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Today was the first time ever my husband went into the session room with me. I had to cancel due to financial reasons and we both met with her briefly to discuss an alternate method of payment. I have to share because I find it amusing and somewhat funny.

What sent me looking for and ultimately finding this forum was that I was having tremendous ET over my therapist and the fact that she is in the habit of wearing very short mini skirts and dresses made the ET all that much worse. Well because I came here and got encouragement I was able to tell T how I found her way of dressing to be a distraction and a bit unprofessional. I never discuss therapy or my therapist with my husband, thus this conversation about her way of dressing has never occurred with hubby. Until TODAY.

Later this evening I asked him for his on sight and limited perceptions of T and what transpired. OK OK.... so he says, "I got the impression she was trying to flirt with me, she did not even LOOK at YOU, she was intently focused on me and fidgeting with her dress giving me an upshot the whole time". I think she has serious sexual frustration issues, tries to draw attention to her sexuality by putting it completely out there and I find it very tawdry." OMG! Not only am I cracking up laughing over this because this is my reality every single week despite telling her how her dressing used to make me feel. Now I just get to see what color underwear she is wearing every week. She's got them in a plethora of colors.

Oh how I love my T and my hubby even more. My reality just got very validated today.
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Hi everyone,

Thank you for laughing along with me. I really did get a kick out of it.

(((Jones))) No the ET is not an issue for me anymore (thank goodness, because that was an awful experience). I have taken to throwing her a blanket when I am too distracted by her lap. It isn't that I am looking, it is that I have no other choice but to view what she puts out there. If anything, I find it to be an annoyance at times because the professional in me knows her method of dress is inappropriate for the profession she is in.

I would like to share the rest of the story because through it I received a tremendous amount of validation that my perceptions are not off base. I just want to make it clear that I have chosen to stay with this T because she reminds me so much of my mother in her behaviors and manner of being that I have chosen to stay to rework those issues by choice and that I am definately making progress in that area and managing transference that even I am astounded.

So as a survivor of many things, but in particular as a child of abuse and of an alcoholic my realities were never validated. My experiences and the way I saw things were never believed and were discounted as me being an "oversensitive" child.

So here is the backstory to the meeting that hubby attended with me yesterday and what led up to it. Intially when I found out we were too low on cash for me to afford my co-pay I had texted T asking if she would be able to hold a check for a week.... otherwise I would have to cancel the session for the day and resume next week or the week after when I had the money. I texted her sunday night. I waited all night... not a word back from her, which is not like her. I even texted asking her to text back a smiley if she was in a place where she could not talk or if it was ok for me to just proceed to therapy in the morning.... again nothing. Called her and left a message early monday morning as my appt was for 11 am. In the message I explained again that I did not have cash clear, could she hold a check (even though I did not like asking her to do that). Told her I needed to hear back from her by 10:30 am in order to make the appt from my location as it takes me a half hour to get there. At 10:45 I get a text back from her telling me that she cannot hold a check to use public health assistance hotline in the interim until I am more comfortable with our financial situation. Hubby and I were in the car at that time headed toward her part of town because he wanted to check out a new store that was opening. well after she sent me that text, I kind freaked a little... started crying in the car. Hubby said he wanted to go talk to her about accepting checks twice a month on his paydays to cover the weekly sessions. So I text her again telling her we are on our way to her office to discuss future payment arrangements and options. So we get there and the secretary tells us that T called the night before to say I had cancelled and her first appt was not until noon (which really pissed me off because she waited until 10:45 the day of my session to answer me when she knew at 6:00pm the night before she was not going to see me and waited to respond even though she has always responded on sundays when there has been an issue in the past).

So T arrives shocked to see us. We get in the session room and the story changes. I wanted to SLAM her so bad... but I just there and "watched my mother at work". I am so proud of myself for not uttering one word and for containing my rage. She sat there and told my husband, I have absolutely no problem holding a check. I understand you are having financial issues and I only make it to the bank for deposit of client checks once a month at the end of the month anyway, so payment is a non-issue to me!


