Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 670513

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Of nightmares and transference and shame

Posted by Racer on July 25, 2006, at 21:30:35

Apologies in advance, this is likely to run long. Even for me...

Some of you remember that I had a bad experience in treatment about two years ago. It left some pretty significant scars, which really haven't healed. I still have nightmares from time to time about the agency involved, the therapist, the administrative people, and sometimes even the psychopharmacologist. The last nightmare I had was while I was visiting GG, nearly two months ago.

Well, the agency that was involved just sent us a bill, for services in 2005. Mind you, I hadn't been seen since August 2004, so any charges past that time are either fraudulent, or mistaken. And, since the county actually paid for almost everything, the bills should have been going to the county, not to me. So, one way and another, this is probably incompetence, not fraud. Still, it's like a slap in the face to me.

I think the reminder in the form of a bill is what triggered my latest nightmare about them. I can't even tell you what it was about -- I just woke up upset by it, and knowing the pdoc was involved in it. I can imagine the general theme, though.

Aside from the upset itself, I'm also ashamed that I'm not over it. It's been nearly two years now, that's longer than I was being treated there -- AND I'M STILL NOT OVER IT. It's still hard for me, it's still there at the back of my mind, and it still sends me into Back-Of-The-Closet mode, trying to hide myself. I can feel it when I give up on meds, not bothering to call the doctor since it'll only make things worse for me, make the doctor stop trying to help me, just like what happened at the agency. That sort of thing. I hate this feeling, and I hate that it makes me feel as though I'm being a capital V Victim. I don't want to be a Victim. I want to be strong enough to take care of myself.

Anyway, today we got the results of the midterm I took yesterday. I didn't do as well as I had expected, and even though it was still in A range, I was just devastated. The instructor wrote the scores on the board, and suggested that some of the class might want to think hard about dropping the class and taking it over in the Fall semester. I actually found I was thinking about doing exactly that. And I had an A. Even after I added up all the points I'd missed -- on the midterm, the quizzes, and the homework -- and subtracted them from the number of points I could miss and still get an A, I still didn't feel good about my grade. Or about myself, really.

What I managed to put together, though -- this is the insight I wanted to share -- is that those two stories go together: I transferred the upset from the nightmare to the test. Yes, I'm always disappointed with myself when I don't do well on a test. But not like this. Not "I should just drop out of school -- again -- because I'm just a loser who can't do it right anyway. There's no hope for me, so I should just give up." Not that bad. That sort of thinking/feeling comes from what I'm not getting over from that agency. It's where I get upset about something and think I should just give up, since no one will listen to me anyway, and if I try to do anything at all, it will just get worse.

After class, I did call my T, and left a message. That upsets me, too, that I felt the need to tell her about it all right then -- that I couldn't just wait until tomorrow, when I see her. I feel needy, and childish, and BAD for calling her. After all, I'm supposed to be able to do these things for myself, no one is going to do it for me. Etc. (Guess where that comes from?)

I did leave that on the message, though, too. "Hi, I really feel uncomfortable that I felt the need to call you with this, but I do, so here goes..."

Anyway. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

 

Re: Of nightmares and transference and shame Racer

Posted by sunnydays on July 25, 2006, at 22:31:47

In reply to Of nightmares and transference and shame, posted by Racer on July 25, 2006, at 21:30:35

> Apologies in advance, this is likely to run long. Even for me...

*** I like reading long posts, you don't have to apologize.

> Some of you remember that I had a bad experience in treatment about two years ago. It left some pretty significant scars, which really haven't healed. I still have nightmares from time to time about the agency involved, the therapist, the administrative people, and sometimes even the psychopharmacologist. The last nightmare I had was while I was visiting GG, nearly two months ago.

**** That must be soooo hard. I've had a couple situations that I have nightmares about sometimes. And I hate that feeling that the dream is just sort of lingering in the back of my mind for days afterwards.

> Well, the agency that was involved just sent us a bill, for services in 2005. Mind you, I hadn't been seen since August 2004, so any charges past that time are either fraudulent, or mistaken. And, since the county actually paid for almost everything, the bills should have been going to the county, not to me. So, one way and another, this is probably incompetence, not fraud. Still, it's like a slap in the face to me.

