Dear Couples therapist,
First of all, thank you. I learned a few good things from you. I appreciate that you often stayed two hours instead of one hour, even though the problems in my marriage must have been grueling and difficult to pin down. But in the end, you were no therapist. You were an enabler.
I’m in school now and I have education by my side. You gave me and my then-husband an assignment: make a list of what we wanted from our marriage. Of course, we never got to my list because this is the list my husband gave me, as conditions for being married to him, with the stated intent to control:
“-cease negative talk and self-talk in front of the kids (because he could not be inconvenienced to say a kind word to me after a bad day)
-cease punitive and vindictive behaviors (projection)
-find a way to cope with my intense emotions (don’t feel)
-have the children vaccinated (same as saying “you’re wrong” and a way to make me look bad even though he was on board with not vaxing for years)
-that I support his parenting 100% of the time
-<Ex> is in charge of the entire household: where furniture and pictures go, where my stuff goes and how it is handled, and he will consider my wishes and requests but ultimately he is in charge (this from a guy who gave the silent treatment for three days if a plant stand was moved)
-that I make “I” statements 100% of the time, even when speaking of observable behaviors
-that I tell him when my menstrual cycle is happening
-that I am never on the computer just before dinner time
-that I trust everything he says, no matter if he has lied to me, I am simply to blindly trust what he says
-that I cease psychologizing
-change my Facebook status to “married”
-that my emails and Facebook are always open to him and that I give him my passwords
-that I cease triangulating (because he was, unbeknownst to me, triangulating with his mother-projection)
-that I only spend $500 a month on food for our family of 4
You see, Dear Therapist, that should have been a big clue that we were dealing with a huge abnormality. My own therapist and two other professionals got out their DSM and had me look at NPD. My ex met at least 6 of the 9 diagnostic criteria. Yet you defended him.
When he mocked me, you wrote that it was my fault that you couldn’t get my ex to stop gaslighting because you couldn’t get me to see my ex’s intentions were pure. Counseling 101 is “don’t ever side with an abuser.” In that moment, you did more damage to me as a person than you will ever know.
In my last email to you, you stated when I was trying so hard to get you to see the severity of the situation, you said, “well, you did things too” as if anything I did in reactive triggering excused my ex’s disordered behavior. In stating that, you took yourself out of the role of therapist and put yourself squarely in the role of enabler.
Sometimes I can’t believe you, a therapist, would side with an abuser. It still angers and haunts me to this day. Especially when so many supporters of my ex are therapists or in helping professions. I just can’t wrap my head around that level of intentional ignorance and what seems like maliciousness. I make no excuses for you and think you need to go back to school or stop trying to “help” people.
But it taught me. It taught me to keep my eyes wide open and take a buyer beware stance with therapists. It taught me that not all therapists are qualified when it comes to abuse and trauma. It floored me that this training is not mandatory. It took me to my wound of having to prove myself. I wanted so badly to make you and others see, noooo…this is wrong…you’ve got me all wrong, you’re supporting the bad guy. But I do not need to spend one ounce of my precious energy trying to change anyone else’s morals. They aren’t going to see it. They are firmly rooted in their assumptions and misguided beliefs.
Instead, I will learn to be with people who are safe. I have safe people in my life, but new ones in my life I am learning the hard way to vet. I will not spend any more of my precious time on this Earth wastefully wishing someone would change their mind about me.
So thank you, wayward therapist. I do much better these days without your enabling my being abused. You completely suck as a therapist and I suspect you might be disordered yourself.