decided rather than forcing myself to do something I just wasn’t up for, to cut myself a break and gave her my file of information and she reported. The child services people decided the info I had was of concern too and investigaged. I got the job done, protecting the kids, and had the feeling of being supported and believed. I wimped out in a way, but it was a win too.

    Anyways, just because we all think you should dump him, we’re not in your shoes and don’t have all the facts. Whatever you decide, we’re behind you. You deserve to be believed, to have your boundaries respected, and to be treated as an equal.

  8. Hm. I think I would stay a few more sessions and evaluate. 3 sessions is not very much, and I also think it would be unrealistic to trust /anybody/ after that period of time. Further, I am not sure it is necessary to trust him or have ‘perfect’ dynamics, as long as the dynamics tells you something and you can work with /on your own/, and stay within the window of what you can somehow tolerate and deal with. I am guessing the relationship will build over time. At least you are not indifferent.

    You can always search for a new one it doesnt improve within x number of sessions.

    Secondly, why do you see him? Get medications right, or talk? If it is for mecications it may not matter that he ‘doesnt get it’, if he can get you the right meds.

  9. Kerro…do not pressure yourself into staying with this P-doc. I would be asking the same questions about whether or not it was worth it to stay with such a person and I don’t have any of your prior experiences that could be triggering for you in this relationship – MEANING – any even regular Joe would be feeling pretty screwed up about this guy. Don’t look at it as a failure. Look at it as an opportunity to positively assert yourself. I liked David’s comment about how it’s not a failure but rather just not helpful for you.

    What is any type of relationship where there is no trust? There doesn’t seem to be any trust (from what you’ve told us) so I would cut my losses and bail out. There has to be a better p-doc option for you than this.

  10. Here is my feeling: I understand your concern over whether dumping him would be akin to running away from the problem. There are situations in daily life where we all have to decide whether (and how) to face and conquer the fears/issues, etc, but this guy is supposed to be in the position of helping you to be able to deal with those situations. He isn’t supposed to BE one of those situations himself. If he is triggering you more than helping you, I think the fit is wrong.

    I thought it was interesting, what Sworddancewarrior said, about it maybe being “hard for you to set limits or say no to male authority figures”. If that’s the case, and this guy isn’t right for you, maybe saying no and dumping him (however you choose to do that) may be exactly the benefit you need from your experience with him.

  11. I wanted to echo all the good advice and support that you have been getting. This is not a failure about you. This is not your failure. This is about someone who is not competent or compassionate enough to do his job professionally.

    It is his failure. We can’t be responsible when someone else is a dick. You didn’t make him that way. In no way does your existence create the kind of inner person that he is. He is the failure. He is the one to blame.

    None of us can take care of or be responsible for the conduct of others. I know as survivors it is a common knee jerk reaction to blame ourselves, but as often with this knee jerk reactions, they are not accurate.

    As one of my brothers has often told me, it is not a failure if you learn something from it and it helps you move on in the right direction in your life, so learn. Just some words of wisdom that I am finally starting to access in my own life. It is obvious that you are learning. This process takes time. You have nothing to be ashamed of or blame yourself for, you are doing a great job.


  12. Thank you all so much for reading and for commenting. This is really difficult for me – my desire not to be a failure versus the need to do what’s right for me. I’m not used to looking after me, but I have gained strength from your comments and support – thank you. And, yes, I’m getting closer to dumping him (but not quite there yet).

    @ Cat – your mention of the “us/them” dynamic really struck a chord. That’s exactly what I feel with him. You’re also right about the “auditioning”, although I feel so threatened by him that I can’t even do that properly.

    @ Butterfly – that’s so true about the relationship (and ‘like’) of the therapist. Thank you for reminding me.

    @ Me Myself & Who – thank you, that’s a great idea to ask my therapist for a “fill in” while she’s away. Even though I have no idea who this person might be, I almost feel more comfortable with this option than seeing p-doc again.

    @ Kate – thanks for your indignation! I mean that seriously, it’s helped me move closer to thinking it’s ok to dump this guy.

    @ David – I’m sure you’re right about the male authority figure issue, and you are also right about needing to be self-protective. The power dynamic is definitely all wrong. I hadn’t looked at it that way before. Thank you for your insight – always spot on.

    @ BTC – thanks dude.

    @ Sword Dancer – you are also right about the male authority figure, setting limits and saying no. Good point about needing my regular therapist to “recover” from p-doc. Well put – this is becoming a real turning point for me. Thank you. I do like the ’50 ways to dump your therapist’ LOL. And good on you for seeking your therapist’s support in reporting. Well done.

    @ Rainbow Socks – ooh, a dissenting voice! The p-doc is primarily as “back up” for my regular therapist, so the talking is important. It’s just ‘fortunate’ that he can do the medication bit as well.

    @ Sanity – you’re right, this really isn’t helpful for me, and it is an opportunity to assert myself. Thank you.

    @ Life is Change – thank you. I think this guy is perhaps more triggering for me than I had realised.

    @ Kate part 2 – good point. I do tend to blame myself for just about everything that happens, but should remember what a friend said to me, “what makes you so special that the world’s problems are your fault?” LOL Your brother is right, I should just chalk this up to a learning experience.

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