Maria Mellano was manipulative from the very first session. The first session was supposed to be “Meet and Greet” but it wasn’t. She did psychodrama on me, trying her best to pull at my emotional heartstrings. Looking back, this was likely the best session I had with Maria, even though it really wasn’t supposed to be emotionally heart-wrenching. It all went downhill from there, although I recall telling my previous therapist that I liked Maria and was okay with being transferred to her. Oh, I wish I had known then what I later learned!
I was convinced that whatever Maria was going to do, it would be curative. After all, she had brought me to tears on the first session, inappropriately so, but that’s what she did. Just the fact that a therapist can get you to cry does not mean the therapist is good, or that the therapist even knows what she is doing.
During the second session, she laid on the heavy manipulation. She told me she questioned whether I was ready for her “therapy.” This led to my wanting to prove to her that I was. I wish I had just let her conclude that I was a bad patient and let her kick me out, or agreed with her and left for good. Unfortunately, I took up the challenge she presented to me. I wish I had not.
I think she knew what the result would be. She knew I am a high achiever. That in itself isn’t a mental illness, by the way. I happened to like school, liked studying, and as a student I was well organized.
A big part of my clinging to Maria Mellano was terror of not having a therapist. I had been well-trained by the mental health system to believe that I couldn’t live without one. This was false, but it would take years before I figured it out.
Even worse, my psychiatrist, Dr. Kimberly Pearson started praising Maria right away. I think she was taken by Maria’s supposed specialization in eating disorders. I felt that my previous therapist, whom I do not name to protect privacy, was much better, although she didn’t have the credentials that Maria had.
I believe Maria Mellano picked eating disorders for a reason. You can get the patients to show up twice a week. You can enjoy controlling every part of their lives. I believe one of her patients came four times a week. She also took a patient to lunch, which is shady and unprofessional.
My appointment was at 1pm. Since I had a long commute, I usually ate lunch in Maria’s waiting room. She did not usually pry into what I had had, but occasionally, she did. One day, I brought in baby food. It was on sale at the local CVS, for one thing. Secondly, I wanted the jar. Those jars are useful for so many things, notably spices. It’s worth it to purchase the baby food just for the jar.
I felt that I needed to explain myself, so I did. She got very huffy with me, claiming I was “manipulative.” I have no clue, to this day, how explaining the practical reasons for buying baby food was “manipulative.” I think she was projecting.
After eating I usually went to the bathroom, which was a cubby off the main waiting room. Since I have diabetes insipidus I usually have to pee frequently. I also wanted to wash my hands.
I established early on that I did not vomit. I never did. After eight horrible months of therapy with Maria Mellano, one day after I came into her office, she said, “I see you kept your lunch in this time.”
I was shocked. I suddenly realized that she never believed me to begin with. I said, “I told you I do not vomit and I was telling the truth.”
Maria said to me, “Anorexics are all sneaky liars.”
Now what? I couldn’t tell her anything. I was an automatic liar in her eyes. It was damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
I didn’t know what to do about the forced weigh-ins. How much water should I drink beforehand? I tried a little experiment. One day, I drank very little water ahead of time. The doctor said I was dehydrated and told Maria! Then, I tried drinking the usual amount, the amount my body needs, and I was accused of “water loading.” Damned if you do, damned if…..
That’s how my life was seeing Maria. One time, I was ten minutes late due to a delay on the subway. When I arrived she was already on the phone with the cops!
One time, I was in the library studying. I happened to be in a study room since the library was often overly air conditioned and that study room was a little bit warmer. Had I not been there, I would have put my phone in Airplane mode. All the sudden, it rang. Should I answer in the library? I did.
“Where are you.” It was her.
“What? I didn’t think I had an appointment now.”
“You didn’t. I just called the police on you and they went to your apartment and you weren’t there.”
Like I’m obligated to be home all the time to appease the cops…..
She reiterated, “Where are you?”
“I’m at the library.” Should I admit this?
“They couldn’t find you at home, so they left.”
So was it safe to go home, or would I get the raid again? I went home and nothing terrible happened. One more sectioning, avoided.
