Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 331846

Shown: posts 1 to 25 of 26. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

No where to go from here (rambling)

Posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 16:43:43

I've done something incredibly stupid and now feel that I've backed myself into a corner. Several weeks ago I stupidly made a comment in therapy about something that I couldn't/wouldn't talk about. Obviously my therapist thinks it's important since I'm so averse to talking about it, so periodically she tries to work it into the conversation. The last couple of times I've seen her we've talked around this issue, but none of that has made me feel at all like I can open up to her. When I told her yesterday that I felt like I was backing myself into a corner, she spent alot of the session trying to convince me that my very slow pace was ok and understandable and maybe we could get at other stuff without addressing the forbidden topic. I keep trying to tell her that the forbidden topic is unimportant - but I'm sure she thinks otherwise.

Now I'm in a place where the ridiculous forbidden topic looms as large in my mind as I'm sure it does in hers. I stand back and look at this and it has become clear (very clear) to me that unless I open up, I have no where to go, and since I can't be as candid with her as I should be, I really have no where to go.

I just sent her a letter telling her I thought I had reached the end of where I could go with therapy. I feel crummy about it because we've also spent alot of time lately talking about how scarring it was that therapy with my last therapist ended prematurely and on a bad note. This is really unfair to her; I've been seeing her for 4+ years and she's been extremely patient and supportive. But this has nothing to do with her and I just don't see any way around it. I really wish I hadn't brought the topic up to begin with, but I did and it's lead to this.

Mair

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair

Posted by Fallen4myT on April 2, 2004, at 16:54:29

In reply to No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 16:43:43

Mair hi I dont know you too well and maybe you covered this in another post...but can you email her the info you don't want to talk about WITH a warning to please NOT talk about it for a few weeks...it gives you BOTH room that way....? yes no??

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling)

Posted by Racer on April 2, 2004, at 18:11:02

In reply to No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 16:43:43

Yucko! That's not exactly helpful, is it? My advice, beyond "do as I say, not as I do," is to try to use this as an exercise in moving past the problem, rather than running away from it.

In this case, you could bring up the fact that you're really feeling painted into a corner with only one escape because of this situation, that the problem itself wasn't that big a deal until she started pressing on it, but now the pressing is a big deal and you're feeling yourself withdraw. (Warning: projection to follow, use only what's useful to you.) You might tell her that her assumption that, since you don't want to discuss it, it must be important feels invalidating to you; or that you feel as if the issue has driven a wedge between you that is now hindering your free expression within the therapy sessions. Maybe you could talk about your experience of conflict over whether to be true to your own feelings and needs or to accommodate her apparent need to discuss this issue BECAUSE you're not ready to do so.

Them's just some ideas. I hope something in there helps. Good luck

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair

Posted by fallsfall on April 2, 2004, at 18:15:43

In reply to No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 16:43:43

You need to consider why you won't talk about it. Have you talked with her about what you think will happen if you talk about it? Obviously, it is causing you anxiety. When I start to get into this situation, and then I do finally tell, I usually find that the anticipation has made the topic much worse than it really is. And the longer I've put it off the more anticipation there is and the worse it feels.

If you've seen her for 4+ years, then you have a pretty good idea of how she will react to things. Unless it is something that will require her to contact some kind of authorities, it will stay just between you and her. Has she violated your trust ever in the past? YOU already know about this thing - so telling her doesn't change anything as far as you are concerned (I know that saying things out loud does make them a little different, but it will not be *new* information for you). So the only one who will be hearing something new is her. After 4 years, she has a pretty good idea of who you are and what you are like. I can't imagine that this one topic would really change her opinion of you. Is this something that happens all the time, or was it a one shot deal? Is it THAT different from the other things that you have told her? What is the worst thing that you could (realistically) think that she would do? What's the best? What's the most likely?

Therapists hear secrets all the time. You and I have no way to know how "awful" your secret is compared to other things that she has heard. I told my therapist a very embarassing secret recently. He knew that it was a big deal for me to tell him, and he had his best therapist manners on. He was concerned, asked one or maybe two very appropriate questions, talked with me about what I could do next, and then left it in my hands. When they know that something is a big deal for you, they go out of their way to make it easier and less traumatic.

I have been in therapy for more than 9 years. I have told a bunch of stuff. I don't regret telling any of it. My therapist has always treated me with respect.

If you still need therapy, you should try to figure out what makes this one topic so awful. If it is something you are ashamed of, then you can say so. You are allowed to try something and then decide that you don't like it. And if it is something that someone did to you, then she can probably help you with misplaced guilt.

