How Do I Get Over My Therapist Having Sex with Me?
Dear Ready to Move On,
Thank you for writing. I am so sorry this happened to you. It frankly makes my blood boil. This breach and exploitation is exactly what therapists are never supposed to do. To me, it’s akin to incest. I’m glad you’re reaching out about it. Despite whatever conflicted feelings you might be having, please know that this was not your fault in any way. Maintaining that professional wall and keeping the boundary between healer and client is solely the responsibility of the therapist. Psychological safety and doing no harm is our top priority. It’s heartbreaking that your therapist so violated the sanctity of the relationship.
Of course, from a psychological viewpoint, this kind of gross violation of boundaries and trust will bring up all kinds of conflicted and traumatic feelings for the client. (This is one of many reasons that such a breach indicates the therapist has lost her way in the profession.) What’s especially tragic is that this experience may have parallel emotional resonance for those who were abused or neglected as children. One of the most common misperceptions by victims of such abuse is that they think, somehow, in a desperate effort to make sense of a painfully chaotic phenomenon, that they “caused” or “brought on” the abuse. Therapy is set up so that it really is all about the client; when this kind of abuse transpires, how can the client help but think (among other things) that the violation is somehow “about me”? Trust me: This is about a malpracticing therapist.
The feelings you’re having are quite understandable; however—and I hate to say this—they most likely won’t just go away on their own. You allude to this in your letter in that, five years hence, the pain lingers. In a way, it means you have a communicative psyche that needs some sustained, loving attention; you deserve the care and guidance of a competent therapist to help you heal. The fact other therapists wanted you to press charges may be a sign of how seriously we take our oath as healers—it’s enraging when we hear of violations of that oath. However, you are not obligated to do anything that feels too scary or overwhelming. You may want to press charges at some point, you may not. That doesn’t seem to be what you’re needing right now, and such a decision can come later, if ever. It’s not your job to “police” anyone. We don’t want to create a situation wherein we “blame the victim.”
The first step is a healing process wherein you can reintegrate and reconnect with whatever had to be dissociated or sacrificed to live with the hurt of this abuse. Other decisions will likely follow of their own accord.
I’m curious as to your statement that “most people don’t believe a woman can abuse another woman.” Since that falls outside the range of my own experience, I would want to know more about that, i.e. who “most people” are. Most people in your circle of family and friends? Potential authorities who would evaluate this case? Has your mistreatment at the hands of others ever been doubted?
You are alluding to what I call the double whammy of trauma—first there is the painful abuse itself, and then (and this is often what causes the real hurt and disruption) the denial or minimization of the abuse. It’s possible that we can heal from hurtful events if those who participated acknowledge both the event and their participation, followed by their amending such behaviors. With the repetition of abuse and denial, and no commitment by the abusers to cease, we begin to wonder if we are in fact “exaggerating” or even “crazy.” A painful split emerges between mind and body, as we doubt our own perceptions, memories, and physical reality. This takes a lot of time to heal, to reconnect with and trust our own emotional experience and intuition, but repair is possible. Your perspective on these events may shift once the fractures begin to heal.
You may need to tell your therapist—and I’m hoping you have one you trust, or want to find one—that you’re not interested in pursuing any reporting or recriminatory actions just now. It sounds like you need now to put yourself first, make sense of what happened, and engage in a healing process with someone who will cherish the trust you give to him or her. It is a privilege for us to be trusted, and it’s something we have to earn. Don’t feel in any hurry—in fact, I’d encourage you to go at a pace that feels right to you.
I’m sorry this happened, but so glad you wrote in. I hope this answer helped in some small way. Please don’t give up on finding the right person, in spite of this awful breach. Warmest good wishes to you.
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tessDecember 13th, 2013 at 11:14 AM
What?!? This is insane that someone in this position would use you in this way knowing how frail and vulnerable you could be. Shame on this person!
KimFebruary 19th, 2017 at 12:32 PM
OMG, this sound so familiar, my therapist, started romancing me from the beginning, phone calls and texting all day, wanting to know all my thoughts and thinking. Asking about all my sexual experiences. In session wanting me to show him how sexy I could be for him. Wanting me to text sexual fantasies with him. I believe he drugged and hypnotized me, saying it was meditation for IFS therapy. In sessions he got closer and closer, he started with asking if I wanted to sit close and hold hands, then to the floor, holding hugging tightly, touching, fondling, caressing, kissing, it was totally sexual exploitation. I told him of most of my sexual abuse as a young child.
This therapist said he was going to show me what real love feel’s like., the therapy turned into a sexual relationship. Now he says it’s all my fault, I asked for it all. I have to keep seeing him, he’s got all my texting he wanted,
And, who knows what he wrote in my chart to cover his self. He says things , oh there’s so much ,I can’t even write it all here.
He created attachment, love, dependency, I have to keep seeing him.
Darren HaberFebruary 19th, 2017 at 11:04 PM
Hi Kim. You actually don’t if you don’t want to. You are being terribly and illegally exploited. I urge you to see another therapist NOT associated with this one and get a second opinion. I am so sorry you’re going through this. You might also consider reporting him to authorities, or consulting with an attorney. But I’d start with another therapist who will help you decide what to do about what sounds to me like some form of assault (taking sedatives against your will). This person may be harming other women as well. I am so sorry you’re going thru this. Such an abuse of power makes my blood boil. Thx for writing.
R. JudgeMarch 25th, 2019 at 6:19 AM
You need to see police. This happened to a woman I know. Her hypnotherapist put false feelings in her head, making her feel she had to return. He exploited her sexually, then made her forget. She finally figured it out after the flashbacks started happening. Then she was finally able to correlate and understand the physical evidence that she had. Hypnosis abuse is a very real thing. See HypnosisReality.com
DannaDecember 14th, 2013 at 6:24 AM
Maybe pressing charges could bring you some closure but then again it may open up all of those old wounds that you sound like you want so badly to put behind you.
What happened was a terrible misuse of power, but look how long you have survived afterwards, you must take some comfort in knowing that this abuse didn’t keep you down for good.
elaine sDecember 16th, 2013 at 3:49 AM
I have to ask this, but because I am assuming that this was consensual there would be no way for this writer to find someone to help her? Clearly this was the wrong action for the therapist to take and obviously quite harmful for this patient, but will the law look at it differently because of the amount of time that has passed and because it was not forced?
DeanDecember 16th, 2013 at 9:40 AM
I would hope that I would be in a strong enough state of mind of seeing a therapist to still know the difference between someone doing something for me that will help and someone doing something that in the end will only harm
Darren Haber MFTDecember 16th, 2013 at 10:18 AM
Great comments. I’m with Tess on this one. There’s a pamphlet we California therapists are supposed to hand out to our clients called, “Professional Therapy Never Includes Sex”. Just like any professional in a caretaker-type position (doctor, teacher), managing clinical boundaries is entirely up to the therapist — even if a client throws him or herself at our feet. These feelings often come up in such an intimate, vulnerable setting, but as Tess indicates, this is more grist for the mill of processing and empathic “holding” and understanding. “Do No Harm” HAS to be our number one priority. If that is a struggle, the therapist needs to get consultation or supervision sooner rather than later, or find another profession. We have absolutely no business sleeping with our patients. (Sorry but I feel strongly about it.) Elaine I think the laws may vary from state to state, I’m not sure if there’s a statute of limitations or not — but even if it was consensual, the accountability lies squarely with the therapist, not the client. At all.
tessDecember 21st, 2013 at 5:57 AM
Thanks for the comments Darren. I think that I would seriously be checking into making some kind of report to leicensing boards in that state.
Selena ThomsDecember 23rd, 2013 at 3:57 AM
Huge abuses of power such as this are so wrong and yet we all know that it happens every day in so many different settings. These are people who have some power and they are preying on those who are too weak to resist or too out of it to know any better.
kjpDecember 24th, 2013 at 3:10 AM
I am sure that this makes you feel like a level of trust has been broken that can never be returned but there is so much more out there for you and you don’t have to live in the shadow of this event forever.
I think that it is such a wonderful thing that you have had the courage to write in here because there really is a lot of help on this site . The people here care for what you are going through and can hopefully help you find a small amount of piece in your life that will help you grow and become stronger.
Curious KateAugust 29th, 2014 at 3:07 PM
It sounds like Cali has posted ethics for those who need reminding in the helping field of social work, therapist, psychology etc. May people who go to therapy are vulnerable. To be taken advantage of by a therapist is very cruel. Talk about destroying someone’s trust. And making life worse instead of better. Some people are helping themselves in these helping fields. It is rare but consumers should know sex does occur and people do get hurt. More often, therapists speak inappropriately or trashy to clients and people can be hurt by that too. Few ppl go to therapy to be talked to like she/he is a sleazy person.
MaggieMarch 7th, 2016 at 12:39 PM
I had sex with my therapist. It really was my fault. I seduced him. Now I feel very guilty. I have a new therapist now; a woman. She said it was not my fault, but I know it was. I enjoyed it while it was happening. He made me feel attractive.
Darren HaberMarch 7th, 2016 at 9:02 PM
Hi Maggie, I’m glad you have a new therapist but sorry you were exploited by your former therapist. We are, or are supposed to be, trained to handle these types situations (and if not, we are advised to seek supervision.) Please don’t blame yourself; you are metaphorically the child and the therapist is the symbolic parent or caregiver in this situation. There is a difference in feeling attractive in a general way versus feeling attractive to the actual therapist. It sounds like professional lines were unprofessionally crossed and again I’m sorry someone abused his power. It gives us all a black eye. Thank you for your honesty. I hope your new therapist helps you find the self-forgiveness you deserve.
ElaineJuly 17th, 2016 at 9:43 AM
I’m not sure what is going on with my therapist. I think he wants to have sex with me. I think we have already crossed boundaries and I am not sure how to stop it. He told me his wife doesn’t give him enough sex. Now he holds me and kisses me. I like it when he does this. It makes me feel special. He has also rubbed my back. He tells me he is very fond of me, and that I am attractive. He said he would never hurt me and he will always be there for me. I have been seeing him for about five months now. I had a very severe bipolar depression at the beginning of the year. I was in the hospital three times between February and May. He saw me through all of these. He reminds me that he has seen me at my worst and still cares for me. I am so attached to him that it is hard to even think about leaving him. I just..don’t know what to do. I feel very confused by it all.
Darren HaberJuly 17th, 2016 at 12:35 PM
Hi Elaine. Being confused is an appropriate reaction. Boundaries are being crossed here that should not be through no fault of your own. It is the therapist’s responsibility to maintain physical and romantic boundaries with clients. I would consult with another therapist you feel safe with sooner rather than later. I can’t see how effective treatment can continue given this violation. Again this is not your fault. It is normal to have all kinds of feelings for one’s therapist but this is why the boundary is sacred, as confusion and hurt inevitably follow. I’m sorry you’re going through this.
ElaineAugust 9th, 2016 at 9:46 AM
Hi..it’s me again. I tried to leave my therapist but he made me promise not to go. He said if I ever wanted to leave we would have to talk about. I came right out and asked him if he slept with patients. He sorta laughed and said no..then scooted his chair closer. He told me he and his wife have NO sex due to a health issue. I wasn’t sure what to say. He shares all sorts of intimate things with me, including when he was sexually active in his earlier days. He tells me all these compliments like he gets excited in the mornings before he sees me. I know he is drawing me in, but I feel like I’m losing the battle. I finally confessed that I had sexual fantasies about him. I thought I was supposed to talk to him about my erotic transference. I thought we would talk about it, but instead he told me he had sexual fantasies about me too. He said he wouldn’t act on them, but he was still going to have them. He also let me know he was into porn. He still kisses and hugs me. The kisses are getting closer to my mouth. All this is causing me a lot of anxiety and loss of sleep which I don’t need. I obsess about him. I want him, but I’m afraid. I have had nothing but horrible abuse in the past by men. He says he wants to protect me from getting hurt ever again. He said he would never hurt me. I don’t know what to do. I saw my psychiatrist, whom I have a great relationship with. He knew something was wrong but I told him I couldn’t tell him. He tried to get it out of me, but I couldn’t tell him. I feel I have to protect my therapist. He gets really upset when he knows I see the psychiatrist. I assured him I didn’t speak about therapy. I just feel consumed by all this. I know it’s wrong to have sex with him but it seems to be where it is all headed. I’m just emotionally dependent on him by now and I’m sure he knows this. What should I do? I’m sorry to bother you again. I know you’re busy.
ElaineAugust 9th, 2016 at 9:51 AM
The health issue that prevents him from having sex with his wife is HERS, not his. He explained to me that sex was painful for her so they had to stop. 12 years ago.
