Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 546656

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Why am I so incompetent?

Posted by Tamar on August 25, 2005, at 18:44:49

Iíve been having a bit of transference/termination trouble the last couple of weeks. Iíve been missing him so much: itís been five months since I saw his face, or heard his voice. I miss his laughÖ I keep thinking I see him and then I realise itís someone of a similar height and build. Iíve mistaken five men for him in the last two days. Iíve been trying to ride it out, but yesterday I found myself missing watching the back of his head as I walked behind him to his office!

So I figured it was time to reach for my secret symbolic pillar-of-support. He left me a message on my answering machine last October (the only message he ever left). I kept the tape (it was a really old answering machine!) and put it in a drawer in case I ever needed to hear his voice. And all this time I havenít listened to it: I was saving it for when I felt I really needed it. And I felt I really needed it today.

So I went out and bought a dictation machine that uses the same kind of tapes. And I got my tape out of the drawer and listened to it.

And what I heard was twelve messages from nearly a year ago: my husband telling me he was on his way home and stuff like that. But no therapist. The message wasnít there. I donít know how it happened. Did I somehow let the machine record over the message? Did I get my tapes confused? Iíve searched the house and havenít found another tape from the answering machine. I donít know how I made the mistake but somehow I screwed up.

All this time Iíve believed I had a small reminder of him: something tangible with which to remember him. And now it turns out I donít. I feel as if Iíve lost him completely.

Many tearsÖ

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar

Posted by Dinah on August 25, 2005, at 19:13:54

In reply to Why am I so incompetent?, posted by Tamar on August 25, 2005, at 18:44:49

ARrrghhh...

I don't think you're incompetent. That sort of thing happens to everyone, and it's really frustrating and painful. I'm sorry you don't have that tangible reminder. :(

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent?

Posted by daisym on August 25, 2005, at 20:00:11

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar, posted by Dinah on August 25, 2005, at 19:13:54

I have tears for you too. I'm so sorry. Don't blame yourself, I do stuff like that all the time.

Is there anyway at all that you could call your old therapist, leave a message about whatever and record his call back? Can you orchestrate a "do over"? Maybe not...

I know how important those tangible things are. But his essence is still with you, you haven't lost him completely. You never will. And it occurs to me if it got this important, maybe it is time to think about returning to therapy. I know you've said you still have a few things to work on, and I'm sorry, I don't remember if your therapist stopped practicing or moved or if you can return to work with him for a little while. It's just a thought...

((((Tamar))))

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar

Posted by annierose on August 25, 2005, at 20:17:23

In reply to Why am I so incompetent?, posted by Tamar on August 25, 2005, at 18:44:49

I don't have much to add to Dinah and Daisy's posts, but I have done stuff like that too. It's so frustrating and disappointing. So sorry that your tangible reminder was erased, or lost. But you can call his office after hours and hear his machine (well, if he has a machine).

What type of therapy did he practice? Did he leave the door open for you to return?

I hope you feel better soon. Don't be hard on yourself. It happens to all of us.

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ daisym

Posted by Tamar on August 25, 2005, at 20:23:06

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent?, posted by daisym on August 25, 2005, at 20:00:11

> I have tears for you too. I'm so sorry. Don't blame yourself, I do stuff like that all the time.

Yeah, I make plenty of mistakes. I just wish I hadn't made *this* one. Sigh.

> Is there anyway at all that you could call your old therapist, leave a message about whatever and record his call back? Can you orchestrate a "do over"? Maybe not...

You know, I thought about doing just that. But I wondered if it would be cheating in some way. And actually, he probably wouldn't call me back unless I had an actual reason for calling him. And I'm a useless liar. I'd end up blurting out, "Please would you call my answering machine and leave a message so I have a recording of your voice." Argh!

> I know how important those tangible things are. But his essence is still with you, you haven't lost him completely. You never will. And it occurs to me if it got this important, maybe it is time to think about returning to therapy. I know you've said you still have a few things to work on, and I'm sorry, I don't remember if your therapist stopped practicing or moved or if you can return to work with him for a little while. It's just a thought...

