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Re: can't handle the transference

Posted by emmanuel98 on May 27, 2009, at 22:28:58

In reply to Re: can't handle the transference, posted by blahblahblah on May 27, 2009, at 2:05:13

Blahblahblah --
Like FMD, this is my favorite topic too, so don't apologize for asking more. I'm still trying to understand this process called therapy. For the first year or two, I found it overpowering. There wasn't any one thing that make it better. But I think the following helped:
(1) I journaled about it every night. On some level, I did understand from the beginning that these feelings weren't about him, but about some emptiness in me. I have a daughter and I was very aware of the parallel between my relationship with her and his relationship with me: the intent focus on me and how I felt, the way he kept track of details in my life and asked me what was happening. It made me yearn and yearn for more. I wanted to possess him, consume him, have him with me always. So I journaled a lot about where that yearning came from, what hole in myself I wanted him to fill. This helped me master the feelings, but it took time.
(2) I talked about it a lot to my T, over and over again. I was always embarassed to talk about it, am still embarassed to talk about it, even though he knows how I feel/have felt because I talked about it so much. Talking helped, but again, slowly. He always gave me reality checks -- pointed out that I didn't really love him because I didn't really know him; told me repeatedly that we could never be friends; told me that he cared about me but would never care for me the way he cared about close friends and family. The first few times we talked, these reality checks made me feel like he had kicked me in the chest. But they forced me to accept reality eventually.
(3) One day I had a moment of clarity where I realized that I would be a terrible friend to him. I would just want to follow him around and bask in his presence and command his attention. That realization really helped me understand why he said we could never be friends. It helped me accept the reality of the relationship.
(4) I found the questions and answers at very helpful. They made me feel lucky that my T keeps good boundaries while a lot of T's do not. A lot of T's don't handle transference well, muck it up and ruin the therapy. The more I read about this, the more grateful I was that my T has remained, steadfastly, my T.
(5) Most important, you do have to accept that your feelings about your T are based partly in reality -- she really is a caring, loving, attentive presence in your life -- but partly in transference and distortion. That's the truth. It's a hard truth to swallow because you want to blame your T for how you feel or make demands on your T that she can't/won't meet. You are the one bringing this yearning and pain into the relationship. The goal of therapy is to help you cope with all that emotion. Your T's job is to help you cope, not to marry you or adopt you or have sex with you or drop everything to rescue you from distress. This sounds harsh and it is harsh. But that's the truth.
(6) Finally, it really helped me a lot to get involved in 12-step groups where I was able to make friends and develop new relationships. This allowed me to expand my social and emotional supports so I was not completely dependent on my T for help and guidance.

Sorry this is so long. Hope it is a little bit helpfu.




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