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Re: Is there any other way to interpret this? JenStar

Posted by Dinah on May 25, 2005, at 19:48:47

In reply to Re: Is there any other way to interpret this? Dinah, posted by JenStar on May 25, 2005, at 18:36:21

What excellent questions! They are perfectly designed to shake me out of very old extreme positions of thought. I wish my therapist would think of questions like that. :) No wonder I usually walk in with a sheaf of posts. Babble is like a consultant for my therapist.

> hi Dinah,
> don't you think any relationship would disintegrate without appropriate boundaries and guidelines, no matter what kind it is?

Absolutely. I've long said that the boundaries of therapy are not unique. Just more well defined than the boundaries of the other relationships in our life. It's just the context that made it an answer to my question.

Of course, I need to take into account my therapist's half of the relationship. He told me long ago that he had a problem with dependent women. And I definitely have been dependent to greater or lesser degrees over the years. So the boundaries concievably keep his stuff in as well as my stuff out.
>
> It seems to me that you're extra careful not to "burden" people with yourself because of your OWN boundaries, which you have set up maybe unfairly to yourself. First, there is NO reason to believe you'd be a "devourer" like your mother! You seem extremely different from the way you describe her. You're logical, patient, analytical, and thoughtful.

Well, I can *appear* to be that way. :)

> And I know that things kids say can be extremely painful and can stick in our psyches -- to me it seems that when we're little, our feelings are like wet tar, and any wound or injury makes a permanent mark there.

Well, she was actually as gentle as can be. Not for nothing did she seek a career in the diplomatic community. But you're right. Things don't have much perspective when we're young.
And she was right. We had been best friends in elementary school, and I expected that to continue in the same intensity it had been in the past. But there were more people with similar interests in middle school.

> But I think EVERYONE sets up boundaries with people, even if they don't talk about it like that. When I'm on the phone with a friend, eventually one of us will wrap it up and say, "Well...I've got to get going now," which is a boundary. It's not saying "you're devouring me" but rather "I need to do other things too, even though I like talking with you." And with friends I fall into a rhythm of how often we see each other -- for some friends it is about 1x/week, for others 1x/month. It just goes to what "feels" right. And I think I can still be authentic with each one to varying degrees since we have varying comfort levels.
>
Yes, that's definitely true of me with others. So it would logically be true of others with me.

> Do you think that a relationship has to be full bore, full throttle, 100% energy, or else totally fake? I think it's possible to be authentic and fun in 'small chunks' -- I think my good friends know the "real me" who likes to joke and be sarcastic but is also sweet at times, too. And I am sometimes careful not to overwhelm them with the "waterfall of me" because I CAN be huge and expansive -- I like to talk and do tons of things and read and writea huge amount, and I do it all fast and well, and sometimes that can be "too much" for other people. But I don't let that stop me -- I just give them less "me" for their money (so to speak.) But I think the part they see is still relatively authentic.

I think I'm generally not. Online is the first place I've been reasonably authentic. And even then, "Dinah" is usually a carefully selected side of me. Not all good by any means. I'm not saying that. "Dinah" has her flaws. But I only rarely (I hope) let the pathetic needy underbelly of the person behind "Dinah" show.

IRL, I haven't been even halfway authentic since high school. And high school was only halfway authenticity. Of course, halfway authenticity in high school is probably perfectly normal. :)

> OK, here's what I really wanted to ask, after my huge novel (it just came to me!) What would it mean to you to be FULLY authentic with a friend or other person?

Well, let's see. I guess there are two categories here. The talk started about authenticity with my son. I don't actually think parents should be all that authentic with their children. But I might overdo it. To me, with my son, it would mean reacting without tons of thought. I see mothers interacting that way with their children. With joy and spontaneity. I feel a stirring of longing. While it feels like I pause between each microinteraction to evaluate what the proper response would be. That probably doesn't leave him much room to be authentic with me either. I have no guide to how to change that in a healthy way.

> What kinds of things would you do, share, talk about? How much time would you spend hanging out, chatting, etc? What would be different about this than your current relationships? Would you be more honest about your dreams, fears? Would you joke more, be more unpolitically correct? Would you f*rt in their presence? (I'm serious about these questions!)
>
I have an online friend that I'm probably completely authentic with. I don't think I'd change a thing. I try to be sensitive to when she wants to leave, but that's only polite.

With my husband, I think it would mean, again, more spontaneity. And more honesty about feelings. But that's as much him as me.

With anyone else, I'm about as authentic as a mannequin. If I feel sorry for someone, I reach out to them, but pretend it's not because I feel sorry for them. If I admire someone, I am positive that they have so many better things to do that even for me to say hello would be a huge intrusion into their time. So I act as if I totally dislike them. lol. Not on purpose. I'm just stiff and uncomfortable with them. Old friends I call every once in a while. We arrange a stiff family gettogether where everyone is on their best behavior. Then I assume it's up to them to contact me next, so I forget about them for a few years, then call them again.

So that leaves no one except my husband and my therapist who is even around for me to share, hang out with, chat with, talk about dreams and fears, joke with, be politically correct with, or f*rt in front of.

And that leaves only my therapist with whom I am totally authentic.

God, I'm pathetic.

And I can't even work on my social phobia until I work on my fear of foisting myself on others. Which includes the fear that I'll want too much of them. Which is often wanting anything at all from them.

Unless I'm paying $110 per hour.

I think I might be depressed now.

 

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Psycho-Babble Psychology | Framed

poster:Dinah thread:502676
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/psycho/20050521/msgs/502910.html