Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 792706

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obsessing

Posted by JoniS on November 1, 2007, at 8:53:17

I am obsessing about my T. WHATS NEW???

He has been a little distant the last few months. He is going on sebbatical soon and he first gave me the impression all the hours he puts in was taking it's toll. As I've benn worried that he wont come back, he has now assured me he will. Yesterday he told my daughter in therapy that "it is not because of the job that he is taking the sebbatical. It's personal"
My daughter said he was not wearing his wedding ring. She is concerned about him. I am really concerned about him. I don't know why I am so obsessed about this and why his marriage status is so important to me. I don't want to see his marriage breakup, and I'm not delusional about stepping into her space if they breakup. But he does represent a lot of things to me that I don't have with my husband. My T's specialty is marriage and family counseling. That is mostly what I see him for. I really wish I could quit obsessing about this. I know the need for boundaries in the client-T relationship, but I also don't believe it is realistic that a T's personal life can be completely out of the T relationship. I've been under the impression that a lot of you here are so close to your T that they might still tell you more about their situation but still keep adequate boundaries. Should I just try and tell myself that it's his personal business and I just need to stop thinking about it? Last night I dreamed that I went to therapy and that he had his wife in there too. She was on his lap and he was reaching up her top and doing things way inappropriate. How strange is that?

Joni

 

Re: obsessing JoniS

Posted by Dinah on November 1, 2007, at 9:27:41

In reply to obsessing, posted by JoniS on November 1, 2007, at 8:53:17

I can see where either job difficulties or personal difficulties serious enough to lead to a sabbatical would be scary to a client. :( I'd hope my therapist would at least say enough to explain *why* he knows he'll be ok, and coming back.

Actually, mine would probably say a lot more. His boundaries on personal disclosure aren't nearly as firm as some here, and after all this time I probably delude myself into thinking he's more comfortable sharing with me because we've been through so much and so much was shared when there was really no choice.

Overall it works for me, since I'm likely to take what facts I know and weave huge disaster fantasies on them, or blame myself somehow.

I'm not sure I ever asked for disclosure though. I think I always thought if he wanted to tell me he would. I think I did always ask for disclosure about how things would affect *me*.

Isn't it strange and scary to care about someone, yet know so little about how they're doing? Because how they're doing does affect us, quite apart from our genuine human caring for them.

 

Re: obsessing

Posted by Annierose on November 1, 2007, at 10:38:18

In reply to obsessing, posted by JoniS on November 1, 2007, at 8:53:17

It's okay to ask your t any question. It's up to your therapist to decide whether it is within his comfort zone to answer.

I would definitely ask my therapist more about the leave. And I do think she would give me more information than generalities --- enough so I would have a clearer picture.

Ask. It cannot hurt. He won't be mad because you did.

 

Re: obsessing JoniS

Posted by Dory on November 1, 2007, at 11:30:26

In reply to obsessing, posted by JoniS on November 1, 2007, at 8:53:17

i don't think the dream is strange at all..

if this is on your mind so much then i think you need to speak with him about it.. and not with an expectation of him telling you his woes, but with the expectation of him telling you how he plans to keep his woes out of his work. The sebbatical is probably for that very reason.. he needs time for him and can't do both. i think that is a smart step for him to take and i hope it reassures you. He is putting his clients interests in mind by doing this.

as for his marrital status and being a family t.. well, i don't think being a marriage t means that one's own marriage *has* to work out. Sometimes t's help people go separate ways too. Things go wrong for all sorts of reasons.. would it matter if you knew the reason? would it be more comfortable if you knew for example that his wife was a screwball who took off with some drifter? Then it's in no way his fault right? i think maybe you are wondering what mistakes he has made to make this happen...

and of course, it's speculation that it's his marriage anyway. Maybe he lost his ring, maybe he damaged it somehow (like i often have).. what if his wife died? i know that's extreme, but it's meant to be just to illustrate how much your feelings might vary if the thing was filled in for you. How much would you need to know before it was ok?

it comes down to trust really.. can you trust him to do his job properly regardless?

 

Re: obsessing JoniS

Posted by muffled on November 1, 2007, at 12:54:17

In reply to obsessing, posted by JoniS on November 1, 2007, at 8:53:17

> He has been a little distant the last few months.

*he has sounded like a good person, he proly is struggling with leaving his clients too....

As I've benn worried that he wont come back, he has now assured me he will.

*well thats good!

>I am really concerned about him. I don't know why I am so obsessed about this and why his marriage status is so important to me. I don't want to see his marriage breakup, and I'm not delusional about stepping into her space if they breakup. But he does represent a lot of things to me that I don't have with my husband.

*T's are pretty huge in us long term clients lives, so potentially having him go away for a CHUNK of time would be very worrysome. I can see how it would be confusing to you as his real life is not matching up with what he says perhaps. Again this would be very disconcerting as we hold our T's in a special position.

