letter to my therapist
Wednesday July 16, 2008
Dear Alice Miller…..I am sending you a letter I emailed my therapist today plus her reply. If you have time or inclination I would appreciate your thinking on my situation. I stated my grievances and wanted an honest reply and possibly an apology for the way I was treated. A bit dissapointed here with her lack of concern and empathy on my behalf especially after 6 yrs. It was only last fall when she told me it was important for the patient to get angry at the therapist and find that it’s Ok. I asked if she could handle that and her reply was yes. Well it doesn’t seem to me like she can. Afterall, in session, I spoke to her in a very nice way. Thank you, sorry it’s so long.
I have given a lot of thought to whats been happening in my therapy, in particular the last two sessions. The past 15 months have been particularly hard as I breached walls into the past, but there have been red flags that I chose to ignore and consequently have remained in more pain than I think necessary and I do see why. This aside I see very clearly the subtle ways you have been preventing me from moving with ease into the feelings of my past. I sense it to be not so much conscious as unconscious on your part.
in contrast to your thinking i do believe when your issues are brought into my session, they then become a real part of my life and I am forced to deal with them. i don’t think it rude to bring this up. I know that you felt hurt and reacted angrily and then tried to place the blame on me, but I will not shoulder that burden.
I realize I have possibly pushed past your limits of healing and bumped into your own fears.No doubt this has caused you angst. At one time the “therapeutic wall” between us was beneficial to both parties but now it’s time has passed and IMO is serving more for your protection. But what I see is not just a wall for good, but one, that I beleive, you may use to push my feelings down in order to avoid your own. I am not afraid to move past these previously established boundaries, how bout you?
I disagree with your statement that Miller’s therapy keeps one locked in anger with no resolve. I will not believe otherwise unless you can supply me with clear evidence disputing my thoughts. I welcome you to send these and I will decide for myself. My child’s anger was an appropriate reaction to abuse, but unfortunately b/c of a power differential it could not be much expressed. I can do it now with both my family and other people when they hurt me. Whether imagined from the past or real in the present, these issues can only be resolved in the here and now. This seems the point where most people find trouble b/c they fail to distinguish the past from present and push past old fears and find their truth. I can do this but not in a place where people hold me down, usually, I’m finding b/c of their own isses. When I do this in feeling form I experience grief and somewhere here my anger is resolved and the potential for true intimacy forms, along with freedom to experience my true self. I feel you trying to keep my feelings down, very subtly, in a way that protects and serves your own interests and hinders me from realizing my dreams and potentials. I have had to push past this obstacle too, but it’s a real drag to say the least. In a nutshell this is my path as I know it and whether you believe Miller or not I know her words to be true.
I am very clear on my perceptions now, and in your own words, “know what I know”. To the best of my abilities I am surrendering all idealizations of others including you, and chosing to confront my life head on. I am clear on methods people use to shut others down including the advantage of power, real or imagined, primarily to avoid their own stuff. I have used this myself but understand what a high price is paid for this type denial. I’m giving this up as best I can and choose to live true to me, which means sharing the truth of my feelings as I can, when it’s appropriate….. a part of breaking the old dependency issues I suffer from, and experience reality for what it is, rather than to rely on the lies of illusions to face life.
I had hopes that you would own your part in whats been going on. I do not think I have been rude to you for exposing this, especially in of all places, therapy. Quiet frankly I think it’s rude to scapegoat me, and it won’t work. Your problems with anger are yours, unfortunately they do affect me in your office and that should not occur, I pay you to help me. That’s a real struggle right now, and it’s unfair for me to be expected to solve your problems at my expense. As far as your comment on empathy…yes I have seen you show me that many times…..How much empathy is there now…to blame me for whats not mine? I took your comment to be a ploy for distraction. I am leveling the “power differential” that Miller writes so explicitly and candidly about. This is very intimate work, your words, and in keeping with this it’s crucial for a therapist to have personal issues resolved. I see it’s happened here and it’s hurting me. I wonder if you really can see any of this? Therapy like this eventually can become a lie, a farce with only false hope.
I am cancelling my tomorrow’s appointment b/c I need feedback from you and time to think about what you say. the moment I read MIller I knew she was speaking the truth, and since then I’ve been applying this information to my and at the same time testing it’s reliability. So far I haven’t found holes in her thinking. She herself acknowledges in her work her own shortcomings to her patients and clears the record for both parties. I think this humane and courageous of her, perhaps you might think of doing the same. I have a lot invested with you and think it still possible to work together but IMO it will take change and honesty with whats going on, I know the theories and they are mostly crap at this point, a reference guide at best, whats really important is my relationship with you. No, I don’t want to know the particulars as to how you resolve your stuff. I’ll see it if it’s real and reject it if it isn’t. I know this probably stings, but I can assure you it has nothing to do with the worth of your person. Been there done that myself. It takes some courage on my part to write this….I would imagine the same for you. I have come a very long way in healing but I am determined to finish the job in any case…Thanks
Reply……As you requested, your appointment tomorrow has been canceled. I had definitely planned to ask you how you felt about our last session and you have every right to feel courageous and proud for having voiced your concerns and what you know to be true.my personal buttons (which I know are about me, not you) definitely got pushed, and while i am working on them, I have no way of knowing when or if they will be disabled to the extent you need. Let me know if you want any referrals.
AM: I admire your clarity; your wisdom and your courage to express honestly and frankly what you feel EVEN towards the person who might have helped you for some time but who does not seem to understand you NOW. To try to change her would mean to repeat the story with your parents, the never ending and hopeless effort to change them. Now, you seem free from this compulsion, you don’t need to change anybody so that they understand you (this doesn’t work anyway) because YOU PERFECTLY UNDERSTAND YOURSELF. Congratulations!