Darren HaberAugust 9th, 2016 at 10:32 PM
Hi Elaine, thanks for writing back! Since you and your therapist are becoming more personally involved, I strongly suggest formally stopping therapy and finding another therapist to discuss things — including the possibility of continuing a personal relationship with him Even if you do pursue an intimate relationship, actual therapy cannot continue under these circumstances (no matter what your decision is.) Therapy is about sifting through feelings, and some distance on the therapist’s part is hugely necessary to facilitate empathic understanding. Being too close to any situation or anyone, where we have a strong emotional investment and an “agenda” (for instance, to keep the relationship going even if the other person isn’t sure), clouds our vision and gets in the way of putting the other person’s needs/interests in the foreground. It is just how we humans seem to operate, and why we go to a therapist in the first place, for an empathic perspective and clarity different than our own. Nothing clouds clarity more than passion! Someone so intimately involved with you cannot, I do not think, maintain a therapeutic perspective that puts your best interests first. Remember, as therapists our imperative, no matter what, is to “do no harm”. So perhaps put the question of “what do I about my therapist now?” aside and talk to one or two other professionals. I think if your therapist opposes this or tries to dissuade or stop you from getting the help you need (psychiatrist or other therapist), this is a red flag and you should distance yourself from him sooner rather than later. True love or care has nothing to hide, while acting out of self-interest means trying to manipulate or control the other person. If you’re starting to feel “hostage,” I suggest you talk to someone else (without even telling your current therapist) as soon as possible. This is not “betrayal,” this is appropriate. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not your friend. (You can even keep your current therapist’s identity anonymous while you discuss option with another professional.) Sometimes those of us with a history of abuse find intimacy very confusing and overwhelming, so a good therapist should help sift thru the best decision. Ultimately such decision is yours…but you sound confused and overwhelmed, and circumstances in therapy have changed, where such trauma work cannot continue. I suggest doing it soon as you can. Finally, regardless of whether or not your relationship with him is meant to be, your therapist is possibly breaking the law. In California he is taking a risk that could cause him to lose his license. If he is serious about this relationship, he should be willing to give up his license and possibly his career to take the risk, if he feels it’s worth it. Otherwise it will happen in secret, in the shadow as it were, which may leave you feeling smothered, shamed, controlled or even abused. If he wants this to continue in secret, to protect his professional status at your expense, that is probably the biggest red flag I can think of. True love may be worth a big gamble, but never at the expense of the other person’s well-being, especially in a profession where our oath — one I consider sacred — is to do no harm to those we are honored to see as clients. I hope this helps.
ElaineAugust 14th, 2016 at 10:08 AM
Thank you for your kind advice. Yes, I need to get away from him. Things are becoming more apparent to me all the time. I had mentioned in my last letter that I was suffering from anxiety from all of this, and that I had told my psychiatrist this. My psychiatrist tried to get me to talk about what was upsetting me, but I told him I couldn’t. I said little about the whole situation other than it was causing me to not sleep well, and was making me anxious. I did make the comment that he might not even believe me. After the appointment I did think about whether he would say anything to my therapist. They are all in the same practice. I hoped he wouldn’t, because I didn’t want my therapist to wonder if it was him I was referring to. Well, I had my last appointment this past Thursday. I knew right away he had either spoken to my doctor, or read my chart. I asked him point blank if he had spoken to my doctor. He hesitated, but then said yes. He also admitted that he could read my chart and read what my doctor had written. After this admission, he did some mighty fast back peddling. My entire session was spent with him defending himself and justifying how he chose to treat his patients. He touched on every subject and boundary that he had crossed, saying he was open and vulnerable with patients because that was his style. He also made the statement to me that he slept very well at night. He didn’t have a guilty conscious over anything that happened between us. We spoke of HIM our entire session. Then, when it was time for me to go he said, “Times up.” I said okay. I said, “Give me my receipt and I’ll go.” He sat in his chair staring deeply into my eyes. There was an awkward silence. I finally cocked my head to side, in effect saying..what is going on here? Finally he spoke low as he looked even more deeply into my eyes and said, “I don’t want you to go. I want to spend another hour with you.” I was floored!! After spending my hour defending his behavior with me, he then totally undid it all by telling me he didn’t want me to go. I was totally confused. That is what all of this has been for me, confusing and overwhelming. Therapy shouldn’t do you more harm than good. I don’t need this, his games and power plays. That is what he is doing. He is playing psychological games with me. He WANTS me to be dependent on him so he can push me over the edge into having sex with him. My last two relationships have been with narcissists who have manipulated and hurt me. How easy is it for a therapist that is a narcissist to get hold of vulnerable, abused women? He has done nothing but draw me in with his compliments, feeding me tidbits about his life, like he lives in a sexless marriage. I am an easy target as I have been a victim before of this abuse. I am also very kind, compassionate, and tender hearted. He is playing me and I can see that now. I am just not sure how to get away from him. He has all the power. He can write whatever he wants in my chart because he is the professional. I am the patient that has recently gone through a psychotic depressive episode that resulted in three hospital admissions. I have also been told I have borderline personality disorder, though this therapist told me he didn’t see it. But, he said, if I ever left him I would definitely have it as it would show that I once again became disenchanted with a male therapist and flew the coop. He has spoken to me many times about leaving him, telling me I can’t just leave, we have to talk. I can’t confront him. It would only make me look like a whack job. He would deny it and write in my chart that I am delusional. I have also read about gaslighting. I think this is what he may be doing to me. I guess I feel better in realizing he is playing games with me. I have learned to not doubt my instinct anymore. I might be mentally ill, but I have survived my life. I will survive him. I am going to lay low for the next few appointments and wait for my therapist to go on vacation, then speak to my psychiatrist and pray he believes me. I am afraid to report him though. I have heard that this doesn’t always go so well. Also, I know he will portray me as being crazy. He scares me. I am afraid of this situation. I just have to be strong and persevere. You said a huge red flag is if he wants to have sex with me in secret. I think that is the case. Anyways..thanks for listening. If you are a man of faith, will you pray for me? Thanks again.
ElaineAugust 14th, 2016 at 1:43 PM
He also made a thinly veiled threat. He knows I’ve been sexually abused, as we recently discussed it. He told me that at work he touched this female doctors lapel. The next day she accused him of trying to touch her breast. He said he spoke to another doctor about it. Then he looked me in the eye and said the other doctor told him..she had probably been sexually abused. If I tell anyone..he will say I’ve been sexually abused. His story was not lost on me. No one is going to believe me.
ElaineDecember 17th, 2016 at 6:34 PM
Hi. You might remember me from this summer and my earlier posts. I just wanted to let you know that you were right about everything. This male therapist had his own agenda. I’m sorry for the whacked out posts from earlier. This man had my head spinning so fast that I didn’t know which way was up. I finally became so overwrought that I ended it as you advised. When he finally held me and started kissing my lips I knew none of it was good. Days later I called him to stop therapy and he got angry and accused ME of kissing him. I hung up and never went back. I spoke to my psychiatrist about it all. (He is a man) He told me that sexual attraction sometimes happens. He referred me to a female therapist, also in that office. When I saw her and spoke about the male therapist, she refused to believe me. (They all work together) She also blamed it on me. She said due to my abusive past I had negative transference and projected this all onto the therapist, misunderstanding his intentions. I finally decided that in order to get closure I needed to write it all down and speak to him. I wanted to make sense of what happened to me. I wrote a letter and documented everything that happened, things he said and did, and how it made me feel. I confided in my new therapist about the appointment I had made and read her the letter. She said nothing. As soon as I left she called the male therapist and told him about the letter and appointment. He apparently became VERY upset and refused to see me. I felt very betrayed by this female therapist. Needless to say I never went back to her. I wrote HER a letter and told her what I thought. She actually called my phone and left a message saying I misunderstood her. (By her own admission she stated she was giving him a ‘heads up’) I have done much thinking in the interim. I have yet another new therapist. (One NOT in this practice) She has validated that what he did to me was wrong. I have decided to file a complaint against him. I have a written journal where I had documented much of what went on. I have reread it several times. I sound like a pathetic lovesick school girl. I am appalled at myself. I am embarrassed and feel like no one would ever believe me. I really do not want to cough up the journal to a bunch of strangers, but I also have this underlying anger at the entire situation. I wonder how I could have been so stupid. But I wanted to let you know that I appreciated your replies. I’m sorry for being so confused and rambling in my previous letters. Thanks again. Merry Christmas.
Darren HaberJanuary 18th, 2017 at 9:04 AM
Thanks Elaine, sorry for the delayed response. I am very glad you found a therapist outside of this practice which sounds very questionable. You were not confused or rambling by the way, only sounding understandably stressed out and traumatized. I can also understand feelings of betrayal towards the female therapist who, it sounded like, blindly defended her colleague in spite of really hearing you and his abuses. Meantime please try to give yourself a break (in regard to criticizing yourself for being a “Pathetic schoolgirl”); clients are in a highly vulnerable position, which is encouraged by the very setup of therapy. A clients’ soul is sacred when it is placed in my care, is how I view it at last, without that vulnerability no healing or change is possible, and a therapist who abuses that trust does something abusive akin, emotionally, to incest. Children often blame themselves for an abusive parent’s behavior even when they were powerless. I hope you find some sense of justice, healing and self-forgiveness with your new therapist. I am so impressed that you have decided to continue in spite of the terrible betrayals you have suffered. Thanks so much for the update. Warmest good wishes to you, Darren
KimMarch 1st, 2017 at 1:04 PM
I’ve decided to stop seeing this therapist, the emotional pain from what happened with him , has become to much, he sexually exploited me, I truly believe I was drugged and hypnotized by him. He was very controlling. He had me texting him all my thoughts, thinking and fantasies about him. This therapist was all about sex. I never got the real IFS therapy from him. He knew how to emotionally punish me if I didn’t stay in his control. He romanced me from the beginning, I fell in love with him and he wanted me to tell him how much I loved him.
It was a total sexual relationship with this therapist, he said he would show me what true loving is all about and the way it should be. He told me about another woman he had a sexual relationship with before me.
This sexual exploitation with me went on for months and all the loving he was giving me.
He has harmed me so bad, he caused attachment, love, dependency, I needed him.
So, for months I kept going back, I don’t know why I felt that need. I just did. Now, it’s only been a week and I’m feeling so sad and alone. I’m so depressed and feel worthless, my self esteem is gone. If I could I would just sleep all the time.
KimMarch 21st, 2017 at 11:00 AM
I’m so depressed now, I feel this therapist has totally ruined my trust in anyone, I feel so humiliated and like the biggest loser on Earth. I was OK before I saw this IFS therapist, he was seeing me for sex not therapy, he said he loved and cared about me, he had me texting him sick fantasies, he said he was the only stable relationship I have, this therapist played with my emotions, my love, he made me so dependant on him , I believe the drugging and hypnotism , why would he do that to me??
Go can I feel better? This therapist,played with my mind so bad, drugged, hypnotized, sexually exploited me to no end,
The GoodTherapy.org TeamMarch 22nd, 2017 at 7:28 AM
Thank you so much for reaching out. We want you to know there is help available, and you are capable of healing from this. Good therapists do exist, and we are here to help you find them!
To report this therapist, please contact your state, province, or country board of licensing to share your testimony and take action against him. If such action is taken and his license is suspended or revoked, and if this therapist is a member of GoodTherapy.org, please contact us as soon as possible, so we may take appropriate steps in removing him from our directory.
For resources that can help if you are in crisis or in danger of hurting yourself or others, you can call your local law enforcement, visit an emergency room near you, or find more assistance on this page: https://www.goodtherapy.org/in-crisis.html
To search for a quality mental health professional in your area, you can search the GoodTherapy.org directory here:https://www.goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
We wish you all the best in your search and your healing! ♥
The GoodTherapy.org Team
BeckyApril 11th, 2017 at 9:11 PM
I am so sorry for the agony you are now experiencing from the abuse you suffered from your psychologist. You have the right to be always safe and free from harm in a therapeutic relationship, there is a huge imbalance of power, how can we heal from our childhood wounds without trust and giving them our deepest thoughts, experiences and feelings. He abused that power, not just sexually but also emotionally and spiritually hence why the damage is so great, the abuse happens over time. As Darren mentioned in his original reply, “it’s akin to incest” this will make more sense to you while you heal. I do understand the pain and the utter despair you feel Kim, the conflicting feelings of love and hate, the realization that you were exploited is devastating, I too was sexually, emotionally and spiritually abused by my psychologist 2 years ago. I currently have a civil law suit in place and have made a complaint to the licensing board. You are probably wondering what to do now, who can you trust and if you can trust yourself. There are some truly amazing therapists out there that are passionate about their work and want us to overcome traumas and live the best life we can, I know that I would not have ever started healing without finding him. You will need help to get through this trauma and are likely to develop post traumatic stress disorder. Please know that this was NOT your fault in anyway whatsoever, and you are not alone.
