Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 778372

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still stuck in 'transference' with therapist

Posted by widget on August 24, 2007, at 15:31:20

I haven't written for a long time. I started posting because of my "transference" feelings for my therapist which I prefer to call feelings of love. Anyway, I thought I was somewhat at peace with the issue but it seems to have just been dormant, waiting for the chance to re-emerge. Basically, I was on vacation with my husband and I kept hearing my therapist saying "I can never leave my wife." And, being really angry about this. He did say this to me but it was awhile back. I don't know what triggered it. Then, I had a dream in which the song "Love Changes Everything." I woke up in a cold sweat, angry and terribly sad because love has changed nothing! Yes, I know this sounds familiar but I was hoping people could relate to the long, on-going nature of these feelings. I think I just have to live with them. But, any words of advice and, more likely, support, would be so welcome. I'm glad you are still out there!

 

Re: still stuck in 'transference' with therapist

Posted by DAisym on August 24, 2007, at 17:09:20

In reply to still stuck in 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on August 24, 2007, at 15:31:20

The love you describe sounds so deep and so painful. I once goggled "unrequited love" way back when and found descriptions that matched how I was feeling. It wasn't about my therapist though - interestingly enough. I have struggled with my feelings for him, but always I've been able to honestly say that I'd rather have him as my therapist than anything else. When I think of having to give up the therapy, the other fantasy recedes. That doesn't mean that there aren't still times that I feel tormented by jealousy or possessiveness. But mostly for me I want to know where he is (are you still there for me?) and if he is safe.

It sounds like you've had at least one discussion about your feelings. Do you continue the discussion? I've been trying to remember if you had entered into a relationship with your therapist or not. Someone in that thread long ago was/did. That can make it all twice as hard, having part of him but not all of him, like any affair with a married man, it definitely has its downside.

I'm sorry you are hurting. I'm glad you could post. Reaching out and talking about it might help.

 

Re: hate this transference stuff DAisym

Posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 21:42:20

In reply to Re: still stuck in 'transference' with therapist, posted by DAisym on August 24, 2007, at 17:09:20

Therapy today, and I wrote a letter to my T earlier this week and read part of it to him. I could not read the rest as it had to do with all the abuse stuff and later, and he wanted to know if he could have it to read. So, I gave it to him, and he said he would read it and we could discuss it on Friday.

I am so confused about him. He seems kind and caring, and yet he will not say anything about how he feels about me. I guess I should expect it. But then he said a couple of weeks ago when I pointed out he was shorting me time that maybe there was stuff that was more than he knew how to handle with me but we would work through it together. I had said I did not want to make him feel traumatized. So, now today he tells me that he has seen and heard lots of horrible things, and there is nothing that I can say that will traumatize him. I know he has worked with holocaust survivors, and so I am sure he has heard really horrible stuff.

Anyway he tells me how he knows it is hard to talk about stuff and that at first what we talk about will bleed over after I leave, but after a time I will be able to leave things there and not dwell on them after I leave the office, that it will be contained there. Okay. But I see him before I go to work, and so I can't afford to have this stuff "bleed over" into my job as it did today. I was exhausted and could barely function.

I think about how much I like him, and then he says stuff that pisses me off. He said he admires my courage because I talked about some stuff today that was really hard and has to do sort of with csa, not exactly but related as it was later in life. I think to myself that is nice, I guess. Then I ask as I am leaving if he thinks I am a terrible person, and he said no. I wish he had just left it there, but he had to say, "you're just a person."

So I started to think about that after I left as I used to think I was a piece of sh*t but came to believe I am a good person, a caring person, and a decent person. But here he is saying I am just a person. I felt so hurt and angry. I don't think he probably meant I am just a person, but maybe he did. So I sent him an email and said something to the effect, "You are right; I am just a person; I am not a bad person, and I am not a good person; I am just a person as you said; I am a person who just exists (which is how I feel--that I just exist anymore), and I said I hated the just a person who just exists; what is the point of living if that is what it is.

Now I am just plain angry, and I feel like I just want to quit therapy altogether. He said I would have all sorts of feelings for him, and I know that is true, but what I feel now is more painful than what I talked about today in therapy. I want to tell him how much it hurts when he makes comments like that and how I couldn't do my work to day and had to cancel an appointment and reschedule it for another time and also take work home with me to do because I was just so exhausted, I wanted to go home and sleep. And I just couldn't focus on work. Now this will bug me until Tuesday.

