I have PTSD and DID and have been in therapy for around 15 years. I was diagnosed with DID about four years ago after bouncing around the mental health system for a while with wrong diagnoses (as I hear is usual for individuals with DID).

I've been in therapy with an experienced therapist for almost 3 years, which is by far the longest period I've ever been with a therapist. Three years seems to be a long time, but after all this time I still don't trust her. I believe she's talking about me behind my back, and we've discussed this but there's nothing she can say that will satisfy me on this point. I don't trust her with my story of abuse because I think she can't handle it and I don't know what she'll do with it. I'm also afraid that I'll say something wrong and she'll stop seeing me, as other therapists have done. I also feel that she has some kind of agenda that she hasn't revealed to me, and I think she's lying about it. I actually think she's lying to me about a lot of things, though I don't have proof.

This is all probably PTSD-related paranoia but I still believe it and it doesn't matter that I can intellectualize it and reality test. I really believe all this stuff is true. I don't have a single person in my life whom I trust, and I don't think I ever will have that person. Why can't I trust anyone and how do 'normal' people learn to trust people? What's it going to be like to live my entire life as an outsider?


2352 days ago
Hi. I am not sure I am understanding you correctly. Have you not trusted your therapist with any of your abuse story or just not parts of it? I think if it is just not parts of it, that is probably kind of normal, whatever that is in therapy. I have been in therapy for 1.5 years and I have told my therapist most of my stuff, but there's some stuff I have not gone anywhere near. However, if you have not told her any of it, and it is three years, maybe the therapist, or the orientation is wrong.

Have you asked your therapist about the trust issue, and what she thinks it is going to take for you to be able to trust?

Is there anything she has done specifically that makes you not trust her? Or is it more of a gut feeling? I wonder if it is that you do not trust therapists in general because some in the past have left you. That would make it very hard to trust. What does your therapist say about that fear when you tell her? Mine usually says that everything is okay, that I am not asking too much of her, that she will be there for me, that she is not leaving, that she has no need to stop seeing me. I just wonder what yours says when you talk about your fear. If you cannot talk about the abuse are you at least talking about your fear of talking about the abuse?

I do not think anyone should arbitrarily trust anyone completely or with some vulnerabilities of the self, but at some point, you may want to just try it. Tell her something that is true and real about your experience, but something that will not put you in a tailspin after revealing it and just see what she does with it. I think that is how people learn to trust another person. They give them a small bite of something, if that is handled well, another small bite, and then over time, the whole enchalada is taken care of.

Sometimes even if you have started talking about the hard things those fears will come up again. Then just talk about the fears.

You have suffered too much for too long by youself. You owe it to yourself to try to let someone help you. But they cannot if they do not know what is going on. I know it can be downright terrifying at times, but it is better than the alternative.

One last thought....do you take medication? Sometimes medication is needed for the anxiety or other things going on and that can help facilitate the talking process. I mean, I do not think there is a medication for PTSD per se but if you have a lot of fear about talking about the abuse, that might point also to an anxiety which could possibly be helped by some medication. Talk to your doctor. Yes I know that seems like hard advice, but it might help.

Take care of yourself. You deserve care from others and care from yourself. Hang in there. All my best, Junie

2352 days ago
Thank you, Junie. I was really unstable when I started seeing this therapist, so we spent a good deal of time with just the basics of self care and stabilization. I'm very grateful to her for helping me get my life back on track. But I still have only told her little pieces of my story. Partly I'm afraid of what will happen to me if I tell it and partly I'm afraid of what she'll do with it. She's done some things that have made me nervous and have let me know that she's at least talking about me with colleagues. But whenever I try to talk about that with her I get very upset and she ends the conversation.

I do take medication and it's helped with anxiety a lot. I suppose it's helped with any paranoia I have, but it's really hard for me to tell the difference between suspicions that are fact-based and actual paranoia.

