Do you have kids?


I cheated on my shrink. There, I said it. More specifically, I cheated on my psychiatrist, and I did it because she made me angry at her by refusing to answer the silliest question of all times: Do you have kids?

Let me start at the top. I’ve been seeing her on a monthly basis ever since Mr. Shrinky (a psychoanalyst himself) said, very early on in our work together, that therapy was too much to handle by myself at that point and I needed extra help. I was severely depressed and suicidal so evidently I agreed, after all I was sitting there at his office asking for help wasn’t I? He referred me to her and said she’s the best at what she does. Fine then.

Anyhow, after a while I hit it off with Mr. Shrinky, but things with N have never been quite very smooth. For one thing, I don’t see her far as often as I do see him, and when I do I usually don’t have a lot of things to say to her because I don’t feel entirely comfortable, among other things because of her office. It’s dark and cold, and our chairs are so far away we have to speak up to hear each other.

Another thing is the barriers she puts up: once, at the end of a session when I was looking for my wallet to pay (a moment which is always very uncomfortable for me), I found a pair of chocolates, so I offered her one. I didn’t even think about it, it just came out of my mouth (for those of you who don’t know, us mexicans tend to be sharers, we share whatever it is we’re about to eat to anyone who is around), and she said no, thanks. It didn’t bother me, it’s also rather common for people to first say no, and then accept whatever it is they’ve been offered. When I insisted, she said “but it’s yours, I can’t accept it”, response that caused a big WTF gesture on my face as I proceeded to put the damn thing back and take out the money.

So during my last session with her in the middle of November, I saw something in her office that resembled a Xmas gift and I wondered why she would keep such a thing in her office when it wasn’t even December, which got me to think that maybe it was a gift she was hiding for her kid(s), and I realized I didn’t know whether she had any kids at all. And so, without paying attention to any of the previously described signs, I asked her if she had kids, and she simply stared at me. So I asked yet again, and the conversation went on a bit like this:

-Why do you ask?

-Just because, I saw that thing that looks like a gift and it got me wondering if you were a mother.

-Is it important for you to know?

-No, I’m just curious,do you have kids N?

-(Stares at me)

-Are you really not going to tell me?

-(Stares at me)

-Fine, whatever.

Then she said something about me redirecting my anger towards her and we needed to find out where it was coming from, but at this point I wasn’t really listening and was just waiting out for the damn session to end, I was too pissed off. What really fueled my anger was that she wouldn’t answer, she didn’t even say “You know? I’m just not going to answer that” or something, all I got was her silence. And it offended me. It was like I wasn’t even worth an explanation.

After the session I was sure I wasn’t coming back to see her again. I told Mr. Shrinky about all of this and he said it was something she and I needed to talk about. Right, yet another conversation fueled by an insignificant, silly little question, don’t they have enough?

Aside from this, my female progenitor approached me one day, as female progenitors do, to say she wanted me to get a second opinion on my psych treatment, after all I’d been going for quite a while and it wouldn’t hurt to listen to what another shrink had to say about it. My most natural, immediate response, would’ve been something on the tone of : “Hell no! You’ve got no idea if I’m making progress or not, and I’d really like you to say out of it”, but because the situation with N happened just days before, I was suddenly open and willing to do as I was being suggested, and much to my surprise I even made an appointment with the doc she suggested.

Mr. Shrinky was pissed, he said this was a decision that we should’ve made together, that he couldn’t make a team out of the blue with this “person” and that I could “get confused”. After this session with him I realized I didn’t want to see any other shrink at all because I trusted them both and was content with the progress made. In fact I couldn’t find a single fiber in me telling me to go see this new doc, except for one: the part of me that was still very upset and offended and angry at N.

So I went, this other shrink concurred with the way my treatment had been handled, and I even got to leave with a month-supply of the meds I’m on. So far so good. Now, my next appointment with N is tomorrow and I’m gonna have to tell her I cheated on her, and I think this may cause yet another bump in our way, and all because of a simple unanswered question.

Agreed, I may have a bit of a problem with boundaries, but it’s not as if I asked for her address or her children’s names. And these steel barriers are not something I think I can get accustomed to, mainly because they seem illogical to me and thus I can’t seem to deal well with them. Let’s see how it goes (I may or may not report back on it 😛 ).

