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sleepy borderline

I don't think my ex-therapist ever cared about me

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I'm writing about this on crazyboards because I'm not sure where else to go about it, although it might sound a little crazy to some.

I recently ( less then a year ago) terminated with a therapist had been seeing for close to 15 years. I had and still have very deep transference issues towards her. I cared about what she thought about me a lot, and constantly asked her if she cared. When we ended she gave me a card that told me how much she cared about me, how much she will continue to care about me, etc. She still works at the same clinic I saw her at, but only as an intern supervisor. She told me, since she will still work there, that she will ask my case manager for updates on how I am doing. She also promised me two phone calls at the beginning of my sessions with my new therapist to make sure the transition was going smoothly for me.

Anyways, it has now been almost 10 months since we terminated. I never received any phone calls from her. I thought " well I'm sure she has her reasons, but surly she's asked about me" so I asked both my case manager and my new therapist if she's asked about me since the termination. Like asked how I was doing, anything.

Nope. Nothing.

I'm starting to doubt that she really cared about me. I mean, she's not even curious at all to how I'm doing?

I'm wondering if anyone can weigh in what other reasons she might have for not asking about me. Would it be a break in confidentiality for her to ask someone in my new treatment team if I am okay? Or maybe she never really cared, everything in that card was just a lie. I'm about to rip that card up and clear out of my head that this woman ever cared about me. I feel super depressed about it too. I feel like I based 15 years on a lie. 

I feel like with that card I actually had tangible proof that she cared despite years of not believing her. I feel lied to.

 

 

Edited by sleepy borderline

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I think that you're within your rights to ask her, or your current therapist (who I understand is working with her?) to verify whether or not she cared. 15 years is a very long time!

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Did you sign release forms so that your new therapists can talk to her about you? Because if you didn't and you're in the States, they literally can't. It's illegal, regardless of what she promised.

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Thank you for your answer Rosie, I am going to talk to my ( newish) therapist about this on Friday. 

29 minutes ago, Gearhead said:

Did you sign release forms so that your new therapists can talk to her about you? Because if you didn't and you're in the States, they literally can't. It's illegal, regardless of what she promised.

Really? Well thank you for your answer Gearhead, this puts a whole new spin on things. Yes, I live in the states... I didn't know it was illegal. So, if she knows not to ask my  new therapist anything because she legally won't be able to give her any answers, that would put my mind at ease, and offer an explanation. I would love to believe that it's just a professional boundary on her part and not because she lied and told me she would still " think about me and wonder how I am doing". 

what exactly do you mean by illegal and where does it say that? 

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I'm sorry, Sleepy, but I think I was wrong. At any rate, HIPAA permits doctors, nurses, etc. to exchange information about you for treatment purposes, but I don't know if the specifics vary from state-to-state. I had to sign a specific release for my pnurse to talk to my tdoc, and they were in the same clinic. So I guess I don't know. Could be that since your ex-therapist no longer treats you, without a waiver, the "treatment purposes" exemption doesn't apply to her.

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I had to sign a butt load of releases when I changed doctors a few years ago.

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7 hours ago, WinterRosie said:

I think that you're within your rights to ask her, or your current therapist (who I understand is working with her?) to verify whether or not she cared. 15 years is a very long time!

I agree with Rosie.  I'd find out why ... I'd even show the card from your ex-therapist to your new therapist, and get her opinion on what that card from your ex therapist is about.  If your new therapist doesn't have an answer for you, I'd ask what way is there to get in touch with your ex-therapist to explain why she didn't follow up.

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Asking your new therapist is a good idea. They may have some insight into whether or not it's legal for your old therapist to ask about you. If it is legal, there may be something else stopping her. Maybe she's trying to keep a professional distance. I'm not sure. But asking can't hurt

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Was going to ask my new therapist today but she's out with the flu. I'll have to wait until next week. Worst week ever to cancel. I've been having angry thoughts at the old therapist all this week. I'm picturing her closing that door on our final session last year and as soon as that door is closed no longer caring or interested at all in my well being. I feel totally lied to especially hurtful because she knew I struggled with her caring about me during those 15 years. 

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15 hours ago, sleepy borderline said:

Was going to ask my new therapist today but she's out with the flu. I'll have to wait until next week. Worst week ever to cancel. I've been having angry thoughts at the old therapist all this week. I'm picturing her closing that door on our final session last year and as soon as that door is closed no longer caring or interested at all in my well being. I feel totally lied to especially hurtful because she knew I struggled with her caring about me during those 15 years. 

UGH.  I hate when that happens (tdoc/pdoc being out the week I really need them the most).  Would it help to call her office on Monday to get an earlier appt?  It would only be a few days earlier if she had an opening, but at least for me the sooner the better if the chance came up. 

Have you tried writing all the stuff down in your head about your ex-therapist ... every feeling, thought, questions, and whatever else, so you can get it out of your head, then when you see your tdoc next you can just hand her what you wrote down? (or just keep it and shred it all ... sometimes for me it just helps to get it out of my mind to write it down and then get rid of it.  My mind is clearer after that and the thoughts about the ex-therapist aren't there as much).  Either way though (handing it to tdoc or shredding) it helps clear my head so I can think of other stuff.

