Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 816719

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this is extremely strange

Posted by raisinb on March 7, 2008, at 11:45:05

So, I have a very intense transference relationship with my T. I love her, hate her, want to sleep with her, am enraged with her, all sometimes in the same week!

But this week I've had two sessions where I felt *nothing.* I always have trouble talking because of the intense mistrust and anxiety I feel, but this week I just chattered away. I didn't have any reaction to things that a couple of weeks ago (and for three years, now) would have devastated me. I'm acting just like I would in any relationship that's kind of a casual acquaintance-type relationship. I left yesterday with no feelings whatsoever. It feels so odd that I don't even feel like myself.

I've been praying for this to happen for two and a half years, but I don't like it. It feels cold and alienated.

Can transference just go away suddenly like that? Anyone else ever go through a stage like this?

 

Re: this is extremely strange raisinb

Posted by Phillipa on March 7, 2008, at 12:11:43

In reply to this is extremely strange, posted by raisinb on March 7, 2008, at 11:45:05

To me it sounds positive on any new meds that might account for it if not sounds like the relationship is doing well. Not that I have much experience with theraphy. Phillipa

 

Re: this is extremely strange Phillipa

Posted by raisinb on March 7, 2008, at 13:23:08

In reply to Re: this is extremely strange raisinb, posted by Phillipa on March 7, 2008, at 12:11:43

No, I'm not on any new meds, though I've been better about the vitamins lately. Can magnesium supplements cure transference :)?

It feels bad in a very distant, cold way. I feel like calling her and saying, "I'm not at all upset with you. And I'm UPSET about that." I suppose I can wait until next session to express that sentiment :)

 

Re: this is extremely strange raisinb

Posted by Phillipa on March 7, 2008, at 19:03:57

In reply to Re: this is extremely strange Phillipa, posted by raisinb on March 7, 2008, at 13:23:08

I don't know as I said not good with theraphy trying to learn that too. But don't think vitamins would cure as you put it transference. Is it not good? I always thought some transference was necessary but not to access. If that makes sense. Phillipa

 

Re: this is extremely strange

Posted by Daisym on March 7, 2008, at 22:46:21

In reply to this is extremely strange, posted by raisinb on March 7, 2008, at 11:45:05

Sounds like a stage to me. I don't think feelings - any feelings just disappear like that. But I do think they can go underground. I find this happens to me when I'm avoiding something, even if I'm not aware I'm avoiding it.

It feels bad because you've lost the connection inside yourself - even if intellectually you know she is still there for you. As hard as it is to feel so intensely, it is lonely when the intensity goes missing.

I think you have the right idea - talking it out and trying to figure out what this feeling void is. Together you might get to it. Did anything happen in the session before the feelings went missing? Or any recent dreams?

I hope you work this through very soon.

 

Re: this is extremely strange raisinb

Posted by Reggie BoStar on March 8, 2008, at 2:05:23

In reply to this is extremely strange, posted by raisinb on March 7, 2008, at 11:45:05

I've experienced the sudden loss of intense emotions before. I didn't understand how this could happen and struggled against it for a year. In my case the struggling was useless and made the situation even worse.

However I suggest that in your situation something else should probably be considered - if it hasn't already, that is. If it has, I apologize for what follows.

Does your therapist know about this transference issue? This is very significant. I suggest (only a suggestion) that if you can't confide in her enough to tell her about the transference, she may not be able to help you with the sudden changes in your emotions either.

She should be told everything in order to help her help you. If the transference issue results in a transfer to another therapist, then so be it. The next therapist can then work on the sudden changes in emotion.

Psychotherapists take transference very seriously. They know how much this can adversely affect the mental well-being of their patients.

Based on what you've posted, then, you need help with two immediate problems: transference and loss.

Please keep in mind that I'm not a psychologist and that these are suggestions only. I'm basing all of this on my own experiences and what I've read, and as such could easily be wrong about everything.

I hope this helps and I'm sorry if I overstepped myself. This really is serious stuff.

Good luck with it,
Reggie BoStar

 

Re: this is extremely strange Daisym

Posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 8:40:14

In reply to Re: this is extremely strange, posted by Daisym on March 7, 2008, at 22:46:21

Thank you Daisy, I think you're right. I spent a couple of hours crying yesterday, so I know *all* feeling isn't gone.

