Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 426977

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Having hard time with feeling vulnerable

Posted by Poet on December 9, 2004, at 21:54:48

I saw my therapist this morning, became a sobbing mess after a bad job interview, this afternoon, and talked to her tonight. She is seeing me Saturday, too.

On the phone she said that in today's session she could feel my discomfort and withdrawal when she talked about it being okay for me to be supported financially by my husband and emotionally by her.

She wants me to call her when I am upset, let her support me *hold me emotionally.*

Why can't I just let some little part of me say *it's okay to let her give me emotional support, to let her care about me?*

She so obviously wants me to let her *hold* me so to speak and all I feel like doing is calling and canceling Saturday.

She told me that she knows how much I hate myself for feeling vulnerable, but wants to be there for me.

I'll try to accept any support you have to offer. Right now I'm too much of a mess to be of any help to anyone, so sorry if I'm not posting responses.

Poet

 

Re: Having hard time with feeling vulnerable

Posted by antigua on December 9, 2004, at 23:07:11

In reply to Having hard time with feeling vulnerable, posted by Poet on December 9, 2004, at 21:54:48

Poet, please try not to be so hard on yourself. I think you're doing really great.

I understand the uneasiness of "letting" your husband support you financially for a period of time. I feel guilty about it sometimes, but I know this time will pass and once again I will be an equal partner financially.

Also, it's not like you can switch the light on and say, OK I'm going to lean on my T and really trust her to hold me emotionally. That's a big risk, and it often happens gradually. If you build the trust w/her, it will most likely happen. But I could never force it, no matter how hard I tried, and it was very frustrating. You can take baby steps though. Would that make it more manageable? Start w/something you need from her that would be most comfortable asking for?
best,
antigua

 

Re: Having hard time with feeling vulnerable

Posted by daisym on December 10, 2004, at 0:23:22

In reply to Re: Having hard time with feeling vulnerable, posted by antigua on December 9, 2004, at 23:07:11

Poet,

I think you told me recently that you were about 52% attached to your therapist. That is more than 1/2 -way. So slowly but surely, you are getting there.

I'm struggling with this same thing, not knowing how to allow myself to be emotionally supported and trust that I won't get dropped. But it kills me to admit to this struggle. I desperately want to relax this internal guard and give in completely to being cared for. Yesterday my therapist asked "don't you trust me anymore?" He told me how sad he felt that I had pulled away. I was in tears but I can't force it. Neither can you.

Try to let yourself accept the help, even if you have to start your own "pay back when I can" emotional mortgage. That might make it easier for you.

And I'm sorry about the bad job interview. They can just make you feel so horrible. At least you called her to tell her how miserable you are. That to me says you are accepting some of the support she offers, even if ambivolently.

(((Poet))) Take it easy on yourself.

 

Re: Having hard time with feeling vulnerable

Posted by messadivoce on December 10, 2004, at 2:20:59

In reply to Having hard time with feeling vulnerable, posted by Poet on December 9, 2004, at 21:54:48

Hi Poet,

I'm with you--it's hard to post when you're falling apart emotionally. But your post made me want to tell you that even though it's really super scary to be vulnerable to another person, it can be so healing. Even though I had (am having?) a rough termination with my T, I still draw on all the work we did together and I remember how one of the most healing aspects of our relationship was how I could trust him with all my brokenness. He encouraged it, the way your T is encouraging you to be vulnerable and trusting of her. So all I can say is, please giver her a chance. I think she knows it's hard. Take the leap, even though it's frightening. Hang in there.

 

Re: Having hard time with feeling vulnerable Poet

Posted by Aphrodite on December 10, 2004, at 13:32:36

In reply to Having hard time with feeling vulnerable, posted by Poet on December 9, 2004, at 21:54:48

I'm with you -- I'm always living that catch-22; in order to be well, you have to be vulnerable, and sometimes to show vulnerability can make you feel unwell.

In the rare moment, though, when I've let my guard down and let my T in and "selfishly" took all the comfort I could get, I connected and bonded with him in a way that I could take with me and indeed start to heal.

Your T really sounds wonderful and the invitation to let her in is very tempting, is it not? It's so, so hard to not use those old defenses even in the "room" that is supposed to be different. Your persistence in staying in there shows that you will eventually get there. I just know it because you deserve it!

 

Re: Having hard time with feeling vulnerable Poet

Posted by Dinah on December 10, 2004, at 22:26:47

In reply to Having hard time with feeling vulnerable, posted by Poet on December 9, 2004, at 21:54:48

I do like Daisy's idea of an emotional mortgage that you pay back when you can. It might make it easier to accept help now.

