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Still Struggling

FMSF News Alert - February 10, 2019

Dear Friends,

The following is a letter we received recently and obtained permission from the writer to share. It is representative of the many calls and letters we continue to receive from families endeavoring to reestablish their broken relationships.

Hello FMSF,

It feels strange to be writing this email. When I first learned about the FMS Foundation in the 1990s, I hated you all. I believed you were all conspiring to protect "them" (the perpetrators) who’d caused my suffering and the suffering of my fellow "victims." I hated others too. Loftus, Ofshe...I thought them liars. I knew "The Truth" - which I learned so much later was pure delusion.

Now, I’m writing to thank you, all of you, for working to protect families and victims of harmful therapy.

My story is not unique. I came to therapy in 1992. I was 23 years old and in an abusive and sometimes violent marriage. My husband, to his credit, had sought therapy for what later turned out to be a psychotic disorder. His therapist asked him to have me attend a session. When the topic of his potentially leaving me came up, I became hysterical with panic. His therapist said, "You need to see a therapist yourself to find out why you need him so much" I thought if I did that, I could fix whatever was wrong with me and prevent my abusive husband from leaving.

In the first session, the therapist asked about my childhood relationship with my parents. After each thing I told her she would exclaim, "That’s abuse!" This was horrifying. By the time she had exclaimed "That’s abuse!" five or six times, I was confused, frantic with anxiety, and unable to speak. She asked, "Are you disassociating (sic)?" It seemed as if she spoke very loudly and everything she said was accusatory. I had no idea what dissociation was but I knew from her tone it wasn’t good. She then asked/ stated the most damaging question/ proclamation anyone has ever uttered to me, "Are your parents in the occult?"

The rest of the story of my "treatment" is too long for an email. Besides, it is so similar to those I have read here and elsewhere, that it would be redundant. Let it suffice to say, it has cost me almost everything.

I am fortunate that I never confronted my parents although they probably suspect what I said about them. I will never forgive myself for how I hurt them. They have forgiven me for cutting them off for over ten years. Years lost for them, and for me.

I have built a career. Not the one I could have had, but I enjoy it. It is my primary focus. There is not much left of me otherwise. I love my family. They love me. It is complicated. We see each other frequently, but this, well, it can’t be fixed. My friends from before this happened are long gone. They live lives more like the one I should have had. My friends from the time of that Living Hell have drifted. When we see each other infrequently, we don’t speak much of this thing, but at some point we fall silent. We look at each other. One of us says quietly, "How did this happen to us?" No one says anything. We shake our heads. Look away. It’s time to go then. My friends now, don’t know. They are few in number. I have so little in common with my peers. A couple of them know. I have tried to explain. They shift uncomfortably...Look away. Change the subject.

My ex-husband and I divorced during my first year in therapy. That was never discussed in my therapy sessions. Not then nor with subsequent therapists who focused only on my false memories which had by then turned to delusion. So after all of the hospitalizations, crises and worsening illness, I have no idea how to have a romantic relationship. My first, the reason I went to therapy in the first place, was a disaster. Ironically, what I needed help with most has been made most likely unattainable by the "treatment" I received.

These therapists stole my young adulthood completely, and the damage has remained years beyond. I am turning 50 soon. I will be unlikely to partner or marry again. My relationships feel hollow. I struggle more than I let anyone know with things that come easily to most. I wrestle with questions about the therapists. Do they now know they were wrong? Do they know how much they hurt me? Do they care? Then there are the painful questions about myself. Why did I believe that? What is wrong with me? How could I do such a thing to my family? To myself? Of course, then the answers come. Because you are stupid. You are defective. Because you are a bad person. Because you deserve to suffer. At the risk of stating the obvious, I often consider suicide. The only thing that stops me is knowing I have hurt my family way too much already. I struggle with depression, anxiety, and guilt. Always the guilt.

Still Struggling

We urge all family members and friends in this situation to reacquaint yourselves with the basics of the FMS Foundation's work through our website. We hope it will bring better understanding, empathy, and thus sensitivity to the difficulties the other has undergone. Be gentle with one another.

JBean and Pam