Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 546139

Shown: posts 1 to 6 of 6. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Control (long)

Posted by littleone on August 24, 2005, at 16:05:42

I've been in therapy hell for the last two months.

It started with me expressing a wish he could be my dad or friend, I didn't like the way he responded and things have just been spiralling out of control since then.

When is actually kind of ironic considering this is all about control.

My T says I've been trying to control therapy and him. And he's right.

I try to control *everything* in my life. People, environment, work, money, my body, my internal life, everything. Every single thing I say or do has to be carefully thought through to see what outcomes or reactions will come from it. These can be positive or negative, eg trying to get someone to like me, or trying to invoke rejection, anger, etc.

And it's over every little tiny detail.

For example, say I drove into a carpark and there were two parks available - one was big and roomy and the other was squashy because the neighbouring cars had parked on the line. I'm guessing most people would park in the roomy park because it's easier to park plus there's less danger of their cars getting dented by doors or whatever. But those reasons don't factor in at all for me. I too would choose the roomy park, but only because I would be too worried that by parking in the squashy park, the other car owners would come back and get angry at me because they had to squeeze into their cars. And even if I wasn't there to witness their anger, just knowing that they might get angry is enough to upset me.

My T says it's from a need for emotional/physical survival. One example he used was how even really minor things would set my dad off into a rage. To avoid this and protect myself from that threat, I learnt to carefully weigh up and consider every word and action and even facial expression.

My last (hopeless) T diagnosed me with depression which included "psychomotor retardation", ie really slowed down and suppressed movements/expressions/etc. I now think that for me this is more about the whole control thing rather than a symptom of the depression. I deliberately don't move or reveal any expressions in an attempt to not reveal anything and risk certain reactions from others.

My T says my silence and withdrawal is a form of control too. Even they can elicit reactions from others.

He said something that really blew my mind (even though I think a lot of you will be thinking - no sh*t Sherlock). But he mentioned one example where I would be very concerned about what other people in the waiting room think of me. Whereas if it was him in the waiting room, he couldn't care less what they thought of him. He said he'd be courteous to them, but not in an effort to get them to think positively of him, but rather just because he believes it is good to be courteous to others.

And that just floors me. I have a lot of trouble distinguishing the difference between them. To me, I would be courteous so they thought positively of me. I would also believe that it is *good* to be courteous, ie that would make me a good girl. But even that is about wanting someone (not sure if I mean the other person, or myself, or my internalised parents) to see me as a good girl. It's still about trying to control someone's reaction to me.

I'd love to hear your thougts on control.

Also, I think my T has underestimated how close I was to leaving. After prolonged and intense agonising, I finally decided to leave and booked into a new T, but there was a 1 or 2 week delay before I could see her. As I've been so unwell and unstable lately, I decided to see my current T twice more to take me up to then. So yesterday was supposed to be my last session.

I haven't yet cancelled the appointment with the new T. I know I have to and I will, but it's hard. Once I actually decided to leave my current T, she became a real safe haven for me in my mind. In fact, I'm sure I would have tried to draw comfort out of her. And even now, she remains like a safety net for me. It's hard to give that up. I want to cling to it.

I still don't trust my current T. I have this giant wound that needs guarding. I've had to work hard to keep emotional parts from making that wound vulnerable again.

PS Falls, "The Womens Comfort Book" finally arrived and it's already helped me through a very difficult weekend. Thank you for the recommendation.

 

Re: Control (long) littleone

Posted by fallsfall on August 24, 2005, at 20:57:14

In reply to Control (long), posted by littleone on August 24, 2005, at 16:05:42

I don't know how much I can respond to you. Control is a BIG issue for me.

I would suggest, though, that you keep trying to work with your current therapist. He seems to be helping you to see some important patterns in your life. I know that it is excruciating - I went through 6 months of hell in therapy, but every second was worth it. I don't know that your therapist is good, but you seem to be talking about important things. If you can keep working on it, it will probably pay off.

Switching therapists can seem pretty attractive. But if you and your current therapist are working on your important issues, then if you change therapists you will just need to get the new therapist up to speed so that you can get right back to this place you are now. I guess it just sounds to me like you think that what you are working on now is important, so I would recommend that you try to keep working on it.

I'm glad you like the book. I really liked to see a book (in black and white) give me permission to be good to myself.

Good luck on the control stuff. It is still pretty much beyond my grasp!

 

Re: Control (long) fallsfall

Posted by littleone on August 24, 2005, at 21:44:06

In reply to Re: Control (long) littleone, posted by fallsfall on August 24, 2005, at 20:57:14

I was actually really hesitant to post about this because in my mind "control" has such a negative connotation. Like a controlling manipulative bitch.