Kimberley SApril 21st, 2017 at 6:12 AM
My therapist caused me a great great deal of harm. He sexually exploited me and so much more. He was very good at grooming me, he was so romantic and attentive. There was no therapy, it was all sex. And, so much more.
I did file a complaint. He was getting paid by the state to have sex with me, emotionally harm me to no end. And, he has a licence to do this, he is a sexual predator getting with government money.
He drugged and hypnotized me, he had me feeling like he was my God.
Um an emotional wreck now trying to make sense of it all
Darren HaberApril 21st, 2017 at 12:08 PM
Again I’m so sorry you’ve been through such hell. Absolutely inexcusable. All I can tell you is that there are some really good and caring therapists out there who will look out for your best interests. In the meantime I urge you not to isolate even though you’ve suffered such a terribly traumatic blow. Hopefully this therapist will be de-licensed sooner rather than later. Even jailed. Thx for your updates.
Kimberley SApril 21st, 2017 at 12:21 PM
Thank you, I did report him to the Dept of State, they are investigating him. I do need extensive therapy to help me with all the harm he has caused me. I don’t know who I can trust now. It’s really hard. I’m trying.
RobertAugust 9th, 2017 at 3:48 PM
Is there no one here that is going to direct these people to the police? The licensing board? Let me look up a few numbers for you. I am sorry this happened to you. Therapists are a dime a dozen. Look up a new
Kimberley SApril 29th, 2017 at 1:16 PM
Why did it take me so long? I still have confusing feelings, like after all the pain and emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation, sadness, loneliness, sexual exploitation, romancing, drugs, hypnotizing, gas lighting, how and why do I still have loving feelings for him, he betrayed my trust in the worst way. What’s wrong with me.
I’m trying to move on, but it is so hard. I have panic attacks now daily, I’ve lost all interest in everything. I’m really at a lost now.
KaylaJune 13th, 2017 at 12:33 AM
Am I allowed to talk about relationship with a therapist with a new therapist or are they required to report it. I still have good feelings toward the person and I don’t want to make trouble I just need to work through the fall out now that we are not together anymore. It feels very different from a normal break up, more like a lost part of myself too. It started a few months after the therapy ended, it was consensual. She has encouraged me to go back to therapy with a new therapist to work through things, but she requested/pleaded if I ever go to therapy to leave out the detail about the relationship being with a therapist because they are required to report. But I feel like I should be allowed to decide if its reported. She even asked if I would use a different name. Well when I’m emotional I lose track of the lies. I had to leave my last therapist because I slipped and changed the name of the person after a month of it being another name, and I had indicated they were in a mental health field and I just was paranoid if they were to look into it that they would know. Then I was too stressed by the lies to try again for a year. So I’m ready to try again with another therapist. The idea of talking about it and screwing it up is giving me panic attacks. I’m hellbent on protecting her. Pretty sure based on my first session last week that I have some codependency issues…
AnonymousJune 14th, 2017 at 4:42 AM
I saw your message and it resonated so deeply with me, I hope you don’t mind me sharing my experience with you which hopefully will help with your situation. Where I am located the mandatory notification by health practitioners is also required if they have formed a reasonable belief that another colleague has behaved unethically.
I too had a sexual relationship with my therapist. Protecting my previous therapist was my number one priority, I loved and adored him and put his needs before mine. My mental health deteriorated dramatically and I became very sick, I was in desperate need of help but felt I couldn’t trust other health practitioners due to the mandatory notification. I became extremely resentful and angry that I didn’t have a choice, how could they allow such a law that leaves us feeling completely isolated and confused. (Deep down I understood, it’s important to keep others safe, but during this time my priority is to keep the therapist safe, to take care of him) I researched for months looking for the right psychologist, I found a clinical psychologist that had 20 years experience, he saved my life. He gave me the choice, he knew that this was my last chance. I never mentioned my previous psychologist name. I truly don’t believe I could start healing unless I was able to trust my new psychologist which meant explaining everything in detail without panicking and worrying about the consequences. I did end up reporting my previous psychologist with the help of my new psychologist but it was my decision.
What happened to you matters, you are important and deserve all the help that is available to you, there are some really amazing and healing therapist out there. I hope you are able to find someone that you can trust.
KaylaJune 16th, 2017 at 8:54 AM
I appreciate hearing your story. The place I am in has been very lonely. Secrets can be suffocating. It feels worth it at the time, but afterwards I see the isolation this all created and I just feel broken and alone. It feels like a broken system from this place where I feel myself falling apart but because I still love her I can’t ask for help. I understand the reason, but I just feel like I’m being punished, and honestly I feel like I deserve it.
KaylaAugust 29th, 2017 at 2:39 PM
I’m proud to say that I had therapy and after a lot of hypothetical scenerios we found a way for me to say she was my therapist without her having mandatory reporting. Granted I feel like she doesn’t know yet for sure what her responsibilities are and maybe I should have waited until next week when she would know better… but I felt like if I didn’t say it I probably wasn’t going to go back because, what was the point. It sucked but at the same time that fist around my heart was finally gone and there was a tangible release from my ex, like the thing that bound me to her, made me dependent on her, it’s gone. I don’t need her to get through this anymore. I can do this without her. Just thought I would share the good news. I know that the weight of the loss will hit me eventually but for now I just am enjoying the feeling of knowing I’m finally free from the burden of silence. Thank you for your support, I don’t know if I would have been able to get through the last few months without this outlet.
AnonymousAugust 29th, 2017 at 6:03 PM
Oh Kayla, I am so happy for you… that is wonderful news and thanks for sharing, I’m thrilled and relieved now that you can focus on you properly going forward. I know how big of a deal this is, this is one massive step and I am so proud of you, you are strong and you will get through this. Just keep reminding yourself that you have the power! I did provide my email address to you in my last comment but it seems that Goodtherapy deleted those details before they approved it, I do understand it’s to keep us all safe, it is a public forum. So please keep in touch, I will still be here whenever you need to talk or if you have any questions. This is just the start of your recovery journey, and you will be faced with many more emotions and questions (I know, more emotions… how is that even possible!!). Yes you can do this without her, I’m 100% sure of it… you will probably have days when you relapse and that’s ok, just keep reminding yourself the progression you have already made, it can be blurred at times. You are right, you are finally free from the suffocating isolation and silence and you keep enjoying that feeling it’s been a long time that you have been suffering… no more Kayla!! No need to thank me, as I have said before I care about you and your situation and I’m happy I was able to support you in some way. Again congratulations!!! Talk to you soon.
AnonymousJune 21st, 2017 at 5:45 PM
I can completely understand the grief and pain you are feeling, as much as you feel alone please know that you are not. I hope you have someone close to you that you are able to confide in and I also hope you stay in touch on here. You don’t need someone telling you what is right or wrong, you need someone that can understand your experience and situation that will help guide you through your emotions and sensations as you start trying to heal from this trauma. I understand that you still love your ex therapist and therefore you need to protect her but I also hope you can see that time won’t heal your wounds as this type relationship triggers deep seated feelings and pain from childhood. This is the reason why I wanted to share my experience with you, it’s a very short version but just wanted you to know that there is hope. Where are you located Kayla? I am located in Australia. Please know that reporting is completely your decision, even if another therapist forms a reasonable belief that a colleague has behaved unethically and decides to complete a mandatory notification, what evidence does the board have to conduct an investigation on your ex therapist if you choose not to provide a statement of events or evidence? The new therapist has only made a reasonable belief. The therapist job is to listen to your fears and pain and help guide you through, completing a mandatory notification would be doing the opposite and causing you not to trust further. When I would speak of my ex therapist, I just called him “The therapist” just so I wouldn’t speak of his name. I really hope this helps you Kayla. Hope to hear from you soon!
KaylaJune 22nd, 2017 at 8:06 PM
Hi again. I was glad to hear from you. I’m in the United States. I cannot even begin to express the many layers of screwed up things have become. Like even attempting to type a smidgen of what’s happened…its just so damn complicated, I don’t know where to start. I became a little over focused on this relationship and let everyone and everything else fall away. Now that the relationship is over, I’m left with nothing. I have my sister but she would report her so all I can tell her is that my friend and I are drifting apart and it makes me sad. Kinda doesn’t do the situation justice. I was supposed to have therapy this week but it was canceled 15 minutes before the appointment and it sent me into a kind of tailspin, I was counting on it. So when I bottomed out this week and was trying to decide if I needed to be hospitalized or was even willing to be, the only person I had to turn to was my ex, the one I’m not over and who is now with someone else which is what triggered this glorious mental breakdown in the first place, so things are a little tricky. I never would have imagined I would be this person for so many reasons. But alas here we are. I can see how pathetic I am being and I just cant shake it. But when it comes down to it she is my best friend, even if the relationship is slowly killing me. I kinda saw it as we were forever bound by this bad thing we did. But I guess maybe just I am tied to that guilt, and that idea hurts a lot.
AnonymousJune 24th, 2017 at 5:42 AM
So glad to hear from you. Yes it feels so complex hence why we feel so alone, no one can truly understand the conflicting feelings and the agony that we face every day. I’m sorry that you have no one to confide in, that is such a massive part in your healing, so please keep talking on here, you need to be able to talk about what happened to you. It is tricky and we all have different stories but have the same feelings and pain once the relationship is over. It is normal for us to get over focused with our ex therapist, we trusted them with our deepest thoughts and feelings and they were not judgemental and they listened to us. If we never had support in the past this relationship brought us hope, therefore they become very important in our lives and we become dependant on them. You are not pathetic and it is definitely something that you can’t just shake off, your feelings and reactions are completely normal for what you have endured, you invested everything into this relationship and I could imagine that you have lost whatever self esteem and self worth that you had. I’m sorry that your new therapist cancelled 15mins before your appointment, I can understand that it would have put you in a tailspin as it would have done for me. In regards to being hospitalized, I also became extremely close to admitting myself, my biggest fear was losing control is that the same for you? I can relate to you saying ” I never would have imagined I would be this person for so many reasons” We will never be who we were before this trauma, it changes you forever, but that’s not a bad thing. But to start recovering you need more support networks in your life and I’m so glad you took the step to even make an appointment with a therapist, it’s scary, to put yourself back out there again with hope that they hold your feelings and pain respectfully. I couldn’t remove my ex therapist out of my life for a year and a half, I too was hell bent on protecting him and I truly felt I wouldn’t survive if he wasn’t in my life somehow, so I understand your ambivalence. The bond you feel with her is incredibly strong, can be just like a trauma bond which is more intense then just a healthy bond that you feel with other partners. I hope you can begin to trust your feelings and your body, it tells you so much more than anything else, please don’t criticize it and know that whatever reaction you get, it is perfectly normal and significant. Hope to talk to you soon.
KaylaJuly 5th, 2017 at 11:32 PM
I keep bouncing between sad and hurt and angry. I prefer the days that I felt angry because that was a less painful emotion for me. I just wish that I knew if the things I’m feeling are normal for a breakup or if they are worse because of how our relationship started. I don’t know why it feels like its important for me to know the difference, probably because I know I can’t know. I guess I wanna know if I’m mad at the person I’ve been in love with for 5 years or if I’m mad at the therapist who I fell in love with. These 2 things seem very different sometimes. Perspective matters. This week I feel very sad that my birthday is coming up (which is also our anniversary) and I’m getting closer to 30 and the only relationship I have been in since I was 15 is with my married therapist for more than 4 years. I have nothing to compare it to, but its been months since she told me she was leaving her spouse for another other woman and broke my heart into little tiny pieces. She only met this new person recently… But I’d rather not go down that road tonight. Anyway, I just thought I would feel better by now. I mean sometimes I can go 3 days without talking to her without having a panic attack, which I guess is progress. But I hoped for more. I spent about 4 hours completely distressed by my need to text her a few days ago, but since I’m trying to not talk to her 2 days in a row, I wouldn’t let myself do it. Finally I realized that not sending a message was hurting my brain more than just doing it and moving on with my day, so I talked to her for 10 minutes and then I was able to function. I’m sick of someone who doesn’t even want me me anymore having that much power over me. Anyway, I haven’t felt as destructively out of control since my last message. So I guess that’s progress too. Sometimes I wonder if the only reason she is still being nice to me is because she is afraid I’ll report her. A week before she told me about the other woman she called and asked if she ruined my life and if I’d ever report her. At the time I was still looking at it without seeing what we were so I reassured her I couldn’t imagine a scenario where I would be hurt enough to report her. Little did I know this happens and everything between us seems like it might not have been what I thought it was. This has tainted every good thing there ever was about us. And now I just don’t know. I still am not willing to report her but I wish I knew what was real.
