Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 426080

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Daisy? My therapist seems excited

Posted by Dinah on December 8, 2004, at 7:56:11

About that line of inquiry you brought up for me with the question about my Barbie dolls. When I told him the specific years involved, and we loosely tied it to other events and specifically the walling of of my emotional side.

He said that maybe I was trying to go back to that time to do something I didn't do the first time, to finish some unfinished business.

I'll bet I know what he *really* means. He has long thought I refused to grow up at that point, so I'm guessing that's what he is talking about. But he's fair and far off if he thinks I'm going to do that. Nope. No way.

 

Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited

Posted by Daisym on December 8, 2004, at 11:11:57

In reply to Daisy? My therapist seems excited, posted by Dinah on December 8, 2004, at 7:56:11

I don't know Dinah, I think my therapist would argue that growing up is overrated. He would ask you - "what does that mean to you, exactly? What would being "grown up" feel like, or look like?" Being grown up isn't supposed to mean that you can or even should meet any challenge without feeling stressed, or sad, or frustrated. It also doesn't mean all work and no play. So I don't know that you can correlate "finishing something" with growing up. It sounds like you think he wants you to finish being a child. I think the ideal thing would be balancing those childlike parts and the more mature parts. Taking responsibility for things, but allowing yourself to play and to need comfort. Don't we all envy the person who hugs with abandon and is willing to get up and do Kareoke?

My guess is that the emotional side of you is being taxed enough that there is a need for outside support beyond therapy. But this emotional side is easily bruised and skittish. So playing with Barbies allows her to "practice" some scenarios and maintain control over at least this world. This would be a safe way to provide soothing. And if this was the age where you learned to hide this part of you, it makes sense to me that you would go back to a coping mechanism that worked then. I know when we watch kids play with dolls, we try to see what they are working out in their play, but for them it is totally pretend and unconscious. It is an escape.

Perhaps among everything else, you are simply escaping for awhile.

 

Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited Daisym

Posted by Dinah on December 8, 2004, at 11:29:27

In reply to Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited, posted by Daisym on December 8, 2004, at 11:11:57

Perhaps I'm being overly suspicious.

The soothing is what I had thought. I know I used to create an alternate Barbie universe. :)

But he got *so* excited (for him, which isn't all that excited for other people I suppose). And he started using phrases that I know he's used with the idea that at some point I was interrupted in the process of growing and maturing. He never of course uses the actual phrase "growing up" which for me is a loaded one. I don't even know myself what meanings are layered in that phrase. I just know it terrifies me beyond logical thought.

I've set for myself for homework to do a timeline. The years say... 1969 (I'm pretty sure I was ok, unfractured, relatively happy) to 1987, when I know I was pretty much the same way I am now, with special emphasis on 1971-75, which were the important years in question. I'm going to put in outside factors like school changes and when my grades dipped and abentees went up, my brother's adoption, my therapy time, and what other info I can get. And I'll add the dolls and when most of them were purchased.

I'm kind of excited about it, actually. For the first time in a while I'll have something to help me hold on to my therapist between sessions.

 

Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited Dinah

Posted by Aphrodite on December 8, 2004, at 12:20:28

In reply to Daisy? My therapist seems excited, posted by Dinah on December 8, 2004, at 7:56:11

Although you are rightfully approaching this with some trepidation, I think this is the exciting part of therapy -- I thought I would be doing more of these kind of insight and analysis things. (I have yet to really do so.) Maybe that is why he is excited too. It may be very enlightening to go to a specific moment in time, process it all with his help, and discover how it affects you today.

Keep us posted -- this sounds like exciting work!

 

Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited

Posted by Daisym on December 8, 2004, at 12:39:48

In reply to Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited Daisym, posted by Dinah on December 8, 2004, at 11:29:27

Can I presumptuously make an added suggestion?

Can you record some of your play? Like what your thoughts are drifting to when you dress the doll or why one Barbie assumes one role and another gets to be someone else. In some of the play therapy we do with kids, we know that they can assign parts of themselves to different dolls or stuffed animals. So if we have an animal who is hurt (remember our toddlers are disabled) and the child puts this animal way up high, we ask if he feels sort of afraid down on the floor with the other kids. There are so many clues in play and in day dreams.

I just read a neat article about the value of day dreams. It talked about these fantasies as a really valuable window into someones unconscious. Some people discount day dreams because essentially the person is awake and controlling the action. But there was a case made for looking at the choices made, such as why escape to a beach instead of a shopping mall, etc. etc.

