Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 478473

Shown: posts 1 to 25 of 34. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Not sure if this is a good thing or not

Posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 10:31:04

I had planned to tell my therapist the one thing I've never told him. Which probably isn't important except that I didn't want to tell him. But in honor of our session last time, it seemed appropriate.

But the space between us felt all wrong. So when he asked what I wanted to talk about, I admitted that the space between us didn't feel right for discussing it. He then admitted that he was feeling tense and had a headache, and I introduced some light talk about infidelity. After a while I felt him relax. And at that point, with barely enough time left in session to discuss it, I moved to what I had wanted to say.

It all worked out ok. I said what I wanted to say and had it received in the way I'd have wanted to have it received. It wouldn't have gone nearly as well if I'd have plowed ahead while he was tense.

But I worry that I'm replaying my childhood role in therapy. I detected what Mommy and Daddy were feeling, cajoled them by giving them what they needed, and managed to get what I wanted in return. And liked every minute of it, as did they.

Yet, on the other hand, this is a somewhat real relationship, and I care for him and how he feels. It's natural for me to want him to feel well, and to help him with that if I can.

I at least stopped short of asking if there was anything I could do to help. :) And the session did end up being about me, because I know it's supposed to be. And it would have seriously displeased him if he thought his mood interfered with that. It's just that I tailored the "about me" to suit his mood.

And I'm still not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing.

But I like it...

 

Mind you

Posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 10:34:42

In reply to Not sure if this is a good thing or not, posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 10:31:04

I'm not saying he reacted to my cajoling as passively as my parents did. I expect he worked very hard on relaxing and making the space between us what it was supposed to be when I brought it to his attention that it wasn't.

I just know I helped that along by my tone and subject content. And by making indirect comments of concern for him. Nothing terribly overt.

 

Re: Mind you

Posted by sunny10 on April 1, 2005, at 11:00:57

In reply to Mind you, posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 10:34:42

I find there is a very fine line between co-dependent behavior and just being an above-average communicator...

I'm not sure that I see your experience this time as co-dependently looking for his approval to get what you wanted. You merely used verbal and physical clues to tell you something about your co-communicator's mood and modified the method of communication to make the session work- not to get approval.

I'm rather inspired by your ability to manage the situation so that you got your money's worth out of the session!!

 

Re: Mind you sunny10

Posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 13:45:46

In reply to Re: Mind you, posted by sunny10 on April 1, 2005, at 11:00:57

You are "Sunny"!

What a lovely reframing!

I can now feel as good in my head about it as I did in my gut.

 

Re: Mind you Dinah

Posted by alexandra_k on April 1, 2005, at 18:17:13

In reply to Re: Mind you sunny10, posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 13:45:46

Sounds like good people skills to me.
A way of everybody being happy and getting their needs met at the end of the day.

 

Re: Mind you alexandra_k

Posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 18:33:41

In reply to Re: Mind you Dinah, posted by alexandra_k on April 1, 2005, at 18:17:13

Me with good people skills... I'll have to take time to wrap my mind around that one. I always think of myself as being socially challenged.

 

Oh, and...

Posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 18:37:05

In reply to Not sure if this is a good thing or not, posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 10:31:04

With his defenses laid low by the headache, I guess, he started to say something then hesitated. He said that a colleague of his referred to what they did as prostitution. I thought it was so funny that he was afraid to tell me that. I told him that the majority of clients thought of it at one time or another that way, it's just that we didn't like the imagery.

He said he didn't either.

Silly man.

 

Re: Oh, and... Dinah

Posted by alexandra_k on April 1, 2005, at 18:47:46

In reply to Oh, and..., posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 18:37:05

> With his defenses laid low by the headache, I guess, he started to say something then hesitated. He said that a colleague of his referred to what they did as prostitution. I thought it was so funny that he was afraid to tell me that. I told him that the majority of clients thought of it at one time or another that way, it's just that we didn't like the imagery.
>
> He said he didn't either.
>
> Silly man.

:-)
That made me smile. Yeah, I guess it is something that nobody likes to think of much. Distasteful. Yuk. There are similarities... As I have noted before... But there are a few differences too.

Yeah you have people skills Dinah. You get on with people great on the boards don't ya? You are really well liked and respected here and you can't have that with no people skills.

You are terrific at validating when that is called for.
And listening.
And sharing your experience.
And not judging.
And you are friendly.
And you can say what you think in a way that doesn't cause others unnecessary hurt or distress.
And you warn people nicely when they might be upsetting others.

Aren't all those great people skills?

And 'sensing' peoples emotional state and taking that into account when you are responding to them is something that allows you to me more caring - to notice peoples sensitivities.

It can be a mixed blessing.

But yeah, you have great people skills :-)

 

Re: Oh, and... alexandra_k

Posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 19:23:21

In reply to Re: Oh, and... Dinah, posted by alexandra_k on April 1, 2005, at 18:47:46

It's weird to think of myself that way. I guess self image takes a while to change.