You're right. There's still something of him with me, even without the tape. And I could go see him again. But I've been trying to avoid it because I think I'm still in some denial about the end of therapy. I don't want to give in to my mind's stupid games. I've been having therapy fantasies and I think it's just an attempt to avoid the reality of the end of the relationship. Most of the time I'm fine and don't think about him too much. But I'm anxious about work stuff at the moment, and my so-called mind is playing tricks on me. I would love to go back and see him, but I'm afraid my motives aren't the purest. And I would have to say goodbye again...

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar

Posted by Damos on August 25, 2005, at 21:30:33

In reply to Why am I so incompetent?, posted by Tamar on August 25, 2005, at 18:44:49

Hey Tamar got something for you.

((((((((((Tamar))))))))))

Can really feel how wobbly you are right now. If you're anything like me you're probably kicking the cr*p out of your self about the tape. But don't okay, we all do things like that.

Maybe just maybe it was the universes way of proving that you don't really need the tape to be okay. Just it's little way of saying that it's not the tape that's important but what you carry inside you. I've never seen you or actually spoken to you (my loss I'm sure) but I can carry you with me every minute of the day and draw on that any time I need to. I don't even need to be conscious of you being there because you just are. You can get to a place like that with him. You can. Where you can just call up what you need to at the time and just enjoy the rememberance. And give a silent thanks for him being there. G*d I talk a lot of cr*p don't I?

Well just in case you need another. (((((Tamar)))))

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar

Posted by fairywings on August 26, 2005, at 8:34:30

In reply to Why am I so incompetent?, posted by Tamar on August 25, 2005, at 18:44:49

Aw, that's so sad. I'm amazed that you were able to hold out for so long, believing that the tape contained something so precious, w/o listening to it, and I'm sorry his voice wasn't on it. I know that must have been so hard. I've found the only way I get over one person is with another, anyway to put another person in his spot? Teacher, mentor, boss, neighbor, friend? Someone to help and guide you in some way?
(((hugs)))
and you're not incompetent, anything could have happened!
fw

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar

Posted by cricket on August 26, 2005, at 12:29:01

In reply to Why am I so incompetent?, posted by Tamar on August 25, 2005, at 18:44:49

Oh Tamar.

I think I read somewhere that you only did therapy for 6 months. Is that right? Was it once a week or more often?

It just seems like such a short time to get anything accomplished. I don't think I told my therapist my name in the first six months I was there :-)

I guess I'm a little confused.

Why can't you call your therapist up and just say, "I'm not sure what's going on with me, but you keep on popping into my head and I was wondering if I could see you again for a few sessions."

Maybe you've talked about this before and I missed it?

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Dinah

Posted by Tamar on August 27, 2005, at 4:50:40

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar, posted by Dinah on August 25, 2005, at 19:13:54

> ARrrghhh...
>
> I don't think you're incompetent. That sort of thing happens to everyone, and it's really frustrating and painful. I'm sorry you don't have that tangible reminder. :(

Thanks Dinah. I'm still a bit annoyed at myself. However, I'm starting to think that maybe the tape wouldn't have given me what I really wanted...


 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ annierose

Posted by Tamar on August 27, 2005, at 4:53:51

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar, posted by annierose on August 25, 2005, at 20:17:23

> I don't have much to add to Dinah and Daisy's posts, but I have done stuff like that too. It's so frustrating and disappointing. So sorry that your tangible reminder was erased, or lost. But you can call his office after hours and hear his machine (well, if he has a machine).

Thanks Annierose. I don't think he has a machine - the one time I called there was no machine... But know knows? Maybe he has one by now. I'll have to call at midnight or something - imagine if he answered!

> What type of therapy did he practice? Did he leave the door open for you to return?

Yeah, I could go back, but I think at the moment I'm trying to accept that it's over, so going back would perhaps be counterproductive.

> I hope you feel better soon. Don't be hard on yourself. It happens to all of us.

Thanks again. I know it will pass... I think I might drive by his office a couple of times and have a good cry. And then I'll start concentrating on work!

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Damos

Posted by Tamar on August 27, 2005, at 4:59:11

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar, posted by Damos on August 25, 2005, at 21:30:33

> Hey Tamar got something for you.
>
> ((((((((((Tamar))))))))))

Thanks Damos. Hugs are great, eh?