She showed me her cold hearted self like she usually is in that text, and then turned around and did an about face with my husband present... exactly like my mother constantly did to family and friends when I was growing up and my entire life. My mom was one person TO me in private and a complete FACADE in public around others. I never felt believed, in fact I was not believed about any of the emotional or physical abuse growing up.

But hubby saw the initial text she sent and then sat there and watched her "flip" her stance once he was in the room. For my husband to SEE it. For him to understand that she changed her tune completely was so validating.

Later on in the evening as he and I discussed what transpired he actually said to me, "now I know why you act the way you do sometimes when you come home from therapy,,, she is exactly like your mother". Transference explained and validated as being very real!

Hubby put the icing my cake, the cherry on my whipped cream.... he saw the reality as I see it, therefore making me less doubtful of my perceptions and my reality. I never had my reality validated with my mom, so it felt really good having it validated now.
Hi GG... well I'm glad that you were validated by your dh but I have to say that I do not like your T nor the things she does (dressing provacatively and her non-responsiveness).

My concern is that there is a difference between someone who evokes a transference back to your mother (I have a negative mom transference at times towards my T who is a male!)and someone who actually IS like your mother. I think that is more of a repetition compulsion. While I act towards my T at times like he is my mom, he is in reality nothing like my mom at all. The transference allows me to work through some issues and we can discuss why he is not like her and that all people are not like her and why, etc.

But when you are dealing with someone who in reality is like your abuser, then you are acting in a repetiton compulsion mode where you are doing it all over again but this time you are trying to make it right or do it better.

I may be off in my thinking but there is a fine line between those two circumstances. Just something to ponder.

Best to you

Yes you have definately given me something to ponder. About trauma bonding and how our brains are hardwired to be attracted to people who are like our abusers. I always thought this was always all transference, all about me not perceiving my own perceptions correctly and trusting them, but yesterday really shone a whole new light on this whole therapuetic dynamic between T and I. I am becoming more and more questioning of myself and my own motives, and really deep inside, I am feeling myself separate internally and emotionally from my T. I can feel it taking place and I am moving to a place to where I will move out of therapy with her. I don't feel as attached to her as I used to, I don't feel dependent on her as much and have the desire to unattach for safety reasons. To protect myself... and that is ok.

Beestung... yeah gaslighting to the max!
It all sounds ghastly GG, in my humble opinion. What you shared above with her literally showing he underwear is extremely wrong and unprofessional. To have it pointed out, and she's it'll wears inappropriate clothing is wrong on so many levels. Have you raised the issue with her again? What on earth does she say if you tell her 'I can clearly see you're wearing x colour underwear - it's making me uncomfortable and it's very unprofessional' ???

Reading what you wrote and then what TN wrote, my thought on it all is maybe you are drawn to her and are seeking (unconsciously) to repeat the previous trauma pattern / traumatic bond - but the main reason being so you can gain a sense of mastery or control over the relationship dynamic? Ie - you're older, wiser, smarter now, than you were as a child, so in theory have more 'control' or 'power' over the situation now than when you were little? Ie - at a deeper level, you're trying to 'change the ending'?

(Hope that doesn't come across as a criticism cos it's not - I don't mean it in a bad way or mean to imply you're doing it on purpose or are being manipulative etc - really hope it doesn't read like that!)

Absolutely I am recreating, reenacting, and recreating the past... all with the hope of making a more acceptable ending. YOU SO HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!

