Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 394355

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Recent therapy --defenses at work (long)

Posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 22:13:21

I just wanted to post about how things are going in therapy. Recently when I went through the situation when my T was late and then cancelled the next week, it was so upsetting to me because I had worked myself up to telling him a really big secret I had been withholding despite being in therapy for a year. I've been hanging onto this for more than 5 years, and just told my hubby last year. It's a mistake I made at a time when I was very depressed and feeling very boxed in and helpless that has repercussions today (that's about all I can say about it, sorry.) Anyway, I talked about how I had this thing to say but wasn't ready and feared my T's response--couldn't bear to see disappointment on his face for a couple of weeks.
Just when I was ready to spill, blam, can't see him!

So anyway, I finally did tell him when I had a normal session last week. It was odd. I spoke so matter of factly about it...something so very shameful feeling to me. I was so flat. He was great, and had a stone face as I was telling him. He pretty much stayed on the practical problem-solving end of things, and reassured me that I didn't have to decide anything about it today, although I do want to try to "fix" it someday. He did say too, that we needed to talk more about what it means and so on.

So afterwards, I felt pretty irritable for a couple of days. Just like when I blurted before that I had a secret. I really wanted to get that time machine out and erase that part of the session. After telling him, I knew there was no going back, and it definitely made it real. I couldn't hide my head in the sand anymore. I guess I was irritable at spitting out the sand and looking into the sun after so long. :(

That mood finally passed, and amazingly, I feel better. I was struck by how strongly I had defended against even thinking about it, let alone feeling. But this probably has been eating away at me since I did it. Gotta love suppression...:)

I felt even better after my session Wednesday, when I talked about feeling very flat about it. And it was funny, because I said "I know some insights about it intellecutally", and I was just about to say, "but I'm not there yet emotionally" when I just started to cry. lol, good timing, eh?

Anyway, we kind of bounced around between that event and what it means, and how I might do things differently when operating from a place that's not so fear-locked. We talked about my dad and how crazy making and damaging it was to have him as my parent. All in all, a productive session.

It's just amazing how just telling something can bring some relief. I guess that's my point after rambling on. Has anyone else had this experience?

gg

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long)

Posted by daisym on September 24, 2004, at 1:56:54

In reply to Recent therapy --defenses at work (long), posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 22:13:21

GG,

I'm glad you feel some relief. These old secrets can be exhausting to "not" think about. I find it an interesting dilema that we need to build trust in our therapists in order to feel secure in telling them stuff but by then we care so much for them that we don't want them to be disappointed in us. *sigh* Nothing about this is easy.

I think you are doing such great work, both in and out of therapy. I think about the things I haven't told (yet?) and I shudder. What a great example you've set.

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work gardenergirl

Posted by Annierose on September 24, 2004, at 6:53:45

In reply to Recent therapy --defenses at work (long), posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 22:13:21

Yes, I have had that experience. I think just "getting it out there" and having the T listen, without reacting, somehow normalizes the "secret" so to speak. Acceptance plays a part too, "I know everything about you, and still care."

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work daisym

Posted by Annierose on September 24, 2004, at 6:57:51

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long), posted by daisym on September 24, 2004, at 1:56:54

daisym -
I smiled when I read this post, not wanting our T's to be disappointed in us. I recently told her a story that I felt ashamed in admitting. She was great, of course. Knew just what to say and put the situation is perspective.

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) gardenergirl

Posted by antigua on September 24, 2004, at 8:08:33

In reply to Recent therapy --defenses at work (long), posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 22:13:21

gg,

Once I tell a "secret" I'm immediately ashamed of myself, that someone else knows now and all I want to do is hide. When friends get close enough for me to share, I may tell them something about what happened to me and then I will avoid them (maybe forever) until I'm back on even keel. But I always feel like there is an imbalance of power.

I know it's the "telling and nobody listened" aspect of my problems. It's all or nothing for me, and I've tried to start to learn that it is not appropriate in many situations, even medical ones because I have found that people absolutley do treat me differently when they know and I become hypersensitive to their response (I project most likely).
antigua

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) gardenergirl

Posted by Aphrodite on September 24, 2004, at 8:30:36

In reply to Recent therapy --defenses at work (long), posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 22:13:21

Even though we *know* that our Ts are not there to judge us, it is so hard to believe. So, when you finally expressed this, you probably had profound relief that you were still accepted, and he wanted to help. You felt his acceptance instead of knowing it. It sounds like it went a long way toward your healing the situation.

I'm so glad you finally had the chance to experience that relief after so many delays.

 

Never gardenergirl

Posted by Racer on September 24, 2004, at 13:26:47

In reply to Recent therapy --defenses at work (long), posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 22:13:21

That's why it took weeks of telling my therapist that there was something I needed to bring up, but couldn't, that was draining me. And why I would say at the beginning of my check in voicemails that I needed to work up to telling this thing, and then back off and say that I couldn't.