**** I would think it would be. I hope you're able to get it straightened out.

> I think the reminder in the form of a bill is what triggered my latest nightmare about them. I can't even tell you what it was about -- I just woke up upset by it, and knowing the pdoc was involved in it. I can imagine the general theme, though.

*** Wow, that does sound upsetting. I'm sorry you had such a nightmare, both in real life and when sleeping.

> Aside from the upset itself, I'm also ashamed that I'm not over it. It's been nearly two years now, that's longer than I was being treated there -- AND I'M STILL NOT OVER IT. It's still hard for me, it's still there at the back of my mind, and it still sends me into Back-Of-The-Closet mode, trying to hide myself.

**** It is so hard to believe that things can bother one for years. I'm really struggling with the fact that it's been four years and I'm still not over an event that lasted all of four or five hours. And I think if I can take that long about something that brief, you are certainly allowed to take years to get over something that involved ongoing events with people who were supposed to be caring for you.

I can feel it when I give up on meds, not bothering to call the doctor since it'll only make things worse for me, make the doctor stop trying to help me, just like what happened at the agency. That sort of thing. I hate this feeling, and I hate that it makes me feel as though I'm being a capital V Victim. I don't want to be a Victim. I want to be strong enough to take care of myself.

**** Me too.

> Anyway, today we got the results of the midterm I took yesterday. I didn't do as well as I had expected, and even though it was still in A range, I was just devastated. The instructor wrote the scores on the board, and suggested that some of the class might want to think hard about dropping the class and taking it over in the Fall semester. I actually found I was thinking about doing exactly that. And I had an A. Even after I added up all the points I'd missed -- on the midterm, the quizzes, and the homework -- and subtracted them from the number of points I could miss and still get an A, I still didn't feel good about my grade. Or about myself, really.
>
> What I managed to put together, though -- this is the insight I wanted to share -- is that those two stories go together: I transferred the upset from the nightmare to the test. Yes, I'm always disappointed with myself when I don't do well on a test. But not like this. Not "I should just drop out of school -- again -- because I'm just a loser who can't do it right anyway. There's no hope for me, so I should just give up." Not that bad. That sort of thinking/feeling comes from what I'm not getting over from that agency. It's where I get upset about something and think I should just give up, since no one will listen to me anyway, and if I try to do anything at all, it will just get worse.

***** I do this a lot too. It's really hard. But I really think your insight is quite insightful! :) Good for you for realizing that!

> After class, I did call my T, and left a message. That upsets me, too, that I felt the need to tell her about it all right then -- that I couldn't just wait until tomorrow, when I see her. I feel needy, and childish, and BAD for calling her. After all, I'm supposed to be able to do these things for myself, no one is going to do it for me. Etc. (Guess where that comes from?)
>
> I did leave that on the message, though, too. "Hi, I really feel uncomfortable that I felt the need to call you with this, but I do, so here goes..."

**** Try not to feel bad about it. I called my T because I was having a lot of trouble, and he didn't mind at all. I bet your T doesn't mind either.

Take care,
sunnydays

 

Re: Of nightmares and transference and shame

Posted by Daisym on July 26, 2006, at 11:37:37

In reply to Re: Of nightmares and transference and shame Racer, posted by sunnydays on July 25, 2006, at 22:31:47

Your insights seem so right on, I hope you can let yourself celebrate your A. I know, I know, it is an imperfect A, but it is still an A, none-the-less.

Racer, I think you need to nod your head with me here...these people HURT you! They wounded you at a primal level -- you were vulnerable and suicidal and they didn't help, they made it worse. How much damage is inflicted by the message, "we don't really care if you live or die because it is your fault anyway?" It makes me sick to my stomach. It is equivalent to leaving a young child home alone all day because they know how to open the fridge. The horror of neglect is the sheer cruelity of it. You were neglected. You were traumatized. Your WERE a victim.

But being a victim doesn't make you BAD. It wasn't your fault. Accepting that you were THEN and knowing that you aren't NOW is your work. And I would venture that those old feelings are even more terrifying because you are still in a position that offers up the potential to be hurt again in exactly the same way. So you must keep your guard up, even as you long for the comfort and support of your therapist. Think of a cat who has been abused but still needs food, water and love. They come out slowly, often hostile, grab a little of what they need and then run away into the dark corners. Trust takes a long time to build and can be destroyed in an instant.

