‘My Therapist Won’t Let Me Break Up With Her!’ By Lori Gottlieb
Full codependency on display here (referencing a link, with excerpts from said link, much farther below).
A woman writes into an advice columnist asking if it would be acceptable to quit seeing her therapist, and, if so, how to go about it.
This woman, who is an adult (she says she’s in her late 20s), is too afraid, or feels too much guilt, to stop seeing her therapist.
She says her therapist won’t give her permission to stop going in for sessions.
The woman says her insurance no longer pays for therapy sessions, and the therapist refuses to reduce her prices.
The woman cannot financially afford to see this therapist, but the therapist keeps shaming, guilt tripping, and pressuring this woman to continue on, in spite of this.
So the woman writes into this advice columnist for input on what to do.
It’s clear to me that this woman patient suffers from a huge case of Codependency. She obviously does not understand she is in a voluntary relationship with this therapist, one she has been paying for, and that her doctor (the therapist) is taking advantage of her financially and emotionally.
This woman is being manipulated and is too naive or too afraid to see it or admit it to herself and stand up to the therapist.
It’s further obvious to me that the woman patient who wrote to this columnist has no concept of having boundaries, does not feel comfortable saying “no” and being assertive.
She should have simply stopped seeing this therapist back when she first wanted to stop seeing her – with no explanations to the therapist necessary!
You, as an adult, do NOT owe another adult a justification or explanation for your decisions, especially not in an area such as this where you are (or were) a paying customer.
This therapist reads to me as though she is a dishonest and incompetent one. She is exploiting her patient to keep the gravy train coming in – she wants the money and does not care about helping or healing her patient.
Not all mental health professionals are competent or on your side. I saw psychologists and psychiatrists for many years – the root of my problem was codependency, and that codependency manifested itself as social anxiety and depression.
The doctors I saw for these issues were happy to keep throwing pill prescriptions at me, but none of them wanted to examine my problems any deeper to get me off the pills and doctor visits permanently. Some of the doctors I saw were incompetent while I now suspect one or two were just plain greedy.
I tried mentioning this on a certain thread at TWW blog and was shouted down by a volatile participant over there who erroneously believes that all secular mental health professionals are competent or honest – they are not. This is another example.
This woman who wrote in to this advice column would be better served from reading the book The Disease to Please by Harriet Braiker than from seeing any more therapists.
While I do not out-right discourage anyone who has issues from seeing a mental health professional, I do encourage people to be aware of the fact that there are seedy, dishonest, or inept secular mental health professionals out there.
I have further observations below these snippets:
‘My Therapist Won’t Let Me Break Up With Her!’ By Lori Gottlieb
I’m a woman in her late 20s who is struggling to “break up” with her therapist. I’ve been seeing my therapist for almost five years now, and she’s helped me through a divorce, career changes, health issues, depression, and deaths in the family.
But she is no longer on my insurance, and I can’t afford to pay her out of pocket — and she’s making it very difficult for me to end things.
Before we go any further, I should let you know that I’m generally a bit of a pushover, and I am hopelessly terrified of disappointing people.
…This problem now seems to be seeping into my relationship with my therapist.
I’ve told her numerous times that I cannot afford to see her (it’s been over a year of out-of-pocket sessions).
Each time, she tells me to ask family members to help pay for my sessions or says that I’m having an extreme reaction (“I’m very concerned,” she told me one time), and that I have to come in again next week to talk about my behavior. I feel so guilty and insane when she talks to me like that, like I’m hurting her
…I would like to continue therapy (as I clearly need it), but with a more affordable therapist who accepts my insurance (as I know those therapists are out there) and whom I don’t already distrust. So how do I break it off with my therapist?
You can run over to that page to see the response she got from the resident advice-giver, but, really, this is a no-brainer.
I agree with Advice Giver Lady on that page that this woman’s real problem is not the joke of a therapist she is seeing but her real problem is HERSELF.
You are your problem, lady, not your therapist.
You are giving too much power to your idiot therapist.
If you want to break it off with Miss Therapist, just stop seeing her! Simple as that.
You do not owe Dr. Therapist a final visit, phone chat, or a final e-mail. You don’t owe Dr. Therapist an explanation as to why you find her services unsatisfactory.