I have no clue how she thought she could get me into the state hospital. She didn’t seem to have a particular state hospital in mind, interestingly. I am not sure when it was that they assigned CBFS to me, likely 2011, but Maria admitted to me that having a person on CBFS makes it easier to put them in a state hospital.
Just prior to MGH, I was put in Boston Medical Center’s ER. This is the worst ER in the city. For three days I was held there. I got no treatment and they didn’t even give me my “meds.” The guards watching over us were not medical professionals. They barely knew how to take blood pressure. They were there to police us.
While there, I refused to go to Walden. Maria called me up and said she would fire me if I refused. I still refused so she fired me.
The day I got out of there my pulse was 45. I knew something was drastically wrong, and it wasn’t all in my head, either.
Now, after Maria had fired me, one day a few days after BMC, I got a call from Maria. She wanted me to come in.
This is typical narcissist behavior. I love you. I hate you. She lured me back, and I immediately regretted it. They put me in MGH. Afterward, I ended up in Walden. I knew the problem was trauma, but they had other ideas.
They couldn’t get me into State in September of 2011. I never figured out the logic in what they were doing. I knew that Dr. David Brendel, who ran the “unit” I was on, was on a power trip. Was he responsible for trying to get me into State, or was Maria behind it? Was MGH administration behind it? (Brendel was later convicted of sexually abusing a patient.)
Maria’s tactic when it came to the MGH incident was to gaslight me. She first said, “The unit you were on in MGH does not exist. You are psychotic.”
It has, indeed, been tough to get anyone at all to believe that there’s an inner unit on Blake 11. I can’t seem to get the architectural plans of the floor to prove it. For the most part, patients that were on that floor didn’t know that there was a separate unit beyond the double swinging doors. Most assumed it was a “staff” area. This made things tough for me. I was accused of psychosis by fellow patients, and now, Maria.
I think they were well aware that the water deprivation worsened my kidney disease. I have enough blood tests that show significant enough lowering of kidney functioning afterward. I wish I could sue, not for the money, but to expose them for their idiocy.
When Maria tried to convince me I was imagining the whole thing, I stuck to my guns. I told her over and over that I was well aware that the unit exists. That tactic to silence me hadn’t worked. That’s when she started in on the State hospital threat. Between the fall of 2011 and the following March when I quit her finally, she threatened me during every session.
Maria never lost an opportunity to accuse me of lying. She even tried to coerce me into admitting I vomited. I put my foot down finally. I even told her it was abuse to continue to accuse me like that.
When it came to drinking water, this woman was a trip. She told me I water-loaded. She then told me I deliberately restricted water as a form of self-harm. She then said I drank too much as a form of self-harm. She said the edema came from water-loading. Neither she nor Dr. Pearson admitted to me that I had kidney disease which caused the edema in the first place.
I couldn’t win with this woman. In fact, I was sinking below the water. What could I do? Maria was making me want to kill myself. I wasn’t sure if I could find another therapist. I decided to take the plunge. I told her I was quitting, right after a hospitalization in Walden in February 2012.
She tried to win me back, but I insisted.
You can read about what happens after narcissism. It is not easy. Therapy is addicting but so is being in a relationship with a narcissist. I was in very bad shape that spring and fall. That summer, in July of 2012, I planned, but did not execute, a suicide. I believe this was due to Maria’s abuse, but it was also due to the antidepressant Imipramine.
Now, some seven years later, I’m pretty much over it. I’d say even a year or two ago I still got very much on the defensive around certain types of interactions. A year or two after I quit Maria I found a public post she’d made on Facebook, saying her mother had been controlling and abusive.
That kinda explains it, doesn’t it? She was taking out all her childhood fears and frustrations on her patients. She really did need us, didn’t she? I hate you I love you…..
Maria Mellano shouldn’t be a therapist. Thankfully, my reviews of her are still up there. She tried to counteract by getting her addicted patients to post glowing reviews. I don’t think it totally worked. Hopefully, they’ve gotten away by now.
I have communicated with some of her ex-patients who tell me about the same thing, that Maria ruined their lives, etc.
If you know this therapist or have had experiences with her, please post comments here. I’d love to collect stories.