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You know, I honestly and genuinely believe that it would be impossible to do deep therapeutic work with somebody for fifteen years and not come to care for them deeply.  I can't even imagine how it must feel to know she is around the clinic but not able to see you, and not asking about you for some reason.  I totally get why that would be painful and confusing and make you doubt the relationship.

After working with her for fifteen years, you must also know her pretty well - is she the sort of person who would lie to you about something as important and huge as caring about you? 

I actually wonder if maybe the termination was hard for her too, and she wasn't sure how it would feel for her or for you to stay involved in some capacity.  Or if she has issues with her new role or personal issues that are taking up more of her attention.  There are some other possible explanations than her not caring.

I had a therapist that I saw for a few years that I relied on and needed and was SO attached to.  She left for maternity leave a couple months before I was supposed to find out if I had gotten into graduate school and, knowing how important it was to me that I'd made it to that point, promised to call me so that I could give her the news personally.

She never called.  I got to pass the news along via somebody else at the clinic, but it just wasn't the same.  And it did make me feel a bit like I didn't matter.  But when I reflect on it now, I realize that she was going through a big transition in her life, and it wasn't much to do with her caring for me that she forgot.  I suspect also that she REALLY cared for me and wanted to offer as much as she could to ease the transition, and, in doing so, offered more than she was really emotionally or practically able to do - just out of really caring and kind of overextending herself to try to ease how much pain I was going through preparing for the separation.

I've spoken to her a couple of times since.  I took a big step in my career last year and I called her to tell her (after not having spoken to her for about three years) and she didn't return the message for like 6 weeks or so, so I called again and did get to talk to her, and she remembered me perfectly and told me how proud of me and happy for me she was and I believe it was genuine.

I'm not totally sure what to make of that except that therapists are imperfect like everybody.  It's hard to accept that and believe they still care when they forget things that are REALLY important.  It's also hard to accept that while there will always be a relationship, when they're not your therapist anymore, the expectations change and it does become more distant and things slip through the cracks and that's hard, to hold on to the caring when the level of involvement isn't the same anymore.

Not 100% sure where I'm going except that I really feel for you/empathize with what you're going through and how hard it is.  I'm hoping you can talk to your new therapist about it and either get some answers or find a way to work through your feelings and feel more secure in your memories of this really important and nurturing relationship.

Edited by tryp
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Thanks for your response Melissa-- Yes hopefully my T will call as soon as she is back in the office and we can reschedule for as soon as possible. I can't image going until next Friday with this in my head-- plus I'm going through some other stuff too in my personal life. In the meanwhile I took your advice and I wrote down in my journal every little thing I wanted to ask my new(ish) T about the whole situation with the old T and wrote my old T a letter to read to my new T explaining everything

tryp-- thank you so much for your well thought out answer. I really meant a lot to me that you could relate. I was feeling so alone in this. I thought I knew the old T pretty well and could say that this goes against most of what I knew of how she thought throughout our therapy. She knew very much that I desperately struggled with acceptance and knowing I was cared for and her final letter to me indicated that. She even wrote " I know that your illness makes it hard for you to believe and trust me... please push those thoughts aside. I care very deeply for you and will continue to do so." 

 Unfortunately I wasn't always kind to her throughout my therapy and didn't respect boundaries. I feel like maybe she left really thinking I was too hard to deal with and was secretly glad to get rid of me as a client. I don't think I always made her job easy but I'd like to think that the slow progress I did make with my BPD was at least sometimes rewarding for her.  I feel like she kept me as a client for 15 years because she felt like I might turn violent or it might upset me to let me go.  Maybe that is just my negative self-talk talking to me

Unfortunately everyone I have spoken to at the clinic I go to has indicated that I shouldn't ever try to reach out to her again. That is another thing that hurts. If I was a therapist I would at least love to get future updates from a long -term client. Everyone there has indicated that I shouldn't do that. That it is just my " transference issues" that make me want to give her future updates or any sort of professional contact and it would be best if I just moved on with my life and sort of forgot she was even my therapist for 15 years. 

Unfortunately in the end my need to over need her approval, over want her to care about me and my attachment to her and transference issues that keep me from ever having any possible future contact with her-- ironically a client who needed that less she might have inquired about, or could have future professional contact with her... I don't know. 

Edited by sleepy borderline

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That's interesting.  Most of my past therapists have encouraged me to reach out if I want to in the future - they've been clear about what would be appropriate in terms of how frequent (2-3 emails a year seems to be the general consensus) but very few (except for one who was frankly a quack in many respects) have found anything pathological about that.  I'm with you - as a therapist I'd definitely want to hear how people were getting on, if they wanted to share that with me.  I don't think that's your transference issues - I actually think that's a reflection of the real relationship you two had.