And yes, that was *after* I had decided that I needed to say it to her.

(In my case, it was my eating. I also realized that I had been "dropping hints" about it, if you will, for a while. I know that I can't fix this myself, but actually getting 'help' is too scary still. For one thing, I feel as if I'll be destroyed if I gain weight -- which, after all, is part of the recovery process, by definition.)

Since we really haven't talked much about it yet, just the first time when I said it, and this last session when it was peripheral to what we were working on, so I haven't hit that feeling of relief. I'm actually fighting a lot of frustration, because I want it to somehow get better right away. Hurry up and get it over with, you know? Hurry up and get fixed RIGHTNOW.

Anyway, there is a great deal of pressure that builds up with something like this -- or like that thing in high school I told you about that I've never mentioned to another living soul -- whether we're aware of it or not. That's why it's so powerful: it's been internalized so deeply that we can't be fully aware of it. The same goes for the pressure. It's kinda like breathing. How much effort does it take to breathe? How many calories does it take to breathe for one hour? How can we know, really, since we're not aware of any effort when we do it? Same with the pressure of having that secret ready to come out.

It's only when it goes away that we're aware of it. Your pressure has just been vented, so you're aware of the relief. What's more, you've got an ally now to help you carry this burden, which is also a great relief.

For what it's worth, I know how hard it was for you to disclose this to him, and I am glad that you have found it to be so good for you. I'm conflicted about whether or not to say I'm proud of you for doing it -- although I am -- because of two things: one, I know that you can do anything you choose to do, and do it well; and two, it feels a little proprietary to be proud of you for doing well, since I had nothing to do with it. You decide if that helps or not, tell me, and then I'll get over my conflict in whichever way is best for you.

With the warmest affection for you, my dear, I'm smiling for you.

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) gardenergirl

Posted by Poet on September 24, 2004, at 17:17:45

In reply to Recent therapy --defenses at work (long), posted by gardenergirl on September 23, 2004, at 22:13:21

Hi GG,

I can't say I'd had this experience. My therapist knows my deepest secret only because she played 20 questions and guessed it. I hope none of your clients are like me.

I'm proud that you were able to tell your secret and accept that letting it out was better than keeping it in. I'm glad it feels good.

Poet

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long)

Posted by mair on September 25, 2004, at 16:39:34

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) gardenergirl, posted by Poet on September 24, 2004, at 17:17:45

It took me weeks to build up to telling my inner secret which was a secret of monumental insignificance, made greater only on account of the fact that I couldn't seem to talk about it. Of course, the more I procrastinated, the larger it loomed, and, I fear, the more my T thought it was something worth hearing. Once I got it out I think I felt better, or at least relieved. However, I dread ever talking about it again and every time I even begin to sense my T heading in that direction, I divert her elsewhere.

Given all that, I'm not sure what the point was to talking about it in the first place, although I guess it's always good to get over therapeutic humps.

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) daisym

Posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 16:44:13

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long), posted by daisym on September 24, 2004, at 1:56:54

Thanks, Daisy. I think this thing was A BIG THING, if not THE BIG THING. I had such mixed feelings about it. Even though I trusted him.

And I thank you for your example of dealing with trust and being courageous.

Warmly,
gg

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work Annierose

Posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 16:45:10

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work gardenergirl, posted by Annierose on September 24, 2004, at 6:53:45

Yes that normalizing really takes down the intensity of it, doesn't it? It sure helps, but it took a few days to feel it.

BTW, welcome to Babble!
gg

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) antigua

Posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 16:47:57

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) gardenergirl, posted by antigua on September 24, 2004, at 8:08:33

Antigua,
I felt so ashamed of the secret too. I think that's what took so darned long for me to be able to tell him. I guess I needed to get a lot of "okay" experiences with him under my belt before the big one could get out.

And I think perhaps you come by your feelings about his and your self-protection honestly. If others have treated you differently or reacted badly, especially when you were younger, of course you would be cautious. I hope this is something your T can help you with in time.

Warmly,
gg

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) Aphrodite

Posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 16:49:58

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) gardenergirl, posted by Aphrodite on September 24, 2004, at 8:30:36

Thanks sweetie. Yes, I think feeling his acceptance did really help. It's amazing, isn't it, what we can take in and have affect us without thinking or talking directly about it? Because he never said "I'm not disappointed in you, or you are still okay" but that's how I feel about his response.

How about you? Are you hanging in with your T away?

gg

 

Re: Never

Posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 16:57:38

In reply to Never gardenergirl, posted by Racer on September 24, 2004, at 13:26:47

> Since we really haven't talked much about it yet, just the first time when I said it, and this last session when it was peripheral to what we were working on, so I haven't hit that feeling of relief. I'm actually fighting a lot of frustration, because I want it to somehow get better right away. Hurry up and get it over with, you know? Hurry up and get fixed RIGHTNOW.

