General and Emergency Information for Victims of Therapist Abuse

First and foremost, if you are feeling suicidal, call 911 or a crisis hotline.
There are some crisis hotline numbers listed in the right sidebar under Need Help Now? if you scroll down the page. These include:

National Suicide Hotlines
1-800-SUICIDE / 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-TALK / 1-800-273-8255
24 hours a day/7 days a week

National Sexual Assault Hotline
www.rainn.org
1-800-656-HOPE
24 hours a day/7 days a week

Therapist Referrals
Unfortunately, we don’t have therapist referrals on the website. If you can get a recommendation from someone you know, that can be helpful. There are also therapist directories you can search on, such as PsychologyToday.com and GoodTherapy.org. If you can’t find someone locally, more and more therapists are working via Skype, so that may be an option.

Also, here is a post I wrote about looking for a new therapist, which may be helpful:
http://www.survivingtherapistabuse.com/2014/11/questions-to-ask-a-prospective-therapist/

Licensing
You can check out someone’s license information online through their state licensing agency. This will tell you whether there have been any complaints or administrative actions taken against them.

For example, in California, Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs), Social Workers and Clinical Counselors are licensed through the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). Psychologists (including PsyDs) are licensed through the California Board of Psychology. You can look up licenses and file complaints for any of the above through the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) BreEZe Online Services.

Taking Action
Depending on the nature of the abuse, you may have three different options:
1. File a licensing/administrative complaint
2. File a civil complaint
3. File a criminal complaint

Please note: If you want to take more than one of these actions (for example, you want to file both a civil complaint and a licensing complaint), the order in which you file the complaints can be VERY IMPORTANT. Before you take any action, it would be wise to consult with an attorney.

Here is a post I wrote about taking legal action:
http://www.survivingtherapistabuse.com/2009/10/7-tips-for-therapist-abuse-victims-considering-legal-action/

Legal Referrals
For names of attorneys, check the Legal Resources page. If you don’t see an attorney for your area, call one of those listed, as they may know someone who works in your region.

Additional Resources

TELL – Therapy Exploitation Link Line at www.therapyabuse.org has articles and email responders who may be able to offer some support for victims.

For additional resources, websites and articles, scroll down the page and check out the right sidebar. There are many websites, blogs and articles listed there that may be helpful.

If you have additional resources you would like to add, please leave a comment below.

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What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You” – by Athena Staik, PhD

This article by Athena Staik, Ph.D. is a must-read!

You can find the original on PsychCentral. Dr. Staik also has a Facebook page called What a Narcissist’s “I Love You” Means.

WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A NARCISSIST SAYS “I LOVE YOU”

Dear Codependent Partner,

What I’m about to say is not something I’d ever say or admit (to you), because to do so would end the winner-takes-all-game that is my main source of pleasure in life — one that effectively keeps you carrying my load in our relationship.

And that’s the whole point.

When I say “I love you” I mean that I love how hard you work to make me feel like your everything, that I am the focus of your life, that you want me to be happy, and that I’ll never be expected to do the same.

I love the power I have to take advantage of your kindness and intentions to be nice, and the pleasure I derive when I make myself feel huge in comparison to you, taking every opportunity to make you feel small and insignificant.

I love the feeling it gives me thinking of you as weak, vulnerable, emotionally fluffy, and I love looking down on you for your childlike innocence and gullibility, as weakness.

I love the way I feel knowing that, through the use of gaslighting, what you want to discuss or address will never happen, and I love this “power” to train you to feel “crazy” for even asking or bringing up issues that don’t interest me, effectively, ever lowering your expectations of me and what I’m capable of giving you, while I up mine of you.

I love how easy it is to keep your sole focus on alleviating my pain (never yours!), and that, regardless what you do, you’ll never make me feel good enough, loved enough, respected enough, appreciated enough, and so on. (Misery loves company.)

