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Transference Confessions: The Saga onceupon

Posted by Tamar on September 5, 2008, at 11:05:48

In reply to Re: Maternal transference (oh so long post), posted by onceupon on September 5, 2008, at 8:55:48

> Yeah, I'm fairly certain that I perceive a good deal of her tendency to drop the topics. When I approach them, I'm tentative and probably pretty circular in my approach. It's like I'm trying to land a plane, but there's a storm approaching, visibility is low, and my fear of not being able to safely land keeps me locked in an outer ring flight pattern - just going around and around. Maybe I need to just start using a kamikaze approach :)

ROFL! Yeah, the kamikaze approach might do the trick!

> Once you did bring up the topics that both of you seemed to be avoiding, how did it go?

Argh! You caught me! Yes, I was avoiding mentioning that part. OK, well bear in mind that it's a *very* different topic and I'm in therapy with a man... I stupidly developed an intense erotic transference. I needed to talk about it but I was so embarrassed. I said things like "I'll miss you" and "I like you" and "Sometimes I think I want you to rescue me". I hoped he would reply by asking me to talk more about my feelings for him. But he didn't. In fact he always changed the subject.

At first I was just confused. Then I thought it was something to do with his theoretical orientation (like in CBT the relationship is often de-emphasised). We did start talking about the relationship eventually, but he still seemed to avoid any intense feelings I expressed. So I thought he must find me repulsive and disgusting. After a very long time, and during a conversation in which he was apologising for forgetting to be at a previous appointment, I said it was confusing because I have feelings of anger for him but also feelings of love. He said nothing at all. His expression didn't even change. Then he changed the subject. I went home and did something very bad.

He didn't mention it again. And I was determined not to, but I really needed to. So six months later I was talking about finding therapy very difficult, and wanting to quit, and I said I couldn't quit because I love him. He responded by saying nothing and then changing the subject again.

I was astonished, hurt and very confused. The next week he did address it, but he asked lots of questions about my "perception of the specialness of the relationship" instead of asking about my feelings. I think he wanted to test me to find out whether I thought he had been seductive. Since I knew the correct answers, it was a bit pointless, and not very helpful.

We skirted around the subject for a few months, and I kept asking him to decide whether he could deal with it or whether he couldn't. He never really replied to that, but eventually, more than a year after I'd first told him, he said he thought things would be OK. That was the first response he'd given me that didn't make me want to destroy myself. It wasn't the sensitive response I'd hoped for at the beginning. It didn't give me much sense of security. But at least he seemed to have accepted my feelings and found a way to work with this material.

So I've been going very, very slowly. At the moment I'm waiting for him to be comfortable using the word 'love' to describe my feelings (instead of referring to my 'intense feelings' or my 'dependency'). Some time before we both die, I might even tell him about the erotic aspect of it!

Sorry... I've been wanting to tell the story for a while. So it got very long. Thanks for reading all this stuff.

But I'm certain that talking about maternal transference with a female therapist is not in the same category as my experience, and your therapist will not do what mine did. And there is at least a sort-of happy ending to my story, because we're still working well together and I'm still making progress. It's really amazing that therapeutic relationships can be so complicated and yet still be productive!




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