Remember that old cliché, “A new broom sweeps clean”? It applies to therapists too. At first, I thought mine was great! But that was before he pissed me off and I gave him the ol’ heave-ho. Here’s what he did and why he lost me as a patient.
When I first entered therapy, I’d already discovered narcissism, done my family-of-origin work, filled seven notebooks with journaling, and was well along my healing journey. I was far into the process and needed a therapist who would meet me where I was.
My therapist didn’t. Instead, I felt like I was back in school, where the teachers reviewed old material for six months before teaching anything new. That’s how my therapist was. He ignored the healing I’d already done and wanted to start me back at Square One. I didn’t like it!
Worse still, he brushed the whole “narcissism thing” under the carpet. The armchair diagnosis I’d made of my family was neither here nor there to him. He seemed determined to simply shove me through the same ol’ groove he shoved everybody through, regardless of the personality disorder that had hurt them the most.
But the next-to-final-straw came when he suggested that my marriage was shaky at best and statistically more-likely-than-not to founder on the reef of Attachment Disorder. Bullshit! Yes, children from abusive homes do tend to have trouble attaching, but that doesn’t necessarily mean their relationships are doomed. It’s a choice, and I knew that Michael and I cling to each other like grim death.
The final, final straw came when I called to reschedule a therapy appointment on the day my husband was in the throes of a migraine. “Oh, he’s a big boy,” said my therapist, “he can take care of himself.”
That was it!
Oh, I see where he was coming from. Encouraging boundaries, discouraging codependence but no one, and I mean no one, comes between me and my man. I knew from experience that Michael doesn’t eat or drink when he has a migraine and I needed to make sure he did both, therapy be damned!
I never went back to that therapist.
A lot of my readers ask me what to look for in a therapist. I’m the last person to ask! Apparently, my Therapist-Picker is as broken as my Friend-Picker. But here are a few tips I learned from sad experience, particularly if you’re in recovery from narcissistic abuse:
- Interview your therapist to make sure he or she is very familiar with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
- Make sure your therapist will accept and believe in the armchair NPD diagnosis you have made of your family, spouse, etc.
- Make sure your therapist will “meet you where you are” instead of forcing you to go back to the beginning of healing and “reinvent the wheel.”
- If your therapist seems determined to break up your marriage (and you’re in a good marriage), dump the therapist.
- If your therapist wastes your therapy time by going off on rabbit trails that aren’t helpful, don’t waste any more time or money there.
You need a therapist who’s in your corner, who will validate you. I was bamboozled by his degree, by his high-falutin’ talk..and by the fact that low-income patients like me got a sliding scale fee structure.
But did I actually learn anything!?! Not much…except how to fire a bad therapist!