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Have you ever told your T something really bad? I don't mean something you're ashamed of. Or something someone did to you. I mean something you did. Something wrong, bad, maybe illegal, definitely shameful.

I've done something, and the guilt/terror is eating me up.

If you've told, how did you get up the courage? How did the T respond? Were there any bad ramifications with your therapy? Or out IRL?

Thanks if you're willing to share.

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I did. While it had not actually hurt anyone, it was wrong, shameful and illegal (if details would help, I'd prefer PM, since ... Well... It was illegal).
However it was at the very beginning of the therapy, so I was not afraid of losing the T yet. And she reacted "badly", which had at first a big impact on how she saw me/acted with me (like with a criminal). Which in turn left marks on the therapy itself, because I cannot forget that at some point, she was scared/very disapproving of me.
Having a preexisting relationship with the therapist may help her understand what is at stake and how to react appropriately. I wish I could help more...
I've done shoplifting and told T, as it is one of the ways I act out if things get too much. She wasn't bothered by the illegality of it, but more interested in how this was helping me cope, etc. etc. It did not have a big impact on me, as I don't see it as a hanging offence and I understand why I did it and think I could have done a lot worse... Hope this doesn't make you all think I'm an amoral person? Smiler
Well, I did tell my T something that I did that was very...well...what you said on your post. I thought his reaction would be disapproving, but he was extremely accepting and understood. I think he understood why I did what I did better than I did! But...his reaction really didn't suprise me. He has the patience of Job. Every day I feel so blessed to have him as my T.
You are very right, Skylynx.

I want to also make clear here that I am not seeking confessions. If you want to tell me as a part of the dialogue, that's okay. I am NOT fishing. I am especially interested in the process and emotional side of things. And, in line with what Skylynx wrote, I would caution folks to be mindful of what you write. PM if you don't want or can't respond here.

I can't find how to start a new PM conversation Frowner so I will try to answer here.
I went to therapy specifically about that "bad" thing, because I knew it could not go on, the guilt and shame (as well as the possible actual legal consequences) were eating me up. So I did not wonder too much on whether I was going to talk about it or not.
Then, the actual saying, I dont remember. Like everytime i decide to talk about sth really scary, My feelings and all were very "dulled" because I absolutely did not want to feel the additional shame.
Emotional impact a bit later: because I had mentioned it + the T had reacted not so positively (she actually saw my actions as even worse than I did, but the fact that she did not know me at all can explain this reaction) made me feel terrible for several weeks... I was disgusted with myself/feeling I was a monster.
However, on the long-run, it was definitely the right choice to make, because this was such an important thing in my life, and not mentioning it(as I had done it with the previous Ts) made the therapy a bit pointless because avoiding something central and I definitely needed support/help with.
Impact IRL: varied over time, brought on tons of shame, but also acceptance and the ability to "integrate" that side of me, without saying it was right or good, but with a less "i must kill this monster in me" reactions (well, a bit less, it is a work in progress)
Not sure i answered your question? (Feel free to PM for more specific details, I simply cant find how to do it technically^^)
Sorry for the hijack. About to start a PM with someone the simplest way to do it is to click on their username in one of their posts (but make sure you're logged in). A brown drop-down menu appears. Select "Invite <username> to a private topic." This opens a reply window identical to the one used on Open Forum. Hope that helps.


PS I'm on my iPhone. On a regular computer it might take a right-click (click on the right-hand mouse button instead of the usual left) to make the menu appear.
I told my T something I had done that was illegal and i need up with a 6 months prison sentence, but it was suspended for 18 months … which means if i stepped out of line in that 2 years, id be called to prison for the 6 months.

it was over a decade ago, and i was very unwell at the time. I'm not proud of it, but I'm not ashamed either. it was something i DID, not something I AM. one very bad judgment call, does not make ME a 'bad person' even though what i did was 'bad' (hurt other people emotionally and mentally).

i believe that's the same for all us - we genuinely do the best that we can in the situation at hand - sometimes we don't make the best decisions, and act on impulsion, but i don't think it makes us 'bad' people.