My T was quick to point out that it isn't like that at all. That for me control is all about minimising threats. That everyone does this to a degree, but that I am trying to control too much. I see threats in things that aren't really threatening.

Are your control issues also centred around those ideas?

I think my T is a good one, but he's just never gentle or warm or validating or whatever. At least, not with me. It's possible he's like that with other clients he thinks would benefit from that, but he insists I wouldn't benefit from it in the long run.

And I'm not after a lot of that stuff. Just a little bit. But he won't do that.

The main reason I went back to him was that he said "There's *so* much I want to talk to you about". I could really feel how much he wanted to talk to me, to show me things.

That's all it takes. Just one little sentence.

And now I feel just awful 'cause that's such a pathetic reason to go back. But part of me clings to him for dear life and looks for any excuse to stay.

 

Re: Control (long) littleone

Posted by fallsfall on August 24, 2005, at 21:58:53

In reply to Re: Control (long) fallsfall, posted by littleone on August 24, 2005, at 21:44:06

My control issues are protective as well. It was unthinkable to my parents for anything to fail. I am an intellegent person, and tend to be successful when I try things. So I learned that if I left things up to other people that they might not work out, and then there would be a failure. I trust my own ability more than others (a bit egotistical, for sure). So I want to control things so that I can make sure they don't fail.

I think that "control" is not usually a positive issue. But I don't think it is a very unusual one, either.

GOod luck with your therapist. It sounds to me like it would be worthwhile sticking it out with him. Even if it doesn't sound like it would be fun...

 

Re: Control (long) littleone

Posted by JenStar on August 27, 2005, at 15:02:51

In reply to Control (long), posted by littleone on August 24, 2005, at 16:05:42

hi little one,
I think I sometimes do what do -- analyze lots of little things ad nauseam, some things that don't warrant such analysis along with some that do.

You asked: "He said something that really blew my mind (even though I think a lot of you will be thinking - no sh*t Sherlock). But he mentioned one example where I would be very concerned about what other people in the waiting room think of me. Whereas if it was him in the waiting room, he couldn't care less what they thought of him. He said he'd be courteous to them, but not in an effort to get them to think positively of him, but rather just because he believes it is good to be courteous to others.

And that just floors me. I have a lot of trouble distinguishing the difference between them. To me, I would be courteous so they thought positively of me. I would also believe that it is *good* to be courteous, ie that would make me a good girl. But even that is about wanting someone (not sure if I mean the other person, or myself, or my internalised parents) to see me as a good girl. It's still about trying to control someone's reaction to me.

I'd love to hear your thougts on control."

I think your T and you actually DO think the same way, except that he "skims" the thought and you delve deeply into it. For example, the reason courtesy is the "right" thing to do is because it's self-preservation, too: When we all get along and grease the wheels of social intercourse, things keep going smoothly. If we act weird, out of place, rude, etc, there can be negative repercussions for us. By behaving politely, we ensure ourselves a smooth visit with no fights, altercations, or people to gossip about our bad behaviour. It benefits us to behave politely in most normal circumstances. Even if he doesn't THINK he thinks this, I believe it's a subconscious drive for all of us, the drive to fit in, belong and intergrate. So there is, in my opinion, a survival-related basis to EVERY social courtesy.

However, he might be polite and then forget about everyone after the initial exchange. He's done his duty and can get along with his business. Whereas you might be polite but keep obsessing about what people think, and worry continuously about every little gesture and movement. So you both worry about the same thing for the same root reason, but he doesn't dwell on it. His way is probably a lot easier and stress-free!

I actually agree with you about the car-park. I'm always thinking of repercussions and results. If I park in a spot that's too small, will people scratch my doors accidentally or on purpose as they open THEIR doors? Would it be simpler just to park farther away in the larger spot? I'm always trying to figure out the balance between comfort NOW and comfort LATER. But the only reason I'd worry about their anger is if it actually prompted them to scratch my car, not because I necessarily worry about their anger at being in a small spot.

I think sometimes it's OK to say "f*** them!" (not meaning any real harm, but meaning that you free yourself of excessive worries about others' opinions.) Try it if you can...it feels good. :)

JenStar

 

Re: Control JenStar

Posted by littleone on August 31, 2005, at 21:48:49

In reply to Re: Control (long) littleone, posted by JenStar on August 27, 2005, at 15:02:51

I talked to my T a bit more about this. He clarified this by explaining that he believes everyone is deserving and entitled to dignity (which I guess would include politeness). So he always treats people with dignity regardless of whether they want to be treated like that or not and regardless of what they think/feel about him.

And I think I can see that that is very different from being polite because you've been taught that's the right thing to do.


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