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#462827 - 03/18/14 08:39 PM Therapy and The 7 Rules
sadclown Offline

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 59
I've begun Therapist shopping and it's more stressful than buying a car...which incidentally is the thing I hated shopping for most until recently.

While I'm engaged in a bit of phone tag sorting this out (I have a pretty full schedule; I'm hard to reach), all I can think about is how this goes against pretty much everything I do to protect myself.

When I was 19, I went ahead and took the most pertinent core tenets conducive to survival, and qualified them as "The 7 Rules". Built from trial and error, they have continued to serve me well, and divergence has yet to end happily. However, consulting a therapist, one of the things I hate most and am most leery of, goes against EVERYTHING I have in place to assure safety, in addition to my deep distrust and disdain for them in general. It's like talking to a cop without a lawyer. Bad idea. The rules, if you are wondering are as follows:

1. Believe none of what you hear
2. Always be aware of your surroundings
3. Rely on no one but yourself
4. Never let anyone know what you're thinking or how you think
5. If it feels like a bad idea, it probably is.
6. Friends are more dangerous than enemies. Compartmentalize.
7. When you break a rule, you will be painfully reminded of why you made it in the first place.

I've only been lurking about here for a couple weeks, but it seems everyone is pretty okay with the idea of a therapist. And in all probability, ALL of you can't be the cyberspace alter-ego of therapists, cleverly drumming up business. Though that could feasibly make good plot for a book.

My concern is that exposing your mind is much more dangerous than exposing your body. You can stab me and worst case, I'll die. Screw with my mind, and, well, that is a fate worse than death, no?

How can you actually approach these guys with an iota of trust?I mean, in my experience anyway, few deserve it less.

I'm not sure if I actually have a question here or just need to think aloud....this is a sticky a situation as I have ever been in and it's breaking ALL the rules. Except 7. But you don't break 7. 7 breaks you.
My Story

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed"- Ernest Hemingway

#462839 - 03/19/14 05:27 AM Re: Therapy and The 7 Rules [Re: sadclown]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1104
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Sadclown,

How about a new rule.

8. As I grow and evolve, it is possible I may modify or even outgrow one or more of these rules. I am willing to accept the possibility that change, while scary, can be a joyful addition to my life.

Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#462847 - 03/19/14 08:08 AM Re: Therapy and The 7 Rules [Re: sadclown]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 928

It's worth the risk. The pressure of keeping a secret as painful and awful as this has clearly built to an unwithstandable, dangerous level. The point is to set up a controlled private circumstance where you and a sympathetic trained professional can discuss:

-What did this do to me?
-How do I feel about myself as a child because of it?
-How do I feel about myself as a man because of it?
-What do I most need to change?
-How can I be happy?

You'll notice that NOT on that list is "showing on the doll where the bad man touched me." You can tell as much or as little if that as you like but what really matters is your emotional health and ability to like yourself and build a stable and enjoyable life, with full potential for career and relationships, not dependent on drugs or booze or whatever to numb the pain and not with the humiliation and fear at full siren mode every day for the rest of your life.

You have to let it out, and yes, that sort of trust is extremely scary. And confronting it all out loud is painful. You have to scrape off the burned skin so you'll regain the full range of movement. The first time I ever spoke aloud of this to a person - my emergency psychiatrist consult after a long blackout / breakdown on the job site - I fainted dead away on the floor of his office. He was very professional about it. Once I'd picked a therapist we actually spent the first 4-5 sessions dealing with emergency issues (self-harm, panic attacks, about to lose my job). Only after some time did I really go into the story with her, and saying out loud what that boy had had done to him felt awful. Time after time I'd cry, and since I went to the T during work hours I had to clean myself up after.

It was worth it. I don't think I'd still be alive if I hadn't done it.

I believe you can do it too.

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#462852 - 03/19/14 08:42 AM Re: Therapy and The 7 Rules [Re: sadclown]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4134
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
sadclown -

i had to admit, while reading your post, that i had a set of rules while growing up, too. i never articulated them quite like you did, but looking at your list, i realize that you seem to have covered most of mine as well.

