Dysfunctional Relationship with Mental Health Providers


I am pleased and excited to have guest blogger Susan Kingsley-Smith sharing about dysfunctional relationships within the mental health system while I am away on vacation.  Susan is my friend and fellow truth seeker, as well as the author of  “A Journey” and I’m also blessed to have her as a frequent commenter here on Emerging from Broken. As always, please contribute by adding your own comments and feedback ~ Darlene Ouimet

Dysfunctional Relationship with Mental Health Providers by Susan Kingsley-Smith

I’d have never imagined that in my healing journey I would find myself healing from not only the original trauma’s of my childhood but that I would also be faced with mourning the life I lost to a second trauma; that of becoming victim to those I’d turned to for help.

I’d been conditioned from an early age to not question authority. To do as I was told; and especially to view my doctors and other health care professionals as the authority over my health. In hindsight though, what I discovered, is that my early life experiences of abuse had set me up to become a victim to any relationship or system that was based on my sacrificing myself in order to appease those in authority. Continued..

At first I didn’t think anything of it when the psychiatrists would tell me, and the therapists would reinforce this message, that there was something “wrong” with me. That I had a chemical imbalance in my brain, that there was no cure. In hindsight though, this was just the beginning of a fifteen-year journey into, through and finally out of the mental health system.  This was a journey that would change me forever.

The mental health “professionals” had successfully stripped me of any hope when they informed me that my brain was broken. They had laid the groundwork for my lifetime dependence on them; telling me that they, and only they, knew the answers and in order for me to “get better” I needed to submit myself to their care.

My power was taken from me in the numerous drugs I was prescribed as the doses were adjusted and more drugs were added. Slowly, like a toad in pot of water coming to a boil, the drugs overtook my mind and destroyed my health. I found that I could no longer think or communicate coherently. I gained enormous amounts of weight on one drug; then lost it rapidly on the next. I had no energy, I was constantly fatigued yet I suffered from insomnia and couldn’t sleep. I developed irrational fears and began to isolate myself.

I felt even more ashamed of myself. The professionals were validating what I’d been convinced of all along. That I was defective, something was “wrong” with me and I felt powerless to understand or change it.

The side effects I was experiencing were legitimate side effects of the drugs yet it was made clear to me that any negative effects were caused by a defect in my character and motivation.  I was told to eat better and exercise more.

Fear was used to coerce my compliance. The threat was always there that if I stopped taking the drugs that I would “get worse”. What I forgot was that before the drugs, I’d never been “sick”.

I had been conditioned to believe from the beginning of my entry into the world of mental health that when the “therapy” was failing that it was my fault; that something was wrong with ME not that the therapy or “treatments” were not effective or in fact abusive and oppressive – but that I had done something wrong to have cause this failure.

There was a fear that was always present that I would be rejected or that I might be “fired” by my providers if I was not compliant and cooperative. This often unspoken threat was often the thing that kept me in line. I saw these relationships as my only hope. This I’ve since learned is another way abusers control their victims in many different relationships; threatening the loss of the relationship if there is a lack of compliance.

Shame was never far away. In my time in the mental heath system I at first resisted. I insisted that something was wrong, I reported that the drugs I was being given were not working, that I felt worse. But instead of listening to me, my complaints were dismissed. I was told that I was being resistant to the therapeutic process, I was non compliant and difficult. In other words, these therapeutic relationships were telling me the same thing I’d learned in the original trauma and abuse: that whatever the problem was in this relationship, it was stemmed from me.

And when the biological approach did not prove to be effective is when I was told that I had “personality disorders”. Now, besides this chemical imbalance in my brain my personality was also defective, that I was broken through and through to the core of my being. There was no hope offered and because of my “defects” it was justified to treat me as “less than”. 

One of the most crippling things I was told was that one of the “symptoms” of this “disease” is an inability to see it for oneself. In other words – if I could see and admit my “problem” then I was a compliant patient. If I did not agree with the way others were defining me I was non-compliant, difficult and resistant and this was further evidence of this mysterious “illness” that even my own psychiatrist admitted there were no tests or true scientific evidence of. I was broken simply because she said so. In her own words; psychiatry is more an art than a science.

In hindsight after I’d escaped the drugs and left psychiatry behind me, I realized that what I had experienced was exactly like the other abusive relationships in my life; and that I was a perfect victim for being defined in this system because I had not yet learned how to define myself.

Thankfully, like Darlene, I had the good fortune to connect with a therapist trained in trauma who supported my hidden belief that it was possible to live beyond diagnosis. This was someone who was willing to show me a different way and offer true hope. Over the next 2.5 years I was shown a healthier therapeutic relationship defined by clear boundaries vs. control and compliance. Here is where I came to understand that by learning to recognize the original lies that said I was not good enough and changing the core beliefs that told me I was powerless over my own life this – is where I began to learn that I could learn to live far beyond that place of broken.

Susan Kingsley-Smith

**Note and disclaimer from Susan: It is very dangerous to discontinue these or any other drugs without a clear understanding of the process and what happens when we go into the withdrawal process. I discontinued them because I was forced into it and I had an understanding that I was dealing with a physical withdrawal. But anyone who doesn’t understand that process could be at risk for suicide. 

Doctors do not know how to go off these drugs safely and will use the withdrawal symptoms to say “see. You’re mentally ill”. 

There’s plenty of research and evidence on this issue but there will always be those who can’t get past this part of their belief system. 

Susan’s Bio: I am a trauma survivor…but I no longer live only to survive. In 1992 after a lifetime of trauma’s ranging from physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect as a child to two violent marriages, I entered the mental health system seeking help where my lifelong history of trauma was dismissed. For over 15 years I was given a variety of “diagnosis”, numerous mind altering psychotropic drugs and a routine of weekly “talk” therapy. In the fall of 2007 I was abruptly taken off of the drugs I’d been prescribed all those years and began to reclaim both my mind and my life.

Today, I no longer accept any labels for myself and live the life of my choosing, following my dream and passion to share a message of healing and hope as I write and speak about this journey that has been my life.

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing


Categories : Therapy



I seem to be completely outnumbered on this – I’ve actually found medications and diagnoses (including one of a personality disorder) to be very useful. I do see something as being ‘wrong’ with me, but I don’t view that as an inherently bad thing; I was seriously ‘wronged’ against, so it’s natural that something, somewhere (whether chemical or psychologically or both) ends up not being aligned with those who were not seriously wronged. Putting my rational hat on, I have not done anything to warrant my mental health problems – but someone did. My current therapist is always saying that there’snothing ‘wrong’ with me (he says that I have extreme coping mechanisms for extreme circumstances), but I always half-joke to him that if nothing was wrong, I wouldn’t need to see him! 😉

All that said, I am just one person. I definitely do see what you’re saying, especially as regards personality disorders, which as I’m sure you know are often (mostly unfairly) hated by the professionals. I do think that for many years – and still, in some parts of the world – there was way too much focus on drugs. Drugs aren’t cures the way some purported them to be; when they work, all they do is take the edge of any illness induced by trauma (debates about the validity of non-trauma theories notwithstanding). But in my case, they have made that difference, and it helps me to be able to face the very difficult process of therapy. So whilst they are not at all appropriate for all people, I do think that medications and the professionals that prescribe them do have a purpose for at least some of us.


Hi Pandora; I totally understand what you are saying and the points you bring up about psychotropic drugs are a valid discussion but what this post is discussing is the imbalance in power and control in the therapeutic relationships that mirror the original abuse and how the providers needed me to be “less than” so they could maintain control of the relationship and ultimately – me and my life while building themselves up and at times even being a victim by blaming me for the failure of their “therapy”.

I’m really happy to hear that you’ve found your therapy relationships to be safe and nurturing although there are many, like myself, out there who have not had that experience and instead “therapy” and “treatment” was simply an extension of the original abuse that reinforced that I was “less than” and somehow deserved to be mistreated.


Hi Susan

I understand your points and position, and am horrified and very sorry that you had to go through such an experience, particularly after already having gone through something horrific. I’ve experienced it to some extent myself in a previous therapeutic relationship, and indeed with a previous psychiatrist.

There is a lot wrong with psychiatry as a discipline, and there are some useless – even some wilfully abusive – practitioners out there. However, I sometimes feel that having been there and knowing a number of others who have, it’s worth noting that not everyone who works in mental health services, and specifically psychiatry, is guilty of these behaviours and attitudes – well, obviously most people will realise that anyway, but it often goes unacknowledged, I feel.

That said, it’s a strange one for me, I have to say. Part of me is incredibly bitter at certain aspects of my “care” since I’ve been part of mental health services (it’s a long story, but the words ‘inadequate’ and ‘patronising’ come to mind). I think some forms of psychotherapy are frankly insulting, and as you’ve noted can even be forms of abuse themselves (behavioural techniques in particular, in my observation and experience).

So in short (brevity isn’t my strong point, sorry), I have mixed views. There is an inherent power imbalance, I suppose, and that can be extremely destructive, but in the hands of the right people it can, occasionally, be productive too.

Anyway, waffling over! Sorry to blather on for so long.

Thanks for the post, and for replying to my earlier comment. Take care 🙂

Best wishes



My first “adult” experience (I was 14) with any kind of Psycological practitioner was a horrible one, and all but the last therapist I saw have been pretty much useless. That first experience was forced on my by my grandmother (who had just gotten legal custody of me from my abusive/neglectful mother) and when I met this “therapist” she held out her hand and said…

“I’m So-and-so, I’ll be your therapist for the next several months, and I’ve already talked to your Grandmother, so don’t try any of your shit on me.”

Needless to say, I was stunned, and sat actualy through 3 sessions before walking out and refusing to return. Fortunately for me, Grandmother couldn’t find a GP to give me drugs back then, though not for a lack of trying, and the so-called therapist wasn’t able to perscribe.
Grandmother even tried to have me hospitalized at one point shortly before sending me to FosterCare because I was “incorragible”
The foster care agency didn’t lable me that way, fortunately, thanks to the way I was turned over to them. I was an hour late for curfew, and Grandmother called the cops 3 hours later, when she woke up and found me sleeping in my bed (we shared a room, but had seperate beds)
She didn’t even wake me, but had the two LARGE MALE cops do so, for shock value, and this was all reported to the Agency, which I thank the gods for.
There were several therapists and a couple of psychiatrists over the years, who were useless and teats on a bull, but no meds until I became “dangerously depressed” after my brother’s murder, and those were prescribed by my GP.
When I returned to him about 4 months later (the “effective life” of that particular med was 16-20weeks) saying that they weren’t helping any more (they did for the first two months) he raised my dosage, and when I went back again, 2 months later, he bruskly told me I was welcome to find another doctor, and to go off the meds if I wanted to…. not one word about going off gradually, and I recieved a more firmly worded “dis-invite” letter from his clinic saying that he didn’t want to see me any more, and that no other doctors in his practice would be willing to take me on because I was “resistant to treatment”.
Thankfully, he had already set me up with my last therapist who was wonderful, and very anti-psychotropic, and who actually HELPED me, rather than judged me.
I could use some of that now, but he’s had to retire, and I’m terribly afraid to try again… he’d told me more than once that there weren’t very many people in his office who believed like he did, and maybe that’s why they forced retirement on him at age 55.


Thanks for your note Pandora and in all respect for your position and thoughts on mental health providers and psychotropic drugs, discussing this form of abuse is not categorizing all other providers as abusive. Just as in parental abuse, religious abuse, abuse in the military – there are those who are not abusers. As in other forms of abuse it is vital that the experiences of survivors be validated without caveats and reminders that there are those who don’t abuse; doing so is the same as saying “well, you were physically raped by a man with blonde hair – but you know not all men with blond hair are rapists” or telling an incest survivor that not all fathers rape their children. By saying I was abused in my therapy relationships is not saying that other therapists are abusive. By saying I was coerced into taking drugs that incapacitated me is not saying that others should not use drugs if they see that as helpful.

It is extremely invalidating when those who have survived abuse of any sort have their experiences dismissed and measured against those who are protective of their own therapy relationships and health choices and this actually perpetrates the isolation and hidden shame of survivors of this kind of abuse just as in other forms of abuse. It is only by not being silent that others learn they are not alone. Please reconsider minimizing someones pain in this way.

I’m terribly sorry that you experienced the negative relationships you mentioned; in my own experience the patronizing you describe (and even infantizing in some instances) by those who abuse their role in these relationships is shameful. This is often very dehumanizing and can perpetrate dependence that in my own experience was then punished and shamed.

I honestly appreciate you sharing your thoughts and your own experiences on this issue. Its a tough one to take a look at and one that can stir up a lot of feelings for many many folks. 🙂


I do concur with this post. I believe that part of the reason why abuse victims are so susceptible towards labeling and “professional abuse” is because we have been set up to believe that something is wrong with us, and when a professional stamps a label on us, it proves that we are truly defective. I also believe that professionals who choose to look at a client/patient’s world objectively (hard facts) instead of subjectively (unique experiences) are at risk of objectifying them, causing a professional gap.

I must say that I had actually “begged” my clinical psychologist for diagnoses, and was quite upset when she flatly refused. Looking back, I am actually thankful because I was treated like a person with a capacity to recover and be whole, and not an object that needs to be “fixed”. Prior to this, I did an “online psychiatric assessment” with a (supposedly) American psychiatrist who gave me a long list of diagnoses – including THREE personality disorders (I later found out that it is impossible to have three PDs in a person, and plus the one that I most likely have wasn’t in the “list”), and for the next year he continued to persuade me to see a psychiatrist and get my medications “or you won’t get well”. I won’t say that all of the diagnoses were completely wrong, but I now understand the shock on my therapist’s face when she read the doctor’s report.

My therapist did actually get me to see a psychiatrist very reluctantly, only because my hallucinations were getting more and more frequent and confusing (they were disorganized). Thankfully, the psychiatrist had one look at me, and said that “therapy should be enough to help you”, even though everyone knows that psychosis can only be controlled by medications. Few months later, through some “magic” that my therapist used, the psychosis subsided and “disappeared”…without medications.

The reason? I was treated as a human being with the capabilities to be in charge over my own healing. Having said that, I still believe in medications but only if the symptoms get out of control and is causing considerable distress, and only if psychotherapy will be continued.


Hi Darlene; I am so so sorry that you had that happen to you. That was so wrong. All of it. It is horrible the way your grandmother treated you and then to have it validated by your “therapist” that you were somehow so wrong and that it was justified to talk to you that way. I feel so angry that you were treated with such disrespect; this kind of treatment simply reinforces what we were told in the original abuse. In my opinion it is abominable that so many mental health providers believe the way you have described throughout your life. I am so glad to hear that there were times in your journey that you found some sort of reprieve or protection from the abuse. There was a time when I was a teen ager that my father and uncle attempted to have me committed as well. And using the “fear factor” to control a child like that – from a deep sleep to see 2 big police officers – is so destructive.

What you describe with the drugs and the way your doctor told you that you were welcome to find another doctor, that is so hurtful and something I also experienced with doctors and particularly therapists who saw themselves as having authority over me. Being labeled as resistant, difficult…that is so damaging and especially so for those of us who have survived the first trauma. To be shamed and degraded like that by the professionals we turn to for help to find healing is atrocious. I am so glad to hear that you found safety and true help in your last therapy relationship and while I can’t offer advice on finding a new therapist I can honestly say that EFB is a very good place to be for anyone who is on this healing path.

Thank you for sharing your story Darlene;)


Jasmine; I agree wholeheartedly with what you said:

“I believe that part of the reason why abuse victims are so susceptible towards labeling and “professional abuse” is because we have been set up to believe that something is wrong with us, and when a professional stamps a label on us, it proves that we are truly defective.”

This is precisely my own opinion. I believe that I was susceptible to this kind of abuse because I had been abused and had not had the opportunity to develop that sense of self that allows an individual to stand up for themselves and say “this is wrong”. In the original abuse we are taught from the beginning that we don’t matter, whatever we think, say or do is “wrong” and never ever “good enough”. So naturally when we turn to the “professionals” we believe them when they basically tell us the same thing.

I am so glad to hear that you had the good fortune to run across the therapist and then the psychiatrist who saw you as a human with the potential to heal. And on psychosis…:) Yes; in mental health it is “common knowledge” that it is impossible to overcome this – fortunately you had someone who believed differently:)


Thank you for this post. While my issue with a therapist did not come in the same manner as what you are talkin about I just am now leaving a therapist after four years. The hardest thing I had to do was to find my voice and stand up. I also found after I decided to leave he had been practicing without a license for 12 years. I turned him in for this and also for the abuse I suffered under his care. I am worse now than I was when I started the process. I have started with another therapist but was so afraid to trust again I almost didn’t go back. I thought I would be labeled crazy and have had some of my friends who are MFT tell me I shouldn’t have turned him in. I feel that no one should have to go through the same pain I went through with him. Maybe I am wrong but in te end I feel I have my voice back

Lynda ~ Coming Out Of The cRaZy Closet
April 3rd, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Susan…. thank you. Your experience with psychiatry and therapy, very closely mirrors my experience.

It is a topic that is very difficult for me to write about. When I do try to talk, or write, about this, I tend to become so emotional, that I can’t find the right words to express what I’m trying to say.

You did a wonderful job of explaining the HURT that is inherent in the traditional psychiatric approach.

Pandora, yes, I, too, have found that not ALL psychiatrists or therapists or psychotropic medicines do more harm than good… but, after being subjected to one psych and medication after another for several decades, I am sorry to say that at least 90% of my experiences with psychiatrists, therapists, and psychotropic meds, were harmful and abusive, as Susan’s were, and only abut 10% were good and beneficial… or at least “did no harm.”

I do give a great deal of credit to a renowned author and psychiatrist who, after giving me a battery of psychological and physical tests, told me that I am NOT CRAZY, that all my previous diagnosises of: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, various personality disorders, codependency, etc etc etc, were all INCORRECT. This man told me that the only thing that was “wrong” with me, was that I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder… but he stressed to me that it was completely NORMAL for me to have that, after all the trauma and abuse I had endured, just as it is NORMAL to BLEED, if you are stabbed!!

This wonderful experience with that uncommonly compassionate, understanding, respectful, and empathetic psychiatrist, happened to me 8 years ago, just before I turned 50. He gave me the self-respect I had never had. He told me that, not only was I not “mentally ill,” but that I was incredibly STRONG, for having survived all that I have gone through in my life, in my childhood especially. Thanks to this doctor, my life completely turned around. I learned to like and respect myself, and that changed everything for me.

HOWEVER…. that same wonderful psychiatrist, who helped me so much, in reclaiming my life and my self-esteem, also falls right in line with all the others who think that pharmacology is the best answer. He medicated me too heavily. But at least he was willing to respect my right to say No, this drug is not helping, in fact it is making me feel worse.

Again, as I said before, I have had many extremely hurtful, abusive, and degrading psychiatrists and therapists. So many horror stories, but I will tell just one, the worst one: when I was 15, I was drugged, and raped, by my psychiatrist. He tried to rape me first by just hypnotizing me, but could not get me to submit even while hypnotized, so then he drugged me with sodium pentothal, and raped me. He told me that I would never be well, so long as I continued to deny that I really wanted my married 40-something psychiatrist with daughters who were in their 20s, to rape me on his office floor, me, his 15-year-old patient. The third time he raped me, he almost killed me with an overdose of the drug. A nurse heard me screaming, couldn’t get into his locked office. He told her to go away, said I was in deep hypnosis, reliving a trauma. When he was finished with me and he sent me back to the ward, I passed out as soon as I got there. The nurses couldn’t find a pulse, I heard one say my lips were blue. I was floating up above my body, watching them working on me. They brought me around, then kept me walking up and down the hall between them for hours, until I finally was fully awake. They reported this dr to the authorities, he was investigaed, they found tape recordings in his desk drawer that he had made of the rapes, and he was fired. I was later told his wife left, and he committed suicide.

His best friend, a fellow psychiatrist, who temporarily took over the ward while the hospital looked for another one to take his place, called me into his office and told me that I was an evil Jezebell who had ruined the life of a wonderful man. “I suppose you want to get down on the floor with me right now and screw me!” He said.

After that dr. sent me back to the ward, I was crying in the bathroom. A concerned fellow patient saw me crying, and went and told a nurse, thinking she could help calm me. Instead, that nurse came storming into the bathroom and demanded I stop crying and upsetting the other patients. I told her I could cry if I wanted to ~ one of my RARE moments of standing up for myself. This nurse ran and called for some big burly male orderlies, told them I had yelled at her, was out of control and needed to be put in solitary confinement. All this time I had not gotten up off the toilet, where I was sitting and QUIETLY crying… but I had to go to solitary confinement, for defying the psych nurse’s command. So these big men in white came in and pulled me bodily off the toilet, and dragged me down the hall to a confinement room, threw me in and locked the door.

I was DONE at that point. I mean, stick a fork in me, I was so DONE. I made a noose out of my bedding and hung myself. The only thing that saved me was that the big metal pipe I hung myself from, broke with my weight, and I crashed to the floor. So then I was shot full of thorazine, and strapped to the bed with leather-wrapped metal straps, they went around my waist, my wrist, and my ankles, and were locked under the bed.

I was 15 years old. I had been raped by my psychiatrist, and I was being punished.

I am so angry right now for what happened to me when I was just a girl, and a BROKEN girl, at that!!!!!!!!!!

I’m so sorry, Darlene, for what you went through, and Susan too, and Jinabnit, thank you for reporting that A**hole, you have saved others from being victimized, you can be proud of that.

Jasmine, HURRAY for YOU and your wonderful therapist! You are a beautiful inspiration, Jasmine, and I’m so glad you are here, telling us your story,

Love to all my fellow survivors,


PS~ Do you know what hurt me almost as bad as the rapes, etc…. it was NOT BEING BELIEVED by my family, my “friends,” other doctors, when I told them what happened…. very few people are willing to believe that a psychiatrist would drug and rape his 15-year-old patient. NOT BEING BELIEVED HURT ALMOST AS MUCH AS THE RAPES. I was the “crazy” one, he was the LEARNED RESPECTED DOCTOR, so of course I had to be LYING.

I wish to God it was a lie. I wish to God I never had to live through that nightmare.


I suffered abuse and believe it was the original stimuli for bipolar disorder. I’ve been involved with mental health services since I was 18 and I’ve NEVER received counselling for that abuse. I find sexual relationships awful my whole life and I’ve literally begged for appropriate therapy – the closest it came was 2008 when i had one meeting with a sexual health nurse. She (as all counsellors I met seem to) went off sick for two months. My next appointment with her was the same as the first because she’d lost her notes and couldn’t remember the sexual abuse ‘STORY’ I told her? I walked out and that was that.

I’ve seen so many psychiatrists its just silly. And CPN’s. But there have been some really great ones.

Lynda – I just have to say – oh my God. My heart goes out to you so much. The same thing happened to me but not by a doctor, by a so called friend. No one believed me then. Just as they never believed me about the child abuse. Its almost like its ‘sticky’ and if you believe in it, you become stuck with that belief. People flee from such matters and push their heads into sand. I tell myself, ‘One day they’ll get theirs.’ and move on. Who are they anyway? Cowards!

Please consider joining our weekly linky over at http://wordsinsync.blogspot.com/ called Monday Madness today – It’s in support of bloggers who are involved in mental health/illness. I’d like it to grow steadily, to tackle stigma and enable awareness and support.

Shah ,.x


I had a wonderful therapist for 15 years. Since her murder 3 years ago I have been unable to find someone else I can trust, though. She did get me on low dose Zoloft which has been TREMENDOUSLY helpful.

However, prior to that I had a couple therapists who were harmful. One dragged me into her group therapy. 3 of the women there were much younger than me and they took out all their rage at their mothers on me. I promptly got up and left one session. The therapist admitted she used me as a ‘catalyst.’ I reported her to the Licensing Board in my state.

Another, had me write long long letters which were very convoluted in retrospect, to my first serious boyfriend (an abusive Narcissist) and we discussed them in therapy. Fine. Then I found out she MAILED THEM ALL TO HIM. Can I tell you the bastard used them in a smear campaign against me? I went ballistic at the therapist and she felt totally entitled! I left and reported her.

One of my kids has ADD. I took her to a counselor for 2 1/2 years who I thought was helping. Finally I found out she spent the sessions quizzing her about my divorce, her father, etc. ZERO time on helping her be organized, accountable, focus better. The therapist also encouraged a lot of Fantasy Play re: unicorns, fairies & ‘magical creatures’ to help her talk about her “feelings.” Then out of the blue – she tells me my child has a poor grasp on REALITY and wants her on HEAVY PSYCHOTROPIC drugs. When I went for a 2nd opinion she called CPS on us. CPS found it all unfounded and I did get my child into a proper ADD program which has been fantastic. I reported her because I realized she has NO CLUE how to deal with ADD/ADHD and she was getting into territory were she didn’t belong. I am still in the process of having her sanctioned.

I believe therapy can help. I mentor abuse victims myself but there are a lot of ‘counselors’ out there who are either clueless or who talk a good game but offer zero good, tangible help.


@Jinabnit; I am so sorry for the time you lost in your journey to unethical “treatment” and I applaud your courage to turn him and report his actions. It doesn’t take a lot of time for this kind of abuse to cause damage. Its good to hear that you’ve been able to trust and reclaim your power to move forward in your healing journey and you – none of us – are “crazy”. Thank you for sharing your story; your voice is so valuable and so right on:)

@Lynda – Like you – I would like to say that these who do harm were the exception but like you I’ve found those who DO NOT harm are really the exception and those who were helpful even more so. I do not see the power plays and assuming a role of authority in “therapeutic relationships” to be at all helpful and it was in the few relationships that threw that ideal out and treated me as a person with potential that were actually helpful. The doctor that affirmed for you that your experiences and reactions to the trauma and abuse were normal – I am so glad to hear that you found that one person who could validate your experiences and your pain AND listen when you said “no” to the drugs. And bravo to you for having the courage to speak up; after many years and less severe traumas than you I finally stopped speaking up. I’d been successfully shamed into silence and compliance and submitted myself to these peoples authority and credentials.

Lynda – what you experienced was horrendous and animalistic. These people preyed on you and tortured you. I so admire your courage and am SO GLAD YOU ARE HERE – telling your story and sharing your reality with us. What you have survived makes you nothing less than a miracle. Thank you thank you for having the courage and tenacity to not give up because thats where we begin to win. I admire your strength and your courage.

And a final note on the severity of Lyndas experiences – this stuff is NOT old school. This stuff is happening today. In America. Polypharmacy is the new form of institutionalization. Especially to those unfortunate to find themselves impoverished after being crippled by poly pharmacy and unable to function in any capacity to be productively employed and forced into the public mental health system that I was fortunate enough to have escaped.


@Lynda; YES YES. It is the not being believed that is the most damaging in ANY abuse but in the mental health system this is used to validate being “mentally ill”. This kind of brainwashing and crazy making is so harmful and damaging. And I am so angry – furious – that you experienced this nightmare. Lynda – keep telling the story…its in the letting the grief and anger out that I found freedom from the pain of realizing that I’d lost my youth – and my family – to this lie and these abuses of the false authority of those who needed me to “less than” in order to justify their abuse. Thank you so much for sharing your story Lynda.

@Shah Wharton…I am so sorry that you were not able to have your emotional needs met in your search for wholeness. I’d have to agree with what you said: “I’ve never recieved counseling for that abuse”. That has been the same experience I’d had until the last therapist I met who actually helped me to reach back there and work through that emotional pain after 15 years of having my emotions numbed by the drugs and my past denied and dismissed. What you describe even in your one helpful encounter with that nurse – is so common. I am so sad to know that you survived the original abuse only to experience this second trauma caused by those you turned to for help. Thank you for sharing your story here.


@Shah Wharton; I wanted to just add to my note that this is what EFB is about – blasting through the lies that caused the coping mechanisms that have been used to label and dismiss our very normal human reactions to trauma and abuse. Both Darlene and I have been down the path with diagnosis and labels and both of us have found that when we started digging down to and breaking through the lies of the original abuse that those previous coping mechanisms like depression, dissociation, addictive behaviors and mood swings – they just stopped being needed. Diagnosis and traditional mental health care was not helpful in my journey from that dark place where I lived in the powerlessness of “disease”; it was when I looked at the beliefs I got about myself in the original trauma that I was also able to blast through the residual pain and damage done in this second trauma I experienced in the mental health system.

@Barbara, Hi and thank you for sharing your experiences with therapy that wasn’t so helpful. I admire your strength and ability to recognize that these things were wrong and that you were empowered to take the bull by the horns so to speak:) Therapy can be helpful for many, I’d have to agree; unfortunately there are many who suffer at the hands of inept therapists because being mistreated and blamed for therapy failure goes right along with what we have known to be our “normal”. It is in taking the discussion of these kinds of abuses out of the closet that I was able to finally see that I wasn’t the only one this had happened to and that because of the original trauma I was susceptible to this second trauma by mental health professionals. Thank you for sharing your success in advocating for yourself and your child:)


@Barbara, I wanted to say I am so sorry for the traumatic loss of your therapist. I can only imagine the effect that had on you. Thank you again for sharing your story here.


Fabulous article! I wasn’t abused by the mental health system through drugs and therapy but through my “christian” education and therapy. I thought I was being educated!! The answers were, of course, “Jesus”, but in reality, not the real Jesus, but the one they made up. You see, words don’t mean anything but what the actions behind them mean.


We were talking about the useless counselors last night. Just collect the money, tune out, sit back, be entertained, (or as you have endured, much worse) etc…maddening


It is extremely invalidating when those who have survived abuse of any sort have their experiences dismissed and measured against those who are protective of their own therapy relationships and health choices and this actually perpetrates the isolation and hidden shame of survivors of this kind of abuse just as in other forms of abuse. It is only by not being silent that others learn they are not alone. Please reconsider minimizing someones pain in this way.

Hi Susan

I am very sorry that my comments have been taken this way: it was not at all my intention to offend or invalidating anyone’s suffering and experiences. I was not aware that I was drawing comparisons – that is about the last thing I wanted or intended to do! My apologies.

I guess it’s my issue that’s hovering about here: I see a lot of demonisation of psychiatry, people who dismiss it with blanket certainty (sometimes with little to no experience or research thereof), and I grow tired of it (it’s not that I object to people being highly sceptical of the ‘profession’, obviously that’s their absolute right. I do object to false assumptions and outrageous allegations being levied at me and others for simply seeing an alternative – this has happened all too frequently on the likes of Twitter, FB and some other blogs, and I suppose it has made me a bit defensive). Now, that is not, nor should it be, this blog’s problem or remit; this is a blog about healing from abuse, and of course it is right and proper that all abuse – including that levied by medical professionals – is included in that. I shouldn’t bring my own annoyances here, and I apologise for doing so.

Obviously everything one person says about abuse (or whatever) does not need to carry a disclaimer of the ilk that I suppose I was making, but having said that I see no particular dichotomy in trying to celebrate the good people in this world, as well as ‘demonising’ the ‘bad’, even in this controversial arena. A comparison might be me saying, “yes, my uncle was (is?) an abusive *******, but my grandfather was a wonderful man.” The latter, strictly speaking, is indeed completely irrelevant to the former – but it still merits recognition and acknowledgement in my view. Perhaps it’s just a case of me picking the wrong moment to note that.

Anyway, I’ll leave it there; I don’t want to upset anyone further, and I am sorry that that has happened. I wish you all well, and will hopefully have something more productive to offer in future entries! (I’ve been reading here for ages but have only commented once or twice).

Thank you again, and take care 🙂



And the “christian” education was a degree in pyschology


HTML fail there. Sorry!


People should just be allowed to re-tell their own stories without being categorized and without being accused of categorizing others. That is what I am doing.


I had two experiences with mistreatment by mental health professionals. One still continues to traumatize me. The second does not because I got justice and revenge when I complained to the head of the agency. I got justice from isthe first one too, but I did not see it for myself. Months later, the hospital forgave the entire bill, and said it was their fault. I’m sure they called the worm I complained about into the office first, and I’m sure he demonstrated his prejudice and hatred for me better than I could have told them. He became a forensic psychiatrist — perfect job for him. He judges people and does not have to help him. I never saw a doctor who hated sick people like he did.


@Sheryl; hello and thank you for the supportive feedback! Its always great to know that others can relate to the issues at hand; I appreciate your note! And on the “christian” education and therapy…I so understand what you are talking about and I am terrible sorry to hear that you had that experience. In the past Darlene and Carla Dippel have written about religious abuse and its just as confusing as the mental health relationships that are based on that control of what others think, feel and do. Personally, I also experienced something similar to what you describe as I spent 10 years prior to the mental health system in a religious system (with a “christian psychologist and counselors) that taught similar as to what you describe. It reinforced once again that something was “wrong with me”. Its a terrible place to be and I’m grateful to hear your story.

@Pandora Thank you:) I think what we are discussing is very much related to what you describe you see outside of this forum. What you bring up is a valid issue and one that I personally would like to address sometime (around the differences and conflicts you mention).I like the example you give of having that balance in acknowledging the good with the bad and this is a valid part of the healing journey. The thing is in this context it is important that all feel safe and validated. I am not upset at all and I apologize if I took the context broader than you intended it to be.

thank you, Pandora for being here today and sharing your story and thoughts on this issue. 🙂

@Sheryl; thank you for your note; its a good reminder to use that as a benchmark.


