The weird thing about having an abusive therapist is that, similar to an abusive parent, it’s so damn confusing. It’s the essence of the Stockholm Syndrome. I’m grateful that my grandfather let me have rides on the back of his truck, and he always had some little treat for me when I was little. I loved that. But I didn’t love his slimy cigar flavored tongue in my mouth when he kissed me.
Moving right along.
Father M. (the abusive therapist) told me to start keeping a journal and because I desperately wanted to get better, I did. Like the truck rides and candy, the journal has been good. Although the phone sex and fantasy swaps felt better than the slimy kisses, they weren’t good for me, thus the confusion.
I’m still writing in that same journal, although I rarely look at the pre-treatment entries because they’re heartbreaking. If anyone ever wants to write a cautionary tale about how damaging an abusive relationship with a therapist can be, they can use my journal. Maybe that’d be another way, besides this blog, to try and bring some good out of what happened to me. Most of the entries are just too raw to share with you, but I want to share these two. In recovery rooms we share what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. This is a bit of what it was like for me. I certainly haven’t always been the happy sober atheist that I am today!
Here’s my very first journal entry, Christmas day, 2004 at 10:00 in the morning:
I’m sober 9 days today. I wonder if my whole struggle with the mortal/venial sin thing is a reflection of the fact that I haven‘t fully accepted that I’m powerless. Maybe knowing I was powerless would mean that I understood that these sins were venial for me, because I have a limited ability to not commit them. On the other hand, maybe that would be a way to avoid my personal responsibility. My fix for this conundrum is to consider the first step a mortal sin, and the subsequent steps venial. That seems to make sense in the context of an addictive disease model.
Maybe this would be a good place to write down exactly what I do. First, though, I‘m going to figure out how to encrypt this journal.
Okay. That’s done. You can’t read my files from the Finder window and you need the password to be able to open the journal from within the program.
I’m tired. Sleepy. The kids are all occupied with their Christmas movies, books, and X-Box games. My husband’s at work. I’ve had some food and the withdrawal symptoms aren’t too bad now. This [journaling] program underlines everything with an apostrophe [as a spelling error] because my apostrophe curls the wrong way. That’s irritating.
I’m avoiding writing down what I do. Its embarrassing to put it down on paper, even e-paper. I f–k myself. I read dirty stories on the Internet. I look at hardcore porn online. I do these things even though I think they’re wrong for me. I’ve done them for a long time. I want to stop now, especially because I now see them as sinful, and I am killing myself having to confess the same ugly, embarrassing sins to Father [the parish priest]. Having to go to confession precludes me being able to rationalize my sin any more. And at this point, neither stopping being Catholic, nor stopping going to confession would alleviate my pain. I am in big trouble.
A few days later, on the 31st I wrote this:
I‘m officially giving up being sober. It sucks.
That last one makes me laugh. It was a revelation for me when I discovered that being sexually sober felt good. I’ve been sexually sober for over two years, and it doesn’t suck now. In case you’re wondering what I mean by sober, it’s no contact of any sort with my former therapist and no sex with myself or others except my husband. No porn of any kind, no adult bookstores, erotica, etc. If you’re not a sex addict that may not sound difficult to you but some of those things, like masturbation, I’ve done since before kindergarden. Habits that are that ingrained are very difficult to change! And at first, it really did suck.
Today, life is good and I’m really glad I’m alive to enjoy it. It is possible to get better. If you’re dealing with an addiction – don’t give up. I’ve gone from being an religious sex addict who had no control over her sexual behavior to a sexually healthy atheist.