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Chapter 24, Part 3: Family Therapy Round Two – Hello, Therapist 2.0

caninelover's picture

I met virtually with Therapist 2.0 in early July.  He seemed personable and discussed the type of approach he practiced.  We then went into my goals.  I specifically told him my only goals were to confirm Bratty’s timing for moving out and to get alignment around visits to our home.  At a higher level I wanted to clarify my role in the ‘family’ as I did not want to be Bratty’s stepmother.  I also told him I disliked Bratty but felt guilty about coming between her and SO, and that was the only reason I was even willing to participate in therapy sessions at all – because I loved SO and wanted him to have a relationship with Bratty but she was giving him the cold shoulder because she was upset at me for having to move out.

He said everything made sense and he thought there was opportunity to improve how we communicate.  With that we went ahead and scheduled a group session.  The first session the therapist covered some specific communication skills and techniques that we would use in future sessions.  It was all fine.

In the next session, Bratty started off (practicing the learned technique from the prior session) explaining that my anger towards her was triggering as it reminded her of her mother’s verbal abuse.  I practiced my listening skills, apologized, and did my best to validate her feelings.  Bratty couldn’t just let it lie though and went on and on the entire session about how damaging it is for her.  I listened patiently and we ended the session with an assignment from the therapist to email a list of specific goals to everyone.

SO and I send an email of our goals.  One of mine were to discuss specific plans for Bratty to move out.  Bratty responded to my email and piled on her prior complaints.  She said she had a lot of emotions over the requirement to move out and wanted to discuss.  Also she said she wanted to confirm if it was ok for her to leave the session if I became angry because [insert the long prior explanation that was discussed in the prior session].  Bratty also submitted her other goals which were her holiday plans, making sure I took accountability for my behavior, and that I respected her boundaries.  She also wondered if I had time to reflect on her prior comment with Therapist 1.0 suggesting I could be her stepmom (?!?!).  Um ok whatever but I didn’t respond via email and waited until the session.

At the next session, Bratty requests to begin AGAIN with complaining about how I lost my temper with the prior therapist 1.0.  Therapist 2.0 listens and then mentions this was discussed and dealt with in the prior session and we should move onto other goals, and if Bratty felt the need then of course she leave the call to regroup. 

Bratty seemed satisfied and we moved on to next goal of Bratty moving out.  Bratty started over with the same complaints that were given to Therapist 1.0 – she shouldn’t have to move out, we should store her things, etc.  This time SO stepped in and said a definitive no.  Bratty then teared up and said she how is she supposed to feel loved by him if she has no space in the familial home (??? She lived here one summer and apparently now it is her familial home ???).  SO assured her that just because her things weren’t here did not mean he did not love her and would be there for her.  Therapist 2.0 gently advised Bratty that you don’t always get what you want, and it was time for her to work on concrete plans for moving.

I then mention that I had sympathy that moving out on your own for the first time was challenging and talked about my experience moving away from my parents and how scary it was at times.  Bratty was actually offended and said her experience was different.  The therapist jumped in to mediate and we thought the matter was settled – I acknowledged of course her experience was unique and I was simply sharing mine.

I was able to discuss my point of view that Bratty never made a serious attempt to connect with me.  Bratty tried to defend herself by saying she got me cards, etc. which I told her felt superficial.  When she moved to the Bay Area she connected with Aunts and Uncles there and scheduled lunches and other stuff with them.  I couldn’t remember one time in the past 5 years that Bratty asked me to lunch, or a movie, or a walk.  I always initiated.  Bratty was silent and Therapist 2.0 coached her on validating my feelings and Bratty complied. 

We re-hashed Thanksgiving 2018 and Bratty circled the drain with the same lame excuses as before.  I didn’t understand lactose intolerance, I served no vegan food (my errors), she only went to Boston Market the next day because of SO (who said he didn’t want to go and she picked the restaurant) and then finally Bratty threw Boston Market under the bus saying it was the restaurant’s fault for not having any vegan options.  The therapist tried to get Bratty to validate my feelings that she was ungrateful for the invitation and effort I put forth but Bratty couldn’t even stammer through that.

At this point we were out of time and were going to schedule the next session.  Then, despite what happened with Therapist 1.0, Bratty decided to send yet another email to the therapist.  This time with myself and SO included.  I vividly remember relaxing after dinner on Sunday evening and glancing at my phone.  I read the first paragraph of Bratty’s email and threw my phone down, turned to SO and said WTF.  He read his email and was also disturbed.  I was upset and told him I was done (well, the language was more colorful but that was the end result). 

