Draft letter to T

I’m sure you already know what’s going on for me, you probably guessed pretty instantly but that actually made it worse because if you did guess, why didn’t you do what you usually do and ask if it upset me or ask if it hurt or angered me? It felt as though you skirted over the issue and that made it worse.

When I read the text you sent me by mistake it felt like a kick to the stomach. I was already having a particularly bad few days and that day was horrible, reading your text just felt like the last straw. I couldn’t take anything else that day.

I have a lot of probably childish and irrational and dramatic feelings about that text. I’ve struggled with the feelings for the past 8 days and honestly all it makes me want to do is never come back to therapy,

You know by now that I’ve never missed a therapy session in 3 years, but last week I never wanted to come back again and unfortunately I still feel like that.

Reading a message from you to someone else, clearly another client, was just horrible. Obviously logically I understand you see many people, not just me… but I don’t have to face up to that reality because I don’t have to see it.

Reading that text changed that for me. There are two reasons it hurt me:

1) Some of the words are the same as you use with me – the words I refer to as “therapisty” like “bring it here” etc…. and that made me feel like I just get the same crap as a million other people. And then the complete opposite that

2) SHE got soooo much more warmth than I get. You called her “dearest”. Ouch. You later said “much love”… honestly I don’t have the words to explain how this made me feel but without sounding like a petulant child, you don’t use words like that with me do you? I don’t get that level of warmth and affection and I’ve told you before that I feel your replies can be cold and clinical and sometimes have made me angry as I’ve felt like I mean nothing. Sometimes I’ve poured my heart out to you and received a reply like “we will talk about it. Kind thoughts” and it’s like the equivalent of telling someone you love them for them to reply “thanks”. It’s painful.

So I’ve told myself that it’s the way you speak to all of your clients! That it’s some therapy rule or some code of ethics or something: keeping professional or something I don’t know….. but clearly that’s not true because SHE gets warmth and affection and terms of endearment that I don’t get and that makes me feel utterly rejected I guess. I feel unimportant, less liked, not loved… it makes me feel like I’m a chore and just “a job” and that clearly triggers me for very obvious reasons.

It makes me question everything. It makes me want to leave and stay away. Why is that? I guess it’s because without feeling like I am really important to you or liked or loved by you, that I am somehow special, what’s the point? I wish I could be more mature and accept that I am in counselling and I’m an adult paying another adult, a professional, for a service and that be that…. but clearly I don’t work that way. It goes way deeper than that for me and I feel it’s now one-sided and feel embarrassed for that.

I don’t see what you can say that would make me feel any better about this. There is nothing you can say about why you are so much more affectionate with her than with me that would make me feel any better.

So yes, you’re right, I AM running away but I’m running away because I just don’t see a way of repairing this rupture in a way that doesn’t mean everything from here will be different. Ruined. I don’t see how I can trust you the same way or be as open and vulnerable now. So what’s the point?

For Christmas I chose a special present and card for you. It really was chosen with a lot of thought and love, it wasn’t about money or anything. It felt special to me, I was giving you something symbolic of my love and it feels like perhaps you were laughing at me because you felt so very differently. Maybe you felt just like she did when I gave her special presents for Christmas that ended up in the bin.

I feel so unloved and so insignificant and like a chore and a job. I feel “less than”. Rejected in comparison and stupid for ever feeling anything else. Foolish.

I don’t need to tell you why those feelings are raw for me, having to feel those things AGAIN but because of you is hideous.

Perhaps the more time that passes the less hurt I will feel, but for now, I don’t know what else to do or say. I know you sent the text by accident and that if you hadn’t, I wouldn’t even know these things but that just adds to me feeling foolish.