I have totally seen this, I have totally owned this. I am totally 100% sure that I am choosing to relive my past, experience the same terror, the same fear, the same anger, the same intimidation, the same confusion, the same fear I had with my mom. I totally see it and I am totally doing it by choice. I am trying and am clearly aware that I am trying to experience new reality by reliving the past with my T as being both the trigger the sets me into negative emotional responses and the catalyst that moves me toward healing. I have got say honestly that despite T being the way she is this therapeutic relationship or alliance or whatever you call it, has brought me the most pain, but also the most healing. I have allowed this T into my reality, I let myself be out of control with her, I have completely let my emotional guard down and let myself spin out control emotionally within the safety of the relationship. I have TRUSTED this therapist with the raw, unhidden, broken, not well presented and put together self. Just being allowed the freedom to be that way, to experience the intensity of it and not have someone bail on me... to TRUST and to trust in trusting... has been monumental for me and spoken volumes to my heart. I have learned so much through introspection and reflection in this journey that I can't even put it in writing.

When I think of T from a professional stance like observing her through the eyes of another professional, I have no idea what goes through her mind when she dresses in the morning!!!!!!!
In the beginning I thought it was just my problem and I have always been shakey in my sexuality, having had sexual feelings for both men and women, I just figured my inner lesbian was at work... and I didn't say anything. Then the ET hit hard and the mini skirts and the underwear were too much for me. I did discuss with her that speaking professional to professional I found the short skirts and dresses to be a distraction, unprofessional and just not the appropriate way of dressing for the profession and the issues clients may have may trigger even more issues. I told her that woman to woman, I find her physically pleasing to look at and I told her client to therapist, that I found it tastless, triggering due to my abuse issues. There have been times when she when I felt offended and even threatened (emotionally) by the way she dresses.

Needless to say, even though I would rather look at my therapists face when I am talking to her, I often am looking at her lap because she can't keep covered up and fidgets with her garments (what little there is of it), making it look like she is trying to cover up. That is the point where I will throw her blanket. I thought that act alone might mortify her, because it would me, but apparently she doesn't see it as an issue and is just TAWDRY about it. (I am sorry I had to).

I think I rambled. Sorry.
I just wanted to add, that I am getting there emotionally, I am getting to the point to where I am feeling emotional disconnection. I am not allowing her (in my head) the power to set me into a tailspin anymore. She is neither glorified on a pedestal in my head, nor is she the "good mom" or the "bad mom" or the person I feel like I need or even want when I am down and dysregulated. In my mind and in my heart I have a strong liking for her and my mind and heart are coming to let go with that love and respect intact.
I dunno GG - my T has always said to me it is vital we do not not 'get drawn into repeating the trauma bond' I had with my mother. I trust my T - if she believes it is harmful to do so, then I believe her.

If you're aware that you are repeating the pattern and it is for a sense if control, then of course that part of you will fight desperately to keep doing the same thing (repeating the past trauma). It's the key motivation - to 'change the outcome'- BUT I do not believe it is helpful OR in yr best interests to do so.

As TN pointed out - there is a huge difference between reacting the past pattern with someone who is LIKE your mother, and someone who REMINDS you of her.

It didn't work out well for you in the original relationship, I fail to see how it can this time either? If it was that she simply REMINDED you of yr mother, then I think it would be helpful. But given she is LIKE your mother, I do not think it will help you at all, long term.

More so that your T seems either oblivious to her behaviour or prepared to change it.

Any relationship can only be as healthy as the two people in it. If neither are healthy, then it cannot ever be positive Frowner

(Not meaning you are 'unhealthy' in a bad way - hard to explain what I mean without it sounding bad - hope it makes some sort of sense!)
I am thinking hard on this stuff... the trauma bonding.

I totally see your point ElizaJ. I see it when I stand outside myself and view myself in the clinical sense.

My mind, knows what I need to do. It is my heart and feelings that have me tied up. I need to let go. I need to walk away. A part of me wants to, and a part of me wants to keep going. I guess the hopeful childlike part of me that wishes so desperately that this reality could be different.

But the story always winds up the same. I know that.

One thing that really has me hung up is how terribly shattered my inner child is. How desperate for love and to love, how desperate to trust ... and how adult me carries out the mission at all costs.