I wish I would not let his comments bother me so much. I want to tell him he is released from any obligation he feels to continue seeing me as I start to think he maybe thinks that he made a mistake deciding to work with me. Maybe he doesn't even like me. No, he did say that he does not dislike me. Why would it be so awful to say he likes me? Well maybe he is just neutral about me. It has seemed like he likes me when he laughs about stuff like my faces or like today when he said something about what I wrote and I forgot that part, and he laughed and said something about "undoing" meaning as a defense and that I could not get away with it. I think he likes the fact that I don't have my defenses up and am so transparent sometimes. But it is so painful. I think I would rather get my defenses up for when I see him. This 6:45 a.m crap is for the birds. So, here I am just a person. What is that supposed to mean? Sorry for going on and on, but it really hurts.

RealMe (Oz)

 

Re: hate this transference stuff RealMe

Posted by canadagirl on August 24, 2007, at 21:50:07

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff DAisym, posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 21:42:20

I think he was saying, you're allowed to be human. Not the way you interpreted it. A kind, gentle reassurance. You can be "just a person" there, you can be yourself.

 

Re: still stuck in 'transference' with therapist widget

Posted by JoniS on August 24, 2007, at 22:07:56

In reply to still stuck in 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on August 24, 2007, at 15:31:20

Widget,

I landed on Babble from doing a google search too (I think Daisy did too) as I was looking for answers to why am I feeling this way....I had entered "love for psychologist" I think.

I remember seeing your posts too, but I'm sorry I dont remember specifics. It's funny you describe that you thought you were at peace with the issue, but it seems to have just been dormant.... That keeps happening to me too. Just when I think I can move on and live life without wondering about him, the intense feelings and obsessions are back. I hate this. I, like Daisy would rather have him as my T, but it is so hard to deal with this.

Dont really know what to say. Babble helps me, somehow. If you have any helpful insights, put them out there!

Good Luck

Joni

 

Re: hate this transference stuff canadagirl

Posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 22:10:23

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff RealMe, posted by canadagirl on August 24, 2007, at 21:50:07

Maybe you are right; I hope that is it. I have felt that I could just be myself and say whatever, and he would not think badly of me. I also know that when I let someone in to my inner thoughts, feelings,memories, fantasies, etc, then I feel really vulnerable and am more prone to misinterpret--so I then try to keep people at arm's length and/or end up trusting the wrong people who end up craping on me or betraying me. This has happened with a couple of people recently.

RealMe (Oz)

 

Re: hate this transference stuff RealMe

Posted by DAisym on August 24, 2007, at 22:26:53

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff canadagirl, posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 22:10:23

The work you are doing is really hard and it is bound to make you prone to misinterpretations. Your therapist is right there - and the person you are likely angry with or hurt by isn't...so of course you might direct all these complicated feelings towards your therapist. I wouldn't do such early sessions if it were me but that is jusdt me. I hate mornings.

I'd like to suggest you "hear" the tone of his comment, not the actual words. In an attempt to be soothing, perhaps he misspoke. But if you can "hear" the intention, does it feel good? Try not to rehash too much, although it is very hard, I know.

I go back to work after therapy too. I find that most of the time I can compartmentalize all the feelngs and get back to work - except when I am upset with my therapist. (Which I hadn't thought about before until right now.) When I lose my connection to him, I'm rattled and find it very hard to focus on anything else. He tells me often that even when I'm upset with him, or I think he is upset with me, we are still connected and I can still "use" him as a secure base. I'm working on this, but it is very hard.

Our feelings for our therapists are just so darn complicated! And yet, when I think about therapies that don't have the relationship aspect, I know I don't want to choose that for myself. Not most days, anyway.

Try not to let this eat at you all weekend.

 

Re: hate this transference stuff RealMe

Posted by JoniS on August 24, 2007, at 22:46:34

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff DAisym, posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 21:42:20

Real Me

Sounds like a very hurtful ending to an otherwise good session. I'm sorry you experienced that. For some reason, I could really relate to your post. Maybe it's because I'm so familiar with having strong feelings for someone who I am having a healthy relationship with, but they don't feel as much for me as I do for them. I know my T cares about me, but I think that I have held on to the fantasy that he could feel for me the way I feel for him. But lately, I think I'm having to let go of that fantasy. Partly because he doesn't say how he feels about me except one time I think his words were "I care deeply and profoundly for you" Which, I know is awesome, but sometimes I wonder if that is really what he said, or not. But still, it's an appropriate T statement, isn't it? Last week in t I was explaining some of my feelings and somehow I got to ... I had been wanting to know if I could ever have ended up with someone like him. I said I felt inferior. He said how are you inferior? I said I'm fat, depressed, ... I can't even remember what else I said but at the time I was able to name about 10 more awful things about me. Do you know what his response was? He said "I don't think you're depressed, I think you just hold too much in, and that brings on these feelings..."