I hope that feeling of relief at just telling comes soon for you. And perhaps you are so eager to be "fixed right now" has something to do with your chosen name? Racer? (and by the way, if you are Racer X, can I be Speed Racer? Then we can be secret sibs!)
>
> That's why it's so powerful: it's been internalized so deeply that we can't be fully aware of it. The same goes for the pressure. It's kinda like breathing. How much effort does it take to breathe? How many calories does it take to breathe for one hour? How can we know, really, since we're not aware of any effort when we do it? Same with the pressure of having that secret ready to come out.

What a great way to put this. Yes, it was automatic not to think about it. Hmmm, you know, there is another issue that said to him in the beginning "oh this thing happened to me, but I never think about it anymore." And it was an "oh by the way, you should probably also know that..." during my first session/intake with him. If I were him, my flags would have gone up surrounding this issue. Hmmm, may have to do some listening to myself to see if it's really okay or if I'm ostriching this, too.
>
>
> For what it's worth, I know how hard it was for you to disclose this to him, and I am glad that you have found it to be so good for you. I'm conflicted about whether or not to say I'm proud of you for doing it -- although I am -- because of two things: one, I know that you can do anything you choose to do, and do it well; and two, it feels a little proprietary to be proud of you for doing well, since I had nothing to do with it. You decide if that helps or not, tell me, and then I'll get over my conflict in whichever way is best for you.

Thank you. You are so cute with that proud of you dilemma. I feel the same way when I want to say it. It does imply something ownership like or that somehow I was involved. Although telling you and one other person first really helped. And you still accept me and respect me, and that certainly had to be a corrective emotional experience compared to hubby's reaction. So I thank you again for that, with some mist in my eyes.

> With the warmest affection for you, my dear, I'm smiling for you.

right back atcha!

Warmly,
gg

 

oops, above for Racer, obviously :) (nm)

Posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 16:58:29

In reply to Re: Never, posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 16:57:38

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) Poet

Posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 17:03:51

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) gardenergirl, posted by Poet on September 24, 2004, at 17:17:45

> Hi GG,
>
> I can't say I'd had this experience. My therapist knows my deepest secret only because she played 20 questions and guessed it. I hope none of your clients are like me.

Poet, thanks for your warm wishes. I'm sad, though about your statement above. It sounds to me that perhaps you feel like you are not doing a "good job" in therapy. Maybe I'm reading too much into your post. But if that's what you meant, please don't feel bad about your therapy work.

I bet I would love having a client like you. I know I've always liked your posts. Maybe in therapy it just takes a bit more for you to feel comfortable expressing yourself?


We all go at our own pace. It's a dynamic combination of the T, the client, where each are in their lives and experience, what's going on externally at the moment, and what the issues are. I'm sure that you are doing what you need to do, and merely coming each time and trying is the main thing. Think of all those who do not have the strength or courage to do this hard work right now. Or maybe ever.

And we all have therapy ups and downs. Right now I feel like there is an up, but I know there will be more downswings and back ups before I am done.

Warmly,
gg
>

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) mair

Posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 17:07:41

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long), posted by mair on September 25, 2004, at 16:39:34

Hi mair,
It sounds like you had some relief from it, but your T still wants to talk about it? Perhaps in time you will, too. Or if one of us ever invents that time machine so that we can go back and either fix the past mistake (in my case) or erase something said in therapy (again in my case at first). Wouldn't that be handy? :) Gosh I really wanted to go back in time and never say that I had a secret in the first place. But I'm sure I wouldn't have blurted that out if I didn't really want to tell him. But ugh. That irritability I felt for days after was weird and new for me.

I hope your thing gets better in time whether you talk more about it or just heal.

Warmly,
gg

 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) gardenergirl

Posted by Poet on September 28, 2004, at 14:03:39

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) Poet, posted by gardenergirl on September 25, 2004, at 17:03:51

Hi GG,

<<We all go at our own pace. It's a dynamic combination of the T, the client, where each are in their lives and experience, what's going on externally at the moment, and what the issues are. I'm sure that you are doing what you need to do, and merely coming each time and trying is the main thing. Think of all those who do not have the strength or courage to do this hard work right now. Or maybe ever.

Thank you. What you wrote is very true. I'm probably not a therapy failure, I just hear other peoples progress and think what's wrong with me? I guess nothing that time won't reveal and heal.

Poet


 

Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) Poet

Posted by gardenergirl on September 28, 2004, at 19:50:40

In reply to Re: Recent therapy --defenses at work (long) gardenergirl, posted by Poet on September 28, 2004, at 14:03:39

You bet...I think the only people who "fail" at therapy are those that don't give it a good try. And I know you work at yours.

Be well,
gg


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