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Very annoyed with my new Psychiatrist - don't like her agenda - really LONG!

(16 Posts)
namechangingnora Wed 22-Jul-09 12:12:15

I have namechanged for this as I don't want people I am talking about to find it - though you never know. Some people on here know my story and I'd appreciate it if they didn't "out" me!!

I've suffered on and off with pretty major depression for many years. In my mid twenties I spent a spell in hospital having ECT and was again in hospital after my dd1 was born and I had a major meltdown. I've seen a variety of mental health professionals as I have moved around over the last 20 years since I left home, and all of them have agreed on one thing: that my experrience in my late primary school days and then early teens, when my mother had an affair with my Dad's best friend (and her best friend's husband) and subsequently left us (Dad, me age 12, dsis aged 10 and db aged 4) on the day after Mother's Day to live with him.

I didn't see her for several weeks and after that life was pretty irregular - I was used to ferry inappropriate messages to my Dad, I was accused of making her ill (her exact words were "I'm probably on my deathbed" when I refused to spend Christmas with her) by not always wanting to visit, then she moved to London, then France, with pretty little/no warning. She would come back to where we lived to visit my Gran and never tell me she had been in town, even though she practically had to drive past the door, even though I hadn't seen her for 3 months or more. She repeatedly asked me to stop asking questions about what happened, said I was too much of a bother, that I was awkward and difficult.

When it came to deciding custody, as it was in those days, she took it all the way to the High Court (as you did back then) and then dropped it when we got there when my Dad offered a finacial alternative - Dad's lawyer told him that her lawyer had said she did it to get the most money possible out of him. He said it was the best <several thousand> pounds he ever spent.

Contact got less and less, she went on to have another dd with her new husband, who got treated in a totally different way that we had ever been.

Anyway - bringing it up to date, I went through a pretty hard time a few years ago and she was totally no help at all and when we had words about this it ended up in an argument and we no longer talk. The overwhelming sense of relief is something I find hard to articulate, but it is there in spades!

A few months ago I got depressed again and ended up having to see a psychiatrist. I've since been passed to another, more senior psychiatrist, because I didn't get on with the first one and they were happy for me to change.

This new one is nice enough, in her 50s maybe, seems very competent. Except that once I had gone through my story (which I happily admit is not as bad as many people's) she started to defend my Mum! She said I had to see it from her point of view, that she must have been uttterly miserable, suggested that my Dad must have been abusive, said Mum had a right to be happy in her own life, and that I would only get better when I listened to Mum's side of the story.

Maybe I am wrong, but I was flabbergasted! My mother had an affair lasting several years, and she and her now husband tore 2 families apart. They were found out once, promised not to see each other any more, then carried on. She left in the most callous way possible, the morning after Mother's Day. She has made it patently obvious for years that she does not really regard me as a daughter, that superficial friendship was all she wanted. She chose to not speak to me and is missing out, ^by her own choice on her 3 wonderful Grandchildren.

My Dad is amazing. He learned to look after us, he took great care of us, he did a fab job and several years later met and married a brilliant woman who has been more than a mother to me.

I know I need to let go the hurt and feelings of abandonment that my mother still raises in me. But I felt that for my psychiatrist to defend her when she knows nothing of the situation, was well out of order, and I am so angry that I don't know if I want to go back to the next appointment in 6 weeks.

Help! And thanks for reading my mini-novel! I didn't want to drip feed!

namechangingnora Wed 22-Jul-09 12:13:17

Urgh, 2nd paragraph, that this experience is what led to my mental health problems!

dittany Wed 22-Jul-09 12:16:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

franklymydear Wed 22-Jul-09 12:17:20

I don't think your psychiatrist is defending your mother but trying to get you to consider her as a human being rather than evil spawn.

Now you do have a terribly rocky past which is just unfair on a small child. But I do not believe that one person is all good and another all bad.

I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing opening the possibility that your mother should be considered in human terms and that maybe things went on you weren't aware of. But if you are not willing or ready to do so you should not be pushed into it.

namechangingnora Wed 22-Jul-09 12:21:58

Oh I know she is human and not all bad. SHe was a good Mum when I was little. I do know that her perspective on her marriage is that it was unhappy, and that my Dad can't be perfect.

