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Old 04-28-2017, 01:54 PM #1
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Default failed at "reparemting"

I'm left asking "where do I go from here?" I grew up in a home where my mother hated me and never missed an opportunity to tell me so, and with an abusive stepfather. I sought therapy as an adult and it went well for 2 years: meaning we slowly developed a trusting relationship and I saw her as a mother figure, like one I never had. I felt cared for and for the first time I felt like I had a "safe space" to talk about my past and move forward.

Suddenly, my therapist changed from a caring therapist (and motherly type) to someone I didn't recognize. She was standoffish and cold, for lack of other descriptions. I tried for years to work past this but we came to an impasse that we were unable to work though.

Now over a year later, I feel so betrayed. The relationship that was supposed to help me get past and accept what I never had as a child left me feeling even more wbsndoned. Now I find I'm pretty much closed off from most people. I cannot find a safe space or figure out how to trust anyone. And although no one on the "outside" knows this... I am in a dark dark hole now and I can't figure out how to climb out of this.

I feel the abandonment from my childhood as well as the abandonment of the therapist. What is wrong with me that not even a paid professional could help me?
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Old 04-28-2017, 04:46 PM #2
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Default Re: failed at "reparemting"

I too suffer from attachment problems after having been abandoned by mother and was also somewhat traumatized by a breakup with a therapist. I was very angry for a long time. But then I tried to look at the situation from a more detached standpoint. "Did this person truly wrong me, or am I projecting my abandonment issues onto her?" At the end of the day, a therapist is not intended to replace the "normal" attachments in your life. They are not meant to be a permanent fixture in your life. I can't say for sure what happened or what she was thinking, but is it at all possible that she saw you becoming reliant on her as a mother figure and found it best to create some distance? I hope you will remember that the very nature of a therapist/client relationship is never going to be an entirely mutual one. It is their job to do their best to help you, yes, but it is not their job to form attachments with you. The sad thing is, for people like us, we desperately desire that attachment and we will grasp at any thread that seems to lead to the nurturing relationship we crave. I wish I knew what the "cure" was, but for now, I just do my best to focus on nurturing myself - trying to form that attachment *with* myself. I hope you are able to find some similar peace; feeling betrayed is a very unpleasant feeling. You are brave and strong for recognizing those feelings in yourself and seeking healing; don't let a bad experience stop your journey. Wishing you all the best. <3
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:17 AM #3
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Default Re: failed at "reparemting"

That really sucks that your therapist basically abandoned you. Not exactly a great course of treatment for someone with an attachment disorder. I hope you find the strength to move forward and look for another therapist.

From reading your post, I would say you should definitely not take this personally, and view it as your therapist having issues, not you. Many people become therapists because they have their own psychological issues. It sounds like your therapist may have "snapped". (Having no idea what her issues are, it's impossible to say why.) She might have done you a favor by pushing you away, because it doesn't sound like she's in a good position to help others if she's dealing with severe problems of her own. You just need to move on and find someone more grounded who can continue the work you've started.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:33 AM #4
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Default Re: failed at "reparemting"

Not all therapists discourage attachment. Although it is true that they are not meant to be a replacement for forming attachments in your real life outside therapy, attachment trained therapists realize that many of the patients they see are so attachment deprived that they don't even know what it feels like to trust another person with their hearts and minds. They don't know what it feels like to be truly cared about. They don't know how to feel safe in a relationship or believe that they can bond with somebody else who won't hurt or betray them the way others have done in the past. Part of the therapy work for clients with attachment issues is to learn how to trust and bond with a safe person who cares about them and is not going to intentionally hurt them or take advantage of their trust. This happens in the therapy relationship, and it involves learning to safely attach to a therapist who can help them work through their past attachment traumas and heal from them.

People with attachment disorders often don't care very much about themselves. They may not feel that they have any value or that anybody would ever want to know them, much less form a bond with them. For persons like that, it is necessary for them to learn that they are valuable, that they have something to offer in a relationship, and that someone is truly interested in knowing them and caring about them. This often starts in the relationship with the therapist.

If the therapist can provide a safe, trusting, caring atmosphere for the therapy work, and convey to the client that they genuinely care about their welfare and will not hurt or reject them the way others have done in the past, it can help heal those old wounds. The client learns that not everybody they trust and attach to will betray or use their trust against them. This then opens the way for the client to begin searching for other safe people they can learn to trust and bond with in their life outside the therapy room.

While a therapist can't be a mother or father to us, and the time they spend with us is limited and boundaried, a warm, safe, caring therapy relationship can do much good. Therapists who are experienced with the needs of attachment disordered clients know this and do not automatically discourage attachment.

In reading these posts, I felt sad for those of you whose therapists seem to have attempted a reparenting or reparative attachment relationship with you, but then changed their mind, or something else threw the therapy off track. I can understand how it would feel like a huge loss to have allowed yourself to trust and attach to your therapist, only to find out that they couldn't help you work through your attachment traumas within the therapy relationship.

