Wedding Woes

Maybe it's time to send Sammy to the therapist?

Dear Prudence,

A year ago, I was referred to my therapist by a friend, Anna, who had been seeing her for years. So far, the therapist has been helpful in encouraging me to speak up about things that are bothering me, and she’s the first person I’ve spoken to about several intense traumas. Working with her for the past year has been a life-changing experience, and seeing her is one of the best parts of my week. I wasn’t terribly close with Anna, but I am starting to get very close with a former friend of hers, Sammy. Sammy sometimes complains about Anna: She thinks Anna is selfish, and demands too much of people, and often blames the therapist for Anna’s behavior.

My therapist often says that I can ask more out of the people in my life and encourages me to be more open with my friends about my feelings, which seems like a good thing. But now I’m worried that I may start becoming selfish or too demanding if I keep seeing her. I’ll admit that I have gotten more distant from a few people in my life in the last year—including some family members—in part because of conversations with my therapist that revealed they haven’t been supportive in the ways that I want them to be. While my therapist frames this as evidence that I’m standing up for my needs, I’m now worried this is evidence that I’m doing the same thing Anna did to her friends. I don’t agree she was as selfish as Sammy makes her out to be, but I can see that Sammy was deeply hurt her actions, and I hate the idea that I would do the same thing to the people in my life. I have access to other therapists, but I really don’t want to start over. Plus, the idea that a person who I’ve always seen as extremely helpful could actually be doing harm brings up a lot of anxiety for me. Is Sammy right to blame Anna’s behavior on this therapist? Should I be wary about whether this therapist is really going to be all that helpful in the end? Or should I trust the experience I’ve had with her so far?

—Nervous Friend

Re: Maybe it's time to send Sammy to the therapist?

  • Ditch Sammy. 

    People who don't want you to be healthy will always do this. Distancing from family members is not bad. Standing up for yourself and stating your emotional needs is not bad. That Sammy thinks this, or has been guiding you to think so, reveals problems that are Sammy's, not yours. 
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  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    I wonder what LW says to Sammy when he shit talks Anna. I'd start there. Like, "Ya know, Sammy, I think she's just taking care of herself and expressing her needs, which isn't a bad thing. Honestly I'm starting to do the same and I worry that you'll see me the same way - selfish and that's not true at all."

    Something like that.
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  • short+sassyshort+sassy
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    edited July 12

    I'm curious why Sammy thinks it is partially the "therapist's" fault for Anna's supposedly selfish behavior.

    I wouldn't think most people discuss, in detail, their therapy sessions.  Even with close friends.

    I suspect this is nothing more than Sammy making HUGE assumptions about Anna's therapist.  As such, I wouldn't pay it any mind. 

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  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    VarunaTT said:
    Why does LW care more about Sammy's verbal diarrhea than what her therapist is telling her?  Therapist has made you feel better, happier, and on a good life path, so why are you letting Sammy take that from you?

    Maybe, Anna realized Sammy was a problem, told Sammy that w/the help of her therapist, and Sammy is pissy. 

    LW, dump Sammy and keep going to therapy.
    I agree. A lot of people have a really hard time when people start actually standing up for themselves and not letting themselves be shat on.

    A good portion of my family is like this. And H's too, now that I think about it. 

    Standing up for yourself and your happiness shouldn't ever be considered selfish.
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