Its the defence of her choices that got to me. It did cross my mind that the psychiatrist herself might have had an unhappy marriage.

I've read 'Toxic Parents' and my mother most definitely falls into that category.

Psychiatrist also refused to believe I have a good relationship with my MIL - who is totally fabulous in most ways.

dittany Wed 22-Jul-09 12:41:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

expatinscotland Wed 22-Jul-09 12:49:58

I think whenever you get that sort of gut feeling that you have from a health professional, they're not for you.

'suggested that my Dad must have been abusive, said Mum had a right to be happy in her own life, and that I would only get better when I listened to Mum's side of the story.,

I have big issues with this myself, because it implies that any time a woman does something that's objectionable, it's because she must have been abused or a victm of some sort.

Also, I disagree that a person has a right to be 'happy' once they chose to become a parent, because it's a choice, by making unilateral decisions that have ramifications as severe as your mother's. I don't feel one's right to be happy trumps damaging your children in such a way.

If you're that unhappy in your marriage and relationship, you leave it and start over on your own, not f*ck around and bust up two families and make a big mess out of it.

GentlyDoesIt Wed 22-Jul-09 13:12:32

I worked through some similar stuff with my psychoanalyst, although she had the wisdom to steer me towards it over time, rather than expressing it as bluntly as your psychiatrist has.

We started off with me defending my parents, saying that they did their best, wasn't their fault they coudln't cope, etc. Then I spent a lot of time being furious and ruminating about events from my childhood and teens. This was only really hurting me. Then we had a breakthrough session in which (at my instigation) I thought about all the hard things that my parents had to face up to and really felt the injustice of what happened to ALL of us. I cried a great deal and really felt their pain as well as mine. Then I felt proper anger on behalf of the child I was, and we did some work in which my adult self talked to my childhood self and offered her some support. After that, I found renewed courage and resolve that I wasn't going to be that kind of parent.

The important things to remember are that working through a new point of view about how your Mum must have felt, doesn't mean that you are offering forgiveness. Sometimes we can hang onto these feelings when someone has done something unforgiveable because we feel that if we don't keep resenting them they will be somehow let off the hook. In my case, that was hurting no-one but me.

It helped me to see that it simply "was what it was" and that it was in the past, where it couldn't be changed. Moving on is not the same as admitting that a parent was right to do what they did, or that you were wrong to hold onto it for so long. We can never be completely free of our pasts, but we can stop giving them such control over our present lives.

Alice Miller is a good suggestion to read - it helps to know your truth about what happened to you, whilst at the same time coming to terms with the fact that there will almost certainly never come a day when that person sits you down and apologises fully and heartfully for the pain they have caused you. Neither will there ever be a judge/jury that decides that yes, you are in the right and your Mum was in the wrong.

It is a very difficult thing to do, but personally I found it really helpful and was quite freed by it. I still have days when I dwell on things and have imaginary conversation in my head where I tell people exactly what I think of them, but it's not constant background noise any longer.

All of that said, you have to be in the right place to do something so difficult, and it does sound like your psychiatrist is trying to force a result.

dittany Wed 22-Jul-09 13:43:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

foxinsocks Wed 22-Jul-09 14:01:08

I agree with franklymydear, I think that's what she's trying to do.

I found this line of counselling quite interesting when it happened to me tbh (though not sure about suggesting your dad was abusive). I had never analysed the situation fully through my mother's eyes.

I think you need to think about it not as defending your mother but as seeing it from another perspective.

But as franklymydear suggested, if you are not ready for it, then she should pick that up and move at a slower pace.

I would go back and tell her you didn't appreciate it. I think it's worth doing to see what happens next.

If you then still don't see eye to eye, you can always ask to change again.

expatinscotland Thu 23-Jul-09 00:52:28

Now I've given this more thought - insomnia has its pluses - I think it's significant you mention she's in her 50s.

I think she may be seeing this all from a different angle, and who knows, perhaps your mother did as well. Things for women in the UK when your mother did what she did and left were much different from how they are not.