Hi stripey! Great observations. I’ve had a lot of inefficient therapy, I’ve had just plain bad therapy, and I’ve had thrrapy that was such a disasyrr and harm to me that it still affects a skepticism of ALL caregivers. Fortunately that experience ended after less than a year so got lucky. I’m on therapist #5 in 15 years now and can say i am able to trust again–both C and my new shrink of a year and a half. Being dominated is so tough in therapy, i tried to overlook it but it was always there. Very disheartening. Well, that’s that. I could go on but don’t really feel safe in doing so. Great piece, thanks


I spent much of my life going on and off to counsellors most of them just churning up stuff that I already knew. Not one of them mentioned Post traumatic stress although I realised very late on that was what I was dealing with for many years and got myself some treatment for that. I still have my odd days when I get triggered but they get less and less as time goes on. Also understanding that I was ADHD and NOT a looney has helped immensely not only with my own healing but in focussing myself.

I was fortunate enough to have not been labelled apart from a mild label of cylamic depresssion which I later found out many years ago to be the mildest form of bi polar and not helped at all by pills and finally found a counsellor who told me there was nothing wrong with me apart from having had one of the most f*cked up childhoods on the planet and no boundaries which I now have tons. Having just that validation was enough to get me recovering along with stopping taking medication over 20 years ago that never really did anything.

I work now using voice dialogue which looks at the negative (false) beliefs we have about outselves based on our programming and childhood. Mine was I am powerless and cant say no. Its so sad to hear all these stories about how peoples therapists have abused them but there was an interesting study showing that if there was one profession that a psychopath would choose it would be as a psychiatrist. What better way to hide their own disorder and crazyiness by making everyone around them feel crazy.

On a positive note if its any consoldation there are some good therapists out there. For those that are interested you may wish to check voice dialogue out as it change my life in so many ways that therapy couldn’t.


Good morning Splint! I really appreciate the way you say “being dominated in therapy”; this is a HUGE issue. Its good to hear that you were able to identify it and make the choice to move on. I can sure understand what you mean about “getting lucky” that a not so helpful therapy relationship ended after “only” a year. To someone who has experienced abuse and trauma a year can like a lifetime as we struggle with issues. I’m so so glad to hear that you feel safe in your newest relationships and wish and hope for you that this continues! Thank you for dropping by – I’m glad to see you!


@Ken Braiterman thank you for sharing your experiences; I’m terribly sorry that you had this happen to you. It sounds like you knew the action to take and was able to hold these people accountable. I do understand how traumatizing this kind of experience can be.

@Sarah I’m feel angry when I hear about things like this where you sought help that was not helpful and caused more distress in the end. It is wonderful that you were able to receive the kind of validation that helped you to connect the dots (so to speak:)) between the abuse and the programming that shapes our belief system. And what you identified as your key issue “Mine was I am powerless and can’t say no” was absolutely the core for myself. When I started looking deeper into the pit of lies it ALWAYS came down to the belief or feeling that I was powerless. Learning to set boundaries – well, that was a life changer for me too! Thanks so much for sharing your hopeful story!


Thanks everyone for being so honest. Even though I had a near-perfect relationship with a clinical psychologist whom I’ve worked with for 13 months, the therapist she referred me to after that (we terminated simply because she only does brief therapy and I had already gone up to 34 sessions, nearing dependency) was a total opposite. I went to her for disordered eating, which she insisted was “weight management issues” and proceeded to find ways to prove it, and then tailored her therapy on nutrition instead. Guess who I learned to count calories from.

Truth of the matter is – there are good therapists and bad therapists, just as there are good doctors and bad doctors, good lecturers and bad lecturers, etc. It is just unfortunate that some people have the misfortune of having incompetent therapists, especially when there is already significant hurt and abuse. Granted, there are therapists who went into the profession with unresolved issues and without the willingness to deal with them…or are simply in for the wrong reasons. In the end, it is the clients who pay the price.

It took four months (and with two sessions left in therapy) before I realized that I really needed to leave this therapist for my own sake, that she wasn’t treating me right and it wasn’t my fault. I have never drawn boundaries with anyone before, and I’m glad that my previous therapist have taught me how to do so.

I’m working to get into clinical psychology graduate school…and discussions like these have helped me to understand the influence therapists have over lives – for good or for bad. It is often hard to gauge the competency of a therapist because it does take time before we see results, and sometimes due to certain experiences it makes our vision even less clearer.


would love to hear more of these therapist relted stories


GREAT discussion here!

Sheryl, in comment #23 you said: “People should just be allowed to re-tell their own stories without being categorized and without being accused of categorizing others. That is what I am doing.”


Pandora and Susan: I happen to agree wholeheartedly with everything the two of you have said in this post. How’s that for being able to see both sides of the same coin? 🙂

I did, however, have to reread, three times, Susan’s comment #5, in which Susan was replying to Pandora’s earlier 2 comments, because I was trying to determine how Susan meant what she was saying…. not an easy thing to determine, when the words are merely written, with no tone of voice, no facial expressions, and no body language to help convey the intent and emotions in one’s heart. That comment, #5, did strike me as a bit harsh toward Pandora, when I read it through the first time. But after a good night’s sleep and a nourishing breakfast, I came back read everything again, including Pandora’s 2 intial comments that Susan was responding to in comment #5, and I concluded that Susan was not meaning to be harsh toward Pandora for her remarks, but was instead trying to be protective of those of us who have been horrifically traumatized and abused by some in the psychiatrict field.

Pandora, your reply to Susan, in comment #20, was very beautifully expressed, I envy your ability to express yourself the way you did there.

Above all, I thank you, Dearest Susan, for your post about dysfunctional relationships with mental health providers. You are doing a great and much-needed work in bringing these issues to light. You are, Susan, a lifeline to me. I am deeply grateful to you for all that you are doing. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

To everyone else here, to those who comment, and to those many readers who do not comment, my heartfelt compassion goes out to each one of you, my precious Brother and Sister Survivors of trauma and abuse. I love you!



@Jasmine – hi and thank you for sharing your story – both sides of it:) Its good to know that you have found your own calling and path to follow.

@Sheryl – thanks for your note:)

@Lynda; you hit the nail on the head and verbalized it so very well! It is hard to communicate intention without inflection:)


Susan, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what you describe as your very harmful experiences with psychotropic meds. The incident I told you about, in our correspondence on facebook, about my diabetic husband’s blood sugar going so dangerously low recently when we drove 2 and 1/2 hours to see some old acquaintances of mine ~ as I’ve already told you, my husband, who is THE couch potato, and has had 2 heart attacks in years past, had eaten just 2 little slices of cheese to take his morning medicine with, which included his diabetes medicine… and then he spent several hours outside in an unseasonably hot sun, getting our travel trailer ready for the trip… this was hard, physical, hot labor that my couch potato is NOT accustomed to. SO, by the time we were finally all packed and ready to hit the road, 4 hours later than my husband had intended us to leave, he did not want to rest, he did not want to eat, he just wanted to GO. With my eyeglasses being so out-of-date, he was doing the driving, and I did not know, until we had almost reached our destination, that my diabetic couch potato hubby had not eaten anything in over 9 hours. His blood sugar was crashing, he was becoming irritable and uncoordinated, and still he refused to stop to get a quick bite to eat, he just wanted to GET THERE and get the trailer set up, and the grill going, before dark.

When my husband’s blood sugar got so low, that he was making sick “jokes,” telling my old acquaintances whom he had just met, that he would only ever want to see them again, if it were in the sites of his rifle…. and then, when I suggested to him that he give up on trying to put the grill together, and that we go inside the trailer and cook our hamburgers on the stove ~~ AND I MADE THAT SUGGESTION, BECAUSE I REALIZED THAT MY HUSBAND, A FORMER MARINE SNIPER IN VIETNAM, WHO HAS SEVERE PTSD FROM THAT WAR, AND WHO HAS SOBBED BUCKETS OF TEARS IN MY PRESENCE OVER WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE 19 YEARS OLD, AND DOING YOUR “PATRIOTIC DUTY IN FIGHTING FOR YOUR COUNTRY,” BY AIMING A RIFLE AT THE ENEMY FROM A FAR DISTANCE, LOOKING AT THEM THROUGH THE SCOPE, AND SHOOTING THEM DEAD…… I realized that for my husband to make a “joke” out of that, when it wasn’t too long ago that he sat in a Federal Court and told a Washington DC judge that, although he had believed in the rightness of our country’s involvement in the Vietnam War when he was 19, he now believes that he committed war crimes… in essence, he said, he believes he is a murderer, for the actions that he committed in Vietnam…..

Whew. Just writing all that, has taken the emotional wind out of my sails, and I have lost the tread of where that long run-on sentence was intended to go. ANYWAY, with my husband’s history, I knew that his behavior and his “joke” was not at all HIM, and, attributing it to the fact that his blood sugar must have been dangerously low at that point, while all the work and sweating and driving he had done that day, on so little food, after taking his diabetic medicine, at that point I got up from the picnic table, put my arms around my husband, and gently said, “It’s getting too dark now to see, so even if you get that grill together, without lights here in the park, we won’t be able to grill. How about if we just go inside the trailer now, and cook the hamburgers on the stove?” …… when I said that, my husband, who in the almost 7 years has been my best friend, who shows me by his attitude and actions every single day that he LOVES me, and would rather die himself, than ever cause me any harm…. my husband, in the throes of his super-low-blood sugar, said to me, right in front of my old aquaintances whom he had not met before we got there with our trailer: “You remember what your doctor said about your cholesterol levels being dangerously high? Well, you won’t have to worry about that, if you are no longer breathing….”

I was absolutely STUNNNED beyond measure, when my husband said that! He KNOWS my trauma history. He KNOWS how close my psychiatrist came to murdering me when I was 15 and he overdosed me so he could rape me. He KNOWS that when I was a little helpless girl, my daddy threatened to throw me off the San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridge, when we were sitting on the bridge in standstill traffic one day as we were on our way to get my mother from work. My husband KNOWS that my mother deeply traumatized me when I was 12 and she tried to gas us ALL TO DEATH while we were alseep in our beds, because, as she later explained, she had “brought us all into the world and had the right to take us out of it.” AND, my husband KNOWS that, after my childhood and early disasterous experiences with psychiatry, I had learned to be a VICTIM, and so abusers were very much attracted to meek, mild, BROKEN me, and so I married not one, not two, but THREE men who physically abused me, too of whom came very close to killing me….

My husband has sat and CRIED with me, over these past traumas that I have endured. NO WAY would my loving Best-Friend-Husband “JOKE” with me, in front of ANYBODY, nor would he joke about it in private, that if I were no longer breathing my high cholesterol numbers WOULD NOT MATTER ANYMORE.

My PTSD was badly triggered by my husband’s hateful joke. But I kept my feelings hidden, for the sake of our guests, and also by reminding myself that my husband’s blood sugar was dangerously low, and I know from my nurse’s training (I am an LPN), that that low blood sugar affects the brain first and foremost, rendering one incapable of thinking or functioning coherently. SO, since my husband seemed to be saying that my well-meant suggestion to give up putting the new grill together and cook inside the trailer’s kitchen was getting on his nerves so badly that he would like to kill me, and put me out of my cholesterol-misery, I shut up, I sat down, and I waited for him to hit bottom, even if that meant he was going to pass out, which I have seen happen in diabetics when their sugar gets low enough. Finally, after the sun had disappeared from the sky, my husband decided on his own that it was too dark to continue with the grill idea, and we all 4 trooped inside the trailer for fried burgers and hotdogs, and baked beans. Near the end of the process, my hubby, who loves to cook, almost always does the cooking, and has spoiled me to the point that, after nearly 7 years of marriage I have pretty much forgotten how to cook, and cooking was never my strong suit, anyway… as I was trying to help my husband as best I could in that tiny kitchen without getting in his way, when he became so unsteady due to his low sugar that he spilled the baked beans all over the floor, I told my husband to sit down before slipped and fell in the mess, and I cleaned it up, and helped get everything on the table so the 4 of us could eat at long last….

After my husband ate, it took a few hours, but finally his sugar seemed to be back to normal. By then, he was “himself” again, and he apologized profusely for his mean joke to my old friends about never wanting to see them again unless it was through the scope of a rifle… and he apologized, over and over again, with tears in his eyes, for his “joking,” thinly veiled threat of killing me for “getting on his nerves” with my well-meant suggestion. Indeed, my husband did not deny that that was exactly what he had meant when he said, “Your high cholesterol numbers won’t matter if you are no longer breathing,” he admitted that he had meant it as a “joking” way of telling me to quit with my suggestions, that I was getting on his nerves, to the point that he wished I was no longer breathing….

HOWEVER, my husband insisted that in NO WAY did he seriously MEAN that, he insisted that he would rather die himself, than for me to die.

SUSAN… after 7 years with him, I know my husband’s heart, I know how much he loves me, I know how thoughtful he is of me every single day, and I know how careful he is to NEVER say or do anything that would trigger one of my trauma memories. I KNOW his blood sugar had to be extremely low that night last week….

BUT I AM STILL HURTING DEEP INSIDE FROM WHAT HE SAID. I keep telling myself not to be “silly,” not to let my trauma triggers ruin what had been the first loving, happy, healthy, mutually respectful intimate relationship of my life. I keep telling myself that he wasn’t repsonsible, he wasn’t thinking right, it was his low blood sugar…

But another part of me wants to RUN AWAY from him, because of his “joke.” I have been too badly hurt, to allow myself to be hurt any more. I would rather live alone under a bridge in a cardboard box if I had to, than to live with someone who would abuse me in any way… and I DO consider his “joke” to be abusive, especially in light of all that he knows about my past traumas.

OK, Susan, I went through that long story with you once again, because I am trying to get my head around what happened. Am I being “overly-sensitive” because of my PTSD? Would a “normal” woman, who had never been abused, be as hurt inside her heart, as I have been feeling, ever since my husband made those sick jokes?

I keep wondering, Is low blood sugar enough of an “excuse” for making that kind of a hurful joke? Too me, it feels suspiciously similar to the “excuses” people make when they are DRUNK: he didn’t know what he was doing when he beat me, or cheated on me, or raped me, because, he was too drunk. HELLO??? What is REAL here? I am floundering, and have been ever since this happened when we visited my old aquaintances last week.

I am sitting here looking at a bottle of Trazadone that my husband’s VA psych prescribed for him just one month ago. He has been taking this now for a month, on top of the antidepressant, Celexa, that he was already taking for the past year. I am wondering if this drug cocktail mix is screwing up my husband’s head, and if this, on top of his super low blood sugar event last week, is why he got so MEAN. Even when his sugar levels are normal, my husband’s personality has seemed to me to be changing, over the past month. He says he feels great, and he is functioning better, in that he is now sleeping at night, and also doing more work around the house, whereas before, all he ever did was sit on the couch and play farmville (shudder).

I would appreciate any feedback here, from Susan or anyone. I am not asking for anyone to tell me what to do, I know that has to be MY decision all the way! But this feeling of unease that I now have around my husband… the urge to just RUN AWAY after his deeply hurtful, PTSD-triggering “jokes” ~~ any thoughts?

Thanks. And I’m sorry for the long rambling comment. I get that way, the more emotional I feel…. and brevity isn’t my strong suit, not by a long shot.



Well, here is my story.
Compound fracture from horse spill. Competed horses all of my life, exercised, walked 5 miles a day, gym, swim, (alternate), rode two or more horses a day. Everyday for years and I mean years. It was my life.
I came off my horse.
Compound fracture tib/fib also had (perceived) trauma; father leaving at a young age. The physical trauma and lack of exercise (I believe) is what rebooted the old traumas.

As soon as I stopped moving (compound fracture) I got depressed.
lost my husband,
lost my house,
lost my happy life.
Stayed in my bedroom for ten years. By myself.

That was 15 years ago this past February (2011).

I gained more than 70#’s on various different medications. I’ll list here, just in case there are those reading who are trying to find answers. Prozac, then Prozac with Depakote (maxed dose of both), Paxil, Zoloft, not together but combined with Effexor (max dose allowed), Respiridol, My insurance was not renewable because of my prescription for Depakote, and I could not get new insurance so I got sucked into the County Mental Health System.

Cymbalta and Effexor combined did me in.
Max dose of both.
Caused seratonin syndrome.

I was told by a Neuro/Psych doctor (teaching doctor at GW University), I needed to come off of these medications at once. They wanted to put me in the Psych unit and detox me. “Don’t worry will give you something to help with the withdrawal.” That drug would have been Seroquel.

Three suicide attempts with long stays while on listed meds.

I’d never had “mental illness” before these medications (probably due to good diet and constant sweating and exercise). I really don’t know but my conclusion is a logical one.

I told the Neuropsych doctor no thank you. I’ll do it alone.
Not recommending this to ANYONE~~~EVER.
Get help to come off these medications.

At the time before withdrawal I was in a wheelchair and walked with a cane. Not because of the compound fracture some ten 13 years earlier. In fact I competed in a in house (gym) triathlon while doing PT at my gym. I was never sent to PT for the compound fracture because I was motivated on my own. A personality characteristic that has kept me alive. Also I might add the Prozac helped me for about 2 months.

After that it was all down hill.

Two years ago (July) I took my last medication, oh but wait, I’m still hooked on the benzos that I was given to alleviate agitation/mania (induced by medication~~proven) so I take 1/4 mg every other day.

That is my story (past).

My current situation, because of motivation of people like Susan and Gianna (Beyond Meds) I got off the meds, moved to the mountains and have started my life over.

I volunteer at a disabled riding program (helping disabled/autistic and vets with PTSD). I’m back working with horses.

Did I mention while sick on those meds that I gave my $10,000 competition horse away? My dog grew old and so did I during that time.

I’m volunteering at the Farmer’s Market in my town taking pictures for advertising and such.
I work at my family’s farm (volunteer) because it is what helps me the most, getting outside and being one with the earth.

I share this only for the knowledge that I have gained.

I share this only because I care and don’t want ANYONE to suffer the way I and so many others have.


…sigh…. I apolgize, once again, for being so wordy. But I’m really hurting here, and this is the only safe forum I know of, so I will add this one more thing, and then I will try to shut up for a while. Drink a soothing cup of mint tea, and go lie down. (My husband is out of town right now for a couple of days seeing his medical doctors at the VA hospital, so in his absence, I have been doing a lot of thinking).

The couple that my husband I and I drove 2 and 1/2 hours in our travel trailer to meet just over a week ago, when the low-blood-sugar, bad-hurtful-jokes happened… this is a couple that I knew 22 years ago when I was in my 30s, and lived in the State of Maine, where they also lived at the time. He was…. my therapist!!I remember him as one of those therapists who did no harm… however I can’t say that he did me a lot of good, either, because I did not open up to him about my life, I never told him anything about my history of trauma, of being instututionalized at age 14, none of that. After my rapist psychiatrist, I did not trust a male counselor, and so I only saw him for a few months, and then when I found a female counselor that I resonsated with, I switched to her.

I now live far away from Maine, in New Mexico. I have lived here since 2003. I’ve recently hooked up with some old friends of mine that I used to know in Maine, and they are still living in Maine, they are my facebook friends, on my non-traua, family and friends, facebook account (I keep that stuff separate, mainly to protect my teenaged granddaughters from reading about horrific stuff they don’t need to know.)

Through one of my FB friends in Maine, I discovered that my former therapist and his wife, are also now living in New Mexico. (I knew my former therapist’s wife 22 years ago also, because they both went to the same AA meetings I went to back in the days when I was medicating my PTSD with alcohol, NOT a good idea!)

So, after hooking up on FB thru our mutual friend in Maine, my former therapist and his wife… both of whom admitted that they don’t remember me…. suggested that they drive out to our part of the state, to meet my husband and me face to face. This suggestion was made, after a few months of our all being FB “friends,” and communicating online in that way. My former therapist also read part of my “Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet” blog, and commended me for my bravery in speaking out in such a public way about my mental health and trauma issues. He told me in an email that he, too, has PTSD, resulting from two very bad traffic accidents, and has received therapy and help for this in recent years.

Not wanting the two of them to drive so many hundreds of miles across the state, I suggested that we meet them part way, and so we agreed to meet in the interesting town of Roswell, New Mexico, where my husband and our dog and I would stay in our 24 ft. travel trailer at Bottomless Lake State Park. My old friends were planning to stay in a motel in Roswell, and it was agreed that they would meet us at the State Park, for an evening barbeque, which was my husband’s suggestion… as I said, he loves to cook, and he especially does a great barbeque… when he can get the grill to work, that is!

So this couple had never met my husband before, and, since they confessed after meeting us in person that neither of them could remember me after these 22 years, not even after seeing me face to face, they were, in essence, meeting us for the first time. So they had no idea of how my husband’s normal, NON-low-blood-sugar is, and they also had no way of knowing how he and I interact with each other on a typical day.

As my husband was struggling to put the tiny pieces of his new grill together for the first time, my former therapist and his wife and I sat near my husband at the picnic table, wishing we could help, not knowing how. After a bit of my husband’s silent struggling, my former therapist’s wife said, “After going through all this, you will probably never want to see us again!” That is when my loving husband said, “Only through the sites of a rifle.” They laughed at his joke, but I suspected that it was nervous laughter. They also laughed when, a few moments later, after I’d made my suggestion that we give up on the grill and cook inside, my husband told me in so many words to mind my own business, because if I didn’t, my “high cholesterol numbers won’t matter” if I am not still breathing.

After what seemed to me to be a very strained meal, the other couple left right away. They had to, because the park’s gates were going to close soon. So they did not get to see the difference in my husband after his meal made his blood sugar go up, and they did not hear his abject apology to me for his rude, sick “joke” to them, and especially, for his deeply traumatizing “joke” to me.

Also, while this couple knows that I have PTSD, and that my husband does too, from Vietnam, they don’t know the details, they don’t know that he used to look through a rifle scope and kill people and that he is haunted to this day with nightmares and guilt over that. They also don’t know much about the trauma and abuse that causes my own PTSD, so they therefore have no way of knowing just how PTSD-TRIGGERING my husband’s jokes were to me that night.

A couple of days after this visit, we got back home and I sent an email to this couple, through facebook, I sent it to both my former therapist, and his wife, and I explained that my diabetic husband’s blood sugar had gotten very low by the time they met us at the park that night, and I told them that he is normally much more outgoing and friendly than he was that night, and he would never, in his usual frame of mind, make jokes about seeing them through a rifle scope.

My therapist’s wife never has replied to my email, and, as I said, it’s been over a week since our visit. But my former therapist did reply. I am pasting that part of his reply that pertains to this discussion, below. This is word for word what my former therapist said to me, it is not changed in any way:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Hi Lynda-

My (and our) impression of Stan is that he an open and very likable guy. Absolutely no problem with anything that he said or did. Period.

I know you didn’t ask, but I’m going to say it anyway. Stan does just fine on his own. He doesn’t appear to need your justifying or explaining or apologizing for him or his comments or actions. I didn’t notice codependency on his part, but yours was loud and clear to me. I hope that you know, friend, that I find it difficult to write that. I really do try to avoid taken others’ inventory and when I inadvertently do, I try to keep my opinions to myself. So, I must really trust you enough that I believe that you will take it in the spirit it is given, and forgive my intrusiveness. I know few in recovery who have not struggled with the codependency issue. It’s a tough one, and it doesn’t seem to go away easily.

We really did enjoy our short time with you both and your meal and hospitality. Please let us know when you might like to meet up again.

You are both in my daily prayers (and have been for a while).


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Guys… is it just ME, or is this misogynistic and CRAZY-MAKING??????

It didn’t help the trauma I was already feeling from my husband’s hurtful “jokes.” And it especially didn’t help that I had JUST finished reading a “well-meaning and loving” email from my former stepdaughter, who was CHASTIZING me for being so public on my blog and on my FB page, about my history of mental illness and abuse. “Facebook is for FUN and GAMES,” she said. “Not for all this personal horror stuff. You aren’t going to see me ever writing about my rapes on facebook!”

People….. is it ME, or is it THEM? HELP!

Lynda ~ the hurting and confused


Susa > Lynda:

That does seem like an uncomfortable and awkward meeting, and I suppose it could be perceived as somewhat misogynistic. I became defensive even reading his email. It seemed like he was meddling a bit in your boundary making decisions.

I usually spend days and days doing self-evaluation after an incident like this happens to me… Not pleasant. Sometimes, I think that I want to be a hermit when I grow up!

At least did you get to enjoy Roswell? One of our favorite places to go. We’re about 2+ hours west of Roswell.


Thank you, Suza, for your take on this. Yes, at the very least I felt like my boundaries were being meddled with. To my mind, the misogynistic aspect of it came from the fact that, to my former therapist, my male spouse could do no wrong. My US Marine Vietnam Veteran husband with combat-related PTSD could tell this couple whom he had only just met, that he hopes never to see them again unless it is through a rifle scope.. he could tell me, his wife with Complex-post traumatic stress disorder stemming from a very violent abusive childhood and equally violent and abusive former marriages, that if I am no longer breathing, my high cholesterol numbers won’t matter…. and even my husband who was so thoughtless as to say that, admitted to me later, after the couple had left, that he meant just what I feared he had meant, when he made that sick “joke” ~ he meant that I was getting on his nerves, when I made my gentle suggestion with my arms placed lovingly around him, that we could cook and eat inside the trailer, and stop fretting with trying to put the grill together in the growing darkness (my husband later realized that he never would have been able to get it put together, because a vital part missing) ~ when I made my well-meaning suggestion, concerned that his blood sugar had dropped to the danger point, or he would never have said to anyone, let alone to people he had just met, that he would hope never to see them again except thru a rifle scope…. my well-meaning but apparently pathologically codependet suggestion so irritated my usually unflappable husband, that he gave me what amounted to a very thinly veiled DEATH THREAT…

But, according to my male former therapist, this was all just fine and normal behavior on my husband’s part! The problem wasn’t my husband, the problem was ME, the “sick, clingy, codependent woman” who was concerned about the behavior and manner of her husband, recognizing the signs of dangerously low blood sugar, not to mention as a nurse, an LPN, I KNEW my husband’s blood sugar HAD to be dangerously low, just based on the knowledge that he had eaten virtually nothing all day, yet had taken his diabetic medicine, and then did several hours of unaccustomed hard physical labor out in the hot sun, and THEN driven a total 45 foot long rig, truck and trailer, 2 aqnd 1/2 hours, unhooked the trailer from the truck, leveled the trailer, hooked it up to the park’s utilites, and then struggled to put together that blasted new grill.

IF I REALLY WERE a pathologically codependent wife, I would have been cloely monitoring my husband’s food and water and medicine intake all day long, I would have been checking his blood sugar level, and making sure that he did NOT get to the point where his blood, and his brain, were essentially trying to function on EMPTY. But I didn’t do that, I don’t do that, I allow my husband to take care of himself, and I take care of myself, and together we take care of our dog, and it works out fine that way, most days. BUT one time when my husband had severe chest pains…. knowing his history of 2 heart attacks… I insisted that my husband was going to the ER, despite his protests, because as a nurse I know that DENIAL is one of the main symptoms of a heart attack. Was that codependent of me to save his life? I don’t think so, I would hope he would do the same for me, if I were to have chest pains like that.

So yes, my former therapit’s unsolicited pathological label of me, DID make me feel VERY defensive. That, coming on top of the HURT that I felt, and still feel to some degree, over my husband’s cruel joke about my cholesterol numbers not mattering if I am no longer breathing, because I was getting on his nerves by trying to be helpful when his sugar level was bottoming out… and also on top of my former email that I got the same morning I got my former therapist’s email, with my well-meaning but, I think, misguided stepdaughter chewing me out for being so public with my history of mental illness and abuse… hey, I am on disability now, it’s not like I have to worry about what an employer will think if they read my stuff, and I do keep all that separate from my fb account that my teenage grandchildren and their friends are on….

Anyway, the bottom line is, according to my old male therapist, my husband could do no right, while I could do no right… and yes if freaking HURTS, Suza, I have been put down literally ALL MY LIFE with crazy labels, literally all my life I have been told, beginning with my parents, that I am NOT OK, that I am DEFECTIVE.

Frankly, Suza… and please don’t take offense… but this whole episode has hurt me so very badly, it has opened up some very big, deep, old wounds….. that when I read your message to me just now, I felt defensive by what I perceived as the “tone” of your message. I realize that I may be way off base here. I can’t hear your tone of voice, I can’t see your face or read your body language, as I discussed in an earlier post…. but the way you worded your reply to me, the way I took it, caused me to feel minimized, like what had happened last week with my husband, and my old therapist, was not such a big deal, it was just “one of those things that we go round and round in our heads about for days afterward, LOL”…. I know I am paraphrasing what you said, and I’m sorry, but I’m upset, and wounded, and that is how it came across to me… almost like the defect is now once again with ME, because here I am being silly and going round and round in my head…..

I hope with all my heart, Suza, that I haven’t hurt or offended you in saying this! I do realize I may be misreading you… I also realize that you have NOT walked in my shoes, you have NOT experienced the exact type of abuse that I have, you are NOT ME, just as I am not you, so you can’t really be expected to fully understand how I am feeling right now, and WHY I am feeling so much pain over this.

Finally, to answer your question about Roswell.. it was only my second visit there, we only just drove straight through it once several months ago when we were driving from our home, down the the Sacramento Mountains in the southern part of New Mexico, and then on this last trip, we only drove through it again, on the way to, and then from, the Bottomless Lake State Park. So I still feel like I haven’t really BEEN to Roswell, but as we drove through it, it looked like a fascinating place, and I am looking forward to going there someday as a tourist, to see all the sites, and …. the antiques stores! There were so many, BIG, antiques stores! My good next-door-neighbor Emily and I both love antiques, so one day she and I will travel down to Roswell, with or without our hubbies, and go ANTIQUING, which is one of the most enjoyable verbs I know!

Again, thank you Suza for taking the trouble to reply. I just feel that I could use a little more empathy here. OR, am I really that off base? Am I really making a big deal out of nothing?

The pain in my heart tells me NO, that I am NOT making a big deal out of nothing. I believe that PAIN is a God-given signal that something is WRONG, and needs to be righted.



Darn it, why do I so often hit “Submit Comment,” without proof-reading first, and only after is it too late do I go back and reread and see all my embarrassing typos, which seem to mulitply, in direct proportion with how upset I am??

In paragraph 5 above, what I meant to say was: “Anyway, the bottom line is, according to my old male therapist, my husband could do no wrong, while I could do no right… ”

THAT is what I call misogynistic. Or maybe the old man is getting senile? He is in his late 70s now, and he certainly seemed greatly changed from the man I remember from 22 years ago. But, then so are we all.

I just find it really puzzling too that his wife, who is about 14 years younger than my old therapist, she is only a few years older than my almost-58… she has not responded in any way to my email of a week ago. Yet she did by far most of the talking while they were visiting in our trailer, while he sat back and said virtually nothing… my husband told me afterwards that he felt like we were being analyzed all through their visit, either that, my husband said, or he kept wondering if my former therapist was senile. He didn’t drive there, she did, he spoke very little, she did all the talking… but NOW, she is giving me the silent treatment in reply to my email, while HE is diagnosing me based on that one, short visit under extenuating circumstances. And I am left hurting, and confused.


Ladies, I am so glad you posted this. I was not goign to read it because it doesn’t apply to me. But my niece who is my honorary nice not blood niece and we are closer than blood, I raised her father and her parents are not there for her anyway she is in a sever crisis and might go to jail. Her dad cut contact and told her to go to hell. She does not have a foundation of family or even a belief system yet. But she is blessed with intelligence genes her grandpa was a genius. She has been cutting and they sent her to a psychiatric who want to medicate her. I gave her my opinion. To join Alonon, do Yoga and do not take medication. There is nothing wrong with her. She just needs coping skills. She took my advice I explained to her what I have seen in friends who were medicated and in their case it made them far worse. Not getting into those stories too long but one is rich 911 widow and can barley function now due to the meds. I told my “niece” I could not be in her life unless she took concrete steps to help herself and I was not in agreement with the meds. So she took my advice. I was a little concerned but I know she doesn’t need them. There is nothing wrong with her. It is her circumstances that are bad not her. So this was a confirmation that I gave her the right advice.The only thing that they claim she needed meds for was not to cut. She just decided not to cut and do free Yoga classes where she lives in Brooklyn. It is at least a step in the right direction. Thanks for the insight since I didnt have any of my own experience to draw from.


geez I should have spell checked first. LOL! I hope you can read it!


@Lynda; I cannot convey how deeply your note touches me. I do understand the distress and pain you describe around this incident with your husbands veiled threats. And while I can’t give you advice or even suggestions – I do believe that each of us knows deep inside what our truth is and that we are capable of finding our way through this process. I cannot imagine NOT being upset to some degree about a situation as you describe. As far as the drugs affecting your husbands personality changes…I’m not in a position where I can offer you any medical advice and in this instance would hesitate to offer any of my own experiences for you to compare to.

What you experienced with you ex therapist would have left me spinning too, the way you describe the situation. The core of this kind of dysfunction is the same as every other abusive relationship; someone sees themselves as more valuable and to keep their charade going they must talk down to someone else. As in all abuse – predators are attracted to those who are weaker than them and susceptible to their control. In my own experiences after a lifetime of being defined by others and told I was crazy, it was my fault the abusers abused me, that I was ___________ – well I was a prime target for those who saw themselves as having the right to define me and brainwash me into believing I was defective. Like you – any time I questioned those who were grooming me this way the end result was exactly as you described – crazymaking. The only word that comes to mind right now is arrogant for this kind of person in a professional capacity.

I’m so glad you are here talking about this and I’m sending many supportive thoughts your way!