> Can really feel how wobbly you are right now. If you're anything like me you're probably kicking the cr*p out of your self about the tape. But don't okay, we all do things like that.

Itís true. And itís not the first mistake Iíve made in life. And I highly doubt it will be the last!

> Maybe just maybe it was the universes way of proving that you don't really need the tape to be okay. Just it's little way of saying that it's not the tape that's important but what you carry inside you. I've never seen you or actually spoken to you (my loss I'm sure) but I can carry you with me every minute of the day and draw on that any time I need to. I don't even need to be conscious of you being there because you just are. You can get to a place like that with him. You can. Where you can just call up what you need to at the time and just enjoy the rememberance. And give a silent thanks for him being there. G*d I talk a lot of cr*p don't I?

Nah, thatís not cr*p. Youíre absolutely right. I can call up something of him. I like the idea that you might carry me with you. Itís comforting. Iíll carry you with me tooÖ.

> Well just in case you need another. (((((Tamar)))))

Thanks, that helps a lot. Hereís one for you too: (((((Damos)))))


 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ fairywings

Posted by Tamar on August 27, 2005, at 5:05:37

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar, posted by fairywings on August 26, 2005, at 8:34:30

> Aw, that's so sad. I'm amazed that you were able to hold out for so long, believing that the tape contained something so precious, w/o listening to it, and I'm sorry his voice wasn't on it. I know that must have been so hard.

Yeah. I canít believe I thought it was there when all along it wasnít. But maybe thinking it was there was enough. If Iíd discovered my mistake four months ago it would probably have been much worse!

> I've found the only way I get over one person is with another, anyway to put another person in his spot? Teacher, mentor, boss, neighbor, friend? Someone to help and guide you in some way?

Yeah! It reminds me of that quote usually attributed to Mae West: ďThe best way to get over a man is to get under a man.Ē Itís always worked for me! Mind you, Iím not sure I should develop the sort of feelings for my boss that I had for my therapistÖ Iíd never get any work done! But yeah, maybe I can find someone to project or transfer some of it onto!

Thanks for the hugs. I like hugs!

Tamar

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ cricket

Posted by Tamar on August 27, 2005, at 5:20:40

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar, posted by cricket on August 26, 2005, at 12:29:01

> Oh Tamar.
>
> I think I read somewhere that you only did therapy for 6 months. Is that right? Was it once a week or more often?

Yes, it was six months. And it was mostly once a week, though from time to time it was two weeks, and once it was an incredibly long four weeks!

> It just seems like such a short time to get anything accomplished. I don't think I told my therapist my name in the first six months I was there :-)

I was so depressed when I started therapy and I knew it would have to be a short term thing so I forced myself to say lots of stuff that I probably wouldnít have said so soon in long term therapy. It was pretty intense. I did feel quite quickly that I could trust him, so that helped of course. And I feel that I made a huge amount of progress in quite a short time.

> I guess I'm a little confused.
>
> Why can't you call your therapist up and just say, "I'm not sure what's going on with me, but you keep on popping into my head and I was wondering if I could see you again for a few sessions."

Iíve thought about doing that. Part of whatís stopping me is that Iím not really depressed. And also I think Iím trying to make it through the grieving process; I think I spend a lot of time in denial, and I think moving toward accepting can only happen if I donít see him again. The thought of seeing him again is part of the denial.

Iím also starting to think that Iím finding it a bit hard because getting so much done in six months meant having a fairly intense transference going on, which on reflection seems almost inevitable in the circumstances. But we never talked about it; I think he was using methods and techniques that are supposed to keep the focus of therapy away from transference. So I guess Iíve been trying to work through that since termination. And thatís probably not ideal. I suppose I could see him specifically to try to deal with that. But the idea of seeing him specifically to resolve transference issues is frankly terrifying! Iíd rather eat my own ears.

But of course, I might have got it all backwards or somethingÖ

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent?

