*Disclaimer – the kids interrupted me approximately 3,052 times while writing this post so apologies in advance if it makes no sense

I wrote about this particular subject before, back when it first became a problem, and then felt so uncomfortable about having admitted to it publicly, that I swiftly deleted the post. It was the first and only time that’s happened, and I wasn’t proud of it. But here’s the thing. The problem that I wrote about is still a problem. Facebook. Therapist. And the combination of the two.

I crave knowledge about her. It makes no sense, because every time I might possibly see just a glimpse of the person behind the Therapist mask, it makes me so intensely uncomfortable that I want to run a mile. It’s the most bizarre contradiction – I want to know the real person, what goes on for her, speak to her as equals, yet I also need her to be perfect so that it’s ok for me to burden her with my crazy. I’ve created a persona for her where she is a model of calm and serenity,witty, fun to be around, happily married, probably with a wonderfully well adjusted family. I compare myself relentlessly to that persona and without fail, come up wanting. Yet despite wanting one thing (knowledge), and having created another (persona), at the same time I have to find a way to persuade myself to accept that the former isn’t possible, and the latter isn’t real. I also have to accept that even though she isn’t perfect, and she quite likely has plenty of stress of her own, she’s still very good at her job and trained to help me. So, even though she might look tired, I have to work under the assumption that if she’s in the room, she’s 100% there for me, tired or otherwise. And of course, added to this is the fact that I’m constantly, constantly on the look out for even the tiniest visual cue as to what might really be going on for her and amending the persona accordingly.

Then, let’s throw another spanner into the mix. Facebook. Therapist, like the vast majority of the rest of the world, is on facebook. How do I know? Because my need to know about her has reduced me to snooping around the interweb. Not my finest moment(s). Her privacy settings are to the max, and I can see nothing personal about her, but does that stop me looking? No, it does not. The worse I feel, the more often I check, just in case something, anything, might have changed. It rarely does, and really, what can you learn about someone from a facebook profile picture?? Absolutely nothing.

We’ve talked about it so many times. I know why I do it. She knows why I do it, and is ok with that. I’m not, I hate it. I find the gap between sessions really hard, and I find long gaps during holidays even harder. The less contact I’m able to have with her, the more I want. Facebook gives me nothing, but at the same time, it reassures me on some level that she’s still there. It feels like some kind of connection, however insignificant. In reality, it’s no connection at all, and when I’m feeling bad, it’s like a form of emotional self harm. It’s the tiniest glimpse of what I want, but nowhere near enough.

We’ve talked about whether or not she should block me, we tried it briefly. It didn’t help all that much, and at times that I feel particularly needy, it triggered a horrible sense of abandonment and rejection – how could she cut me off like that? Completely irrational I know, but hey, bpd loves irrational. So I guess no more than any other disordered behaviour, I’ve got to try and get it under control. This one is particularly challenging. I’m trying, I really am. On good days it’s ok. On bad days? I’ll leave you to figure that one out.

This article has 5 Comments

  1. I think your honesty and openness in writing this is amazing and inspiring. It is humbling and convicting because it describes exactly how I feel but I have never been able to write about it. My story about Jane, my ex-therapist does not quite end with the words of love from June. It ends with the events of 6 August, the first anniversary of 'losing her' and what I see as the 'betrayal' of all the web surfing and 'stalking' I did then. It was horribly painful both at the time and in retrospect, but I couldn't stop. Reading about your struggles, knowing I have exactly the same ones, is making me wonder whether writing about it might be both less shameful and more helpful than I might think. As for writing about it with regard to my current therapist…I think I will need to become a much much braver person first – particularly as I send my therapist links to my blog! I'm not sure I have any helpful words on this subject other than to let you know you are certainly not alone in these feelings and I understand how all consuming and painful they can be. And also to add – finding something you don't expect about your therapist, that contradicts that image that you have, is horribly horribly unsettling and it feels as if reality and everything you know is slipping away. I remember rocking backwards and forwards repeating ' I don't understand' over and over again. But I know that has no power to motivate you to stop you from searching, as it doesn't for me. Like you, part of the function of searching was keeping her alive, feeling like she was still real. Reading her name on a page made it feel like she had actually existed, it gave her reality. I know lucky is probably the furthest thing from how you feel, but I hope that at least having the picture of her on Facebook is a consolation of sorts. One if my enduring 'painful spots' with Jane us that the only image I have of her is in my mind and I am so terrified I will eventually forget how she looked and sounded. And there is no online image of my current therapist either. I envy you that ability to look without needing to imagine – the certainty of form. I am SO glad you are able to talk to your therapist about this. I know how excruciating it is, but it _must_ be the right thing…thank you so much for being brave enough to write this, it is definitely an inspiration and very thought provoking….