AnonymousJuly 8th, 2017 at 7:04 AM
I understand why you need closure regarding this relationship. If this was just a normal break up you would feel a bit of hope, that as painful as it is now you would soon move on and develop other relationships, however right now you are unable to see a way out and feel as though you are trapped and unable to move forward, you probably feel she is the only one that gets you and that she is the only one that can soothe your pain. You know deep down that this therapist has caused you a great deal of harm therefore you would feel immense confusion and feelings of defectiveness that you still love and care about her. You are beginning to question what was real in this relationship, it’s a very painful process as you ruminate over old memories. Please don’t be too harsh with yourself while you do this, you did nothing wrong all you did was fall in love with someone that you believed would never hurt you. Our situation is very complex which makes us question everything about ourselves, you can know the difference and the fact you are even putting it out there shows that you know that something is wrong and different with this relationship. I am married and in the beginning of my healing process I had the same thoughts as you. There is a massive power imbalance in a therapist/patient relationship, we are vulnerable and need help and care, that is the reason why we went there in the first place, for help… from the beginning of this relationship we have known that it is wrong and that they can lose their license or worst they could go to jail if we talk to anyone about it, therefore we become isolated and we then put their needs before ours (like a parent). The answer to your question is “be mad with the therapist you fell in love with” It was her duty to keep you safe from harm, it is her responsibility to keep sex out of therapy as the loving feelings you felt for her were more stemming from your childhood. This is why it is so complex. Your healing journey will be as long as it needs to be, as I said before this triggers deep seated feelings and pain from childhood, so please don’t put extra pressure on yourself to get better faster or the need to progress further than where you are now. You do what you need to survive in the present, it is now up to your new therapist to help guide you and build up your self-worth and self-esteem. I believed that my ex therapist was being nice to me as he feared me, that he knew that if he was in my life I would never report him, that is one of the biggest reasons I took the massive step and ended the relationship entirely, I was never able to trust or believe him that he “cared for me and wanted me in his life”. This was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, It was like a cocaine addiction (never tried drugs, but my new therapist warned me before I did it). I’m so sorry that the anniversary to the trauma is on your birthday, not a nice thing to remember on your birthday. Also, just because you promised that you would never report her doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind later on… We have the right to change our mind at any time, don’t feel guilty if you change your mind one day. Look after yourself, talk to you soon!
KaylaJuly 10th, 2017 at 11:53 PM
Thank you. You seem to understand my experience so well. Its reassuring to know that I don’t have to be alone in this for the first time in 5 years. Being able to talk about it is so liberating and terrifying at the same time. I honestly have had the thought several times while reading your replies, “could this possibly be my ex therapist responding to these because she gets it.” I realize now that you are right, it feels like she is the only one who can ever understand me and its nice to know that maybe she is not.
AnonymousJuly 12th, 2017 at 9:30 PM
Oh Kayla, I’m so sorry you have been dealing with this on your own for 5 years, you are incredibly resilient and strong as much as you don’t believe that right now, you are!!!
Yes, your experience is also my experience so I do completely understand. I’m glad that you are talking about it… I know that it’s complex and difficult with so many layers, but I hope you can feel comfortable enough to talk through it as much as possible. I can relate to the fear, I felt as though I was betraying my ex therapist for writing about my experience on a forum before I saw my new psychologist. I was terrified that he would abandon me. If you have any questions, please ask… I’m happy to help if I can. Talk soon. Becky
KaylaJuly 18th, 2017 at 8:22 PM
How does the issue with trust get any better. When I talk to my new therapist, sometimes I let things out like about this forum as being helpful and then I just feel like i have to back pedal because I told her small things that I was afraid she could somehow find this. I have given no indication that its my ex therapist that we are talking about but I just feel so cautious. She commented on my skills at avoiding talking about what my experience is in all this while still giving enough information where it seems like I’m talking about it. My ex had a little paper she would hold up in therapy when I was being avoidant. One side said avoidant, the other side said avoidant but funny. I miss that. I don’t trust the new therapist, I don’t trust myself to not say anything. I don’t trust my ex and she used to be the person I trusted more than anyone who has ever been in my life. I don’t feel like I trust anyone and that just doesn’t look like it is going to change any time soon. Also, I haven’t talked to the ex for 7 days which is the longest we have gone in our entire time since like 6 months before we were intimate. I removed her from social media. I told her I needed time and not to contact me until I am tell her I’m ready. Then I deleted her phone number after writing it down on a paper I put somewhere very difficult to get to making it a multi step process to go back. I feel like I’m dying because I don’t know how long I’m cutting her off for. It feels like this might be the big one. When she told me she was leaving her wife I was sad for us both because she didn’t know yet, but she was going to lose us both. So why go back when its inevitable that I leave. And the world now, it just feels empty. Every time I want to contact her I remind myself that the entire time she has claimed to love me she has loved someone else more. Which just makes me feel sad and betrayed, but it solidifies the conviction that maybe this is right. But I just feel so alone cuz who do I get to share my brain with? There are good things in there sometimes, things I would casually text her. Now they just well up in my throat and rot. Anyway, I sleep more lately so I dont have to be awake thinking of what I lost and wondering if she is safe. She is a bit of a suicide risk right now. My goal is to maintain no contact until I want to talk to her, not need to or feel like I have to. It feels like a long way off. Part of me hopes that for a little bit she feels the loss of me. She thanks me for always being the constant while everything else is falling apart. Well I have felt the pain of losing her every day for months. She has hurt from losing other things, but she has never had to grieve the loss of me, she just keeps taking for granted that I am not going anywhere. I know I have been that person, but maybe I’m not anymore. In which case I feel a little lost because then who am I?
AnonymousJuly 22nd, 2017 at 6:39 AM
Losing trust in yourself as well as others is frightening, makes you feel that more alone and extremely hypervigilant. You mentioned being avoidant, me as well… and as a result we tend to deal with our feelings and situations on our own. We would never be in a position of complete vulnerability until we meet our therapist. In regards to the trust getting better, trust has to be earnt and your new therapist knows that however, she is not aware of the huge breach of trust that was conducted by your ex therapist. I truly believe and only from experience that you will not be able to stop back pedaling and worrying until the day that you can tell your new therapist what has happened to you. She has to show you that you can trust her which means putting your needs, feelings and fears before a mandatory notification process. When I divulged what happened to me to my therapist I was in a heighten state of anxiety thinking that I had just ruined my ex therapist life which I loved and adored at the time, I truly believed that my new therapist had the duty to report professional misconduct no matter what the cost to me, but he didn’t as he knew that if he did he would lose my trust and my trust in any medical practitioner in the future. This forum isn’t that easy to find so please don’t be worried that it will be found by your new therapist or ex therapist, just to relieve some of your anxiety. Congratulations for taking a massive step and not being in contact with your ex therapist for 7 days, you are very logical and aware of what the future holds with your ex therapist, however that doesn’t touch how you feel deep down… Please do not beat yourself up should you get back in contact with her, it is very normal and part of the trauma bond that this relationship brings. I really hope you can work on your support network more and keep going to your therapist to work on you, properly and fully… There will always be nice memories that we will hold which keeps us bound to them, we tend to forget the bad things and hold onto the good. I wanted my therapist to feel the loss of me as well, but during my recovery I realized that love is not how he treated me, I would never have done what he did to me. You should feel betrayed and gutted for what has happened to you, you may struggle with your identity as well, but know that you are perfect exactly how you are and you don’t need to be anyone else, you will soon learn that vulnerability isn’t scary and can make future or current relationships deeper and more meaningful. Keep looking after yourself and talk to you soon. Becky
KaylaJuly 28th, 2017 at 6:42 PM
I went 2 weeks without talking to her and by the last day I was in meltdown mode with indecision and I caved and I reached out. And she rejected me. She doesn’t know if she wants me in her life right now. I told her that is a decision because I’ve been waiting on her for the better part of 5 years it hurts more to wait than to just be done with it. So its done. Then she convinced me to give her time because 5 years is a long time to just cut someone out of your life. Why can’t I ever just let it be done? As for where I am at on reporting. I feel like the only reason to report her would be if I worried if it would happen again, and I don’t believe it will. But I think this whole thing is screwed up and I’m confused and hurt. I fluctuate between wanting to hurt her back or hurt myself. I’m starting to believe I’ll never forgive her or myself. I hate that I did what I did. I hate that I justified it as ok. I hate that I could cry whenever we were intimate for years and not see that this was doing me more harm than good. I feel like that doesn’t bode well from future intimate relationships. I’m drinking a lot to shut down my brain and I know I’m headed down a dark road but I don’t care that much. I just want it to stop feeling like this. And I can’t stop resenting her knowing that she is in love with someone else, again, and that she isn’t thinking about me and I can’t get it all out of my head. And I worry I’ll accidentally let it slip in therapy how we me, so it makes me feel like I need to be more careful about what I say and I’m already careful. Anyway. That’s the update. I appreciate this outlet. It helps bridge the gap between therapy cuz that’s the only other time I say anything to anyone.
AnonymousAugust 3rd, 2017 at 4:39 AM
Oh Kayla, I’m so glad you are talking on here and I really hope you know that I am here for you… I know we don’t know each other but I care about you and your situation. I know how confused you must be feeling. I need you to know that what she has done and is still doing to you is beyond evil, it’s the only way to describe it, sexual misconduct is a complete understatement for what has really happened. 2 weeks is amazing, just know that every time you put up boundaries the longer the time before you make contact. My first “No contact” was exactly 2 weeks as well. My next one was 5 weeks and the last one… well 8 months to today with a law suit and an investigation with the psychology board in progress. The main reason that I made the complaint to the board was not completely for the safety of others, as much as it was one reason my main reason was for him to know that I was not the perfect target, that I was important, that I mattered and I was not going to nurse my own wounds as well as his, I have done that for my entire life and it was time to break this pattern. I was hoping that you were able to create a support network before going full “no contact” That probably doesn’t make sense, but as this relationship creates total isolation I don’t want you to end up not having anyone that you can trust and you can talk too, but know I am here in the meantime. Please don’t hate yourself this is not your fault in anyway. Please don’t lose hope in future relationships, know that going forward with the right support you will find amazing and very fulfilling relationships and I can vouch for that, I am still healing and have not fully recovered and I can already see that my relationships are real and so much deeper than before. I’m so sorry you need to numb out, I know the pain you are trying to escape from… Please keep doing what you have too and keep reaching out, please don’t stop. Talk to you soon. Becky
KaylaAugust 12th, 2017 at 6:31 PM
I miss having someone to talk to. I’m lonely but I’m trying to stay busy at this point. The negative thoughts just ruminate. I’m trying to determine what exactly I want from, well anything. I keep researching this kind of relationship and trying to figure out how I’m supposed to feel or whats next. I guess that’s what I wanted to know. But I’m starting to accept that this is my own process and its not going to follow any sort of timeline or outcome that I find online. I just wanted to know that it will end mostly I think, that this is going to pass and that there is life after this mess, which I’m starting to believe. Still hard to understand how someone who I generally perceived as supportive and positive in my life for a long time now seems to be the cause of my brain going to shit. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I talk to my therapist and she reports her what would happen. It didn’t sound good. And I regret our relationship but I don’t want to ruin her life. Mine feels like its in shambles but it was when she met me too. As soon as it felt like protecting her was a choice my brain stopped feeling so chaotic for a little while. I resent the fact that I can’t talk to my therapist about it. Kinda makes it feel like a waste of time to go but maybe she can help patch me up and give me the tools to fix myself. She asked who I trust in my life and really, I trust no one. It has always been hard to trust and it kind of sucks that the first person I trusted with all of my messed up brain fixed it, and then proceeded to screw it up. But I keep going back to the part where she fixed it and for that I feel grateful. And then the cycle of acceptance, doubt and resentment continues. It will be fine. just learning to live with the mess I created without the support of the person who helped make it bearable. Also I’m skilled with compartmentalizing things and I’m resisting the urge to stuff this down because I know it will resurface eventually. But it sure would make my life easier now. Thats the update.