I must have learned a lot of those things on the board, or maybe in therapy. Probably Babble.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to see myself as anything but the geeky scapegoated kid that no one wanted to sit next to.

I don't count my daughter skills. Being able to take the emotional temperature, decide when to hide and when to tease and cajole, figuring out how to present one parent's behaviors in a way that were acceptable to the other when necessary and when it was in my best interests - those weren't social skills per se. I was always good at being a daughter. :(

 

Re: Oh, and... Dinah

Posted by alexandra_k on April 1, 2005, at 21:11:48

In reply to Re: Oh, and... alexandra_k, posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 19:23:21

> It's weird to think of myself that way. I guess self image takes a while to change.

Yeah. I think it does. I still feel like an overgrown kid much of the time. I was tall for my age and I shot up first. I always feel like I am overgrown and tower over people even though peoples have (mostly) all caught up now.

And I still feel like peoples would prefer that I wasn't around much of the time. Even sometimes on places like Babble where I rationally know that just isn't true.

> I must have learned a lot of those things on the board, or maybe in therapy. Probably Babble.

Probably both. IRL too. Don't underestimate the power of that. And in communicating with your son and your husband.

> I wonder if I'll ever be able to see myself as anything but the geeky scapegoated kid that no one wanted to sit next to.

I hope so Dinah. I'd sit next to you anyday. But I might have to jump over all the other Babblers to get there ;-)

> I don't count my daughter skills. Being able to take the emotional temperature, decide when to hide and when to tease and cajole, figuring out how to present one parent's behaviors in a way that were acceptable to the other when necessary and when it was in my best interests - those weren't social skills per se. I was always good at being a daughter. :(

'Daughter skills'. Hmm. I get what you mean. That stuff is reminding me of what Linehan had to say about different forms of invalidating environments. You supressed / ignored your needs for their sake, Dinah. They sort of are social skills 'keeping the peace' etc etc. But I guess they aren't really 'skills'... They were useful to you at the time to make the situation manageable... But I don't know.

Do you still feel like you have to do that stuff a lot???

 

Re: Oh, and...

Posted by alexandra_k on April 1, 2005, at 21:15:10

In reply to Re: Oh, and... Dinah, posted by alexandra_k on April 1, 2005, at 21:11:48

Actuallly... I do think they are skills. The situation would most probably have been worse for you if you hadn't done that. That stuff was probably expected of you - right?

They assisted you and your life would have been harder if you hadn't figured out how to do all that stuff.

It is just that even the most skillful individual will have troubles in an invalidating or harsh environment.

Linehan said something like that...

 

Re: Oh, and... alexandra_k

Posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 22:06:37

In reply to Re: Oh, and... Dinah, posted by alexandra_k on April 1, 2005, at 21:11:48

I wonder how many middle schoolers there are inside a typical room of adults. :) Is that where our self image is set in stone? And after that we have to chip it out and resculpt it to enjoy any appreciable change?

 

Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not Dinah

Posted by fallsfall on April 1, 2005, at 22:27:03

In reply to Not sure if this is a good thing or not, posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 10:31:04

>I had planned to tell my therapist the one thing I've never told him...I said what I wanted to say

Good for you, Dinah! That is quite an accomplishment. And he received it well.

How do you feel about having told him?

 

Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not fallsfall

Posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 22:31:26

In reply to Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not Dinah, posted by fallsfall on April 1, 2005, at 22:27:03

I think ok. I'll let you know in a week or two after I assure myself he's not treating me differently.

He'll get annoyed, but sometimes you have to hear things a few times before they really sink in.

(I'm not absolutely sure whether I should feel proud or stupid. The main reason it was important is because it was the only thing I didn't want to tell him.)

 

Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not Dinah

Posted by alexandra_k on April 2, 2005, at 3:20:53

In reply to Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not fallsfall, posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 22:31:26

> (I'm not absolutely sure whether I should feel proud or stupid. The main reason it was important is because it was the only thing I didn't want to tell him.)

And that makes it really very important indeed. You trusted him enough to do that :-)

It probably will take a bit to sink in. That it is ok. That he won't think badly of you because of it.

 

Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not Dinah

Posted by TamaraJ on April 2, 2005, at 11:16:39

In reply to Not sure if this is a good thing or not, posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 10:31:04

I have always felt that those who are sensitive to the moods or reactions of others, without actually having another's moods or reactions become their own, are of the most social adept people I know. I don't know, but to me being able to 'read' and work with in a sense another's mood takes a lot of finesse and social grace. I don't know, but I would not consider that trait a shortcoming. Not everybody has that inherent ability - it is, IMO, a gift. Just my two cents.

 

Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not TamaraJ

Posted by Dinah on April 2, 2005, at 22:18:59

In reply to Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not Dinah, posted by TamaraJ on April 2, 2005, at 11:16:39

I wish I could say I don't absorb moods. :)

My therapist seems to have a nice smushy exterior that keeps his moods from being contagious. It's one of the things I like about having him as my therapist, because I can drop all the protective shields.