I think Ts recent behavior toward me is one more effort to push me away and push me out. I think she wants me gone. Actually I take that back. I don't think she thinks about me at all. She has made such a huge impact in my life in so many ways and I am irrelevant and easily discardable to her. You know missing a therapy session is a real big deal to me. I really wanted to be there. I really wanted to interact with T, and I feel like she just blew me off by not getting back to me and doing what she did. It made me realize in a very HUGE way that this woman who has done so much for me, represented so much to me on so many levels.... really would only pause briefly if I freaking died... and move on with her day and go shopping. It makes me sick to my stomach sometimes when I think about how much importance and significance I have allowed her to have in my head and my heart only to be seen as NOTHING and not important. I feel like my mom never loved me and there must be a reason for that. There must be something wrong with me, therefore leaving me unloveable to any woman under any circumstances. My mom knew about me, what other people have to figure out about me just by knowing me, and that is that I simply am wrong. There is something wrong with me.
(((GG))). I know you're hurting and what a mind f&ck it is - I don't think it's quite as black and white though - I don't think she is necessary sadistic or playing with you - more just inappropriate ... From an outside perspective it does seem (to me anyway) a combination of a strong need you have inside to repeat the past - but change the outcome - as well as transference in that you feeling she is sadistic (when it's more likely she isn't but she does trigger you in a very negative way).
GG, hoping you can hold on to what you saw through your husband's validation: this is not something wrong with you, this is some rather odd issue or complex of issues of the T's that she is failing to keep out of the therapy space.

On the issue of her knickers, we know for sure that she is doing this to ALL her clients. And remember what the professional in you knows: it's simply inappropriate. She dresses in those clothes all day and (it seems like) every day. She will have many other clients whose sexual orientation allows them to be attracted to her, or whose experience of transference has them attracted to her. She will have hetero or bi male clients, lesbian and bi women clients. She very likely has a number of clients who have sexual abuse, exploitation, or assault backgrounds, or body image issues, or other issues that would be triggered by this. What she's doing with her dress will be creating confusion, upset and worry for quite a few of those clients - maybe even a majority.

So the feelings that there's something wrong with you, in response to her odd and erratic responsiveness (the knickers are just one part of that), are understandable, but they are about the past. The truth of the current situation is that there is something very strongly going on with her, and I believe it is playing out in all kinds of mixed messages, including that crazy-making switch of responses about the held cheque.

I can see that there are two tracks to your response to her, and it makes a lot of sense. On the one hand you can see she's got some issues and limitations and you are pulling away from her at a pace that feels right for you. I fully applaud this. On the other hand you're feeling all the rejection, rage and powerlessness of the past, because this is such a close echo and feels like a really exploitative and unsafe situation. I hope you can allow these two 'parts' of you to communicate with one another, offer comfort and reassurance in one direction and valuable information in the other. You're doing great.

Take care.
Thank you Jones and ElizaJ for your thoughtful responses.

She called me this morning and I didn't even want to hear her voice. I am stepping back for a week or several weeks despite her second phone call to keep me coming back. I have to step away from this to squash the emotions. Like what is the point. She is never there to help me when I am to the point of no return. Her responses (or lack of) just sets me off into an emotional rampage... and then she just wants to tell me that my perceptions are inaccurate. They are not always inaccurate and I refuse to allow someone to distort my reality so they can feel justified in their actions and behaviors.

(((Jones))) I told her the same thing about her way of dressing, how maybe it is not just solely my issue... that maybe her other clients are uncomfortable also but are not at a point where the feel comfortable discussing it. I think she gets off on the idea of evoking sexual longings in her clients. AND THAT IS SICK! And I let her know my husband did not find her or her way of dress appropriate but he found it inappropriate and TAWDRY! She didn't give MY man a boner, but a true glimpse of unprofessionalism.

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