It's hard to say what went wrong in your therapy. It could have been a number of things. Perhaps the therapist wasn't well enough informed about how to treat attachment disordered clients. Maybe they encouraged the attachment, but then began to realize that they didn't have sufficient knowledge and skill to help you. Maybe some of their colleagues who don't encourage attachment in therapy discouraged them from doing so. Sadly, you might never know what caused the sudden change in the way your therapist was working with you, unless your therapist was willing to share that information with you.

One thing that is certain is that it is NOT your fault that it didn't work out. It is also NOT your fault that you have attachment issues. But it is important to find a therapist who really has the knowledge and training to guide you through the healing process. They need to be able to show you genuine caring and concern - maybe even a bit of nurturing - while not allowing so much connection that boundaries are crossed or overdependency develops. It's a fine line sometimes, and I don't think many therapists know enough about working with attachment disordered clients to effectively help them.

My therapist did not know very much about attachment problems in the early years of my therapy, and there were times I felt very hurt by actions on her part that I felt were attempts to discourage my attachment and/or push me away emotionally. This hurt me greatly because I was already what I would consider attachment phobic because of how many attachment relationships I'd had since childhood that involved trust, followed by abuse, betrayal, or rejection. Allowing myself to feel attached to my therapist, as a type of caring maternal figure in my life, and then feeling rejected or pushed away felt emotionally devastating...mainly because it was so incredibly hard to allow myself to even try in the first place.

Thankfully, my therapist took additional training to learn how to work with me. It has been a learning process for both of us, and we have had some hard knocks along the way. But I'm glad we both have been willing to keep working at it.

If you find that you cannot get past the bad experience you had in therapy, and it is interfering with your ability to form connections with others, I would encourage you to find a therapist who is very well trained in working with clients who have attachment disorders. Check their credentials -- if they have reviews online from clients, read their reviews to see if they were happy and satisfied with the outcome of their therapy -- meet with them and discuss the issues that led to the bad outcome in your former therapy. There ARE therapists out there who are trained, committed, and caring who can help you heal. It's just a matter of finding them.
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Old 05-19-2018, 09:27 AM #5
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Default Re: failed at "reparemting"

It's so terrible to be betrayed by a therapist, in your most vulnerable inner self where it hurts most! If only there were a way to know if a new therapist is trained and willing to deal with attachment disorders, it sure would help. I just hope you can come to the place of trying again. I know it's so shattering to trust and be dumped in the worst way possible...by your therapist.
I've read a lot about current therapy methods and have realized that many therapists only want to work with mildly neurotic patients that just need some tough love, to cry a little over lost love, and kick butt. That works for shallow stuff. But therapy should be very different for patients who have had early severe trauma and never had a chance to learn what a good-enough mother even is! There is no sufficient mother-child relationship to even start working on. So, some "good mother relation" has to be built first in the therapy. The T can give some of good mother in order for the patient to even know how to adjust to any good or bad that happens there.
But the old-fashion classic therapists didn't know anything but "deprivation and frustration therapy". There are some really good, modern therapists out there now who have a new look of the re-parenting issues. I don't think it works either to advise to just be your own good parent to your own inner child. That should be just a part of life, not all of it, in my opinion. Relationship problems need to be worked out in a relationship with someone, not just a DIY project inside your own self. I would try to get up to nerve to ask a new therapist from day one how they treat attachment and the Transference relationship that is sure to develop. Just please don't give up.
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:10 PM #6
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Default Re: failed at "reparemting"

As others have said, please don’t give up. I strongly suspect that it isn’t you who has “failed” but rather the therapist wasn’t “qualified to help” . Some therapists are...
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Old 08-04-2018, 09:51 PM #7
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Default Re: failed at "reparemting"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabear View Post
I'm left asking "where do I go from here?" I grew up in a home where my mother hated me and never missed an opportunity to tell me so, and with an abusive stepfather. I sought therapy as an adult and it went well for 2 years: meaning we slowly developed a trusting relationship and I saw her as a mother figure, like one I never had. I felt cared for and for the first time I felt like I had a "safe space" to talk about my past and move forward.

Suddenly, my therapist changed from a caring therapist (and motherly type) to someone I didn't recognize. She was standoffish and cold, for lack of other descriptions. I tried for years to work past this but we came to an impasse that we were unable to work though.

Now over a year later, I feel so betrayed. The relationship that was supposed to help me get past and accept what I never had as a child left me feeling even more wbsndoned. Now I find I'm pretty much closed off from most people. I cannot find a safe space or figure out how to trust anyone. And although no one on the "outside" knows this... I am in a dark dark hole now and I can't figure out how to climb out of this.

I feel the abandonment from my childhood as well as the abandonment of the therapist. What is wrong with me that not even a paid professional could help me?

was there something that happened (a fight, a rupture?) between the two of you that caused this coldness?
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:56 PM #8
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Default Re: failed at "reparemting"

The best reparenting is talk in soft voice
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