Now my husband seems to be made of unshielded conductive coil. If he's stirred up for any reason, it spreads right to my son and me. Bzzzzttttt.

 

Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not

Posted by TamaraJ on April 3, 2005, at 14:28:43

In reply to Re: Not sure if this is a good thing or not TamaraJ, posted by Dinah on April 2, 2005, at 22:18:59

> I wish I could say I don't absorb moods. :)
>
~~ I know what you mean. I probably should have said that being able to read people's moods is actually a blessing and a curse (because of the potential for projection or transferance?). I tend to pick up on even the smallest most subtle changes in a person's personality/mood, and it can really throw me off when the mood is negative. I don't tend to absorb the mood, but I am affected somewhat, partiuclarly if the mood is a bad one. Something goes off inside me "DANGER DANGER DANGER", and I find myself somewhat on edge, walking on eggshells and working hard to accommodate the person and bring them out of the bad mood. Any hint of a bad mood and I tend to dive for cover (figuratively speaking of course :-) ). Oh well, I think the older I get, the less I let other's moods affect me.

 

Nope. I'm sure now.

Posted by Dinah on April 7, 2005, at 19:37:12

In reply to Not sure if this is a good thing or not, posted by Dinah on April 1, 2005, at 10:31:04

I find myself doing it constantly. I suppose this is the newest phase of therapy. With my father gone, and noone to please, I've thrown my therapist willy nilly into that role.

I'm making decisions as to whether to call him, whether to say something, whether to change my appointment time to accomodate him and disaccomodate me based on a desire to please him, thoughts of his stressful life, etc. I don't want to bother him because he's got enough to deal with. I don't want to upset him by saying this or that. I don't want to tell him I'm mad at him for going off for another week and not telling me till the end of session because I want to be pleasing to him.

I seem to have this need to play the role I used to play. But it doesn't seem right to do this in therapy. To be concentrating on getting a pat on the head from my therapist, or on pleasing him, or on worrying about him. Goodness only knows, I've never done it before.

I should tell him about this. But, it might not be pleasing to him...

 

I can't bear not being a daughter.

Posted by Dinah on April 7, 2005, at 19:44:36

In reply to Nope. I'm sure now., posted by Dinah on April 7, 2005, at 19:37:12

I think maybe that's it.

 

Re: I can't bear not being a daughter.

Posted by annierose on April 7, 2005, at 20:46:49

In reply to I can't bear not being a daughter., posted by Dinah on April 7, 2005, at 19:44:36

Isn't awareness 9/10th of the solution?
I think we all fall prey to similar feelings now and then. But since reading this board, I find I'm much more able to speak to how I am feeling.

And having experienced so much personal loss last year, I think it's natural to look to your "mommy T" for some daddy feelings now. What do you think?

-Annierose

 

Re: I can't bear not being a daughter. Dinah

Posted by TamaraJ on April 7, 2005, at 20:56:32

In reply to I can't bear not being a daughter., posted by Dinah on April 7, 2005, at 19:44:36

I don't know Dinah, maybe it isn't just about not being a daughter. Maybe it is more about your need to be needed and your need to nurture and take care of someone. Those are good qualities, don't get me wrong. But, sometimes we need to be needed so much that we feel incomplete when we aren't playing the role of nurturer and caregiver (in one sense of that word) in some area of our lives. If I am out of line here, I apologize, but maybe it is time for Dinah to nurture and care for Dinah. Use the energy you have typically expended being a good daughter to your daddy, among other things, to be a good friend to you. You and your needs are important too Dinah.

Take good care of you.

Tamara

 

Re: Nope. I'm sure now. Dinah

Posted by fallsfall on April 8, 2005, at 7:33:06

In reply to Nope. I'm sure now., posted by Dinah on April 7, 2005, at 19:37:12

Yes, you should tell him.

 

I tried.

Posted by Dinah on April 8, 2005, at 21:24:35

In reply to Re: Nope. I'm sure now. Dinah, posted by fallsfall on April 8, 2005, at 7:33:06

Well, I didn't tell him what I was thinking about this.

But I did try telling him I was angry about his upcoming trip, even though I knew it was irrational. It didn't really go well.

Truth is, he really is too stressed right now to handle my anger - even a small smidgeon of it, or anything else heavy.

I guess we'd better stick to the easy stuff till he's feeling better.

 

Re: I tried. Dinah

Posted by fallsfall on April 8, 2005, at 21:41:22

In reply to I tried., posted by Dinah on April 8, 2005, at 21:24:35

> Well, I didn't tell him what I was thinking about this.

*** Why not?
>
> But I did try telling him I was angry about his upcoming trip, even though I knew it was irrational. It didn't really go well.
>
> Truth is, he really is too stressed right now to handle my anger - even a small smidgeon of it, or anything else heavy.
>
> I guess we'd better stick to the easy stuff till he's feeling better.

*** Dinah, it isn't your job to take care of him. If he is stressed that is *his* problem not yours. Does he know that you are tiptoeing around so as not to upset him?

This doesn't sound right at all...

And isn't he the therapist who teaches that people can get angry and the world won't end???


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