Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 478473

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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???

 

Re: I tried.

Posted by Dinah on April 8, 2005, at 22:20:05

In reply to Re: I tried. Dinah, posted by fallsfall on April 8, 2005, at 21:41:22

Theoretically that's true.

In reality, there are only a few possibilities.

I can tell him I'll come back when he's feeling better. Not really likely.

I could tell him how his disclosures make me feel. And he'd likely quit disclosing and we'd be back where we were a few years ago. He'd be out of sorts, I'd feel it, but I wouldn't know why. I'd assume he was mad at me. I'd get scared and hurt and angry and we'd fight. I don't really like that one. I think I prefer he spends a few minutes at the beginning of the session complaining a bit.

I can realize he's out of sorts and modify my behavior accordingly.

I have a feeling that not so long ago I'd have told him that he was letting his personal problems get in the way of his therapy skills, and politely ask if there was anything I could do to help him get back in form.

 

Re: I tried. Dinah

Posted by Pfinstegg on April 8, 2005, at 23:52:08

In reply to Re: I tried. Dinah, posted by fallsfall on April 8, 2005, at 21:41:22

My analyst recently said that one could look at analysis in many ways, and on a number of levels, but that one way to look at it was that the patient and analyst discover and work through a series of interpersonal problems- the problems being the ones the patient brings from childhood and transfers onto the analyst. On the analyst's side, they have to be very aware of the transferences, and their own countertransferences, keep good control of those, and yet be emotionally involved and genuinely interactive in order to permit the patient to grow and change. Even though interaction is wonderful, it seems to me that feeling that you have to watch out for your therapist's feelings and reactions prevents you from feeling safe enough to concentrate solely on you and your side of the relationship. I don't think you're supposed to do more than that.

Have you ever had a stretch of time where you were able to forget about his feelings and just let him take care of himself, and where you could concentrate just on you and your part in the relationship?

 

Re: I tried. Dinah

Posted by mair on April 9, 2005, at 5:44:51

In reply to Re: I tried., posted by Dinah on April 8, 2005, at 22:20:05

Dinah - I've done what you're doing on a couple of occasions when I've been aware of bad stuff going on in my T's life - steering away from certain topics for instance. She would (and does) hate the fact that what I know about her life may keep me from talking about certain things and sometimes she'll raise what's happening with her just to provide me an opening. And I've gotten the "it's not your job to take care of me" speech although my retort has been that given my trouble feeling connected to her, that i should care about her feelings is not necessarily a bad thing.

And part of my fear before is the worry that she'll stop self-disclosing things that I think I should know or might otherwise find out from another source anyway. This came up once when I confessed that I got worried whenever she got on an airplane. Her response of "I just shouldn't tell you where I'm going," was the worst thing she could've said. Fortunately I was able to tell her that in a later session and we got it sorted out.

When you tried to talk to him about it, did you present it as an anger thing or along the lines of telling him that you've noticed that you sometimes slip into the same patterns in how you deal with him that you did with your parents? That doesn't seem to me anyway to be as threatening an opening and may not necessarily lead to any of the feared results.

mair

 

Re: I tried. Dinah Pfinstegg

Posted by Dinah on April 9, 2005, at 10:05:45

In reply to Re: I tried. Dinah, posted by Pfinstegg on April 8, 2005, at 23:52:08

To be honest, he's not really great at keeping himself outside the room. He's not classically trained, and a lot of what he does is CBT. When he's tired or stressed or anxious or happy it leaks into the therapy room. It's exactly like when any other person is tired or stressed or anxious or happy.

It used to be a huge mystery to me, and it echoed my relationship with some others in my life. His reactions to things seemed to have absolutely no consistency. How he responded to an event in our relationship would be different one time than another, and it seemed to have nothing to do with me. Which made it difficult to sort out how much the reaction really did have to do with me.

Now he discloses a lot more. I'll ask at the beginning of each session how he's doing, and if there's something that is relatively big, he'll give me a brief description. Most of the time, he'll just say he's fine. I figure he knows he's not a blank slate to me and it's better for him to own up to what might be leaking in.

I like that better. It may not be "good" therapy, but I like it better.

I think the difference is that a few months ago, I might have been more open about challenging him openly to put his stuff aside, and now I'm doing more what I did as a kid. Cajoling and indirectly encouraging him into a better mood.

 

Re: I tried. mair

Posted by Dinah on April 9, 2005, at 10:10:14

In reply to Re: I tried. Dinah, posted by mair on April 9, 2005, at 5:44:51

Yeah, I sort of think the same thing. It's not altogether bad of me to think of him as a human being who has his own needs. And for me to give a darn about them.

I didn't try to bring up the larger problem as I saw it. I just tried to fix it. I figured since I was aware what I was doing, I could just quit doing it. So I tried to do that, tried bringing up my anger in a calm sort of way. But it didn't turn out so well, so now my instinct is to go back to not doing it.

For some reason, the idea of bringing up the dynamic I'm noticing is scary. I'm not sure I'm quite ready for it. And I'm not sure he's quite ready for it. Maybe when the time is right.

 

Re: I tried. Dinah

Posted by littleone on April 12, 2005, at 15:42:22

In reply to Re: I tried. mair, posted by Dinah on April 9, 2005, at 10:10:14

> For some reason, the idea of bringing up the dynamic I'm noticing is scary. I'm not sure I'm quite ready for it. And I'm not sure he's quite ready for it. Maybe when the time is right.

Dinah, could this be because you can see that this reaction of yours is maybe not so great and yet you can also see that it mirrors your relationship with your dad. And that means that maybe the relationship with your dad wasn't that great/healthy. And that is what is really scary - losing that view of your dad and your relationship with him. Taking your daddy goggles off.

 

Re: I tried. littleone

Posted by Dinah on April 12, 2005, at 22:22:40

In reply to Re: I tried. Dinah, posted by littleone on April 12, 2005, at 15:42:22

I know my relationship with my father wasn't the healthiest around. It was a weird symbiotic relationship. Even the people at hospice noticed and pointed out that my mother was probably jealous. Not that it was all roses or anything. He yelled at me like he yelled at everyone. But until the very end, he wasn't really *mean* to me. And even then he apologized after.

He was like a small child, and I took care of him. But he also took care of me. He yelled at me, but he made sure no one else did (except my mother of course).

I miss him.

 

Re: I tried. Dinah

Posted by littleone on April 13, 2005, at 0:20:20

In reply to Re: I tried. littleone, posted by Dinah on April 12, 2005, at 22:22:40

> I miss him.

I know you do. I must have tried a dozen times to write that post to you and each time it was either too uncaring or too hesitant or too sappy. I didn't know how to write it in a way that wouldn't offend or upset you. I hope it was okay.

I know you had those abandonment dreams over your T come up in another thread. Do you think it's because you're linking your T so closely to your dad at the moment that these have come up for you?

I can see that it is an unhealthy relationship when a child cares for the parent or tries to meet the parent's needs, but I also know that it is a nice and good thing to care for other people and look out for them and try to anticipate their needs. I get really muddled over where to draw the line I guess. That old black and white stuff again.

I hope you do talk this over with your T further. It seems like a really important area for you to work on. Even if it is scary. I guess that should be *especially* if it is scary.

 

Re: I tried. littleone

Posted by Dinah on April 13, 2005, at 0:35:34

In reply to Re: I tried. Dinah, posted by littleone on April 13, 2005, at 0:20:20

It was fine, really.

I might talk to him about it someday. But I have to really think about it first. I want to make sure that I don't say anything that will cause me to lose something I value.

That may not be healthy, but...

Well, I don't always choose healthy.


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