>I really wish I could quit obsessing about this. I know the need for boundaries in the client-T relationship, but I also don't believe it is realistic that a T's personal life can be completely out of the T relationship.

*Well, the obsess thing seems to be cyclical, or lessesns with time in my experience. With stress its worse...
So maybe you can just accept the 'obsession'(your words) and let it be. Its OK. Might ease up some stress that way.
It certainly seems that you are 'in reality' bout how it is.
Boundaries can be SO important. I have a loose boundaried T. And she thot I was ready to quit T as I was 'done'. And her boundaries were looser yet. But then other 'stuff' finally was said, and so we continued, and have had to restablish some firmer boundaries, cuz for me, loose boundaries DON'T work when I am trying to do the stuff I am doing now. She needs to be more distant and less 'real' to me. So then I am less afraid of hurting her, and I am less 'obsessed' with how she is doing IRL. (really, I think obsess is overly strong, I think it is natural to be interested in someone you care about). So while it grates at times, I studiously do not ask her how her family is doing etc, and she doesn't mention it much either, though I think she finds it hard, cuz her 'style' is to have looser boundaries.So amazingly we have managed to re-establish the boundaries, I wasn't sure we could do so, but we have.
So I guess one thing, is it depends on what kind of 'work' you are doing with T, and I guess personalities etc, as far as boundaries go.

>I've been under the impression that a lot of you here are so close to your T that they might still tell you more about their situation but still keep adequate boundaries.

*For me, my T WOULD have told me that she eg, needed a break in order to strengthen their marriage or whatever. NOW, she tells me nothing, and its best that way for now.

>Should I just try and tell myself that it's his personal business and I just need to stop thinking about it?

*LOL! But WILL you stop!!!!???
Maybe you could put it across to him as, "i want to maintain boundaries, but I am 'obsessing' or worrying about how YOU are and that you are going to be OK." or something like that?
Its a BIG deal to have your T go away so long. I think you need some reassurance and mebbe a few basic facts from him in order to be able to be somewhat reassured.

>Last night I dreamed that I went to therapy and that he had his wife in there too. She was on his lap and he was reaching up her top and doing things way inappropriate. How strange is that?

*OMG! Now thats a wild dream? How did YOU feel about it in the dream? I'm not much good at interpreting dreams. That would be a bad dream for me.
Take care Joni. This sabbatical SUCKS.
M

 

Re: obsessing JoniS

Posted by Raindancer on November 1, 2007, at 16:05:17

In reply to obsessing, posted by JoniS on November 1, 2007, at 8:53:17

Joni, I've done a bit of work around dreams just lately and what I've learned is that dreams shouldn't be taken literally, but metaphorically - the meaning personal to you behind what is happening. It feels to me that what the dream was telling you was that your T's personal life and relationship is coming into and in some way taking over your therapy space. Does that make any sense?

This is very hard. We are all very sensitive to our T's.

 

Re: obsessing

Posted by Daisym on November 1, 2007, at 22:27:50

In reply to Re: obsessing JoniS, posted by Raindancer on November 1, 2007, at 16:05:17

I agree with Raindancer's dream interpretation.

And I think it is a very normal thing to be worrying about. As much as we know our therapists are human and have lives that get muddled up, like our own, we sort of have fantasies that they are so reasonable in their relationships that divorces just don't happen to them. But really - if we think about the hours they keep and the human need they deal with, I bet it would strain a relationship.

I think you should tell him about your dream and about your feelings. How long is he going to be off? Are you going to see someone else during that time? I'm very glad he reassured you he will return. But it seems there is a ton to talk about here.

 

Thanks Everybody - Follow-up

Posted by JoniS on November 3, 2007, at 19:05:59

In reply to obsessing, posted by JoniS on November 1, 2007, at 8:53:17

All of you were an encouragement to me. I appreciate your posts very much.

He will be on sebbatical from Jan-March, but really, I will only see him probably 2 times in Nov & 2 times in Dec.

I called him yesterday because I couldn't get him off my mind. Thats even what I said when I called him. He asked if I was ok, I said yes, I was just worried about him. We had probably just a 5 minute conversation, but it was heartbreaking. He hasn't been sleeping nights, he's going to counseling but she is not willing to go (and she is a counselor herself - go figure). She was out of town at her mother's birthday party. He said he figured he should let her go by herself. But, he also said that her 7 sisters would probably not support him with the marriage. Of course he said He didn't want his situation to affect his counseling clients. I told him we know he's human and we could see that he was not doing well. He said that he didn't think it (the marriage) would deteriorate so quickly. He said it was really his fault, and that he worked too much. He appreciated my call.