30 thoughts on “Do you have kids?

  1. wow she does sound kind of cold and and i wonder if her office harbours triggers for you? we had to undo the triggers in my ‘T’s” office and with my ‘T” before we did any work. My ‘T’ has eluded in the past that she has been through some things so I asked her today and told her i was aware of patient/client boundaries. she told me, she had an abusive father and had been through some sexual abuse. that made it so much easier for me to work with her. i knew then she really could understand me.

    • I totally see your point, I’m glad your “T” is open to sharing some stuff with you that might help in your therapy. In my case, I think it was more of a “matter of fact” question that would’ve gone by unnoticed if my T hadn’t decided I was stepping over her boundaries, because a simple “yes” or “no” would’ve sufficed me.

        • Yes, I felt like that in a way, and it also got me thinking if this was a sensitive subject for me to ask, but if it was she could have said so and would’ve dropped it immediately. I’ve seen her guard patient/T boundaries like they’re sacred and that’s ok, but for me trust is a two-way street, so I really don’t know where to go from here :S

          • yes she should have said something to you, it would have been terribly awkward. i think there needs to be some softness from our therapists, if not we can’t connect and we can’t make progress.
            my ‘T’ asked me yesterday how i felt about her and how things were going. i didn’t realize until she asked, that i needed to discuss some beefs. once i did, it make things a whole lot easier. it was easier to trust her again. the fact that she told me she had an abusive father really helped, then i know she understands and i can trust the process.

            • That’s very good! If you can’t trust your T, I don’t think there’s much work to be done in any area, so I hope we can work this issue through. I’d prefer that a million times rather than changing P, that would be very hard for me.

              I hope today the evening was a bit easier on you! Sending lots of warm hugs your way!

    • I know, I think she made a mistake by not answering at all, but after the support and opinions I’ve gotten through everyone’s comments here I think I might be willing to give her a second chance, as long as we can work this through, I need to be able to trust her!

  2. I have to laugh about the address comment because recently I accidentally discovered my T’s. The most odd part was that after every session I drive to a spot in a neighborhood that feels very comfortable to me and take some time to process the session before I try function in the world. It turns out that the spot that I always park in is immediately around the corner from her house! I admitted it to her and she shrugged it off and said that a few clients have known her where she lives before and she didn’t mind my knowing or parking there. Talk about an odd coincidence, though!

  3. OK, I’m a big believer in boundaries and how important they are in therapy, but seriously!? Seems to me just a step too far. I’ve nicknamed my therapist the Boundary Ninja he’s so good with them and his response to that question was: yes, two sons. Actually BN is fairly open with facts about his life, its his feelings we NEVER discuss. BUT and here’s the important part, that others have mentioned. I have never been treated like I did something wrong or had a question ignored. If BN won’t tell me something or says no, he explains why not, normalizes my wanting the information or action and makes it clear that nothing I do or say will adversely affect our relationship (something he’s more than proven considering some of the things I’ve talked to him about. :)). You had every right to consult another Dr, this is your therapy and your needs come first. All that said if you realize you did it out of anger or hurt, its a good thing to take a look at and talk about. Its important for you to examine why it felt safer to act out the anger and hurt instead of taking it back into session. But I also think your P might want to consider whether she is creating a safe and welcoming enough environment for you to talk about how you are feeling. Especially the “negative” emotions. That makes it an important, although I’ll grant you really uncomfortable, conversation to have. But I think its good that you acted to take care of and protect yourself when you got worried about her behavior. So go you! ~ AG

    • Thank you AG! You made me feel less guilty about the whole thing 🙂 I think we’ve reached a point where we’re gonna have to work this through or end our work together, I’m hoping it’s the first one, even if it’s the harder one. xx!

  4. Eesh. I hate when they get upset with innocent questions. You’re supposed to bare your soul to them, but you’re not allowed to know a thing about them besides their name. It’s not fair.

  5. N doesn’t sound appealing, and a sense of connection is really vital to making progress. Someone can be highly recommended but not be right for you.