It may be something to do with the fact that her office is moving in about six weeks and she keeps bringing it up so we can process it.

As I was looking around it the other day, ruminating on how it's been the scene of such intense, transforming and intractable emotions for me, somehow I got to this feeling that I'd been alone in the experience the whole time. That it only happened inside my head and it meant nothing to anybody else. What I said to my T was, "when this is all over there won't be any evidence that it ever happened."

I'm not sure how my thoughts and emotions are working together right now, and I'm having trouble piecing out the connections, but clearly something is surfacing.

 

Re: this is extremely strange Reggie BoStar

Posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 8:44:58

In reply to Re: this is extremely strange raisinb, posted by Reggie BoStar on March 8, 2008, at 2:05:23

Hi Reggie, don't worry about overstepping and thank you for the feedback.

My therapist does know about the transference. We've been talking and talking about it (interspersed with fights, crying, and everything else :))

 

I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T

Posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 9:01:52

In reply to Re: this is extremely strange Daisym, posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 8:40:14

I dreamed that I went to see her and went in on a different level (usually, I have to go up stairs to see her, but I went in on the ground floor). She had to come downstairs to get me. She held me by the sleeve as we went up, as if she was afraid I'd bolt. In her office we slept together (well, not sleep, but... ;))

When I woke up, she was gone, but there was a voice shouting, "don't sit up!" I did anyway, because I was confused. There were a million reporters standing around and they snapped pictures of me naked. The front page of the Times the next day was going to have pics of my naked torso (in the dream, it seemed perfectly logical that they'd WANT that:))

I had to run around trying to convince all these reporters not to use the pics--I knew I'd get fired and my friends would never speak to me again--but they all wanted something different in exchange, things I couldn't locate or provide.

I'm glad you asked about dreams, Daisy. It was helpful to write this out--now that it's in black and white, it seems like the fears underlying this are clear. Dreams are interesting sometimes.

 

Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T raisinb

Posted by crushedout on March 8, 2008, at 12:11:07

In reply to I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T, posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 9:01:52

wow, raisinb, that is a fascinating dream. i'm terrible at dream interpretation but i'd love to hear yours and others' takes on it.

i think maybe daisy was onto something!

you said once you wrote it out, the underlying fears were clear--but not to me--what are they? (if you care to share) exposure?

just thinking aloud.

> I dreamed that I went to see her and went in on a different level (usually, I have to go up stairs to see her, but I went in on the ground floor). She had to come downstairs to get me. She held me by the sleeve as we went up, as if she was afraid I'd bolt. In her office we slept together (well, not sleep, but... ;))
>
> When I woke up, she was gone, but there was a voice shouting, "don't sit up!" I did anyway, because I was confused. There were a million reporters standing around and they snapped pictures of me naked. The front page of the Times the next day was going to have pics of my naked torso (in the dream, it seemed perfectly logical that they'd WANT that:))
>
> I had to run around trying to convince all these reporters not to use the pics--I knew I'd get fired and my friends would never speak to me again--but they all wanted something different in exchange, things I couldn't locate or provide.
>
> I'm glad you asked about dreams, Daisy. It was helpful to write this out--now that it's in black and white, it seems like the fears underlying this are clear. Dreams are interesting sometimes.

 

Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T crushedout

Posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 17:54:27

In reply to Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T raisinb, posted by crushedout on March 8, 2008, at 12:11:07

This is gonna be convoluted, but here is my interpretation. The way therapy is supposed to work (and how my T and I have always been assuming it'll work) is this: 1) I never trusted or opened up to anyone before 2) I found this T, and I am supposed to learn to trust and be open with her, so that 3) I can ultimately do it with other people.

So, in the dream, my T and I do deeper work (represented by me coming in on a lower level). Then I become totally vulnerable to her (represented by the sex) and then I'm left totally NAKED for everyone else who comes afterward. I guess I'm stuck somewhere on step 2, but thinking about 3, and I never realized how terrifying it is.