Humans are wired to need each other. But we also hurt each other. And there are hurts that go deeper and deeper. I've started to think of mine, like yours, as a puncture wound. These are dangerous wounds because they look healed over on the outside. But they spread from the inside...causing infection and exhaustion. But they are hugely hard to treat, because there is such a potential to make them worse and kill the patient. I think Agency X made your old wound a 1000x worse. So just because they didn't treat you for very long, doesn't mean that they didn't inflict a mortal wound.

And the bill? Send it to the county auditor's office with a note that sweetly asks if they are paying all their contractors to not see patients. Believe me, no one wants to have to reconstruct records.

Hugs from me.
Daisy

btw -- Mr. M would say to hang dream catchers over your bed. It works for him. :)

 

My T's take on it

Posted by Racer on July 26, 2006, at 19:41:25

In reply to Re: Of nightmares and transference and shame Racer, posted by sunnydays on July 25, 2006, at 22:31:47

Today the session was scattered -- I went in with a laundry list, but it did include the whole thing from yesterday.

Including the part about not wanting to call her.

She's pleased that I did call her, and told me again that it's OK on her end, and a good sign in our therapy. We talked some about why it's so hard for me, and I just realized she triggered one of my OCDish things: she told me, "now, if you were calling fifty times a day, it might be a problem." Well, that immediately tells me, "Uh-oh, that means it really is a problem, because sometimes I *want* to call more often..." Grrr! Please, Sir, may I have another brain? I don't think this one is working properly...

Anyway, we talked about transference a bit -- although she never used that word ;-) -- and then talked about my lack of soothing. That was probably the theme today. Soothing. I do pretty well on the reacting-then-using-logic part, but that's all I do: react, then think. I don't have the soothing part at all, didn't have it as a kid, and certainly don't get it from my husband. (My ex was pretty good at it, though. Sometimes I miss him for that.)

We also decided that I'm like those Chinese thumbcuffs: the more you pull, the tighter they get, so you have to relax and push a bit to get your thumbs out? That's me, in a nutshell. (Of course that's where I am: after all, I'm a nut, right?)

There was more, but I can't really remember it right now. What do you all think? Should I call and tell her that I realized part of the hesitancy to call is that she's said it would be a problem if I did it too often? *g*

I dunno...

 

Re: My T's take on it Racer

Posted by Dinah on July 26, 2006, at 20:27:34

In reply to My T's take on it, posted by Racer on July 26, 2006, at 19:41:25

Well, know you're not alone.

My therapist keeps saying I've never crossed the line, and I keep asking where that line is so that I'll never cross it, and he keeps saying that I've never gotten near it even and that I'm very careful of the boundaries.

The best I've gotten from him is that he'll tell me when I'm crossing it. But I don't want to know I've already crossed!!! I want to be MILES from that line.

 

Re: My T's take on it Dinah

Posted by Racer on July 26, 2006, at 21:15:33

In reply to Re: My T's take on it Racer, posted by Dinah on July 26, 2006, at 20:27:34

Yeah, I'm thinking that the whole "If a lot is bad, then the least possible is best" thing is probably a good topic to bring up soon. I think it's related to the ED stuff, too.

And here's a nice confession: I was supposed to take in some photographs taken of me when I was thin. I don't know what we were going to do with them, besides look at them together, but I wasn't looking forward to that process. I'm kinda glad this stuff came up and got in the way...

Urgh. I know it's all this other stuff, but I want to be thin in the worst way. I just want to be thin. If I were thin, I think I'd get better grades, study better, keep a cleaner house, etc. It's only my fat thighs that cause my less than stellar grades. {sigh}

It's pretty awful when you know that your thinking is distorted, and you can see the distortions, but they're still there...

I'm going to go now, and find out what the cat is yodeling about now... (He went to the vet today. She knew he was feeling better by how much he fought during the exam. It took two of them to hold him, and it still wasn't easy! Not bad for an ancient beast.)

 

Re: Of nightmares and transference and shame Racer

Posted by sleepygirl on July 26, 2006, at 21:38:58

In reply to Of nightmares and transference and shame, posted by Racer on July 25, 2006, at 21:30:35

There's a big part of me that is angry for you, and I think it's because I know how hard it can be to rely on someone and/or ask for help...or well, anything.