Mountain; what you describe is so horrible. Ten years and your health taken from being treated this way. I am so sorry to hear that you were subjected to this kind of abuse. The grief and anger after coming to these realizaitons are so deep; thank you so much for sharing your story. Like you – I’d never experienced any of the “symptoms” that were used to justify the numerous diagnosis I was given. Also like you – when I was disabled by the drugs and could no longer pay the private psychiatrist I was funneled into the public mental health system and was lost there for 15+ years. And like you – being given antidepressants is what triggered the mania. And like you – I had to go it alone to withdraw from these drugs (when I was forced into abrupt withdrawal by yet another psychiatrist). Although I never did experience any benefit from the drugs; it was all negative and I was told to “give it time”. I gave it 15 years.

My heart just breaks for what you have survived yet I am celebrating that you are finding yourself and creating a new life. I am so thankful that you could share your story that others might not have to suffer or can now know that they no longer have to suffer this kind of abuse alone. In learning to heal from the first trauma – we can use these same skills to heal from this second one. Digging down to the beliefs that stemmed from the lies from my family that told me I was defective, broken, unworthy of a healthy and happy life – breaking through these lies and learning to recognize this kind of treatment as abuse – is where the light was able to shine in and give me the strength to walk away from this kind of abuse once and for all.


@Susa – hello and thank you for your supportive contribution to this discussion:)

@Pinky – absolutely! We were not born broken! I’m so glad that your neice is finding alternative ways to deal with her stress! Thank you for your comment; it is so rewarding to know that this information is helpful to others. The message of hope that is here on EFB is applicable to EVERY kind of abuse, EVERY kind of dysfunction…I’m glad you are here and could share this hopeful story!


Dear Susa, Please accept my apology. I have just been so badly hurt by this, that I am ultra-sensitive right now. It’s like having a terrible headache, so that the slightest noise makes you want to yell. I, in a way, “yelled” at you for what I perceived as you somehow minimizing my painful situation. But after taking some time to sit back, to rest, eat, take a nap, then walk then dog, then read of a bit, I have now come back and reread your comment to me, and then I reread my comment back to you, and I cringed at my childishness, and do hope you will forgive me.

I think the problem was that I was looking for some greater validation than I got. I was hurting so badly, and I wanted someone to give me a sympathetic response, that would be in proportion to how badly I have been hurting.

But I need to remember what Darlene so often tells us, that we need to learn to validate ourselves. I am doing that for myself right now, I am validating me. I am ok, I didn’t do anything wrong when I was trying to help my husband with his low blood sugar problem, and I have every right to feel pain over what my husband said to me when he was not functioning at his best. I also have every right to feel pain at being labeled codependent, by my former therapist. My pain is valid, my anger is valid, I am NOT crazy, I am NOT freaking codependent. From this day forward I am refusing to accept any more “crazy labels” from anyone. I have just one label that I will accept, I am HUMAN.

Again, Susa, I am very sorry for my hypersensitivity. My hypersensitivity was caused by the deep emotional distress I have been feeling, and not because YOU did or said anything wrong, nor is it because I have knowingly done or said anything. I am a wounded human being, who is doing the best I can with what I have. You can’t expect more than that out of a person! I have a kind, caring heart, I genuinely care about others and never wish to hurt anyone in anyway, not even in a mean “joking” way. I didn’t do anything wrong the night that we had that dinner in our travel trailer with my old acquaintances, and I’m not intentionally doing anything wrong right now.

I may be a little bit off at this time, too, because I am weaning myself off the psychotropic med that has definitely been doing me more harm than good. I am doing it on my own, slowly, but it is making me feel a bit off. So again, Susa, I apologize, and also please forgive me for misspelling your name.

God Bless,


Susan ~~ THANKS!!! I needed that!!!!!


Susan, I want to assure you that you are in no way responsible for my recent decision to wean myself off my prescribed antidepressant. I had been considering doing this for months, because the benefit I was getting from my medication seemed to stop long ago, leaving me with nothing but the troublesome side effects. Yet I hesitated for months to try going off my med, out of fear. But as I’ve noticed my husband’s personality seeming to slowly change for the worse, with the new drug his dr. added to his mix of psychotropic meds one month ago, and ESPECIALLY after the episode with my husband acting so peculiar during our visit last week with my old acquaintances, I made the decision, shortly after we got home from our miserable trip down to Roswell, to go ahead and start weaning myself off my antidepressant and just see what happens. It is just a coincidence that I started weaning myself off my med, just 1 day before you posted this article!

Anyway, so yes, I am feeling the weird side-effects of coming off the med I have been on so long. I think that one of the things it is doing is making me extremely wordy, LOL! It is certainly making my emotions feel all out of whack, and ultra-sensitive. Which is why I once again feel compelled to say I’m Sorry to dear precious Susa. You were trying to be nice to me, and I snapped at you like a wounded animal that won’t let you get near enough to help it.

I’m going to try to stay off of this blog for a while, and do little, or no, posting on FB or on my own blog, until after I feel that the drug is all out of my system, and I’m back on an even keel again. For those of you who believe in prayer, I would appreciate a good word or two to help me through this time. Thanks. And, good-by for now.


Susa > Lynda:

I understand, Lynda. I also truly know that feeling of invalidation when our spouses can “do no wrong” in others’ opinions, and I have experienced that with people regarding my spouse also. It IS a big deal, and serves to reinforce the lifetime constant looping tape that we’ve learned that “we’re defective”. I only wish you well, and please know that I meant for my post to be supportive.



“My heart just breaks for what you have survived yet I am celebrating that you are finding yourself and creating a new life. I am so thankful that you could share your story that others might not have to suffer or can now know that they no longer have to suffer this kind of abuse alone. In learning to heal from the first trauma – we can use these same skills to heal from this second one. Digging down to the beliefs that stemmed from the lies from my family that told me I was defective, broken, unworthy of a healthy and happy life – breaking through these lies and learning to recognize this kind of treatment as abuse – is where the light was able to shine in and give me the strength to walk away from this kind of abuse once and for all.” Susan

I never would have gotten out if it had not been for the likes of you and Gianna. Never. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You inspired the move to the mountains with your move. Much love Susan, I’m happy to share, because sharing is caring.


owning what happened with the kidnap and rape was hard but equally hard was owning what happened in the psych ward. Susan you put it so well…’it’s the imbalance in power and control in the therapeutic relationships that mirror the original abuse.’ The use of force, being tied to a bed felt like being raped all over again….the punishing treatments if you don’t do what ‘they’ say…..thinking about what happened…the controlling use of power they had really did mirror the violence in my home. I know this is an area that needs to be brought out into the open like you’re doing….Woman on average end up more in the mental health system b/c they lack money to pay for quality counselors. Soemthings got to give….


I am taking anti-depressants and I like who I am when I take them! I agree, medication may not be the answer for everyone, but for me it was a godsend. I have a wonderful therapist who I only see 2 times a year now to check levels in my system. But the work is all done. Occasionally, I may need to look at something again, but I live in the now and not in the past.


@mountain – my heart feels full. I am crying from gratitude that you would share that with me. I am so damned honored. I don’t have words to express myself – and we all know that is not my norm:)

@Sarah – omg. I am appalled to hear that you were bound and abused in your mental health “care”. This is outrageous. Thank you for so courageously sharing your expreiences so others can see they are not alone in this. It is only by exposing this abuse that we can break the silence. Thank you.

@Karen – this post is not talking about those who like yourself have had positive experiences in the mental health system although I am really glad to hear that you view this as positive and helpful and that you have found your way to the light.


Susa~ I just had to take a quick look on the blog this morning to see if you had responded, and all I can say is THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your loving, caring, forgiving understanding. I do know now without a doubt that your intial comment to me was intended to be supportive, and again I thank you. I’m really not feeling very well right now, as I’m now beginning my 5th day of coming off the antidepressant I have been on for the past 4 years. I have a terrible headache, I feel shakey and sick… maybe I am trying to come off of it too fast? Again, thank you for being so understanding and gracious. I appreciate it more than I can say.

Mountain~ your story, WOW. It hit me in the gut. I, too, have spent years in my bedroom alone, although in my case it was “only” 2 years, not 10. Your survival, your wonderful new life, and where you are today, is nothing short of a miracle. YES, I agree with you, that Darlene and Susan, et al, are the greatest catalyst to healing! I love what you said, “Sharing is Caring.” Amen, Sister!!

Sarah~ Dear One. I’m so so sorry for the horrible abuse you’ve endured. I was THERE, in your shoes, as you know if you read my comment #10. In comment #14, Susan said to me: “Lynda – what you experienced was horrendous and animalistic. These people preyed on you and tortured you. I so admire your courage and am SO GLAD YOU ARE HERE – telling your story and sharing your reality with us. What you have survived makes you nothing less than a miracle. Thank you thank you for having the courage and tenacity to not give up because thats where we begin to win. I admire your strength and your courage.”

Sarah, Susan’s healing, affirming words belong to you as much as they do to me. You said, “The use of force, being tied to a bed felt like being raped all over again….the punishing treatments if you don’t do what ‘they’ say..” YES. It felt exactly that way to me, it was like being raped all over again. You are a beautiful miracle today, Sarah, just by the simple fact that you can WRITE about that. I know how hard it is… but I also know that telling our truth is the way to setting ourselves FREE.

Karen~ AWESOME!! I am so happy for you that your prescribed antidepressant is working. If mine were working, I wouldn’t have to be going through the nasty withdrawal I’m experiencing right now. I have been on just about every psychotropic med that is out there, since I was sent to my first psychiatrist at the age of 14 in 1967. I don’t think there is anything left for me to try, that I haven’t alread been prescribed. So now I am going to try some natural herbal alternative, and hope for the best. But it’s wonderful that your med is working for you. Thank you for sharing that, I wouldn’t want other readers, who also feel helped rather than hurt by their meds, to start thinking that is “wrong” and they need to get off them, you know!


I hate that there are so many comments to this post (only because so many have gone through it, not because of the comments themselves) and that I am adding one more 🙁

It amazes me how much abuse in any form works with abuse in any other form and they all form this almost invisible web woven by all sorts of people we interact with and it becomes almost imperceptible to us until we see the web in someone else’s life.

I think for me, my mental health issues started probably a decade before I ever went into the “system” by the conditioning of my family that I was “broken” and “damaged” and “couldnt take care of myself” from birth, and was depressed and put into “therapy” and told that my parents were right and I had to listen to them to please God (I had a Christian therapist) so when I was abused, it was ok, I didnt deserve better, and when it happend again, and again, and again, and the church reinforced how sex was bad and only “bad people” had sex before marriage, that reinforced the broken/damaged mantra which led me to look outside my family for significance, because I had none there….and that ended up developing into an eating disorder to “find someone to take care of me” by being perfect physically….and another decade of trauma through abuse in various forms.

so when it all came to point where I had to “do something” or lose my children and myself, and I actually voluntarily went looking for help in the mental health system, I got the all the labels that most of us get, I was bipolar, anxiety disorder NOS, dependent personality disorder, possible borderline personality disorder and the biggie for me was “non-compliant” because I didnt take what the doctors said as gospel, I had been fighting people who told me I was broken all my life, so at first I fought them too. I never even for one second considered that the witnessing of an exorcism ritual as a child, or the neglect and emotional abandonment, or repeated sexual abuse (sometimes violent) or physical abuse or verbalized worthlessness in the eyes of others had anything to do with any of that, so I never mentioned it, and went through the system for about 5 years…UNTIL I was given the “dependent persnality disorder” diagnosis.

That was after my second hospitalization in 3 months time, and I had lost all hope, I had been on every medication that was available (literally) and had been seeing a private psychiatrist for about a year who told me when I came to his office that I was “a spoiled princess” and had a good life and shouldnt complain and that I was exaggerating my emotions and my medication problems and that my life was the best it was going to get and I had to accept that and take the medicine and deal with the side effects or accept the mood swings and cutting and constant barrage of overwhelming thoughts, feelings and nightmares (which I know now are classic PTSD symptoms but since I never told anyone about any abuse (they also never asked) it wasnt considered as a possible diagnosis)

so when they told me I had “dependent personality disorder” I went home and like I do with everything I am told, I go and find out everything I can about it, via the internet, books, articles, anything I can find, I read it. So when I saw the “characteristics that are consistent with dependent personality disorder”

things like–
Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive fear that leads to “clinging behavior” (I had never had anyone give half a shit about me–who wouldnt cling to the people that paid them positive attention in that situation?)

Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others (because I was horrified to make the wrong choice and them leave me because I “couldnt take care of myself” or so I believed)

Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life (if they make the choices and decisions, they can only blame themselves, and they wont leave if its THEIR fault)

Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval (if you think loss of approval=starvation and death, who in the world would speak up?)

Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy (if you are told everything you do (or say or think) is wrong your entire life, where do you get self confidence in your judgement or abilities???)

Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant (make them happy and they will stay, and you need to be 100% sure that they are happy so you arent alone)

Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself (not exaggerated, told point blank all my life in verbal statements)

Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends (if you think you are going to starve to death or die or be hurt (its easy to abuse someone who wont fight back or say anything wrong–so I was an easy target) if someone leaves you of course you will go to someone else to take care of you, and that only increases exponentially when you have children to worry about)

Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself (if you are convinced you cant do it, why the hell wouldnt you be afraid?)

So when I read those, I KNEW that I wasnt “broken” because each one of those “symptoms” came from somewhere and had a logical cause that was REAL and not a “brain imbalance”, and then I started reading about bipolar disorder, and never, not ONE time, did I find somewhere that said “bipolar disorder is characterized by enormous shifts in mood BECAUSE OF fear/anxiety/trauma etc., there was never a REASON for the mood swings except brain imbalances in bipolar disorder, and I had REASONS for my moods (I got anxious and afraid when I made my signifcant other angry–for the above mentioned reasons, I got depressed when they said I “didnt behave perfectly in some way (ie, didnt finish the dishes, dinner was not good etc.)

and THAT is when I started trying to find out what was REALLY going on with me, since the doctors were all wrong apparently in the labels they gave me, and I asked some of them, repeatedly, do people with bipolar disorder have reasons for their mood swings? and most ignored the question, because I was “non-compliant” in the first place, and the ones that answered me said “no” and I read about a book that explained that many psychiatric and neurological disorders are the result of gastrointestinal imbalances (which are directly linked to the brain chemical imbalances) and food allergies and exposure to heavy metals and environmental toxins, and since I had a number of food allergies and had a colonoscopy at 27 years old for gastrointestinal issues that the doctor couldnt explain and I saw a change in my children neurologically (they have special needs and improved dramatically) after eliminating artificial colors and flavors from their diets, it wasnt a stretch that diet and lifestyle played a role in what was “wrong” with me, in addition to the traumas (which I still didnt think were a “problem” until a year later after my third hospitalization–which directly correlated to the disclosure of bits of my abuse history to my therapist the day before and the trauma symptoms that occurred from that)

so I ended up eliminating gluten and dairy and all the other foods I was sensitive to, and started therapy for the REAL problems, and have improved dramatically in the last year, and am on NO medication for pyschiatric problems (I am on medication for ADHD…which I think technically is psychiatric in nature, but its not a “mental illness” in the general sense)

I had severe side effects from medications like my periods stopping completely for over two years, hallucinations, my hair fell out, I developed gum disease and a million other things, so the doctors all assumed I was “making it up and exaggerating” because every side effect I had was the ones that are “1% of the people have ____” or it was something they had never heard of as a side effect at all, and only after I found scientific studies in medical journals showing the prevalence of the side effect and showed them, did they believe me. So that only exacerbated the already present problems.

Im sorry we all can relate to this and that some people are still suffering through it.

Only through education and acknowledgement of the problem is change possible.


@Lynda; I so appreciate your gentle and kind nature in all of your notes! Your compassion is contagious I think:)

@Karen; I reread my note to you and realized how insensitive that may have sounded – not to mention invalidating of your experiences. I apologize if I came off brash. I am glad to hear that your experiences in th mental health system have supported your journey and your choices. Godspeed:)

@Amira; it is sad that this is an issue, isn’t it? You’d said:

“So when I read those, I KNEW that I wasnt “broken” because each one of those “symptoms” came from somewhere and had a logical cause that was REAL and not a “brain imbalance”, and then I started reading about bipolar disorder, and never, not ONE time, did I find somewhere that said “bipolar disorder is characterized by enormous shifts in mood BECAUSE OF fear/anxiety/trauma etc., there was never a REASON for the mood swings except brain imbalances in bipolar disorder, and I had REASONS for my moods”

Yes! This is the core of these issues. We were told we were broken in the original abuse and that set us up to repeat this pattern in our adult relationships – ALL relationships. Because this is the way were trained, and what we believed about ourselves – that we were broken, in valuable, not worthy – we were prime targets for abusers in every path we took in our lives. And it was only in looking deeper to the CAUSE of why we struggled with depression, mood swings…all the things you listed…that we found the root in our deepest beliefs and could begin questioning them. This is how I found my way out of that “dependence” on others to tell me how – and who – I was.

Thank you so much for bringing these issues to light; you have said it so succinctly. It IS sad that we have to have this kind of discussion but it is only by shining the light on these abuses that we can see we are not alone – and that it is not “normal” to be dismissed and demeaned in these ways.


Amira, as I was reading your very insightful comment, I started thinking about how really STUPID it is that the psychiatric community as a whole apparently has never stopped to consider the possibility that people with emotional/mental problems may actually have a REASON for their so-called disorders ~ I mean a reason beyond being born defective or having a chemical imbalance or a weak character.

I mean, if you go to the emergency room with a broken leg, how stupid would it be if the attending physician were to treat you with a pill to correct the “chemical imbalance” that you were “born with” that caused you to have a broken leg? Or if you are bleeding because you have been stabbed, how ignorant would it be if the medical professionals you turned to for help, tried to fix your bleeding wound with a pill and talk therapy… and then they talked about how you needed to modify your behavior so that you would stop being so gross as to bleed all over the place.

And if friends and family rejected you because you are so weak, so pathetic, so disgusting, with your broken bone sticking out of your leg and your icky blood gushing all over the place… shaming you for being so weak and so wounded and so icky to be around. Also, they want to know WHY you can’t just get OVER it already, I mean the stabbing and the broken leg happened several days ago, why are you still going on and on about it, living in the past, bleeding everywhere.

DEPENDENT PERSONALITY. Oh yes, of course, Amira, that was one of my many psychiatric diagnosises. Sounds a lot like the Codependent Personality that my old therapist told me I have. Being NEEDY and CLINGY and AFRAID TO BE LEFT ALONE.

If a person, from the day they are born and on throughout their childhood, has never had their basic normal human need for LOVE met… then of COURSE you are going to be needy! I mean, if your parents all but starved you throughout your entire childhood, if they gave you just barely enough food to keep you alive, then as a result you are going to be much too thin, you are going to be malnourished, your growth will be stunted, you will have multiple health problems, things like scurvy, due to your lack of vital nutrients, you are going to be weak and tired all the time and unable to function like a healthy person can function… you are going to be NEEDY. You are going to NEED GOOD NUTRITION.

If you have never been loved from the day you were born, if your emotional needs were never nurtured, you are going to be all those things that the experts call a Dependent Personality. But it is NOT because you were born defective or you have a chemical imbalance or you have a weak character or you are a spoiled princess… it’s NOT YOUR FAULT if your needs were never met, when you were little and had no choice but to depend on the adults in your life.

We have a rescue dog, Lady. She was abused and then abandoned as a puppy. She was found injured and cold and half-starved. She was taken in by a no-kill rescue organization. They had her for 6 months, and during those 6 months she was adopted, and taken back, “many, many times,” according to the woman who runs the rescue organization. She kept being taken back, because of her bad behavior.

My husband and I adopted her 4 years ago. She has lived with us in our home ever since. Yes, she had many bad behaviors when we first got her. She would go into panics for no apparent reason and run wildly all over the house, growling and howling and looking, and sounding, kind of scary. But she has never ever attacked or bit any person to our knowledge, she just panics sometimes, she freaks out… she also has nightmares. Even after 4 years of our loving her and spoiling her rotten every single day, she still has nightmares almost daily. She sobs in her sleep like a child! It is so sad! We hold and pet her and tell her we love her when she has these bad dreams, and every time she wakes up from these bad dreams she looks at us with her lovely sad brown eyes and she moans and growls, loud and long, like she is trying to tell us all about it.

Our dog has all the symptoms of PTSD. She is sweet and loving and oh so precious, she is like our child. We love her unconditionally and we would never give her up no matter what. Most of her early “bad behaviors” are completely gone now. But she still has those terrible nightmares, and sometimes a certain sound or movement will send her into a panic, it’s like she is having a trauma flashback.

My point is that I am sure our Cattle Dog was not born defective. She doesn’t have a chemical imbalance. She isn’t weak-willed, and she doesn’t have a personality disorder. She was abused. She was abandoned. She wasn’t safe, she wasn’t fed, she wasn’t loved. The things that were done to her, broke her, damaged her, wounded her deep inside. And then, because she was so broken and damaged, she was rejected over and over and over again…… until we got her.

When she has nightmares or panics, we pet her and love her and reassure her, and in a few minutes she is happy and fine. She doesn’t need drugs, and she absolutely doesn’t deserve to be thrown away. She needs love. We need love. That is a basic human need… and apparently it is also a basic dog need, too. If our need for nutritous food is not met, our bodies will not be healthy and normal. If our need for love and kindness and safety and security is not met, we will not be emotionally healthy and normal. If we are needy, if we are dependent, it is because we have been emtionally starved, and abused.

I am so thankful that here on EFB, we have support, and validation, and acceptance, and encouragement, and LOVE.

Hugs and Love to All,


eeek… I wish I could rewrite that and delete about 4 “I means”~


A note to help others; and Susan yes, no words are needed. There is a bond that requires few words. Much love always.

With regards to need and the need to be understood.

I stopped giving my energy away to people who didn’t receive my love. I stopped trying to convince other people of my reasons why I did things, the whys of things don’t matter to other people and often leaves us open to judgment which is very painful for sensitives. Most don’t want to know and most don’t really care. We do here, I’m talking the outside world.

My animals always received me regardless. I withdrew from people because of their lacking intent of love. There is a place in this world which is in our heads (perception). It is a place where one can find happiness and peace. Through the naturalist eyes of observation start seeing the happy ones and find out why they are happy. There is a common thread in their answers. I don’t let other people effect me. (easier said than done I know as you do).

I was told once (by an energy healer) that I am like a sponge. I was taught to put armor on. Visualize armor against non loving beings so that the sponge in us cannot soak it up. Indeed, one can feel negative energy of lacking love individuals. I often look at a beautiful tree when passing these people so their energy doesn’t bleed into me. On the other hand, (and you know by your gut) when I see someone glowing love, I always make eye contact and smile. This exchange of energy is fulfilling and magical.

Much love and hope for a restorative process we are all caring loving individuals and often misunderstood by others. But that’s ok. Let them be. Let it be. Love is the answer. Love makes the world go round and so on. The answer is love, not only receive but to give unconditionally always to all beings on earth; plant, animal/human.


Lynda–I feel so sad for your poor Lady! I am not really an animal person, but your stories about her touch my heart, I know what PTSD feels like and I cant imagine having it and not being able to express it verbally to anyone and only through my actions, the poor thing! Im so glad she has you and your husband to love her! I know its not strange to feel love and compassion for an animal, but is it strange to feel it for an animal and children and other people but not yourself? I think about my nightmares and I think “oh suck it up and get over yourself already” which is the exact opposite thing I need to do…and its really hard to work on that, does the self love come by loving other people and animals and feeling compassion and empathy for them? Does it work that way?

As far as your comment about psychiatrists and the stupidity of not attributing physical illnesses with defects of the self…ever since I realized how much my food allergies and intolerances affected my mental health, I wondered how common that must be, am I just an anomaly and most people really do have “chemical imbalances” from some other thing?
Then I started to volunteer at a psychiatric and addiction treatment hospital in the records department there, and part of my job was to file the charts in their proper places, and if a person has food/medication/other allergens, it is listed on the front cover of the chart, so I could see each person’s allergens right away, and I was amazed!

One day, I put away probably 100 charts, and only ONE chart had no known allergies, OUT OF 1OO people!!! Its impossible to see that and not be aware of the correlation between allergies and psychiatric problems….granted no studies have been done, but maybe I will find a good psychiatric research scientist willing to take it on and raise money for the study…do you think NAMI and the like would be willing to go for that? Obviously big Pharma will raise hell, but so what.

Anyways, that was just the observation from my scientific minded self…I am a research nerd so that kind of stuff is fascinating to me.


Mountain–I love what you said about letting the why’s go and not explaining anymore. I am a very “why is it this way?” kind of person, but you are right, a lot of people arent, and it just sounds like excuses, especially after repeatedly seeing the same issues and patterns in someone. The armor visualization is fantastic!!! I am going to have to try that with people 🙂

So let it go and cut out the negative and focus on the positive, I have been really trying to do that for the last eh..four months or so, and it has made a HUGE difference for me so I know that it works!!!

It is really nice to be able to come here and know that everyone understands and loves and truly cares about eachother and to keep that with you is a powerful thing. To know that no matter what, you may be physically alone, but you are never alone 100% because there are dozens of us who truly care about eachother 🙂


@Lynda; everyone of your “I means” means something:) Your note is perfect as it is and so right on target. You have hit the proverbial nail on the head so well that there is nothing for me to contribute that could add to it and probably would take away from it. Your example of your dog is perfect. We were not born broken but have been told we were broken and defective in the original abuse and then in this second trauma of psychiatry where we are treated as though we are non humans.

Granted – not everyone has these extreme experiences but it is the telling by those who have that we will begin to see a change from the mental health abusers getting away with this kind of manipulation and that this kind of torture is no longer seen as a normal part of the process in finally getting effective therapy. This kind of abuse is EXACTLY like every other abuse many of us have suffered at the hands of our first abusers; they hurt us, tell us why we are wrong for not liking it or accepting it, that it was our fault. In what other field of medicine can a professional get away with committing these crimes and then have the courts and society agree that we are just “disgruntled patients” because these people have been given a free ride to abuse their patients and get away with it. Thank you for sharing your own story and thank you for sharing your insights from your puppy’s story. She is so fortunate to have you!


Mountain; thank you; in this moment simplicity is the best expression I think. You share so much wisdom in your words. Namaste:)

@Amira; I’ve found that compassion does work like that:) I’m also a bit of a research nerd so appreciate what you are saying. Human distress is not an illness or a disease. It is real and it was in recognizing the lies that told me I was somehow one of the unfortunates to be so defective that I was able to learn to live beyond that place of broken that so many of us come from. Thank you for sharing your experience and opening your heart to us.


[…] Not all mental health providers abuse their position — but the ones that do… do so much … [SEO: An important guest post by Susan Kingsley-Smith (@zebraspolkadots) on Emerging From Broken […]


@Mountain: WOW. I mean, really, what a revelation your words were to my soul. The idea of the armor, of looking at a beautiful tree rather than at negative people in order to not absorb their negativity… awesome. I agree wholetheartedly with Amira’s words: “Mountain–I love what you said about letting the why’s go and not explaining anymore. I am a very “why is it this way?” kind of person, but you are right, a lot of people arent, and it just sounds like excuses, especially after repeatedly seeing the same issues and patterns in someone. The armor visualization is fantastic!!! I am going to have to try that with people.”

@Amira: I was mostly away from the computer yesterday and today so, sorry I didn’t get a chance to reply to your questions before now. First I want to tell you that I have TONS of allergies… so does my husband. Very Interesting thoughts you have on that. I seem to be most allergic to plastics, to petrochemicals of all kinds. Which is pretty much all that the modern world is made of!

Amira, you asked me about how I learned to love myself. Great question! For most of my life I absolutely DISLIKED myself. I was taught not to like myself, by my parents… and I took that self-hatred out into the world and naturally attracted people to me who were negative, and most likely to agree that I was not likeable. Also, because I was so “NEEDY,” so starved for love and affection, I had some affairs over the years in my desperate search for love in all the wrong places, which REALLY made me HATE myself. I was a homewrecker!!!!!! I still can’t totally forgive myself for that. I have a lovely 44-year-old former stepdaughter. She was a sweet precious 6-year-old when I had an affair with her father. When I became pregnant with my now-almost-37-year-old-daughter, someone told my lover’s wife, she divorced him, I married him, he was my second husband and extremely physically and emotionally abusive, unfaithful.. and in the meantime, sweet little Kathy, my very young former stepdaughter, was being sexually abused night after night by her new stepdad that her desperate mom had met in a bar and married within weeks of her divorce, and none of us knew what was happening. I KNOW I am not, by any means, the “only one” responsible for precious Kathy’s horrible abuse, but I kept help aching over the knowledge that if I had never gotten involved with her married father, she never would have had that abusive stepfather. What really humbles me is that Kathy sent me a friend request several weeks ago on my family fb account. I accepted gladly, and she has sent me the most loving messages, telling me how she only has GOOD memories of me, she remembers me as loving to her and kind… I have told this precious young lady that of course I loved her, she was nothing but innocent and sweet and kind and loving and good, what was there NOT to love? But if I had loved her as much as I should have, I would never have broken up her parents’ marriage. She has forgiven me, and she blames mostly her dad, not me… he was much older than me, old enough to be my own father, and I know he was a father-figure to me. Kathy’s love and forgiveness has helped me get past this, but I still would do anything, to be able to go back in time and UNDO the events that led to Kathy’s family and childhood being destroyed.

Amira, the main way I learned to like myself, after a lifetime of hating myself, was in first getting to know who I am. I used to think that was so stupid when people would say they needed to find themselves, or they needed to get to know themselves…. I would think, “If you don’t know who you are, then something’s really wrong!” But then, when I was in my late 40s and early 50s, I got to know me in a way I never had known myself before, and it was an eye-opener, to say the least. The best part about getting to really Know Me, was that I discovered how much I LIKE ME. And yes, I even LOVE ME! I like who I am and I am glad I am me. That is so amazing and healing and freeing to someone who has spent a lifetime being ASHAMED of who she is!!

Here is how I got to know myself: FIRST, I left the people behind who were defining me. The “professionals,” and the “friends,” and the verbally abusive ex, and the family people, who were forever telling me that there was something WRONG with me, defining me as defective, as less-than. I got far away from these people, so I didn’t have to listen to their definitions of who LYNDA is. I left behind, as much as possible, the people, places, and things that triggered hurtful memories. I actually moved far away to a place where no one knew me, no one had any preconceived ideas of who Lynda is. I left the area where I had been essentially “typecast” into a life that really didn’t fit me any more, if it ever did. My reputation was that of a woman who was crazy, broken, and a homemaker. I moved to a place where I was unknown, and, once there, I stayed all by myself for about a year, and got to know who Lynda is, when it’s just ME being ME, with no one to push my buttons, no one for me to react to. My whole life, I had been reacting to the people around me ~ first to my family, then in my marriages, to my husband… I was always trying to please them, always trying to get them to love me, to understand me… but when it was just ME, I didn’t have to do anything to try t prove anything or to please anyone, and then I discovered what it is that I like to do when the only person I need to please is ME.

I’m not saying that moving far away and starting a whole new life where you don’t know a soul is the only way to do it, I am just saying that is what I did. I did it to escape a harrassing stalking abusive ex… I left and went 2,000 miles away, with no forwarding address, so he couldn’t track me down. Then, in that new place, with no old memories around every corner, no bad reputation of being crazy, etc, no one with preconceived notions about me, I learned who I am in that new environment, it was awesome.

There is one final, but maybe the most important, thing that I did to get to know me, and it doesn’t require having to move anywhere: I started talking into a tape recorder. I did this, because the therapist I was seeing, recommended that I journal my thoughts and feelings every day. But I found that impossible to do, when I was hurting so badly inside. The more emotional upheaval that I have going on inside me, the more IMPOSSIBLE it is for me to sit down and coherently WRITE about my thoughts and feelings. I tried, but I couldn’t do it. So, in desperation to do something, I started talking one day into a tape recording, talking about my feelings, talking about my life, talking about my PAIN and my SELF-HATRED and my “INSANITY.” I talked to the tape recorder, because I needed to talk to SOMEBODY, but I had no one but the 4 walls… I didn’t even have a pet to talk to, I never knew how awesome dogs are as companions, until I married my now-best-friend-husband almost 7 years ago, he is an animal lover, and he has really opened up my eyes to the wonderful world of animals. (As a kid, my mother used to ridicule people who treated their “dumb animals” with love and care… she taught me it was stupid to love an animal, when people need love… isn’t that weird, my mother is one of the most unloving people I have ever known! But I believed her, I didn’t want to be “stupid” or “weird” by letting myself get too attached to animals. Duh.)

Anyway, Amira, the bottom line here is that later, when I calmed down from whatever upset I had been talking about into my tape recorder, I went back and listened to myself. I FULLY EXPECTED TO HEAR A RANTING, RAVING, CRAZY WOMAN! I had been taught by my abusers that my emotions were symptoms of my INSANITY. But….. wow…… WOW!!! As I listened to myself talking, I heard ME, in a way I had never been able to hear me, before. I heard myself, as though I were an outsider listening to me. I listened to me, and I heard a woman that I LIKE. I heard a woman who didn’t sound crazy one bit! I heard a woman who has a kind, caring, compassionate, and BROKEN heart. I heard a woman who had been through one hell of a lot in life, and was still struggling with a hell of a lot of painful issues… but she didn’t sound weak or wimpy or broken or defective, she sounded strong and wise and amazing. I kept listening to myself, and going, “WOW! That’s ME!!!! Damn…… I like me!!!”

