I think my therapist gaslighted me

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Medb
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Age: 22
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14 Jul 2020, 9:07 am

Hi all, this is my first time posting, so mods please move this if it is inappropriate for the Haven.

I am a 22 year old autistic woman. I learned to be adept at hiding my autistic traits, especially during college where I was swimming in a sea of neurotypicals. All of my friends are NTs; I'm good at mirroring people so I learned to mimic NT behavior. Unless someone was really, really tuned in, they would probably never know I'm autistic unless I were to tell them. It's a double edged sword. On one hand, learning to blend in with NTs has made my adult life much easier than my youth.

But it comes at a price. I've found the terms "masking" and "burnout" online, and I've never found anything to be more relatable. It is exhausting to play the part of an NT without reprieve. Sometimes it makes me feel like autism is this dirty secret that I must bleach my identity of. Shame is something I've struggled with since being diagnosed.

I've also struggled with negative self-talk about not being 'autistic enough' to 'count.' Well, this insecurity was cracked wide open last week at the hands of a new therapist.

I'd not supplied her with medical records, nor had I disclosed my diagnosis to her. We really hadn't talked in-depth about my life history at ALL. She doesn't know me well enough to make any judgment. Anyway, during our final session, she said something appalling to me about how autism is a "vaccine injury" and how she was hoping that Pres. Trump would've "done something about mandatory vaccines." I was in shock. Thankfully I was wearing a mask, so she couldn't see my jaw drop.

I called her the next day and summoned the courage to tell her that I am autistic and that her comment was deeply hurtful and offensive to autistic people in general. She responded by telling me that I'm not autistic, and that I probably had such strong of a reaction because of the trauma we had previously discussed. That I was already wound up and oversensitive, because her comment was "pure fact, and not intended to be offensive." Rather than asking me about my experiences and traits, she demanded the name of the person who irresponsibly diagnosed me.

Then she emailed me and sent me a link to Autism $peaks, telling me that I don't match the criteria for an autism diagnosis. Keep in mind, this woman does not know me! She told me in the email, "Going through life believing you have a developmental disorder that you do not isn't good for you."

I'm so hurt. She really got into my head, and I can't stop thinking, What if I'm not autistic? What if I'm just... weird? What if I'm just a liar and dramatic, and that's how I got a diagnosis?...

Finally being diagnosed brought me so much comfort. It was long overdue and it helped greatly with self-compassion. And now I can't stop doubting it all. I've been gaslighted in abusive relationships and this feels the same.

If you've read any of this, thank you for being the anonymous audience I needed. I had to funnel my emotions somewhere.



MamaBearsColdBrealfast
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14 Jul 2020, 1:11 pm

Thank you for having the guts to tell the therapist what they did wrong. That's not easy, and it's often met with some form of resistance, but it's a necessary form of feedback. You may have just saved another aspie from hearing something similar from them, and if not, you at least know you can give this information to anyone you know that may be looking into visiting that practice. Word of mouth is powerful, friend. Wield it when necessary.
I'm sorry for your experience, and I'm sorry that this kind of therapist isn't more rare. Doesn't seem odd that they can go to school for so long and still be so incorrect? Seems like a waste of their time and money to me, but also a waste of yours. It takes courage to seek help when help is needed. I congratulate you for stepping out and seeking therapy. Please keep seeking, and don't stop until you find someone that validates you and helps you feel at ease so you can really dig deep and work on those goals of yours.
As for the "autistic enough" thing, don't worry about it. The fact that your diagnosis, and terms that are specific to your diagnosis, provides clarity and security just means that it is a fitting diagnosis. It's hard not to feel weird or crazy in a world where everyone is expected to act NT, but I promise that you're not. You fit in right here, with the rest of us weird crazies. Your therapist definitely gaslighted you and that is one of the least healthy therapist-patient interactions I've ever heard of. NEXT!
I hope your day gets better. Try to remember, those of us that AREN'T crazy know that autism doesn't come in vaccine form. :lol:



kraftiekortie
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14 Jul 2020, 1:23 pm

“Therapist” and “anti-vaxxer” are mutually exclusive.

The therapist tried to gaslight you—but she didn’t succeed in doing so.



magz
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14 Jul 2020, 2:06 pm

Medb wrote:
Hi all, this is my first time posting, so mods please move this if it is inappropriate for the Haven.

I am a 22 year old autistic woman. I learned to be adept at hiding my autistic traits, especially during college where I was swimming in a sea of neurotypicals. All of my friends are NTs; I'm good at mirroring people so I learned to mimic NT behavior. Unless someone was really, really tuned in, they would probably never know I'm autistic unless I were to tell them. It's a double edged sword. On one hand, learning to blend in with NTs has made my adult life much easier than my youth.

But it comes at a price. I've found the terms "masking" and "burnout" online, and I've never found anything to be more relatable. It is exhausting to play the part of an NT without reprieve. Sometimes it makes me feel like autism is this dirty secret that I must bleach my identity of. Shame is something I've struggled with since being diagnosed.

I've also struggled with negative self-talk about not being 'autistic enough' to 'count.' Well, this insecurity was cracked wide open last week at the hands of a new therapist.
That's the story of so many of us here :heart:

Medb wrote:
I'd not supplied her with medical records, nor had I disclosed my diagnosis to her. We really hadn't talked in-depth about my life history at ALL. She doesn't know me well enough to make any judgment. Anyway, during our final session, she said something appalling to me about how autism is a "vaccine injury" and how she was hoping that Pres. Trump would've "done something about mandatory vaccines." I was in shock. Thankfully I was wearing a mask, so she couldn't see my jaw drop.

I called her the next day and summoned the courage to tell her that I am autistic and that her comment was deeply hurtful and offensive to autistic people in general. She responded by telling me that I'm not autistic, and that I probably had such strong of a reaction because of the trauma we had previously discussed. That I was already wound up and oversensitive, because her comment was "pure fact, and not intended to be offensive." Rather than asking me about my experiences and traits, she demanded the name of the person who irresponsibly diagnosed me.

Then she emailed me and sent me a link to Autism $peaks, telling me that I don't match the criteria for an autism diagnosis. Keep in mind, this woman does not know me! She told me in the email, "Going through life believing you have a developmental disorder that you do not isn't good for you."

I'm so hurt. She really got into my head, and I can't stop thinking, What if I'm not autistic? What if I'm just... weird? What if I'm just a liar and dramatic, and that's how I got a diagnosis?...

Finally being diagnosed brought me so much comfort. It was long overdue and it helped greatly with self-compassion. And now I can't stop doubting it all. I've been gaslighted in abusive relationships and this feels the same.

If you've read any of this, thank you for being the anonymous audience I needed. I had to funnel my emotions somewhere.
This "therapist" is absurdly incompetent. The vaccine-autism thing was debunked years ago! Maybe she gaslights you to avoid facing her own incompetence.
Can you find some other therapist to talk about it?


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