|The thing is, I very badly need therapy. But on the other hand, I am disappointed and upset by his failure to listen to me and am wondering if it constitutes negligence either ethically or professionally.
Please be gentle with me. I am very ashamed and upset about my destructive behavior that I describe below and desperately want to fix it.
I am bipolar, I have anxiety, and I have C-PTSD. A few months ago, I began EMDR therapy with a therapist who has been specifically trained in EMDR techniques. At first, I was thrilled as I was noticing very discernable changes in my mood, cognitive functioning, and ability to withstand stressful situations. However, we seem to have hit a wall, and I am very upset about it.
One of the biggest reasons I entered therapy is because I grew up in abusive home, with a father who would fly into blind rages during arguments without much provocation, scream curse words and invective at me and my mother (who was in and out of of cancer remission) and break dishes and glasses, punch walls, kick things on the floor to send them flying, overturn coffee tables, smash cordless phones and remote controls against the walls, yank the cords of lamps out of walls and overturn or kick them, and on occasion throw glasses of cold water in my face. One time he hurled a bar stool off of our balcony (it landed in a tree and not on a person thankfully). When my mom and I would ask, after the fact, why he kept breaking shit in our house (or in some cases, literally breaking our house), he would say "You weren't listening to me, and so I needed to get your attention somehow," like that wasn't a totally deranged explanation for a frightening display of hostility and abuse. I swore that I would never, ever behave like this around anyone I loved or cared for.
As of late, due to several stressors in my life over the past two years (feel free to look at my questions from January of 2018 for some context) and also due to a pretty hefty self-destructive streak, I myself have not been handling my anger well, and on five occasions, I myself have broken some household objects - not for the same reason that my dad did, but just due to losing complete control while angry. Loss of control while experiencing intense emotions is not unusual for people with C-PTSD, as I understand it. But the breaking things is inexcusable, as far as I am concerned, and when it happens I flip out because I have essentially triggered myself by causing flashbacks to my dad's anger. It takes me a long time to recover from the trigger, and then after it does I feel deeply ashamed and full of self hatred, as I fear I am turning into my father, who still to this day frightens me with his anger even though I am rapidly approaching middle age. This is violent behavior, and I don't think of myself as a violent person. But here I am, being violent.
My psychiatrist suggested EMDR as a potential option to help identify my triggers and learn how to have more control over my emotions without flashing back to prior trauma and engaging in violence.
I was very clear with my EMDR therapist when I began the process that my primary therapy goal was to address the violent behavior and work on how to put a stop to it. He assured me that this was totally do-able. But since then, we have basically never touched on the issues that tend to trigger my rage. He took a detailed intake on me during our first two sessions, as most therapists do, and then has spent a lot of time helping me with other peripheral concerns I have in my life - self esteem issues, drawing boundaries, standing up for myself, identifying toxic people before they suck the life force from me. Don't get me wrong - these are all things that I definitely needed help with, and this therapist has made tremendous progress with me on these fronts, and it has improved the quality of my life.
THAT BEING SAID... we have not fixed my decline into violent behavior when provoke into a rage. I bring it up during each session, and he assures me we will get there. But it's been like four months, and two of my five breaking-things episodes have happened while I was under his treatment. One of them happened THIS PAST FRIDAY..
I feel that this is unacceptable. I came to therapy in good faith and was brutally honest about how much I wanted to overcome this issue, and how I considered it to be the highest priority because of how much it frightens me (not to mention those around me). I don't want to be an emotional terrorist. I have been asking week after week after week when we are going to address this in therapy and nothing has come of it. I have zero emotional tools to help me stop this behavior - this is WHY I came to therapy.
It seems to me that people who treat patients with mental illness whose mental illness manifests in ways that are unsafe and violent have an obligation to prioritize that issue, or admit that they are out of their depth and need to refer said patient somewhere else. He has done neither of these things, and so here I am, losing my shit on Friday and breaking plates. I can't afford to buy more plates, and furthermore, I just can't keep losing my shit like this and descend into the shame spiral + flashbacks of my dad + inevitable depression. This is not ok.
I am not kidding when I say that in every session I ask my therapist when we are going to work on this, and when it has occurred during the time I've been under his treatment I literally beg him to help me in the following session. My most recent appointment with him was Saturday, the day after I broke some more plates. I told my therapist that I was extremely upset and disheartened that after months of therapy, I have not improved in the slightest in the one area I SPECIFICALLY told him I was seeking him out for. I feel like this has been a waste of my time and money and I also feel like this is kind of irresponsible of him as well.
Am I overreacting? Or is it time to change therapists?
Again, please be gentle with me - I know that scary rage and breaking shit is horrible and inexcusable, and I desperately want to fix it, so please if possible I would like to avoid being chastised for this because I already deal with enough shame over this issue as it is.