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Re: When he's good he's very very good. floatingbridge

Posted by Solstice on September 17, 2011, at 17:54:53

In reply to Re: When he's good he's very very good. Solstice, posted by floatingbridge on September 17, 2011, at 17:06:50

> You wrote this to Dinah, but it speaks so much to me, I wanted to thank you.

It feels good that anything I said was helpful to you.

> >My therapist and I talked about trust last session. Trust is a huge problem for me. In session, I pondered whether I would ever find a 'real' outside-of-therapy relationship where I could trust, feel safe, and sustain that with someone. I was wondering "Do I have to limit my relationships to trained therapists?" T smiled and reminded me of earlier admonishments where T has said "I don't ever want you to wholly trust me, or anybody else."

> A very wise thing for a T to say on a number of levels. A T is first and always a person and can never be there for a client all the time in all ways. Your T was reminding you about the realities of real relationships while clearly limiting her power.
> Sounds like a good boundary.

Well said. A T really can't be all things to us. I think that for those of us who had emotionally unavailable parents early-on, therapy is often a process of starting out needing our T's to at least really *try* to give us some of what we didn't get.. so we at least have some experiences with feeling wholly safe. Kind of a regression of sorts to pick up on a developmental deficit. But as we 'mature' within the therapeutic relationship, by dealing with ruptures, we are able to gradually let go of the fantasy of being able to utterly 'trust' someone with our well-being. The sorrow :-) of 'growing up,' I guess. My T had to clean up the mess made by a previous toxic therapeutic relationship.. and T did a really good job of managing to meet some very primitive needs that the previous T had re-traumatized me over. The success of it wasn't because T was *perfectly* able to be everything I needed.. but from the beginning of our relationship T repeatedly told me "If there's anything about this relationship that isn't working for you.. I have to be able to trust you to talk to me about it. If you will talk to me about it, then we will work it out together." It took a loooong time for me to trust that. And with respect to my therapist, the thing at the very core of it is that I have repeatedly experienced T as wanting to hear how I experience the relationship, and there hasn't been a single time that T has not been willing to 'work it out together.' Because of that, when I was ready to move past my more primitive needs, it wasn't hard. The thing I have always known - is that there isn't anything T isn't willing to work out with me. Along the way, that has included 2 steps forward, and then 3 backward. Periodic regression. Over time, though, I have gotten myself to a place way beyond where I started.. and the fact that I know - without a doubt - that this relationship will be here for me - and that its sturdiness is based, not in a fantasy that T is perfectly attuned to me, but rather it's based on T's tested & proven commitment to work things out with me.. I am convinced that this has been crucial to my therapeutic progress.

> > T says that trust has to be earned on an ongoing basis. Trust isn't something that you should ever just 'give.' It has to be earned and deserved on an encounter by encounter basis. T reminded me of a number of past therapeutic failures to prove the point. What I think I'm really beginning to understand, is that there are no long-term relationships that don't have failures. It's not so much about finding relationships where the other person can sustain trustworthiness, as much as it's about whether both people in the relationship are willing to work it out together. Clearly, you and your T have that kind of commitment.

> I find this very clarifying. Could it be said that in a good, working and/or loving relationship that 'trust' becomes more about 1) the self's resiliency and 2) trusting yourself and the other person enough that there is that commitment and intent to respect, value, and work together in adversity? I imagine this turns back to the value and sell-value you were pointing out previuosly in this same post. That Dinah not overlook her own self-earned gold stars.

Yep - that's what I think it is. I recently dated a man I've known a long time but had lost touch with. He had been searching for me, and I finally responded. I was 'ready' to give it a go. He kind of jumped in head first, and was moving a whole lot faster than I was comfortable with. He was operating on all kinds of assumptions that were taking it off track. It created some dissonance, and I told him I wanted to talk about it. It was weird, because he was kind of avoidant. But because my primary relationship for a long time has been with my therapist, it's like I didn't know any other way to *do* it than to talk about it and work it out in a mutually satisfactory way. He couldn't do it - and after four weeks, he kind of suddenly bailed on the relationship. T thinks that the genuine intimacy I was prepared to offer was something he didn't know what to do with. What I felt really good about, was that I really did know how to 'work it out.' I'd had to do that so many times with my T, that it just came naturally. That felt so good! I was so glad that his jumping ship didn't upset me - didn't make me feel rejected - and I think the primary reason iss because I was unable to even *want* a relationship with someone who couldn't discuss the relationship. It left me with an experiential understanding that it's not a relationship if it doesn't include a willingness to 'work it out together.'

> > My T just says that I should never leave myself unprotected - in any relationship. So with your T, maybe not trusting him (at least in certain respects) is the right thing to do. My T would say that your reserve is healthy.

> I like this. Returns capital Trust into ordinary working trust. The less than ideal and therefore attainable outside of a safe-feeling (because amply demonstarted) therapeutic relationship.

I love that! An "ordinary working trust" - that's a perfect characterization of the kind of trust that is truly possible - that's fair to expect in a relationship. It doesn't require perfection out of anybody - it just requires commitment and a genuine willingness to be responsive to each others needs.





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poster:Solstice thread:996790