    That said, some types of therapy work by having the T stay a blank screen – they do not reveal anything about themselves on purpose. The idea is to explore what comes up for you about them in this case. So I don’t think that she didn’t answer your question is necessarily a sign that she is a bad therapist or uncaring. You would really need to check it out with her and explore what this means for you, including the anger that came up.

    I have found that it’s little things like this that can provide a lot of stuff for working through and a lot of clues about how we work. But you have to feel allied with the T in the first place in order to feel safe enough to do that.

    Good luck!

    • I guess it’s a matter of different styles and approaches to the situation, and I just wasn’t comfortable with hers. But you’re right, I think a lot of good stuff can come out of talking it through, I just wish she wasn’t so damn cold!

  6. She sounds like the typical “analysist”, the shrinks that just don’t talk about themselves (for whatever reasons)… don’t worry about it. I mean – it’s all about finding someone YOU’re comfortable with (and not your other therapsist). Screw her 😉 xx

  7. I work in public health and have interactions with a variety of health professionals. It has been my experience that all substance abuse counselors are in recovery, and all psychiatrists are f-ing nuts. My two cents.
    Hang in there.

  8. Ugh, I really dislike those kind of shrinks! My mom (who happens to BE a shrink, lol) says it’s a psychoanalytic therapy schools that thinks it mandatory for the shrink to remain totally, utterly impersonal – nothing but a white, featureless projection surface for the patient, so that they can analyze everything as being the patients projections and their own reactions as nothing but countertransferences – – – but if you ask me, I find that a bit unrealistic. And hey, in general people find it rude if they are just not answered in ANY way whatsoever, so analyzing mental issues into it if a patient gets upset over it . . . uhm, well. I know I would have a hard time trusting a therapist who remained nothing but this intangible white sheet. I mean obviously boundaries are important and going buddy-buddy with a therapist over her private life would be a bad idea, but gee, what’s so bad about “hi, I’m your therapist, I’m human, I have kids, and now back to what brings you here” or even “see, the way I work discussing my private life is off limits, so let’s figure out how you feel about that, instead of figuring out whether I have kids or not”? But just staring… hmm-kay. Awkward way to handle it. But then, even white-sheet impersonal shrinks are people, too, who might have a bad day or bad moment.

    Anyway, I agree with what others have said. It’s important you’re comfy with your shrink, so if you can get used to her style and idea of therapy and if you can work it out all is cool and it’s certainly worth to give it a good shot. And if it continues to bother you, well… there are always other shrinks to check out.

    • You hit right on the spot, this shrink is both a psychiatrist and a psychoanalyst, and though she’s supposed to only be the first one with me since I have my own psychoanalyst (who referred me to her in the first place), I think she can’t avoid acting as both at the same time. I’m actually gonna meet her this comming week for the first time since this episode because I didn’t make it to my last appt, I guess I just wasn’t ready. Now I feel much more ready to talk about what happened and then I’ll make a decision. Thanks for your comment, and sorry for taking so long to answer!

      • No problem about taking long, life just is like that sometimes! 🙂 I see about how your therapist might have a hard time switching her psychoanalyzing self off. I really hope you will be able to have a good talk with her about it and that she manages to actually say or do more than staring back. Good luck!

  9. Trust and rapport are so important in any relationship but especially one where you’re entrusting your deepest thoughts and feelings with the other. I think it’s important to remember we all have issues and maybe there’s something your question triggered for N that she wasn’t expecting/didn’t handle as well as could have been expected. There’s plenty of research that shows appropriate self-disclosure between client and therapist makes for more effective therapy. I know there are boundaries too but N really ought to be aware of the need for a relationship of this type to feel balanced, trusting and open. I was told if you’re not happy with your counsellor after a few sessions, consider a change because it may just be you aren’t right for each other…. Just like there are some people we don’t get along with at home or work. Will be thinking of you.

    • I have indeed been thinking of a change of therapist regarding N, the thing is change is so difficult for me, even if it is for the better. Also, it may not seem like it but I like her, I just wish she wasn’t so damn cold!
      We haven’t really talked about all the things that her reaction made me feel, but I’m actually gonna meet her tomorrow for the first time since this issue, and I’m going to be completely open about how I went to see a different person and feeling I can’t trust her, and I think then I’ll be able to make a decision.
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, I really appreciate it!

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