Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 502661

Shown: posts 1 to 14 of 14. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Voices

Posted by cricket on May 25, 2005, at 9:23:05

I decided to start a new thread rather than intrude on Daisy's age states one above even though the issues seem similar and I do hope you jump in here Daisy.

For me, I've always known about the voices. They've been with me ever since I can remember. They are a few adults and some kids of all ages, both male and female. Sometimes some of them will bring in someone else, either for a short period of time or more long term, I call it sub-contracting, and I don't really know too much about the sub-contractors other than what the main person tells me. The voices do change and develop. But they do seem frozen in age states as Daisy said.

And I've functioned with them all my life. I know what each one likes and dislikes and even though those likes and dislikes are often conflicting I try to attend to each of them as best I can. Yup, there are certainly screaming sessions in my head and at times of extreme stress it feels like the top of my head is coming off, but I've always managed. Never been hospitalized, no meds, a high-pressure job, a husband and child. Of course, I've never been happy and I've never had a real relationship with a real person but high level functional oh yeah no problem there.

But now the problem is that when I am at therapy, the voices have started fighting inside me. Maybe that's a good thing and shows a certain level of attachment to my T, an attachment I intellectually deny. I don't even feel like I like the guy very much most of the time.

Now, this past week, if asked if some of my problems talking are due to the voices screaming inside my head. I said yes, that's true and it is although my silence is really more complicated than that. He said, "So let's play a game and each one can have a session to talk." The problem is that I think it is indeed all a game to my T. I don't think that he has a clue about how I function with all of these people. I feel like he's laughing inside at me. "Let's humor her and see what the voices have to say." The way you might deal with a batty old lady. The other problem is that many of these voices have some pretty nasty stuff to say about him and he won't deal with that very well. One time when one of them (a rebellious, defiant adolescent girl) slipped out and said to him "I don't believe you, I don't believe anything you say. Nada, nada, nada" (that one speaks spanish a lot) he got real quiet and took a piece of paper and tore it up in bits, which felt incredibly aggressive and punitive.

So I don't think I am going to play this "game" of his.

I don't really know much about my T, except that he's a fairly prominent pdoc in a large city. He's been practicing for quite a number of years so I assume he has some experience in my problems or so he claims. I'm not sure that he's the right T for me at all and every time I go there's a part of me that hopes he will just refer me on. But I have invested a lot of time and money with him and I am reluctant just to quit, especially without a referral.

 

Re: Voices cricket

Posted by Jazzed on May 25, 2005, at 11:00:49

In reply to Voices, posted by cricket on May 25, 2005, at 9:23:05

That does sound patronizing to me too. I think I would tell him that it's not a game to you, and that you find it offensive that he would approach you in that manner. He obviously needs to hear something like that. I can understand not wanting to quit, but better to find out now than invest any more of yourself if you find he's not taking you seriously.

Jazz

 

Re: Voices cricket

Posted by thewrite1 on May 25, 2005, at 11:55:32

In reply to Voices, posted by cricket on May 25, 2005, at 9:23:05

My T experienced some counter-transference that she later admitted to, in which she said to me about how she didn't "like playing games." I was really insulted by that and I could tell she felt terrible about it when I replayed her words to her. That's when she said she was sorry and owned the counter-transference. You might just mention that the term "playing games" is not one you're comfortable with or something to that effect and see where it goes from there.

 

Re: Voices cricket

Posted by Daisym on May 25, 2005, at 14:33:55

In reply to Voices, posted by cricket on May 25, 2005, at 9:23:05

Cricket,

I think you need to really feel that your therapist BELIEVES you when you talk about the voices. I suspect the war inside you is exactly as you said, the different parts of you want to talk in therapy. It is the perfect set up for them to be heard. A therapist who is experienced with this will know that one or more of these age states will be angry. So maybe you can ask your therapist how he responds to angry clients.

I think the only way through this is to be as honest as you can about things. And you have to decide if you can live with things the way they are or if you need to work towards integration. There are very different thoughts on this board about that, I want the younger parts of me to integrate so that I don't feel so fragmented. Other people are perfectly OK with being split and it doesn't interfere with their functioning.

One of the technics that really worked for me was "two voice writing." I would ask direct questions of my younger side and write whatever popped into my head. Sort of a stream of consciousness. It was an amazing dialog with myself and I uncovered things I didn't know I'd repressed. It was also a way to try to get comfortable with some of this because I felt like my therapist would think I was nuts...no offense intended.

Sometimes I worry that it is easier for me to have one of these other age states "own" the abuse or the anger or the negative thoughts. My therapist says that is fine, that this is how I've been able to handle things and function. I'm usually very straight forward about taking responsibility for things, so I don't want to duck this. (OK, yes I do.) But so far, these different states really feel like the truth and not a way to duck things.

 

Re: Voices cricket

Posted by Dinah on May 25, 2005, at 14:36:17

In reply to Voices, posted by cricket on May 25, 2005, at 9:23:05

He might have just been trying to make it non-threatening for you. Or trying to imply that he didn't have any expectations for results. Sounds like something my therapist might say, though he'd also explain why, I think. It might be worth asking, since last time you asked you got a good response.

