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What would you do? **multiple triggers** **long**

Posted by raisinb on November 11, 2007, at 15:33:05

Hello everyone,

I haven't posted much about my therapy experience, but I am a faithful lurker, and I am feeling so bad this weekend that I thought perhaps all of your wisdoms could help.

I have been with my current T for 2/12 years, and it has been an intense struggle. Intense highs, intense lows, sexual transference, feeling in love with her, being so angry at her I can barely function, etc. We have had a very difficult relationship at times. I shut down, she doesn't seem to help much, I get angry, she justifies herself instead of analyzing what I'm feeling, etc. Every time it gets better, it gets messed up somehow. I constantly think of quitting and have done it a couple of times, but she always leaves me messages talking about how much she wants me to stay and affirming that we *will* work through it. And I don't want to leave because she is so important to me and I'll feel alone if I do. I know that she frequently consults on my case; she has also said that it's been "tough" on her, and I've seen her actually cry in sessions a few times when they have been difficult. At the same time, all of my outside relationships have been improving significantly and I know that I have made big-time progress.

Last session, I was talking about a boyfriend I recently broke up with. He was the most needy person I have ever dated and I felt intensely smothered. I was conflicted, because I knew he really loved me, but I felt so burdened by his clinginess that I had to get out. Then I mentioned that I was probably irritated by him because I was afraid that inside, I was like that. A bottomless pit of needs.

Instead of saying "oh you're not like that!" (which I would have liked to hear), my T said, "well, the similarity that I see is..." I didn't hear much after that. I was devastated. When she saw how I'd connected the dots, she immediately said she had NOT meant that I was him and she was me, feeling-wise, that she did not feel that way. But the damage was done and we could not get out of that place. I've told her that what we need to do when we get into a fight or adversarial situation is to focus on my feelings, analyze them, but she didn't do that. When I get angry and attack, she withdraws emotionally, and starts talking in a very soft, placating voice. And I left feeling like garbage.
It was very much like being small and knowing that my parents had not bargained for the needy creature they'd gotten and wishing I didn't exist so that I didn't have to be constantly rejected.

A couple of days later I woke up and started cutting myself. I've never done that before. I can't describe how I felt, but I am sure many of you have been there. It really scares me that I did it and it seems as though there is a line beyond which something is hurting you more than it's helping. How long do I stick with this and hope that it is the right thing? I didn't want to run away, but sh*t.

Our relationship is so, so dysfunctional, and it certainly resembles many others that I've had. But shouldn't it be helping me get *out* of those patterns? It just seems as though she can't handle it, no matter how much she says that she can, that she is committed, etc. I know that there is value in repeating these childhood conflicts. But isn't there a point at which the T is *too* similar to a traumatizing caregiver? If it were just that one comment, I'd have shrugged it off, but there have been so many rejections over the course of therapy. I keep hoping that we can work through the sexual feelings I have for her--or at least adress them in some manner--but as soon as I start to trust her she says or does something rejecting, and I can't open up, and the whole cycle starts all over again.

If I go back and talk to her, I will feel better. And in a few weeks, or even next week, it will happen again.

What would you all do?




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