    1. Thank you, for all of the above. I'm not sure that I'm brave in writing it, the fact that she's told me she never reads the blog unless I specifically ask her to makes it that bit easier. I'm not sure how either of us would cope with her reading the intensity of what I've written!! I do wonder sometimes at her will power, because she knows I write about her, and on a bad day I'll decide I don't believe a word she says so assume she reads it, thinks I'm completely mental etc etc etc……..BUT, knowing that you understand all this, and more, have experienced it, is huge. Thank you, so much, for letting me know x

  2. I love this blog after just “falling” upon it recently. I feel we were separated at birth or something because I too feel exactly the same about my therapist. I also have gone to great lengths to follow her online (one aspect of this I will never admit to her or anyone else due to shame and feeling my therapeutic relationship would be ended), I follow as many leads as I can to find out about her life and who is important to her. I too want to feel more special to her and need to know she thinks about me outside of sessions.
    I was diagnosed with BPD about 20 years ago when I started talking about my sexual abuse from my father. I was much older than the typical adolescent age it is diagnosed in typically. I have since had about 15 years of near normal existence then due to stress and another depression, am on the BPD path again.
    My question is…are all persons with BPD this seeking of their therapists outside of the sessions and needing to feel special to them or is it dependent on what sort of abuse you suffered?
    I really love that you have the strength and courage to post you inner most thoughts and feelings.
    Eva

    1. Hi Eva, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I can’t say for sure whether it’s the same for everyone with bpd, but I know attachment issues do tend to be a serious problem. Could you risk discussing it with your therapist? Took me a long time to admit it to her, but it did help to talk about it – she knew why I was doing it and was very understanding. It certainly wasn’t the reason the therapeutic relationship ended, although my extreme attachment to her was a factor in it – more so because it was becoming increasingly apparent that I need dbt, and there wasn’t much more she could do for me.
      Hope things lift for you soon

  3. Hello

    Thanks so much for sharing your honesty here, I really do get a great deal of comfort reading your words.. I haven’t been diagnosed with BPD, but I can certainly relate to many traits that are expressed! I am currently in Psychotherapy and have been for a year now dealing with various issues that certainly show up on the BPD diagnosis radar, but my therapist doesn’t diagnose and I haven’t been to a Psychiatrist, and won’t be as things stand. However, I was diagnosed with OCD a few years ago, and I know these disorders can overlap.

    Anyway, reading your blog really has helped me, especially right now. I am addicted, it would seem, to googling my therapist and I have created this ‘perfect’ life, which seems so totally indifferent from my current status. I hate this curiousity and I always feel so horrible and awful in the aftermath of finding out the information I do and feel terrible for invading her privacy. I have just been on her Facebook page, and, yet again, I feel sick and overwhelmed to the point of crying. I hate myself for doing this, but I know it is because it represents what is lacking in my own life. I have discovered so much about her: I know she has a really successful and handsome husband; gorgeous son; good sense of humour, etc, etc. In fact, she is currently on holiday and I have just found a picture of them all together at the airport and I feel so anxious knowing that she has this separate life where I doubt she ever thinks about me in the way I do her, although, she does receive a lot of emails from me, but we are working on this and things are improving, helped by the fact I seem to have got my alcohol problem under control and I am not emailing her in the middle of the night during blackouts like I used to – I know, really not good, not good at all! I have become obsessive and jealous of her and I have created this world for her that seems absolutely perfect in every way. I have raised this in therapy with her, but, I haven’t quite explained the extent of my Googling, but she has a fairly good idea that it is extreme! This comes as no surprise to her, as she knows that I have also become obsessed with Googling BPD and it has been very dominant in our therapeutic relationship; it’s as though I have stuck a label on to myself.

    I don’t know what to do here, I have come so far in therapy and I don’t think I can face going through it all again with someone else, I am hopefully on the brink of a major breakthrough, but these feelings of transference have become so strong that I feel sick with anxiety, and she knows all of this, but, as said, she doesn’t quite know the full extent of my ‘stalkerish’ habits.. She always says I can have everything she has and, if I were thinking rationally, which I rarely do, then I would believe this! My self-doubt, lack of self-worth and self-esteem paint a very different picture though. I have a lot in life to be really grateful for, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough. There is so much more I could say right now, but I will leave it here.

    Big big thanks for sharing! I have been meaning to start a blog, but, like so many of my other grand plans I have, I am yet to see it through!

    L

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