That's all well and good. Except she's treating younger people in the present day.

And as such she similarly needs to adjust her approach to compensate for that.

So perhaps foxinsock's suggestion is more appropriate. Tell her you don't appreciate it.

Do you have a strong support system from your other half and friends?

Can you sound off to them, in private if need be, or do you feel okay doing so on here, under this name?

If so, then I second her approach.

And if she still comes up like this, then request another change.

I think she might be seeing this from the same generational viewpoint your mother may have, but she's in a profession where she's treating people who have a different one by the passage of time.

So as Gently so well puts it, she needs to at least ease into it.

And I for one do not agree with her theory that women from her time period only acted as they did because they were abused and had a right to be happy no matter what the costs to anyone.

BUT, if you have not got the support you need to bolster you, or you feel like you cannot for some other reason, then it is likely not worthwhile to accord her that second chance.

After all, this therapy is about you and your needs first and foremost, not about your mother and hers.

And your healthcare professional must act with that in mind.

Keep posting, OP! We are here for support.

Granny23 Thu 23-Jul-09 02:35:33

I am wondering why you were referred to a psychiatrist rather than another type of counsellor/psychoanalyst? A psychiatrist will take a very different approach from a person centred counsellor and will sometimes seem quite brutal in her statements. She may have said what she did to provoke a reaction in you rather than because she actually believed it. I would think it unlikely that she is bringing her own personal assumptions into your sessions.

I remained depressed, after I had had what I felt were good sessions with a counsellor. GP referred me to a psychiatrist, who decided (or diagnosed?) during the first session that my 'issues' were not the problem - I was clinically depressed. He prescribed antiDs, which I have been on more or less ever since. I still have some unresolved issues but can deal with them now that I am no longer depressed. I did have issues do to with my mother, but when the psychiatrist mentioned that clinical depression can run in families, I had a light bulb moment, realised that my mother had suffered undiagnosed chronic depression for years and everthing about the way she was with us just fell into place.

I am not suggesting in any way that this is the same for you. I am just trying to say that your previous therapy has not resolved your problems and perhaps a different angle may provide the solution you need. Please tell the psychiatrist how angry and upset you were by her suggestions. that may be exactly the reaction she was seeking.

GentlyDoesIt Thu 23-Jul-09 11:37:16

dittany you're quite right. One of the most refreshing things about Alice Miller is that she can spot that a child (adult) who has been victimised will often seek to protect/defend his/her abusers and that's why someone who was abused can be harmed by banal encouragements to forgive and forget, or to "make amends" as 12-step programs suggest.

However, it's also wise to acknowledge that many abused people need to work through conditioned feelings of wanting to protect their abusers. Perhaps it's a defence mechanism to lessen the pain of knowing that actually, someone who was supposed to care for you, didn't.

Unpacking this conditioned desire to "make it better" that a victim often feels is a useful step towards seeing it for what it is, and then moving on towards rightfully owning one's experience now that other voices and influences have been brought out into the open and seen for what they are. The point is not to reach forgiveness, but to look closely at the common desire to forgive and minimise. Once the comfort blanket of forgiveness is stripped away (and it can be VERY stubborn and painful to do this!), only the individual's true experience is left. That's quite a frightening moment, requiring care and delicacy (which the OP's psychiatrist has demonstrated none of).

That's the only positive spin I can put on what the OP's psychiatrist said, and to be honest, I'm stretching it - I only mention it because it turned out to be such a valuable stepping stone for me personally. (maybe I'm protecting the psychiatrist - it's a common pattern of mine! my therapist used to say "You're protecting again!" ).

Regardless, it's a very harmful thing to say at a first session.

namechangingnora Thu 23-Jul-09 14:32:45

Thankyou everyone SO much for your comments, support, advice etc. Its very helpful.