I heard a woman whom I would love to have as my FRIEND.

MOUNTAIN~ you said, in so many words, that it is a total waste of our time and energy to try to explain or prove anything to hardhearted, unloving, negative people who don’t care to hear it anyway, and who will only use our explanations as further ammunition against us. Yes, that is absolutely the truth, as I have experienced.

But when I took the time and the energy to explain me to ME, on my tape recordings…. awesome.

@Susan… I just read your blog post here to my husband. Actually he and I read it together. He was deeply moved. I told him, “Susan Kinglsley-Smith is one of my all-time favorite people, she and Darlene Ouimet are like my Soul Sister.” Thank you for being YOU. Thank you with all my heart.

Like Mountain, everywhere I go I know I am not alone, because I take YOU, Suan, and Darlene Ouimet, and all my other kind caring lovoing compassionate and understanding Survivors and Thrivers, with me. I am going to take our sweet Lady-dog for her late afternoon jog now, Oh how she LOVES it, she grins a big toothy grin when we run together. Lady and I will be jogging through the streets of our little town, in a few minutes…. and I will be taking all of YOU with me, in my heart.

I love you all so much I could cry happy tears!


Mountain… someday when I grow up I hope to be able to say so much, so succintly, the way you do. You may well be mcuh younger than I, but I’m not grown up yet! BTW, my Lady-dog loves horses. And cows. We used to visit some lovely horses on our daily jog, they would touch noses thru the fence with Lady, I have pictures, it’s so cute! Then the horses moved away… So now we only have cows to kiss noses with.


Mountain & Amira:
I’m reminded of a line from the Mary Poppins movie my youngest son used to watch over and over again:

“Mr. Banks, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I never explain anything.”



@Lynda; You’d said:

“Here is how I got to know myself: FIRST, I left the people behind who were defining me. The “professionals,” and the “friends,” and the verbally abusive ex, and the family people, who were forever telling me that there was something WRONG with me, defining me as defective, as less-than. I got far away from these people, so I didn’t have to listen to their definitions of who LYNDA is.”

YES! That is exactly how I started finding “me” too!

Your note is such a perfect example of the idea and what I firmly believe – that we each have our own inner wisdom that will guide us to the people – like your helpful therapist, places – you moved far away from those who hurt and kept hurting you, and situations and things – the fresh air, nature, your new relationship with your husband, your new love for your dog and the insight about your mother who had kept you from enjoying the unconditional love of an animal.

Thank you so much for being so courageous and open in sharing your journey into, through and out of the pain that was your past.


Ps; I am grateful that you shared this with your husband and so very glad that it resonated with both you and him. This is what makes it make sense to do what I do every day:) Thank you for your support and being a part of my journey as well!


@Susan I thought I better put Sarah S as a few sarahs have posted on here. In response to my post about “I am powerless and cannot say no”. Most of the victims of sexual abuse I have worked with all have the same belief. Using voice dialogue it takes them a while (about 30 minutes) before they figure their own beliefs out. I worked with a woman once who had been severely sexually abused as a child at around 7 years old and kept on putting herself in situations where she would end up being powerless and putting herself in danger. Eventually she was blinded in one eye by a later boyfriend.

Prior to coming she had met some guy in the bar and been given GBH and was in a terrible state. After meeting multiple men who had “reinforced this belief about being powerless” she came to see me. After doing voice dialogue she was given a “test” She was out one night later and backed up into an ally way and normally would have ended up being either attacked or raped or at least the guy would have confronted her. Suddenly this guy looked at her and her whole body language screamed “back off” and instead of approaching her he actually walked away from her.

when I wrote my book about why we attract certain types such as psychopaths and abusers I looked at the reasons why victims of abuse give off unconcious signals and also our own beliefs etc. Theres been alot of research about how we give off signals via unconscious body language and so on and I noticed when I did the work on myself these men just avoid me now wheres as before I was literally a magnet. Before I did this work myself I had some kind of flashing neon sign above my head saying come and get me.

I would advise anyone who has lost their faith in the therapy model to check out voice dialogue. Most countries have practitioners.

Its interesting because many of the people here have the same scripts running through their head such as “its all my fault, I am a bad person, I am worthless, I am powerless and so on”

I was sexually abused by my grandfather at about 2-3 years old and he gave me money as a child. It has such an unconscious effect that I even put myself in situations where I felt terrible taking any kind of money from anyone as I thought having money was “bad” that I ended up becoming bankrupt attracting one dysfunctional man after another Every single one of them were controling and I would freeze when it came to any kind of confrontation. The problem is its unconcscious and until I met Mr Psychopath I really didn’t understand why I kept on attracting these types of men.

Most therapies teach us that we can erase these patterns however its my belief that these inbuilt programmes (that were never true in the first place) dont actually go away. However once we bring them to our awareness they no longer have any power over us.

Voice dialogue teaches that the inner voices never go away but you can balance them with something else. Nowadays the moment I feel powerless I go into a different place and that little voice goes away. I am able to step into a more adult aware energy. As time has gone on I attract less and less people who will “test” my belief system.


Sarah S, I had never heard of Voice Dialogue before you mentioned it. I just went to your link and browsed through your site…. it’s very impressive, and sounds like something I want to try. I will search for someone here in the US who does the kind of life coaching you do.

Everything you wrote about in your last comment made so much sense to me. Until my lifelong pattern of being used and abused and put down and bullied was finally broken 8 years ago, I, too, attracted all the wrong people into my life. But now, hateful, hurtful people don’t even want to look me in the eye when we pass on the street! It’s awesome!

One thing that really helped me in your comment, Sarah, was this: “Most therapies teach us that we can erase these patterns however its my belief that these inbuilt programmes (that were never true in the first place) dont actually go away. However once we bring them to our awareness they no longer have any power over us… Voice dialogue teaches that the inner voices never go away but you can balance them with something else. Nowadays the moment I feel powerless I go into a different place and that little voice goes away. I am able to step into a more adult aware energy. As time has gone on I attract less and less people who will “test” my belief system.”

It really helped me to read that, Sarah, because deep down inside I have been wondering what was “wrong with me,” that I still sometimes have to do battle with those old belittling beliefs and vicious voices in my head. Understanding that these old “tapes” most likely cannot be erased, but that we CAN over-rule them with new beliefs, and healthy self-talk – that makes perfect sense to me. It also allows me to let myself off the hook for “still” having those ignorant thoughts/beliefs pop up in my head from time to time.

I’m so glad you shared that, Sarah. Thank you!

I just have to say…. how horrible that your grandfather abused you. For you to go through such an evil abuse, at such an early age, and now you are so beautiful and whole, and working to heal others ~ I am amazed. But then, I am amazed at all of us, really, who have been through various kinds of hell, and have been so badly broken, but NOW we are: Emerging From Broken, like butterflies escaping the prison of an ugly cocoon.


Hi Everyone,
I have not caught up on all the comments yet, but I wanted to mention that this “voice dialogue” sound very much like the coaching that I do and very much what my whole blog is about. I have never heard of the term “voice dialogue” before however. I call it causal or root cause work. I have overcome most of the inner voices, which I call “belief systems” but really it is the same thing. Thanks for sharing this different spin on it Sarah.
Hugs Everyone,
It is good to be back!


@ Lynda–I love what you wrote about how you came to love and know yourself. I often wondered if I needed to just “get away from it all” and in some ways I did that, I moved to another town a few years ago, and thats when things started to change in a major way for me too. I got in good therapy that I attend consistently and had an eye opening connection of my abuse to my “insanity” that there was no way to deny that they were 100% related to eachother, and then I read the book “The Courage to Heal” and I know that a lot of people in the field of abuse therapies dont really “like” that book because its not based in scientific literature and the women that wrote it were not therapists or mental health professionals, which makes sense in the idea that many of us are so programmed to take whatever we hear/see from others as truth even if it is in direct opposition to how we think/feel, but for me, I have a very theoretical mind, so I look at everything as “well that might be true, but so could ____ or _____, let me see what else I can find out about it before I make a choice” but I think that as a child, I didnt have that questioning mind as much, at least not openly, so I believed what I was told just like most of us do…but by the time I read this book, I questioned EVERYTHING around me…so I never took it as gospel, but what I did do, was see ME in it, on every single page…and when I read one of the first chapters where it details different long lasting effects of sexual abuse (which are probably similar to other abuses too I would imagine) and I read through how it affects your educational experiences, your career experiences, your relationships, your parenting, your propensity to experience future violence in your life increases, you are jumpy, you have a tendency to abuse drugs/alcohol/food, you have a better chance of developing an eating disorder, higher suicide rates, higher psychiatric problems later in life, lack of identity and all that….I knew that I wasnt broken anymore….if these women who wrote this book, had enough people tell them similar things, that they put it in paper, then that means that there are other people out there who have a very similar life to the one I had, for the very same reasons I did, which means IM NOT THE ONLY ONE and IM NOT BROKEN!

Then I asked my therapist about it, and she said the best sentence I think I have ever heard as a description of PTSD. She said “PTSD occurs when you have a normal response to abnormal events”, so I WAS NORMAL THE EVENTS WERE NOT!!! That was when I started trying to find out who I was, since all my life I had been reacting to events, and not living. So I wanted to move a million miles away, and almost left a couple of times…but I just kind of lost myself in my head and online in different games where I could do and be and say and think whatever I wanted, and no one thought it was “weird” or “crazy” and I eliminated those negative people, and then I started to learn about me…and like you, I am really starting to like who I am, and I have stopped caring about pleasing others, and especially doing so to the detriment of my own well being.

It hasnt been easy, and I thought for sure I was headed for divorce, as recently as this week (he spent a week out of town and came back and wasnt quite sure if he wanted to stay or not…but we are going to work it out now I think, at least for the meantime) but the cool thing was, it didnt destroy me, I didnt have so much anxiety that I had a panic attack, I could still breathe, I still went to work, I still cooked and cleaned and went to the gym, and did everything I have been doing….which means I was enough for me to be ok in my own mind…which I have never felt before. It was AWESOME!!!!

So Im totally happy with me (ok not totally, but a lot better than I used to be) and I have a plan for MY life, that doesnt revolve around what anyone else does/doesnt do in their life…and that feels FANTASTIC too!

Sarah S–re “voice dialogue” I think I do that on paper, and Darlene said it what she does here, and thats what I was thinking too, I talk to myself and reframe my way of thinking out loud to myself. Like I seriously have conversations out loud, with me. It sounds strange, but it works.

Im not scared, for the first time ever…and I know at least that I wont ever be again, at least not anything near to where it was before. It would be nice if I had zero fear, but i doubt that will ever be reality.


Amira, your last comment really lifted my spirits. You sound so well and hopeful and lovely, just reading what you wrote has brightened my morning and put a smile on my face.


I just finally caught up on this post and the comments! I wish I had been here to participate in all of it!

It is really important for everyone to understand that this topic and Susan’s post does not intend to imply that all mental health professionals are “bad” and that all treatment goes wrong. I personally was put on anti depressants with very successful results. They were a tool that helped me cope with the overwhelming depressions. BUT some people are not given any other help. Some of us have been over medicated, and medications have been used to compensate for the problems caused by medications. Many who have had abusive childhoods seek help in adulthood, and there is NO therapy even offered. Many (in fact very often) times the therapist tells the client that the client is sick and it has nothing to do with the past at all and in some cases the therapy itself compounded the problem.

I also had some very bad therapists. I had therapists that took advantage of me. And I had one very good one. And a ‘so so’ one. Each situation is different, and it is important that as we journey, we realize that our situations can be different and that it is okay. It is important to expose and shed light on all situations too. Because in the darkness of our own minds, we may stay under the power of darkness. When we talk, we can sort out the truth. Sometimes the truth is that the dr.s were good. and sometimes the truth is that they were very bad and wrong. We need to get to the truth in order to heal.

I wanted to make a note about Lynda’s comments about the email from her former therapist. Therapists are human too. They often leak out their own dysfunctional beliefs. People tend to give them so much positional power, (if they are a licenced practitioner then they HAVE to be right) but I have found that it is far healthier for me to realize that my value is equal to everyone else’s value and that I don’t have to agree with people because they have a degree that says they are an “expert” in human relations. I have met far too many who are no where close to being an expert. In my own recovery I decided that I know when I am being treated wrongly. Period. And that everyone is human, and that certain opinions are not necessarily right or true. My mother does not see my value, which in no way indicates that I don’t have any!

Great to be back!
Hugs, Darlene


What a great thread this has been! Thank you to everyone for contributing your experiences and sharing your journey with the EFB community!

@Sarah – I’m really sorry to hear that your grandfather abused you this way. It is defining to us isn’t it? I’ve had similar questions as you. I wanted to understand what it was that made me so susceptible to abuse of all kinds. Thank you for your contribution to the discussion:)

@Darlene! Welcome home! Digging down to those core beliefs and recognizing the lies as lies – absolutely was what set me free to learn to be the real me!

@Lynda – I love the insight you share!

@Amira – I so “get” what you are talking about and thrilled to hear you say you’re finding your value by denying the lies that tell us we are responsible for changing our lives to serve others. EFB is a wonderful place and I’m really glad to see you here and hear how you are growing!


DARLENE!!!! I’m so happy you are back!!!!!!!!

What you wrote: “In my own recovery I decided that I know when I am being treated wrongly. Period. And that everyone is human, and that certain opinions are not necessarily right or true. My mother does not see my value, which in no way indicates that I don’t have any!”

THAT is the bottom line now for me, too. I know when I am being treated wrongly. Period.

I have to confess, though, that I’m a little embarrassed because, for me, getting to that “bottom line” here on this post, took so many WORDS. For the past week or longer I have been going through a big medication withdrawal/change, because the antidepressant I have been on for several years had stopped working, and the new antidepressant I was prescribed, was giving me some weird thoughts and freaky emotions… so, I needed to come off that one, too, and then start something new; after a lot of online research and reading of user reviews, I am now trying some herbal supplements.

While I was going through all this medication upheaval, my best-friend-husband let his diabetic blood sugar get way low one day and made some extremely hurtful PTSD-triggering (to me) “jokes,” that in his normal mode, he never would have done, especially in my presence. Then, a couple of days later, I got that hurtful email from my former therapist, and THEN, while my mind and body was reeling from all of this, Susan just happened to publish this post about dysfunctional relationships with mental health providers…. and, in my frigged-up state of mind, I let it ALL POUR OUT of me. I’m sorry! I tend to be a bit too wordy on my best days, but when I’m as out-of-whack as I was this past couple of weeks… EEEK. I start typing and I can’t stop! I know you’ve said in the past, Darlene, that LOOOONG comments on your blog don’t bother you, but still, I am embarrassed, so I just wanted to say I am SORRY for hijacking this blog post!!

But the GOOD news is, I feel so much better now. My withdrawal is over, the herbal concoction I’m on seems to be working fine so far, and, thanks most of all to this awesome healing community here on EFB, I am feeling very validated, affirmed, and VALUABLE.

I can trust my own judgment. I know when I am being mistreated. I know that I have Equal Value and Inherent Worth, simply because I exist. Today is a good day~ especially because I just now FINALLY got the results of my uterine biopsy that was done last month. No Cancer. YAAAAAY!!



Lynda–I know Im not the “boss” around here, and maybe this is more of a “I do it too, so I cant even imagine that its bad” kind of statement (Im not really sure and I dont want to be in denial, so if it really is something that isnt appropriate, I would love to know) but your verbosity (using so many words to express your feelings) and letting it all out, is wonderful, at least to me.

I do the same thing, I tend to say a lot more here than I ever would or currently do in my “real world” life, and I find it extremely helpful to read other people’s thoughts and comments and points of view, even if I dont agree with them, but I dont want people to look at me (or you, or anyone else) and say “oh no, here she goes again” and dread reading something I say just because its so long and so wordy, so please, if that bothers the majority of you, I would appreciate knowing that.

I know it bothers my husband quite a bit, and he is very vocal about it, so i know that it bothers people, and I know that its not always the appropriate thing to do, but I am not sure if its appropriate or not here, so if it is ok, then I wont worry about it and I will let it all flow, but if it bothers people, then I want to try and work on it and can try to do a rough draft of a post before I actually put it in the comment box to make it less wordy.

Im not trying to be a people pleaser, I just really have a hard time knowing what is “ok” in terms of socially acceptable behavior and dont want to get out in the “real world” in a job or other social situation and screw up royally and not even realize it.


Hi Lynda and Amira,
I agree with all that you said Amira. It is important to be able to have the freedom to write all that we want. It is important to have that kind of community which is so healing. It is in the kind of talking, almost like journaling that happens on here that accelerates the healing so much, both for the writers and for the readers. Please do not ever concern yourselves with the length of the comments. The readers all have a choice about how much they wish to read, and my goal is that everyone is encouraged to do what they need to do in order to achieve the goal of wholeness and freedom.


Thank you thank you thank you, again, Dear Darlene!

I especially thank you for reminding me that the readers have a CHOICE about how much, if any, of my comments to read. WOW that makes me feel so much better!

Amira… in reading your last comment, you sounded so much like me, like the way I THINK, that I *almost* had to double-check to make sure it wasn’t ME who wrote it!!! Kinda spooky… but in a good way.



Thank you Darlene! Im glad that its ok to do it that way!

Lynda–I think thats why I relate so much to your posts, we seem to think the same way and its nice to feel connected so much to someone else 🙂


[…] mental health issues, this post coincides with some of my articles. Please take a moment to visit Emerging From Broken. Thanks Susan and […]


Wonderful Post! I needed that! :*)
22 years since my first bad experience with a supposed counselor and 15 years since two others that ended in completely unnecessary drugging then tricked into a psych ward and told I (quite suddenly) had all kinds of disorders that required permanent hospitalization and lithium (among other drugs) then being verbally/physically abused because the drugs made it impossible to function…etc…and I only just now felt safe to say it right out loud. Thank you.

And Lynda…your experience sounds so similar, except for the rapes (thankfully!) I’ve discovered your blog and will be reading up!
Thank you for sharing your horrific experience. Thank you for surviving and then some!

{{{HUGS}}} to all


[…] was a comment on Susan Kingsley-Smith’s post ~ Dysfunctional Relationship with Mental Health Providers ~that has been simmering in the back of my mind since I read it about 5 days ago now.  This […]


I am so glad that Susan agreed to guest post on this subject; There is a huge need for this to be discussed and it really does fit here with the purpose in emerging from broken. (which is to promote and inspire healing from ALL damage caused by mistreatment and abuse and the misuse of power and control.
Thanks for being here! hugs, Darlene

Everyone, I just posted a new blog post inspired by comment # 59 from Mountain. (and the comments on my post “False Normal System abiout Love and Self Love” You can read it here; Seeking Validation and Understanding from the Wrong People Thank you Mountain for the inspiration!


Hi Stef; I am so glad this post resonated with your experiences. Your note reminded me of something that happened to me:

“tricked into a psych ward and told I (quite suddenly) had all kinds of disorders that required permanent hospitalization and lithium (among other drugs) then being verbally/physically abused because the drugs made it impossible to function…etc…”

Yes! This is more common that most think. I wrote another post on this subject where I’d been coached by a representative of the organization NAMI to tell the admitting nurse at the hospital that I was suicidal even though I wasn’t in order to be admitted to get “help”. The week iI spent in that hospital was the most humiliating and shaming experience as like you – the drugs turned me into a compliant and submissive child. I was completely incapable of behaving as an adult and shamed for being “dull” and slow. I remember being shamed into participating in “arts and crafts” in order to take steps toward being released.

Much of the abuse in mental health care is subtle and much not so subtle; I’m glad you felt you could speak up about your experience here and welcome you to EFB; its a wonderful and nurturing place to heal from abuse and begin to find our strength and even spread out wings as we find ourselves:)


Steph, I’m so glad you are here. I’m glad my blog is helpful to you. I have not been writing in it lately due to one thng after another… a major sewer disaster in the crawl space of our house that I personally had to clean up and fix, as we couldn’t afford to hire help and my hubby couldn’t fit under our house, I barely could. Then right after the cleanup and plumbing was fixed, I had 3 major physical tests done due to some scary medical symptoms and even scarier medical history…. but amazingly all my biopsies and tests came out NORMAL! WOW! Also my bleeding finally seems to have stopped at long last, at my age I think I must be one of the oldest women to finally go thru menopause without being on artificial hormones to porlong it. That’s why my uterine biopsy, etc, was so worrisome, I had cervical cancer many years ago and a large precancerous growth removed from my colon in 1998, so when I was suddenly in pain and bleeding heavily from both those areas, naturally I feared the worst. (I think prayers may have had something to do with my great biopsy results and the bleeding all now being stopped, so I thank everyone who prayed.).

Then while I was waiting for my own biopsy results, my husband, who is my best-ever-friend, had a physical with a new dr. who found several suspicious lumps… my husband had heavy exoposure to the toxic agent orange herbicide in Vietnam, which is known to later cause many cancers. So just last week my husband was being tested for cancer in all these lumps, one of the young techs who was doing the tests looked about to cry, everyone was so somber, their fear of the worst was palpable….. THEN we got the GREAT news that all my husband’s tests were also NORMAL. WOW!!!

But then my diabetic husband let his blood sugar get really low and he said some very hurtful mean “jokes” to me that he NEVER would have done in his right mind, and an old therapist of mine sent me a hurtful, email…… and now the heartrending stuff in the news, my tender heart has been breaking so badly, with Japan, and the mother who killed her children and herself….. I feel these things deeply and it just is knocking the wind out of my sails, so to speak.

I need to just knuckle down and force myself to WRITE in my blog and my book, and try to IGNORE all this other stuff that is going on in the world around me. Well I may be able to stop watching the news and shut out those things, but when so much was going on health-wise and plumbing-wise here in my own home, it’s kind of hard to escape it!!

But the GREAT news is, that even when I am being flooded and overwhelmed with painful PTSD-triggering events, and tragedies, both in my own life, and on the news from all over the world, all I have to do is click over to Emerging From Broken and start reading…. and I’m not alone with my pain any more, and I start to feel hope, and like I can survive ANYTHING, with tthe loviing support of my fellow survivors, like yourself.




Oh goodness, yes! Wow.
At 17, just months after escaping my mother’s crazy house and being virtually homeless, taking care of myself as best I could, I went to the counselor at the high school looking for help with what I thought was depression…didn’t know what was going on with me. He leaned back in his chair, looked me up and down as if I was the stupidest looking thing on the planet and gruffly asked me what I “wanted”. I explained I thought I needed some help…that I was depressed and confused why I cried all the time, etc. He said something like, “And let me guess, it’s all your parents’ fault? I don’t want to hear all that tired teenage shit. You’re fine. Grow up.” I left his office in tears, completely believing what he said…that I was just another ungrateful spoiled brat with no understanding of reality.
Fast forward a few years & a lot more trauma later…(mainly–at age 19 my baby girl was taken from me under the guise of friends helping when really they wanted my baby…it was about this time they completely shut me out of her life…a lot of people don’t realize the intense trauma that causes a woman…for me it was worse than any beating and any rape I ever endured…it was the nail in my PTSD coffin)
I was 24 years old and trying to put myself through college while working a full time job. I crashed and hard. I had zero energy, didn’t care about hygiene or how I looked (where I was usually OCD about it and I mean that literally), the muscles in my neck were so tight I couldn’t turn my head for weeks at a time, I had no appetite at all, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t concentrate, I would even momentarily forget things like which side of the road to drive on (sleep deprivation I’m sure), racing thoughts reliving pain and trauma, constant sobbing, and at times extreme outbursts of rage…etc etc…(I’m sure you can all relate) I went to the university’s student services for help. They sent me to the university counselor who just stared at me blankly and referred me to a hypnotherapist (which I believe in and agree with but…) who wanted to immediately jump into hypnosis without even talking to me. When I didn’t want to go so fast he decided I needed more help than he could provide…a psychiatrist with a psychologist (or is it the other way around? I forget) in the office to dispense drugs. The doctor he sent me to was very nice and seemed professional but he immediately (the first visit!) said I needed prozac and trazadone. And he actually had a doctor in a back room who just sat there all day writing prescriptions. It made me uneasy…my instinct said, something’s wrong here, but I was always wrong, right? So…I was afraid to take the medication and asked if I could wait. He did a lot of scribbling on his notepad and deep sighing. That stuck with me…I decided I needed to listen to him. He’s the doctor. By the next visit he’d convinced me I was so sick with a “genetic chemical imbalance” (that i’d inherited this thing that couldn’t be fixed…scary!) that I had to take these drugs and if they didn’t work he’d increase the dosage or try other drugs. Over the next 8 months I got worse and worse. He increased the dosages more and more, saying (again) that the medicine will work…it’s just that I’m THAT sick. Well, I’m getting worse so I think he must be right, of course. In addition to all those symptoms getting worse, Oh goodness, yes! Wow.
I was 24 years old and suffering serious PTSD and depression for a myriad of reasons/traumas (far too long a list to get into) and was trying to put myself through college while working a full time job. I crashed and hard. I went to the school for help. They sent me to the university counselor who just stared at me blankly and referred me to a hypnotherapist (which I believe in and agree with but…) who wanted to immediately jump into hypnosis without even talking to me. When I didn’t want to go so fast he decided I needed a psychatrist with a psychologist (or is it the other way around? I forget) in the office to dispense drugs. The doctor he sent me to was very nice and seemed professional but he immediately (the first visit!) said I needed prozac and trazadone. I was afraid to take the medication and asked if I could wait. He did a lot of scribbling on his notepad and deep sighing. By the next visit he’d convinced me I was so sick with a “genetic chemical imbalance” (that i’d inherited this thing that couldn’t be fixed…scary!) I either slept all the time or not at all and when I couldn’t sleep the trazadone (it seemed to me to be the trazadone but who knows) that was supposed to make me sleep made me have visual hallucinations. That scared the crap out of me. I thought, “that’s it. I am officially insane!” There were times I’d spend hours with a bowl of soapy water and little scrub-brush scrubbing every square inch of the carpeting…it was a robotic/zombie-like act. I don’t know how to describe it. I began plotting my suicide and my moods and behavior more erratic than ever before in my life. Finally, on one of the many nights I spent up all night, I found a scalpel left by an ex-boyfriend (a pre-med student) and felt so numb as I sat in my chair sobbing for hours, I just mindlessly pick up this scalpel and start carving into the skin on my chest. I carved just barely deep enough to resemble a cat scratch but still…that freaked me out once I realized what I’d done. I immediately called the doc that morning and had an emergency session. He said since the medication is not working and I’m clearly “so stressed” that I needed to go to the ER of the local hospital and tell them what I’d done and that I’m suicidal and want to sign myself into a psych hospital (the nearest one was an hour away)
It was a Thursday or Friday…he said I could sign myself in for the weekend for a “nice rest” and sign myself back out to return to school on Monday or Tuesday, whenever I wished. Now, it’s 1996 and I know better…I knew all about the horror stories of people signing themselves into psych wards and getting trapped there. I questioned this at length and he continued to reassure me there “is no way they can keep you there against your will. When you are ready to leave, you leave. You can just walk right out the door.” And of course he noted how “paranoid” and “distrusting” I was…because naturally those are symptoms of my “sickness”.
I followed his instructions and even drove myself to the Psych hospital. My mother lived not far from this psych ward so I went to her house to leave my car and have her drive me to the hospital. She went in with me while I signed myself in and they took my bag away from me…allowing nothing inside with me. I remember I had a bottle of asprin in my bag and they questioned me about it as if I was lying and it was some illegal substance? Other than that, they were very nice and respectful toward me. That is, until I’d signed all the papers and mother left. It was immediately grabbing my arm so tightly that I had bruises in finger shapes, eye rolling, yelling, jerking me, pushing me, telling me I need to “shut up” just because I asked a normal question like “where’s the bathroom”. I saw a doctor for maybe five mins. Then was given my pills (prozac, trazadone) I was told I could call my regular doctor any time I wanted but in reality, they only turned on the hall phones (the ones patients used) for I think it was 15 or 30 mins at a time 3x a day. The next morning I tried to call the doc just to see what I had to do to get out of there…if he’d prescribed medication, etc…As soon as I got him on the line and began to tell him my experience the phone shut off! It was not time for it to shut off so I looked over at the nurses desk and told them it must be broken, could they try to turn it back on. All three of them just stood there, arms crossed, looking angry and snipped that I’d missed my privilege to use the phone that day. When I questioned this I was told to go to my room so I said I didn’t want to lie in bed all day and “what am I supposed to do, just be chained to my bed all day every day?”
The nurse grabbed my arm and jerked me hard enough to bobble my head and told me she was taking me to the ward for the seriously mentally ill (there was a name of it but I forget). I asked why and she said because I was hallucinating being chained to my bed. WTH? I explained I was speaking metaphorically and I never hallucinated anything. She just kept dragging me with me trying to resist, telling her I don’t belong in the ward she is taking me to and she not only calls me a “stupid little bitch” but goes into this long list of things the night doctor had supposedly diagnosed me as having…I remember one of them was Bi-polar but the thing she was most insistent about was BPD, which of course I had no idea what that is. On the one hand I know I don’t have whatever she says I have but on the other, maybe it’s because I am THAT crazy that I’m not understanding? To say I was confused is the understatement of the century.
I told her I want to go home. I told her I’d like to sign myself out. She tells me I can’t unless I get a court order!!! And, I was not allowed to use the phone in this other ward but if my regular doctor called me I could speak with him…the hospital doc would be in touch with him. I inquire about why I need a court order and how to get one if I can’t have contact with the outside world. Evil laughs was most of what I got in response.
I was taken to a ward with some pretty scary patients as well as people like me who didn’t belong there but they seemed to have just given up. They assigned me a room and gave me my pills but with an extra one but wouldn’t tell me what it was at first…turns out it was lithium…on top of the other drugs! When I questioned this I was basically told to be a good girl and take my medicine and “there’ll be snacks later”. I was out cold by the time my head hit the pillow and a good 12 hours later woke to the nurse slapping me, pushing me and yelling at me that I’ll never get out of that hospital if I didn’t put forth effort to get better. Good God! I couldn’t even force my eyelids open. I tried so hard but I just couldn’t function. I told her the pills were doing it and she goes on how that’s funny none of the other patients have that reaction to those pills and shoves another lithium tablet at me, telling me I have to not only take it but then I’ve got to get up and “socialize” and go to a “group therapy” meeting else I’d never be considered to get out. “As it stands you have thirty days, but I see you being here much longer…”
30 DAYS!? I passed out but woke up to my mother there…yes, the same woman who made my life a living hell had become concerned that she couldn’t get through to me on the phone and I hadn’t signed myself out (I don’t know how many days I was there…5?)
She ranted and she raved and she threatened lawsuit until they finally allowed me to leave and without a court order. I was too drugged to know what happened or how she did it. I was not even able to walk out of there.
5 months later I’d had enough of my doctor not listening to me about the drugs…I’d had enough of taking the drugs and feeling like a freakish zombie so I stopped seeing him and threw out the drugs. I slept for 2 weeks solid but after that it was as if the sun shone brighter and the air felt purer…I could feel emotions. I could think clearly. I could joke and laugh, as well as cry. Even my physical feelings heightened where they’d been so numbed. Seriously, it was like I was suddenly alive after a long death. I still had the PTSD symptoms (and still didn’t know what it was or what was going on with me) but at least I was LIVING.


sorry ladies…something went haywire with my post so in the middle it repeast a couple of sentences…I dunno. 8-/


Oh geez Stef; this is horrible, a nightmare; I am so sorry this was done to you. I feel infuriated at every story that I hear like this. It is outrageous what is done to those in emotional pain in the name of “helping”. I wish I could say your experience is uncommon – but its not. It still happens today all around the world. Thank you for having the courage to speak up and tell about what you survived. I might have missed the timeline but it sounds like you were able to extricate yourself from psychiatry and the mental health system and find your light. Its horrible what mental health system has taught us is “normal”; these kinds of “sneak attacks” and telling us to come for help then bombarding us with drugs and treating us this way is so very dehumanizing and a key weapon for abusers. They hurt us then blame us for it and tell us we’re crazy, complaints are manipulated…its crazy-making of the worst kind.

I’m so glad you were able to take back your life and really glad you are here to share your reality with us; the only way this will ever become “not normal” is when it is seen as the abuse it is instead of as normal “treatment” of those in emotional pain and distress.


I so wish there was an “Angies List” for therapists and churches and pastors. It would help sort out the different type that are out there and keep them accountable.


Warren; I’ve heard of Angies list but never looked into it so I’m not familiar with it but it sounds like a really good idea. I’d love to hear more about it if you’d be interested to share sometime. Thank you for your note!