KaylaAugust 17th, 2017 at 6:51 PM
Becky, I feel like I made a mistake. I am in over my head and I want it all to stop moving. I am so completely alone most of the time and it feels like my head is exploding. I realized that I am leaning towards eventually telling my therapist and then the panic attacks started and I feel like I might not be ok if she would report her without my permission. Like I don’t know if I would survive a betrayal of that magnitude. Which kinda means I’m stuck. Cuz how do I ever risk giving anyone that kind of power. And then I feel a bit trapped. Which is where I am now.
AnonymousAugust 18th, 2017 at 4:47 AM
I can completely relate to the loneliness you feel Kayla, but to be honest I believe you are and have been more isolated than what I was. I had the support of my mum from the moment the abuse began, just having that guidance helped me understand more what was happening to me, even though she was uneducated in therapist abuse, she could give me an outside view which was very beneficial at the time. I am a very logical and as a result I researched all that I could about what my therapist did to me, the research helped me see the manipulation which I confronted him about, but it didn’t help the pure agony I was feeling every day, I lost trust however I couldn’t lose him. I am happy to hear that you accept your own process and not allowing to be pressured to “get better quicker”. Yes, I agree that you would be very good at compartmentalizing things, and I also believe that when other traumatic events happened in your past you were able to suppress it or block it out to cope. I know you are completely traumatized and confused about the mandatory notification, but I really hope you can forget about this right now and focus on you, your new therapist must earn your trust, all she needs to know is that someone that you trusted with your life has abused you in the worst way imaginable. It probably does feel that it is a waste of time going to your new therapist as previous trauma has been activated by your ex therapist and you feel that you are unable to address that issue, however if your new therapist is able to focus on your emotions and bring in somatic techniques this could be very helpful to you, as it was for me but she may have another technique that could be more useful to you. How many times a week do you see your new therapist? I need you to say, “In my defense” In my defense I had the right to be safe from harm, in my defense I was vulnerable which is the result of therapy and is not a weakness, please add to this when you can as you did not in any way create what happened to you. Please know you have not made a mistake, I am so glad you are going to therapy. I am here anytime to talk, I know you feel alone but I am here… if you can identify what is causing you panic attacks please do everything possible to catch it before it takes over, as soon as you start thinking about the reporting process, remind yourself that you have the power. Most people that don’t understand what we have been through are quick to add their comments, I know they have good intentions however they do not understand the soul murder and the rejection that we feel, we are left drowning and terrified of our future, I hope you will not allow anyone to minimize what you have and are going through Kayla. Again, I will always be here for you. When I first started seeing my new psychologist he mentioned the below:
Seeds, if you can focus on some of these daily it can really help your recovery.
Talk to you soon Kayla, keep looking after yourself.
KaylaAugust 20th, 2017 at 7:47 PM
For now I am going once every 1-2 weeks. This last stretch will be 2 weeks, that was too long, I cracked. I stopped functioning. My therapist feels I am not great at identifying my feelings because I do not like to talk about them. Except on the internet to strangers I guess. Its easier to be anonymous than to sit in a room with someone and tell them you’re falling apart. I feel like I don’t want to start something that is going to fester when I leave the session. I’m not good at therapy. I’m thinking about adjusting meds but I don’t trust my current provider because she pulled me off meds in ways I consider irresponsible for reasons I disagree with. But I struggle with starting new providers. Thank you for replying Becky. This would be much harder all by myself.
For the record, the ex therapist and I, we didn’t start out bad. I believe she wanted to help me and sh@t just got out of control. It got personal when I tried to kill myself, and she didn’t want to abandon me because it took so long for me to be able to trust her enough to talk about things and I was in crisis. And honestly, after I attempted I was so afraid she would abandon me that I told her everything I’d ever held back and she knew it was different level of honesty. It was very productive therapy, I’d never trusted anyone so completely. but its where things started to get out of whack, when the power imbalance becomes so obvious in hindsight. We terminated therapy 6 months later because I didn’t need it anymore and I was moving away soon. All the relationship stuff started shortly after we were no longer seeing each other in therapy for what it is worth. I felt so incredibly special for so long because she still wanted me around after therapy even though it was not allowed that I didn’t really stop to consider why it is not allowed until it ended 5 years later. The end. It just needed to be said once. And I think part of processing is looking at where things went wrong. And since you are on this journey with me I thought I’d share. I wish this was more private, I feel so exposed. But if it was private you wouldn’t have seen my post and I’d be doing this all by myself, so I guess I’ll just keep going. Thank you Becky, I will try to apply some of the things you recommend. I finally have therapy tuesday. I’ll tell her I need more frequent sessions because I’m lacking a solid support system. I think until my brain slows down it would be a good idea. Its the chaos in my head that makes it scary sometimes. The medication my presciber decided I didn’t need is the only med of many that I have tried that made my brain less chaotic and thoughts less fragmented. Its hard to slow things down enough to choose a thought to address sometimes. I never intend to write this much…
AnonymousAugust 21st, 2017 at 4:47 PM
Absolutely if you can see your new psychologist weekly it can really help, I was the same, I kept trying to extend the time between seeing my new psychologist but couldn’t understand why I would fall apart after a week, I was always so good with dealing with stuff on my own, but this time it was different I was lucky to survive 3 days, the other 4 days was hell. Shame on your psychiatrist, I would definitely go with your gut and find another psychiatrist and go back onto the meds that gave you relief, you have every reason not to trust… I found that the right medication helped me immensely in my recovery so please find a good psychiatrist and go with your gut, if you don’t like the one you find, find another one… sounds draining but worth it if you can feel safe that is your number 1 priority. Yes it is very exposing giving so much information on a public forum you can feel very vulnerable even though you are “anonymous” this is still your life and the pain is real. If you would like I could give you my email address to make it more private? I was going to suggest it sooner but wanted to wait till you were comfortable, completely up to you otherwise happy to still be there for you on here. The relationship with the ex therapist always starts off wonderful, so did mine… he didn’t force me to start the relationship, I fell in love with him before anything happened, I thought I was able to give consent, I had no idea about transference at that stage and didn’t understand why him having a sexual relationship with me was sexual abuse. I am glad that you feel you can open up on here. Will talk to you soon. Becky
KaylaAugust 25th, 2017 at 7:42 PM
Becky, if you are willing I’d like to email you. I don’t like going so much into things I have never talked about so publicly. I am working on some strategies to help stop ruminating about everything. It talked to her for the first time in a month. I thought I was ready. I was fine for a day. Then I was in a familiar rut. It was like 3 sentences each, texting. nothing deep. I want to go to her apartment and look her in the face and ask her what we were. I want her to tell me it was real and she wasn’t taking advantage of me. I want her to say it. Because I don’t know what to believe anymore. She said she never lies to me, I mean she obviously omits a lot… And I know that it may seem like it wouldn’t mean anything, but she always used to make me feel safe and cared for and I want to feel that for just a little bit again.
AnonymousAugust 29th, 2017 at 3:50 AM
Of course, I completely understand and I would feel just as vulnerable… there would be a natural hesitance with the amount of detail that you post on this forum, as much as you can logically say that it’s safe, deep down it’s a different story. 1 month is amazing Kayla, that is a massive step to go that long without contact I know it would have a difficult for you. Closure, that is difficult… I chased it for so long as well and to be very honest I never got it. I always gave him the benefit of the doubt, surely, he didn’t mean to hurt me, he cared for me and never judged my thoughts even when they were scary and strange at times. We need love, we need to be cared for, we are not meant to be alone and isolated… we need people but this type of relationship makes us feel that our natural needs are wrong and we are to blame for our neediness.
As soon as we confront our ex therapist, it puts us again in a position of further manipulation and vulnerability. But saying that I get how intense it feels to get the closure no matter what the cost, especially when you have given her everything, all of you and still it wasn’t enough. I’m glad you have some strategies to help you to stop ruminating.
Talk to you soon.
KaylaSeptember 2nd, 2017 at 5:47 PM
Oops my posts are jumping all over the page. So I kinda thought that maybe the liberating feeling of earlier this week would carry over a little longer. But I’m relapsing and talking to her a little more this week and I feel like shit afterwards because it always just reminds me that I wasn’t really as important to her as she was to me and then I get confused and a little sad. And the conversation for me always just hangs there incomplete and one of us always shut it down with nothing really said. I don’t know, I think I just miss having a friend to talk to at the end of the day. Letting go is hard stuff. Not for her it seems, just for me. I guess its easy if you already love 1 or2 other people by the time I catch on…ass. In other news, my main here support person this summer is moving a couple hours away tomorrow. I didn’t tell her things about this but we talk and she’s the only person I hang out with sometimes, so that is a bit unideal. I know I need to step out of my comfort zone and meet people but am a little raw and wary of people who want to know me. So I guess it’s just me and the dog a while longer. But my dog is learning new tricks and going on lots of walks and keeping me going. So that counts for something. That’s the weekend update.
KaylaSeptember 7th, 2017 at 11:41 PM
I’m so damn confused. In therapy I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was manipulated because suggesting she would kill herself if I ever told anyone about her would be manipulative. Buttttt if its a true statement based on the feeling in the moment is it still manipulation or is it honesty? I mean I feel like manipulation requires more premeditation. I looked her up on social media cuz I’m a masochist and she was saying lovey things about her new girlfriend and I was so angry and hurt. And then she talked to me today and I can’t be angry with her because it would be like kicking a puppy. So I don’t know what is real and what is not. I don’t know if I trust my old therapist or my new therapist, do I trust what I knew to be true for 5 years or believe that it wasn’t what I thought it was? Its kind of a mess.
In another direction… I accept that some responsibility lies with me. And and I know I deserve whatever happens, but we were talking because I was getting a heads up that she told her wife about me. Her wife knows me. I’m freaking out in anticipation of the reaction. The ex said her wife would never say anything to me but her wife has yelled at me for small things before so I don’t see why she would hold back now when I’ve done something horribly wrong. The idea of the conversation makes me wanna hurt myself. I don’t think it will be a physical confrontation because I live far away but there is a possibility. I always felt guilty about the affair part of the relationship but I never stopped so I deserve whatever it will be. I’m so ashamed. I decided to go away for the weekend because I am a chicken. I may deserve it but it doesn’t mean I’m going to sit around and wait for the ax to fall. I’m really sick of feeling like my world is exploding. And I’m sick of feeling like I deserve it. I wish none of this had ever happened. I’m so tired of feeling bad. ***just to clarify I am safe, well safe from myself. Just frustrated and exhausted and jumpy.
AnonymousSeptember 13th, 2017 at 5:03 AM
So sorry for the delay in replying to you, I have been away on holidays. I did the same Kayla, I looked up my old therapist on social media, I wouldn’t say that I was a masochist as a result and I don’t believe you are either. Please try and be kind to yourself, this is a very difficult and unique process. Manipulation is done very subtly, we believe that they care for us and wouldn’t do something so evil intentionally. It is emotional abuse. Psychologist are in power and know our vulnerabilities and some use it against us. I am very saddened that she said she would “kill herself” if you told anyone. That is the best way to silence anyone let alone being a vulnerability of yours. Her livelihood is on the line, she will do anything it takes to keep her good reputation even if it means keeping you emotionally hostage. Her comment was manipulation, my ex therapist said something very similar. I feel that she is keeping you highly anxious, another manipulative tactic. She is a wolf in sheep’s clothing hence why it feels you would be “kicking a puppy” if you became angry at her. Her wife should see the breach of trust but again she is making you take full responsibility for her actions. In the place I am now, I am unable to take any responsibility for what happened, he knew me deeply and looking back I can see all the manipulation. Have you done any reading on Narcissism? This really helped me to understand another type of personality as I couldn’t get my head around anyone putting their needs before others, even if it meant destroying them. It means nothing if the therapeutic relationship was finished before the social/sexual relationship started, they still can manipulate you as you hold them in high esteem and would protect them no matter what. Please don’t take full responsibility for the “affair” this was abuse of power in the worst possible way. I know how it feels to feel the shame, I still feel it but in a different way to you. You are not a chicken, feeling and being safe is your top priority, whatever makes your shoulders relax a little… keep doing. Please trust your new therapist and keep going, she will help you unravel what has happened to you. I’m glad you are safe, being on edge is completely normal for the trauma you have endured. Talk to you soon. Becky
KaylaSeptember 20th, 2017 at 10:22 PM
Hi. So I have kind of plateaued at being unwilling to fully accept that this was abuse. I feel like I can’t move forward and I can’t move backwards, I’m just here. My therapist is trying to get me to see this as abuse. She was a little too forceful this week and I had an instant feeling of withdrawing again. She said that my ex doesn’t care how I”m doing because she never cared about me and she has never loved me. She said it very assertively and a bit loudly and i know I need to hear it, but I don’t believe it. I am taking it with a grain of salt, I can be like talking to a wall and I’m sure its frustrating that no matter what I say if I portray the ex in a negative light I automatically defend her or find a way to explain it in a way that makes it my fault. I see it myself doing it, but I don’t know how to stop cuz I’ve believed it for so long. I need to believe that she loved me because the alternative is unfathomable. I looking into narcissism. It is quite possible she is a covert narcissist. Also I’ve been looking at a possible leave of absence or decrease in hours at work to participate in an outpatient program that would be 4-5 days a week. I need something bigger than therapy and since I am unwilling to confide in those that would be me support people I need to find a different support system. Thats where I’m at.