It's gotten bad enough that I've considered changing therapists but after I had a number of therapists quit seeing me I started with this pattern of leaving therapists before they leave me, so I think it's important for me to work this out. I'll add that it's really, really hard to find a therapist who has experience working with DID and I don't believe I'd be able to find another therapist in the area who could handle it. I also just started grad school and I'm afraid that starting with a new therapist (and leaving the one I have) could set me into a tailspin and I really need to be stable right now. So changing therapists is an option but not a very good option, especially right now.

Thanks for the support. I'm hanging in as best I can.

2352 days ago
Show / Hide

2352 days ago
I know you're trying to help but telling someone who is dealing with PTSD (which almost always includes depression and self-esteem issues) that she's not that important is probably not the best course of action. I'm trying to believe that I'm at least important to the people who care about me/surround me, and if you think that's selfish and egotistical I would have preferred that you keep it to yourself. That's an inappropriate joke/comment to make to someone who's really struggling with this stuff. Thanks for the attempt, but it wasn't all that helpful.

2351 days ago
Thanks for telling us a little bit more about your situation. I am so happy to hear that this therapist helped you a lot when you needed to stabilize. I was also thrilled to hear that you really want to keep working with her.

I had a thought about something. I think it is a normal for therapists to consult other therapists or their supervisors about their clients. I think it has to do with making sure the therapist is on the right track and taking care of their own stuff. Like that whatever they have going on does not affect the client. But also, I think, when a therapist does talk to another therapist, they are supposed to disguise your identity. Like not use your name. So it is more of a hypothetical question or scenario. I do not know if that helps you but that is the way I understand it to be.

I know that is kind of scary though. My therapist lets me email her and I had major issues over whether or not what I told her on email was safe. After all, anymore you can pretty much access email from anywhere. But she explained the precautions she takes and that helps.

Maybe if you want to, you could ask your therapist what precautions she takes when she consults another therapist about your case.

I understand about being worried about what will happen to you if you tell her your story. I have fear every day. I do not know what your abuser told you, but often they use a lot of threats to keep a person quiet about what was done to them. Sometimes I think it is possible for them to still act on those threats. And some of them may just be old and no longer a threat. Maybe you can talk about those threats that your abuser made and then your therapist can help you determine if it is relatively safe.

For example: I will say to my therapist, "I am scared to talk about this." She'll say "Why, what's going on inside?" And I will say, "I remember what he said he would do." And she'll say, "First I want you to know you are very safe here, and you are with me, and no harm will come to you. Do you want to talk to me about the threat?" (Usually I do not WANT TO but I end up doing so. So I will tell her about the threat. And then she will help me see if that is a relevant threat to today and what I can do to help manage the fear that comes from it. Then I may or may not tell her about whatever situation. But sometimes I see that the threat can no longer be carried out. And then when I think that it might I usually choose not to talk.

By the way, you have the right to tell your therapist anything and you have the right not to say anything that you do not want to say. Ultimately, it is your story, and you own the rights to it. You may eventually want her to know about your story so that you do not carry all the secrets by yourself.

I do not know if this will help you but I was able to give up some anxiety about something bad happening to me if I talked. I did some imagining in my head and I thought of it as an actual object that I gave to my therapist for her to hold for me. So when I started to fear, something bad is going to happen, I remembered I could give that to her and she would hold it. (She assured me she was strong enough to handle it.)

Oh, that is the other thing. If you are worrying about what telling your story will do to your therapist--I worry about that, and I worry about burnout--I just want you to know that she can handle it. What hurts to the core for us, is held by them and it does not puncture them like it does. Not that they do not hurt for us and maybe even cry for us, but it does not burden them the same way. My therapist says she feels sad for what I have been through and also for how I treat myself (I harm myself through cutting and burning) but she also says she takes care of herself and she gets enough sleep and excercise and she is well. And I can rely on her being well. I think not just physically, although she is very healthy, but mentally and emotionally well. I can rely on that. I wonder if you could begin to see that trait in your therapist as well and know that she cares about you.

Keep hanging in there. You can write here if you want, if it helps. I am listening and I care. I am sorry if this was not a well organized post...I just woke up! Take care. All my best, Junie

2350 days ago
Show / Hide