Just stop going to see her, period, end of story.
(This approach also works on hair dressers who don’t cut or style your hair to your liking. Just go to a new stylist.)
If you absolutely want to have a final chat with your Dr. Therapist, be direct about it.
Tell her you don’t care for her service, you refuse to keep paying her expensive out- of- pocket costs, and you think she’s unprofessional with all her guilt tripping.
Then say “good-bye” to her and slam the door on your way out of her office – that is how you handle that.
But this woman is so deeply codependent, she’s not going to grasp that.
To be as direct as I am suggesting, she would have to know that she knows she has a RIGHT to be treated with dignity, respect, and that it’s acceptable for her to speak her mind and call this Dr. Therapist out (or whomever).
This woman would have to have the eye-opening realization that her feelings, needs, time, and money matter, and nobody has the right to push her around and take advantage of her.
If someone is treating you shoddy, you don’t have to be, nor should you be, so deeply concerned with hurting their feelings or offending them that you refuse to speak your mind to them, or you avoid the discussion altogether, or you suffer anxiety just thinking about confronting them.
If I were in this woman’s shoes, I’d likely either cut Dr. Therapist off with no further explanation (I would just stop scheduling appointments with her), or, if I did speak to her one last time, I’d give Dr. Therapist my un-varnished opinion on what a greedy, manipulative Quack she is, and I would not care how hurt or offended she felt about it.
Here are some of the portions from the advice giver’s response that I totally endorse:
- We’ve all been in untenable situations … in which we convince ourselves that we “can’t leave,” only to look back years later and ask ourselves, “Who, exactly, was keeping me there?” The answer is usually “me.”
- Our goal from the beginning of therapy is to get our patients to leave us, much as parents hope that their children will be independent one day.
- … patients are always free to go
- You shouldn’t have to go to another therapist to work out your feelings about your previous therapist.
Lord love a duck. While a lot of Christian advice fails miserably in the realm of personality disorders or mental health problems, as you can see from this post of this woman being taken advantage of by a con artist of a secular therapist, secular mental health professionals are not always a prize, either.
I am simply amazed that anyone would continually put up with such lousy treatment, especially when they are paying for it from their bank account!
This woman was essentially paying to be abused every therapy session.
(I mean, she was figuratively AND literally paying for this abuse. She was taking out her Visa card or check book and paying this greedy, idiot therapist for the therapist’s pricey shaming and guilt tripping behavior. I get that mistreatment for free from certain family members of mine, no way I’m paying a therapist for it as well.)
I used to be exactly like her, but now that I’m not quite the same, I am horrified to think I was once that way, and it’s sad and frustrating to me to see others who live life like this.
This woman needs to mull over her family of origin and try to figure out how and why she feels too afraid or guilty to stand up for herself, to stand up to other people or to stand up for her beliefs.
I can guarantee you there is a reason why, at age 27 or 28, she is so very naive and passive, and I bet anything it has to do with the parenting or messages she got as she was growing up.
At some point in her up-bringing, she likely got messages (just like I did as I was growing up) that it’s wrong or selfish for anyone (especially for girls and women) to be assertive and to get their own needs met.
Those beliefs can play a part in what turns someone into a big, spineless, blubbering glob of Codependent Goo in adulthood.
Once you examine your childhood and figure out where you first started getting these ideas that you should live life as a doormat (and that you do not deserve to be treated kindly, and your needs or feelings don’t matter as much as other people’s), it will be a real “a-ha” moment.
This letter also demonstrates that you have to be on your toes. You have to think for yourself. This woman is actually having to ask another adult if it’s “okay” for her to drop her ratty, awful therapist. She should not have to confer with another adult or get another adult’s permission!
Lady, it’s your own life – if you don’t want to do X, then do not do X. You don’t need an advice columnist’s input or permission, nor do you need mine or your family’s, your therapist’s or whomever else’s. Live life on your own terms.
Make decisions for yourself, even if or when those decisions tick off other people or make them sad.
Another lesson I’ve learned along the way that is applicable to this woman’s letter:
If one approach or doctor is not working for you, don’t hesitate to throw it away and move along and keep investigating other avenues.