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54 thoughts on “Draft letter to T

    1. 😔 I dunno…. I can see it’s about my own issues of feeling like a burden and unloved in childhood. I understand it’s transference so it seems unfair to send such an attacking letter… especially at Christmas. Keeping the distance feels safer..I’m not sure if I am brave enough to take the risk of getting some reassurance and connection when it could end up making me feel even worse x

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  1. I would suggest that you read it in session, but you don’t want to go. Think about what you would say to Sirena or Lauren. I have seen you advise Sirena, many times, that she can leave a session whenever she wants. We all have that option.
    Your T has messed up here, in more ways than one. Your feelings are valid and understandable. I believe that your T cares about you a lot and there will be a reason as to why she was so familiar with that client. My T told me that she would email me and once again, she hasn’t. I feel forgotten and insignificant, but I’m not willing to sacrifice myself just because of that. To me, the therapeutic relationship is about practice. You can say that they have hurt you or made you angry without fear of rejection or trouble – or you should be able to.
    I don’t know what else to say that won’t sound like I am minimising your feelings, but I don’t believe that indulging someone in the worst case scenario is helpful. You have come a long way in therapy and have done things that I am still not quite ready for in half of the time. xx

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    1. Haha God, clearly I can give advice but I can’t take it hey!! You are right, I have said that plenty of times to try and encourage Sirena to go to her sessions when she is in the midst of a rupture, like I am now….. I guess it is just so much harder when you are the one doing the feeling hey.

      Eugh she hasn’t emailed? that must be so painful for you to hold, especially over Christmas!! Would you reach out first or do you feel too rejected to do that?

      You are right that the therapeutic relationship allows a kind of risky honesty that perhaps isn’t as safe in the real world… I do know that I can tell my T these things without fear of an attack back – I do believe that but I just can’t see what she could possibly say to make it better. It can’t be a misunderstanding can it, I have 3 years of experience that T doesn’t use that language with me regardless of how awful I might be feeling at a particular time.

      Thanks for saying I have come a long way. Sometimes that feels true and other times it doesn’t. I know she cares for me really, I do know that… and I can see that my feelings are coming from a triggered place – a wounded child place, that is the only thing that makes them bearable really.

      Thank you for your words of encouragement and validation and advice, I truly really appreciate it xxx

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      1. Ha! It’s obviously easier to give advice from outside of a situation! But it’s good advice!
        No. To be fair, she said that she was going to do something which would probably have taken her at least an hour. That’s a lot of time out of her day really and time that I’m not paying her for. I could, but I don’t want to sound demanding by reminding her of something as if she doesn’t have any priorities. I have also realised that I am very submissive because of my parents and probably eager to be the good girl so that she doesn’t leave me.
        Yeah and that’s why transference is ‘good’. It’s a way of playing out the relationship and processing it. You dealt with the last rupture really well, but I know that this is different and way more raw. My heart would definitely skip a beat if I received that text.
        You have! The conflict of being able to see the rational adult explanation whilst feeling the wounded child feelings is so difficult. That’s the place I am in a lot of the time!
        I’m glad I can be of help to you! xxx

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  2. Hey TT, I don’t think it sounds attacking and I agree you should send it, though maybe after the Christmas break, for her and you. I would find it very hard to return to therapy after seeing that message. Also, you could read it again later and edit it, now you’ve got it all out – I’ve done that before, when my original email seemed too harsh.

    And yes, it’s about your own issues, but that doesn’t make the hurt any less. It’s that sense of not being ‘good enough’, which is so classic in daughters of NMs, so whenever there is affection for someone else we compare ourselves and come up short. Also, I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but my Mum constantly asked me who I loved more, her or my Dad, and was also favouring me over my sister, etc. all the time, so I guess I grew up feeling there isn’t space for me if others are loved/liked.

    She clearly does care deeply for you. I do wonder if therapists use different language with different clients for ‘therapisty’ reasons? I’m not excusing her at all, but I’m just thinking how your therapist encouraged you to reach out between sessions because it was something you needed to learn to do, whereas mine tried to get me to hold things to process live in the room, i.e. our needs were different so different approaches were needed. Maybe if her language to you was too warm you would feel it was fake because of your Mum…? I don’t know, I’m just speculating!!

    I hope you find a way through this and I am sending hugs xxx

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    1. Hi lovely, I’ve been thinking about you the last few days! How are you finding things over Xmas?