We’ll see what was in Bratty’s now notorious email, my reaction to it, and what happened in the next chapter…


advice.only2's picture

Let me guess she decided to quit this therapist because they refused to listen to her complain about the same things over and over? Lesson learned Bratty is much to immature for therapy.

caninelover's picture

Yes, she is very immature - which is what I told SO.  Family therapy was a waste of time because Bratty only wanted an audience for her victomhood.

tog redux's picture

Bratty thinks therapy is her listing her complaints and the therapist making you do what she wants. 

caninelover's picture

She wants the therapist to explain to us simpletons how much a victim poor Bratty is so we can empathize and support her better.  Puh-leaze.

CLove's picture

Shes mad at you and hurt that shes being asked to move out. But spending ALL that time listing your "infractions". Egads. "Everything is all your fault and we need to spend 200 a session hashing all that out". Erm No.

I am glad that you got the opportunity to speak your mind about her treatment of you over the Thanksgiving dinnner, and Im glad SO was firm on the "no". Also, I felt a bit better when she was silent. Id rather her be silent by now because what comes out of her p!sses me off.

Stepdrama2020's picture

is a dang  PITA.

The narc really thinks that therapy is a place where she can play the victim and everyone else is cruel and evil. She prob expected the therapist to jump right in and load off on you. Funny how it just doesnt work that way.

I commend you on all of this. 

caninelover's picture

She's literally beyond help, I think.  That is just her personality.  I saw signs of it early on but the therapy was the first time I realized the depth of it.

IDontCare3117's picture

I just realized the great Linda Ronstadt sings Bratty's theme song.

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

caninelover's picture

Bratty would be totally fine now if it werent for all of us getting in her way all the time ROFL.

stepper47's picture

I just wanted to say I have been enjoying following along and look forward to each new installment - not because I am glad this was an experience any of you had of course, but I can relate to it, and I enjoy your writing style and sense of humor Smile

caninelover's picture

Its been so therapuetic for me to organize my thoughts.  Thanks for reading Smile

We are getting close to the end of the story so far...but I'm sure Bratty has more drama in her future that I'll be sharing soon!

Harry's picture

The lay of the land in a few session.  Bratty wants everything her way. Bratty rewrite history to make it fit. That everyone picks on her even though she is really a nice person.   She made it work for 20 years, no one called her out on it. They just moved on. 
when you rewrite history, some of it then just doesn't fit or work.  vegan going to Boston Market ??? 

caninelover's picture

I think they did see that Bratty had a lot of issues and may have identified the NPD - hence why they handled and stated things very gently to her.  NPD people can't handle direct reality, it has to be phrased in a way that soothes their fragile egos.

JRI's picture

For therapy to work, imo:

1) the person has to be able to admit mistakes

2) the person must want to change

Ain't happening with Bratty.....

caninelover's picture

Can't do either 1 or 2.  So there we are...

Ispofacto's picture

Killjoy's nickname could just as easily been SpecialAccomodations or ExtenuatingCircumstances.

She sounds just like Bratty.  It became clear really quickly that while people might ask for speical treatment occasionally, she asked for it 100% of the time.  It stopped being about her actual preferences, and about special treatment for its own sake.  She was a tyrant, and her complaints were arbitrary and contadictory.  She'd throw a fit if she didn't get catered to.

Narcissism at its finest.

Admitting she was "unique" might have been a tactical mistake.

ETA: Sometimes Killjoy would throw a fit even when she was being catered to, just for "fun", with a big ole smirk on her face.  Then DH would try even harder to please.


caninelover's picture

And she complains more about the 'unique' comment because I clearly don't undertand her special specialness...

Other people ask for certain accomodations if they are needed.  Annoying narcs ask for it just for its own sake...

MissK03's picture

My other response didn't save... 

Her blaming Boston Market was the best. I got a good laugh at that. Everyone else's fault but... theirs..... 

She could have found another place to eat that sold vegan options... it's called google.. it does wonders on finding information. 

caninelover's picture

She couldn't eat anywhere else because it was her and SO's tradition (he says no) so she sacrified her needs to appease him.  

Reality is not the same for a narcissist.

MissK03's picture

I had that in my original post... so she already knew Boston Market's options since it was tradition... their fault for not keeping up with Bratty and her new found vegan life. 

Noted! LOLL

caninelover's picture

I learned who she really is.  Her things eventually did go and she's not coming back.

Jake's picture

Stranger than fiction. Three of my stepchildren feel entitled... They are the perfect step kids in comparison lol.

Thank God you SO is on board. The best of luck.


  Warmest regards Jake

KC is not the stepmother's picture

Good to know your house is their familial home. Nice of them to share that tidbit with you. 

Stepcreaturesonly's picture

I HANG for these chronicles and check a few times a day for updates. Better than any soapie!

caninelover's picture

Only two more chapters to go, and then more Bratty updates Smile