Narcissistic abuse, done by a therapist. This is what it is like

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.

In memory of my dad

Today is my dad’s birthday. I wish he never died. In fact, I want him back. I know had my dad been alive, none of the shitty stuff that happened to me would ever have occurred.

My dad stood up for me. I took it for granted that someone would always be there who would stand up for me during times when my own word was brushed aside by others. When my dad was alive, I was accustomed to not being heard and not having a say in what happens. If anything went seriously wrong, I usually defended myself and got myself out of the rotten situation. Some rotten situations, though, you can’t get out of without some outside person rooting for you. After my dad died, I still had Joe. Then he died, too. It wasn’t long after that, after I had no “family” to speak of, that the abusers realized they could dispose of me or do anything they damn pleased because no “caring family” would hold them accountable.

No longer did my doctors have to answer to my dad. I remember I complained to my dad about something that Dr. Merrifield said to me that was disrespectful. Looking back, this was a trivial complaint compared to all that happened to me after my dad’s death. This was back in the day of the cassette tape answering machine. I played the message Dr. Merrifield had left to my dad. He said, “Save that message.” He told the doctor that leaving a message like the one he left was disrespectful to me.

I remember the message well. This must have been 1989 or so. I remember the end of the message verbatim. He told me not to waste his time with a report of “more of the same.” Then he said, “But if you have anything new, some new problem to report, call me up.”

While it’s true, Dr. Merrifield was disrespectful, it seems minor today in 2015. Back then, psychiatrists were supposed to be compassionate people. Over the years, I’ve come to expect less and less understanding and listening. I’ve grown to fear each visit.

While Dr. Merrifield was not at all effective as a shrink and certainly didn’t know what the hell he was doing with the drugs (he had me on both Clozaril and Tegretol simultaneously, for instance), I’ll give him credit for apologizing. I’ve since learned that apologies are rare in the medical field. My parents were hoping I would switch to someone more competent. Are any of them truly competent? I got the sense the entire time I was seeing Merrifield that all he was doing was grasping at straws. He had no clue how to make me well. He did whatever the nurses decided was best.

My mom gave Merrifield credit for “consulting” other doctors, while my previous shrinks had refused to do this. They had urged past shrinks to knock heads together with other doctors. My parents even suggested a few. Finally, they started taking me to other doctors themselves. They wanted a second opinion.

Once, I got chewed out by a therapist for seeing another doctor instead of my regular one. I was so furious. I wasn’t married to the guy. I have no clue how that got back to her. This is what I mean by not having a voice if you are labeled “mental patient.”

As my dad got sicker, I only wanted him to get the rest he needed and I didn’t bother him with any of my petty complaints anymore. Problem was, the abuse got noticeably worse. My dad didn’t have his power anymore to get me out of pickles. I felt more and more on my own.

It was good and bad. I always wanted my parents to bug off. Now, I had my way. But looking back, I know I now had no one to fall back on. The shrinks began to threaten me. They said I belonged in the state hospital. I heard it like it was their damn mantra. My dad died in April 1997 and the shrinks threatened worse after that.

I made it out of McLean and onto a better life. I can’t say it was easy. I went through so many incompetent shrinks.

For instance, I had Dr. Elsa Ronningstam at McLean. i think the only reason why I ended up with her was because she was one of the few that had openings. Of course she had openings! She was irresponsible, completely incompetent to treat me, and uncaring.  Had my dad not been sick, i could have told him that Ronningstam slept through our sessions, had no clue what she was doing, and for sure, was not a good match for me. He would have seen to it that I didn’t have to endure more sessions with her.

I had another therapist who slept during sessions. This was Goldie Eder, back in 2007 to 2008. I can’t believe I stayed with her as long as I did. Our first session was decent but after that, she fell asleep during every session. Her head would actually bob up and down while she slept. She’d jerk awake, apologize, and I’d suggest more coffee. My dad would have called her and told her off. Instead, I had to listen to my psychiatrist telling me I was delusional that Goldie slept during sessions. I was so glad to get rid of her!

