This is a guest post from one of our readers, Michelle A. Mallon, MSW, LSW.
Looking back, it was as if I went through months of someone telling me there wasn’t a massive black hole sucking me in. It felt as if he was telling me “Everything is fine. Keep walking. In fact, walk faster. Just trust me. Do you trust me?”
Even as the wind picked up, and I couldn’t see anymore as I got further in, he still kept reassuring me, “Pay no mind to the feeling of being out of control. That is normal. You MUST go through this to feel better.”
When I would turn to ask again if it was really safe to do this or make a plea to try and run out, I would find the exits blocked by threats. I would hear him say “If you run out, you will be personally hurting me and it will cause immediate harm to your family and people you love. They might get sucked into a real black hole. You wouldn’t want that now, would you? All you have to do is try harder, and keep walking. You just have to trust me. Don’t you trust me?”
I had to trust him that the black hole wasn’t going to destroy me in the process. Even though I know that all black holes destroy everything in their paths, I was being reassured that this one would not. Though it made no sense to me at all and was completely contrary to what my gut was screaming at me to do, I felt as if I had no choice but to keep going, knowing full well that it was going to rip me apart in the process. I was essentially choosing my own death. I remember being consciously aware that no matter what I did, I was going to be annihilated.
-Michelle A. Mallon, MSW, LSW
Michelle Mallon earned her Master’s degree in Social Work in 1999 from Ohio State University. She worked as a medical social worker at St. Ann’s Hospital, primarily on the Palliative Care Unit, for 14 years and has taught (and continues to teach) in the Computer Science & Engineering Department at the Ohio State University for 16 years. Her understanding of therapist abuse came after she was emotionally abused by a psychologist to whom she had taken her two young children for counseling. The therapist lured her in and referred the children out. She endured nearly two years of extensive predatory grooming followed by horrific emotional abuse. She recalls that the last time she ever saw this therapist (in June 2012) he was yelling and cursing at her and throwing things in his office.
One of the most painful and challenging parts of this journey to recovering her life has been overcoming the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that developed as a direct result of the abuse. It has not been an easy process, but she is finally reclaiming her identity, passion and enthusiasm for all of the thing she held so dear prior to the abusive relationship. Now, she devotes much of her time to reaching out to other victims of emotional abuse, not only victims of therapist abuse, to help them in finding the currently hidden path to recovering from such insidious emotional abuse. Her interests include malignant Narcissistic abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder related to this type of abuse. One of the most important books she has read in her own journey to healing has been “Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion Of Identity” by Marie-France Hirigoyen.
Michelle says, “Without the detailed explanation of the intentional and manipulative aspects of the abuse that I was able to come to recognize from reading this book, I would still be reliving the events over and over again trying to understand what I missed that could have prevented the destruction of a malignant relationship that I had been deceptively led to believe was a supportive, helpful one. This book held the keys to open the prison door behind which this abusive therapist had locked me.”