kaylaSeptember 29th, 2017 at 7:01 PM
So I think I wore myself out. The more I tried to see what happened as abuse the more chaotic my brain got and the more I obsessed about finding all the ways my behavior could also have been considered abusive. Then it became easier to think maybe I was the abuser but the idea didn’t make me like myself very much. I was very distressed by the idea my therapist put in my head that she never loved me so I asked my ex if it was true. She said she had loved me very much and I believed her and my brain instantly relaxed. I know it seems silly to trust that and I accept that asking was simply placating myself. But if it gives me peace, oh well. I feel like its easier to accept that we both had fault in this and just let it go than to continue to analyze it when analyzing it hurts and confuses me. I feel like in my therapist’s eyes this is a step backwards, she really wanted me to see that it was abusive. Maybe it’s just denial. Idk. I couldn’t continue the way I was going. I think I need to take a break from focusing on us and what happened and maybe take some time to think about myself and figure out where I go from here. The change of focus is probably temporary. Stray memories still trigger strong emotions which makes me worry I’m just compartmentalizing and it will all resurface full force down the road as things have done before. But for now it is a welcome change.
KaylaOctober 26th, 2017 at 8:57 PM
So I went through the assessment process for a DBT program but they wanted me to commit 3 hrs 3 days a week for 9-12 months. I have an inconsistent schedule and I can’t do that. I asked if I could do the 1 day a week program and they said I think about suicide too much to be in the 1 day a week program so they wont be able to take me. Feels a little silly to me, to be turned away from getting help because your brain is too broken. So my meds got tweaked and I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. They are going to send me referrals to other programs.
My therapist expressed frustration yesterday that I can’t go no contact with my ex and every time I talk to her I get sucked back in. We don’t talk a lot but a little once a week the last few weeks. This historically been a hard time of year for both of us so its not ideal timing to eliminate contact. Anyway I committed my brain to not talking to her for at least 2 weeks yesterday. Then I wake up this morning and I have a distressed emotional voicemail my ex left in the middle of the night. I spent a while thinking she was dead while I tried to get a hold of her. When I heard back from her she was alive but had planned on killing herself and wrote a note and everything. I lost a lot of hope that I will ever be able to let her go and trust that she will not die. I am so confused. She keeps apologizing for how she abandoned me without explanation. Its a bit late honey. Part of me forgives her. Part of me is angry that she did something she knew would destroy me and her guilt is more important than giving me the safe space where I can try to fix myself and not worry about her safety. I told her I can forgive her but that doesn’t change where we are. The only reason I kinda forgive her is because she had to really hurt me to get me to let go. If she hadn’t, I’d still be who I was 6 months ago. That person was blind to everything but one person. Now the world has potential again. So thats the update. I know its an old threadd. It just helps me process a little I think.
AnonymousOctober 29th, 2017 at 4:59 AM
Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I have been doing a weekly CBT course to assist my recovery, the law suit and complaint to the board is still in progress which I have been required to provide further information. The DBT program sounds like it would help you immensely especially in this stage of your recovery. I’m sorry that they would not accept you into the 1 day a week program, committing to 3 days a week for 9-12 months is very difficult, I would not be able to commit to that. I did most of my emotional work with my psychologist, so the DBT program wasn’t suggested to me. I have found the program that I just completed being the CBT course 1 day a week for 10 weeks very beneficial. How did it make you feel when your therapist expressed frustration regarding going no contact? I feel that comment would have added more shame to your situation and pressure to let go of something that you are not ready to do yet. I desperately want you to have someone that can hold it well and give you complete understanding of the suffering that you face every day, I never want you to feel you must hold back your true feelings to your therapist. Please don’t feel pressured to go no contact till you are ready and have more support networks in your life. It took 1 year of intense weekly sessions for me to be ready to go no contact and stick to it. It saddens me what your ex therapist put you through recently, if my ex therapist pulled that one on me I would be devastated and unsure if I could have been able to go no contact. You are incredibly strong!!! You are right, it is too late for the apologies, she left you drowning in the worst possible way. She is unable to put your needs first and give you the space that you need to recover, it will always be her needs and you having to take care of her. I’m so sorry that she is manipulating you and using your vulnerabilities against you still, she thinks you haven’t grown and that you have been seeking help for the abuse she has put you through. The conflicting feelings that you have is completely normal after an abusive relationship, looking back to how you felt 6 months ago to how you feel now can be a shock, it feels like such a long process, but it is so worth it!!! I’m so glad that you placed an update on this site, I do think of how you are going regularly. Don’t give up hope, you are moving forward, you are starting to make sense of what has happened to you and that you are giving her ownership of her actions as I know you blamed yourself for what happened to you. Talk to you soon. Becky x
KaylaOctober 30th, 2017 at 12:07 AM
Hi Becky. It sounds like you are dealing with a lot. I cannot imagine adding all the things that would come with a lawsuit to this experience. You are very strong too. I don’t think I ever said it but I’m sorry this thing happened to you. It sounds like you have come a long way. I hope you are proud of yourself, it had to be very challenging. I emailed my therapist about the comment about her frustration and she corrected herself saying she is not frustrated with me but with my ex for still having such a strong hold on me that she still can make me want to contact her. It still kind of feels like it means the same thing but the new wording didn’t sting as much so I’m not overthinking it. I’ve listened to the voicemail a lot of times and I don’t hear a person who is manipulating me. I hear a very sad person who regrets hurting me. I really didn’t like how I felt when I thought she was dead. I don’t know. Its been very hard on my resolve. Its starting to feel like too much again. It is so hard for me to not dive back in and try to help. I’m really tired of playing this game where I feel like my choices will determine if she kills herself or not. It hasn’t always been like this but sometimes it is. It’s too much pressure. I feel backed into a corner. I told her I forgive her but it doesn’t change the fact that I need space to fix my brain and I can’t be wondering if she is going to die because I’m trying to take care of myself. She said she was agreeable to not dying but I don’t really trust her. Anyway I felt a little better about myself since I was able to say it. And for the record I’ve been a mess plenty of times in our relationship, in her defense. Cuz I would hate to imply that I’ve been the stable one in the relationship :).
KaylaNovember 25th, 2017 at 8:14 PM
Hi Becky. So its been another month. Since we spoke last, after a conversation with the ex, I stopped feeling responsible for her living or dying for the first time in almost 6 years. So that’s a weight off my shoulders. In that conversation she also told me she violated HIPPA and told her wife about how I was a client and I tried to kill myself 6 years ago and all the things around that, “but I didn’t tell her any secrets or anything.” I don’t know what she considers secrets. I never had considered that she would blatantly violate her professional responsibility to protect my privacy. Funny I thought loving me was a one time violation but otherwise she followed the rules. Really she just makes up the rules as she goes and follows them as long as it suits her. So anger has taken the place of my feeling of responsibility because this feels like evidence that she never had my best interest in mind and she has been doing what is good for her, and I wasn’t convinced before. So I don’t know what anything means. Its just hard to wrap my brain around the idea that this person I knew is not at all what I thought and maybe she never was. Also, now that I know my privacy is not guaranteed, I wonder if she would use my other secrets against me if I did report her which I had never considered a possibility under any circumstances. I can feel that new uncertainty affecting my ability to trust my current therapist, but I’m trying to shake that. The world used to feel a lot safer before all this, now its hard to know who to trust. So that’s the update.
AnonymousNovember 30th, 2017 at 3:33 AM
Thank you for your kind words in your previous message, I apologize not getting back to you sooner… I have been away interstate. Yes, we both have been through a lot… Some days I can’t believe where I am now in my recovery, never thought it was possible, but it is… A lot of hard work but it’s worth it. My law suit and complaint with the board is still in progress, as hard as the process is, I’m very happy that I went ahead with it. Not only am I proving to myself that I am worth it, I am also breaking patterns and not allowing abuse. My children, especially my daughter will now see that there is no tolerance to sexual and emotional abuse. Thank you for the update, I am so pleased that you are not taking responsibility for her behavior and actions. She makes my blood boil; her agenda is completely about her needs and doesn’t seem to worry about how her outrageous behavior would impact on you. What we give to our therapist’s is a privilege and they should treat it that way, to make you think or believe that she would use your “secrets” against you is disgusting. Just another tactic to try and avoid you from ever making a complaint, shame on her. They are not secrets, they are our experiences that got us into therapy in the first place… Our deep vulnerabilities that they decided to play with for their needs. I know the last thing you would be thinking about right now is making a complaint, but if you are up to it, I hope you could start a diary and write everything you remember in chronological order… It’s amazing how much you forget especially dates. I hope you are keeping any texts and voice messages from her just in case one day you change your mind. I truly never believed I would make a complaint or take legal action, I didn’t keep everything as I was too worried about his welfare, that is a big regret of mine. I struggled to believe and come to terms that I never really knew my ex therapist, I believed I loved him, but I couldn’t love him as I didn’t know him. I loved the idea of him, I loved that he made me feel special and was the first person in my life that listened to me and acknowledged my past with no judgement… looking back, of course I was infatuated. Sorry I am rambling. Just keep in mind, if you ever did make a complaint against her, she would do everything possible to look the best she can, which means she would never use your past experiences against you, that’s extremely unethical and shows her unprofessionalism. I understand the feelings of mistrust in your current therapist, of course you will feel that way… look at what you have experienced. Have you mentioned how you feel to her? She won’t take it personally, she knows what you have endured but would help the therapy if she knew what she needs to do to earn your trust. Yes, you are just starting your healing process, the world does look scary and unsafe, I became extremely isolated and pushed away everyone in my life… It was easier that way, until I was able to trust myself on making good decisions with my relationships, everyone was out. It’s a bit like a pendulum swing, we go to each extreme until we find the middle, it takes time, but you will get there.
KaylaDecember 2nd, 2017 at 9:17 PM
Hi, I just need to vent cuz my head is spinning. I started a DBT group and I think it will be good but I’m really overwhelmed by the idea that I will probably end up telling about my situation. I thought maybe I could get by without going into detail, but how do you explain why your head space is how it has been this week without saying what is happening. So I went from never talking about it, to talking about it here anonymously, to, with great difficulty telling a therapist. And now I find myself trying to cope with the idea that I might have to tell 7 people I barely know what is happening and when that happens I will have no control anymore. And that scares the **** out of me. So anxiety has been building and I have just begun casually looking at reporting and cautiously considering the possibly a law suit but I’m no where near ready to go there and I feel like if I lose control of this I’m going to feel pressured to do something before it is taken out of my hands. Which may be wrong but my brain isn’t always rational and its been operating with heightened anxiety the last week. And guarding this secret has been a priority for more than 5 years of my life. And my brain is obsessing about all the ways this could go wrong and I’m not sleeping and when I do sleep I started having nightmares again. And now every time the thought of reporting her comes or of my group somehow taking the choice of how to proceed away from me, every time I start think about that, the suicidal thoughts start cycling again and I do not know how to let go of control of this. I don’t know how to stop protecting her. It just feels like I’m suffocating under the weight of all the things I can’t say. I am safe, the suicidal thoughts are more frustrating than dangerous. I know some things get worse before they get better but I just needed get it of my chest. Sorry for rambling.