I was raped by my neighbor in 2008. Even if my dad had been alive, I bet I wouldn’t have told him. However, in 2012, I bravely went to the Watertown cops in their fancy new station (hmm, lotsa budget for that, eh?) and reported the rape.  My dad would have given the Watertown cops a piece of his mind upon finding out they claimed my story was “fabricated” and didn’t even investigate. There was no evidence that my story was fabricated. I believe I was profiled as a mental patient. I am a person who was assaulted, and the fact that the police force ignored my pleas is flat out criminal on their part.

If my dad found out how abusive Maria Mellano was, he would have told her to quit the threats, lies, accusations, and power plays. If he found out I had to resort to seeing David Alpert as a therapist, who did little else but call me “honey” and repeatedly make verbal passes at me, he would have helped me lodge a complaint.

I left MGH in 2011 with not one person believing my story about what happened. Maria Mellano told me the unit I had been housed on didn’t exist. Actually, I was told that by a number of people. Some were misinformed but many assumed I was totally delusional without really looking into what I was saying. Or they just didn’t care. I was terrified when I left MGH. I felt like I was gonna die of thirst in there. I felt like a dirty animal, which was pretty much how they treated me. I was in so much shock over it all.

Yes, MGH does indeed have an inner unit where they house the hard cases. Many stay for over a month there, behind locked swinging doors and certainly not easily seen from the outer part of the unit. In fact, most patients in the outer section assume that the inner section is “staff only.” However, that’s not true. There are real, living human beings caged in there. I was one. They kept most of the “eating disorders” patients inside that inner part. They don’t advertise it and if you ask, they aren’t likely to admit that inner unit exists. Because I KNOW they have a lot to be ashamed of.

My dad would have helped me sue the hospital, or at least get a lawyer to help me out of that terrible situation I was in. Maria threatened to put me in the state hospital almost every single outpatient appointment after MGH. My dad wouldn’t have been fooled by her sweet looks, or seductive voice and mannerisms. I’ll bet he would have told her off and told her to stay away from his daughter.

If my dad had been alive, none of Mount Auburn would have happened. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have starved myself like that, knowing my dad cared about me. I wouldn’t have been so terrified to seek medical care. Whatever happened, he’d stick up for me. Why? Because he trusted me and loved me and knew I wasn’t one to make up “abuse” stories just for attention.

I didn’t have anyone to stick up for me, no one to stand by my side. No one spoke up to the doctors. In fact, many were very busy telling me that it was impossible for the hospital to have done anything wrong!

My dad was NEVER sue-happy. I don’t think he ever sued anyone in his life. Did he ever need a lawyer? Probably they used one for buying the house or dealing with the station wagon they bought that one or two mechanics stated was a lemon. He was never angry nor did he ever lash out at anyone. He was a good person to have on my side.  During the rare times that he was truly pissed off, he certainly got the word out.

My dad would have been shocked to see what the USA is like today, and the sorry state of MH “care.” You take Peer Support, for instance. These folks get paid by the state to be “trained fellow inmates” who are supposed to befriend inmates. Getting a nice paycheck from the state is a great way to keep employees silent, compliant, and “satisfied.” You keep them satisfied they won’t speak out. If they’re uppity, threaten to fire. That way, the state has these people wrapped around their fingers. If my dad saw this, he’d know what was going on.

I guess it’s all in presentation, eh? If you look together, I suppose without any other info, folks will certainly assume you’re together. If you tell people, “I’m a mental patient,” they will judge you likewise and only see limitations. That’s up for debate, though, isn’t it?

My dad used patience and perseverance rather than making a splash of himself. All I could do was stand in awe of him. He was a quiet man who demanded respect and got it. He set a great example for us kids.

Happy birthday, Dad.