Intense transference is terrible, and I'm sicker than I can say of wanting my T, hating her, loving her, having all of my emotions wrapped up in this therapy. However, the dream tells me that I have been doing it for all these years because I am so terrified of learning to be vulnerable to her, onl to have her leave, then be left vulnerable to all these other people who will come afterwards who won't be there predictably twice a week, who might not ask me about every little vestige of my feelings and thoughts, who won't push and push to get in my head, who might let all their crap and fears interfere, who will basically be unpredictable, self-serving, and might take advantage of me while being impossible to control. In other words all these T feelings are less horrifying than taking those feelings outside the room to "real" people.

And I'm worried that all elements of my life now were built because I suppressed my real thoughts and feelings and vulnerability and if I change and become more exposed, I'll screw them all up. (In the dream I was worried that the naked pics would make all my friends hate me and get me fired from my job--which I love btw.)

I think it was triggered by a couple of things--meeting someone IRL who I really like (but in a very transference-y sudden, intense way), and my T moving her office.

 

Re: this is extremely strange raisinb

Posted by Reggie BoStar on March 8, 2008, at 20:55:34

In reply to Re: this is extremely strange Reggie BoStar, posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 8:44:58

Hi raisinb,
Thanks for that update. I'm glad to hear that the therapist knows about the transference. At least you have a strong ally in that battle.

I read your 03/08 post about meeting someone who has that effect on you. Something similar has happened to me from time to time. Most were when I was younger, up until 1983 when I was 32. Then nothing much happened until 2003 when I got sidelined again. Fortunately I didn't have transference issues to deal with at the same time.

But I know what it's like when the situation is impossible for one reason or another. In my case it was always because the feelings were unreciprocated. It was pretty bad.

If I had a solution I'd certainly tell you what worked with me in the hope that it might help you. I don't think anything about my circumstances would be of much use.

However I never had that "strong ally" I mentioned in the first paragraph. These women were anything but therapists, that's for sure.

But someone else knows firsthand what's happening to you, and that someone is also your therapist. In the long run that has to help, even if it means referral to another therapist.

I've been referred before and it's not as bad as you might think. At first I had all the misgivings you do now. Once I settled in with the new therapist most of those feelings evaporated. See, my first therapist had my best wishes in mind even though I was afraid he didn't. I was after all his patient, and it turned out he did what was best for me after all. It wasn't that he was fed up, angry, or anything like that; he just realized that the kind of help I needed was not his forte. It was the second therapist's specialty. The first one made the right call.

After that there were a few more as I moved around for unrelated work reasons. The last one was because I needed someone with more experience as a counselor in combined addition-behavioral health therapy. The first one couldn't help me much in the addiction department so he sent me to someone who could. It's working !!!!

If your therapist tows the line as far as professional ethics are concerned, then any transfer/referral she initiates will be in your best interest. That's the way it's supposed to work. There is the usual separation anxiety (in your case it will be magnified by the transference) and fear of the new circumstances.

Unfortunately for me the only way to fix such phobias is to undergo the processes I fear. I'm glad I did because I no longer take these things personally.

Once again, this is how it all worked for me. Everyone's case is different in the usual ways. From what you've been saying your therapist is a really good one. I'm betting that even if she does make a referral, it'll be a good one and you'll land on your feet. If that happens you may have to hang tough to get through it - but remember, the second therapist will help you with that.

In closing here, I'm wondering about something else I do that helps. I go to any and all free support groups I can find in this area. I have an addiction background so recovery groups are an obvious choice. For the other things there is a great "dual-diagnosis" group that handles the combinations (sometimes they call these meetings "double trouble").

Another one is the free DBSA meeting in a nearby town (that acronym is shorthand for Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, a nationwide outfit) for my particular mis-wiring. The DBSA also holds a spinoff Dual-Diagnosis meeting from time to time.

There are also "Meetup" groups on depression and other issues that hold group sessions once a month, next town over. They are also free and excellent. I found those at www.meetup.com, a kind of nationwide directory of special interest and support groups by locality. The groups are run by the individuals who post the info on Meetup, not by any hokey third party or anything.

Anyway those are some of the things I do for therapeutic support in addition to the Psychiatry (as in meds these days) and Psychology help.

Good luck with it,
Reggie BoStar

 

Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T raisinb

Posted by seldomseen on March 9, 2008, at 8:38:42

In reply to Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T crushedout, posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 17:54:27

I have a slightly different interpretation of the dream - which of course may be way off base. It stems from thought you wrote earlier in this thread:

"That it only happened inside my head and it meant nothing to anybody else. What I said to my T was, "when this is all over there won't be any evidence that it ever happened."