Originally Posted By: sadclown

1. Believe none of what you hear
2. Always be aware of your surroundings
3. Rely on no one but yourself
4. Never let anyone know what you're thinking or how you think
5. If it feels like a bad idea, it probably is.
6. Friends are more dangerous than enemies. Compartmentalize.
7. When you break a rule, you will be painfully reminded of why you made it in the first place.

there were a couple that i had that were a bit more specific, though related to some of yours:

* Trust no one.
* Never tell anyone what was done to you.
* Do not express emotions. Do not FEEL emotions.

and now, looking back over the past 2 1/2 years since starting to participate here and starting to see a therapist on a weekly schedule, i have broken every one of your rules and every one of mine. i am not only still alive - i am thriving far better than at any time in my life since i was 6 years old. much of it is directly attributable to breaking the rules in a safe and controlled way with my T's guidance and with the help of others survivors here at MS and at a Weekend of Recovery, and with my wife's support, and in a faith-based 12-step program. i stopped seeing the T about 10 months ago.

i still follow some of the rules some of the time. you still have to have some defenses. but i found that they were no longer working for me as absolute across the board unbreakable commandments. i had to change - and that meant changing the rules i lived by. i now have some better rules. one of the most important ones is this:

***identify the lies that you have believed all your life and learn to reject them and embrace the truth instead.***

you are very right here:

Originally Posted By: sadclown

My concern is that exposing your mind is much more dangerous than exposing your body. You can stab me and worst case, I'll die. Screw with my mind, and, well, that is a fate worse than death, no?

it was the perpetrators that really screwed our minds. it has already been done. we need help in undoing as much of the damage as possible - whatever you want to call it - healing, recovery, adjustment, wellness, improvement...

not to say that just any old T will do. you need to find one that is qualified, trained and experienced in dealing with male SCA. there are resources on this site to help you with the process. there are also forum threads on how to find the right one.

btw - i love your sense of humor. the idea of all of us being fronts for therapists just cracked me up.

wishing you well. keep exploring!
"My experience has shown me that I all too often tend to deny that which lies behind, but as I still believe, that which is denied cannot be healed." Brennan Manning, "All is Grace - A Ragamuffin Memoir"

#462853 - 03/19/14 09:19 AM Re: Therapy and The 7 Rules [Re: sadclown]
DrumRunner Offline

Registered: 02/06/14
Posts: 16
Loc: Massachusetts
When you're young, you use your secrets to protect yourself and others. But in time, the center of those secrets cannot hold together because they are based on a lie. The energy you use to keep the secret intact becomes greater and greater. And then it becomes toxic.

Keep pushing forward!

#462880 - 03/20/14 12:59 AM Re: Therapy and The 7 Rules [Re: sadclown]
1lifenow Offline

Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 437
Loc: west coast
I love the fact from your first sentence that your in the shopping mode its a great sign, cuz when i read the rest of your post I was like, no way is he looking to get out his car.

I like all your rules except most of them, but #5
this is a good rule when shopping for a T, they will usually talk on the phone for a few minutes and that is often enough to get an impression of what will be.

trust #5 cuz if you don't have a sense of connection or at least a feeling of a possibility, just keep driving, you are wasting your time/shekels

Speak to at least 3 and you will know.

and as the others have very graciously pointed out, things can and do change in perspective as we go from protection mode a different place. as you will see, the need for your seven deadly sin rules that are imperative now become so much less so.

sometimes you get a lemon but who knows, you may end up with a cadillac and wouldn't that be grand?

ps i went through a few T's before i finally got the help i needed,
the tragedy i can only get from this perspective would have been if i have quit because they were:
- too condescending - "oh good for you"
- too confrontational - "listen, this is what you have to do"
- too religious - I am a free thinker so "believing" in a greater power is what started this whole process , so no thanks. I don't do bunk.
- too kind - "you are too hard on yourself"
- too expensive - " you need to come for a long time"

keep us posted on how it goes
so the rest of us on here can drum the bad ones out of the corps ( ok i may have said too much, i may hear from the union)
i mean good luck, persistence pays

The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. Dalai Lama

WoR Barrie 2011

#462881 - 03/20/14 01:46 AM Re: Therapy and The 7 Rules [Re: sadclown]
Jude Offline

Registered: 08/09/12
Posts: 1633
Loc: New England
Have you read A Consumer's Guide to Picking a Therapist? Its worth the read, and might help you clarify what you are looking for and how to find it.

And regarding your question about trusting a therapist, all I can say is that therapists are fallable humans. You'll come to know quickly if he/she is being judgemental, invalidating, controlling, or incompetant. If you don't feel that they're doing well by you, you can fire their asses.