      Yeah you’re right, I could re-read later and amend before sending…. waiting a bit longer seems the kindest thing to do considering it is Christmas for her just as much as for me… it’s weird though, since writing it, I just want to get it sent!! Funny how I can go from not wanting to speak to her at all to wanting to send something in such a short space of time.

      The not good enough thing – yeah… you are so right. I should know that is a trait of daughters of narcissistic mothers, I’ve even read the book “Will I ever be good enough?” ha! thanks for helping me make that obvious link.

      My mother never asked me who I loved more outright (jeez that must have been awful for you!!) but she tried very hard to make sure there was no relationship between my dad and I – and sadly, she succeeded. The approval could only be me or my sister and never us both at the same time so yeah, you could be on to something there. My T has said before that I struggle with “others” because my mother always had others around. Normally her latest bloke – but whoever it was, friend or man, they ALWAYS took preference over me. I was always the pain in the arse chore whist they were smothered in so much love and affection – I can see the polarities here with T and her text to another.

      I have wondered that about the therapist reasons… my fiancé said the same thing. He wondered if she can’t be like that with me for a reason but we can’t figure out what that reason is. I don’t know if it’s about fakeness (although you are certainly right about my mother) but in a way, I hope you are right. It kinda taps into my wish that she would buy me a xmas card or she would give me a hug or put a simple “x” at the end of a text or email… I dunno, stupid really but all the things I guess that constitute as warmth in small ways that she doesn’t do and sometimes makes me feel like a bit of a leper.

      Perhaps feeling her messages to me are lacking in warmth is something I need to feel because of the transference? if so though that feels a bit like goading?

      Thank you so much as always for being here with me xx

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    2. I’ve just found this from an old blog of mine:


      I told T that it confused me that getting what I have always wanted caused me such a lot of pain (and joy, admittedly) and T explained that having deep, childhood, unmet needs – met was VERY painful. She said getting what you’ve always wanted can cause awful sadness and pain. I didn’t understand that. T said that this was one of the reasons that therapists had to be so careful not to “overdo it”. She said that them overdoing it could cause us more pain! T said “this is why although I understand you want more reassurance and warmth in my emails, it is important that I am very careful”…

      (I haven’t written about this yet so this is a good time – I told T last week that I sometimes find her email replies to be “lacking in warmth”. As I said it, she repeated it back to me and I agreed. Yes. I told her that I knew that the content was fine and that if someone else read them, they wouldn’t see the issue, but for me, they sometimes felt “therapisty” (yeah, I know) and “cold”. I’ve thought about this many times since saying it and I can very clearly see that the lacking in warmth thing is probably a bit of transference – it probably sums up how I feel about my communications/relationship with my mother – or more specifically, about my mother herself. Lacking in warmth.)”

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      1. I think to hold all of that in would be unhealthy for you. I used to do that all of the time but have learned that saying how I feel helps me in the long run. Our feelings matter and we have a right to let others know how we are feeling and why.

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  3. Oh this situation makes me so sad. All I want to say is that your feelings are totally valid! I think that in some way you are putting the blame back on yourself for this. “Hey I shouldn’t overreact, I shouldn’t feel hurt” etc etc. but you didn’t do anything wrong. Maybe what your T means is to just be angry all you want. To practice that. I know that’s hard to imagine that it’s ok for us to be angry too. No need for apologies. Sending you hugs.

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    1. Hi Vera, Happy Christmas! Thank you as always for validating me in my angst! You make a very valid point there…… I am taking the blame back but I guess that’s because I feel so embarrassed for feeling this way! Thank you xx

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  4. Merry Christmas to you too! I understand the embarrassment. I think that people who haven’t been contanstantly invalidated would have just been like “that text made me mad” lol. Btw I don’t think this letter is mean at all and it doesn’t come across that way.

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    1. Ha yeah you’re probably right. I can’t even imagine feeling like that!! I guess it is all wrapped up in my fear of being humiliated in my anger/sadness and also the fear of her reacting or punishing even when I know that isn’t accurate.