Looking back I see that what I really wanted was for him to say something more complementary than that. I wanted to know that he "likes" me and even just - enjoys working with me. But I didn't get that. Just that has made me sort of pull away from him, not feeling as close as I did.

I know there are reasons for boundaries and I believe I have a great T. Most of the time I just trust that, but right now, I'm kind of hurting too.

I am just guessing that when you asked if he thought you were a terrible person, that you were sort of asking "do you like me?" and his response, "you're just a person" was not at all what you wanted to hear.

I'm sorry. I think I know your pain. Really don't know what to say. I think that my cure is to become more able to value myself from within than to get my value from others, namely, my T (at the moment) Only problem is how do I do that? I've been working on that for about 45 years.

I wish I could offer some comfort. Maybe if you can believe that you are a likeable person (and you are cause look at your Babble friends) then he does like you, you are a nice & good person, but his boundaries & his ethics keep him from disclosing that way.


You really are more than "just a person"

((((((Real Me)))))

 

Re: hate this transference stuff DAisym

Posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 22:55:35

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff RealMe, posted by DAisym on August 24, 2007, at 22:26:53

You are right. He said the words very softly as we were walking toward the door. It really helps that you guys are here and can help put some perspective on things. I think I can be okay now. I just hope he doesn't email me back with some vague comment as he has been prone to do sometimes. That will just set me off again. But you are right Daisy, I would not want a therapy where the relationship wasn't part of the whole package. In fact I think ultimately it becomes the main thing in therapy as it speaks to what happens with other relationships in the present.

My T says he doesn't think I really trust him yet, and of course I protested. But I think he is right. I still sit across the room from him and was looking at what it would be like if I sat on the couch near him. Maybe I should surprise him. No; I would be so uncomfortable. I feel like I am stuck where I am now even though he said it would be okay to sit on the couch near him at at right angle from his chair. Too scary.

Oz

 

Re: hate this transference stuff JoniS

Posted by DAisym on August 24, 2007, at 23:03:43

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff RealMe, posted by JoniS on August 24, 2007, at 22:46:34

A few months ago I had one of those sessions where I said, "I want to be special to you." And I went on and on about how wrong it felt to want that.

His response was, "Who doesn't want to be special? There is nothing wrong with wanting that."

When I got home, I realized that my feelings were hurt because I didn't want him to tell me it was OK to want to be special, I wanted him to tell me I WAS special to him. So I gathered up my courage and called him and left a message saying that. His message was "I'm glad you figured out what you wanted or needed and clarified that to me. I was on the wrong track. And OF COURSE YOU ARE SPECIAL TO ME. That's like..dah." And he said some other stuff too and we talked about it in session after that. (so yes, I have it saved on voice mail. :)

My point is - sometimes you have to say what it is you wanted or needed to hear. You might have to answer the dreaded "why" question, but it isn't a bad thing to explain that we don't want to be guessing all the time how our therapists feel about us. And if he still doesn't answer, point that out too. "I noticed you still didn't say one way or another." I somehow doubt he is going to say, "nope, you aren't special to me." I guess it is a risk though, but one probably worth taking instead of pulling away to protect yourself from an unspoken feeling.

Just my two cents.

 

Re: hate this transference stuff JoniS

Posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 23:14:26

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff RealMe, posted by JoniS on August 24, 2007, at 22:46:34

Here is the weird thing as we both seem to have therapists who will say they don't dislike us, but for whatever reason won't say they like us.

I told my therapist about a week ago that I thought it was a good thing that I could see it would not be good for me to want to have him think of me as special as then I would start to feel an expectation to live up to what I thought he wanted me to be, that it was best for me to just be able to be just me and let it all hang out and not worry if I was disappointing him. I truely believe this too as with my last therapist I think I was special to him, and so when I got upset with him, he got really angry with me. It is more complicated than that but nothing inappropirate.