Susan, that was in 1996…I didn’t see another counselor/psychologist…nothing for many years after that!
a lot of awful things happened between then and 2005 and the more abuse I endured the crazier I felt. I was never happy. I was always so enraged and in tears. A news story…anything could trigger me. I was miserable and barely able to hold a job. I’d dated (in 2001) a man who was the worst man I ever dated…abusive to the hilt! You name it, he did it. I had mind enough to break it off after 8-9 months of dating but he would never go away. He kept saying he would kill himself, etc. I moved 5 times, changed my phone number and email address countless times and even changed jobs twice. But he found me every time…I’d find notes on my door…notes on my car…ugh!
I could not rid myself of this person…as soon as I let him in, being a friend who cared, thinking I could save him, he’d beat me and at times, down right rape me while head butting me. (he was a black belt in karate)…he held his fully loaded glock to my head…you name it.
Also, my mother moved back to town and the two of them were too much for me to handle. I finally moved in with my little sister for a while (one of 5 sisters…the only one who is sane anymore)and living with her kept mother and crazy man away because my sister has children I adore and I equally adore my sister. That was what saved me…the need to protect them (funny how I never saw the need to protect me?)
I’d been considering moving to Texas for years and about 6 months after moving in with my sister I had a chance to move to Texas (from TN) for a new start, new job, whole nine yards. I took it and didn’t look back. Within two weeks time I had my job lined up, an apartment set up and was on the road to TX.
I did better and better though I still wasn’t sure what was wrong with me…it was mostly play acting to get through the day but once I was home I was in tears, shaking all over, feeling like everyone was after me and I could trust no one and just everything made me panic…heart racing, intense sobbing. If someone stood more than arm’s length behind me in the supermarket check out line I would panic and run out! I felt so ashamed! The nightmares were unbearable. the silence even moreso.

by my 35th birthday in 2006 I met a man who was to be a new friend. It took him months (5 to be exact) to convince me he was safe and actually liked me, wanted to know me. but I still couldn’t trust it. I ranted and I raved and I questioned everything and he finally fell into tears saying he couldn’t do it anymore…he’d done some research online (something I didn’t consider) and thinks I suffer PTSD. Now, he didn’t know about my past very much…not enough to make this assumption so I was angry. “How dare you suggest…” blah blah…I was so ashamed…I didn’t want anyone to know what I’d lived through. For one, they’d likely never believe me and for two, they will judge me for what others did. Because I had “allowed” it. Right?
But in December of 2007, he told me point blank, if you don’t get help, we are done. He couldn’t do it anymore. He was so wonderful, so normal, so real and so genuinely caring that I feared losing that. I’d never had it before and refused to lose it. I spent days calling around until I found a counselor (no psychologists or psychiatrists…just a regular woman with a certificate and need to help) Her name was Lynne. She listened to me. She was wonderfully warm and attentive. She didn’t jump to conclusions. She heard me out and I held back A LOT for the same reasons mentioned above and then some…I was scared. She very gently told me how awful life had been, how traumatic, how unnecessary it all was…that I didn’t deserve the treatment I’d gotten and she wants to help me move on and take power over my life. We started child regression therapy and EMDR…she was certain I suffered from nothing more than severe PTSD. It worked. I saw her every week for one year and it worked! After only 2 months with her I felt like ME! like the person I was supposed to be all along. Oh god I can’t even tell you!
I learned how to remove myself from any responsibility and see things at they are while creating more positive hopes for everyone for the future. I learned to trust my instincts. I learned to believe in me and assert myself. I learned how to handle my PTSD triggers (most of the time anyway…I still have my moments 2-3 times a years but that’s better than 2-3 times a week!)
Most of all, I learned I am NOT defined by what happened to me or the effects it had on me. I need not feel ashamed of anything. I CAN trust my thoughts and instincts. I can manage my episodes WITHOUT drugs.
Mostly, I can love myself and allow good people into my life and set boundaries. Wow! Who knew!

In June 2008 that guy (I’ll call him Dee for his privacy) and I moved in together…something I’d have NEVER done before. By April 2009 we were married. By August 2009 I was reunited with my child and surrounded by awesomely wonderful people who love me/us and life is so so so good! :*)

I still need a “tune up” from time to time (seeing my counselor) and in between things still happen like hearing a jackhammer go off in the street will send me running to a corner in tears and paralyzed for a couple of minutes but overall…the nightmares are gone, the fears are gone, the self-loathing is gone, the positive happy me is back where I’d lost her at such a young age…I didn’t even know her when she returned. My husband is amazing…my friends are the most wonderfully supportive and understanding people I could ever meet. I don’t have to pretend anymore that I have this problem. No one abuses me and everyone supports me.

So, yeah, It’d be another long post to explain when and how the moment came for me to make changes but it started with moving away but moving away in a productive manner (i’d run many times on a whim)
and I didn’t trust “shrinks” for more than 10 years so I looked for someone who i thought would think like me…a spiritual person…a genuine person wanting to heal…the “wounded healer” of sorts. That’s what saved me (thus far…it’s a daily battle)

Oh and mother interfered greatly in my reunion with my daughter. When I tried to gently put my foot down on that mother sent horribly cruel emails so I drew the line and said, that’s it…I’m done. You tortured me with your love one minute and not the next depending on what you got out of it…I will not allow you to do that to my child. It’s ok for people to have boundaries and until you can respect that I will have no more contact with you. That was August 2009. I’ve not heard a peep from her since around Sept that year. It’s sad but mostly It’s ecstactically happily healthily GOOD! And *I* deserve this life! My husband and my daughter deserve this life!

So, thank you Lynne (my TX counselor) for saving my life and making it better than I could have ever imagined:*)


I was living abroad when things started to get too much for me, I did some research on antidepressants and decided they may help me, where I was living I could walk into a shop and buy my antidepressants over the counter without a doctor prescribing them or any kind of discussion. I decided on setrolene, I took the least prescribed dose of one a day for two weeks and I was a zombie, I lowered the dose and I was still a zombie, when I returned home I told my doctor and she tried me on different antidepressants and they also made me like a zombie, I couldn’t feel who I was any more, for me that was worse feeling , I felt I had totally lost my self, I came off the tablets,I felt terrible withdrawal .

I started seeing a therapist, she was good but one problem , she hardly showed up for work, so just when I felt I was getting somewhere, I wouldn’t see her again for a month or so , since she was always off sick,although my sessions with her were good , she actually looked under a tremendous amount of stress her self. In the end I didn’t get to see her for three months due to her been off sick again, so I asked to see another therapist .

My second therapist is like Hitler and I am actually getting scared of seeing her again, she makes me feel really uncomfortable, she is very strict and I am only really allowed to talk about one subject in my life, that’s all she will allow me to talk about , if I talk about anything else that is bothering me she gets annoyed and says that I didn’t come to therapy to talk about those issues and I am wasting the sessions and she said in my last session that she might as well not be there as I have spoken about so much that I could of been sat in a room alone and what do I need her for, I found myself agreeing with her and going along with her wishes to only discuss one subject, which is my therapist chosen subject not mine

I am thinking not to go see my therapist anymore, I left feeling upset last week and I actually felt that I had been betrayed and let down again by someone which I had trusted.I have been feeling really down since my last session and I am scared if I go back to see her that she will knock me down further.

My doctor suggested I tried some more antidepressants , which I refused, she is a good doctor but when it comes to antidepressants we disagree, I don’t understand why she wants to just numb me up, I tried to explain to her that I wanted to deal with my issues but she said it can take time for antidepressants to work and I wasn’t on them long enough,i explained I never wanted to feel that numbed up again,she said OK. I have a friend who takes antidepressants and she loves them and is happy , different strokes for different folks I guess….


Wow, Stef,
Thanks for sharing your story here on my blog. When I asked Susan to guest post on EFB about dysfunctional relationships with Mental Health Providors, I had no idea it was going to be such a huge success. I am so glad that Susan agreed to do it. Sharing the details of your story gives and will give so much courage and inspiration to others.

Thanks for sharing the video “the wounded healer” ~ I could really relate to that. I sought truth and healing in ever corner for over 25 years before I found it, and found the healing and freedom that I sought. It was so profound for me to live in wholeness that developed a passion to share it with the world.. and that video really summed it up for me.
Hugs, Darlene


the God that is in you, is in me.


Susan, Angies list is a website that you can go to and comment on a certain provider of services like a contractor you may have used.
I have been to 4 or 5 therapist and they varied widely.
Never forget the one that I was referred to by the New Life Live show, I talked about how difficult it was to deal with my wife’s going through sexual abuse recovery and his response was to suggest divorcing her.
I was not there to get advice re; divorce, I needed a place to bitch and moan and process my own stuff.
I didn’t go back after that.


Hello Saljay
Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
It is very difficult to go to a therapist that makes you feel that uncomfortable. I personally have a lot of “red flags” when someone tells me what I can and cannot say, or puts me down in the way that you describe here. How can this be helpful? My last therapist was amazing. I too was scattered and talked about a million different things, but the therapist that I saw found a way to help me to focus on one thing at a time without making me feel like I was a major problem or waste of time. I have seen therapists also who made me feel like I was all wrong, and that I was a problem even in therapy. Not cool. Not helpful either. In fact in the end, more damaging.
I hope that you read other articles in this website. I write a lot about recovery from depressions, low self esteem, and the damage caused from mistreatment and you might find a few more answers for yourself.
Glad that you are here!
hugs, Darlene
founder of Emerging from Broken


Stef; I’m so glad to hear that your story has had a positive ending! Evidence is mounting that validates our experiences that trauma is not “mental illness”. The path you’ve found sounds very similar to my own in that being heard, having my experiences and my very normal responses to these very abnormal life experiences validated instead of dismissed was so key. The other was, as you mentioned, being able to reclaim my power.

This is what EFB is all about – being heard and understanding there is a REASON why survivors of the first trauma struggle with issues and that we can reclaim our power by digging down to the lies that we’d been taught that told us we were unworthy and held no value, that we were defective. Abusers in the original trauma taught us those lies; the abuse in the second trauma of abusive mental health care validates those lies. Its so great to hear that you’ve found a path that supports your own journey to your own light and new life! Thank you so much for sharing your story, Stef!


Saljay; Its really great to hear that you are listening to your own instincts the way you are. I really believe that we each are fully capable to discover our own truths and heal ourselves. I’m terribly sorry to hear that your therapists have been less than helpful; not showing up is a big problem and so unprofessional not to mention as you so clearly described the effect it had on your ability to move forward in your journey. I can also relate to the experience you describe with your current therapist. This is what this post is about – how survivors of trauma’s are so susceptible to this kind of abuse and no matter the source – ANY relationship that requires us to sacrifice our own needs to satisfy the needs and wants of another is wrong. We are of equal value as those who proffer authority in this way and have an equal right to feel safe not threatened or fearful. Its really great to hear you standing up for yourself and yes; the drugs were a disaster in my own journey but I’ve heard from others they feel they are beneficial. The point is – it is OUR choice. thank you for stopping by and thank you for sharing your story:)


Warren; thank you. I think that would be a very helpful type of site to have for these issues. Let me know if you ever decide to do anything with that:)

I am so sorry to hear about your experience with the therapist who said to divorce your wife. I’ve also had therapists who saw it as their right to tell me to cut off friends or family. For some reason abusive and controlling people enjoy feeling so powerful as being able to make those kinds of calls vs providing actual therapy to empower others to make their own decisions about these issues. Thank you for sharing your story; its great to hear that you weren’t pulled into that relationship.


I have been in the mental health and addiction field since 2004. I have made a decision to leave the field due to the numerous unethical practices I have seen and reported to no avail.

When I entered the helping field I believed that it was a calling. As I leave the field I am saddened at all I have witnessed over the years. I am saddened that there are so many unbalanced “professionals” in the field treating patients/consumers/clients.

When I worked in mental health I was surprised at the lack of boundaries between social worker and consumer. I had two supervisors. Both of these supervisors entered into romantic relationships with consumers. One consumer was diagnosed with Borderline Personality D/O. She eventually committed suicide.

It is impossible to properly treat a patient when one is emotionally involved. I have also seen this in the field of addictions, which is closely related to mental health as most addicts/alcoholics have co-occurring disorders.

I have seen treatment providers manipulate their patients so that the patient becomes dependent on the provider. A treatment professional should be a partner in a patient’s treatment. A treatment professional should not be making the decisions for the patient.

I have seen treatment professionals (TP) withhold treatment if a patient has done something that the TP did not like or agree with. I have seen TPs write case notes that paint a slanted picture of the patient, something that will follow the patient forever, just because the patient angered the TP.

I have seen TPs destroy a patient’s marriage or relationship with a significant other just to keep the patient to themselves. I have also seen TPs give their private phone numbers to patients so that the patient can contact them 24/7. This is one of the worst things a TP can do. One person should not be the only one able to treat a patient. If for some reason the TP can not be reached then what does the patient do? Then there is no one else to call.

I have seen all this and so much more. That is why I’ve made a decision to find a new career. I have tried to report these unethical acts, but no one wants to deal with it, admit that it happens, or take corrective action. No one is held responsible. The final straw for me was when a patient was raped by a staff member. This patient was diagnosed with Bi Polar D/O, PTSD (she was sexually abused as a child and raped again, later in her life), and alcoholism.

Until patients start speaking out for themselves and demand that these practices stop, nothing will ever change. The best thing any consumer can do is get involved in your treatment, ask questions, ask what your choices are. If your medications are not working for you, tell your doctor. Keep telling your doctor until you find something that works. Do not accept being forced to take what is given to you and do not accept being told that you are being “noncompliant.”

Be proactive in your health care and always demand copies of your records. It’s important to know what the TP is saying about you because that record will stay with you for the rest of your life.


Stef, I just now read your posts from a couple of days ago and I am literally crying for you. Oh my Lord. I went through exactly that sane kind of hell that you so vividly describe, the crazy CRUEL treatment by the mental health “professionals”, and thinking I must be really completely OUT-OF-My-MIND not to “know” that I am so insane that I really do deserve to be locked up and yelled at and treated like a criminal…. and as the drugs made me weirder, then that was their PROOF that I was crazy.

Stef you are a MIRACLE of survival. I KNOW… because so am I!



…. oops, I mean I went through exactly that SAME hell, it certainly was not a “sane” hell.


WOW, Steph… I just read your comment #93 and I am in AWE.

@ Warren, YES we need that, a type of Angie’s list for therapists/mental health people, but with precautions that they and their families can’t post their own lies… or pay for good press… something I have read can be a problem on those typse of online review sites.


Sorry I misspelled Stef…. I know I don’t like it when people spell my name Linda!

I wonder where you therapist is…. anywhere near Amarillo by any chance? We live in eastern New Mexico but go to Amarillo almost weekly for my husband’s VA appts.


Susan, you said: “ANY relationship that requires us to sacrifice our own needs to satisfy the needs and wants of another is wrong. We are of equal value….” YES! THAT is the BOTTOM LINE for me today, in EVERY relationship, both personal and professional.

WARREN…. what a jerk that therapist was, telling you to divorce your wife like that. I had one therapist tell me the same thing on my first visit with him. One week later, when I had my second appointment, he asked me if I had left my husband and started divorce proceedings. When I said NO, he demanded to know why I had not done what he said I should do! This husband was not abusing me, not cheating on me, we just were going thru a rough patch… HELLO!?! I never went back after that second visit. I also saw a woman therapist for several months, she knew the guy I was dating and thought he was terrific and was happy I was dating him. But it wasn’t going so well, so after a few months she told me that if I did not stop seeing this guy, then she would no longer be my therapist. Again, this guy was not being abusive, but yes he was refusing to be exclusive, he wanted to see others, too. I did give up on the relationship eventually, but it had to be when I was ready!!

SALJAY ~ I am so glad you are here, sharing your story, and learning you are not alone, and that you absolutely do NOT have to submit yourself to what you describe as a nazi therapist.

JO Jo: thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience and HEART. I am sad though that the messed up mental health field is losing one of the few GOOD ones!

My dad was put in a psych ward when he nearly succeeded in his attempt to murder my mother. They were married and had 5 children. But the head nurse of the psych ward got romantically involved with my very sick, very vulnerable dad. She pushed my parents divorce through, then immediately married him.

Ethics in the mental health field? There are far too few who think like you do, Jo Jo. Take care of YOU, it sounds to me like you have been traumatized by your work environment.



Hi Jo Jo
Welcome to Emerging from Broken

I find it very encouraging to hear from you ~ someone who worked in the field and is sick of the way that it isn’t working. This stuff really does need to be exposed and part of my message is about the fact that I had to learn not to assume that because someone had the credentials and licence that they automatically were right about everything. I gave so much of my power to those with positional power. I was shocked when I entered this field to discover that I was not the only one who had been mislead by mental health professionals and that just like in every other field or organization, three is the misuse of power and it is being covered up.

You have a whole message of your own, inspiring others in how to take care of themselves if they are in a therapeutic relationship. Most clients are to confused and in the fog to even think about their own rights. Most don’t even know what being pro active is.. they just hand over their power to the person in authority. Your message is very important. I hope that we hear from you again; please feel free to share often.
Hugs, Darlene


Jo Jo, I agree with everything Darlene just said to you. We need your VOICE; I hope, too, that you come back here often with your comments. Thanks!


Lynda…no worries about the name spelling. I guess it should be “steph” since my name is Stephanie…I use the f out of laziness, I think! lol
But I appreciate your concern and understand the annoyance…it seems that especially after going through such traumas in life, being dismissed and marginalized…we need to have our names right!
My husband is Korean and having his last name (a very simple, very common Korean last name) has been so annoying…No one EVER gets it right. It’s three simple letters! I think it’s that no one understands an european american having such a name…I wish people (in general) could be more attentive and accepting, but I digress:)

I live in Austin so no, Lynne is not year you:-< I wish she was! But definitely search for a counselor (that is a licensed counselor as opposed to a psychiatrist or psychologist) and search for someone who practices "transpersonal" counseling, regression therapy and EMDR. I bet there is someone in your area. Question them when you speak to them. Do your research and be armed with questions to be sure they are on your wavelength of what you feel you need. That's the best advice I could give anyone, no matter what type of therapy you seek.
Best of luck to you sister!

And I share everyone's sentiments about JoJo's post. It was so refreshing to see it that I teared up with hope! Thank you JoJo and I pray you find the career that suits you best. It sounds to me as though you might do great as a counselor working for yourself. If you want to help people please don't give up on that because we need you.


Thank you for your replies regarding my therapist,I was supposed to see her today but I have cancelled today’s session I called the reception and the reception staff wanted to put me through to my therapist so I could explain to her why I couldn’t come,(I said I was sick) I asked the receptionist if she could pass on the message, she said “don’t you want to speak to your therapist to explain,” I said “no,can you pass on the message please,” ..AWKWARD!! …My therapist is off work for the next two weeks( I was forewarned) so I don’t have to see her for three weeks, which is a great relief, plus it will give me time to see how I feel about going back to see her again.

Its been a week today since I last saw my therapist, I am not sure if it down to her but I have hardly got dressed since then, I was OK the day after but I slowly slumped into feeling really depressed again, I will try to explain how my therapist made me feel..I think a lot of what bothers me about her is her stand offish way, I realize my therapist cant become my best friend but when I finish my session and leave to say goodbye, I say “have a nice week” and she replies in a really stern way “you too” nothing wrong with what she says but more how she says it, also another way that bothers me is the way she looks at me , she looks at me like I am a really complicated matter and she is constantly saying “now how can I word this” and “let me think of the right way to say this to you” I want to say “just speak to me normal,” I know she has to be careful how she says things but constantly hearing this from her makes me feel like I have some kind of challenging behaviour and she cant speak as she would to a so called “normal” person

Then been told off by my therapist because I don’t stick to one subject at a time and the most upsetting comment from her was when she said “you might as well be sitting in a room talking to yourself,there is no need for me to be here,” I actually found that comment quite insulting and reflecting on this I now understand why she is permanently looking for the right way to say things, as rudeness seems to come way too easy to her . I felt really hurt as well as betrayed that my therapist who I had given all my trust to would turn around and say such a rude comment, and what got me even more in reflecting on my session was ME! how I actually agreed with her because she made me feel belittled and vulnerable! If I do go back I will try to explain to her how she has made me feel but from what I have experienced people like this don’t like it when you stand up to them and after what I have witnessed with my therapist attitude so far, I am worried she may mess with my head even more if I say anything to her, I have lost trust and respect for her,If I say anything to her managers , they will only look to all the people who are happy with her and I will be made out to be the problem, so I think it is probably better to say I have started full time work and just walk away..for my own sake.

I am starting to wonder if I have bipolar as my mood swings are up and down, then I wonder if its down to the fact that I have zero support(apart from EFB which is excellent) I have been through hell most of my life and let down by everyone I have ever loved and trusted,I am finding it hard to go back to work, I spend all my days alone as I have had to disown everyone from my past, I came to realise everyone in my past life was dysfunctional and dragging me down, if I wanted to recover I had to have no more contact with these kind of people, I had latched on to these kind of people because it was all I ever knew due to coming from a dysfunctional family but fortunately I realised this and slowly I have taken myself away from these types of mentalities which has left me with no one, and I mean no one, totally alone, so I think anyone who is totally alone is going to have mood swings but I am not sure.

I was doing well last week, I started to look for job but deep down I am afraid of working with nasty people as I have been through enough already(not sure if I could deal with more) but hopefully I will meet some good people at work, I was feeling really great last week, got a lot of housework done, had lots of energy,positive attitude, I actually saw a future for myself, then boom out of nowhere I started to feel really depressed again(just after my therapy session)and so far I haven’t got dressed for three days,cant be bothered doing anything, I have PMT at the moment but this has happened before a lot sometimes lasting weeks, I am starting to wonder what triggers these episodes, on reflection it seems to be when someone has upset me, (I think,) I know in life there is always going to be people who may upset me but (I think) these episodes are more to do with people who I trusted or even loved that have betrayed me in some way,its that kind of upset that triggers my depressions, Like how my therapist behaved towards me….Any comments , feedback , would be greatly appreciated ,Please don’t be afraid to be honest with me, (just not hurtful, LOL !)..

Susan Kingsley-Smith
April 18th, 2011 at 8:15 am

Jojo – thank you for contributing your view from the perspective of someone who works in this field. Your contribution is so very validating for those of us who have been conditioned by silence to tolerate this kind of thing in our lives. You’d said:

“Until patients start speaking out for themselves and demand that these practices stop, nothing will ever change. The best thing any consumer can do is get involved in your treatment, ask questions, ask what your choices are. If your medications are not working for you, tell your doctor. Keep telling your doctor until you find something that works. Do not accept being forced to take what is given to you and do not accept being told that you are being “noncompliant.” Be proactive in your health care and always demand copies of your records. It’s important to know what the TP is saying about you because that record will stay with you for the rest of your life.”

And that is very much what this post is about; the fact that those who have been violated in the important developmental years are often the most susceptible to this kind of overpowering control tactics and the subtle abuses that keep us under the thumb of those who view us as “less than”. My first goal outside of giving voice to those who have been abused this way is to take this kind of abuse out of the closet that victims may be empowered with the knowledge that this is no longer “Ok”. Up to this point – any revealing of these abuses have been taken in stride and accepted as a “normal” part of the therapeutic process. Complaints of mistreatment, coercion etc have been viewed as so normal that the victims are blamed by the abuser, then the system we are supposed to turn to for protection to complain as being the justification for this kind of mistreatment.

The first step to empowering the victims is to let them know they are not the “only one”, this is not “normal” and its not their fault. The second is to make it known to those who protect the abusers by shaming the victims that its not ok for society to continue to blame the victims and shame them into silence. The typical response I hear is that we “had a choice and could have left” but the truth of the matter is that many of us DO leave these abusive relationships only to walk into another that again reinforces what the first one said. Ultimately – the victims shut down further and as in the original abuse begin to take responsibility for the failure of these dysfunctional and abusive therapeutic relationships. I really see this discussion as another step in recognizing that victims are not responsible for being abused and that accepting this as a normal part of the therapeutic process simply allows the abusers to continue to abuse. May is “mental health awareness” month and I cannot think of a better issue to become aware of.



If it were me…I’d go looking for a different therapist and never EVER go back to that one. She doesn’t need an explanation. Just move on for your sake and be sure to interview counselors to be sure they practice the type of counseling you think you will be open to and most responsive to…as well as being sure their personality sets well with you.

I am not a therapist of any kind (i’m a file clerk;) so I can’t diagnose you though I seriously doubt you have bipolar disorder. I think you have a bad therapist and you are spending too much time alone. It’s hard to battle depression/anxiety when you are constantly by yourself. You describe a current life situation that I can very much relate to. One of the reasons I am a file clerk (in a very small firm) is because I can’t take the backstabbing, gossipy, cruel, catty behavior that goes on in most workplaces. It drags me down emotionally and who needs that? So, I surmised working in a small office (10ppl here) in a back room all to myself would be perfect. And it is, for me. My point is give this some thought while looking for work.

I’ve gone through very long time frames (a year here, two years there) where I had no one for the same reasons you describe. That and I simply could not stomach socializing, chancing making new friends and being betrayed or abused by them later on…too scary…so I stayed alone. It was extremely depressing at times. I think by nature I am a private person so being alone didn’t bother me too much except that it gave me all this time to think about the traumas, the hurts, the betrayals. It also got terribly lonesome sometimes. Too much time with yourself can be a bad thing for anyone. What worked for me was slowly but surely getting back to things I enjoy or always wanted to try…hiking, biking, painting, reading more…going to a coffee shop for coffee and read a few chapters of a book can be a great way to meet nice people. Or at least be out of the house and near people. That’s the most important thing. Go slow as feels comfy for you but it is good to get out sometimes, do something different or something you’ve not allowed yourself to enjoy in a long time. Before you know it you’ll be chatting with like minded people who are reasonable enough to allow you develop the friendship at YOUR own pace.

First and foremost, you must believe you deserve this happiness and comfort in your life. You must believe you have the right to walk away from your therapist and find a better one for you. You must believe you deserve to enjoy a walk on a nice day and to chat with that nice woman at the coffee shop. You deserve smiles. You deserve to do things that make you feel good about yourself. You deserve to enjoy life. Because guess what? It is YOUR LIFE. You have complete power over how you spend it. Take back your power.



Hi Steph, thank you for your reply, I appreciate all you said. I agree with you I am not going to go back to see my therapist, anyone who makes me feel like a underdog I shouldn’t associate with especially my therapist! The problem is I was given this therapist through my doctor, I cant pick and choose who I have, I have to take who I am given, I already complained about my first therapist who was in fact good, now I look back(compared to this one) but she rarely turned in for work so I asked for another therapist and I got one who comes to work but she is a Hitler, I don’t pay for my therapist so I cant pick and choose or interview them first, but I can ask for another, I doubt I can change from one therapist to another often, I am sure this will reflect on me like I am the one with the problem and to be honest I have lost faith in therapists now.I will have to give some kind of explanation as they will contact me and ask me why, I think I will say I don’t feel like I am jelling with her and see what they say to that.

I am pleased you also understand what it is like been alone, most of the time it doesn’t bother me , I quite enjoy my own company and the peace and quite after all I have been through but to think I would be like this for the rest of my life sends shivers down my spine,I know I have to start work, this will open the doors to new people and focus all my energy on work rather than slumped at home, when I feel OK(meaning not depressed) I am always busy in the house or out and about and I look forward to sitting down in the evening. everything seems OK and I have hope.

When the depression hits it takes over and it actually cripples me, It seem to be like waves,for a week or so I am really happy, loving life and really enjoying feeling that way, but I am constantly scared the good feeling will go away, I keep busy and pray I will stay in the happy frame of mind… Then BOOM! I am crippled again ,no energy, my body clock gets messed up, sleeping late , waking late, I don’t want to go out, get dressed, see anyone or do any house work due to feeling so exhausted and a deeply sad dark mood, I don’t even get washed..it seems I have lost control again..The weather make me worse, strangely enough I feel worse when the weather is good, I think its because I feel I should be out in the good weather,I feel every one else has such a great life, but me, I feel guilty as I know I should be working and trying to do more with my life but when I feel like that I cant seem to do anything,its like there is a brick wall stopping me from moving forward, this can go on for weeks and there is nothing I can do to change it. Then out of the blue I will feel either normal again or extremely happy, I don’t seem to have control of my moods anymore,

When I am myself,(what I can remember , its been so long) I am a very sociable person , in fact quite loud and out going, not shy at all, I have worked in a outgoing lively work environment as this was my personality but I do dread working with bitchy people, I cant really see a way to avoid this as I do need the money and book keeping or quieter jobs would not pay me enough money to cover my overheads..So I feel I have no choice who I work for, I am not afraid to answer back but after I would get upset, I am not sure how I would handle work if I was having problems at work that maybe would result in these depressive episodes, hopefully I wouldn’t have them as bad if I was getting out more..All I want is to live a normal life but it seems so hard to get ;-(


Saljay; I so understand all the issues you are describing; it is so wrong that this current person you are seeking help from is treating you in the ways you describe and I feel badly that you are facing this. You are very much entitled to say “I don’t like this” and not be questioned or ridiculed. No one has the right to talk down to another human being in the manner you describe-this is hurtful and abusive behavior. Each of has has every right to feel safe in our therapy relationships. The thing is, like you mentioned, is that if we complain we are seen – and often told – that the problem is not with the therapy model, the therapist but that the problem is “you”; and believing that is what kept me going back for more. I carried the responsibility for the abusers in my life for many many years. When I gave it back to them is when I began to find the strength to learn to live beyond all the issues that caused me to struggle. Theres a REASON I felt bad, depressed and overwhelmed and that reason is because I’d been trained early on that I had no value, had no right to say “no” or “I don’t like this”. What I realized is that carrying this burden of proof that I was defective was weighing me down; I felt helpless to change my life and powerless to escape these overwhelming feelings of failure.

This is a favorite tactic of all abusers; to keep us coming back for more because we believe from being told this in the original abuse that this is true. I was trained to never question the “doctors” and of course therapists were an extension of “doctor” so I didn’t question them either. Well, actually I did in the beginning but their attacks on my character and the way they just insisted that I was whatever diagnosis they were giving me was evidence that I was faulty and to blame. This kind of abuse – this imbalance of power and control therapists and doctors had to define me and tell me I was defective or to blame for therapy “failures’ let them off the hook. And this is so prevalent in mental health treatment that in the beginning I DID leave and move to a different therapist or doctor. But then this was like divorcing one abuser only to marry another. It was in learning to recognize my own value that I stopped putting myself in these dysfunctional relationships.

I also experienced severe depressions when I was in “therapy” and what I’ve found is that this is a very normal response to overwhelming life circumstances as were all the other “maladaptive coping skills” I”d used to survive the abuse and being told and shown I held no value of my own. Diagnosis never helped me find my way, the drugs only numbed me so I couldn’t feel the pain. Therapy taught me to avoid the pain and reinforced that I needed the drugs because of whatever the diagnosis was. Drugs and diagnosis did not help me heal but learning to stand up for myself, dig down into the deepest parts of me where my beliefs about how I was wrong, bad, not good enough, could never do anything good enough, wasn’t worthy….getting down to those lies and replacing them with the belief that NO ONE has a right to treat me badly is where I found my power.

I also lived in isolation for a long time – and it was in learning to value myself and see others as equal rather than on some step above me that I realized I no longer had to hide in shame nor in fear because I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. Being alone was a safe place to be while I rested and recovered from the burden of being others scapegoat and finding my value was the first step to finding my voice.

I’m glad you’re here…this is a wonderful place to do the kind of work that made such a difference in my own journey. I hope we’ll see you again – thank you for sharing your story! 🙂


Thanks Susan and Lynda,It is so nice to be able to share how I feel with such understanding people,I can identify with a lot of what you say but one thing that’s for sure is I have never been shy at standing up for myself,I have never been afraid to say that I don’t like something, I always thought that if I reported abuse or wrong doings of any kind to the authorities they would immediately take note and the bad people would be dealt with appropriately , Through my naive thinking I was mentally ripped to bits by more than one person in authority and to top it all now my therapist..

This kind of treatment from different authority figures has left me not trusting anyone again who has any kind of authority, I now think its better to just make an excuse and walk away from authority, as I am not going to wait around to have my head messed up and ridiculed again and again, Years ago if not months ago I was still standing up to people in authority , I never believe anyone was superior to me , I truly believed I was equal to all authority but now I believe they are not equal to me that they are below me and there is no point trying to discuss anything with these kinds of people as they don’t want to listen and I will come off worse..

And I did come off worse, I got so down and depressed not because I have been conditioned not to stand up to people but I have been conditioned to believe people in authority are all good people and this is partly why I became ill because this was a lie, and realising that really messed me up, I have gone to meetings with authority figures and been very cleverly ridiculed and even given a pep talk on peoples skills when in fact the reason I had contacted the authorities in the first place was because I had evidence that a relative was been abused but it resulted in me been told how to behave, funny thing was when I told my therapist this she then went on to do the exact same thing to me.

I am also dealing with a lot of issues from my childhood so this most recent blow from authority doesn’t help, You may get the odd person who is genuinely good in authority but even they will be manipulated into been part of the mentality and if they try to stand up to colleagues they will also be bullied and made to be the problem.

Having been through one ordeal after another all my life, my last hope was authorities, I had been let down by everyone else in my life so the authorities were all I had , To my horror they all let me down as well, I am not just talking about my therapist, I am talking about a whole range of authority figures I have placed trust in, who have all individually betrayed my trust and made out its me, I never believed for one minute it was me, thank god, but the way these kind of people behave is very clever,

I had to attend a meeting with some authority figures this month over the welfare of a relaitive that I beleved was been abused. I didn’t even realise immediately what had taken place at the meeting, I just left feeling confused and almost like a itch I couldn’t scratch,I politely shook all their hands and said good bye but I felt niggled something wasn’t right, I went home and reflected, for days, the conversation at the meeting spun round in my head, back and forth I replayed their words, The conclusion was that I had been very cleverly manipulated into thinking that once again everything was my fault and there was no abuse, it was ME once again who was the problem, The realisation hit me hard , I managed to keep upbeat as i has a therapy session in two days time, and like I said my therapist ended up been the same and she also spoke to me badly and let me down.