I guess I think you should find a way to tell her.

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling)

Posted by DaisyM on April 2, 2004, at 18:39:32

In reply to No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 16:43:43

If it is "no big deal" then you have to ask yourself why you can't tell someone you have been working with for such a long time. Especially since she is required to keep it private.

That said, I totally know about giving away certain secret parts of yourself. There are things I will never tell, even though I've talked about some really ugly stuff.

But leaving therapy before you are ready doesn't sound like a wise idea. Is there anyway you can work it through?

You might also ask her if this has hurt her feelings in someway, or called into question for her your view as to her competency as your Therapist. Maybe that is why she can't seem to leave it alone.

You must feel really sad right now...I'm sorry for that. Just remember that no decision is irreversible and you do have a chance to work it.

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling)

Posted by noa on April 2, 2004, at 18:53:57

In reply to Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair, posted by fallsfall on April 2, 2004, at 18:15:43

(((Mair))),

I think you can tell her you feel really pressured about it now (perhaps because of the attention she has given it, and maybe that combined with the anxiety you've had around whether to say something or not, plus, if you're like me, the embarassment about feeling anxious about it, etc.), and ask her to help you find a way to get *out* of the corner and put this thing aside, at least for now. It seems like the process of feeling painted into a corner and how to get out of such a jam is probably way more important than the specific topic itself anyway.

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair

Posted by Dinah on April 2, 2004, at 20:31:12

In reply to No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 16:43:43

Mair, it doesn't sound like she's going to pressure you anymore. It sounds as if she took your comments to heart and is willing to *not* talk about this until you're ready. I don't think that you need to leave therapy over this.

But is there some other reason that you think you'd like to leave therapy right now? And if there is, do you have an alternate support system in place? Assuming your therapist is a good support system.

I'd talk it over with her. My therapist never liked it when I terminated over the phone. I think this is something you can work through. You need to talk to her about it to see if it is. But if you don't want to work it through, it might be instructive to figure out why. Although certainly that is a legitimate choice. We never signed up for a lifetime contract of therapy.

Well, I did. But that's another story.

(Of course, in general I think Fallsfalls is right. There's nothing they haven't heard before, they won't think any less of us for anything we reveal, and I have told my therapist all but one of my secrets now. I never regretted telling him anything.)

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair

Posted by Poet on April 2, 2004, at 22:06:28

In reply to No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 16:43:43

Mair,

I've been seeing my therapist for 1 1/2 years and I still talk around things. I'm not a blurter. My therapist is okay with going slow, and with backing off when I ask her to. She knows I keep secrets, but she also knows that if she gives it enough time, I'll reveal enough bits that I let some of it out.

Keep in mind that I have trust issues, it's nothing to do with my therapist, it's to do with what I don't like to talk about. So I've backed myself into that corner many times.

Maybe you can see your therapist for one more session, just to talk about the letter? And that you'll talk about the forbidden topic, if and when you're ready to? You need some time to escape from that corner to a place where you don't feel trapped, rather than force yourself to blurt or run.

Take care.

Poet

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling)

Posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 23:14:38

In reply to Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair, posted by Poet on April 2, 2004, at 22:06:28

Thanks for all of the suggestions. Of course they all make sense.

No I don't really want to quit therapy, and the irony is that we spent a lot of my most recent session talking about how the process with her has been more positive than my work with other therapists. But later when I was reflecting back on my session, I had a different take. She's been very critical of my last therapist's decision to take me on as a patient even though he was starting to edge his way into retirement. So she's been going to some lengths to reassure me that this isn't going to happen with her. I'm not sure I needed the reassurance; I'm certainly not worried about whether she's going to retire; she's too young to and has too many tuition bills in her future. Anyway, when I finally had some time to think about things today, I was overwelmed by this feeling that I must be truly pathetic to need this level of sensitive handling; to be as guarded as I am, and to get hung up like this to the point where I see no out. I'm high functioning and I have about as bland a childhood background as anyone could have. It's pretty ridiculous for me to be as difficult to treat as i am.

I wrote the letter because I just felt I saw things so clearly this afternoon. I think she knows I'm pretty conflicted, but in spite of her promises to see things through with me, I've talked enough lately about quitting, I wouldn't blame her at all if she made no attempt to change my mind. And I also don't want her to think this is all some sort of sophomoric test because I really felt I had given myself no other alternatives. I just feel bad about mailing the letter today because if she picks up her mail tomorrow, she might feel like it's something she needs to deal with this weekend.