Anyway, I think my therapist does like me if I can just hold on to the times when he really seems to enjoy some things about me and laughs and says like he has that he loves my faces and what they reveal about me. He said today too laughing that I could not just get away with "gee I don't remember that." He is right that my defenses really are down when I come so early in the morning.

I think my therapist would not have said anything like of course you could end up with someone like me. He likely thinks you deserve someone good and caring, but he also knows that in his own personal life he isn't "a therapist." It is a special relationship, and who knows if we would really want to be married to our therapists. What if he is so dedicated to his work, for example, that he is never home. That wouldn't be so good. My therapist said that before we were done, the relationship we had would be very intimate. Scared the sh*t out of me when he said that even though I knew he wasn't talking about anything sexual, that he meant in terms of my ability to trust him.

Yes; CBT and other more technique oriented approaches may work well for some people; I still prefer what I have with the psychoanalytic approach; it is hard work, but in the end it means a more satisfying life.

I can tell you that when I started to like myself better and feel good about myself years ago was when I started to take in "the good" of my therapist. I don't know how to describe this, but I started to trust that I was not a bad person. Of course now I am starting to question it again. No, not really. I still think I am a decent and caring person among other things. My fear now is that my therapist will think I am a bad person or disgusting person and my notion of myself as a good person with some still unresolved problems will be destroyed.

RealMe (Oz)

 

Thanks Daisy...

Posted by JoniS on August 24, 2007, at 23:19:27

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff JoniS, posted by DAisym on August 24, 2007, at 23:03:43

You are always helpful. I like what you said above, to Oz. You are right.

As for me, I have managed to convince myself that I am not at all special to him and there is absolutely no way I can risk asking him to tell me. Lately I have seen him "daze off" so I know he's getting bored. I know my defenses are up, but I also know (from therapy) that I depend on the "external" for my worth, and If I don't grow up from here, I will forever be disappointed.

I do appreciate your 2 cents, always.

 

Re: hate this transference stuff DAisym

Posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 23:21:15

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff JoniS, posted by DAisym on August 24, 2007, at 23:03:43

Interesting Daisy; I am glad you got to hear what you wanted to hear. I am not so sure I want to hear that. For me it means too many expectations to be special and do what I think he would like to stay special. Of course I want him to like me, but I think it is okay not to be his most favorite patient. Used to be years ago in therapy that I desperately wanted to be the most special person to my therapist. I don't think I was, but I think I was special. He was just beaming when I graduated from my postdoc program and won the writing award winning out over around 20+ other people including the residents, child residents, the other postdocs (psych), and the postmaster's social workers. It felt like having a proud father there at the graduation, and since I never had my father in my life, it was doubly nice. As you can see, now I can't write for sh*t since the big brain zap.

RealMe (Oz)

 

Re: hate this transference stuff RealMe

Posted by JoniS on August 24, 2007, at 23:34:07

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff JoniS, posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 23:14:26

......Anyway, I think my therapist does like me if I can just hold on to the times when he really seems to enjoy some things about me and laughs and says like he has that he loves my faces and what they reveal about me....

I remember when you posted that earlier and at that time I thought wow... I wish TTTT said something like that to me. Ok I'm jealous and that is unbecoming. My 25 yr old daughter also sees my T and when she tells me about the times they laugh and the things they laugh about, I am envious. I honestly think he either does not enjoy my "company" nearly as much, or he keeps the boundaries much firmer with me [so then why, does he see me as too weak to handle things?]
I'm sorry, I seem to whining and actually getting sadder the more I think about this, so I'll quit now. :(

 

Re: hate this transference stuff JoniS

Posted by RealMe on August 24, 2007, at 23:58:33

In reply to Re: hate this transference stuff RealMe, posted by JoniS on August 24, 2007, at 23:34:07

JoniS

I am really sorry; I think from things you have said that your therapist really does care about you or would not continue seeing you. When therapist's look like they are glazing over as my therapist from years ago would do and my therapist now, it is because they are getting into the feeling of what it is you are saying. It scares the hell out of me. It does not mean they are bored; quite the contrary. Have you ever said anything silly or stupid in therapy? I am forever sticking my foot in my mouth (I think), but he is glad (I think). Try it once with somethng not to risky. Of course it is even better if you don't plan it, though I do sometimes plan and say something silly. I don't get the same reaction. He seems to like it and think it is funny when he catches me off guard. HUM. I don't always think it is so funny, but with help from people here, I came to see I was again misinterpreting. Could that be true for you??