AnonymousDecember 4th, 2017 at 4:00 AM
So glad to hear from you again. Glad you have started your DBT program, I found my CBT program extremely helpful… It made me get out once a week and be with like minded individuals that just “get it”. Trust is one of our major issues after Therapist abuse… It is accurate to keep our deepest thoughts and experiences close to our hearts till we feel 100% safe and trust has been earnt. I don’t believe you need to go into detail about what has happened to you. They do state that it is a safe place and whatever is talked in that room stays in that room, but our situation is different. Please do not feel pressured, you have already been through enough… You can still receive all the benefits that this course has to offer without making yourself vulnerable again. If you feel the need to give more details, just say that someone that you trusted with your mind, body and soul sexually and emotionally abused you… If they respect you (which I’m sure they will) they will not make you say more than you feel comfortable with. This type of abuse mimics incest, so no one will guess that it was a therapist that has abused you. I did talk about my experience but at that point I had already gone no contact and the law suit and complaint had been filed… therefore there was no concern of a mandatory notification. The symptoms we present can be PTSD and/ or Major Depressive Disorder which you will find in your group that others have experienced, we all have different stories, but the pain is the same. Have you been to your GP regarding your sleep? I was prescribed melatonin (Circadian) and it was my savior… I know you are safe, I understand that the feelings get so overwhelming that the thoughts of suicide do come to mind… but you will get through it. There is no pressure to have to make a complaint or take legal action, I’m so proud of you for even thinking of it, it’s a very big step.
KaylaJanuary 8th, 2018 at 6:01 PM
Hi Becky. I was just wondering, at what point were you confident that it was abuse and he didn’t love you. Will I ever be confident. I just don’t believe that none of it was real. I hate the uncertainty. I get stuck on that more than anything. It felt like she loved me. I believe that she cared about me. I believe she trusted me and did not want to hurt me. So how can I believe all that and that she was a manipulative, abusive person. Because if I’m wrong I’m giving up the most important person in my life. If I blew things out of proportion or remembered incorrectly. I don’t know. I just feel like I’m stuck until I decide. Because if it wasn’t real, my course of action would be very different than if she loved me but cared more about protecting herself. Malicious vs weak feel like 2 different things. Just out of curiosity, when did you decide to report?
AnonymousJanuary 10th, 2018 at 2:25 PM
Hope you had a nice Christmas and New Year.
It took a long time to come to the realization that he did not love me. I knew something wasn’t right in the beginning, but like you, I couldn’t be sure. My ex-psychologist did a very stupid thing in the beginning to try and scare me, so I would never report, unfortunately for him it backfired, and I lost all trust in him after that. Even with this knowledge it didn’t change that I loved him and thought that he cared about me so I dissociated myself so I could still be with him.
To answer your question, I need to give you some background info… My entire life has been full of abusive relationships… My thoughts and belief of love was so screwed up. Sad thing was I didn’t even know that I was and had been abused. It took months of intense weekly sessions with my therapist to unravel my past. This work was devastating, and I went through an identity crisis, I no longer believed in love and I didn’t even know what it looked and felt like. My psychologist slowly started teaching me what love looks and should feel like. I was still seeing the ex-psychologist during my intense therapy (which my ex-therapist was not aware of) I started to see that it was not love or care and that it was abuse. I would shake uncontrollably in his presence, in the beginning I thought I was excited to see him but when this would not stop I realized that I was scared and that he had complete power over me. It took me 1 ½ years to finally break free.
What they did to us Kayla is not love, it is abuse of power. They decided to manipulate our vulnerabilities to keep themselves safe. I understand regarding Malicious vs weak but I hope you can see that even a weak person would never put their needs before the person they are meant to love and care for. It was malicious as she knew that her behavior would harm you from the beginning. If she loved and cared for you she could have in the beginning confided with another therapist and considered on how to make your relationship equal. It is hard work, but it is possible. A therapist would need to ensure that there was no risk of exploitation, your ex-therapist could then argue with the board that she has done everything possible to ensure you are not harmed by this relationship.
I hope this helps you in some way. Another thing that helped me understand that he did not love or care about me was my research on Narcissistic abuse, stupid man’s behavior ticked all the boxes.
I decided to report 4 months after I made no contact, I was so angry that he knew his behavior would harm me, he intentionally ruined my life and it has impacted everyone that love and care about me, including my beautiful children. I didn’t want him to think that I was the perfect prey. He underestimated me, he thought I would never work it out and he believed I would continue to blame myself for the rest of my life.
Hope this information helps..
Talk to you soon.
AnonymousJanuary 24th, 2018 at 3:10 AM
Just checking in to see if you are ok? Have been thinking of you lately and just wanted to see how you were going?
KaylaJanuary 25th, 2018 at 9:28 PM
I appreciated hearing your experience. It did help. I just wanted to have some progress to report the next time I posted and I don’t feel like I’m making much. I’m doing ok. I’m just really tired of feeling crazy. My therapist uses words like denial and brainwashed and used and manipulated and I still don’t know what fits. I mean honestly if it hadn’t been abuse I’d be saying the same things I say when she says I’m in denial. I feel like I might burst if I don’t tell someone that I see more than an hour a week but at the same time, anytime I put anything personal out there in my group I start shaking when I leave and I take a few days to shake off the stress and depression from that vulnerability. And I haven’t even gotten to any of the big stuff. I can’t imagine not falling apart if I told anyone in my family, and because infidelity is a really big deal in my family, I don’t know that my parents would be able to see past that part. Also I’ve done such a good job building her up so no one would be suspicious of our friendship that I don’t know if they would believe me. I feel a little better that not telling now is less about protecting her and more about over coming my own shame and guilt for the affair. Its really a crazy feeling cycling between knowing it was abuse to knowing it was not abuse to knowing it was abuse. I’ll be talking to my therapist and she seems to engaged and encouraging and I’ll think I’m making complete sense and then I see the look in her eyes change and I know I’ve unintentionally veered back to defending her or doubting that any of it happened like I said or explaining why its my fault. And I see the look and I see what I’m doing but I just can’t help it. And in that moment I believe it. I’d very much like to be done with this part. She had me read a book, Psychopath Free. It didn’t all fit but it was nice to see that my roller coaster ride has not been completely unexpected. It made me feel a little less crazy but I’m still ready to be done with the cognitive dissonance part, but it felt good to find out what it was called. You help too, I’m building up to letting someone else in but for now its nice to have someone who gets it and doesn’t make me feel like I need to defend myself. Thanks for thinking of me. Every day is one day closer to being done with this mess.
KaylaJanuary 26th, 2018 at 8:26 PM
I’ve always been a compartmentalizer, I’m very good at it. I’ve put great effort into not blocking this out, to feeling it all, to trying to actually deal with it. I’m struggling to understand when I’m supposed to let myself think about it and when I’m supposed to make it stop. When I stay busy I can forget for a while but as soon as the activity stops, as soon as I leave work or as soon as I finish something I enjoy my brain immediately goes there. Its always there waiting. And I wonder if I’m supposed to be trying to stay so busy I forget or if that is just avoiding the problem. I mean its been nearly 8 months, have I given it enough thought where staying busy and avoiding thinking about it is ok? It feels like it should be done by now. Yet it’s not. It feels like I shouldn’t pack it away until I decide what happened. But I’m starting to think maybe I will never know what actually happened in which case maybe there is peace in accepting that I may never know with certainty and letting it go? These are today’s ponderings.
AnonymousJanuary 27th, 2018 at 4:29 AM
So good to hear from you. I hope you know that you don’t need to feel progress to keep in touch, but I understand why you feel that way. Also, there is no pressure to post on here either… I will just check in from time to time just because I do care!
I don’t believe you need to try and find what fits. It just shows how significant this relationship was to you. Labelling it may help you gain more knowledge of narcissistic relationships which may help you understand why you feel “crazy” but that doesn’t even touch the surface, this is so much deeper. How are you feeling with your current Psychologist? Do you feel you have a good relationship? I have also read psychopath free, it was my bible when I went “no contact”. I found it surprising that my recovery steps were identical as mentioned in the book. Like you, not all the behavior fit my ex therapist, however my symptoms were identical… the cognitive dissonance was debilitating and still to this day I believe it was the most agonizing thing I have ever experienced, that’s no exaggeration… I’m so sorry that you are going through this pain, I can surely relate. I’m sorry that your experience with your group causes so much stress and depression, it should be a safe place. Please put some boundaries in place, write down before each session what you are prepared to share, if it makes you feel anxious and vulnerable than that’s a no-go zone. I was a lot further in my recovery when I started my CBT program, and I was still a mess… but I was able to share my experience with my ex-therapist as I had already done the complaint. I could imagine how hard this is for you, but it’s amazing how strong you are as you keep going back. Regarding your family, I can understand why your guilt and shame is so strong. This was completely out of your control and I’m so sorry you feel you will be judged. I don’t know your history, but I would hope that your parents and sister would be willing to listen and do everything possible to understand the dynamics of therapist abuse, just seeing the agony you are going through, I would hope that would be enough for them to realize that this is not normal, and this was not an affair. It will surprise you the amount of people who get it, I believe this also helped my recovery as I didn’t have to explain what had happened to me over and over as the main reaction was horror as they understood the vulnerability.
Yes, I can imagine you have been very good at compartmentalizing, we must do what we need to do to survive. I believe you have been putting a massive amount of effort into your recovery. I was like you as well, I was very good at just moving forward and not dealing with it, but this was so different and I’m sure you can relate. I was spinning out of control and couldn’t stop thinking about it. My therapist told me that I needed to allocate 10mins a day to think about what happened, once that time was up I needed to ground myself and go on with my day. I must admit this was hard, how do you stop the constant thoughts that just pop up… it was out of my control, but it was more catching it before it took over, having a quick chat to myself, this is normal, just my old patterns, ground myself again and continue. You get better at it, just keep practicing and please, please be kind to yourself. As I said before, this is not just your normal situation and I don’t believe you can just let it go… I get it, you get so tired of fighting… but this fight is worth it.
I’m glad I can help you in some way. I hope sharing my experiences can help you see the similarities. You can get better, much better and the cognitive dissonance will slowly vanish, just keep doing what you are doing.
Talk to you soon.
KaylaFebruary 8th, 2018 at 8:28 PM
“the cognitive dissonance was debilitating and still to this day I believe it was the most agonizing thing I have ever experienced, that’s no exaggeration…” Becky, thank you for validating that. Nothing triggers my suicidal thoughts more than an intense stretch of cognitive dissonance, just for the sake of making it stop. It just seems impossible to accept that my reality for the last however many years has been false. And when did it start? That seems important. At the beginning of therapy? After I tried to kill myself? When I was afraid she was going to refer me after my attempt so I was trying to prove I would do better? After I told her she was the first person I had ever felt I could trust? At what point did she go from therapist to manipulator? What kind of person takes advantage of someone in that vulnerable state? These are things I ponder. Because if that’s the kind of person she is I feel like I would have noticed something. But I guess this whole thread is about people who take advantage of people in vulnerable states.
BUT I HAVE NEWS! I decided it was time to tell my sister. So I did yesterday and she took it well. I think she will respect my request to let me handle this at my own pace. She said helpful things and was understanding. She was surprised but she said it made the pieces fit. She wasn’t mad and didn’t think I was stupid which I kinda worried about. It still feels like I should have known better. But I’m practicing being nicer to myself so cancel that. It was just yesterday but I’m afraid to feel dependent on someone again, and very afraid of how much I want to talk to her. So I’m going to give her some time to process and keep doing what I’ve been doing but its nice to know if I really need someone she’s around. I didn’t quite tell her how all consuming this has been so I’m not going to completely unload because if I start when would I ever stop? It never stops. There is a little bit of sadness because telling her feels like its official that I can’t find a way to have any sort of relationship and I didn’t realize that I was still clinging to that idea that this will go away. But one day closer to this feeling better and yay me for taking a big huge step.
KaylaApril 20th, 2018 at 5:32 PM
Hi Becky. I’ve missed you. I’ve been wanting to update you for a while but I couldn’t because of the publicness of this forum and the possibility my ex would see it and know what I’ve been working on. I found another excellent resource. Therapy Exploitation Link Line – therapyabuse.org. Through talking to people I met here I was referred to a lawyer to tell me about what my rights were in the state I’m in and when deadlines of statutes of limitations were. By the time I spoke with a lawyer I had less than 3 months to decide if I wanted to sue and to start working with a lawyer. So the last few months I have been completely consumed by the process. Because I didnt have much time I decided to start gathering evidence and I would decide later on. So I went through 12,000 pages of Facebook messages. That was the all consuming part. I finally finished a couple days ago and I spoke with the lawyer and I just don’t feel like I’m ready to sue her. I have a lot of evidence. A lot. I have her telling me that she will kill herself if anyone finds out about us. I have a lot. But I’m not ready and I’m out of time. As I’ve approached my deadline my brain was getting pretty dark so I don’t want to enter into a lawsuit if Im not sure I can handle it. So I guess I’m doing nothing and I don’t know how I feel about that. I mean its been less than a year since I realized I was in an abusive relationship, that I was taken advantage of. It doesn’t seem fair that because I was late to figure it out I don’t get to do anything about it. I don’t know if I would have gone through with it or not if I had more time. I think I would have. So I guess there was a benefit to going through the process. I looked through everything and I saw patterns that I didn’t notice when they were happening. After I talked to a lawyer I figured it was time to talk to my family. So I told everyone. While I was gathering my evidence I was supposed to determine if I told anyone about the relationship but I couldn’t remember so I reconnected with some old friends which was nice. So I feel like I gained a lot from going through the process, I just wish I had some closure. I’ve been obsessively preparing for this for months and now its over, I’m putting it all away and I kind of just am sitting here thinking, now what? I’m not sure how I get my closure now, but maybe I should just be grateful for the things letting go of her gave back to me. That’s the update.