I hope we get updates on this project!

 

Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited Dinah

Posted by littleone on December 8, 2004, at 20:45:34

In reply to Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited Daisym, posted by Dinah on December 8, 2004, at 11:29:27

> I'm kind of excited about it, actually. For the first time in a while I'll have something to help me hold on to my therapist between sessions.

I got excited just reading your posts on it. It must be wonderful to actually be actively working on something towards improving. Not that you aren't usually, but I hope you know what I mean. And the timeline thing is a great idea. You can really learn a lot from that. I hope it helps you.

I don't really understand what you think your T will try to get you to do, but your vehement denial of it in your first post was really interesting.

 

Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited

Posted by gardenergirl on December 8, 2004, at 22:57:54

In reply to Re: Daisy? My therapist seems excited Dinah, posted by littleone on December 8, 2004, at 20:45:34

Dinah,
I think the time line will be a really fascinating project. I hope you will post at least your reactions to it if not your insights. Actually, I hope you post your insights, too, but I realize that may feel too private.

At any rate...how cool!

gg

 

No great insights, I think (long)

Posted by Dinah on December 10, 2004, at 21:04:18

In reply to Daisy? My therapist seems excited, posted by Dinah on December 8, 2004, at 7:56:11

His excitement seemed to have worn off by today. My therapist is rather extremely un*excitable as a rule - one of the things that appeals to me to tell you the truth.

I guess I do see why he would have been excited though. It sounds like one of those moments they have in movies and books.

I worked hard on my timeline, and he liked it, but it didn't yield any particularly exciting results. He liked that I left plenty of room in it to add things, and he wants me to continue writing in events as I remember them.

What I did was do two years to a legal size sheet, about half inch a month, with several columns, each having to do with a different part of life. I started it at birth, and ran it through high school. I got info from my baby book, my pediatric records, my school records, and my mother as well as my own recollections. Yes, I had already tracked down those other sources. But it helped to put them side by side on the time line.

The only new piece to the puzzle was the timing of my first period. My pediatrician wrote something like "Patient is unhappy about it. She doesn't want to grow up." Which struck me, since those are almost the exact words I use now. And very emphatically. I can't imagine I actually *told* my pediatrician that. I never told doctors anything.

Anyway, I was about 12 1/4. At my twelth birthday, I was not yet rational me and emotional me. By my 13th birthday, I was. That was the pivotal year. And though it happened later in the year than my first period, my therapist thinks that event was probably still important, given my preoccupation now with not growing up.

When you lay out all the information from various sources side by side, it all fits perfectly with my previous conjectures. Down to the dates of the Barbies.

The only thing that doesn't fit is the date of the photo I identify with. That photo was taken when I was 8. I identify less with the photos taken when I was 9, and not at all with the ones taken at 12. But if my theory is correct, the twelve year old photos would be almost precisely the time that I should most closely identify with. The last time I was a thinking and feeling being. So that doesn't make much sense.

My therapist has his theories on why it might be, even though it doesn't make sense. He told me a bit of it, although I didn't really understand what he was saying. But he wants me to be a detective and investigate the piece of the puzzle that doesn't fit. Figure out the why of it. Ask myself the question and see if I can come up with answers.

So far nothing. :)

And we had a bit of a disagreement. About whether 12 year old me looked like an older version of 8 year old me, or if they looked like two different girls. They look like two different girls to me. :( 9 year old me looks like an older version of 8 year old me. But 12 year old me doesn't. Although of course, I intellectually recognize that it was indeed me.

Sorry if this post doesn't make any sense. Sometimes I continue a conversation I've been having with myself, and forget that I haven't shared the rest of it. And I have trouble even reading posts this long right now. I can't imagine what a mess I must have made of writing one.

 

Also some clarity on earlier childhood

Posted by Dinah on December 10, 2004, at 22:02:22

In reply to No great insights, I think (long), posted by Dinah on December 10, 2004, at 21:04:18

It shed some light on the various stressors on my mother when I was an infant. I'd be very surprised if she wasn't at least suffering from some postpartum depression. And I wonder, knowing her, how well she coped with the stress and what affect it might have had on my attachment processes.