(It’s not about the closeness, empathy, emotional connection you want, or what I did that hurt or embarrassed you, or how little time I spend engaged with you or the children, and so on. It’s about my status and doing my job to keep you in your place, in pain, focused on feeling my pain, blocking you from feeling valued in relation to me. I’m superior and entitled to all the pleasure, admiration, and comforting between us, remember?)

“I love you” means I love the way I feel when you are with me, more specifically, regarding you as a piece of property I own, my possession. Like driving a hot car, I love the extent to which you enhance my status in the eyes of others, letting them know that I’m top dog, and so on. I love thinking others are jealous of my possessions.

I love the power I have to keep you working hard to prove your love and devotion, wondering what else you need to do to “prove” your loyalty.

“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I’m with you. Due to how often I hate and look down on others in general, the mirror neurons in my brain keep me constantly experiencing feelings of self-loathing; thus, I love that I can love myself through you, and also love hating you for my “neediness” of having to rely on you or anyone for anything.

I love that you are there to blame whenever I feel this “neediness”; feeling scorn for you seems to protect me from something I hate to admit, that I feel totally dependent on you to “feed” my sense of superiority and entitlement, and to keep my illusion of power alive in my mind.

(Nothing makes me feel more fragile and vulnerable than not having control over something that would tarnish my image and superior status, such as when you question “how” I treat you, as if you still don’t understand that getting you to accept yourself as an object for my pleasure, happy regardless of how I treat you, or the children  — is key proof of my superiority, to the world. You’re my possession, remember? It’s my job to teach you to hate and act calloused toward those “crazy” things that only “weak” people need, such as “closeness” and “emotional stuff;” and by the way, I know this “works” because my childhood taught me to do this to myself inside.)

It makes me light up with pleasure (more proof of my superiority) that I can easily get you flustered, make you act “crazy” over not getting what you want from me, make you repeat yourself, and say and do things that you’ll later hate yourself for (because of your “niceness”!). Everything you say, any hurts or complaints you share, you can be sure, I’ll taunt you with later, to keep you ever-spinning your wheels, ever trying to explain yourself, ever doubting yourself and confused, trying to figure out why I don’t “get” it.

(There’s nothing to get! To break the code, you’d have to look through my lens, not yours! It’s my job to show complete disinterest in your emotional needs, hurts, wants, and to train, dismiss and punish accordingly, until you learn your “lesson,” that is: To take your place as a voiceless object, a possession has no desire except to serve my pleasure and comfort, and never an opinion on how its treated!)

(That you can’t figure this out, after all the ways I’ve mistreated you, to me, is proof of my genetic superiority. In my playbook, those with superior genes are never kind, except to lure and snare their victims!)

I love that I can make you feel insecure at the drop of a hat, especially by giving attention to other women (perhaps also others in general, friends, family members, children, etc. … the list is endless). What power this gives me to put a display of what you don’t get from me, to taunt and make you beg for what I easily give to others, wondering why it’s so easy to give what you want to others, to express feelings or affection, to give compliments, that is, when it serves my pleasure (in this case, to watch you squirm).

I love the power I have to get you back whenever you threaten to leave, by throwing a few crumbs your way, and watching how quickly I can talk you into trusting me when I turn on the charm, deceiving you into thinking, this time, I’ll change.

“I love you” means I need you because, due to the self-loathing I carry inside, I need someone who won’t abandon me that I can use as a punching bag, to make myself feel good by making them feel bad about themselves. (This is how I pleasure myself, and the way I numb, deny the scary feelings I carry inside that I hope to never admit, ever. I hate any signs of weakness in me, which is why I hate you, and all those I consider inferior, stupid, feeble, and so on.)

“I love you” means that I love fixing and shaping your thoughts and beliefs, being in control of your mind, so that you think of me as your miracle and savior, a source of life and sustenance you depend on, and bouncing back to, like gravity, no matter how high you try to fly away or jump.

I love that this makes me feel like a god, to keep you so focused (obsessed…) with making me feel worshiped and adored, sacrificing everything for me to prove yourself so that I don’t condemn you, seeking to please none other, and inherently, with sole rights to administer rewards and punishments as I please.