Your therapist sounds terrific, but that doesn't mean trust is guaranteed to follow. Sometimes it's a very slow process. I had thought it was complete with my therapist, yet I still sometimes surprise myself by trusting more.

I had my therapist sit in the chair next to me today to read the papers I had brought in. Towards the end of the session, he said something that reminded me that this was the first time I didn't feel really uncomfortable with his sitting closer. In the past, it made me feel really really anxious. When he asked if he should move back to his chair, I asked him if he had noticed that I didn't mind his sitting closer when in the past I had, and also asked if he minded. :) So I suppose trust still has room to grown. lol.

It's a process, and you're proceding nicely with it, don't you think? If you look back to where you were a year ago, I'll bet you'll be impressed with how far you come. With any luck you'll feel the same way next year when you look back to now.

I know the urge to hurry all this up and get it over with, but it doesn't seem to work that way. Drat it.

 

Saw T feeling a little better

Posted by Poet on December 11, 2004, at 11:50:17

In reply to Having hard time with feeling vulnerable, posted by Poet on December 9, 2004, at 21:54:48

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the support, as always you're great. I can't say that I said anything of merit to my T today, but she thought it was still important that I came.

She gives me credit for being able to keep my eating in control and for the last two days not over doing it with wine to feel better. I had only two glasses in two nights, even pdoc would say that's improvement.

When I was a child I provided my own comfort when I was feeling bad or neglected or had something bad done to me. So calling her and then coming to see her is progress and more trust. Even if I don't feel closer to her right now.

I see her next Thursday and I should *please call her if I need her and not to worry about it, just call.*

I asked her if she really wanted that and she said yes. I have another interview Monday, I hope the tears don't come, but I'll have my cell phone with me. I have her home phone number memorized, that's kind of scary for somebody who rarely calls her. Comforting, but scary. By the way, it's okay to call her at home, she gave me the number. She just won't answer in the middle of the night, I would hope I wouldn't call, that's why it's great that babble is open 24/7.

Poet

 

Re: Saw T feeling a little better Poet

Posted by shrinking violet on December 13, 2004, at 17:33:32

In reply to Saw T feeling a little better, posted by Poet on December 11, 2004, at 11:50:17

Poet, I'm sorry you were/are having a harder time, and that I'm just reading about it now.

I have a hard time with that "vulnerability" thing too. I feel it every time I sit in that chair, but it also comes at other times, when I'm one-on-one with someone who's trying to get just a tad too much personal information from me (my doc, the psych I met today for meds, my nutritionist somewhat although it's actually "easiest" talking with her b/c it's more about behaviors and eating stuff). I wish I knew how to make it better, but I'm finding that the more you fight the feeling, the harder it is. I tend to shut-down (as you know, lol), which isn't the greatest thing to do in therapy, and I push my T away a lot, especially emotionally, and now I'm in a place where I just don't want to share anything meaningful with her at all for a lot of reasons (although a lot of that is related to some recent happenings). In general, though, maybe the more you/I give into the vulnerability and push everything and everyone away who makes us feel that way, the harder it gets. And we're just protecting the thing(s) that are making us unhappy, etc, and causing us to need therapy in the first place.

I know it isn't as easy as I'm about to make it sound, but try to let your T in a bit. Try to trust her enough to feel that way with her, at least for the hour or two a week that you're with her. She sounds like she's very devoted to you, and that she does care about you (scary maybe, I know, for me too). Keeping your second appt was a really good step, and those little steps keep adding up. I hope someday you can call your T if you need to, but maybe thinking that far ahead is too scary. Maybe work your way up to it, and at least don't decide NOT to call her ahead of time. ;)

Take care, and be gentle with yourself ok?
Email me if you need anything.

SV

 

Re: Saw T feeling a little better shrinking violet

Posted by Poet on December 13, 2004, at 23:55:56

In reply to Re: Saw T feeling a little better Poet, posted by shrinking violet on December 13, 2004, at 17:33:32

Hi SV,

It's very scary that my therapist cares about me. She understands how afraid I am to let her get close to me. I'd have lost patience with somebody like me along time ago.

You are so right that *we're just protecting the thing(s) that are making us unhappy, etc, and causing us to need therapy in the first place.*

I'm glad that she was there to help get me through my latest mental meltdown. I think that I called her and kept the appointment is one more little step to trusting her.

Keep taking those baby steps, too.

Poet


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