I think the reporters represent your ambivalence about having these feeling documented. What could provide better evidence than having you at your most vulnerable plastered all over the paper?

I agree with the others that the transference has not resolved, but your mind may be focusing on something else.

Transference is really physically and emotionally draining (funny I almost typed training!). It is a lot of work.

Take care of yourself, hang on and just ride it out.

Seldom.

 

Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T raisinb

Posted by crushedout on March 9, 2008, at 14:01:45

In reply to Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T crushedout, posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 17:54:27


wow. i think it's brilliant. it makes so much sense.

i'm overwhelmed.

 

Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T seldomseen

Posted by raisinb on March 9, 2008, at 18:59:22

In reply to Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T raisinb, posted by seldomseen on March 9, 2008, at 8:38:42

That could be! I think dream symbols usually have multiple interpretations. I think Freud called it "overdetermined."

 

Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T raisinb

Posted by Daisym on March 9, 2008, at 19:10:43

In reply to I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T, posted by raisinb on March 8, 2008, at 9:01:52

Dreams are interesting because there is never any right or wrong to them - they tell stories to us but we are the writers - so your interpretation of your dream is what is important. I love dream work!

That said (grin) there are a few things in it I'd like to point out, if that is OK. You said:

****I dreamed that I went to see her and went in on a different level (usually, I have to go up stairs to see her, but I went in on the ground floor). She had to come downstairs to get me. She held me by the sleeve as we went up, as if she was afraid I'd bolt.

In the dream - YOU went deeper and she had to come and find you and bring you back up. And she held on to you - didn't want to lose you. It makes me wonder about two things - depression getting worse and/or the intense need for you to bury your emotions deep within yourself. But your therapist doesn't leave you to them, and she doesn't let you run away from them.

****When I woke up, she was gone, but there was a voice shouting, "don't sit up!" I did anyway, because I was confused.

Whose voice was this shouting? I'm assuming it was your therapist (?) warning you - but perhaps it was in internal voice warning you also. So even though she was gone, she was still there enough to warn you about something potentially scary and dangerous. In dreams, btw - lying down and then sitting up can sometimes representing growing up or growth. We are pretty regressed lying down and sitting up gives us a different vantage from which to view the world.

****There were a million reporters standing around and they snapped pictures of me naked. The front page of the Times the next day was going to have pics of my naked torso (in the dream, it seemed perfectly logical that they'd WANT that:))

Makes sense to me - the torso holds the heart and your core-self - which are so often exposed in therapy. And pictures are snap shots - moments captured (recordings of your therapy work).

****I had to run around trying to convince all these reporters not to use the pics--I knew I'd get fired and my friends would never speak to me again--but they all wanted something different in exchange, things I couldn't locate or provide.

What happens when your therapy self "comes out" at work or with your friends? So many people want different things from you and you give it to them to protect your "therapy self" - the vulnerability that you wrote about is so clear here. But there is a truth buried here - "things I couldn't locate or provide." It is scary to realize that we are changing and can't give to others what they want from us or we can't be who we aren't. And I think when the feelings for our therapist are so intense, many of our IRL friends question the feelings, or worry or even believe that we should banish those feelings, so we hide them. Or we try to.

I also had a random thought after reading your dream posts. I wonder if the move and meeting someone has stirred up feelings that "everything" is changing and that is just too overwhelming so you shut down your feelings. Does having feelings for someone else cause guilt/worry in any way - meaning if you don't feel so intensely for your therapist, does that mean you lose her? I know you "know" you are working on moving to stage three - but does moving on entail loss to you? Like I said - random thought.

Thank you for sharing your dream and letting me "play" with it a little.

 

Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T

Posted by raisinb on March 10, 2008, at 13:37:35

In reply to Re: I DID have a terrible nightmare about my T raisinb, posted by Daisym on March 9, 2008, at 19:10:43

Daisy, thank you, I thought your interpretation was lovely. There are many parts of it that resonated with me.