I love how I can use my power to keep you down, doubting and second-guessing yourself, questioning your sanity, obsessed with explaining yourself to me (and others), professing your loyalty, wondering what’s wrong with you (instead of realizing that … you cannot make someone “happy” who derives their sense of power and pleasure from feeling scorn for others … and you!).

“I love you” means I love the way I feel when I see myself through your admiring eyes, that you’re my feel-good drug, my dedicated audience, my biggest fan and admirer, and so on. You, and in particular, your looking up to me, unquestionably, as your never-erring, omniscient, omnipotent source of knowledge is my drug of choice. (You may have noticed how touchy I am at any signs of being question; yes, I hate how fragile I feel at any sign of thinking that you, or the world, could judge me as having failed to keep my possessions in line.)

And I love that, no matter how hard you beg and plead for my love and admiration, to feel valued in return, it won’t happen, as long as I’m in control. Why would I let it, when I’m hooked on deriving pleasure from depriving you of anything that would be wind beneath your wings, risking you’d fly away from me? It gives me great pleasure to not give you what you yearn for, the tenderness you need and want, and to burst your every dream and bubble, then telling myself, “I’m no fool.”

I love that I can control your attempts to get “through” to me, by controlling your mind, in particular, by shifting the focus of any “discussion” onto what is wrong with you, your failure to appreciate and make me feel loved, good enough — and of course, reminding you of all I’ve done for you, and how ungrateful you are.

I love how I skillfully manipulate others’ opinions of you as well, getting them to side with me as the “good” guy, and side against you as the “bad” guy, portraying you as needy, never satisfied, always complaining, selfish and controlling, and the like.

I love how easy it is for me to say “No!” to what may provide you a sense of value and significance in relation to me, with endless excuses, and that I instead keep your focus on my needs and wants, my discomforts or pain.

I love feeling that I own your thoughts, your ambitions, and ensuring your wants and needs are solely focused on not upsetting me, keeping me happy.

I love being a drug of choice you “have to” have, regardless of how I mistreat you, despite all the signs that your addiction to me is draining the energy from your life, that you are at risk of losing more and more of what you most value, and hold dear, to include the people you love, and those who love and support you.

I love that I can isolate you from others who may nourish you, and break the spell, and I love making you mistrust them, so that you conclude no one else really wants to put up with you, but me.

I love that I can make you feel I’m doing you a favor by being with you and throwing crumbs your way. Like a vacuum, the emptiness inside me is in constant need of sucking the life and breath and vitality you bring to my life, which I crave like a drug that can never satisfy, that I fight to hoard, and hate the thought of sharing.

While I hate you and my addiction to your caring attention, my neediness keeps me craving to see myself through your caring eyes, ever ready to admire, adore, forgive, make excuses for me, and fall for my lies and traps.

I love that you keep telling me how much I hurt you, not knowing that, to me, this is like a free marketing report, which lets me know how effective my tactics have been to keep you in pain, focused on alleviating my pain — so that I am ever the winner in this competition — ensuring that you never weaken (control) me with your love- and emotional-closeness stuff.

In short, when I say “I love you,” I love the power I have to remain a mystery that you’ll never solve because of what you do not know (and refuse to believe), that: the only one who can win this zero-sum-winner-takes-all game is the one who knows “the rules.” My sense of power rests on ensuring you never succeed at persuading me to join you in creating a mutually-kind relationship because, in my worldview, being vulnerable, emotionally expressive, kind, caring, empathetic, innocent are signs of weakness, proof of inferiority.

Thanks, but no thanks, I’m resolved to stay on my winner-takes-all ground, ever in competition for the prize, gloating in my narcissistic ability to be heartless, callous, cold, calculating … and proud, to ensure my neediness for a sense of superiority isn’t hampered.

Forever love-limiting,

Your narcissist

PS: I really, really need help — but you CANNOT do this work for me (not without making things worse for both of us!).  Remember, we’re co-addicted to each other, so we’d never go to an addict to get help, right?

