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Re: Where I'm at with Therapy » LadyBug

Posted by Tamar on August 9, 2005, at 8:11:12

In reply to Where I'm at with Therapy, posted by LadyBug on August 8, 2005, at 22:10:30

> My mother was depressed over the course of several years and later diagnosed as being bipolar. When I was an infant she had a breakdown. I believe that the experience of living with a mom that was depressed is one reason why I now have such a vulnerability to rejection and have a struggle with depression myself. With this thought I believe I have a difficult time taking in love or regard even when it's offered to me. I feel a longing for what I missed and at times the longing turns to anger. I don't want to be angry.

Are you trying to keep yourself from getting angry, or afraid of angry feelings? If so, it might explain a little of why you feel so upset with therapy at the moment.

> Therapy has provided me with an atmosphere of nurturing, understanding and caring which I suppose resembles good mothering. At times the longing I feel is unbearable. I feel like I'm going to break or die of a broken heart. As I reflect back to the beginning of therapy I remember it being very difficult to talk about love. I realize I've been given the opportunity of taking in the regard that my therapist has offered me. It feels good at times and at other times it feels painful. Is this the anger and grief I feel for not getting what I needed as a child? I want to be relieved of my fear of rejection and abandonment. I want to accept without fear the love and affection that can be mine if I will take it in. I'm so afraid of making my therapist upset with me. I've made her upset in the past and it hurts.

That sounds like the kind of thing that needs to be discussed in therapy. I think you’re right; there’s inevitably some anger and grief at not getting what we needed as children. But I wonder if the fear of rejection leads to a fear of expressing (or even feeling) anger. I have a tremendous fear of rejection too, and it’s awful. And I think that sometimes I’m afraid to be angry because I think it will lead to more rejection. My mother was depressed on and off throughout my childhood (though she wasn’t bipolar).

But at the same time, now that I’m a mother myself it’s easier to recognise that anger is an inevitable part of the relationship between parents and children. Even the best mothers get angry with their kids, and all kids get angry with their parents. Ideally, children will learn that their parents’ anger doesn’t mean that they are unloved. I struggle with that with my own kids because I think my depression makes my anger more frightening to them.

Sometimes I wonder if the fear of rejection can only be relieved when we learn (though experience or through therapy) that anger is not a catastrophe.

> I know it's normal to long to have a "perfect mom" along with a wish to have someone care for and love me. The only parts of the relationship I have with my therapist that I can take outside of her office are the things I take in my mind. She's so a part of me. There's no doubt there. I just don't understand my confusion. I do have a deep love for my therapist. I know it's real and not just transference. We've been working together for several years and we've worked hard. I know she's tried to give it her all and she's bent over backwards for me trying to help me "get it". Why is it so hard for me to get? Why isn't this working for me?

It sounds as if you’re struggling with some complicated feelings at the moment. I think if it were easy to ‘get’ we wouldn’t need therapy. But it hurts when it’s hard going.

> I wonder if I'd be better off giving up therapy and calling myself a failure.

I dunno. I think these feelings indicate that you are approaching a breakthrough. It might not feel like it, but often negative feelings about therapy can lead to something significant. Hang in there! I hope it gets better soon.





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