But the paper-tearing thing I don't get. What was his point?

Sometimes it's just not a good fit.

In that case, it's time to apply "sunk cost theory". You can't think of what you have invested in something. That money's gone. You have to balance future investments of time and money against potential return. If it looks like a good investment, go for it. If it doesn't, cut your losses and look for a better one.

 

Re: Voices cricket

Posted by JenStar on May 25, 2005, at 18:43:58

In reply to Voices, posted by cricket on May 25, 2005, at 9:23:05

hi Cricket,
I think it's incredibly interesting that you have voices. I've never had that, and I've always wanted to better understand how it "works." Is it actually like other people talking to you in full sentences & conversations? Is it like you talking to yourself, a you in a different mood? For example, sometimes I talk TO myself: "Oh my god, I forgot to get milk," or "You idiot, it's a red light!" or something like that. But that's ME talking to ME, even if it's not aloud.

I was just wondering if these voices are all YOU or if they seem to you like strangers (I guess old friends by now!) -- but people separate from you.

Do they ever go away? Do you like them? Do other people know about them?

Sorry if these are intrusive questions. I'm just very interested.

JenStar

 

Re: Voices cricket

Posted by JenStar on May 25, 2005, at 18:47:11

In reply to Voices, posted by cricket on May 25, 2005, at 9:23:05

hi Cricket,
I also wanted to say that maybe your T is just tryng to feel out the best way to work with you. It sounds like he's giving you a chance to voice the different voices and see what comes out. I wouldn't worry about offending him, even if you say harsh things. He should be trained & able to deal with that. If he can't, he's definitely not the right T for you. Maybe the tearing paper was a way of thinking aloud? Sometimes I tear or fold things or draw intricate doodles when I'm sort of concentrating - it helps me focus sort of.

Could you ask him what he meant by tearing the paper? Ask if he's be offended to hear negative stuff? Maybe that would clear the way to a more open session. But if he doesn't respond well, that would be a sign that he's not right for you, no matter how well-known he is.

take care!
JenStar

 

Re: Voices

Posted by cricket on May 26, 2005, at 7:15:29

In reply to Voices, posted by cricket on May 25, 2005, at 9:23:05

Jazzed and thewrite1,

You're both right. I should let him know that I don't like his choice of words. I did get a lot of satisfaction the one time that I brought up an issue with the way he was talking to me. It takes such courage on my part though.

 

Re: Voices Daisym

Posted by cricket on May 26, 2005, at 7:45:00

In reply to Re: Voices cricket, posted by Daisym on May 25, 2005, at 14:33:55

Daisy,

You said, "I think you need to really feel that your therapist BELIEVES you when you talk about the voices." Yes, that's absolutely it and that's why the idea of the game so offended me. I don't think he believes me. Did you ever feel that about your therapist? But your voices were discovered in therapy so maybe it's different. I can just imagine me saying to him "I don't want to play because you don't believe me anyway." Then he would reply, in true therapyspeak, "Why do you say that? What makes you think I don't believe you?" Ugh, I hate therapyspeak. Well buddy, how about the way you turn completely around in your chair and face the wall, how about the way you put a scowl on your face. It's not in me to talk to him like that though.

Anyway, I do use the "two voice writing" whenever I know that something is wrong with one of the voices but they are reluctant to talk to me. It helps draw them out. But I do have a lifetime of listening to them so they are fairly fluent in my head.

I definitely don't want to integrate and my therapist knows this, but he probably thinks that there is nothing to integrate anyway. There are parts of me that are capable of doing things that I would not be capable of, there are soothing, comforting parts of me that I will not give up.

 

Re: Voices

Posted by cricket on May 26, 2005, at 8:02:28

In reply to Re: Voices cricket, posted by Dinah on May 25, 2005, at 14:36:17

Hi Dinah,

Yes, to give my therapist his due, I think he was trying to make it nonthreatening. But he didn't explain himself. Also, at one point last session, after a period of silence, where I was trying to quiet the voices, he said to me, "Family meeting?" I nodded and then he said "Just by looking at you, you can think nothing or you can think everything."

What the h*** does that mean? You can think that I'm either an idiot or a raving lunatic. But I think maybe I am oversensitive to people talking about my looks.

The paper tearing really did hurt me though. That I really would like to ask about. I mean it happened quite a while ago, but I think I would like to bring it up as a reason why it's not a good idea just to let these voices speak because that incident proves that he really doesn't react well to negative feedback and they have plenty of that to give to him.

Right now, I feel so detached from my T that at least I'm not suffering the anxiety of going so much anymore. And in some ways that's where Babble helps me most because I see the good working relationships most of you have with your Ts and it helps me to realize that mine just might not be working for me.

 

Re: Voices JenStar

Posted by cricket on May 26, 2005, at 8:45:01

In reply to Re: Voices cricket, posted by JenStar on May 25, 2005, at 18:43:58

JenStar,

Actually, thanks for asking about the voices. I've never really talked about them before and I think it might help me to try and explain them a little.

