On March 10, 2015, my therapist of a year and a half left me. She didn’t just terminate me…she abandoned me.
The session before termination, my T was telling me how proud she was that I had achieved all my short-term goals. She had me sign the paper asking my insurance for more sessions.
On March 10th, I arrive at my session at the normal time: 1:30 pm. My T is always about 5 minutes late. I went into her office and sat down. I had my puppy with me and she asked me about her because the puppy just had her spay surgery. Then she said, “Well, I have bad news. [Your insurance] has finally denied us.” She went on to say, “I talked with the head of [your insurance], and we all agree that individual therapy is no longer beneficial for you, so we are terminating.” I immediately broke down crying. I said things like “No!”, “Please don’t!”, “Please change your mind!”, “You promised not to abandon me!”, “What’s the point of me staying?”, and “What more do you have to say?” Her responses included: “No, I won’t change my mind”, “Our relationship is affecting your treatment”, “Your anger is just an example of the problems with our relationship”, “If I don’t leave you, then I’m abandoning you”, and silence/no answer. During the argument I was trying to walk out of the office. So I was yelling where everyone in the adjacent offices could here. The last thing I said to her was, “If you really care about me, you will come after me, but I know you won’t”. At the end, I said “Fuck you” and slammed the door behind me. I ran down to my car crying. After a few minutes I called my fiance. This was at 1:39 pm. I talked to my fiance for awhile, when I noticed a police car pulling up. I knew my T had called the cops on me. So I quickly got into my car, and drove to a different location. My fiance left his work and drove 40 minutes down to where I was. He held me and comforted me till I was calm enough to drive home. I drove home with him right behind me the whole way. He was talking to me on the phone trying to keep me calm and safe while driving. We got home, and I took some Ativan. Then, there was a knock at the door. It was the police. My T called the cops on me again. My fiance and I just quietly waited it out until the police left. He then made us some food and then we went straight to the emergency room. I knew after this trauma, I wasn’t safe. After several hours at the hospital, they determined I was safe to go home.
I was terminated in a 4-5 minute time frame. It’s proof that my T never helped me understand the termination process. Even if I can’t prove how late she was, even if I can’t prove I waited a few minutes before calling my fiance, the whole conversation at most lasted 9 minutes. There is no way a person can logically comprehend a loss of a 17 month relationship in 9 minutes.
Everyone asks me if I knew about the termination beforehand. How could I? Why would she tell me the session before that she was proud of me? Why would she submit the paperwork to my insurance asking for more sessions? She made an agreement with my Pdoc, insurance, county, and myself to stay with me through the time that I attend DBT group at the county (mid-May). She promised to stay with me while my Pdoc is on maternity leave (till end of May). She promised to be there for me after DBT group was completed and I get pregnant. She promised that even after termination that she would remain in my life, and I could always return to her as a client as needed. She said that when my insurance denied us, we would go through the appeal process which included contacting an advocate and if that still resulted in a denial, then contacting an ombudsman. She said worst case scenario, I would have to pay out-of-pocket and she would only charge me what my insurance was paying her. How could I have been prepared for a termination at any point?
My T lied about so many things. Including the things I mentioned above, she told me she cared about me, she wouldn’t abandon me, she wouldn’t abandon me to the county, that the issues I was having with the therapeutic relationship could always be addressed as it was one of my core issues, that she would help me through my pregnancy, and that she would give me a letter, a picture, and a tangible object when we terminate. She said things such as “my concern comes from a place of love” and “I want you to feel loved and safe while with me”. She promised she would always be open and honest with me.
I put 100% effort into this relationship and working on improving myself. I was completely honest with her and was open as I could be. I disclosed to her my deepest and darkest secret. I followed all of her advice except for when she suggested I needed to be hospitalized or in a crisis house. And I did make improvements. I was seeing my doctors and working on my physical health. I was seeing my dentists and am close to being complete with all my dental work. I learned to drive again, started driving by myself, and then bought my own car for the first time. I was using so many coping skills: glass painting, crocheting, metal embossing, this website, gardening, walking, etc. I was practicing deep breathing, relaxing, and communicating. I started DBT group. All of these things were not easy for me. Just two years ago, I had been locked in my house for 6 years. I was terrified of people and wasn’t receiving any medical treatment.
I emailed her a few days late expressing how I felt and asking her all my whys. She did respond and said that the termination process was not intended to be that way. That she intended to provide me with ample time to process this. So I emailed her back asking for the keep her intentions and let me process this with her. Her response was that she’s no longer my T, she doesn’t feel she can help me any longer, and to never contact her again.
Many people (the liaison at the ER, county, crisis line, etc.) have all told me that my T terminated me unethically. They all have suggested I report her to the county. So I have. I contacted my advocate and the process has already started. My T was supposed to help me cope during this time, but she didn’t. She was supposed to provide me with referrals, but she didn’t till after the fact. My advocate also informed me that I can report my T to the APA board. I will. I found out that psychologist take the Hippocratic Oath like all other doctors do. She broke that oath by abandoning me. Part of the oath for psychologists is also to inform other parts of the treatment team of an impending termination. The county had no idea that she would be terminating me at that time. My goal is not to harm her or her life. I just don’t want her to think that what she did was appropriate or to do it to any of her current or future clients.
I am devastated and heart broken. I respected my T, admired her, looked up to her, cared about her, and loved her. She saved me and then she just abandoned me. I physically hurt from all of this emotional pain. My body is exhausted, my muscles are tense, my bones ache, my chest hurts, and my head is heavy. I get dizzy, have shortness of breath, and feel nauseous. I have crying spells which give me headaches, make my eyes sore, face swell, and raises my body temperature which feels like a fever. I over sleep from the exhaustion, but I don’t get restful sleep due to the bad dreams. I have flashbacks and memories that trigger the emotional pain. I am struggling with memory and concentration. I have a lack of interest in things I used to enjoy and a lack of energy to even complete simple tasks such as bathing. My diet is a mess. I have no appetite and none of the foods I love are appealing. Yet, when I’m upset, I binge eat any junk food in sight. I was trying to quit smoking, but now I’m up to a pack and a half a day. After I received the email where my T told me to not contact her again, I had a complete meltdown. I wound up cutting myself again. I wound is about two inches wide and half an inch deep. I should have gotten stitches, but I didn’t want to go to the hospital because I knew they would admit me. My thoughts of self-harm and suicide are extremely severe. I don’t tell people because I don’t want them to worry and because I don’t want to be locked up. I also don’t say anything because I don’t want to be stopped if I decide to follow through with any of my thoughts. My feelings are all over the place. I feel angry, resentful, betrayed, abandoned, rejected, alone, vulnerable, fragile, helpless, powerless, hopeless, depressed, distressed, anguish, despair, desperate, heartbroken, hurt, tormented, grief, confused, and fearful.
How do I move on from this? How do I trust again? How do I let anyone into my life again? I don’t want to love anymore. The pain is too great. In the end, everyone leaves me. What do I do wrong? How can I change? Must I always suffer this way? I have been abandoned so many times in my life. And it’s true abandonment, not just perceived. I was abandoned by my family, my church, friends, and other people who I have loved. I have lost people in other ways too: death, relocation, etc.
I just want to be loved and to have the people in my life who I love to stay. How do I find the people who will stay? I only want one or two. Is that so much to ask for? I guess this saying fits it best: