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Re: Why? Cal

Posted by raisinb on August 19, 2008, at 17:51:52

In reply to Why?, posted by Cal on August 19, 2008, at 9:15:56

Hi Cal--
I know how you feel. I felt (and still do, sometimes) *intense* rage towards my therapist for a couple of years. Sometimes I was afraid I'd break a tooth from grinding them, I got so mad when I thought about things she did.

I guess she saw that I had anger issues pretty early, because she started pushing me to express it. And did I ever. I yelled and screamed and cursed and berated her for months. We often got into fights, and yes, this was way more satisfying to me than when she'd just withdraw and refuse to react. Somehow, for me, fighting was a way towards intimacy. And all the anger was like a signal of how sad and hurt and alone I was. It frustrated me that she didn't see this, and I still think she could've done a better job with that. I'm sure it's hard to "see beneath" the surface of someone who's criticizing your every word and movement, though.

We have worked through the worst of it, but it was very tough for months, even years--on both of us. Anger is a hard emotion for anyone--even therapists--to handle. And you don't know how your therapist will react until you start expressing it. But I guess the only thing I'd say is that you will not get anywhere by not expressing it. If it's there, you can't ignore it.

I listened to The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner a few weeks ago. She says that anger is a signal that you're compromising too much of your self in a relationship. In a therapeutic relationship, you might be doing this based on old patterns, and your therapist might be doing things that help that along. It is enormously productive to analyze all of this stuff, even though it's hard. Intense emotions present big opportunities to work through things that need to be worked through.

Take care of yourself. Intense, unexpressed anger is a terrible thing to deal with. You feel so helpless and insignificant. I hope you can start expressing some of this to your therapist and she can help you with it.


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