Posted by LauraBeane on August 27, 2005, at 12:38:37

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ fairywings, posted by Tamar on August 27, 2005, at 5:05:37

> > Aw, that's so sad. I'm amazed that you were able to hold out for so long, believing that the tape contained something so precious, w/o listening to it, and I'm sorry his voice wasn't on it. I know that must have been so hard.
>
> Yeah. I canít believe I thought it was there when all along it wasnít. But maybe thinking it was there was enough. If Iíd discovered my mistake four months ago it would probably have been much worse!

I'm sure you are right. There's a children's story somewhere about a family that is poor. Whenever there is something the little girl really wants, the grownups ask, should we get out the money jar? Is it that important for you to have this thing that you want? She always decides that even though the thing would be nice to have, it's not important enough to get out the money jar, which holds all their savings in the world. When the little girl grows up, she discovers that there never was a money jar hidden under the floor. The grownups didn't have enough money to save, but they wanted her to feel safe. And she did.

I'm sorry you didn't find the tape. But that voice from the past has got to be bittersweet. maybe not finding it spared you from something too.

Best,
Laura

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ LauraBeane

Posted by Tamar on August 28, 2005, at 13:20:22

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent?, posted by LauraBeane on August 27, 2005, at 12:38:37

Thanks Laura. I hadnít heard that story before. Itís pretty apt in my circumstances!

I think youíre rightÖ hearing his voice would have been bittersweet. And maybe not finding it is for the best.

I finally realised what I did wrong and how the machine recorded over it. Somehow knowing where I went wrong makes it a little easier. At least I know Iíll never make the same mistake again; Iíll have to make a different mistake next time. Not that thereís going to be a next timeÖ

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ Tamar

Posted by cricket on August 29, 2005, at 9:38:55

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ cricket, posted by Tamar on August 27, 2005, at 5:20:40

> Iíve thought about doing that. Part of whatís stopping me is that Iím not really depressed. And also I think Iím trying to make it through the grieving process; I think I spend a lot of time in denial, and I think moving toward accepting can only happen if I donít see him again. The thought of seeing him again is part of the denial.
>
Okay, but he doesn't only see depressed people, right?

So you had a really intense transference for six months. You had all sorts of feelings including sexual ones. So now you've cut off all contact so you can grieve through all those feelings that you knew all along would never be realized.

But what if just the opposite is happening? What if cutting off all contact has sort of frozen him in god land?

What if you went back to see him for a few sessions and the time that has elapsed and the fact that you are no longer depressed gives you a different perspective?

Did that ever happen with a boyfriend? You know you think they are the greatest but they don't quite adore you in the same way. Then some time elapses and you see them again, and you think "what was I thinking!"

Not that would completely happen with your therapist. I mean you would always be grateful for everything he's done for you. But I think that maybe the feelings might be more manageable.

> Iím also starting to think that Iím finding it a bit hard because getting so much done in six months meant having a fairly intense transference going on, which on reflection seems almost inevitable in the circumstances. But we never talked about it; I think he was using methods and techniques that are supposed to keep the focus of therapy away from transference. So I guess Iíve been trying to work through that since termination. And thatís probably not ideal. I suppose I could see him specifically to try to deal with that. But the idea of seeing him specifically to resolve transference issues is frankly terrifying! Iíd rather eat my own ears.
>
Yeah, me too. But you don't have to go back for transference issues. You could tell him now that you're no longer depressed you're thinking of ways that you'd like to change. You're feeling the lack of certain kinds of friendships in your life or something like that.

Tamar, please ignore all this if it doesn't apply. I know our issues are a bit different so I may have no idea what I'm talking about.

But it seems like you may be a bit punitive on yourself. You got some much out of therapy and your therapist that maybe you think you've used up your allotment :-)

Are you afraid that he won't be glad to hear from you? But aren't you glad to hear from old students?

 

Re: Why am I so incompetent?

Posted by LauraBeane on August 31, 2005, at 10:05:15

In reply to Re: Why am I so incompetent? Ľ LauraBeane, posted by Tamar on August 28, 2005, at 13:20:22

Hi Tamar,

sorry I missed your reply at first. Excellent that you were able to figure out what happened to the tape. That's the kind of thing that really bothers me -- not understanding what happened. Knowing makes all the difference, doesn't it.

Best,
Laura


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