Yikes; I don't have children, but I am not sure I would like having the same therapist as my daughter. I would be afraid she was saying all sorts of negative stuff about me. Also, he gets to know you through someone elses eyes. That would scare the hell out of me, and my defenses would be up like a brick wall. Maybe that is something you could say to him if you feel that way, that is.

I doubt your therapist keeps the boundaries firmer with you. Perhaps he recognizes how serious you are about all this and thinks you want him to be serious too. I don't know. There could be all sorts of reasons rather than thinking you are weak or that you are not so interesting. Maybe he sees you as a challenge. That would be a compliment. Maybe he thinks that after he said he cares about you deeply that this comment scared you off. I remember when you said your therapist said that, and I WAS jealous. We are both silly gooses, I think. But it does hurt; I know that for sure. You are a good person.

(((JoniS)))

RealMe (Oz)

 

Re: still stuck in 'transference' with therapist

Posted by widget on August 25, 2007, at 1:49:03

In reply to Re: still stuck in 'transference' with therapist, posted by DAisym on August 24, 2007, at 17:09:20

Dear Daisym, Thanks for the response. No, I have not entered into a more "intimate" relationship with him and yes, we continue to talk about my feeling for him. He has told me he must remain "unwavering" as I have been raised on mistrust and if he ever had a crack in his boundaries toward me, I would sense it immediately. Its funny that just what I would love, the human "crack" is what he must avoid so continually since he is aware of how strong my feelilngs are. He keeps assuring me that this painful longing will diminish and change as I grow and that I may just have to take his word on this as it seems so impossible to believe that I would ever want a world without him in it.
I guess that means that I will never end therapy, not willingly and he has said that therapy can only end when we agree to do so. No matter what I do, he remains resolute in his boundaries. I do marvel at his consistancy. And, like Joni's therapist, he has said it is remarkable that I can bring this up again and again and that it will ultimately help to talk about it rather than to ignore it. He has never been dishonest with me so I feel forced to, at least, intellectually accept what he says. But, as to how I FEEL, well, every kind word from him only strengthens the attachment I have. I'm so glad you guys are still out there. I'm feeling lonely and stuck but its getting to be a familiar feeling.

 

Re: still stuck in 'transference' with therapist widget

Posted by RealMe on August 25, 2007, at 12:41:53

In reply to Re: still stuck in 'transference' with therapist, posted by widget on August 25, 2007, at 1:49:03

I wrote a long message to you and lost it. So I will try to rememver what I said. First of all you are doing a fantastic job talking to your therapist about your feelings, and your therapist sounds like he is doing an excellent job. The whole issue of trust is tied to intimacy, as if you can't have trust, you can't have intimacy.

I am in the same boat to a large extent. Though I sort of worked on the issue of trust with a therapist I had years ago and was okay with ending things (which I never thought possible), I never dealt with some issues that came up to bother me again a couple of years ago. I went to a therapist who eventually said find someone else amoungst other things he said to me. I tried to do as he wanted me to, and that was a big mistake.

My therapist now is like yours in the sense of maintaining very strict boundaries. He is quite aware of my trust issues with what I am dealing with now, csa issues. So, when he said we would ultimately have a very intimate relationship, that scared the hell out of me as I knew what he meant, that I would feel that I could reveal deep dark secret without feeling judged and that I could talk about my feelings for him without being judged. The latter becomes the harder part, and the former means trusting him not to dump me, not to judge me, not to break the boundaries, not to basically break the frame. Other people in my life have violated trust and boundaries, and so my therapist like yours has to make sure that those boundaries are strong and clear. Of course it is easy to misinterpret comments, and of course he will make some mistakes, but not on purpose. Therapists are human no matter how well they are trained.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that you are doing a fantastic job being able to talk to your therapist about your feelings and what you want. Everything is multi-layered with meaning, and so we have to figure out what all this means for ourselves and our life. I admire you for being able to do this with your therapist. I am not yet there with my therapist.

RealMe (Oz)

 

Re: still stuck in 'transference' with therapist RealMe

Posted by widget on August 25, 2007, at 22:45:46

In reply to Re: still stuck in 'transference' with therapist widget, posted by RealMe on August 25, 2007, at 12:41:53

Dear Oz, thank you so very much for the heartfelt response. I am truly grateful. Let me think over all of your posting and I'll get back to you. You sound pretty well grounded; I'm surprised you don't think you are in same place with your therapist. But, sincerely, thanks.


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