Yesterday, I received two envelopes in the mail from my T. My heart froze and my stomach clenched when I saw them. When I got up to the house, I opened the first one, and it was a letter from my T. And I broke down as I was reading it. I never expected her to reach out like that, although maybe she’s ethically obligated to do so. I just expected to get an invoice for my last payment, which was in the second envelope.
I felt so many things as I read what she wrote. I felt pain and grief over the loss of the relationship, anger with myself because it’s my fault, confusion as to why I chose to do this, even more confusion at recognizing that, for the most part, I do not want to go back, guilt over ending the way I did after 3 years.
She was the first person to listen to me, to accept everything I am and everything I have to say. She has been a witness to my pain, she’s been with me through some of the toughest parts of my life. When money got tight, she offered me a ridiculously low fee so that money didn’t have to be an issue. She has done so much for me. Part of me expected the letter to be angry, throwing in my face everything that she’s done for me over the past three years, asking if this is how I re-pay her. I seem to be doing that to myself, though. No, the letter was kind, understanding, and filled with the things that I’m sure she would have said in session if I’d given her the chance.
Here is the letter:
It has been very special having the opportunity to work with you over the last three years. I care for you, and I respect you deeply.
At our last session last week, you announced that you wished to terminate therapy immediately. I do wish we had one additional session in order to review our work together.
You said that you despair you may never reach the goals you have set, and I believe I understand that at times a journey may seem exceedingly daunting. The slow pace of human growth and development is often frustrating for all of us. Although you may discount my words, I wish to state on paper that no client I have ever had in nearly 30 years of practice has ever accomplished more in a similar stretch of time.
At your request, I will close your record for now. If you decide to return to therapy with me, I will reopen it. If you wish to have referrals for other psychotherapists in the area, I will be happy to provide them. We have discussed emergency resources on numerous occasions. I trust you will avail yourself of those should you ever need them.
May you find a way to thrive in this interesting, difficult, horrible, beautiful world.
After reading the letter, I figured out that part of the reason I ended so suddenly is because I couldn’t tolerate taking up more of her time and energy and care. And since she never withdrew in all our time together, I finally decided that I had to leave, because I couldn’t tolerate her kindness anymore. And it’s true. The part of me that expected the letter to be angry is the same part of me that has always been waiting for the other shoe to drop – for the day when T decides she’s fed up with me and hates me. And that day never came, so I had to leave. And it’s even possible that I left the way I did just to try to get that reaction I was expecting – an angry reaction.
So it’s immeasurably painful, both in good and bad ways, that she has still remained kind. I truly don’t understand how that could be. I honestly cannot comprehend that level of kindness toward me. It’s hard to tolerate.
I still don’t know that I want to go back. I have an appointment with another T next week, although, financially, I don’t think I can afford therapy except for with my T at the more than generous rate she was offering me.
I don’t really know what to do with myself right now. I’ve cried my eyes out nightly for the past several nights. At this point, that’s all I see in the foreseeable future as well. Work is keeping me beyond busy, though, which I suppose is good. I almost wish I still had work to catch up on this weekend so I could go into the office and focus on something incredibly boring, tedious, and something that requires total concentration and no room for anything else. Being in my head is painful right now.