It took many years before I was willing to tell a therapist about my secrets. Trusting is a process. I have had to ask him periodically if he's judging me, laughing at me, looking down on me, or thinks I'm just the craziest guy he's ever treated. He's always reassured me that helping people like me is the only reason he's there, and that if I ever think he's doing one of those things, that I should call him on it.

Just do your homework on this sadclown and your instincts will guide you in the right direction.

I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don't let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
Sarah McLachlan

#462883 - 03/20/14 04:15 AM Re: Therapy and The 7 Rules [Re: sadclown]
learning2remember Offline

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 397
Loc: Europe
Well, you've made me think about my own rules, which is good. And, it is interesting because it shows how another person's perspective can help us think of things we haven't thought of before. Classically, many of us think of therapists asking things we were afraid to ask ourselves, but it's not always that heavy. Sometimes it can feel more like a casual conversation. I am a strong believe in therapists, but I'm not sure I have much new advice on finding the right one. It is great that now we can check people out online before we ever meet them. Go with what feels right. And if that is hard to figure out, than just trust your instincts if something feels wrong. I quit a therapist I liked once because of the way the receptionist looked at me. The therapist himself was a good guy, and maybe where I am now I could have confronted the receptionist in a constructive way or even told the therapist what was going on. (It was a problem about billing, and I was explaining a misunderstanding, and just everything about her demeanor made me feel like, since I was seeking therapy, obviously my claims were questionable.)But at that time I wasn't in a place where I confronted so easily, and I wasn't even able to articulate things so well, so I moved on and found another great person. In the balance of things, the two therapists, though very different, were probably equal. The receptionist in the second place was a saint, though. She was warm and friendly and always spoke to me like a full human being. I could go on, but I guess what I'm saying is that in the second setting I felt safer, even valued. The lessons I'm trying to share is that therapy and be well worth it, and it is also worth looking for the right fit.
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

#462899 - 03/20/14 04:00 PM Re: Therapy and The 7 Rules [Re: sadclown]
Rustam Offline

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 474
Loc: UK
I suppose I had some version of your rules too. They are in a sense like being fully armed and ready for attack long after the war is over. I think for me the therapy process is so gradual and I remain in control, it is up to me dictate the agenda, to decide what to talk about and when. I had no trust in the therapist for months so had to make a leap of faith, but I could see that he was okay so I continued slowly getting honest with myself. I never felt that a therapist had any ability to screw with my mind, if they saw and pointed out things I was not seeing then I could feel whether they were right or not and talk about that. I know there can be poor therapists out there and I met four before choosing one. I find therapy uncomfortable and difficult but it is worth it. It is hard to describe how it helps to someone who has not done it. I wish there was another way to deal with this stuff but for me therapy was central to any 'getting better' that I have done.

I am not getting any fee for saying this; grin

#462958 - 03/21/14 08:52 PM Re: Therapy and The 7 Rules [Re: sadclown]
sadclown Offline

Registered: 02/27/14
Posts: 59
Hmm...there is a lot here to ponder. I suppose it's also important to remember that I'm not a kid anymore, and should, at least in theory, have a far different experience as a 20-something than as a middle schooler. I'm still apprehensive, and honestly fully expecting to be called a liar and institutionalized, but once bitten, twice shy as they say. I'm trying not to maintain a self-fulling prophecy of defeat, but damn, if every alarm bell I have is not at full blast. And the other thing is that I am not so full of shit to not be able to realize that I have some severely intense emotions buried, mostly pertaining to the other abuses of my childhood and...well, I think a decent way to explain it is that those are still kid-sized. You know how when you're a kid everything is so massively intense, be it sorrow, glee, or anger? The difference is you can't do much damage as a kid. As a grown man, I need to be vigilant and in control of my emotions at all times, because we know what emotion can do. Its the most destructive force on earth this side of nuclear weaponry. I don't need kid-sized anger coupled with man-sized strength. It's taken many years to get that in check, albeit by sweeping under the carpet, but still in check. I don't want to risk my friends, job, and lack of criminal record because I'm opening doors that should be left closed. And most of what I'm angry about, shit, all of it, can't be changed. All the people involved don't really exist anymore because no one remains the same for ten years. I'm just worried about a cycle of fury to add to the dangers of seeing a therapist..... Like I said, everything that I am is telling me not to, despite the fact that I'm pretty much without alternative. Again, not sure if there is a question there....
My Story

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed"- Ernest Hemingway

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