Also I remembered that I had been in the hospital for several days. I have specific memories from the hospital. I was just barely three, and I was in for five days of testing after being knocked unconscious in a car accident, and later having "problems" (unspecified) relating to that. Of course in those days my mom wasn't allowed to stay with me. But I insisted on keeping the new stuffed monkey I had gotten a few days before for Christmas, and I made friends with an older girl in the ward.

But what I really hadn't fully processed, and I guess I'm still fully processing, was that it was just six months before that that my mother picked me up and moved me to her parents a couple thousand miles away. Then she left me with my grandparents for a while (I'm guessing at least two weeks) while she went back and packed up and moved the stuff. Which means that at age 2 1/2, I lost my home, my daddy, and for a couple of weeks at least, I must have been sure I lost my mama too.

Then two years later, the process in reverse. Although my father did come up and live with us after a year.

It's not major trauma. But it might shed some light on at least some of my problems with trust and attachment and fears of abandonment that I thought had their roots in later events, or were perhaps totally unjustified.

 

Re: No great insights, I think (long) Dinah

Posted by jane d on December 11, 2004, at 5:32:49

In reply to No great insights, I think (long), posted by Dinah on December 10, 2004, at 21:04:18

> I worked hard on my timeline, and he liked it, but it didn't yield any particularly exciting results. He liked that I left plenty of room in it to add things, and he wants me to continue writing in events as I remember them.
>
> What I did was do two years to a legal size sheet, about half inch a month, with several columns, each having to do with a different part of life. I started it at birth, and ran it through high school. I got info from my baby book, my pediatric records, my school records, and my mother as well as my own recollections. Yes, I had already tracked down those other sources. But it helped to put them side by side on the time line.
>
> The only new piece to the puzzle was the timing of my first period. My pediatrician wrote something like "Patient is unhappy about it. She doesn't want to grow up." Which struck me, since those are almost the exact words I use now. And very emphatically. I can't imagine I actually *told* my pediatrician that. I never told doctors anything.

Dinah,

Given the times it seems far more likely this is something your pediatrician told YOU. Seems to me I remember that floating around in the pop psychology of the day as the reason for cramps. Sheesh! The things those guys come up with!

I did a far less comprehensive timeline for myself awhile back. I meant to show it to my therapist but never got around to it. It was really sketchy - breaking time down by school semester and with no columns - but it did help me see some connections. I really like the idea of leaving space to add things later since I remember different things at different times. I think I may try to do that. If nothing else it would make an interesting twist on a diary - showing how my own ideas of the past change from month to month.

Jane

 

Re: No great insights, I think (long) jane d

Posted by Dinah on December 11, 2004, at 7:02:22

In reply to Re: No great insights, I think (long) Dinah, posted by jane d on December 11, 2004, at 5:32:49

I remember all those interesting theories for so many things that now have been shown to be physical. I wonder how we'll look back on these days.

Well, this one is too deeply ingrained and too spot on to have been planted, I think. But since I can't imagine I told him that, perhaps he came up with it independently. Or perhaps he inferred it from my attitude.

Maybe that's my problem re. the past. My own ideas of the past don't change that much. I'm not altogether proud of how I feel about the past, but it doesn't change much. Except maybe my views of my parents. I vary a lot between thinking they were terrific parents, destructive parents, and somewhere in between. But maybe the explanation was that they *were* terrific parents, and destructive parents, and everywhere in between.

 

Re: No great insights, I think (long)

Posted by daisym on December 12, 2004, at 0:22:17

In reply to No great insights, I think (long), posted by Dinah on December 10, 2004, at 21:04:18

I think what you said about your picture is really interesting. I suspect it is because you saw yourself as how you looked at 8,in you own head, for a long time. Sort of like how we never really feel that we are aging, but when we see pictures we think, gee I need to color my hair! (or something like that.)

I went looking for a picture of myself recently, at about 11 years old. I remembered how my eyes looked so sad in that photo. But still, it was how I saw myself for a long time. I was surprised to see that the next year I was totally smiling and I thought it looked nothing like me.


I think what you said about your attachment interruptions make perfet sense. I think you should keep talking about all of this. I like the timeline idea too. I bet it was helpful.

 

Re: No great insights, I think (long)

Posted by gardenergirl on December 12, 2004, at 17:34:29

In reply to Re: No great insights, I think (long), posted by daisym on December 12, 2004, at 0:22:17

I'm so impressed by how much information you have for you timeline, Dinah. What a wonderful thing to have for you, and perhaps for your son someday, if you feel like sharing it.

gg


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