Only a therapist, with experience in this, stands a chance, and even then, only if I choose to really, really, really let him/her! (That’s because I’d have to face my greatest fear that, not only am I not superior to everyone and thus not entitled to make and break rules as I please, but I’d also have to own — that my own actions, thoughts and beliefs about myself and others — are THE main cause of the suffering in my life … and changing them, THE solution. I could not would not ever want to do this for the sole reason that, from my worldview, only the feeble-minded and weak do such things!)

By Athena Staik, Ph.D.
www.DrStaik.com

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Sharing an Article and Song

A recent article by Alyssa Strauss on The Mighty.com resonated with me and I wanted to share it. I imagine it will resonate with some of you, too. Click below to read the article and see the video of the song.

How I Responded to Kesha’s New Song “Praying” as a Sexual Assault Survivor

Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

“‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is I wish you farewell

I hope you’re somewhere praying, praying
I hope your soul is changing, changing
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, praying

Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night
Someday, maybe you’ll see the light
Oh, some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive.”

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A Rant — May 17, 2017

Periodically I get comments from people who think that I’m lying about what happened with Dr. T, that I made everything up, that I just want attention, blah, blah, blah. They go on their rant, threaten to discredit me—whatever. It happened again this week.

Generally I let this stuff go, since I know that the people who say these things have their own hurt and anger that they can’t or don’t want to deal with—so I end up being the target of their projections. There’s no point in trying to defend or justify anything—that just gives them more ammunition. They’ve already made up their mind what the “truth” is, so why should I waste my energy trying to explain anything? That just adds fuel to the fire.

But now I’m kind of pissed, so I’m gonna say something. And that is: Who would make this shit up? And why?

* * *

I created this site back in 2009. I did it for two reasons:

  1. Because no one understood what I was going through and I wanted to speak my piece.
  2. Because I wanted to provide resources and support for others who might possibly be going through the same thing. I wanted them to feel less alone.

Was I expecting a response? Heck no! I honestly did not think anyone would find the site. Why would anyone even be looking for it? I was stunned the first time someone left a comment. And gratified that they appreciated what I was saying and offering.

At the same time, I was shocked and saddened to discover that there were others who’d been through the same kinds of experiences that I had. This was completely unexpected. And it was horrifying.

I continued to write about my experience.

But here’s a secret. Every time I pressed that little “Publish” button that would make my post go live, I was absolutely terrified. What if people hated it? Hated me? Ridiculed me? Every time I published a post I pretty much expected to get vilified by someone who would’t get it, wouldn’t understand why therapist abuse was even an issue, wouldn’t have any empathy or compassion for me. I had that fear and dread with every post, and every time I published in spite of it. And the result is this website.

Exactly what do you think I got out of putting my story out there? Attention? Ha ha ha ha ha…!
I can tell you that the total number of visitors to this site over the last several years is a tiny, tiny fraction of what “popular” websites and blogs get in one day. And why would I subject myself to potentially devastating public humiliation?? Being a victim is not exactly sexy, and it’s certainly not an ego boost!

Do you think I’m making money from this site? Ha ha ha ha ha…!
Occasionally, people have suggested that I monetize the site. Do you see any advertising here? Good grief! Can you imagine seeing ads in the sidebar? Yuck! Yes, I have an Amazon store…which people rarely purchase from. Almost all the website fees have come out of my pocket unless some blessed soul makes a donation. There were times when I continued paying the webhosting fees when I really couldn’t afford to be paying the webhosting fees because it was important to me to keep the site going—not for me, but because, well, how many sites are there that deal with therapist abuse?? Where would people go??

Still, I have wondered about whether to keep the site going. For me, there is so much water under the bridge regarding what I refer to as “my situation” with Dr. T that I rarely think about this stuff anymore. Really. I have moved far enough beyond it that the only thing that keeps the memories alive is….this website. So yes, I have repeatedly wondered what it would be like to pull the plug. I haven’t. I do very much value this website as a resource site for those in need, so I think it’s important to keep it going, in one way or another.