And no, I really don't have any other support. If I tried to talk to my husband about any of this I'm sure he'd act really bored or only half listen to me while he watched television or read the newspaper and then he might say something helpful like "I don't know why you still go to therapy anyway."

Mair

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair

Posted by Dinah on April 3, 2004, at 1:38:00

In reply to Re: No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 23:14:38

Ah, Mair. I know those feelings of seeing things so clearly. I wish mine were always right. :) Or maybe I'm glad they aren't. Which is not to say that your feelings aren't completely accurate. But maybe you *were* seeing things clearly, but not in the only way they can be seen? Maybe your therapist sees them very clearly in a completely different direction.

At any rate, it doesn't seem to me to be one of those very few incidences where the only decision lies with terminating without further ado. Although I'm a fine one to speak, having terminated a half dozen times for very little reason at all.

Unless you're utterly positive of your decision, maybe you could call her Monday (or better yet, tomorrow - which I'm sure would absolutely delight her given your overall reluctance to call and her expressed desire that you would) and suggest that you talk about your letter at your next session, or sooner if you need to.

Therapy is a very odd endeavor, isn't it? My therapist is in pure support mode right now, and sometimes it's just what I need and I adore him for it, and sometimes it makes me feel upset that he doesn't think I can handle anything else. Then I remind myself I have proven that I can't handle anything else while I'm under stress. And my thoughts of therapy hurtle willy-nilly all over the place. Which I rather suspect they're doing now so I'll say goodnight.

And you know where to find me if you need me.

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair

Posted by terrics on April 3, 2004, at 10:01:04

In reply to No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 16:43:43

Can you explain nicely to her that this is your therapy. If you do not want to discuss something right now it is your right. Who knows,, there may come a time when you FEEL like discussing it. It will fall out of your mouth without forcing it out. terrics

 

I think what I've decided to do...

Posted by mair on April 3, 2004, at 17:10:12

In reply to Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair, posted by terrics on April 3, 2004, at 10:01:04

is call and leave a message on her office voice mail. She probably won't get her mail until Monday, and i'm thinking it's a good idea just to let her know that my letter was hasty and that I want to talk to her about why I sent it. I'm not keen on the idea of bothering her this weekend and I'd really rather not talk to her on the telephone anyway.

I know if i talked to her about the forbidden topic she'd react entirely appropriately. The forbidden topic is not particularly earth shattering anyway so her reaction might be "why is this so hard for her to talk about" but she'd never say that to me. I honestly don't think my reluctance to open up has anything to do with how I fear she might react.

There's nothing like therapy for making me feel like I'm a teenager in the throes of some identity crisis. I have an awful problem dealing with my own emotional immaturity.

Thanks again.

Mair

 

Re: I think what I've decided to do... mair

Posted by Fallen4myT on April 3, 2004, at 17:33:48

In reply to I think what I've decided to do..., posted by mair on April 3, 2004, at 17:10:12

mair I think thats a smart idea..you cover youreself well that way..

Hugs

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling)

Posted by noa on April 3, 2004, at 19:25:57

In reply to Re: No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 23:14:38

Mair,

If it's any consolation, I've needed 'special handling' too.

Stop criticizing yourself for having the needs you have! It's ok.

But I bet there is a little bit that is scary when the therapist says she's in this for the long haul, cuz maybe it makes you feel a bit trapped into staying the long haul, too?

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling) noa

Posted by mair on April 3, 2004, at 19:38:50

In reply to Re: No where to go from here (rambling), posted by noa on April 3, 2004, at 19:25:57

Yeah, Noa you're right. She's several years younger than me and I really don't want to usher her into retirement, as I did my last T. The interminable nature of this process used to bother me more and still bothers me some, but she's never pulled any punches about prognosis or predicted length of treatment so I try not to beat myself up too much about needing long term therapy.

 

Re: I think what I've decided to do...

Posted by KindGirl on April 4, 2004, at 0:30:54

In reply to I think what I've decided to do..., posted by mair on April 3, 2004, at 17:10:12

Hi Mair,
I was on vacation and just got back and saw your thread, I have not read any of the responses, so forgive me if any of this has been said to you before.

First of all..........OH MY GOSH! I was smiling (in a good way) when I read what you wrote because I did the same thing with a topic I was so worried about and it sucks so bad. I smiled because I could relate to your agony and how awful it is to back ourselves into corners.....it is wretched!!! And you are right, the longer it goes on, the worse it gets.