Hope you are doing well and taking care of yourself as you go through your process!
AnonymousApril 24th, 2018 at 4:42 AM
So nice to hear from you… I’ve missed you too. So sorry I haven’t been in touch for a while. My family and I have been sick, and I also started a new job after 15 months of not working…
Oh Kayla, wow… that is such a huge step. I’m so pleased that you have been in contact with therapyabuse.org and that they were able to refer you to a lawyer. I have been on that website too, but I never contacted them. The resources on that website helped me while I was drafting up my notification that I forwarded to the state health regulatory board.
12,000 pages!!!!! far out, that would have been very difficult to go through, I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you while you were going through this process. 3 months is definitely not enough time to digest and make a decision. What was your statute of limitations? 1 year from when the injury occurred? Yes, the law system is unfair at times… especially regarding our claims, it is not a simple logical decision that they expect us to make. To be honest, I believe I was still very dissociated when I went ahead with the law suit and as a result I did regret my decision as I felt it was holding me back from recovery and moving on with my life. It kept me in a traumatized state. I had to see a legal psychiatrist and she didn’t pass me as stable and stationary at first, so I had to wait another 8 months and see a psychiatrist and complete a program. When I went ahead with the lawsuit, I had no idea that I would still be waiting for it to be over after 14 months, and I still don’t know when it will be over. I feel as though you are a lot more tuned in with yourself than what I was, you made the right decision for you now. I have found that you don’t need to go through a lawsuit to get closure, you can get it without it. My closure happened once the health regulatory board acknowledged the wrong he did to me. All we seek is our power back, we have been held captive emotionally for so long and all we want is to be heard and acknowledged.
I’m so happy you have told your family and reconnected with your friends. This will help you during your recovery. I hope they have all been supportive?
I understand how confronting and hard this process would have been for you. There is definitely benefits in the process. I found that drafting up my statement that I forwarded to the state heath regulatory board very therapeutic, once I placed it all in a timeline I could finally see the manipulation and from that day onward I no longer blamed myself. If you feel up to it, while it is still fresh in your mind… I highly recommend doing a draft statement, it doesn’t have to go anywhere but I found this extremely helpful in my recovery.
I have been thinking of you, thank you for letting me know how you are going.
Talk to you soon.
Kimberley SJune 22nd, 2017 at 9:21 PM
I never should have reported my sexually exploitive therapist, I was pressured by another pyscotic physiologist who was more of a nightmare than my sexually exploitive therapist. My life is worst because if reporting him. I was doing OK seeing him even after the sex with him had stopped, I loved him more than life. He was so romantic and showed me the way love goes with sex, my therapist was all about love sex and loving feelings. I miss him, I have no one to talk to now, I wish I could see him again. What he was doing with me was wrong, and so unethical, but he was always someone to talk to. He was helping me get over the harm he had caused me . I needed him. I miss the love. Of course he didn’t tell the truth, he doesn’t want to lose his license. And, I think he is married. It was all wrong, but I miss talking to him and even more, the loving closeness we had together. The sex was the greatest with my therapist after I decided I loved him, and he said he loved me. I know he was doing criminal thing’s to me. At the time, I didn’t see it. I was blind to any fact, because of the deep love he had formed with me. He was just showing me how love goes with sex. I love him and will always love him. I really felt the love, he was an expert in sex, love and he was right, he was the only stable relationship I ever had. He was sexually exploitive with me, a therapist shouldn’t have sex with a client. But, he made me feel so good. Now I don’t see him, I feel so bad. I never should have said anything about him,
I’m finding out, the Board of ethics will always take the license professional s word over the clients. Your in his office with no witness, he sure does have all the power, he can have sex with a client and if you report him , they will take his lie’s over your truth. The therapist can do what he wants. Because, he knows the Board will believe all his lie’s, there are no witness. My truth means nothing. I should have just kept seeing him, I was better off being sexually exploited and having someone to talk to. Than feeling the way I do now.
KaylaJune 23rd, 2017 at 8:11 PM
Hi Kimberly, I’m sorry things have gotten so hard. I can relate to so much of what you said. I had to laugh to myself about it being the only stable relationship because that’s what I considered what I had with mine too. And now from where I see it, I think anything that leaves us feeling this shitty wouldn’t really be considered a stable relationship. I feel like mine genuinely loved me and the fact is that she treated me better than anyone in a normal relationship would be treated, probably because she knew it was all wrong. The sex came after an intense connection, the love was so real that I was willing to give up everything, because how could I need anything other than this beautiful love with someone who understands me and will always be there for me. After a while I started to cry after sex because I was so frustrated with the situation. Really its like they are trying to help you heal from the damage they see being with them is inflicting. Its an awful cycle. I understand how isolating this kind of relationship is. It really feels like without them you have nothing. Even if you know they are hurting you, its better than having nothing. That’s the part I hate the most. I’m sorry this happened to you. It really sucks at least in my case that you don’t even feel like a victim until the fall out and then the whole world goes to shit and you look back and say how did all of this happen. Its been helping me to know I’m not the only one. So know that you are not alone. I’m sorry your therapist lied to save his own skin. Hang in there. There are good people out there, we just have to find them.
AnonymousJune 24th, 2017 at 6:11 AM
Hi Kimberley S
I’m sorry that your psychotic physiologist pressured you into making a complaint against your ex therapist, It isn’t that simple, especially if you feel that you need to protect him. Do you have a new psychologist? family or friends you can talk to? Sex with a therapist is different to any other, we are vulnerable and they know us deeply, we would never expose ourselves to the same depths with anyone else as we do with our therapist. I can see that you have done enough research knowing that what he has done was unethical and probably illegal where you are located. If there is a glimmer of light in all of this is that you are finally putting your needs first, that as much as you love him you love yourself more. I know you were pressured but I hope you can see that this will help the rest of the future as dark as it seems now. Have you provided any evidence or statement of events to the board Kimberley? I have found the board where I am located very eager on getting my full story and not taking his side as being the truth. I would hope that the board you are dealing with would be as proactive to ensure they can collect whatever information that will help this case. What happened to you Kimberley matters please remember this, you are important. The agony you feel now will slowly go away with time and help from a trusted psychologist, It is a difficult and complex journey but you have survived, you are out of an exploitive relationship and you can only grow from here. Please keep in touch.
Kimberley SJuly 3rd, 2017 at 4:05 PM
Oh , There is evidence, I have faith in the Board . It’s not over. That sexually exploitive pervert therapist will get Caught in his lie’s.
If more woman would report these sexually exploitive therapist’s a lot more woman could be saved from all the harm they cause.
I know I did the right thing.
RobertAugust 9th, 2017 at 3:55 PM
Kayla, this is a mess!
RobertSeptember 21st, 2017 at 11:21 AM
Kayla, what type of outpatient program is available for you? How did you find it? Is it covered by insurance? I need to find.an intensive program.
KaylaSeptember 21st, 2017 at 10:39 PM
That part is a work in progress still. I have an evaluation next week for a DBT program that would be 1-3 days a week for 9-12 months but that is a little longer than I am ready to commit to. There is another one that is 4-5 days a week 3 hr/day for 6 weeks, that is still long but at least I would have something. Otherwise they seem to range 8 weeks to 16 weeks in my area. My therapist recommended a couple and after that I googled intensive outpatient therapy in my area. Most of the websites say what insurances are accepted. I don’t know how much it is going to cost. My understanding from the ones I’ve looked at is that they do an assessment and determine how often you need to go. Sorry I don’t know more. Its been a work in progress.
RobertAugust 21st, 2017 at 6:40 AM
Kayla, you have me very worried. Please get a new psychiatrist. Reach out for help to others daily. If you need to talk please call other people. You can write me if you like and I will give you my phone number. There is more going on here than a relationship gone wrong.
KaylaAugust 22nd, 2017 at 7:31 PM
Robert, I think you misunderstood. I am not still seeing the therapist I had a relationship with. Summarized version. Girl gets depressed, girl enters therapy, after a normal therapeutic relationship, girl gets better. Girl terminates therapy with therapist. Girl starts hanging out with therapist socially. Things escalate, then there is an affair. After 5 years of on and off intamate relationship, affair finally crashes and burns. Girl finds new therapist to process how she screwed up her life for so long and help fix the damage of a codependent relationship. Also, 5 years is a long time spent being focused on protecting the person you love. I am not looking to report her, I am still protective. I am just needing a safe place to process what happened without having the decision to report taken out of me hands. I’m not saying I’ll never report her, I’m just saying that its not happening now. So I appreciate your concern, but I’m safe, sometimes this is an outlet when my brain starts to spiral but I’m safe. I’m with an ethical therapist now. I’m just trying to heal under my own terms.
RobertAugust 26th, 2017 at 6:26 AM
Hi Kayla. So let me get this straight, the relationship with the therapist, did not start until therapy had been terminated and you began to hang around the therapist, is that correct?
KaylaAugust 26th, 2017 at 2:52 PM
Yes that is correct. We were friends immediately after, I think we went for beer or something the next day. Technically we were already friends before therapy ended, we emailed or texted every day for months and met at a park just because at least once a week between sessions for a while. And then the affair started about 4-6 weeks after termination. So I know its a different than if it had been during therapy. But getting distance has let me look at the relationship and realize how unbalanced it was, how I desperately and obsessively needed her and she liked having me around. How I lost the ability to function without her but her life continued. So I know its different than if it started during therapy and maybe it seems wrong to think of it as more than a relationship gone wrong. But she took a person who tried to kill herself less than 8 months prior, and at the time was going through some major life changes and added the shame and guilt of an affair. It feels like maybe not great judgement. And I am not blaming her for everything, I caused it too, but I had been blaming myself for everything, and maybe I didn’t have to.
KaylaJune 20th, 2018 at 7:44 PM
Hi Becky. Sorry it has been a while again. I didn’t see your last message until the end of May but I was a little caught up in life. Congratulations on going back to work after that long. Did it feel good to fall back into that routine? I’m still on my reduced hours. I keep thinking maybe its time to see if I can get back into the old routine but this depression is just another animal. It keeps intensifying in waves and when I think I have a handle on things again another wave comes in. I am not quite ready. I’m sorry the process has been so difficult. I understand that part now more than I did before. Mine did end up turning into a lawsuit. I guess I should take more ownership for that. I decided to file a lawsuit. It’s much more difficult than I anticipated. I think I honestly believed that my brain couldn’t get any worse than it had been in the last year. I was telling my therapist that I need to quit being surprised when things hurt a lot because in a week something else will feel worse. She asked if I meant because what hurt this week wouldn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. I told her no, because its just going to keep progressively getting worse for a while so I need to quit being so surprised that worse is possible. It’s a bit of a depressing outlook on things but I need to emotionally pace myself a little better because its true for the path I’ve chosen.
I realized I might need to switch therapists again which sucks. The one I started seeing a couple months ago only works 2 days a week and I knew when she told me it was going to be a problem when I go back to work full time as it was hard enough to fit group into my work schedule. It seems better to find a new one now before I get too comfortable if it is likely it wont work down the road. I worry if I switch again I’m settling into a pattern of leaving therapists when I start to feel comfortable. So this week I’m over analyzing why now feels like the best time to bail. She was worried about me last week and did a preplanned text check in and I’m trying to not let that be why its time to switch but I think its possible it is a contributing factor. I hate the things that make me skittish.
Anyway, just wanted to say hi. You were my first support person in all this and it felt weird not to fill you in a little. If you are still having a hard time, emailing the people at TELL has been very helpful for me and its a bit more private than talking on here. It has been nice to have support from people who have already gone through all of this. My family has been helpful but I don’t think they quite get how this is not a black and white thing for me. They try to get it which is good and I do appreciate the support. It’s been so nice to not be alone anymore. I’ll be around a bit more if you like. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Hang in there.
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