I imagine that some of these thoughts you are having - are exactly what she was imagining when she wrote that in the card she gave you.  I think the fact that she anticipated it shows how well she knew you and how much she wanted to continue to comfort you even when she wasn't there.

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5 hours ago, sleepy borderline said:

Thanks for your response Melissa-- Yes hopefully my T will call as soon as she is back in the office and we can reschedule for as soon as possible. I can't image going until next Friday with this in my head-- plus I'm going through some other stuff too in my personal life. In the meanwhile I took your advice and I wrote down in my journal every little thing I wanted to ask my new(ish) T about the whole situation with the old T and wrote my old T a letter to read to my new T explaining everything

You're welcome.  I hope the writing things down helped some.

5 hours ago, sleepy borderline said:

Unfortunately everyone I have spoken to at the clinic I go to has indicated that I shouldn't ever try to reach out to her again.

Did they say why?

 

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1 hour ago, melissaw72 said:

You're welcome.  I hope the writing things down helped some.

Did they say why?

 

I don't know exactly. The place I go to is pretty strict with boundaries. I'm pretty sure most, if not all of the clients there do not have any contact at all with their T after they leave. Or maybe they do. It used to be a very severe population that went there, but now I think a lot of people go there that are much more high-functioning.

Also like I said, I have had major transference issues with her for the past decade and a half. Maybe the staff I see there now thinks it is in my best interest to not contact her at all again ever, even by letter delivered to her office.

My negative self talk is telling me it is because she doesn't like me though. 

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2 hours ago, sleepy borderline said:

I don't know exactly. The place I go to is pretty strict with boundaries. I'm pretty sure most, if not all of the clients there do not have any contact at all with their T after they leave. Or maybe they do. It used to be a very severe population that went there, but now I think a lot of people go there that are much more high-functioning.

Also like I said, I have had major transference issues with her for the past decade and a half. Maybe the staff I see there now thinks it is in my best interest to not contact her at all again ever, even by letter delivered to her office.

My negative self talk is telling me it is because she doesn't like me though. 

Maybe, but SHE was the one who said she would get in touch with you, not the other way around.  The thing I would do is to just bring the card your ex-tdoc gave you to your tdoc that you have now, and show it to her when you see her on Friday.  See what she says about it.  And then go from there. 

 

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Just thought I'd update my post

I went to go see my newish T today. She doesn't want to hear anymore about my old T. My old T has not asked her about me, just like she hasn't asked my case manager. I'm just supposed to move on.

I guess it is easier for therapists to terminate even with a long term client then it is for the client. 

I have no choice but to not care anymore about weather or not she cared or still does care about me. I guess I must move on for my own sake. Still kind of hurts and hurts even more to be told by professionals that I am weird for caring about this.  whatever.

Edited by sleepy borderline

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Now I'm kind of butthurt about my new T's response to the whole thing. Instead talking through my feelings and being compassionate and comforting about it, her whole attitude was just like " move on already".

She even used the example of another client at the clinic who had seen a therapist there for 20 years and that client has borderline too and she's moved on faster and easier then me. My new T also said she has never cried when a client has left nor given them a card. That was something I liked about the old T. Her compassion and empathy and I could really talk to her. The new T is very by-the-book

I think they are using clinical toughness to make me finally look at the real problems in my life ( my situation with my old T not being one of them, since she wasn't actually " in my life" and in doing so making me face my disorder. It just kind of feels cold and sad and even colder and sadder that my ex T turned out to be more like my new T and my case manager then I thought. 

I'm not having good luck with therapists. :(

Edited by sleepy borderline

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7 hours ago, sleepy borderline said:

Just thought I'd update my post

I went to go see my newish T today. She doesn't want to hear anymore about my old T. My old T has not asked her about me, just like she hasn't asked my case manager. I'm just supposed to move on.

I guess it is easier for therapists to terminate even with a long term client then it is for the client. 

I have no choice but to not care anymore about weather or not she cared or still does care about me. I guess I must move on for my own sake. Still kind of hurts and hurts even more to be told by professionals that I am weird for caring about this.  whatever.

WTF?  It is your therapy appt, and you can't talk about anything you want?

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6 hours ago, sleepy borderline said:

Now I'm kind of butthurt about my new T's response to the whole thing. Instead talking through my feelings and being compassionate and comforting about it, her whole attitude was just like " move on already".

I would be so angry.  I agree with you that you should be able to talk through your feelings and your current Tdoc being compassionate/comforting about it.  I think she sounds like a bitch.

6 hours ago, sleepy borderline said:

She even used the example of another client at the clinic who had seen a therapist there for 20 years and that client has borderline too and she's moved on faster and easier then me. My new T also said she has never cried when a client has left nor given them a card.

So she is comparing you to another patient, when every patient is different?  Every one has different feelings/thoughts.  Some people have to talk it through more to process it.  For you current tdoc, she really doesn't seem to give a shit.

I am angry for you!  And I would with no doubt, start looking for another tdoc.  If this whole situation happened to me, I would definitely be looking for another one.

 

I'm so sorry this is happening!

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