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Re: Is there any other way to interpret this? Ľ Dinah

Posted by Tamar on May 25, 2005, at 19:14:25

In reply to Is there any other way to interpret this?, posted by Dinah on May 25, 2005, at 10:47:17

> In therapy we were talking about how ever since my best friend from elementary school very gently told me in middle school that I wanted too much of her time, I've been so afraid of being a devouring needy person like my mother that I've never again been really authentic with anyone. And that I was afraid of being even slightly authentic with people I care about because I was afraid I would devour them.

Is it possible that her comment reflected something about her, rather than something about you? Iíve felt at times that I didnít have as much time for my friends as they wantedÖ usually when I was feeling under pressure or stress (or depressed). Itís nothing to do with them; itís all about my state of mind.

> He asked if I was afraid I would devour him. I said yes. He said that would never happen because he was taking care of his end of the relationship. We talked a bit about boundaries in therapy and how I really appreciated them because they left me feeling freer to be my authentic self without hurting him.
> But I told him that wasn't what I was trying to say. I was trying to say that if he weren't protecting himself, I'd devour him. I told him that he knew the real me, and asked if that were true. He said that if it weren't for the boundaries (which he preferred to protection) leakage would probably occur and it was possible (or probably, can't recall) that the relationship would "disintigrate".

Surely that would be true of many of his clients; not just you. Itís probably because itís a professional relationship rather than a personal one. How would you react to *his* Ďleakageí if you didnít have boundaries? Therapy without boundaries would be very, very tough for both of you.

> So I told him that was what I meant. That I couldn't be authentic with anyone I cared about. He said that I could learn to do it, and when I asked how he had a couple of recommendations. One was that I find appropriate and safe places to get my needs met. I told him that that brought us back to it being safe with him, because he protected himself from me, and that it wasn't safe to be authentic anywhere else. I needed to protect people from me.
> I think that what he said was exactly what I was saying. And that's ok. I'm not hurt or anything, because I knew it already. But I'm just wondering if I'm interpreting correctly. Is there another way to see that?
> If I ask him, he'll just say that of course he didn't mean that. But I think he already *said* it.

I think he might have meant it the way you interpreted it, but possibly not for the reasons you might attribute to him. I suspect he finds it difficult to imagine doing therapy without boundaries. In a way, itís not a fair test. He doesnít know what it might be like to be friends with you.

Iíve been on both sides of this. Iíve had friends who wanted more of my time than I felt I was able to give, even when I wasnít stressed or depressed. I didnít love them any less. I didnít feel devoured. I simply gave them whatever I could. Iíve also been the one who wants more, and I was lucky to have friends who loved me enough to give me whatever they could. In some friendships, weíve switched positions several times. In fact, with one of my close friends weíve gone back and forth like a tennis ball. At the moment itís my turn to need her, and her turn to be short of time. But we have a lot of fun when we do get together, and that makes it worth waiting for her.

Real friends would be glad to see the real you. They might not always be able to give you what you want, but you might also find you canít give your friends everything they want.




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