      I do want to send it… more as the day goes on… I’m just worried about what her response will be and the feelings that will leave me with. She is unlikely to respond thoroughly, she has always said in this situation we have to wait until we are in session together. Perhaps there is a part of me that hopes I send it and she offers me a one-off session tomorrow… I know that won’t happen as she is on a break and that would certainly be one of her boundaries to keep her time off as scheduled!! Eugh. x

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  5. Hey lovely

    Whats happening here is exactly what’s supposed to happen, to my understanding. We’re supposed to use therapy to play out our troubled relationships in session, which is why the therapists try to keep so much of themselves back, so that they can be a neutral canvas to take on other roles. If you can, think of this as an opportunity to work through the trauma with your mum. I imagine if she gets offended through some counter transference, then maybe she can no longer be of help to you, but if she can stay neutral and the true source of your pain with your mum, then she’ll see the same opportunity to help you work through this.

    Big hugs

    Xxx

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    1. Hey darling! happy Christmas!!! I hope you all had a wonderful time.

      I guess that is true….. I guess it is meant to happen…

      I’m 99% sure she won’t get offended or retaliate, she never has before so I do trust that it’s just the pain it’s brought me that I’m struggling with.
      Xx

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      1. Merry Christmas! It’s been lovely thank you, and it’s my birthday today 😁😁😁

        Well then go for it my darlin, this is about you healing from your past, so that any such events in the future just piss you off 😘 rather than cut you so deeply xxxxxx

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      1. You don’t need to hold all this responsibility. She is an adult and capable of looking after herself. If she does not want to read emails at Christmas then she can be responsible for turning them off or not replying until she is ready. You are holding too much blame and guilt. X

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  6. I’m really glad you chose to send this! It was very well articulated and your feelings over the matter are completely understandable. I think I would be feeling the same. I hope you will be able to experience some relief over the matter now.

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  7. I have a reply.. she basically validated my pain and feelings and said she is sorry her mistake has caused me to get in touch with it … she’s offered me a phone session on Friday and asked me to let her know if I want it. The thing is she’s on a therapy break until 9th so I do want it but it makes me feel selfish and guilty?! X

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    1. Whenever I have such dilemma with my therapist. AKA what I want vs. feeling selfish and that I am being inconvenient. I tend to explain to her that “I wouldn’t mind it but I feel that it inconvenient for you. If you sure are that it is not, then ok for me. Otherwise, we can not have it.”
      This way I end up feeling less bad as I tell her what I want but also give her the space to choose. At least it makes me less guilty!
      Not sure if it makes sense? I hope it helps.

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      1. I thought about saying something like that…. I appreciate the offer that’s for sure and waiting another 11 days or so isn’t going to help me so I probably should accept it…. I know she wouldn’t have offered if she would resent me for accepting…. would she? Z

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  8. Dear TT and everybody: I am in the middle of my first rupture with T. I am pretty much curled up on the floor. I can’t tell you all how much you are helping me. Thank you so much. TS

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  9. You know, it did occur to me that perhaps she holds back with the warmth and terms of endearment with you precisely because you come from a narcissistic mother who might have used language to manipulate. Your therapist has probably also held back so as not to overwhelm you with maternal transference or with psychological material.
    I don’t believe she doesn’t care about it you. She clearly does. I’m glad she offered you a phone session. X

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    1. Did it? My fiancé is hell bent that’s the reason but it’s so awkward because what if it isn’t that? I see what you mean though …. it’s just horrible because the text she sent me by accident speaks of the other person’s mum too…. “you absolutely don’t need to look after your mum”….

      Not overwhelming me with maternal transference seems possible though, for sure…. I can see that. I hope you are right!

      I know she does care, I don’t mean that she absolutely doesn’t like me whatsoever…. just… you know, in comparison to Sonia… lol xx

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  10. I’m glad you sent it and that she replied. Such an articulate letter and so very vulnerable. I’m glad my T’s boundary is she’ll never reply to clients who message or email her. Hurts that she won’t reply but there’s no chance of this kind of accidental text.

    I feel the phone session is a good offer – she’s an adult and a therapist, I don’t think she would have offered if she really rather not. So I’d encourage you to take the phone session! 🙂

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