Can you write it to her in a note? A letter that goes in the mail, not email? In the letter can you preface it with "this is very hard for me to tell you but..." and end it with, "please don't talk to me about this...." ????

Also, I did this so many times (backed myself into corners) and I am thinking of a gift I made for her at Christmas. I sang two songs on a tape, and I knew that when I gave them to her I would say something stupid like "these are just stupid songs I sang" or maybe I wouldn't give them to her at all. In any case, I knew that face to face I would not be able to handle it. So, I called her the morning of my appt and left her a message on her machine...I said, "I am going to give you something today and I will minimize it, but I want you to know it is really a big deal. What I am going to give you will be very hard for me to give you and to share with you, even if I downplay it or joke about it.".....and then in the session I gave her the gifts and said about that one, "this is the one I called you about." And she said, "Yes, I got your message and I am so grateful you called and I am even more grateful you are sharing this wonderful gift with me." And that was really great to hear.

I was a music major in college, have almost my master's in voice/education, and my entire life my mother has ridiculed my singing. She makes fun of the way I look when I sing, or the way my legs were shaking on the stage because I was nervous...blah blah blah....she has always made fun of me pretty much. Even though I got full scholarships in music my confidence is very low. I have never really sung solo for anyone and I wanted to for my t....I wanted to sing a song I wrote for her (I did on the tape) and it was a huge gamble for me to share my singing with her. She could have made fun of me, but of course she didn't. Even now I feel ridiculous for giving her the tape (I think, well now she has a spare audio cassette to tape over on if she needs one) and it is just so hard. So, so hard.

Also, another technique I did was blurt out this really huge thing that I had been skirting around but played it off as a new subject and she didn't know it was THE subject I was avoiding so long and talked so much about. I just blurted it out (well, I read my journal to her, that way I didn't have to make eye contact)....and so it was out there. I was the only one who knew this was so huge. She didn't know because she asked about the other subject and I avoided it like I always do!!!!

Like you said, she reacted in a WONDERFUL way...not like I feared...and I am sure your t would do the same. He/she really does care and really does want to help you and if you run away it will never get seen and heard and healed. You are very courageous and an inspiration to me, so don't quit!!!! You can do it!!!!

Keep in touch....

 

PS

Posted by KindGirl on April 4, 2004, at 0:44:55

In reply to Re: I think what I've decided to do..., posted by KindGirl on April 4, 2004, at 0:30:54

The teacher in me says "practice makes perfect," and I do believe it has been true for me in very delicate situations. For instance, I shared here and at another forum that I was worried I might be gay because I had such strong feelings for my female t. I was HORRIFIED, ASHAMED, oh I was a mess...and my hands were sweating as I hit the "send" button. But I will say, in practicing talking about it in safe arenas and with safe people, it helped me come out of my shell in really hard topics with my t. All the support you get here and in other supportive relationships MIGHT help you share it with your t. What do you think? Can you hop on over to another forum and just talk about that particular subject? Nobody knows your identity on these forums, I think, so it seems like a good starting place to practice talking about some of these deep wounds. Just a suggestion because I know how lonely and shameful it can be to hide a secret when in reality it probably is something other people struggle with and can help you through it. I know that a lot of other women had said they struggled at one point or another about strong feelings for their t's and the whole sexuality confusion, and so when I casually mentioned it to my t that it felt gay to have her hold me I was able to say it and not be so afraid.
Gentle hugs to you and take care. Hope you get some encouragement here and hope you have a good weekend and this all works out for you.

 

Re: No where to go from here (rambling) mair

Posted by 64Bowtie on April 4, 2004, at 14:15:13

In reply to No where to go from here (rambling), posted by mair on April 2, 2004, at 16:43:43

>...and since I can't be as candid with her as I should be, I really have no where to go.
>
<<<Why can't you be candid? What am I missing? Scott Peck has a whole chapter in, "The Road Less Traveled" about this very topic. The chapter is "The Truth Game".

<<<On another note, my 83 yearold Dad, who was institutionalised and given electric shock therapy 50 years ago, pointed out that, "You can't change someone by suggestion". He was referring to adults. He accepts that sometimes that's all it takes with children.

Makes me wonder if any good can be measured from our participation here at Babble.