My heart still aches for him. I really hope their relationship can be restored. I still can't get them off my mind.

 

Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up

Posted by muffled on November 3, 2007, at 19:22:57

In reply to Thanks Everybody - Follow-up, posted by JoniS on November 3, 2007, at 19:05:59

Whoah....he kinda spilled it?! Poor guy. Sigh, he sounds like he is an OK guy. Dunno s'up w/his woman and her family. Well, welcome to the world of looser boundaries. You can learn alot from looser boundaries. How he is doing his best to do the right thing etc, that despite our best efforts things still go wrong, but we try to take care of ourselves as best we can. We go on. So I have been in a vaguely similiar situ, and I just had to trust that my T could take care of herself, that there was nothing I could do, it wasn't my job to take care of her(like I did my ma).
The one thing I could do was try and pray to my higher power for her situation. I even fasted. At least I felt I was doing SOMEthing.
Take care, hope you OK.
M

 

Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up JoniS

Posted by Dinah on November 4, 2007, at 15:29:05

In reply to Thanks Everybody - Follow-up, posted by JoniS on November 3, 2007, at 19:05:59

Wow. That's like zero to sixty in self disclosure! :)

How did you feel about what he said? Did you find it a burden to hear about his struggles, and his feelings about the struggles?

 

Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up Dinah

Posted by JoniS on November 4, 2007, at 23:07:11

In reply to Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up JoniS, posted by Dinah on November 4, 2007, at 15:29:05

I guess I've had all kinds of reactions to his disclosure. Really glad that he was willing to be that open. Really sad that they both are in such a painful place. Curious about how they got there. Having short term fantasies about one day being with him. (knowing that is unethical, impossible, etc. so I don't let the thoughts stay with me) Feeling like I need to get better and less dependent on him so that he can concentrate on restoring his marriage.

Just praying for them.
Thanks for asking Dinah.

 

Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up JoniS

Posted by Dinah on November 4, 2007, at 23:23:34

In reply to Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up Dinah, posted by JoniS on November 4, 2007, at 23:07:11

I guess that last part was the part I was wondering about.

I think I asked because during Katrina it was impossible to keep self disclosure out of the therapy relationship. There were just too many tangible changes to be able to avoid looking at what was going on.

And while in some ways it was almost reassuring to not wonder what was going on, and blow it up into something even worse in my mind, there were negative aspects as well. I don't think I'll ever be able to think of him as being as magic as I did before, in the sense of thinking that I could always feel safe when I was with him. I guess that could be seen as a positive thing. But I don't really.

So I know it can be a mixture of positive and negative to learn things.

And it can be really hard to put the genie back in the bottle. I think Muffled sounds like she's doing a good job with that. It's hard though to go back to a one sided relationship.

I hope everything goes well with him, and that he's able to come back to you whole and well. And that you'll be able to stop worrying about him enough to focus on yourself. Which is why therapy works as it does. If it was more mutual like friendship, it wouldn't work.

 

Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up JoniS

Posted by Dinah on November 4, 2007, at 23:31:40

In reply to Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up Dinah, posted by JoniS on November 4, 2007, at 23:07:11

I suppose I should add that my therapist did a really good job of scaling back on the self disclosure when therapy stopped being so disrupted. He didn't throw the boundaries up sharply or make a big deal about it, which would have felt rather rejecting to me even if I understood. He made it seem natural, so that I scarcely noticed.

I wish anyone in the same situation the same consideration from their therapist. :)

 

Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up

Posted by JoniS on November 5, 2007, at 0:09:36

In reply to Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up JoniS, posted by Dinah on November 4, 2007, at 23:31:40

What you said is so helpful. I can see myself going feeling rejected too if he throws up those boundaries abruptly. I need for that to subtley return. I think I understand the need for that. Deep down, I know the most helpful and health thing is the thearpy relationship, not a friendship. It is so awesome to have a T to relate to honestly, openly and safely. I'll be posting in pain on thursday after therapy if he is how I'm afraid he will be - abruptly clinical.

thanks a lot Dinah, for your words of wisdom

Joni

 

Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up

Posted by Muffled on November 5, 2007, at 7:46:38

In reply to Re: Thanks Everybody - Follow-up, posted by JoniS on November 5, 2007, at 0:09:36

Maybe you need to think about what you want, and be prepapred for either?(abrubpt distance or ocntinued disclosure, or mebbe even repentance for discolsure, dunno your T's style)
Maybe you can make it clear to him right from the get go where you want to be from a boundary POV? Mebbe say thank you for your honesty, there was comfort in that, but now cuz you going away i need some distance....(this is just an example, you'd have to say what YOU think.)
Just don't want to see your last sessions messed up.
It IS confusing getting back on track, but I have discovered (I beleive, in my case)that its doable.I think it has been a challenge for both of us.
Take care,
M


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