I used to really hate it when I wanted to call my T because I thought I shouldn't/there was something wrong with me/etc.
My T said something once about me just needing to soothe myself..so simple really, and made it more "OK" (for me)

I am always so afraid of doing something "wrong"-it's awful really. It's like a surge of shame on the horizon waiting to confirm my worst suspicions of myself. I cling tightly to feeling "self-sufficient"- something in me would hate to think otherwise.

I'd never want to set such ascetic standards for anyone else.

 

More about me not wanting to call T sleepygirl

Posted by Racer on July 27, 2006, at 1:11:54

In reply to Re: Of nightmares and transference and shame Racer, posted by sleepygirl on July 26, 2006, at 21:38:58

There's just a little more to it, Sleepygirl. Not much, but it does go to what you said.

At that agency, I was told -- over and over -- that calling in a crisis was Bad. I wasn't supposed to "need" anything from them, I wasn't supposed to "need" to call anyone there. That, of course, just strengthened my feeling that I was Wrong, Bad, etc, for wanting to call. Not for calling, mind you, but simply for *wanting* to call.

The first T I saw after that actually told me to call and leave a voicemail for her, telling her how I was doing and what was going on, EVERY weekend. She told me that she'd start calling to find me if I didn't. That maybe helped a little, but I was still feeling pretty ashamed for being so pathetic that someone thought I needed that sort of thing. Ugh. Looking back, I really do see some of what my T is saying.

And, of course, the whole thing around PTSD is pretty uncomfortable. I mean, that's for other people, right? And it's certainly not something that happens when you go to see a doctor or a T, right? [uncivil comment on their parents' marital status] That's what they are, rat [uncivil comment on their parents' marital status]. It's hard to realize that the reason that bill arriving triggered nightmares is that I'm having symptoms consistent with PTSD. My T told me that last year, when I first started seeing her. She said then that she thought that whole situation recreated trauma from earlier parts of my life, and that I was showing symptoms of PTSD, although she wasn't quite willing to say it was full blown PTSD at that point. Now, although I'm having a lot of anxiety and shame about it, I think it's a pretty fair explanation of what I'm going through.

Anyway, I'm sorry you're able to empathize, but I'm also glad -- for my own sake -- that you can. Thank you.

 

Re: More about me not wanting to call T » Racer

Posted by fallsfall on July 27, 2006, at 9:39:13

In reply to More about me not wanting to call T ? sleepygirl, posted by Racer on July 27, 2006, at 1:11:54

My first therapist wanted me to be less dependent. So she discouraged calls. I knew that I could call her if I belonged in the hospital, but that was about it. Earlier, I did call her a number of times (when I was miserably suicidal), but she made it clear that I was supposed to learn to handle those times myself.

Then I changed therapists. He is on vacation and I have his cell phone number, and I could call him right now if I wanted to and he wouldn't be upset (he might not answer if he didn't have cell coverage, but he would call me within a day or so). I was tentative about calling him (even during office hours), because she had taught me so well that it was a bad thing. But he was different from her, and I did call a few times. Then one day in a session I said something about calling too many times. He is usually a very clear blank slate - but he had a really surprised look on his face and told me that I certainly didn't call too often. He was so honest with that reaction that I knew it was true.

Different therapists see calling in very different lights. They see dependency in very different lights. My first therapist's philosophy made me worse. My current therapist is helping me.

But, boy, do I understand feeling guilty about calling!

 

Re: More about me not wanting to call T fallsfall

Posted by Racer on July 27, 2006, at 10:44:03

In reply to Re: More about me not wanting to call T » Racer, posted by fallsfall on July 27, 2006, at 9:39:13

Thanks for telling me that story, Falls. It feels better to know I'm not alone.

With the agency from [warm region], our old MC called once to try to arrange with them some better support for me, and included in there that I'd never taken advantage of the support from the agency she worked for. That I'd never called too many times, etc. Unfortunately, that just reinforced the "I shouldn't ever call" thing.

{sigh}

OK, those of you who are in training to be Ts: do they teach you how much damage can be done by an apparently well-meaning T?

I want to call my T now, too, because I did something last night that we'd talked about -- called my mother to tell her something she did that hurt my feelings a lot -- but I haven't made up my mind yet...


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