Posted by Solstice on November 12, 2010, at 11:29:40
In reply to Re: Dependence versus attachment, posted by emmanuel98 on November 12, 2010, at 0:16:51
> I like your distinction between dependence and attachment. I was dependent on my T, even over-dependent. I had defined myself all my life as independent and not needing things from anyone, but once I started therapy, I felt that I would die if I couldn't see him every week.
I love this Emmanuel! I don't know that it's helpful to worry about whether the dependence we feel at any given time is 'good' or 'bad.' I may be lucky in that because of my attachment-avoidance, my therapist seemed to encourage whatever amount of dependence I could tolerate. I never worried whether it was 'bad,' because my therapist was so relieved to see it. But I know what you mean about seeing yourself as very independent, self-reliant, "I don't need to depend on ANYone, thank-you-very-much." When I was moving through that scary place of allowing myself to attach and depend on my therapist, I also thought I might not survive if T was unavailable. That's kind of what gave birth to the thing we worked out where I could text whenever I wanted, so long as I didn't expect a response. (Sometimes I got/get them, but I don't expect to get one). I definitely went through a period of time where I felt utterly dependent on my therapist to keep my sense of well-being stabilized. I think it's part of the process, and it wouldn't be fair to characterize it as 'over' (as in 'bad') dependence. When it's part of the process of getting to a healthy place, it might be better characterized as 'necessary dependence' or 'prescribed dependence.' The only way for wounded people to find out that healthy relationships where their needs can be met exist, is to experience it. The only way to experience it, is to depend on someone who is reliably attuned to you. Maybe what distinguishes someone experiencing 'necessary dependence' from some one experiencing an unhealthy 'over' dependence is this: if you're worried about it, it's probably 'necessary dependence.' The worry might refelct an inner goal to reach a more healthy autonomy. Maybe people with unhealthy 'over' dependence don't worry about the dependence, they just worry about how to get their therapist to accept their dependence on a permanent basis. Maybe there is a touch of entitlement involved - indicating an inner goal of not taking responsibility for their own lives - of not wanting to be autonomous. Think?
>All he had to do was raise his eyebrows or look slightly impatient or annoyed and I would cry for days.
Of course you would! :-) ...and that's probably because of your childhood experience with parental attachment. your reaction speaks to your being acutely on the lookout for another neglectful or abusive experience with a caretaker. It takes repetative experiences of reliable therapeutic attunement to our needs over an extended period of time for those kinds of sensitivities to subside. You have necessarily depended on him to provide those healing experiences.