What is hard is to tell others as people do start to think oh it must be her, not every one can be wrong and you know what, if it was me it would be easier to handle because I can change me but I cant change others, there is nothing I can do to change others, That’s whats hit me hard , other peoples behaviour, why would people behave so badly that I have turned to for help, people who are in authority and trusted, and the way they do this is almost an art in its self, so cleverly done and obviously this kind of manipulating, twisting, calculating mentality comes from years of experience and confidence which can only be gained through years of practice on others.

YES it has left me feeling like I shouldn’t speak out anymore ,like I once did, I cant fight authority, I will only come off worse and I am living proof of that, Authority figures almost remind me of a unscrupulous religious sect or the KKK, I know they are not but this kind of thinKING. I have so much to get over and yes I am so afraid to venture out into the world again, every time I do I seem to be let down or hurt by people but I cant hide away from let downs and hurt for ever, and if I do I know this means everyone who ever has wronged me in the past has won. Its going to be really hard to start over , its is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done but I don’t see what choice I have, I cant give my life away to all my abusers, like Steph said its my life and I got to take it back, Just hope I can dig down deep and find the strength to take my life back whilst dealing with a crippling depression with no therapist or meds.(I refused to take meds) Thank you to everyone for listening.


Susan, Stef, and Sally, this discussion really resonates with me~

It seems to me that a large number of people who rise to positions of authority do so by being ruthlessly narcissistic…. they promote themselves above all others, they put others down so they can step up higher on the backs of those they see as beneath them. They charm, they play the role of a genuinely caring person, but they do so only to further their own cause… when the mask comes off, and their true character is seen, you are so right, Sally, it is quite a shock!

Sally, I particularly like what you said about your therapist: “I now understand why she is permanently looking for the right way to say things, as rudeness seems to come way too easy to her.” LOVE IT! I would be tempted to send her a postcard saying exactly that!



Thanks Lynda, Yes I may be tempted to email my therapist LOL…I am pleased you understand how I feel, It really was a big shock to realise how authorities operate, people whom I once trusted so much. Thank you for you kind words.

P.S/ My name is Saljay not Sally !


Saljay, I’m so sorry that I got your name wrong! I wrote that last night when I was getting sleepy, and didn’t even realize I had written your name wrong. I know that is rude when people don’t bother to make sure they have your name written correctly …. I am especially aware of this, because, although my name is a very common name, it has an uncommon spelling, “LYNDA” instead of “LINDA,” the way most people spell it. My whole life long I have been telling people my name is spelled with a “Y” and not an “I,” and still people often get it wrong. No big deal I guess, but it sort of bothers me when that happens. But here is the really weird thing… a few months ago when I was very sleepy, I was writing something, and I signed my name, “Linda.” I was SHOCKED! I had misspelled my own name, after a lifetime of telling people how my name is spelled!!! DUH! (head slap). That’s how goofy I can get when I am sleepy.

But even worse than that, I have accidentally called our dog, Lady, by my own name! I have done it TWICE, now…. both times, when I said to her, “LYNDA!” in an exasperated tone, because she was doing something annoying, Lady looked at me like I had Lost My Mind!! Idiot Savant, that is me…. with a DOG who is sometimes smarter than I am~

((HUG)) to Saljay.

Lynda/Linda/Super-Silly Person


i think i’m giving up on finding a therapist. seems like nobody understands or cares.


Art Cathartic….. are you OK? Is there anything I can do to help?

I DO care… I know so many of us Survivors, DO CARE. It’s true tho that it is hard to find a good caring therapist. Better no therapist than a bad therapist, I believe.



@artcahtartic, I have been in several night mare therapists situations one that put my abuser in touch with me and he found me thanks to them and tried to kill me. I did sue but did not win they it was years ago but just letting you know there are many bad therapists out there. I did find finally after many years one trustworthy one. But what helped me the most was a support group. IT was by far much more powerful than therapy for me and also free. I have therapy to be responsible but really the support groups have been the best!


Thank you Lynda and Pinky… sorry about that. We’re switching like a rolodex right now, and Christmas and Easter are bad times for our insider, Nasus. Also, the new T is causing more and more stress which causes some rapid switching. She seems to be “in it” only for the money, and does everything possible to waste our precious 50 minutes of therapy time. Husband sat in on much of the first session, and he didn’t like her at all – thought she was very egocentric. Yesterday, she hammered us with questions re: what other therapists we’ve seen in this area, until we told her. I think that would be none of her business, but she insisted. I believe that she has talked to the first T we had in this area – the one who insisted that we “trade” her the cost of sessions for a papercasting painting that I did, and unbeknownst to us, the session that concluded the payments for the painting turned out to be our last session with her! At the end of that session and after seeing her a few months, she said that she doesn’t really treat D.I.D., and that this would be our last session! She handed us a few names of psychologists that she had chosen at random from a city 4 hours away, and sent us packing! We were too naive at the time (back in 2006) to know that trading merchandise for therapy is unethical, and to send a client away without a reasonable referral is grounds for having your license revoked (client abandonment). Having the horrible boundaries that we did, we did nothing about reporting her.

Now, the current new T apparently is friends with this woman, and has most likely discussed me. Husband says that he believes that I am getting worse with this woman, and becoming more damaged. I have only seen her 4 times, I think. She is totally non-empathetic, and very arrogant. Her feigned words of caring, which are very scant, seem very hollow and mechanical. She has forgotten everything about me and my past each time we have a session like she never listened, so we have to use time telling her again. She seems totally focused on her “fee”, even asking for her check at the beginning of one session. She flatly refused to fill out paperwork for my insurance, which was a lot, but I haggled with the insurance company so that she wouldn’t have to do that… then, they sent her a short version of the paperwork just to get her basic information, and she griped about that. She spent a lot of time griping about paperwork, and things that she had to do on her own time… however, it was okay for her to take time during my session to do a “few things” on her computer, and have the loud printer going printing during our session. If she won’t take time to even fill out insurance papers, nor read about our trauma history which I have briefly outlined on a couple of pages, why do I think that she would take the time to educate herself about D.I.D. therapy? I guess it’s because my boundaries are still weak, and she knows that when a younger one appears in therapy that she can do what she wants because they have absolutely NO boundaries. I still go to her because I keep hoping… Husband says that she is further damaging me…

Easter is a bad time for us… and for our little self-persecutor insider, Nasus.

Sorry to ramble – just having a tough time. Thinking about going therapist-less… with a little help from my inside friends as well as my outside ones….



@Lynda, Stef, Saljay; I’m thrilled to see the supports and discussions going on around these issues. Talking about our experincnes, validating one anothers feelings around them is so vital to the healing of the pain caused by these dysfuntional relationships. In the past, much of my energy and focus was on how unhelpful and hurtful these experiences were yet it was when I was able to shift my focus from being wronged to understanding the core issues that led me back to these kinds of relationships that I began to find the healing that empowered me to live beyond broken once and for all.

While its really great if we can be so fortunate to find a helpful and healthy therapeutic relationship, and I was fortunate to have access to this if even for a short time in my journey, its not the relationship that healed me but the understanding that it was the core lies telling me I was “less than” and discovering that I held the power to heal myself that finally set me free. This is what makes EFB such a unique and wonderful place; its like a world wide support group where we can each share the insights that set me free from he belief that I had to have a therapist to tell me how to heal.

Thank you for your contributions, each of you; this discussion is so valid and so valuable to the healing journey and the community here at EFB!


Susa…I’m really glad to see you…and am so sorry that you are still struggling with finding helpful therapy. What you describe in your therapy relationships is so common and a shameful example of what goes on behind closed doors. Just as with other perpetrators, to the rest of the world, therapists/doctors/psychologists because of their credentials appear to be faultless. The therapist that offered to trade their services for your artwork was being extremely unethical. Then to abruptly end the relationship like that – I can only imagine the feelings you might have experienced. I’ve also experienced health care where I did not release info on past relationships but the new providers seemed to have information that could have only come from previous providers so it wasn’t a huge jump to put it together that they simply talk about me without that consent. While privacy acts appear to protect the client, they really provide the most benefit to those who see themselves as justifiably violating our personal rights, space and boundaries.

I am glad you are here and can share your story and find support Susa; and like Darlene – I had also been in a state of fragmentation at one point and was given the diagnosis DID, although my experiences were induced by the trauma of being re-victimized by the mh providers over a period of years compounded by the early life sexual abuse I experienced that left me overwhelmed. And like Darlene, I found complete freedom from this state of being. I am glad you are here at EFB; this is the core message of this place – that it is possible to learn to live beyond that place of broken.


@Pinky – I’m really sorry that you’re experience was such as you describe. It infuriates me knowing that this is and has been seen as “normal” – to have so many negative experiences in seeking therapy. Sadly – this continues because of the ease with which therapists validate to one another that therapy failure was because of the clients faults. And I agree on support from others who have been down similar paths; this is what I value so much about being a part of the EFB community where we can learn from others stories and discover our own inner wisdom. Thank you for sharing that nugget of wisdom!


Susa > Susan:

Thank you so much for your message, Susan. I will give this therapist at least one more chance, although I am doubtful that things will work out. I am such a “gray thinker” having opinions from different parts of me from one end of the spectrum to the other end… We are more likely to give a person the benefit of the doubt, but I imagine that much of this will be “tweaked” as we develop better boundaries. I believe that it was unethical for her to force me to tell her what therapists I’ve seen previously. The only “release” that I have signed with her, was to communicate with my family doctor… and not with anyone else. It was apparent that she talked to the previous cult therapist by statements that she made. (Oh yeah, forgot to mention that the “art for therapy” therapist was also in a cult… geez)

Be New Mexico social work code of ethics rules, a therapist cannot take on a client (knowing what their DX is) without having a working knowledge of the therapy involved in treating that DX. This one knew my DX from the outset. It is, according to NM statutes, okay for a therapist to accept a client not being that familiar with the specific treatment, only if they agree to immediately educate themselves through seminars, CEUs, etc. regarding current therapeutic modalities in treating the specific DX. This therapist has shown that she refuses to do any extra training outside of our therapy session. This is unethical.

I have been a multiple my entire life, and I know of no other way to exist. I don’t consider myselves to be “disordered”, but right now, I am unstable and unbalanced. I just need some help to deal with specific issues. I do not feel broken, rather I have deep gratitude to my insiders and to the one of us who was creative enough to make different ones of us to “take” the abuses. I believe that multiplicity is a normal, functional way of survival. I do not believe that it should even be in the DSM. I do have a severe problem in “losing time”, but I still believe that I would not be alive if it weren’t for our ability to split, and to “spread out” the trauma. There is no other DX I know of that has served to save lives except for D.I.D.

I am grateful for the support and ideas that I get from reading Emerging From Broken. I value yours and Darlene’s opinions, and also the other guest writers.

Thank you all for being there.



Susa…thank you for your note…I’m hoping you can get with someone who you feel safe with:)


> Susan:

Thanks, Susan. Don’t feel safe right now, but maybe that will change. Will most likely go solo, solo, solo, etc… Bad time of year for us anyway without other “stuff”.



PS_ I forgot to add that the therapist who was a Christian counseling center with a stellar reputation!
@Susan yes I agree these blogs are very helpful and validating! !@artcathartic, you might get a referral for a good therapist at a support group. And for me the support group itself was the most helpful! I do have a therapist and I am going tomorrow but it took years and years to find him after so many tragedies trying to find one!


@Pinky – I had also experienced inappropriate counseling at a church; religious abuse like this is one of the most damaging.

Social media has made a huge difference in many lives, I agree!

I also attended support groups in my community and they do sometimes have referrals to share although I discovered its a good idea to be aware of the power imbalances instead of trying to “work it out” like I did many times in order to protect from getting enmeshed in yet another dysfunctional relationship. I escaped a few situations that could have taken months to otherwise figure this out. An example was the therapist that would not allow me to ask my questions at the initial interview and instead was processing me and scheduling the next appointment based on her “accepting” me as a client. It was clear that she viewed herself as above me and that my questions or comfort were unimportant to her.


> Pinky:

Thanks for that suggestion. We’re in such an isolated part of NM, that therapists are few and far between… not to mention trying to find one who treats D.I.D…. so you just kinda have to take what you can get. I did have a therapist who was supposed to be both a faith based and secular therapist, but she found it difficult to keep from pulling out the Bible and quoting scripture which was a HUGE trigger to us. I’ll give this T another go, but if my intuition is correct, it’s not looking promising. With my severe social anxiety, a group is out of the question for us… can’t even go to a movie with people sitting that close… A trip to Walmart with husband is an exercise in complete terror…



@artcahtartic, sorry there are no easy answers. I realize I am fortunate to live in NYC where not only it is the safest largest city in the US it also has everything. If I didn’t live here I cant imagine where I would be with the best health care, best doctors, best of everythign really except weather that ward goes to Hawaii. It is far too hot here in the summer Hawaii never gets that hot and it snows here and we just had the snowiest winter n NYC history but I digress. However for those afraid of crows this would be hell. So there are no easy answers.


I meant crowds not crows LOL!


> Pinky:

I wondered about that! We have an overabundance of “crows” here! :o) We’re okay with them… just not the crowds.



HAHA.. I’m laughing about the “crows!”

Susa, I prefer to shop at Walmart at 2 or 3 in the morning, no crowds then! No crows, either~

@Susan, I love what you said in codiamment #125: “it was when I was able to shift my focus from being wronged to understanding the core issues that led me back to these kinds of relationships that I began to find the healing that empowered me to live beyond broken once and for all.”


I, too, went through a short period in my life when I was multiple, or DID. I was never diagnosed with this, to my knowledge, anyway, becaue I did NOT feel safe disclosing it to the therapist I was seeing at that time. Over time, as I healed, my DID happened less and less and then one day I embraced ALL of me. I had not done that before, there were parts of me that other parts did not like… now that I am all of those parts at once I feel very complete and well-rounded, I am ONE, and I am multi-faceted, and all of my parts work together in unison.

I agree with Susa that DID/MPD is a highly creative survival tool.

I’m sorry this is a hard time of year for you, Susa. And I really, REALLY don’t like that therapist you describe!! I, too, live in an isolated area of New Mexico without any good therapists available, so I am making do right now with EFB… that’s making a HUGE difference in me.

HUGS to Susa and Susan and everyone here,


I mean, comment #125…. not “codiamment” ~ my little Asus Netbook’s keyboard seems to have a warped mind of its own.


LOL! Actually I am used to crowds but getting afraid of them but for different reasons. There is a huge bed bug problem in NYC.They say of course theaters have them churches and all the gathering places. But now they are in dry cleaners and laundry mats now. So now I am kind of afraid of crowds because they say once you get bed bugs there is no getting rid of them. But I know what you all mean. @Lynda thanks for explaining about the meds because since I have no personal experience with them I am always trying to get info for my niece. I know she doesn’t need it especially based on what you are saying.


@ Pinky…. BEDBUGS! EWWWWW! I must warn my daughter, she often goes to NYC.

Pinky, I just wanted to clarify what I believe about meds. I think that many doctors prescribe too much, too fast. I am not a doctor, so that is only my personal opinion, based on what I have experienced, and observed, in my almost-58 years of living. HOWEVER, I have had some very good, life-enhancing experiences with the right meds, too, and I have seen the right meds literally save marriages, careers, and even save lives.

Darlene was just commenting about this on her newest blog post, and I posted a comment there under her comment, which I will copy and paste here:

“I’ve personally had some horrible side-effects from Rx meds that did me far more harm than good (if ANY good). But, I have also had wonderful experiences with prescription meds that relieved me of debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, and saved me from a life-threatening depression.

THEN, after my moods were stabilized and I was able to clearly think and function, thanks to the help of those good meds, I was able to do the healing work I needed to do in order to begin resolving the issues and traumas that had caused my deep depression, anxieties, and panic attacks, in the first place.

I have recently been switched from one prescription antidepressant to another, because the old one, which had worked great for me for several years, suddenly stopped working, which does happen sometimes. Then I had trouble with the new med, so, I’m now trying something else.

I hope that someday I may heal enough that I won’t need any prescription medication. But, if that never happens, that’s OK, too.

There should be NO SHAME in needing the help of Rx medications for depression, anxiety, etc ~ just as there is NO SHAME in needing a prescribed antibiotic if we get a deep cut and an infection gets in the wound. It doesn’t mean that we are WEAK, or in any way “LESS THAN” someone else who may have been injured, and didn’t get an infection, or only got a minor one, and didn’t need an antibiotic to help them heal.

Just like with prescription psychotropic meds, prescription antibiotics can, and do, SAVE LIVES…. but, they can also cause some uncomfortable side effects, and in a few people, the side effects can be really horrible and can even lead to death, in very rare cases. I have had my life saved, as a child, by a prescription antibiotic, when I was deathly ill with strep throat and pneumonia. But I am now extremely allergic to Penicillin, it could actually kill me, so now, if I have an infection, I am given a different type of antibiotic. I don’t refuse ALL antibiotics, and I don’t go around preaching that NOBODY should EVER take an antibiotic, just because I am allergic to penicillin, and because I had a precious friend die, a few months ago, from a horrible reaction to penicillin. It was a horrible, heartbreaking thing… and yet, penicillin has saved far more lives, than it has cost.

We are not medical doctors nor pharmacists, and it is very dangerous for us to make blanket statements against prescribed medications. Each individual needs to decide for him or herself, along with the guidance of a trusted medical doctor, which prescription meds, if any, are best for them.”

Pinky, as I’m sure you know, for many years doctors have over-prescirbed antibiotics, when they weren’t really needed, when the problem was a virus, for example, which antibiotics cannot cure. As a result of years of over-prescribing, there are now super bacterias that are immune to antibiotics. Similarly, I believe, from personal experience and observation, that antidepressants and other psychotropic meds have been way over-prescribed. HOWEVER, I have also received invaluable help for my own depressions/anxities with the right Rx, and I have seen the same thing in others, especially, in my husband. His doctors still sometimes over-prescribe, but at least they are good about backing off on his prescriptions when his reaction to his med cocktail is not good.

Pinky, I know you love your niece very much and only want the BEST for her. Sometimes it’s really hard to know which is the better way to go.



Lynda Lynda!! Good grief, I need to go to bed. ;^D


@Lynda…I knew what you were saying…although the chuckle did come to me when your mispell made me think of condiment like ketchup on burger!

On presectiption drugs; I agree that there are times when these can be used as a tool. Although in many cases as in my own experience, I was victim to poly pharmacy and at different times I was consuming 10-15 different drugs each day. The doctors and therapists that endorsed this told me I would need them “for life”. These drugs incapacitated me and literally crippled my mind, emotions, and body and today I still live with residual effects of being chemically physically altered like this for over 15 years. My complaints of horrible side effects were dismissed and in time these side effects became evidence of this “brain disorder” that I was told would need medication “for life”.

Yes, Lynda; I think that short term use of the drugs can be helpful and no one should have to defend their choice to use these drugs or not. I think for many the confusion sets in because perhaps they have not experienced this kind of control and oppression via the chemical lobotomy by use of poly pharmacy over an extended period of time like I’m describing from my experiences.

A final note on this issue – it is NEVER safe to abruptly end the use of these drugs and at no time am I endorsing this as it can be life threatening.

At the same time, talking about this issue takes it out of the unknown and hopefully will begin to create some awareness of this kind of abuse of power via chemical control of another’s mind.


@Lynda thanks. Tonight we will be with her. The person who wanted to prescribe the meds hardly knows her no diagnosis only because she is or was cutting. It sounds like a quick fix and she is very clear thinking. She doesnt have the coping skills to deal with all that life is throwing her way right now. Her mom kicked her out of the house, her dad rejected her told her to go to hell after years of hi being her best friend there worst was seeing her grandpa the way he died and the betrayal by her father to her grandpa and then her best girlfriend betrayed her. Common sense is telling me she just needs a foundation not with meds but with her belief system and to take some pilates or an exercise program for an outlet. I will be out most of the day and night tonight and find out more. Thanks for caring.


Hi Susan,
Very well said. There is a world of difference between being drugged out of your mind ~ a chemical lobotomy is exactly what it feels like ~ and taking a prescription that really does help you to have a normal, healthy, happy, and productive life.

Right now, I am trying an herbal blend that seems to be helping with my residual anxiety and depression. I did a lot of online research, reading actual customer reviews, before deciding to try this, after SAFELY tapering off my last Rx antidepressant, that wasn’t working for me. I’m not sure yet if the herbal blend is going to work out for me, it’s still too early to tell. If it does, great! But if it doesn’t, I will go back to the medical dr. whom I trust, and get an Rx for a new antidepressant.

I wish I didn’t have to take anything at all, like I said. But in my particular case, after all the traumas I have survived, some of which were very extreme, plus the fact that I am now going through a late-life menopause, I really do need something to get me out of bed, and out of the house! I also suspect ~ though I don’t know for sure! ~ that the super-heavy, chemically-lobotomizing drug cocktails that I was forced to take way back in the 1960s when I was in my early teens and my brain and body were still developing and growing, MAY have done some permanent damage to me, requiring me to need an antidepressant/anti-anxiety med, these many years later. I was NEVER depressed, and NEVER had a problem with panics or anxieties, PRIOR to be forced to take those powerful psychotropic drugs when I was 14 years old and put in a mental institution…. I was even used as a human guinea pig, without my knowledge or consent, when I was in that institution… I was placed on an experimental drug that was absolutely HORRIBLE, in the side-effects it gave me. When the drug failed to win FDA approval, because of its horrible side-effects, and I was taken off the drug, I STILL had flashbacks of those terrible side-effects for YEARS afterward. I would never have known what was “wrong” with me, if one of the nurses hadn’t taken pity on me and told me the “secret,” that I was on an experimental drug that had caused horrible side-effects for everyone who was put on it.

So, yes, I believe it is highly possible that, in my case, I was permamently damaged by these drugs when my brain was still developing, and, for that reason, I may very well have to continue to take some kind of antidepressant/anti-anxiety med, for the rest of my life…..

WHICH ticks me off. I mean, the Vietnam Veterans can get huge monthly disability checks for life because of the horrible damage that our government did to their minds and bodies from the toxic effects of the Agent Orange, a powerful poison they sprayed over the jumgles of Vietnam to kill off the plants that the “enemy” was hiding in, and they can also get huge monthly disability checks for life, for getting PTSD from being in combat… but who do I sue for giving me PTSD from my childhood traumas and my abusive marriages? Who do I sue for the PTSD I have from my psychiatrist drugging and raping me in the mental institution? AND, who do I sue for screwing up my mind with that failed experimental drug?

I love our combat veterans and I am so grateful to them for their service, for fighting for the cause of freedom…. I am proud of my Vietnam Veteran husband, who did what he thought was right to help make the world a safer place… I am glad that he and other wounded war veterans can get compensation, that they deserve… but sometimes, I also feel angry deep down inside, because there is NO COMPENSATION for someone like ME.

On March 31, when I went with my husband and our Vietnam Veteran neighbor friend and his wife to a long-overdue “Welcome Home Vietnam Veteran” celebration at a Veteran’s Club in Amarillo, Texas… I was happy that they finally got their Welcome Home, because, it is true, that back in the 1960s and 1970s, when our young men and women returned home from the hell of war, they were spit on, they were cursed at, they were treated like CRIMINALS! I remember those days very well, and I know it is true, and it was SO WRONG…. Even if we don’t support or agree with a particular war… we need to support our young men and women who are told they must fight it! I think our country, here in the USA, goes to war far too quickly, and often for the wrong, political, economic reasons. I believe our country needs to stop trying to be the policemen of the world, stay out of other coutries’ business, and ONLY go to war as an absolute LAST RESORT, for example when we are forced to, in an act of self-defense, if we are attacked.

But, regardless of whether or not I agree with my government’s declaration of war on some other country half-way around the world, I do believe that our troops deserve our respect and gratitude, when they are sent to fight and risk their lives, and I am so glad that FINALLY the Vietnam Veterans are getting the TAHNKS and the RESPECT that they deserve….

BUT… SUSAN! While I was sitting there on March 31 with my husband and his Veteran friends, hereing all the speeches, crying as the songs were being sung and the Welcome Home awards were being given out, while the local news was there with their cameras, and politicians were there too, it was a Big Deal… I kept thinking, deep in the back of my mind, WHEN WILL I EVER GET MY WELCOME HOME DAY?

In December, 1969, when, at the age of 16, I beat the odds and was released from State Asylum #3 in the town of Nevada, Missouri… I beat the odds that my own psychiatrist had told me when I first go there, that only 97% of the people committed to that mental institution were EVER permanently released, and if you stayed past one year, the odds of you ever being released went down to less than 1% ~ I beat those odds, thanks to the free-thinking new pschiatrist who took over my ward after the previous one was fired, and committed suicide, because he was caught raping me, and he almost killed me…..

WHEN I GOT HOME, at the age of 16, from my 2 year stay in HELL…. here is the “Welcome Home” that I got: my mother said to me, “I can barely afford to buy groceries for the 5 young children that I have here at home already, I can’t afford to feed a big grown girl like you, too. I’m afraid, too, that after being in that institution, you are going to be a bad influence on your little brothers and sisters, and if I have to sacrifice one child, to save 5 other children, that seems to me to be the right thing to do. Your dad doesn’t pay me enough child support to feed all of the younger children, and you too, and it would not be fair for your stepfather to have to feed you! Anyway, you are now 16 years old… I got married when I was 16, so you are old enough to be out on your own. No house is big enough for two women. I promise you that I won’t report you as a runaway to the police…” she said this with a big smile on her face, like she was offering me a wonderful prize! RUN AWAY FROM HOME, DEAR, AND I WON’T REPORT YOU TO THE POLICE AS A RUNAWAY!!!

This was the middle of December. In a tiny town in Missouri. With snow on the ground. I went and packed, by putting the few clothes I had in a pillowcase, I didn’t even have a purse or a backpack or a suitcase. I put on my coat and stood with my pillocase at the front door, and looked at my mother, who just looked at me, and didn’t say a word more to me. She didn’t give me any money, not a penny. WHERE IN THE *H* WAS I SUPPOSED TO GO??? I walked out of the house into the cold December day and walked out of town through the ankle-deep snow…




PS~ CORRECTION: In my previous post, I meant to say that 97% of the people committed to the state insane asylum, where I was committed at the age of 14, were NEVER permanently released ~ that was the statistic back in the 1960s when I was there. And, if you were there longer than one year, as I was, the odds went down to less than 1% that you would ever be released. I beat those odds, I was permanently released at the age of 16, in December, 1969.

BTW, that institution which was the LARGEST BUILDING in the entire state of Missouri when it was built in the late 1800s, was closed in 1991, and torn down several years later.


Thanks Susan
I love the way that you handle this whole discussion. Because there is a crossover (as lynda mentioned) in discussions between this blog post and one of mine right now, I am going to copy the things that I wrote on my blog post comments here too.

First of all I should say that I have had an accident fooling around with my son and a broken metal broomstick (long story and I should have known better) and I have cut two of my finger tips pretty bad… so I may not be doing much commenting this next couple of days but I wanted to mention something extremely important;

(Susan, I am not addressing the way that you present the material that you present about the misuse of pharm by the professionals because I have never seen it as your advising people about what they are doing, but rather what the MH professionals are doing. Having said that here is what I wrote about comments giving advice about using drugs:

I would prefer that we stay away from offering opinions about the use of medication. This is really dangerous. We are not doctors and having worked in a hospital as well as in mental health, I can tell you that some people will have severe difficulties without their medication, and many times if they feel judged for taking meds, they will just “go off them” with disastrous results. I would really rather stay away from that controversial topic. If I could type more, I would but I can’t!
then I wanted to expand a bit more:
There are hundreds of readers a day on this blog. Over 10,000 per month. (unique visitors, not repeats) Only a very small percentage of them comment in the discussions. From some of the communication that I get, I can assure you that not all reading the blog are capable of making their own decisions about anything and most have learned through years of NOT being allowed to think for themselves, that they look to whoever they see as an authority for advice and information and that is why it is so dangerous to post certain statements or even opinions. I am only thinking about the readers. I value everyone’s experience AND opinion, and I don’t want anyone to stop sharing them, but it is just that in this case, I have to think about how certain opinions can be dangerous to the reader. I just wanted to clarify this a bit further.

Thanks eveyrone!! Darlene


@Lynda; I’m so sorry that you had that experience as a child. No one deserves what you experienced at the hands of anyone. The way you were treated by your mother and then in that place is atrocious. The points you bring up are so valid. I”m glad your hubby got his welcome home and that you and he have created the home you have today. It took such courage for you to go out on your own the way you did as a young person and I see you as a miracle and example of what the human spirit is so capable of. Thank you always for sharing your journey and being such a wonderful contributor to this discussion and the EFB community.

@Darlene; thank you for bringing that point to this discussion and I back that up completely. This is not a discussion of the merits or use of these drugs but an exposing of this kind of abuse and dysfunction that can permeate any relationship based on an imbalance of power and control.

It was in digging down and doing the healing work that Darlene shares here on EFB every day that enabled me to heal from all the abuses of my past, including the dysfunctional relationships in my past mental health care, and begin to create the life of freedom that I live in today.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion and thank you for continuing to share your stories.


our new t said that shes flyin out on wed and weill be gone for 15 days. we wanted to ask her if she was flyin on her broom.


Dear Susan,
Thank you SO MUCH for your compassion and caring. I can’t tell you how much your kind words mean to me.

I think that I said way too much in my comment #144…. too much, for MY emotional health, I mean. I thought it was a good and healthy thing for me to finally “get it all out,” those bad feelings that I have been having since the March 31 Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day ~ But, after I wrote everything that I have been feeling about that, about the “UnWelcome Home” that I experienced, back in those days…. instead of feeling better for having expressed myself, I have been feeling much worse. RAW. Vulnerable. NAKED.

I have also been chastizing myself all day, because: “I’m Not The ONLY ONE.” I’m not the only one to have been badly traumatized and abused. I’m not the only one to have been unwanted, and thrown away by my own mother. I’m not the only one to have been locked up in a mental institution as a child. I’m not the only one who was unknowingly experimented on with a horrible mind-blowing drug that was never approved by the FDA because it was proven to be so dangerous… proven, by guinea pigs like me. I’m not the only one to be raped, and to be almost killed in the process. What makes ME so special that I was thinking I ought to be somehow compensated for all my trauma, in the same way that wounded and disabled combat veterans, like my husband, are commpensated? It’s like comparing apples and oranges, really… war veterans are compensated for being injured in some way while serving our country in the military. But I wasn’t serving my country, I was just being a child, or trying to be a child, when I was wounded…. and, sadly, I am Not The Only One.

Not only am I “Not the Only One” to be traumatized as a child, and then put in a mental institution, where I was traumatized even further…. I was one of the very few “lucky” ones, who got OUT of the mental institution………..

WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE HUNDREDS OF OTHER PATIENTS? I believe there were at least 2,000 other patients when I was there… where did they all GO, when the state hospital shut down? How many of them ended up homeless on the streets, or even dead? I have no doubt that when the insane asylums across our country were being shut down, I am NOT THE ONLY ONE who did not receive a WELCOME HOME.

So…. spilling my guts here on EFB is NOT ALWAYS a healing thing.

I think I may need to back off from EFB for a while. I need to concentrate on writing that long overdue letter of confrontation and TRUTH to my 76-year-old mother, before it is forever too late. I also need to get busy on my own blog, and writing my own book. I need to get busy doing a lot more healing work on ME.

Love to you, Susan, and to ALL surivors here… I am so, deeply sorry for ALL of the hurts and abuse and trauma that anyone reading this, has gone through.

LIFE SHOULDN’T HURT. Being born shouldn’t hurt. Being a child shouldn’t hurt. Being a woman, or a man, shouldn’t hurt. But it so often does..

Lynda ~ Coming Out of the cRaZy Closet


Lynda; I’m so sorry you are feeling so open and raw and you describe; rest assured that from my view your comments are valid and your feelings very justified at what you’ve survived in your experiences in mental health abuse. What I’ve discovered along the way and from a wise person who had traveled the road of trauma recovery before me was that need to talk about “old stuff” was often a triggered event and it is in the talking, writing and crying over the losses of those experiences that I would find emotional healing from those situations if only I would embrace them as healing opportunities. I see your “Unwelcome home” as a horrible experience for a young girl as you were. To have been through 2 years of false imprisonment then discharged and hopefully head home only to be rejected again. I cry inside myself for that girl and am so very glad you shared that story here. And while you may not be the only one with these experiences it was YOUR experience and that alone makes it valid.

In the past I too thought, well I’m not the only one and that others had it so much worse but that was those lies from the original abuse again telling me I didn’t deserve to hurt or be comforted because my pain was less than someone else’s. And no one could comfort me or make it make sense. I had to make it make sense for myself by realizing this was simply another version of the lies that told me I was less than and unworthy of what I saw anyone else as worthy of; feeling their my own grief and anger at the things I’d experienced and survived.

Survivors guilt is something that is hard to deal with and I can only imagine the wondering that you experience when you think of those you knew there. For me, this is part of the sadness as I look at others still bound in the situations I once escaped. And if I dwell there, I can surly cause more distress. So I embrace the feelings, the anger and the grief, I express myself in different ways. And when I think of those who suffered or still suffer, I say a prayer for them, I honor them in my thoughts and in my life and do my best to live my best life and make meaning from my own experiences. I try to make meaning of journey by telling my story of overcoming and I have hope that others find a bit hope in knowing these issues can be overcome. We all make meaning of our past I think; and this is how I use the bad to try to make some good.

I am so glad you shared your story and your pain Lynda; the experiences, thoughts you share are so valid and your feelings so very justified. I think its normal in the journey we are on to curl up and take a rest. Thank you for sharing your healing journey here Lynda.