RT - if you are worried you're a 'bad' person because of whatever you have done in the past, don't you think that BECAUSE you feel so ashamed, and awful about it, that does mean you ARE a good person?

people who really don't give a crap, or are 'bad', can hurt other people, and never ever feel bad about it.

i only have one thing i feel too ashamed to tell my T about - and that was something done to me by my mother, not anything i did. I also haven't said to myself' i wont EVER' tell her - i will, when the time is right or it becomes more pressing.

i think if you trust your T, then sharing it with your T, will help you - a) you don't' have to keep it to yourself and sharing it it can lose it's power; b) your T will very very likely accept you ANYWAY.

i think when it comes to a T needing to disclose something for legal purposes it is only if you are going to hurt yourself or another person - rather than something you might have done, illegal, and hurt someone else, in the past.

a good starting point would be to just let your T know what you have shared here - that you have something you are scared to tell her about; you're unsure if it will leave you feeling worse if you disclose it or not, and talk about any other fears you might have (i.e. - will she still accept you, will she need to tell anyone else about it?).

when I've had big things to talk to my T about and i am really afraid about - i find it SUPER helpful to spend a few sessions talking about talking about it - not saying what it is, but talking through my fears. sometimes I've emailed her 'the thing' and vibe been careful in my email to say if its something i am ready to talk about, or if she needs to ask first, or if i want to talk about it next session.

a couple of times i have shared something via email, and have made it clear 'please don't bring this up', and she has always respected my requests. i usually do get around to talking about it with her eventually, and (so far) haven't ever felt worse from talking it through with her.
Thanks, ElizaJ, for sharing your story. I couldn't quite tell if you told your T and THEN ended up with a sentence or if you told T AFTER. In other words, did she do something to involve the legal system?

I understand what you describe about doing something bad vs being bad. And yes, I suppose it is the shame that makes me feel I am bad. That's what shame it, really. But I feel guilt too, and that's different from shame.

I do think T will accept me anyway. And I am sure I will end up telling her eventually. As you've suggested, we have talked a little bit "around" the topic - but too much talking or T asking questions and I've had to say, no more for now.

I did tell previous Ts - but telling and working through it are two different things. Telling brought no resolution for me. With current T, I trust she will help me through it. And, hopefully, I will be able to integrate that part of me. I have felt like a monster for what I did. I've not been able to allow myself to accept it as part of me and most of the time have kept it boxed up and separate from myself. But when it comes out of the box and I come face-to-face with it, I feel so much distress that suicide is my go-to place. Also, on two occasions with two different Ts, I had very bad meltdowns and that scares me.

Hi Rt - no, the suspended prison sentence was years and years ago - a long time before I met my T.

I was seeing a T at the time, but did not tell her what I'd done until after I'd confessed to the police. There was a month between my actions and my coming clean. I had been very dissociated at the time - I was pretty dissociated most of the weeks afterwards as well....

I confessed when hospitalised - I told the psych nurse; she bought in the manager of the hostel I was living at and I had to tell him 'it was me'. I then had the police visit and charge me.

I think you're right in that you have talked about it before but not processed it. That will probably be the key to healing. It sounds like you have a great T whom you trust.

I would encourage you to 'talk about taking about it' if it will help. I find this invaluable when needing to tell my T things and am so fearful of rejection.

In terms of ramifications - going through the whole process; being convicted, name in paper, having a criminal record - it was a major turning point for me. I became desperate enough to 'go to any lengths' to get better and have a different life. I hadn't been drinking at the time of my offence but had a long history of abusing alcohol - acting out how I did when 'sober' - I knew I need to never risk drinking again.

I went to rehab. 3 weeks, and my life changed. I was going to AA meetings and lived the 12 step way of life for years. Went to Uni, completed a degree, graduating too of my class, then onto another degree from which I have my career now. Huge huge changes from hitting that 'rock bottom'. I'd finally got to a place I was living the life I could previously only ever fantasies about - I was FREE.

It was years later, over a decade without being mentally unwell, that my city went though massive earthquakes, which triggered childhood based PTSD, and I've been struggling mentally ever since. One day I hope together back to feeling 'normal' again.

Where I live, if you don't commit any further criminal Offences in a 7 year period, you get a 'clean slate' - which means your record is sealed - exception being the police can access it and it has to be declared if travelling / visa / passport etc.

BUT when I needed to apply for admission to my current profession, it was 3 weeks short of the 7 years - so I had to declare my convictions - but, DESPITE my pretty serous criminal convictions, i was able to become the professional in a career I had always dreamed off, since a teenager.

I think most people do give 'second chances' and even if worse case scenario you (as in anyone) ended up with a record, it Isn't the end if the world. If you can show you've made changes in your life since, then it won't affect yr life going forward and doing whatever you want to do

Long story short - making mistakes in the past doesn't mean it has to ruin yr life forever Smiler

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