This week a reader decided to push some buttons. She went on a rant about how I must be making it all up and an expert said this and that and blah blah blah—and then let me know that she’d figured out who Dr. T is and that she was getting in touch with him to get his side of the story.

Really?

Why?

In the interest of letting people see their comments go live right away, I choose not to moderate comments unless they contain links. (This may now change…) So when this comment showed up, I first chose to let it remain. And then I asked myself Why should I? Who would actually benefit from reading this? Because even though I was able to let it go and move on, I worried that it would be triggering for others. Because isn’t this every therapist abuse victim’s greatest fear? To be called a liar, to have someone threaten to publicly “out” you, to even have someone say they’re going to get in touch with the perpetrator in order to discredit you? So I made the decision to “unapprove” the comment. You may argue with me about this and say Well, why would you do that? Is it because what she’s saying is true and you’re scared? Again: Why would anyone make this shit up??

The funny thing is, even if I had made all this up (and put all this time, energy and money into a complete fabrication), so what? Who cares? Because frankly, a lot of people have benefited from this website. So why hurt them? 

I value and appreciate everyone who has spent time reading the blog and using this website. I never thought anyone would find it and I feel so grateful every time someone comments or writes to me and says what a benefit it’s been. That is the greatest reward I could possibly receive. And I think it’s wonderful when people from this community of survivors step up and support each other. I am so glad that you have found each other! This is truly what keeps this site going. If I didn’t think that people still needed this site, it would be gone in a heartbeat. I’m the owner. I pay the bills. I maintain it. I keep the site going not because I have to or need to but because I care about the visitors—the people who need it. That’s the choice I’ve made and the choice I continue to make.

So there’s my rant. Take it or leave it.

* * *

Love and blessings to all of you!
~Kristi

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10 Ways to Protect Yourself from NLP Mind Control

I came across an article I thought worth sharing. It’s called “10 Ways to Protect Yourself from NLP Mind Control” by Jason Louv. The title sounds a bit scary and magicky, except that there is some really valuable information here about how easy it is for someone to figure out how to manipulate you and how to protect yourself. It’s a long piece but you can just skim to the good stuff. Click below to read the article on Ultraculture.org (which also appears a bit scary and magicky, but hey—you can read the article and then leave…)

10 Ways to Protect Yourself from NLP Mind Control

I want to point out that there are many benefits to NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming), which can be a great tool for personal support. It’s interesting to find out that it is also used by some mentalists—and manipulators—to control people.

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I Simply Made an Appointment. How Did I End Up Here!

Yesterday I was cleaning out my office and came across my datebook calendar from 2010. I am such a pack rat! As I flipped through the calendar seeing if there was any contact information I may still need, I saw it there: My first appointment with Dr. P! How simply and innocently written. “Dr. P October 15, 2010.” Wow! How very innocent I was then!

I never imagined then that I would be where I am now six years later! No one should ever have to go through what we all have by simply making an appointment to see their mental health professional. I think of where I was then just having lost the love of my life and facing some career challenges. I was seeking guidance and assistance through grief and loss.

It was interesting just to see how simply he meant nothing to me other than his role for which I sought out his services. How I wish I could simply have that indifference now.

I paused and then threw the calendar in the trash. I am happy I am away from that predator. I am thankful I got away. I am thankful for the wisdom gained. I am thankful I have moved toward all those goals I originally had in mind when I went into therapy for with Dr. P. I am thankful I have seen many dreams come true. It’s been a long journey from that time of simply having made an appointment.

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Support

The holidays are coming to a close, the new year is just one day away… and the web-hosting fees are almost due.

Would you consider making a donation to support the maintenance of this website? Any amount would be greatly appreciated!

You can use the PayPal donation button on the right to make a contribution via credit card or bank account.

Thank you for being part of the community and for all your support of this website!

Best wishes for a wonderful and healing 2017!

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Any survivors from the 1990’s Out There?