> lynda i really want to talk more about your post but have been kinda in/out today. i will try tomorow. hugs to you.


Thank you so much Susan, and artC, too.

I am feeling tons better now. After I posted my last comment, I read it aloud to my husband. (I had already read to him my other comment here, and Susan’s caring reply.) It is AMAZING how much better I felt, just by reading these comments ALOUD. First, to write it, second, to share it here on EFB, and finally, to hear myself reading my words, aloud…. through my tears… to my caring loving understanding husband.

After that, I took a very long soak in the tub, with a good novel. (It’s a used paperback, so there’s no problem if it gets a bit damp.) Then, I gave myself a facial, and styled my hair. Now I feel so much better!

It’s the little things, sometimes, that make all the difference.

PS~ Before I met my best-friend-husband, when I was living all alone with No One to talk to, I used to talk into a tape recorder when I was feeling very emotional about something. Saying the words, hearing them come out of my mouth, was somehow cathartic. Then, a day or two later, or whenever I felt ready, I would listen to my recordings, and validate MYSELF. This was, as I said, before I had a loving husband, who also has PTSD, to listen to me and validate me, and also long before I found this wonderful online community.


Lynda; I’m so glad you are feeling better…a little self care goes a long way on this journey:) I really like what you share about reading/speaking out loud as a way to validate ourselves. Its so wonderful that you have your bfh to share this journey with….and I agree – sometimes its the littlest things that make the biggest difference!

Thank you for sharing the ways you’ve found to validate yourself in this journey – this is part of what makes this community so great as we share and learn from one another along the way….:) I’m sending virtual hugs your way!


Well, today was monumental – we got rid of the latest mental health abuser, and it only took 5 sessions to recognize that we were being abused! (Although it may not sound like it, this is a vast improvement from previous experiences.) I am still rather shaky on my feet, but know it was the right thing to do even though our protector part had to do it… he is a PART OF ME! We didn’t deserve to be lied to, bullied, and used (yet again), and we stood up for ourselves! We didn’t really “fire” her until we got home, but suffice it to say that there has been massive switching today… then, when we got home, our protector part called her and left two VERY FIRM messages that she had exceeded her quota of lies today, and to cancel ALL of our future appointments! He said way more than that, but am paraphrasing.

She started the session by letting us in her office late because she had to make some calls to other clients during OUR session time, then after about 40 minutes of her meaningless “fill” babble, she said, “your session is over!” (Session is supposed to be 50 minutes, and we had only been in there for about 35-40 minutes) I said – “We got started late”. She said begrudgingly and in a very belligerent way, “Okay, I’ll GIVE you an extra two minutes.” She also said that she went up from $75. to $100. on her session fees because of her “advanced degrees”! (Increasing a therapy fee after five sessions at the agreed upon fee is not acceptable by state code of ethics.)

It was hot as hell in her office as she is too cheap to turn on her window air conditioner even when it’s 90 degrees…. Also, she gave us a therapy plan form (not filled out – just blank), which she xeroxed on the back side of an already used piece of printer paper!

We also confronted her about speaking to a former therapist of ours without our consent, and she denied it even though we have proof! This is against the state code of ethics rules. She was very rude and abusive to us throughout all of the five sessions, and we just “took it”, hoping above all hope that we could magically turn this monster abuser into a helper… Although I am still reeling from this, I am relieved that we will no longer be beaten up by this “mental health” abuser. Oh yeah, on the way out of her door, she added that she “gave” us an extra 7 minutes. NOT!!!! (We had started therapy at 9:05, and ended at 9:50!)

Boundaries are SO damned difficult to learn… Even though I feel like I’m out in the middle of the ocean in a rowboat with no oars, at least the “shark” isn’t circling anymore. I am proud of us… for once…



Yay Susa!
This is wonderful ~ good for YOU! I am so proud of you too! All of the things you mentioned ARE unethical! Thank you for sharing this great news with us here!
Hugs, Darlene


Thank you, Darlene. Your confirmation and comment mean SO much to me especially at this precarious time. Even my younger parts felt uncomfortable and in danger there, and none had the slightest inclination for a hug from this abuser – would have been like hugging a rattlesnake…

We’re on our own now, but we still have a real feeling of relief in spite of that!

Thanks again,


Susa…this is great news! Its wonderful to hear you taking these steps to take care of yourself! Learning to trust my “feelings” was a major victory for me and I”m so glad you are experiencing this feel good moment of victory!



Thank you, Susan! I think that I’m learning to recognize abuse more quickly now. I’m feeling good right now… don’t know what tomorrow will bring when all settles throughout my system, but I will deal with it as it happens. No therapist is certainly better than a bad one. We understand that, now.

Thanks again,


Art C… NO THERAPIST is better than a BAD THERAPIST. Yes, I agree 100% with you there.

You did an A*W*E*S*O*M*E thing today!!! Personally, I believe that very few people ever find the courage to stand up to a bad therapist the way you did. Which is a SAD reality, but I believe that is changing, thanks in large part to Darlene’s blog community here on Emerging From Broken.

YES your therapist, as you described her, was very unethical. I’m so happy for you and PROUD of you, too.

It took me TEN YEARS to finally stand up to my last really bad therapist. It was only a couple of months ago that I sent a long overdue email to that old horrible therapist that hurt me so badly in 2001… I told him just how badly he had hurt me, and that I was going to be posting a copy of what I was emailing to him, to any place on the internet that I could find that allowed people to post a review of their experience, good or bad, with that business.

This therapist sent me a very carefully worded apology, a couple of days later. Full of “I’m so sorry” “Please forgive me” and “here’s my excuse/reason for behaving with you the way that I did.”

I was almost willing to accept his “apology” ~ until I got to the part where he asked me to please post his reply, to any place on the internet where I was posting a bad review.

It was all about protecting HIM and his clinic, NOT about making amends for his very inhumane treatment of ME.

By the way, I give Emerging From Broken credit for me finally being able to stand up to that mental health “professional” who literally almost drove me to suicide 10 years ago. (He basically told me, in so many words, after my initial intake interview, that I was far too sick to waste their time and resources on. He was extremely condescending, and he left me feeling abosolutely hopeless and worthless. I had gone to him for HELP… and he HURT me, right in most vulnerable place.)

Dear Friend… if you are as much like me as you seem to me to be, the young, vulnerable, child-like parts of you are going to feel bad and fearful, because standing up to a therapist, to my inner child, felt a lot like standing up to my abusive mom and dad…. THEY were the adults, I was helpless and utterly dependent on them and would literally DIE without them…. THEY were big and strong, I was weak and needy…. THEY knew ‘everything,” I knew “nothing,” so therefore, if I disagreed with them I must be “wrong.”

I know that my horribly broken inner child tends to look at “professionals” the same way that I, as an actual child, looked at my parents. They were big, I was small. They knew everything, I knew next to nothing. They had all the power, I had none. I could not survive without them….

The great news is that we are not helpless children anymore! We see through the Emporer’s lack of clothing. Any so-called “Professional Therapist,” who is as unethical as that woman you righteously fired today, is no different than a naked Emporer, deluded into believing he or she is clothed in the finest royal garments. Your ex-therapist, like mine, must have gotten her diploma while sleeping thru class, cheating on tests, and paying somebody to write her papers for her, because she doesn’t have a CLUE about what it means to administer real healing THERAPY.

I would give you a standing ovation, if I were with you right now! HIP HIP HURRAH FOR SUSA/ALL!!!!


PS~ I am so proud of you, Susa/all ~

~ and I am so proud of me, too!



Susa > Lynda:

Thank you SO much for your sweet words of encouragement, and also for sharing your history. I am proud of you too!

Things are beginning to seep down throughout my system, and the head is screaming today. I had a nightmare last night, but it was extremely cathartic, and showed some real progress. Maybe I’ll share it later.

Thank you again for your kind, nurturing words. We are both strong survivors!



Oh yeah, this therapist admitted to me that she “overbills” insurance companies so that she can get more money, and closer to her full fee. Is this acceptable practice?


She overbills to get more money… OH she just keeps sounding better and better.

Susa, the “therapist” you describe sounds like she’s in the business for two things: 1. Power-Tripping, and 2. M$N$Y.


HUGS to my Sister Survivor-Thriver,



You are absolutely right! She continually touted her social work degree, and also said that it was because of her vast education and experience that suddenly she was increasing her fee from $75. to $100. (That was immediately after I brought it to her attention that if my insurance paid her $65. of her $75. fee, then my co-pay of $30 would give her $95., and that I should only owe a $10. co-pay.)

Then later, I compared her fees to other social worker therapists in NM I found on psychology today’s find-a-therapist. They were from the more affluent parts of NM – Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and most were way below her fee-wise! Geez… does she think I’m stupid?

I am going to send her a release of information form to send me all of my records from the five sessions we had. Am I honestly thinking that there will be even one page in the envelope that she sends back? (She is quite lazy…)

I’m also thinking about “grading” her like you did online! Maybe it would keep another person from going through what I did.

I would love to share the joke of a “therapy plan” that she wrote (during my therapy time). I think you would really find it humorous.

Today, fighting everyone inside from trying to make us the “bad guy”… UGH.

((hugs to you my friend))


Lynda and Susa/all…..this discussion so rocks my world! Its so great to see true support, empathy and encouragement going on in this discussion!

Susa….this person is committing insurance fraud if I’m understanding this correctly.

Lynda you’d said: “He basically told me, in so many words, after my initial intake interview, that I was far too sick to waste their time and resources on. He was extremely condescending, and he left me feeling abosolutely hopeless and worthless.”

I’ve experienced that many times where the providers told me this sort of thing. It is the most damaging and harmful thing; to first tell me that I’m broken because I’m defective then tell me there is no hope for me because I’ve been so traumatized there is no hope for me.

I believe this kind of mind game stems from the fact that those who use this – are simply saying they don’t have a clue how to help me. But instead of being honest with me they would ridicule my ‘process” and then try to shape me into being the kind of “patient” that they COULD work with.

@Susa….I so recognize that feeling you describe where everyone (inner parts) wants to make you the bad guy….and boy I can honestly say that this was a major issue for me too. It was when I started being able to remind myself that I was powerless and am no longer powerless that the childlike me started being more at peace. I’m excited to hear of your wonderful progress – thank you for sharing!

Many hugs to you Lynda and Susa!


I am scared to death now about the former therapist. We have since found out that she has been so vindictive that she has gone after other people/clients, and things have ended VERY badly for them. That’s all I can say right now, but I have taken down all of my YouTubes which this therapist could have used against me, and am writing a revocation of the release of information that she forced us to sign to our medical doctor. I don’t know what else to do. I am so afraid… This person fits the description of a sociopath, and we are now learning that she will stop at nothing for revenge. Before we learned this about her, we sent her a request for our records, not intending to go any further with them… just for our records. It is our right to have them. She will no doubt perceive this as a threat… We sent this request after we knew about other victims. Sorry to vent, but I am really scared of this person. I don’t know what else to do to protect myself.


Every theapist has a board that they have to answer to. You can talk to her board, you can report her. You are not the one who is wrong. SHE is and she has obviously been doing this to others. Maybe they would be willing to report her to her board with you. She is causing a lot of damage which is very against the mandate ~ which is to foster healing, not HARM. You do have a right to have your records! She however has no right to cause trouble for you for asking for them, OR for leaving her as a therapist.
Please feel free to share or vent as much as you want.
Hugs, Darlene


Susa…I am so sorry to hear that this situation is causing you such distress…I can say from experience that therapists and doctors who I’ve questioned or challenged have often turned on me and my initial reaction was to engage in that primal fight/flight/freeze response to protect myself. It is such a scary place to be and one that allowed me to engage in some learning experiences where I could calm myself down and start looking at what is within my power and what is not within my power. This was sometimes scary yet it became an empowering exercise as I connected the dots and recognized that I was powerless but am no more and that I can gather the information to take the steps to protect myself via whatever avenues were available to me.

Perhaps Darlene or other readers might have some suggestions if they see this note; I’m sorry you are dealing with this and hope you are able to resolve this for yourself soon.


We were writing at the same time.. LOL
Yes, you make good points here! I agree with what you have commented ~ you posted the “prior step” to what my comment to Susa was about.


I saw that after I posted my comment yours showed up! I really like the suggestions you made too Darlene; even though I’d always signed the forms about informed consent, filing a complaint…when it came down to it I didn’t know where to turn because of course – the therapist/doctor had all that in the file that I didn’t have access to.


Susan and Darlene, thank you SO much for your comments. I’m doing all that I can to try and protect myself. I was sad to take down most of my videos, but thought that perhaps she might try to use some of them against me. I agree that it is my right to have my records… however, with a narcissistic and sociopathic personality that this therapist seems to have, she will most likely perceive that as a threat. I believe that reporting her would be way too traumatic for me right now, and learning about what happened to the last person who reported her, is terrifying. I found most of these things out about her after I had started going to her, and some even after I had mailed the request for records to her. She also sent me a letter… most of which was to defend herself and her bad behavior, but it was threatening and traumatic for us to even receive the letter… especially for my younger parts. I have been talking to husband about this, and he did validate the fact that my fear was a real and rational fear after he learned what I did about this therapist. I was afraid that I was just being paranoid and overreacting, but he agreed that this therapist is truly a threat to us. Thank you again for your support – it means everything to us especially right now.


I’m glad you let us know this was going on Susa….and I’m with Darlene…use this venue as much as you need to:)


Okay, April was one hell of a difficult month for us – especially this year with the evil new therapist thrown in the mix. All of that psychological trauma and mental health abuse added to the fact that our only child would have been 31 years old that month… plus – it was the month of the pedophile brother’s birthday… plus- Easter is a big mixed bag of traumatic stuff for us… Soooo,





I sooooo understand what you are talking about and I am so happy for you that you are feeling like you came though a tough month and can now celebrate the new month! Thank you for sharing that!


> Susan: Thank you for reading, and for your support!



You’re welcome Susa!


YAY it’s MAY and its a BRAND NEW DAY!

((HUGS)) > Susa/all


Psychiatry is an art because it is highly subjective both on the part of the doctor and the patient. This story could be my story. The good thing that came out of it for me was that it led me to look deeply into why people abused me. I learned to rely on myself and to stand up for myself.

There are people who’s brains don’t function correctly but they are a small percentage of the population. I think the drugs actually allow support for more psychiatrists than are probably needed. What better way to insure their income than to offer treatment that actually produces mental illness.

There are millions out there just like us.


Pam – thank you for taking the time to comment and share your experience although this blog and this post in particular is not a forum regarding the issues surrounding psychiatry or the many human rights and scientific issues and opinions around it.

This post addresses the issues that mental health abuse is re traumatizing, it isn’t our fault and its ok to speak up about this abuse without fear of judgement or recrimination. Taking this abuse out of the closet is the only way to begin to bring this acceptable form of oppression and control to an end; awareness is the only way to break the acceptance of this kind of abuse as a normal part of seeking therapy.

Its good to know that you discovered your personal power – perhaps you could share how you accomplished that as many who were victimized in the original trauma are easy prey for unethical mental health providers.



I was being sarcastic. I’m still a little angry about it. Sorry if it was inappropriate.

It wasn’t just my psychiatrist. It was all of my doctors. I was taking 13 different medications. I kept getting crazier and they kept diagnosing me with new symptoms. I weighed over 200 lbs. and was a fat zomby for 8 years. At the end, I was rapid cycling and I also became psychotic and did some things that I had no memory of. My husband and I thought that I was either going to die or end up in an institution. I asked my psychiatrist if she would hospitalize me, take me off all of the meds, and start over. She refused and told me that I needed to trust and rely upon her and her knowledge. I didn’t hear God talking to me but I did sense Him leading me to trust Him and look to nature. I began to study how drugs and suppliments are used in Europe. They prescribe the suppliment specific to the problem first and then add a drug later if needed. I began taking the suppliments that supported the brain functions for which I was being treated with drugs. I was able to wean myself off of them by doing so. I also found a doctor who helped me get off the anxiety medication that I was physically dependent upon. I was successful and found that I actually don’t need any drugs and that the suppliments work better. Enzymes were like miracle cures for me. I found out later that my liver problems keep my body from converting food into the enzymes that my brain needs. This gave me more confidence and it also caused me to look for the reasons as to why it is so easy for people to abuse me.

I am an intelliegent, talented person but I had little self-confidence. I still struggle with self-confidence but I am getting better. I read a book on boundaries and began to apply it to my life. It really helped me see myself in relation to others. I also learned about narcissism and it helped me to understand why my parents are the way they are. (I’m not a psychiatrist and can’t diagnose them, or I shouldn’t, but when I read about the characteristics and how the interact with their children it fits perfectly.)That is when I began to piece together what had happened to me as a child and how I developed my view of myself around the constant manipulation, the disrespect of my mother by my father, my mother’s constant disapproval and scape-goating,the emotional and physical neglect, and the sexual abuse I suffered as a teenager. It was a painful and tumultous time in my life when everything came to a head at once. Out of it all, I emerged much stronger and very different. I always belonged to others but now I belong to myself. I think I was much like a person who can’t swim being thrown into water over their head and finding that they do have the ability to swim. I had no one else I could depend on but me. I haven’t arrived but I am still progressing and getting stronger every day.


Hi Pam and thanks for replying back here. You have every right to feel angry about the way you were mistreated by those you sought help from. This post is only a small part of the abuse I experienced in both the mental health system and the primary care health system. I completely understand what you say about the numerous drugs you were on – there were times that I was on an average of 15-20 drugs each month.

Your story is so parallell to my own, Pam; the behaviors that were outlandish…the psychiatric issues that I’d never had before I started taking the drugs, the request to “start over” and being told “maybe next year”…year after year.

I feel furious at hearing stories like yours where life experiences leave victims ill prepared for a world that searches out easy victims. I’m so glad you followed that light inside yourself to your answers; I believe we all hold that light and can follow it to our truth.

This is definitely a journey and while the learning will go on for a long time its great to know that you, me and many others are finding our “self” so we can finally own our lives. Thank you so much for sharing your story and how you overcame this type of abuse. Its in the telling and sharing that we can finally begin to get past the anger and live beyond the brokeness caused by those who abused our trust in this way.



The part of this that I really hate is the children who are victimized this way. My youngest was having problems with depression so out comes the genetic factor and I was talked into putting him on meds too. They caused him to become very aggresive and he did some things that changed the course of his life forever. My next-door-neighbors had much the same experience we did with their son only he is in prision now. I’ve talked to kids who have been in the foster care system who say they were given behavioral drugs routinely.

If you read the history of mental health care, it doesn’t take long to discover that many of those who have claimed to treat those considered ‘a danger to themselves and others’ were capable of great cruelty themselves and those with brain disorders and mental illness simply their victims for all kinds of experimentation. We like to think things have changed but they really haven’t changed that much. They’ve traded asylums for chemical asylums and much of the result is desasterous. Until there is a scientific method for measuring chemical imbalances in the brain, medication is a subjective crap-shoot. I know meds work great from some but I’m coming to believe they are the minority. What I found on my own is there are many lenses through which these kinds of problems can be viewed with differing conclusions and methods of treatment. There are many more answers out there than just a pill. I lay the greatest blame on the drug companies who have much too much power.


I’m with you Pam. I’ve seen similar abuses of power and it breaks my heart especially when its the children suffering.

I try to remember that its in healing ourselves that we can perhaps help to heal the world…or at least our little part of it.

I completely understand what you are talking about and empathize with the feelings of frustration I’m hearing in your note.

I’m glad you’re here Pam and thank you for being willing to share this part of your journey.


((HUGS)) Pam and Susan.

You are my Sisters in Suffering, and Sisters in SURVIVING.



Lynda….((((((((((((()))))))))))))) I’m so grateful to know you and know you are here!


Hello family,

I was medicated on and off since the time I was 12.. while they may have softened my perspective and numbed me, none of them dealt with the underlying issues. Finally I went off meds 20 something later and now have dealt with the issues. It took a long time to do this and the process was good. Get off meds work till I had had enough, get on meds, get off meds and work. I never worked on meds.

I am several years off meds and can see clearly..

I understand the fear associated with going off meds.. it is a personal choice although our doctors overprescribe. there is no doubt here.

I would never suggest taking away someones support if it is doctor or meds just want to cast my vote for a drug free way..

Feeling is better than numbing..

Be brave friends xoxo


Thank you Lee for sharing your experience.

And a small disclaimer on this – please do not ever consider abruptly stopping the use of psychotropic drugs. To do so can be very dangerous. Always become informed and follow up with your physician.

We are not therapists or doctors in this forum and none of what is said here should be construed as advice or medical advice.



I fully agree it is detrimental to stop using meds without a pland and with your doctor/therapist…. I have seen people go “off” by dong this, definately not good…


Thanks Lee; I truly appreciate what you have to say in your original post yet at the same time I have to be responsible in what share and especially around the issues of pharmaceuticals. This subject can be very complex and intricate and while I think it excellent to share insights like you are sharing to offer the hope to others I have to also remember that we are all at different stages. Thank you so much for contributing your experience and the wisdom you have found. I personally found the same to be true and trust the readers of this post to be responsible with their decisions and remember that what worked for one – may not be the chosen path of another although the information today may be a seed for tomorrow. 🙂


Thanks for sharing Susan….

I have been fortunate to have had good experiences with mental health practitioners…until a year ago. I am just now coming forward publicly with what happened.

I have received support and continue to do so. But it is still hard.

I think the situation is different from typical “therapy” abuse. The abuse didn’t happen in a therapy setting, but rather in one of the dual relationships that I had with the therapist. (note: there was no romantic involvement.)

I berate myself at times that I can’t ‘get over it.’ It is small in comparison to the tragedies of life and the extreme and horrid abuse and harm humanity experiences.

I am trying to think of what to write next, here in this little block. I am left with an onslaught of thoughts….and not sure what, if, how to state anything.

Maybe I just want to be heard? Maybe I want to more thoroughly expose the therapist and what happened to me? Maybe I want to speak up because of others I know who have been hurt by this therapist? I don’t know..I don’t know…

Maybe I can just post a link to an anonymous version of the complaint I filed? The therapist’s name is not mentioned in the posted copy of the complaint but is stated on the blog where the complaint is posted.


The investigation is still in process. For all I know, it may end up being thrown out. But at least it is still in process of being looked into.

If this link is inappropriate and you decide to not publish this comment or to delete it, I understand.

I’m gonna try to tune it to the radio show in a few minutes.



Hi Carol,
I forwarded this comment to Susan, I am sure she will chime in. I am not going to delete the link or the comment becasue this is very important. LOTS of this goes on and it needs to be exposed just like all the rest of abuse stuff. I am going to visit the link you posted and thank you for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks Darlene.

I communicated with Susan a bit privately previous to me commenting here. That communication with her prompted me to visit your blog and search “therapy abuse” which brought up this post.

I’ve now had time to read through some of the comments posted here. My situation cannot even compare to some of the horrors listed here. (understatement)Oh my. Strong survivors here.

Yet, I know that to minimize what happened and the impact it had on me isn’t helpful. Nor do I want to maximize(?) it out of proportion.

I tuned into ya’ll’s blog radio show on 8/18. Thanks for that. One of the things that one of you shared that really resonated with me was the validation aspect, and that feeling of having to prove to others that you weren’t lying. I’ve been down that road before, and now, with the therapist…well, it’s harder. It just lives me feeling (among other things) physically sick to my stomach.

The internet complicates the situation because the therapist and I are in some of the same cyber circles. After the trauma, I was silenced for a bit by my own distrust of self; after all, he has the “license.” I was left feeling my soul was again murdered, by the very person I was supposed to be able to trust (again). I simply wanted to disappear (again). The therapist remains active on the internet voicing his work, concern, and exposure regarding abusive groups and relationships.

Some people (who mutually know myself and the therapist) no longer communicate with me since I have come forward; and at least one other well-respected activist has taken my blog off of their reference list. (Much of my blog’s focus is on cult-recovery.)

Yet, other people have communicated with me in private about similar experiences as I had with the therapist. They have not spoken up publicly and I doubt ever will and I understand that; a person has only so much energy. However, hose people were never clients. A couple clients have privately shared with me that they have had doubts and little red flags, but to my knowledge they stayed in a client role and didn’t take on the dual relationships that I took on with the therapist.

I tremble inside just writing this little bit here. Yet, I have posted quite a bit on my blog. In March when the therapist went public soliciting money and people for a healing center he founded…well, that’s when I began going public…a little at a time.
[I have categorized those blog entries at the following link. One has to scroll down to the section entitled: “June 26, 2011: Below is an index to blog entries about what happened with […] my previous cult-recovery counselor.”
http://tossandripple.blogspot.com/2009/06/journey-through-memoir-index.html ]

As someone stated to me after I’d left the “cult” I’d been in for 28 years, “The silence has been deafening, no?” The silence. The silence. The silence. It can be very loud; yet, unheard.

Anyhoo, thanks for letting me share a bit here. Again, I hope I’ve not overstepped any bounds.

To life and in hope,


Hi Carol
I have read some of your blogs regarding this whole thing. I totally understand the horror of the whole thing. You are not crossing any lines talking about it here ~ I am passionate about talking about ALL abuse. I believe that all abuse has its roots in the misuse of power and contol, and this is a prime example of that. People are so afraid to stand up to a person that they view as “in power” or powerful, so it doesn’t surprise me that no one else will come forward. I have seen this over and over again, where people are too afraid of the abuser to ever go against him/her to the point where they will walk away from another person who is actually on their side in order to prove to the abuser that they won’t cross him/her. It is crazy! This fear I believe is a left over from childhood, where we were in fact powerless and had to submitt to the person with the most power OR suffer the consequences. That is what it was for me anyway, and I had a lot of work to do to embrace the real truth ~ that I was no longer “that child” and that I don’t have to submitt to certain people in order to be “safe”. The people in my life who had any kind of positional power however, did not like that at all. It threatens them and their self view, but that is not my problem anymore. Oh I could go on and on… LOL but for now, know this; you have my support and you are welcome to share here.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Carol and Darlene….Carol….thank you for your note on this post; I want to be sure to offer a substantial response so wanted to let you and Darlene know that I got your note and will check in shortly rathter than post an unthoughtful response:) SusanKs


Thank you again Darlene and Suzanne,

I don’t know how much I’ll comment here about my processing. Thank you for the open door to have a place to do so. I am using my blog to post some stuff.

The experience gets so muddled in my heart and mind at times.

Lately, I’ve had much anxiety over the situation partly due to an email I recently received. I decided to go forward with that this morning on my blog here: http://tossandripple.blogspot.com/2011/08/out-of-hiding-why-shouldnt-i-hire-john.html

Part of my being able to go forward with that has been prompted by me opening up on her on EFB. Thank you for the outlet.

I have been on both ends of emotional and verbal abuse, as a perpetrator and as a receiver. I pray I never again take the role of perp; it is a fear that lingers with me causing me to wonder that if by speaking up in this instance, if I am the perpetrator. I question my motives often, as I have been programmed to. I have improved much in that area over the past 10 years; yet it (questioning my motives and character) got vehemently resurrected with my ex-therapist’s accusations and actions.

Anyway…I could go on and on. Ha!

So I click “submit comment” with a tremble in my soul. But at least it’s not an earthquake.



One of the things that I learned along the way is that abusers NEVER question if they are the perp. I was very deeply stuck in observing and questioning my motives and character and there I spun for years and years. Not only was I willing to take the blame for every problem, I was always looking for the way to change ME so that there would be peace. It never dawned on me that other people have part responsibility for relationship too. (as you yourself said; “as I have been programmed to….” I can see how this all got resurrected but stay strong and remember that you know the truth here and it doesn’t’ matter if no one validates it except you, you still know the truth.
YAY for you! I love your courage!
Hugs, Darlene


Good morning Carol; Hi Darlene:)

In rereading your note I just want to let you know that this situation is definitely therapist abuse. This person used their role as a therapist to draw you into a relationship that served their own best interest. Then he proceeded to abuse and manipulate you in these new relationships/roles. This behavior was unethical and wrong in so many ways. These are, I think, some of the more subtle abuses that as a survivor I was so prone to because I couldn’t identify it as the abuse that it was. I still continued to carry the deeply ingrained belief that if the relationship wasn’t working that it was somehow my fault or at the least that there was something wrong with me for getting involved in yet another relationship that didn’t work.

And Carole; there is a continuum of therapist abuse and there is none that is worse or not so bad. It all comes down to the power that mh providers have and the imbalance of value in the relationship. As a society we are conditioned to believe what the “professionals” tell us about ourselves is true even when its not. As a survivor – this was ok for me because it repeated and validated what I’d learned in the abuse; that others could do and say what they wanted and that the shame I felt – I deserved. And we do not deserve this kind of “Help”. At all. For me the solution was to identify those feelings and thoughts of self blame, low value, hopelessness and powerlessness as the lies they are each time they bubbled up. Then to practice intentionally challenging the belief that I was somehow at fault for what they did and replace those thoughts with the opposites.

It IS hard when those who abuse us are in our world as you mention about your cyberspace connections. And this is where I get to practice my life lessons of identifying the abuses/manipulations and establishing boundaries for myself. Sometimes stepping away to practice in situations not so personal was helpful. And then I had to understand that I could push through the feelings of angst and that I would be ok. Its practicing being ok in situations that in the past where I felt not ok.

The solution for me is not in the telling and retelling of the story but in the telling of how the story affected me. Making the shift from being stuck in reliving the situations that cause me distress but in telling of it and validating that my anger and hurt/grief/sadness is justified. There is a loss when we realize we’ve been abused and it wasn’t my fault. This is what I’ve learned to call the going through to get out of the pain.

I also took the responsibilty for therapy “failures” and I allowed others to blame me because I’d been conditioned to accept that in first the origianl abuse then, like you, in religious abuse. I got through and get through a lot of the feelings of self blame and shame by remembering that I did the best I could and now I can learn and do better in my life decisions. We’ve been trained to see ourselves as responsible for what others do and that we don’t have any power. Its normal, why wouldn’t we? These are the “professionals”? I didn’t know I had a choice. I didn’t know I was being abused. I thought it was my fault that I WAS abused….those are all the things I believed and learned to challenge and replace with the message that I am not powerless and can learn to recognize these things so I don’t keep repeating it. And like everything here at EFB – its about recognizing the reasons we feel bad and learning to see ourselves as valuable, over riding those lies that say we aren’t.

I”m so sorry that you had this experience Carol and I don’t know if I hit on anything you might find helpful but I can tell you abuse is abuse and it is about others making us less than so they can be more than. You did not cause this abuse. Therapy abuse I think, like religious abuse, is the most deveastating because its a “professional” re enforcing what we learned in the first abuse; that we are not valid, not worthy and don’t count.

Carol; you count and this was wrong.


I agree with Susan. half of what got in my way was the way that I had been conditioned to constantly question myself; I was so used to being the one that was wrong. I never wanted to hurt anyone, so when I was accused of that, it sent me spinning. I still have to watch for that old default mode today. And it has its roots in that child hood belief system; that I am not as good as others, and that they know more then I do and my opinion was always wrong back then because they said so. But I keep having to look at the truth in these situations examining questions such as “is it really me” and if I think it is, what could I have done differently? What was the alternative. I always come up with the same answer. I could either let it go and accept mistreatment, OR stand up for myself. I stand up for myself today; I take my own side. I don’t accpet peoples definition of me as crazy or a trouble maker. I am neither. The willingness to stand up for ourselves will empower others to do the same… and this will make a huge difference in the world.
Hugs, Darlene


Hi Darlene:) “spinning” is a good way of putting it. Its really easy to get caught off guard and with practice it gets easier to “see” it. I like the way you go through your process of identifying “is it me?”. Its the knowing how to identify and decide my next actions that feels empowering and overrides that ingrained sense of helplessness. Love the way you are always encouraging us to take a stand for ourselves:) Hugs! Susan


Hey Susan and Darlene,

Thanks so much for the comments. There is much to chew on.

A few key points that resonate with me at the moment are:

*That the situation was therapist abuse; ie: being drawn into relationships that served the therapist’s own best interest and then the therapist manipulating those relationships.
*A solution may not lie in the retelling of the story, but in the retelling of how the story affected (and, I’ll add, affects) me.
*The questioning of my motives and character, the self-blame that still runs deep in my veins. I don’t know if I’ll ever ‘overcome’ that, but I can continue to make steps in the right direction.
*Continuing to learn boundary settings and that I can choose to push through the angst and practice being o.k. in certain situations.

I am so glad I decided to contact Suzanne privately, simply because I felt like it. I was not aware that this subject of therapy abuse was something she had experienced, all be it in a different way than I. (Not saying that my experience was unique.)

I may come back and share more later. I’ll definitely reread more than once ya’ll’s comments.

I am coming more out of my shell since commenting here…and that’s a good thing, of course.



Back again. 😉

Something I thought of yesterday but didn’t have the energy to post was a statement I ran across when reviewing (and making public on my blog) some of my journal entries from this past year; entries I wrote as I continued to process through the trauma.

As I thought of this yesterday, the statement I thought I had written was “I was a bad client.”

This morning, I come to your blog and read the post about a mother doing the best she can…and I again thought of my ex-therapist and how, one week before his verbal abuse, I had written him in an email and we discussed it the next day, how I had written him that I wanted to be parented. (I was in quite a bit of distress at that moment, distress due to the dual relationships I had with the therapist.)

