Posted by raisinb on March 29, 2008, at 11:30:57
In reply to Re: well » raisinb, posted by Daisym on March 28, 2008, at 21:06:08
Daisy, thank you for all your wisdom. I've been thinking about what you said this morning.
"I'm noticing from what you've written that there are times when you really feel connected to her and you can feel her caring and then something interrupts that feeling - like an insurance deal or maybe she is less effusive with her warmth - and you want to chuck the whole thing. I often have to remind myself that therapy can't be all warm and fuzzy all the time - it is painful work and most of it I have to do on my own. Sometimes I feel like my therapist has withdrawn into a corner and is asking questions that he knows hurt - but later I can see that these are the things that I have to deal with."
Yes, I guess the difference is so *extreme* sometimes--and it often seems that it's when I need her most that she withdraws emotionally. And that's very difficult for me. Though intellectually I may know that relationships ebb and flow, in the moment, I feel as if she's stoppd caring about me. Therefore, I can't talk. We waste so much time this way. It seems like there's only one session every few weeks, sometimes, that is truly helpful.
I just can't figure out when and if it's okay to need her, and which needs are okay and which aren't. She's always asking me, "what do you need from me right now? I would like to be able to provide it." In those moments, I can't say what I need, because of sessions like the last one in which I clearly needed something from her so badly and she not only didn't provide it, but made me feel wrong and pathological for needing it in the first place. It's a difficult cycle.
I noticed that you wrote, "it seems like she has a tendency to kick me when I'm down" -- is it possible that when you are down it tends to feel like she is kicking you because you feel ultra vulnerable and she hasn't realized this yet? The same from coming off a rough visit from your family...you needed her and she didn't meet that need - perhaps she didn't know what you needed, yet? But if she figures it out, do you then get it?"
I guess sometimes yes, sometimes no, and I don't know when it'll it work and when it won't, and I don't know if it's really just miscommunication (she doesn't know what I need in the moment) or if there really is this part of me that is so needy that it will repulse her and she'll confirm that I'm unlovable. Sometimes her responses seem to say one thing, sometimes another. And it's a pretty big deal not to know.
"Three and half years is a very big investment of time. I don't get a sense from your post if you feel caring from her most of the time or half the time or not very often."
It varies. Sometimes we have four or five great sessions, sometimes we'll go a few weeks without a really good one. Half, maybe?
I don't know if you remember this, but Skinner did a bunch of experiments with rats in a maze. One group of rats got cheese every time they ran through the maze. One group never got it (I may be remembering this wrong). One group got it occasionally and the schedule was completely random. I feel like one of those rats. Occasionally I get cheese and I can never figure out what behavior gives it to me and that very unpredictability keeps me running the same maze.
"I ask because perhaps this is one of your therapy tasks - to trust that someone cares about you even when they aren't overtly saying it or showing it or even when they themselves are having a bad day or hard time. I know it is one of mine - to believe that caring exists even if it goes invisible sometimes and that relationships can survive anger, hurt feelings, mis-attunement and unmet needs."
Yes, I know. It is. I worry not about whether that's my task, but whether or not the level of caring and consistency she can provide is going to be just enough to push me over that level, or whether it's going to fall just a little too short.
"But I hate, hate, hate having to work through it over and over again. So I do understand your angst, and if I had a better answer than keep talking about it, I swear I'd give it to you.
I hope you can read this hearing a gentle voice - as I intended it."
I did :) Thank you so much for your response.