They definitely have full conversations both with me and with each other. It's not like talking to myself but I also know that they are strictly inside my head and that no one else can hear them. I think my T once said that was one of the things (that I know only I can hear them) that distinguish my voices from ones that schizophrenics hear.

At times it may be similar to saying to yourself "You idiot, it's a red light," but in my case I actually see one of the voices with hands on hips yelling at me "You idiot" and then another one might chime in "She's not an idiot, just stressed," and then one of the kids might start singing or something and someone might start crying.

So maybe that's not all that different from you talking to you just upped several notches in intensity.

However, I think that what may be quite different is the way I allow these voices to run different aspects of my life. There's one, very professional, rational who manages my entire work career, always has. Everyone at work thinks that she's me, but I know that she's not me. She dresses different, she talks different. She likes things that I hate. She thinks that she should be in complete charge of everything. I think that she's a narcissist.

I don't think that other people really know about the voices. Although I did have one boss who said you know you have multiple personalities. Each one has different vocabularies, different tones of voice, different attitudes. I just made a joke out of it and said "Yeah and you get us all for just one salary."

Sometimes when the narcissistic one I described above comes out at home, my husband will just say, "Don't forget, you're not at work" so he does know when someone different is in charge although we've never talked specifically about me being different people.

Most of the time, I can control which voice is in charge of which situation but sometimes one will slip through. Last night for instance, I was digging in the bottom kitchen cabinet for a pot when my son came in and there was just something about peering over the top of a very low cabinet door that brought my little 5 year old out (who doesn't come out often) but she called to my son "Come play with me" and then they got into a chase through the apartment with cups of water which then of course I had to clean up.

Yeah, I do like them, even the difficult ones, just like a parent would like a difficult child. I never want to lose any of them. I just want them to quiet down enough at therapy so I can think clearly and not look like either the idiot or the raving lunatic that I seem to look like at therapy.

Thanks JenStar. This was helpful for me to talk about.


 

Re: Voices cricket

Posted by Dinah on May 26, 2005, at 9:29:45

In reply to Re: Voices Daisym, posted by cricket on May 26, 2005, at 7:45:00

He turns to face the wall? That's not... typical.

Is he perhaps too well known? I've heard tales that very well known and well respected therapists feel very free to be a bit eccentric.

Paper tearing and turning to face the wall do seem a bit punitive, unless he has other reasons and can explain them.

That sort of thing bothers me more than his suggestions. Because you may not be typical in wanting him to believe you about the voices, especially among clients who are reluctant to talk about them, as you seem to be. For a client like me, for example, that approach would work reasonably well because it was less threatening. I wouldn't experience it as disbelief.

But I'd bother asking about the paper and the chair turning even if it's been a while. And you can frame it in terms of safety, if that's how you experience it. Actually, I'd mention anything that bothered me. Because I couldn't do real work until I sorted out the trust issues.

My therapist was reluctant for me to discuss my dissociative symptoms, which are further down the scale than DID, because of past experiences he had had. So he didn't push in any way. Quite the opposite. For a while there he seemed to be trying for extinguishment of any mention of dissociative symptoms by ignoring them (and by a certain stillness and internal turning away - but he didn't mean to show those, and wasn't even aware that he was).

When I talked to him honestly about what I was experiencing from him, and how it was keeping me from being honest with him, he became aware of what he was doing and stopped it.

If your therapist can do that, you'll be in a much better position with him. If he can't, you'll know that it's at least time to look at other alternatives. You don't have to follow up on them. Just know that they're there. I've made a list, several times, of alternate therapists to call.

 

Re: Voices Dinah

Posted by cricket on May 26, 2005, at 12:25:34

In reply to Re: Voices cricket, posted by Dinah on May 26, 2005, at 9:29:45

Hi Dinah,

Let me explain a bit further. He sits on this armless chair and he is really all over the place in it - crossed legged, leaning forward elbows on knees, leaning back, sometimes arms crossed, sometimes not, shoes on, shoes off and sometimes he actually takes his legs and swings them to the side of the chair, sort of side saddle and I get this profile view of him. Sometimes it feels like he just has to create his own space to think in for a moment but when I am talking about something that I am so unsure of safety-wise, it feels like a rejection of whatever I am saying.

Well known? I don't think that many people would recognize his name but I did once read a book by one of his mentors and in the introduction he said that that my therapist was "one of the best minds of his generation". So I think he does feel free to be eccentric.

You said, "When I talked to him honestly about what I was experiencing from him, and how it was keeping me from being honest with him, he became aware of what he was doing and stopped it." That's what I am going to pray about this week. The ability to tell him that next week. How as hard as I am working to trust him, to open up to him, every time I take 2 inches forward, he does something that makes me jump 2 feet back and give him concrete examples of what he does.

 

Re: Voices cricket

Posted by Dinah on May 26, 2005, at 14:19:26

In reply to Re: Voices Dinah, posted by cricket on May 26, 2005, at 12:25:34

That sounds incredibly frustrating.

I'll be praying for you as well. And how he answers and how he follows through on his answers are bound to be educational.


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