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Old 08-01-2020, 12:35 AM   #1
justbreathe1994
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Default What to Share About Ex-T

**Admins, please don't move this thread. I am intentionally reaching out to the psychotherapy forum because I still feel impacted by my former therapist (whom I've shared about on this thread) in my current situation**

I'm not sure if any of you will remember me but I had a therapist almost 2 years ago terminate our relationship because I crossed her boundary. The relationship had always been filled with boundary crossings (her and I both). She passed me heart notes in therapy group and said I love you many times, among many other things. I was devastated. I drank to cope which helped me forget everything when I couldn't make sense of it.

Flash forward to now and I am in recovery and doing well. I found an amazing sponsor who has taken me under her wing and has just been so caring and loving. I was against the idea of getting a sponsor or finding one I liked and would actually want to call out of fear I'd become attached to them. While I am already feeling attached, I am determined to not let it get the best of me and try my hardest to focus on building my relationship with my higher power. Because you guys know my history, I wanted to ask if any of you had any advice on what I should share with my sponsor about my ex T. I was addicted to the relationship I had with ex T and my T herself. I am worried that I'll scare my sponsor away or freak her out if I share the details of how our relationship ended with me crossing T's boundary. Again, I hope this is ok to post here. I know many of you probably aren't in AA, but perhaps you can relate to struggling with telling people in your everyday life about the relationships you have with your therapist. For me, I am just really afraid my sponsor won't understand or that she'll see me as dependent.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: What to Share About Ex-T

Hi there, I've only come to the forum this year, but I hope it's ok to still answer you.

It's so nice to hear you have found a sponsor you feel comfortable with. I know you said you are worried she will think you are dependent if you tell her about crossing your therapists boundaries. But it sounds more like it was your therapist that crossed the lines first and made it possible for you to cross that final boundary.

Maybe you could let her know how much your therapists behaviour affected you...the pain it caused when she led you on and let you down like this...the pressure of being stuck in a counter/transference relationship is horrible and not your fault.

I don't feel like any of this makes you seem dependent at all. The fact that you are free of them now, having a healthy relationship with a sponsor you trust and would like to share things with, I feel these are all signs you are becoming quite independent.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: What to Share About Ex-T

Why do you need or want to tell your sponsor anything about your ex-T? That is something within your boundary. How much is relevant and important as a sponsee to share with your sponsor? Yes, you are concerned about feeling attached to your sponsor and the relationship with your ex-T was addictive for you, and it's probably important to share with your sponsor things about other addictions, to an extent. But do you need to go into the full details? The ending of the relationship was complicated. I think it ended because your T overreacted, not because you crossed her boundary. There are multiple ways to see the reason why it ended. It seems to me that the important thing is that the relationship had been what you now recognize as addictive, and it ended, and it was very painful for you. Would something like that feel like enough to tell your sponsor, if you want to?
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:13 AM   #4
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Default Re: What to Share About Ex-T

I guess my question is why do you feel the need to bring it up. If it is still an issue for you, then yes, that seems like something you probably would want to share. If you've moved past it and/or don't feel like dredging it up serves YOU, then don't. We don't have to necessarily share everything about our past with everyone new in our life. But you really have to know if talking about it serves YOU and YOUR recovery or not.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: What to Share About Ex-T

I would think this more a question for aa sponsors than people who have dealt with therapists. What is the function of an aa sponsor? What are their limits and strengths and what do you hope to accomplish by telling one of them about therapy?
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: What to Share About Ex-T

My understanding of an aa sponsor is that they are your average punter who has been through an aa programme. I would not expect that such a person would want to understand or be interested in the complexities of transference and counter-transference. Your average therapist struggles to understand how to work compassionately with the concepts, so...
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: What to Share About Ex-T

I am not in AA so I might be totally missing the boat but... what part does ex-t play in your recovery through AA. It sounds to me (and please excuse me if I am totally off) that you are substituting a very real, very harmful relationship that became an addiction to ex-t with an addiction to her memory and holding onto the ghost of her. Hanging onto “ghosts” of people I have way too much experience with and it gets in the way of forming new relationships.
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:39 PM   #8
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Default Re: What to Share About Ex-T

Thank you all for your input! The reason I feel compelled on some level to tell my sponsor about my relationship is that I know my relationship with Ex T was one facet of my addiction. I was addicted to the relationship. The ending of that relationship catapulted me into my drinking cycle and was/still is a major trigger for my cravings. She knows of a past relationship being a trigger but doesn’t know the specific details (like the relationship actually being with a therapist and not a significant other). I told her the relationship was triggering cravings and she started asking all these questions and really wanting me to share with her. She was extremely nice about it but I kind of shut down because I’m too afraid of sharing with her. My biggest fear is that I won’t find all the relief from working through the steps if I hide facets of myself and my addictive personality.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: What to Share About Ex-T

Quote:
Originally Posted by justbreathe1994 View Post
Thank you all for your input! The reason I feel compelled on some level to tell my sponsor about my relationship is that I know my relationship with Ex T was one facet of my addiction. I was addicted to the relationship. The ending of that relationship catapulted me into my drinking cycle and was/still is a major trigger for my cravings. She knows of a past relationship being a trigger but doesn’t know the specific details (like the relationship actually being with a therapist and not a significant other). I told her the relationship was triggering cravings and she started asking all these questions and really wanting me to share with her. She was extremely nice about it but I kind of shut down because I’m too afraid of sharing with her. My biggest fear is that I won’t find all the relief from working through the steps if I hide facets of myself and my addictive personality.

This seems to make sense that you would tell her about it then.


Out of curiosity, do you have OCD? I ask because I was sort of addicted to my ex-marriage counselor and also am working on some issues with alcohol now. And something that came up in my session with my current T yesterday was whether the OCD might play into that (I asked about it). In describing some stuff about my drinking (and, in the past, smoking--haven't had a cigarette in >10 years), he said how some of it seemed like rituals. How maybe some of it is about the ritual for me, which can be an OCD thing (I've had OCD since childhood). Pretty sure the OCD contributed to my obsessions about ex-MC and I think it may have some effect on my drinking (and I wonder now if some of that might be a substitute for him...). So, just something to consider. There's also a form of OCD that's pure obsessive.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: What to Share About Ex-T

Quote:
Originally Posted by LonesomeTonight View Post
This seems to make sense that you would tell her about it then.


Out of curiosity, do you have OCD? I ask because I was sort of addicted to my ex-marriage counselor and also am working on some issues with alcohol now. And something that came up in my session with my current T yesterday was whether the OCD might play into that (I asked about it). In describing some stuff about my drinking (and, in the past, smoking--haven't had a cigarette in >10 years), he said how some of it seemed like rituals. How maybe some of it is about the ritual for me, which can be an OCD thing (I've had OCD since childhood). Pretty sure the OCD contributed to my obsessions about ex-MC and I think it may have some effect on my drinking (and I wonder now if some of that might be a substitute for him...). So, just something to consider. There's also a form of OCD that's pure obsessive.

That’s very interesting LT. Thank you for sharing. I think I understand what you are saying and I don’t think I have OCD because my obsessive attachment only comes up in relationships. I wouldn’t say my drinking or relationships feel ritualistic in any way.
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