I am seeing a psychiatrist (who has said she will refer me to psychological services for counselling/CBT etc) because of my acute depression - I've really been quite scarily unwell since Christmas. I was seeing faces in bushes ... feeling like someone was following me ... couldn't sit in the sofa with its back to the window ... it was very scary for me and dh as well (dh is a healthcare professional with experience in psychiatric care so was very very worried about me). I had a course of Antipsychotic medication in Jan/Feb which helped and am on a high dose of antidepressants at the moment - which this psychiatrist was happy for me to continue with (one of her good points) which I had worried about, as I had previously needed this high dose, GP would not agree as it had to be approved by a consultant but with a 7 week wait (this - for an "urgent" referral!) I just stuck the dose up myself!

I am confused about how I deal with my Mother. Most of the time, it doesn't bother me. She has done some pretty harsh things in the last few years. After contact was cut 4 years ago, she wrote to my GP telling him I was lying about my depression/another physical symptom I had (luckily GP took no notice) and she reported me to SS as dangerous to my kids (which triggered a Child Protection issue, 4 meetings which were incredibly damaging to me) all to say that actually I was a brilliant Mum and there was no cause for concern at all.

I think part of the problem, maybe the biggest bit, is that I just can't get why she would leave. It was, in the end, cos she wanted to be with her new man rather than with her husband and kids. She said she left us behind because Dad would have come and taken us back. I don't know what she means by that. My Dad took months learning how to do everything in the house (this was early 80s) partly cos Mum had never let him do anything at all in the house up to then - in fact, Dad worked 2 jobs to support my mother being a SAHM.

There has been pretty much nothing I have done since I had children which has met with her approval. I "let" dh help in the house - therefore I am a bad mother/wife. I breastfed - that was "making work for myself", (she didn't - but then her kids were all but my half-sister born in the 70s, when bf was frowned on) as was using washable nappies. My children have been raised bilingual, which she doesn't approve of. Nothing I do is any good. I don't cook from scratch every day. I don't bake. I don't fit her stereotype of what a mother is, and therefore I am "bad", and she has said as much.

I wasn't even going to raise the issue of my mother with theis psych - all I wanted was a referral for CBT (which has helped in the past) and to be kept on the big dose of tablets. But she asked and then was so incredibly quick to defend my mothers actions.

Expat, I really appreciate what you are saying about women not doing things just cos they were abused. I don't think my Mum was - she just didn't love my Dad and fell in love with someone else. But instead of being honorable about it, finishing the marriage in a decent way, she ran off and vanished. I'm glad she left us, I think, as Dad was a total star (though he has his faults, all parents do, like they say, they don't just tuck you up grin) but I would have liked her to want us, even a little.

Sorry, waffling on again. I just want to be well, a good mother to my dcs. Who I could never in a million squillion years imagine walking out on. No matter how bad my dh (who is actually just BRILLIANT) was, no matter how much I wanted to be with someone else. I can only think my Mum must have been emotionally stunted/not bonded right etc.

I just don't understand.

parker1313 Thu 23-Jul-09 22:23:08

I just dont get how anyone could leave their kids!
Its so selfish.
Well done for for being a parent and surviving now each day.
Give youself a pat on the back for getting help and recognising your issues.
I really hope you get thru this. wink

expatinscotland Thu 23-Jul-09 22:36:53

Your mother sounds disturbed, tbh. Has she suffered from mental health issues or addiction, both of which can worsen with age? Do you suspect perhaps she has narcissistic personality disorder?

Maybe it would help to view her in these terms.

It's probably far, far better for you and your health that she's no longer in your life, so perhaps work on accepting that you will likely never know why she did what she did, as even when she was in your life she wasn't exactly opening up as to why or making an effort to improve things.

Work on accepting that there are some things that cannot be understood fully, and on acceptance.

But again this gal's approach doesn't appear to be leading in that direction, but more along the lines of getting you to accept her (the consultant's) perspective, and that approach isn't going to work for you because you are, quite naturally, going to put up barriers.

Anyone can see why, too!

You said she is referring you for pyschological counselling/CBT? Can you maybe explain that you'd rather leave the issue of your mother for that part of your treatment and keep your relationship with her (the psychiatrist) on a more clinical basis?

It's tricky. Depression is a part of my life and has been for the better part of a decade now, so I know enough to know that it's a spectral disorder and all of us are affected in our own way, and yet, are still standing together under the same umbrella.

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