First, the voice shouting "don't sit up" wasn't my therapist's--it was a male voice. Which got me thinking--recently I got a terrible flu virus and fainted in the hallway at work. One of our staff caught me and when I woke up, told me "stay down!" (Guess he thought I'd collapse again if I got up too soon). I work in a very high-pressure, political, judgmental environment, and I found this episode very troubling. I worried about what people might think and how they were judging me in their heads. That might seem like I'm being much too hard on myself, but trust me--where I work, it's not far off.

This all ties into what you said later on about having to give friends and work what they want. You're also right that my friends don't understand about therapy and my feelings for my therapist. I have close, supportive friends, but they just don't get it. In the past year they've switched from saying nothing to saying, delicately, "I think you might need to try someone else." I'm sure I'd say the same thing in their shoes. Had I not experienced this, I'd never know what it was like.

You're right that not feeling so intensely for my therapist entails loss. I've been hating the feelings for so long that I don't realize very often how much I don't want to lose what we have in that room. Even though it's painful, it's about the deepest part of me, and I don't want to lose the me that can feel so deeply. Even though I might not lose *her,* losing that intensity of feeling--or transferring it more fully to IRL relationships--*is* a huge loss. I'm sure, of course, that this isn't all happening yet (if ever!) but I think lately I've been contemplating it and seeing how it *could* happen (whereas a year ago I could never see how I could give up even an iota of my therapy feelings).

I quit therapy for awhile a few months ago, and one of the scariest things I half-admitted to myself was that I *could* get over leaving, and maybe I didn't need my therapist as much as I thought I did. For some reason, this was scarier than admitting to needing her in the first place. I guess it felt like it meant I was alone. I don't know why.

All this stuff is so unexpected, so I'm having trouble putting it all together. I hope I get somewhere with it.

<< Dreams are interesting because there is never any right or wrong to them - they tell stories to us but we are the writers - so your interpretation of your dream is what is important. I love dream work!

That said (grin) there are a few things in it I'd like to point out, if that is OK. You said:

****I dreamed that I went to see her and went in on a different level (usually, I have to go up stairs to see her, but I went in on the ground floor). She had to come downstairs to get me. She held me by the sleeve as we went up, as if she was afraid I'd bolt.

In the dream - YOU went deeper and she had to come and find you and bring you back up. And she held on to you - didn't want to lose you. It makes me wonder about two things - depression getting worse and/or the intense need for you to bury your emotions deep within yourself. But your therapist doesn't leave you to them, and she doesn't let you run away from them.

****When I woke up, she was gone, but there was a voice shouting, "don't sit up!" I did anyway, because I was confused.

Whose voice was this shouting? I'm assuming it was your therapist (?) warning you - but perhaps it was in internal voice warning you also. So even though she was gone, she was still there enough to warn you about something potentially scary and dangerous. In dreams, btw - lying down and then sitting up can sometimes representing growing up or growth. We are pretty regressed lying down and sitting up gives us a different vantage from which to view the world.

****There were a million reporters standing around and they snapped pictures of me naked. The front page of the Times the next day was going to have pics of my naked torso (in the dream, it seemed perfectly logical that they'd WANT that:))

Makes sense to me - the torso holds the heart and your core-self - which are so often exposed in therapy. And pictures are snap shots - moments captured (recordings of your therapy work).

****I had to run around trying to convince all these reporters not to use the pics--I knew I'd get fired and my friends would never speak to me again--but they all wanted something different in exchange, things I couldn't locate or provide.

What happens when your therapy self "comes out" at work or with your friends? So many people want different things from you and you give it to them to protect your "therapy self" - the vulnerability that you wrote about is so clear here. But there is a truth buried here - "things I couldn't locate or provide." It is scary to realize that we are changing and can't give to others what they want from us or we can't be who we aren't. And I think when the feelings for our therapist are so intense, many of our IRL friends question the feelings, or worry or even believe that we should banish those feelings, so we hide them. Or we try to.

I also had a random thought after reading your dream posts. I wonder if the move and meeting someone has stirred up feelings that "everything" is changing and that is just too overwhelming so you shut down your feelings. Does having feelings for someone else cause guilt/worry in any way - meaning if you don't feel so intensely for your therapist, does that mean you lose her? I know you "know" you are working on moving to stage three - but does moving on entail loss to you? Like I said - random thought.

Thank you for sharing your dream and letting me "play" with it a little.



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