So this morning I searched my blog to find the “bad client” statement I had written in my journal. Lo and behold, it is written in the context of when I wrote the therapist the email about my distress of the dual relationships. Interesting to me, that the “bad client” statement is in the context of distress when I stated I wanted to be parented.

The actual “bad client” statement and its context that I wrote in my journal on 2/27/11 is: “I grieve the loss of the relationship I had with [practitioner]. I let him know I missed the therapeutic relationship. I let him know that on July 27..I think it was. Less than a week later, he cut off contact with me…but first verbally assaulting me.

I want to curl up in a fetal position. I want to berate myself for being a bad client by allowing the dual relationships. In the back of my mind I’m thinking of how stupid I am.”

(note: I know logically that the therapist is responsible for setting the boundaries regarding dual relationships; yet, that logic takes time to get to the emotional level…at least for me.)

And I just looked up the email(s) from July 27 that I sent to the practitioner making my needs known. Gosh, maybe I should post that on my blog. Wow. Just plain wow. He verbally assaulted and then abandoned me on August 2. Those were some of the very fears I brought up on July 27, which he and I then discussed via Skype on July 28. Wow, just plain wow.

But, I feel panic to post it on my blog.

May I post it as a comment here? I will take out the names. Just let me know. It is my email; I am the author. And I understand if that wouldn’t be appropriate…for me to post my email here. Yet it does show at that moment exactly the deep distress and anxiety I was going through in relating to the therapist in the various roles, and it was just one week before the abuse happened. My god, it is so obvious.

Thank you (again),


Hi Carol:) On your first note….I’m glad you think you are benefiting from the thread here. I really have found that when we share our experiences we learn and gleen from one another the tid bits that allow our own inner wisdom to be explored.

On your second note – of course you can share and process here as you need to. That is very much what this post and EFB is about. We are not islands and research and my own experience supports that when even just one other person can see and validate our abuse it is freeing and empowers us to learn how to validate ourselves – and that is where the power lies ie learning how to become my own “therapist” by knowing how to validate myself instead of believing I needed a therapist or other to make me valid.

Please do share and thank you for sharing your journey through this. What this “therapist” did was so unethical and so self serving. You did not deserve to be treated this way. I see what he did as cruel and manipulative.


Thanks Susan…

Well, I just finished the task of posting the emails on my blog. I moved through my angst.

Interestingly when I read your comment, I want to come to my ex-therapist’s defense. I realize this isn’t unusual; ie: someone coming to the defense of their abuser.

I can only imagine a day that I don’t do that; that I quit giving the benefit of the doubt more to the other person than to myself. This crap runs deep; huh. But I’m learning to dive using my scuba gear.

Here is my recent post which includes the emails:



Its really great to see you working through your issues about the situation Carol. I know for me – that feeling of childlikeness and the need to apologize for everything I said or did – it felt as though I owed the world and everyone in it an apology for even existing.

And yet – when I started connecting the dots back to the source of this feeling of worthlessness I was able to begin using that feeling to simplify down to what was the core of all of these circumstance instead of seeing the individual circumstances as the issue. It always came back to those feelings of worthlessness powerlessness and hopelessness and the answer was always connected to the original abuse that taught me I was worthless powerless and there was no hope for anything different. That is when I was able to move through the distress and into my adult worth power and hope for living the life I wanted.

And once I began this process it didn’t take a lifetime but a few years of learning to see it and work through it. Its not rocket science to find these answers and what I discovered is that that was another belief I had that had been reinforced in both the church and the mental health system – that it would take years and decades of hard hard work and going through every situation and circumstance to identify how “I” caused it and how “I” “should” fix it by changing myself.

It came down to recognizing the lies and learning to live beyond them. Its hard work – but by gosh Carol…it is so worth the ride! I’m so glad you feel that you are moving through and can learn to live beyond this stuff. Many hugs and thank you for sharing. I hope you’ll come back and visit EFB and ES on Facebook and Blog Talk Radio….the issues in various abusive relationships are unique but the insgith to live beyond are so similar in learning to see ourselves as the worthy wonderful beings we are:)


Thank you Susan!



Your are very welcome Carol:)

Many hugs to you too:)


Hi Carol
Re comment 203, yes you are welcome to post anything you like here ~ all of it goes towards helping you and who ever else reads it.

Thank you Susan for staying with this whole conversation. In the last 3 days I have had over 200 comments over about 6 or 7 posts through out this site and I am barely keeping up! Sorry Carol that I kind of dropped the ball with this post here.

I am finding that I can’t give as much feedback as I would like, I just don’t have enough time in a day!

Thanks and hugs!


Thanks Darlene…

No prob.

I am impressed with how much you are able to reply to all the posts here. Whew.

I typically count any replies as blueberries on the cheese cake. 😉

You guys have smothered my cake with some awesome blueberries.

And I’ve come *out* about the situation a bit more and I don’t get tempted to feel the shame as much.

BTW: Something you posted that I’ve thought about multiple times: “…abusers NEVER question if they are the perp.”

I’ll remember that one. *thumbsup*

Hugs all around,


I love that Carol!
(that we have smothered your cake with blueberries! LOL)
I also have to keep in mind that perps never ask themselves if they are in the wrong because it was my default mode is to examime myself and to actually TRY to take the blame. Just like when I was a kid. It comes back easily. But becasue I have also gotten into the habbit of putting things through the grid of truth now… I am able to overcome that old default mode very quickly now when it pops up again…
Hugs!! Darlene


This makes me smile Carol! Maybe we can find some whipped cream and a cherry to add to that! 🙂 Hugs to both you and Darlene…this has been an awesome discussion and in this particular thread shows the continuum of abuse. Thank you Carol for sharing here and I’m thrilled you are finding your power and some peace around this issue:)


I wanted to add….”shows the continuum of abuse”….and how as early life victims we are the perfect victim because we have already been groomed to accept blame for others abuse. In mental health it is common for abusive/power/control therapists to blame a “therapy failure” on the client/victim.

I bought into this for years and ultimately my dissociation issues were not cause by my horrendous orginial abuse but by the therapy abuse. I had originally struggled and resisted the labels and questioned the drugs but after multiple therapists and psychiatrists in the public system I was funneled into (because they are all trained the same way you know) told me the same thing and the drugs were upped and changed, more lables were added, told I was difficult, my questions were “intellectualizing”…basically after about 5 years of that I spent the next 10 years cultivating the coping skill of dissociation and all that went with that.

I was fortunate to have gotten connected with a therapist who did not buy into the traditional methods and did not cultivate my “symptoms” for their profit. Instead – when I started with her the goal was that I would develop the skills to become my own “therapist”. And this process did not take another 5 or 10 years but a rather quick 2 or 3 to learn, practice and develop the skills to recognize my unhelpful coping mechanisms and uncover my new healthy ones.

I know that wasn’t part of our discussion today…and I don’t want to offend anyone either layman or professional – but it seemed this post was a good place to say just this stuff: that it is not rocket science to heal from our past. But it is very profitable for the professionals for us to believe it is. I spent nearly 2 decades of my life looking for answers, being drugged, coerced, manipulated, dismissed, demeaned and in general told that i was “disordered” from the core of my being and there was no hope or help for me.

Yet. Today I no longer suffer.

And to me – that says it all.

Thanks Darlene for uncovering the truth about all abuse/power&control imbalances in all relationships that we can find our own unique power and intrinsic value and worth for ourselves.


It is so amazing to see the three of you having done so much work on this issue and being supportive of each other. I’m really amazed at your insights! Best regards, Carol G


Hi Carol G.
Welcome and thanks for stopping by!
Hugs, Darlene


HI Ladies, summer is a super busy time for me and now a hurricane is coming. To many that means hoarding goods and getting scared. To me it means huge waves. Gonna try to get to the beach. I only read the blog on occasion.
Darlene I don’t know how you keep up! God blessed you with incredible energy! It is all your ladies fault but I am going to get blueberry cheese cake. I happen to live near a famous NY cheese cake bakery!
Anyway I said once before but I need to say it now I am not done reading it but I am reading a book about World War 2 by the author of Sea Biscuit. I suggest it to abuse survivors who are pretty far along the way in their healing journey. I think it is very graphic and can trigger survivors. Having said that I am amazed at the similarities in abusers of all time all over the world. Some of the exact things the author says about the war criminals is the same that Darlene and many of us talk about with abusers. I mean identical!
I never had to take drugs for mental illness or anything. But when I was a kid I told my mom of my abuse. She did not believe me. She took me to a doctor who told her I was lying that I was a virgin which could not have been possible at all. I guess I was 12 or 13. I was sexually active in addition and because of my abuse. I dont know why the doctor lied. I did not even know him.Probably her relationship to him I assume. I just dont know.
But later on I took myself at age 18 to Roosevelt hospital in NY and they did confirm I had been raped not just sexually active. It was very validating! So like I said though it is different it is similar. All abusers seem to operate the same. Which should make it easier to expose them and believe survivors but somehow it doesn’t work that way.


Hi Carol! Welcome and thank you for your note!

Pinky; that is really great to hear that you were finally heard. I’m really sorry that did not happen when you really needed it to happen. And…cheesecake sounds great!


I have bad PTSD from my abuse in the system, need treatment for it, but keep running into providers who for whatever rationale diagnosis me as psychotic, delusional, paranoid and falsify my medical records with ridiculous, dangerous accusations when I tell them of my past abuse in the system, then run me out of their practice. Now it’s on the legal books that I’m dangerous, when I’ve never, nor wanted to hurt a fly. Anyone know a high powered atty who can expose these people for what they are? I’m not interested in making money off my abuse, I just want treatment for my PTSD!


Hi Lindee; the saddest thing about this kind of abuse is that the normal response we have to it is used to justify more of the same. I’m so sorry that you are experiencing this kind of thing – I also tried to get help from various counselors, hotlines and “providers” only to be told I needed to consider taking the drugs and to return to the same kind of oppressive relationships that traumatized me. My records were also padded with lies and manipulations.

The psychiatrist that drugged me into oblivion for many many years – when I attempted to confront her used my words to begin to pain me to be yet another diagnosis. She barely said “I”m sorry” and it was clear she was shaken and afraid but – the system is rigged against us to dismiss us as difficult and deranged. In 3 years I could not get one attorney to talk to me even when I told them the story on the phone. Finally one told me since I wasn’t dead and not raped by my providers I would not be able to find a lawyer to represent me. Why? Because psychiatrists are notorious for changing their records to make the client look truly crazy. This came from a psychiatric legal consultant who then refused my case unless I forked over thousands of dollars. This – after being crippled and disabled physically to being unable to work. No recourse for us. Yet.

On treatment for the ptsd…..I have written on that some at my blog and post on it at the Empowering Solutions page every day. While my posts don’t specifically address “diagnosis” my goal is to empower people to see that the solution lies not in focusing on managing “symptoms” but in recognizing our NORMAL stress response and going through the emotional healing process to live beyond it.

I hope you’ll consider joining us in the ES community Lindee; you can “Like” it to get the daily updates if you are interested. And visit my blog – search for PTSD, trauma, self empowerment.

I know we’ve been taught that PTSd is not easy to heal from but there are tons of us out there who have learned to live beyond it and its not the secret rocket science I was taught it was. In “treatment” for my original ptsd issues I was taught I was powerless and helpless; that I would struggle and be broken “for life”.

I’m really sorry and again – welcome to EFB. This blog is about healing from ALL abuses; I hope we’ll see you again.

My blog: http://www.zebraspolkadotsandplaids.blogspot.dom

The Empowering Solutions Community on FB: http://www.facebook.com/empoweringsolutions

You can find Darlene Ouimet, the founder of EFB on FB here:https://www.facebook.com/darlene.ouimet

And I do a lot of advocacy about mental health abuse and system change here: http://www.facebook.com/susankingsleysmith

We hold the key to our own freedom:) Hang in there…:)


sorry for your ongoing troubles. The problem with getting an attorney is that most start at 500 per hour. Most would not be interested in doing anything unless there was a huge pay off and most attorney’s do not work off of contingency unless they are ambulance chasers. Law suits work off of damages and if they have those records they will say your damages were there already.Unfortunatley you cant sue someone for wrong doing only for damages if it is a civil case if it is a criminal case that is different. Also an attorney has to be licensed in the state he practices so even if we knew someone we dont know hat state you live in so you have to start there. If it is a criminal case you have to start with the police.


and BTW I did get a cheese cake! LOL! We were planning on getting one anyway but you ladies confirmed I needed to get one! 🙂


Thanks for adding your insights on the legal aspects Pinky; its really sad that those of us who were already tormented and traumatized can be re-traumatized by the systems we turn to for help.

And cheesecake is on my list for today I think!


Hi Lindee
Welcome to EFB. I am really sorry that this happened to you. Here at efb we have a growing community of people sharing for the purpose of healing and working this damage out.
Glad you are here. There is a lot of healing information in this site. Please share often.
Hugs, Darlene


Now Pinky has me thinking that I might need to get some cheesecake. 😉

Susan…thanks for the tweets over on Twitter about the drama dance – “Refuting is acknowledging & giving power to the dance…only way I found out of drama dance is to stop dancing.” Your thoughts on the subject have been helpful with some recent events that happened this past weekend.

As I thought about the drama dance, I had a mental image of a turntable dance floor. I was dancing on it with other parties present in the drama as it slowly spun around and around. It was in a bar type setting.

Then I stepped off the turntable, onto the stable hardwood floor that wasn’t spinning. Even though the surrounding setting was like a bar, there was no one else on the stable hardwood floor; it was just me as I observed the people on the turntable.

I can observe and learn and even write about the activity on the turntable without jumping back on.

And I can only take so much observation until I need to have a new setting. I can even walk out of the bar.

Hope some of that makes some sense.

To cheesecake!
~carol 🙂


Good morning Carol! I’m “see” things visually too so can really related to your description of the dance and observation! What a great way to look at this and the “stuff” of the dance. Being able to observe is a great skill and tool to have and one that helped me to shift from that place of “what do I have to do to fix this” to seeing myself as separate from those who in the past I’d been completely enmeshed with. Sharing the experience through writing about it is a great way to process through the meaning we give it. I really like the path you are describing!

I had cheezecake!


all to common all you have shared I recognise all of it. this acceptance of authority established at an early age takes some shaking off. As I have recovered and begin to mature (I believe the system purposely keeps victims infantile in order to keep control) i begin to see that these labels one after another are peeling away, all of them were false from the beginning.As a child you naturally believe adults, now I can see clearly these labels obscured the real story the truth and the trauma. You suddenly realise there is no power any more in those false labels. You begin to see who you really are and what you really suffered and how you came to be at the mercy of so many so called experts. claiming back your mind and body and true identity. truths revealed you are free


Hi Beverly and welcome!

What you stated is what I also believe – that those who seek help are infantized and dependence is cultivated and perpetrated by the “providers” of these services. Then in true abusive fashion – we are punished and often labled as “difficult” or “resistant” amongst other things.

Yes. Why wouldn’t we believe them when they tell us we have a disease or that our brains are broken? Yet another abuse tactic that gives them control and diminishes our already fragile sense of self. Victims of the first trauma in family abuse/neglect/oppression are the perfect victim for mental health service providers who have been trained to control behavior not validate, support or empower. I know there are helpful, supportive providers in the world – unfortunately it can take years for us to get connected with one as in my case – over 15 years.

I’m glad you found freedom from the labels and lies and are/have claimed your own freedom.


Hi Susan

As I am struggling with the why of what happened to me this week .. I was re-directed to this post by you from another one on this blog. Thanks Karen. I don’t know if my story equates yours; but what you said here is what I feel right now:

“I realized that what I had experienced was exactly like the other abusive relationships in my life; and that I was a perfect victim for being defined in this system because I had not yet learned how to define myself.”

How does one define oneself when so many have created definitions of oneself that has been crippling? When the pro. .the T . who one banked on .. all of a sudden pulls out without warning?

I keep trying to tell my heart I will be alright but I lost the person I thought was doing the most for me ever.

(( hugs )))



Good morning Joy and I am so sorry that this person abused you this way. In my journey – to answer your question – and there is much behind this answer – the first thing I had to understand is that I’d been conditioned in the original abuse to tolerate this kind of treatment in all relationships. Because my needs were unmet in my childhood I never learned how to meet my own needs as an adult. Thus – I was an easy target for therapists, clergy, men, friendships….I gravitated toward what felt normal ie relationships where I thought others would take care of me, help me, guide me….”love” me in the only way I knew how to be loved; by sacrificing myself to conform to the way THEY defined the relationships.

For me…the change came when I understood that “diagnosis” by someone else gave me hope that “they could finally tell me whats wrong with me and fix me” – that this was one of those false truths and that no one had the right to define who I was and that no one could “fix me”. I viewed the “professionals” as the experts. But I only found healing when I found “me”, when I was able to grow myself up so to speak and learn to recognize how I had been conditioned to believe I was helpless and powerless.

My journey took me from that place where I expected the professionals to fix me to learning that no one could fix me – but me. So the first belief that I had to learn to recognize was that I was dependent on the “professionals” to help me do only what I could do. The second was to learn to recognize when I was in that place of feeling powerless and understanding that 1. nothing was “wrong” with me but that a lot was wrong with my life experiences and 2. that my distress came down to that feeling of hopelessness and helplessness over my life and my life circumstances.

I had to understand why I allowed others to define me and then I had to define my own worth by learning to recognize when others were trying to define me and that the solution was not in what they were doing but what I was doing with what they were doing.

Learning to see life and relationships from a different perspective took time but the first step in defining myself was to stop looking to others to do it for me.

The how behind that for me was learing to follow my needy dependent behaviors back to my emotional distress and that I needed someone to tell me what to do. Which is normal for those raised in oppression and abused who have been minimized. When I followed the breadcrumbs I began to recognize that my feelings of powerlessness and not knowing what to do was where I was getting lost. I was then able to shift from being that dependent perpetual victim to acknowledging my fears and moving through them to finally live beyond them day by day. With time – this practice has served me well as I discovered that this, for me, was the foundation of learning to both define who I wanted to be and that I could heal my own emotional and developmental wounds from being denied the opportunity to define myself in my family who needed me to be “less” so they could be “more”.

This may not be what you were looking for Joy – but this is the gist of what I write about every day on the ES page and what my personal blog is all about.

I’m so so sorry this happened to you – you have been making amazing progress over the past many weeks and I’ve been very happy for you to be finding your way. I hope this helps even a little bit. 🙂



Hi Susan

Everything you say makes so much sense.. Right now am trying to get over the shock of what happened.. I know we can’t be dependent on anyone but there are times in our life that we need support..help..especially when things are happening one after another..

I know i am an easy victim..pre-conditioned. for anyone to hurt.. and if anyone knew what buttons to push to hurt me most it was my former T i told her more than I told any other person and she knew how much .. abandonment and people just disappearing had hurt me in the past.. the hurt from what she did is beyond words.

I will see better after this .. after the rains have passed and clouds have cleared but i have to go through the mourning and the disappointment. I really have been so let down..

I know why I allow others to define me is because outward acceptance and show was what my mother ran after.. she could appear to be all wonderful to the public while be an evil psychopath and cruel mother indoors..

We always had to be outwardly what we were not.. I learned to adapt to every one’s wants and situations but my own.



Yes, I can totally see what you are saying Joy. I hope you are able to rebound and find your footing quickly:)


Susan I hope I can .. i have cried 3 days.. its not something I would have imagined her doing..it’s not was she makes herself out to be.. it has crushed my spirit.. just when i needed her most . in the most trying time . she dumps me. i cannot understand it.



Thats sort of what I’m talking about in much of my writing Joy. Being able to focus on how I felt about things like this, grieve it and let it go, learn from it and move on to creating the day I wanted instead of feeling so victimized. Focusing on the “why” behind what others do really left me feeling more powerless – especially if I was putting all my hope, energy and commitment into the relationship. When I was able to shift from “why” to it is…I was then able to shift from feeling powerless to acknowledging that it just is and now – what can I do about it. Learning from these experiences helped me to move from being everyones victim to learning to see why it was that I kept getting involved in these kind of relationships vs seeing everyone as a potential abuser or wondering who was going to let me down next.

It hurts – I know. I hope you can grieve the loss of the relationship and find your way soon:)



The way I’m seeing it now is she didn’t respect or see me as a person with legitimate rights or feelings because if she did .she would not tell me what she was going to do . since she claimeed it was a therapeutic relationship where we decided together..no where did we discuss her letting me go . she just told me it’s ended too bad good bye and turned off skype.

She treated me like someone who has no rights not like someone who she was in a relationship with. I was nothing more then money for her pockets .. not a person. with rights.. I was no value to her. .



Its good to see you able to find your anger about the injustice of this situation Joy. I’m truly sorry that she treated you with such disregard. What she did was unethical and you have every right to feel angry about it.



THanks.. if she would not have “Reacted” I coudl have explained that she didnt have to worry about being called in. as the lawyer said he didnt need her to win the case. the evidence is enough.. MOre then likely the ex boss wont show..

But I needed her at this time .I am going through emotions. related to the case and yes she feels I should have had a dff lawyer but at this stage of the case .. getting a new lawyer would make the case disappear because its 2years old and no lawyer can just pick up the case that has been going for 2 years and win it..

I am not the only one who is on the case though mine is the main reason and big part .

I wish she would have listend but she wouldnt she had her mind made up already and she should have take more regard for my feelings and brokennesss and emotions. after all she is the whole person and i the broken

I feel completley lost Susan why just dropped.. like trash in a waste basket. who cares how it lands it has no feelings



I think its pretty normal for a survivor or bad things to be feeling what you’re feeling and wanting to have been valued Joy. Anger and sadness around these kinds of situations takes some time to work through as we try to make sense of it. I’ve found these feelings ease with time although I know those words may not mean a lot right now. Its good to see you working through it. 🙂


“of bad things” not “or bad things” 🙂


Dear Susan :thanks for reassuring me that its ok to be going through all these emotions..Your words make alot of sense to me . Just not able to instantly feel like am ok..cuz am not 😉 i really liked my t ..she had said he cared and to have done to me what was done makes me question lots of what was said to me.. did she all of a sudden stop caring…or did she never care.. was I always just a number .. a statistic .. a duty. .never a person.. someone with feeling…someon whose breathing..



It’ll be ok Joy. 🙂 You’re welcome:)


Susan Thank..I am seeing many hopeful signs..i have some people willing to go to bat for me ..people willing to help me in my case . and willing to put out in print the wrong done me!


As a former mental health nurse I can identify with your description of those who are supposed to be helping becoming abusive in turn. The creation of dependency on mental health services and the teaching of self distrust and doubt is horrific – and one of the reasons I left the profession. Now, 30yrs on, I am a user of mental health serices myself, following a life threatening illness whcih finaly blew the lid off Pandoras Box. Because of this, I had people involved in my care who were aware that this can happen, and so my lifelong PTS and transition into PTSD was acknowledged at face value and fully validated. Fortunately, I was able to make clear choices and had the support to be able to stick to my guns. I have not taken medication, I have not had to work with professionals who have added to my difficulties. I have had one recent encounter with a trusted therapist which I found to be manipulative and bordering on blackmail, so that I would conform to what she wants. It has not worked – and when I next see her I will be insisting on re-negotiating the therapeutic relationship before we continue in our therapeutic journey. I have been lucky in that I have not needed to be hospitalised, so they have never had that kind of control over me. I know that I would be in a very different position had that been necessary.
ALthough this has been a really tough couple of years, I a now able to say I’m still standing – and finaly I am getting the help I have needed for decades.


Thanks for sharing. Hugs!
This will help me in dealing with my niece. She is not mentally ill but people re trying to label her. She was abandoned by her parents at an early age and only now has a relationship with her father (who I raised) she isn’t my blood niece more of an honorary niece. She is not mentally ill just didnt have a good upbringing.People just want to medicate everything it seems.


Libby – wow is about all I can say. To have someone who has worked in the system validate that this stuff goes on is really huge…HUGE. Thank you for sharing that.

Its good to hear that you’ve been able to identify the manipulations of this therapist. And – I’m truly sorry that in addition to your trauma issues you are having to fend for your safety and sanity this way. I’m really glad to hear that you are getting the help you need and have needed.

Thank you so much for sharing both your professional and personal experiences with this. I really believe that this stuff still goes on because society in general has been taught to discount the words of the victims. I so appreciate your courage.

@Pinky – Your niece is very fortunate to have you on her side:) Thanks so much for sharing that story:) Yes…it is easier to medicate but to medicate is not the way to the truth that can set us free, is it?

I’m grateful for your contributions:)



Hi Everyone!
This was such a popular post that I wanted to share another guest post about this that is new on this website!
Kylie Devi is guest posting ~ When Mental Health Providers are not Helpful ~ Please have a look and comment there, if you wish.
Hugs, Darlene


Thanks for this posting and the replies that follow! These writings come at a time that I needed to hear them. Without going into a lot of details, I have suffered from abuses(s) within the mental health field; but there have been some wonderful moments also. It is a good feeling to be validated thru someone else’s’ experiences because I was beginning to think that no one would ever listen to me in regards to the abuses I have suffered.

Anyway, it seems that everyone posting on this site are terrific individuals and I just want to thank each person for giving of themselves to speak out about their experiences with the mental health system.


Wanted to post one other thing in regards to some mental health professionals who overstep their boundaries with a patient, one of the social workers who I have recently been seeing told me one thing during our meeting in regards to obtaining a restraining order on another individual, then in the last team meeting I had the Psychologist in charge of the whole department brought up the fact about filing a restraining order and the social worker then said that I didn’t need to file for a restraining order. I had found out before this team meeting that my social worker also knew the individual that I was considering filing a restraining order on. I have since been discharged from the program by my own request; but how does one heal from something like this? I kept going to this program hoping against all hope that I would glean some helpful information; but almost at every turn there was something being said to me to help tear me down. How can I hold my head up and have hope that I will be able to overcome yet another form of abuse? It scares me; but I believe that somehow I will survive even what has recently happened.

I can’t file another complaint because another social worker told me that if I complain that “no one will help you”. So some people wonder why others with mental health symptoms do not like seeking help – maybe they have heard some horror stories and do not want to have to try out different therapies just to find one that “might” work.

It isn’t my intent to badger any type of mental health system because there are several that are pretty good; but what bothers me is that the group of individuals that I was seeing took it upon themselves to a female who happened to be raped and/or molested more than once in her lifetime. I wasn’t seeking sympathy. I just wanted to get better and lead a more productive life if at all possible.


This story is a good example of how it all works; if you file a complaint, no one will help you and that is how “they” control you. It is very devaluing and very difficult, and only you can decide if you want to fight that or not. Not all systems are bad, it is the bad manipulative and controlling people misusing their power in some of the systems that is the problem. I am really sorry that this happened to you. Healing comes from self validation. You were right, and they don’t have to admit they were wrong in order for you to overcome this. healing does not depend on resolution, it is all about your relationship with you… now having said that I do not mean to make light of it! I know that your situation is not easy!
Hugs, Darlene


i read this and wow–been there–got the same stuff–and sadly enough happened again through a spiritual healing–all causes further hurt and confusing–could go into it–but cant either–still there–once seem stuck in a “system” so to speak–mental health, spiritual, etc–there seems to be no way out–so sad when people abuse their power and further traumatize and hurt the hurting


I am experiencing something of what is being said here with mental health professionals. They gave me a diagnosis and some pills and put me on a waiting list to receive any kind of counselling. In the meantime, I’m told to hang in there while I can feel myself unraveling day by day. I have since been discharged from a program because I have not been diligent with going every once a week. Like most, I am fatigued all the time, have no fire in me. I feel worn out. I even went as far as writing a letter to our mayor for help with getting me onto the psych floor as soon as possible instead of being put out into the hospital emergency hallway waiting for a bed for a day or two on the mental health floor. I need my meds relooked at because I feel they aren’t working anymore. Most of the time I can contain myself but sometimes it becomes too much and I’m just right furious with the world and then I do something stupid, like self-harm. I feel that no one understands me. My family especially don’t. I’m something for them to talk or discuss with others about. I know what I need but no one will help me get it and if they can, it takes years to see anyone. An example of that is this. I have been waiting for three years now to get into a program that deals with “border-line personality disorders” and I feel that when it becomes my time, it will be too late for me. I mean, I’ll be to far gone into myself that there is no coming back. Sure I can attend this and that but what I really need is this extensive program that I am waiting for. I’m tired of taking all the meds and I believe some I don’t need and should be weaned off of them but no one listens. I truly feel that I don’t belong anywhere and that includes here. Like one writer wrote, “she feels stuck” and that’s how I feel to. Don’t know how to become unstuck. I have two daughters, 14 and 20 years old and they themselves are being bullied by family members because I’m not well. I became very sick eight years ago when my mom died and after a couple of years I had to give my children to Children Services to take care for me because I just couldn’t do it anymore. Not one of any family member on both sides of the family offer any assistance. They let the kids go into government care. Both girls are doing ok and I’m still very much involved in their lives but they know and have seen what I have gone through and gone through alone. I tell them we are the three musketeers. I tell them to be there for each other no matter what. True, if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would be here today writing this. I try very hard not to drag them into my world and I hope that one day they appreciate it. My one sister says, “if you need someone to talk to, talk to your kids”. I tell her I don’t talk to the kids about my issues and she says, “why not, mom did it”. That’s her mentality. My sister’s mentality of things. The only support I have is what I give to me. I just need to figure out a way to get into this program more quicker. The very first time I was sexually assaulted I was only seven years old and this carried on for years and even into my marriage with my children’s father. I think they call it “martial rape”. I had once talked to his mom about it and she told me that it is a wife’s duty. I told her no it’s not. I’m a person and he doesn’t own me and I don’t own him and ever since then my relationship with her is very strained. Other kinds of abuse have been done to me for which my poetry writing stems from. I to hope to write a book and the title will be called “Just Me”. Anyway, this is my rant and rave for the day. Thank you for listening or in this case reading.


My experience of mental health professionals was that they were useless in guiding me when I found deep emotional pain inside me and I was bed ridden because of it. They did not have a clue!

Yet they have huge chips on their shoulders. The doctor was helpful in his own way by being supportive but the counselors were useless. Each of them had atleast 20 years of experience but they could not point out the reason for such deep emotional pain. It was a holistic therapist who finally said something about childhood abuse.

Recovery has been long and still ongoing but atleast I know the cause now and can work on it. I did not have any conscious memories so it made it more difficult to pin point the cause.


I just need to shout from the cybernet rooftop about the abuse right now. so I’m not afraid, no longer silenced, it’s validating to ME!
they think because I’ve again gone no contact and have no contact with any of the extended family that they are once again safe… that all their secrets are once again safe… tucked under their disgustingly filthy old dirty blanket of denial!!
that I once again am out of sight out of mind… not to be seen or heard.

NO MORE!!!!!



Back in August, 2011, I posted some comments responding to this piece, “Dysfunctional Relationship with Mental Health Therapist.”

For anyone who might be interested, this follow-up comment is an update regarding my ex-therapist on whom I had filed an official complaint at the end of September/early October, 2010.

In January, 2014, over three years from filing the complaint, the state made its ruling: the therapist was found guilty and his license was revoked.

Brief recap with some details:
In July, 2008, I hired a licensed mental health professional, John M. Knapp, who specialized in cult-recovery.

After about 1-1/2 years, the counseling relationship took a few odd turns. And in October, 2010, I ended up filing a formal complaint with Knapps’s licensing board in NY State. That was one of the most agonizing decisions I’ve ever made. (Note: The relationship did not involve sexual boundary violations, but rather verbal/emotional/mental abuse and professional boundary violations. Later, in August, 2011, Knapp tried to assassinate my character with online public defamatory false statements, including an outlandish sex fable. Those smears came almost one year after filing my complaint so were not included in my complaint.)

In November, 2012, a hearing was held in New York state before Knapp’s Licensing Board. I was a witness for the state. Knapp did not show, nor did he have representation, at the hearing.

On January 14, 2014, the Board made its ruling. This ruling was made public last week. John M. Knapp was found guilty of professional misconduct; including negligence, incompetence, on more than one occasion, and unprofessional conduct. His license was revoked. From my understanding, revocation of a license seldom happens in New York state (and perhaps elsewhere).

Here is a link to a post on my blog regarding the ruling: http://tossandripple.blogspot.com/2014/02/licensing-board-ruling.html

Added note: Over one year after filing my complaint, another ex-client came forward privately; they had been deeply harmed by Knapp. In the past six months, another ex-client also shared they were harmed by Knapp. Past colleagues and one past employee of Knapp also came forward privately regarding Knapp’s harmful treatment toward them. Sometime in 2012(?) Knapp adopted a stage name, Johnny Profane. To my knowledge no longer offers psychotherapy.


Edit correction: The ruling was made public by NY state sometime the week of February 10, 2014, not the week of February 17, 2014.


Hi Carol!
Thanks for the update!! That is awesome. I love to hear when the truth emerges and is validated! That is such amazing encouragement! Thank you so much for sharing! I am going to read the link you sent later!
hugs, Darlene


Thank you Darlene!

In December, 2012, I posted a series entitled “For the Record.” The series outlines a partial summary of events. It’s way too much to read, unless a person has a specific interest in the case. That said, below is a link to the introduction which includes a Table of Contents:

Thank you again!


Susan, In the preface of the book: “Caregiver, Caretaker: From Dysfunctional to Authentic Nursing Service”, it notes a survey done of the Bachelor degreed members of the California Nurses Association. 85% of those who responded, admitted to growing up in Alcoholic Households. Perhaps a similar survey needs to be done nationally, of all those professionals in the “Mental Health” field.

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