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Re: Therapist tells me.... Amanda29

Posted by Racer on August 30, 2008, at 2:15:49

In reply to Therapist tells me...., posted by Amanda29 on August 29, 2008, at 20:50:45

Healing928 has some awfully good things to say. I won't try to live up to it, but I did want to respond.

First, of course you deserve respect, affection, attention -- I hope you get some of it here. I also hope you get some of it in your offline life, and that the painful work you're doing now will lead to a more satisfying level of those things.

Transference is a complex concept, and I'm tired, so I will tell you a story you'll probably think is crazy, but maybe it'll get my thought across. I hope.

I have had a -- let's be charitable and call it a "complex" relationship with my mother. (Mother can be quite vicious towards me, even now when much of our relationship is pretty good.) Years back, I had a cat who would attack me and often cause surprising amounts of injury. I worked with the vet, with behaviorist specialists from a top vet school -- I even called a cat psychic, as skeptical as I am. The vets and the behaviorists all recommended the cat be put to sleep, because he really was too dangerous.

No one understood why I rejected that advice, until my ex-SO told me one day, "Do you realize your relationship with that cat is almost exactly your relationship with your mother? You're trying to fix your relationship with your mother through that cat."

And that was exactly right -- that's transference. Sometimes it's hard to see it when it's happening -- in which case, it's good to have a significant other who's got that level of insight ;-) -- and it's easy to think of it as something confined to the therapeutic relationship. It's not. There's transference in my life with my spouse, with various posters on this forum (I don't think you and I have had any contact with one another, so that may seem silly to you), with my pets, with my neighbors, with people I serve on a board with -- I'm pretty sure I've got transference going on with the gal whose checkstand I go through at the market! (And I do always try to get her aisle -- she's very sweet, and we have chatted for years)

My thought is that it might be worth it for you to consider whether you're trying to "repair" a different relationship through some of these unsatisfying friendships? Or maybe you've learned to accept less-than-respectful treatment from people because it seemed "normal" in your family.

And best luck. I struggle with a lot of the same sorts of things, and I know how painful it all can be for me. I wish you comfort.




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