I have been going through the book (hoping to put together a bibliography) on sexual assault by providers. I was really struck by that there was an organized effort to resist the exploitation that was happening then. In a book I am reading now from 1990 there are 10 listed survivor groups in the Appendix. The one that survives is TELL! What happened? How can we nourish and sustain a more organized movement and support network in our communities today?

What I am finding out there is help for the offenders more than help for survivors! It’s as if the survivor voice has been almost erased in the past 26 years since the height of efforts to get this horrific abuse exposed to the public.

I just wonder at what happened to what seemed to be a growing survivor movement?  Yes, we need to change laws but changing laws doesn’t end the abuse or the need for an organized effort to educate the users of therapy and other services as to the danger that is there and what to watch out for in therapy. In 2012 my state still reported 10 percent of therapists and psychiatrists still sexually exploit clients/patients.  That number has been consistent for 50 years since the beginning of recognizing the problem.

I know when I was seeking legal advice I had an attorney apologize to me and say to me, “I am sorry. I thought we stopped this kind of abuse back in the 1990’s”. He was part of the  state task force on therapist exploitation and that task force disbanded in the mid 1990’s. I spoke with another member of that task force last year and he was under the perception that the exploitation just wasn’t happening as much since passing the law in this state.  Yet, the numbers as I wrote above have not changed.  I am just wondering what people from that time period think happened to bring the push to expose this abuse to a crawl and what we might or could be doing now to pick up the torch to move it back into the forefront?

I would be interested in hearing for from those long time survivors and their perception of what has happened in the 26 years since then regarding survivor’s united voices.  Thank you.

Thank goodness for this site and for Kristi’s sustained efforts. Her voice truly is a voice that is crying in the wilderness!

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Introducing My Story

Hello. my name is Maria and I am a survivor too. You may have noticed some of my posts in the past couple of months. I have shared my story with Kristi and she has graciously posted it here on her site.

It is a longer story as part of the story is more about what I learned about sexual assault in the context of helping relationships. In fact as I just wrote “sexual assault” I still feel that I am exegerating and that exploitation somehow sounds better. I wasn’t a willing or consenting party to what happened, but somehow it is still hard for me to say those words.

I am still on the road to recovery. From what I have heard from others who have been put on this journey by exploitive therapists and other helping professionals is that the journey is more than likely a life long journey with new insights and understandings along the way. What happened is life altering. It’s been hard to accept that as well as to accept the psychiatrist I loved and in some manner still do is not the person he pretends to be at all. That he continues to lie and gaslight me by not taking responsibility has been the hardest thing to face in the healing process.

But as Kristi has said in her writings here, no matter your feelings please think of not only getting out of the relationship but also about reporting them to their board, the police, or to a sexual assault advocate in your area who can assist you in the reporting options including the option of not reporting.

I hope you read my story. Please feel free to comment and I hope you find my journey helpful for yours. Remember you are strong and courageous even if the therapist is not held accountable. It takes a lot of strength to break the silence.

You can find my story on the Your Stories page or by clicking here.

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Article by Shahida Arabi: “Your Brain on Love, Sex, and the Narcissist: The Addiction to Bonding with Our Abusers”

I want to recommend another interesting and informative article by Shahida Arabi (who wrote What Abuse Survivors Don’t Know: 10 Life-Changing Truths, which I posted a while back):

Your Brain on Love, Sex, and the Narcissist: The Addiction to Bonding with Our Abusers

Many survivors of narcissistic abuse are confounded by the addiction they feel to the narcissist, long after the abusive relationship took a toll on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Make no mistake: recovery from an abusive relationship can be very similar to withdrawal from drug addiction due to the biochemical bonds we may develop with our toxic ex-partners.

Understanding why we are addicted permits us recognize that our addiction is not about the merits of the narcissist, but rather the nature and severity of the trauma we’ve experienced.

Read the article in full on her website, Self-Care Haven for Survivors of Abuse and Trauma.

I recommend taking a tour around the site, since she has some great articles and resources there!

 

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