Rod

 

Re: I think what I've decided to do... mair

Posted by gardenergirl on April 4, 2004, at 14:42:26

In reply to I think what I've decided to do..., posted by mair on April 3, 2004, at 17:10:12

Mair,
It sounds like you are really struggling with this. I think your idea sounds like good one. I hope things go well tomorrow.

gg

 

What a wonderful way to handle that! Bravo (nm) KindGirl

Posted by gardenergirl on April 4, 2004, at 14:43:12

In reply to Re: I think what I've decided to do..., posted by KindGirl on April 4, 2004, at 0:30:54

 

Mair, that sounds like a good idea.

Posted by Dinah on April 4, 2004, at 20:06:34

In reply to I think what I've decided to do..., posted by mair on April 3, 2004, at 17:10:12

I have every confidence in your therapist to work together with you on this.

 

An Update

Posted by mair on April 4, 2004, at 21:28:20

In reply to Mair, that sounds like a good idea., posted by Dinah on April 4, 2004, at 20:06:34

Hey guys I can't tell you how much your support has meant this weekend. After stewing about this a chunk of the day, I did finally call her office and left a message on her machine which didn't say much other than to explain a little about the letter and to tell her that I did intend to make my appointment on Tuesday. I'm so awful talking about this stuff on the phone - I get nervous just leaving a message on voice mail. She called me back a couple of hours ago because she called her office to check her messages. I didn't talk to her for long because I'M SO AWFUL ON THE PHONE - just long enough to answer the "are you safe" kinds of questions. She's offered to squeeze me in tomorrow, but one of the ironies of my life at the moment is that i have no time for an emotional crisis. If I can move stuff around enough at work maybe - but I probably can't.

Maybe i should take up the suggestion that I discuss my forbidden topic in a letter. Kind Girl's suggestion that i open up about this later without ever letting her know I was struggling so much with it is actually a suggestion she made to me a few months ago when there seemed to be many forbidden topics. And I've used that tact before. It's a good one. It's so hard for me because I'm so easily embarrassed by most of what I think - at least most of what I think about myself. I'm constantly judging and censoring. Then it all gets to be too much and i put so much pressure on myself to open up in ways that are so totally counter-intuitive.

So I guess the trick is to talk to her about what I'm going through in such a way either that i can come clean about the forbidden topic, or that i can put it aside easily enough so it ceases to interfere with whatever else I can accomplish in therapy.

Mair

 

Re: That's terrific Mair :) mair

Posted by Dinah on April 4, 2004, at 21:44:16

In reply to An Update, posted by mair on April 4, 2004, at 21:28:20

And I suppose if you're too busy to see her tomorrow, hopefully you'll be too busy to worry about it too.

Good luck. I think Kind Girl's idea is a good one too.

 

Re: An Update - I have vision... mair

Posted by 64Bowtie on April 5, 2004, at 2:34:39

In reply to An Update, posted by mair on April 4, 2004, at 21:28:20

Mair,

Think graceful! Gracefully with all the tact in the world, casually fold in the info like KindGirl suggested. Think of it as an exersize in etiquette, instead of the torment you feel over the phone. Make it fun if you can. And focus on making your 'T' feel good. That'll help get this monkey off your back.

Rod

 

I did it! (sort of)

Posted by mair on April 8, 2004, at 13:21:13

In reply to Re: An Update - I have vision... mair, posted by 64Bowtie on April 5, 2004, at 2:34:39

I've had 2 sessions this week. In the first we talked alot about my feeling like there was no where to go with therapy. She tried to stress to me that I didn't need to arrive ready to talk about certain things, or anything for that matter. Whatever state I was in was acceptable. (hah maybe to her) At the end she asked me to consider writing her a letter spelling out the forbidden topic. I know that's worked for lots of people here although I've never tried it.

I didn't have time during the work day to do this and I couldn't steal enough computer time from my daughter to do this at night, but I did give a great deal of thought to what I would write. The upshot was that at today's session I felt ready to be a little more open. I think it helped that today's session got moved to a very early time slot (7:40 am) so there was no time for me to sit around and get anxious. I think it's also true that figuring out how I would write about it allowed me to get some real emotional distance - I could just discuss it in a much more factual way. This is good and bad - good because it got me over the hump, but maybe bad because she's complained (at least remarked) before about my tendency to censor in such a way that painful topics have been stripped of all emotional content before they get discussed.

Regardless, I'll take it.

Thanks again to one and all for alot of encouragement that did make a difference. YOur help was invaluable as was the support of zenhussy who reached across the great divide from her place of exile to lend encouragement as well.

Mair


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