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Re: Psychoanalysis question

Posted by antigua3 on June 18, 2009, at 9:19:42

In reply to Re: Psychoanalysis question, posted by FindingMyDesire on June 17, 2009, at 18:36:15

I'll answer whatever you ask.

I did experience intense transference with my T in the early years of our relationship, especially when she would go away for the whole summer, as they tend to do, and I just thought I would die with wanting to talk to her so badly and her not being available.

She patiently worked through this with me and I guess I got past it. I still experience transference with her as it relates to my unmet needs from my mother. Like a child, I run to her when I need the comfort, support and availability that my mother never provided.

My mother wasn't abusive like my father; she was just completely unavailable for many reasons: I had a very sick younger brother, there were six of us, my father abused her emotionally, physically and sexually as well, but mostly it was because she had real issues of her own. She was hospitalized twice in the years after my father left.

I know how much she loved me, but I never felt safe in turning to her when my father sexually abused me. That said, being a mother myself now, I realize she did many, many things that allowed the abuse to happen, and I'm working on the anger (finally!) that has started to emerge about her unavailability.

It mostly comes up when my T is unavailable and that triggers these feelings and now we talk about them. Secretly, I want to express this anger without directing it at my T. See? I'm still trying to protect my mother!

You said,
(Makes me wonder in general about whether therapists, psychologists, pdocs, etc. actually *decide* to work in this way or does it just "happen" cause we are clients in these structured relationships with the needs we have.)

I agree with this wholeheartedly. I think my pdoc flounders with me at times and it's like I can see a switch actually being turned on when he is trying a different approach. As I've said, he says he primarily practices CBT (which has been very helpful for me, although I have been very resistent at times. CBT doesn't work for everything IMO), but he incorporates "other" approaches as needed. I guess I need to discuss with him more what these "other" approaches are so I can figure out what he's doing. When asked before, he mentioned psychodynamic, but when my T mentioned psychanalytical psychtherapy, and i looked into, a lot of bells went off.

So here's what happened. I wrote earlier about how I'd felt my little girl had died, and that, in fact, he had killed her when he said she had to die. He was pushing integration of the little girl and I was resisting. The devastation that I felt when he, my paternal transference object, representing my father, told me that the sweet little girl had to die was overwhelming, to the point that me, a woman who has a great husband (mostly) and three amazing children, was contemplating suicide.

Within days of his push for integration, I experienced three entirely new flashbacks about things that I had no inkling had ever happened. Well, maybe one of them was lurking, but I'd always hid from it. They all came crashing over me like a strong wave from the ocean that just knocks you to the bottom. I was more than overwhelmed. The next week it happened again--I "completed" a flashback that had come out in the past month or so, meaning that I had remembered up to a point what happened and then I just disassociated. This flashback brought the whole experience back to me in full detail: the sounds, smells, how my body felt, etc. It was really awful.

I was just so overcome that these new things had emerged. I had no clue about them. I've always held certain memories about parts of the abuse, but this was going to new territory, with new people and experiences. I'd known I'd been abused by two men, but now I knew there was another man and an experience with a group of people I'd never, ever suspected.

And let me make clear, these were flashbacks, not memories. There is a huge difference between these two things, and these were flashbacks.

What I think happened is that my pdoc broke down a barrier I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to do for years. By forcing me to believe that the sweet, little girl had integrated, her memories finally became accessible. The other night my pdoc said that what had happened that by letting the girl "in," I could no longer disassociate myself from the events. I had used dissaociation to protect, and survive, as a young girl and that option was no longer available. I now "knew" what she knew. He denied that he had said the little girl had died and I understand that yes, she will always be a part of me, but she has gone into hiding really, and I feel like I've lost the best part of myself, because she held those things, too. I know that's irrational. I know she is still there, but it hurts very badly that she is gone. Devastating, in fact, but she will find her way back.

I didn't see my pdoc during the time these flashbacks occurred, but I did speak with him on the phone and he reassured me repeatedly that I would make it through this and he wasn't going to abandon me.

I didn't even get to tell him about all the flashbacks until I saw him this week, two weeks after this all happened so after discussing whether he had killed the little girl or not, I told him that's what I heard from him and that's what mattered most.

So, naturally, most of our time was spent with me recounting the flashbacks as much as I didn't want to. I did want to tell him about the most recent one, but I did want to explore his role in all of this and really, our relationship in terms of the transference that had occurred because of this. But he wouldn't bite; he kept the focus on the flashbacks. His reaction was confusing to me; he was using the blank slate thing on me and that felt invalidating. All things to talk about. I do know, however, was that his primary goal was to keep me safe, so maybe he thought the blank slate would be safest, given the circumstances. I don't know, maybe I'm excusing his behavior or just defending him.

One last thing. I know the flashbacks aren't over. There are at least two more. I have memories about an experience I had that aren't quite "right," that there is something to know there. Also, the most terrifying one is still left, I've always felt physically that it is there, but I've never been able to access it. So I'm on guard.

But a huge burden has been lifted off of my shoulders, and while it was painful in how it transpired, it worked. I've reached a point I've been aiming for for years and there is no turning back.

About his not answering my questions. As I mentioned above, it's not that he didn't answer, I just didn't think his answer was helpful. In the past, there has only been one question he has refused to answer and that will be brought up.

Sorry to be so long, but you, too, have been so helpful to me and I wanted to answer your questions. It wasn't the refusal to discuss our relationship last time that triggered the transference with my father, it was him killing off the little girl as I interpreted it that triggered it.




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