Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 837130

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Therapist in love with me or Im crazy??

Posted by girl33 on June 29, 2008, at 10:27:38

Im new here and I need an advice.

I was seeing a therapist and she was great. Shes a friend of my moms. On the first month of therapy(I dont remember why or in wich ocasion) she mentioned something about me being a lesbian, but I was so shocked she said that that I didnt react to it. I said nothing and changed the subject, and never told her about me being bi. I only told her about my ex boyfriends.

Ok. Anyway. Time passes by and she was always making me compliments about my clothes and my hair and saying Im pretty and so on. It made me very shy but..at the same time, flattered, and.. well, I started to have feelings for her. Shes older (maybe 10 years older) than me, but she looks very young and shes very pretty!. But at the same time I knew that was wrong (to have feelings for her, and at the same time I also felt kind of unconfortable when I went to the sessions, because I noticed I started to select the things I was going to say- for example, I wouldnt want to tell her about I guy who called me during the week, things like that; because I had the fantasy that she was interested in me and I wanted to keep that).

Well, after 3 months of therapy I decided I couldnt deal with it anymore. I thought to myself that it was wrong, and the therapy didnt make sense anymore (because I didnt feel confortable anymore to tell her everything). So I asked my mom to tell her that (since I knew they were going to meet), because I didnt have the courage. And so she did, and when my mom came back home she said that the therapist told her it would be nice that if I could at least call her.

So I called her and she said "Oh Im so glad you called!!", and asked if she could call me back later since she had a client at the time. So she called me later and she has this emotional tone of voice (like she was almost crying?). And I gave her an excuse not to go anymore and she said that I was very special, and so on.. and suddenly she said "I love you very much"- and kept saying other things, but all I could hear was "I love you very much" (and my brain blocked!!).

"I-love-you-very-much"?????????????

I was speechless, but she made it seem that she didnt say nothing much (she said it quickly and continued saying other things, she didnt make a fuss out of it you know what I mean; it was as if she said "I like strawbeeries"- and bla, bla, bla, bla....).

Oh Im so sorry if Im not managing to express mysel correctly, but Im not from USA, my first language is not english.

Anyway.

So that day on the phone I didnt make any comments on the phrase she said, I did like she did: I acted like she didnt say nothing much. But I said I prefered to go see her one more time so I could explain to her why I wanted to quit.

So I went, and still I pretended she didnt say what she said (one "small" detail: shes married, with a man, and has kids- so there was still a part of me thinking that maybe she only said that like a friend would, and not on the romantic way).

And I told her I had to tell her something. Im very shy, so I wrote down in a peace of paper "Im in love with you". She read it and I continued saying that I thought I couldnt be 100% me in the sessions since I had tha feeling (AND since I THOUGHT she had the same feelings too- but I didnt say that, I didnt want to put her in a difficult situation). She respected my opinion, but said that if I changed my mind I could go back there anytime (she did say it was "a very normal thing to happen", but she didnt make much efford tryng to convince me it wasnt a reason to stop therapy).

I didnt have the courage to ask her if she was serious about loving me, or if it was just a friendly sentence, or a caring one, or whatever.

So after one week I decided to call her and ask if she wanted to meet me outise the office for a conversation. And she said my mom knew she was married and that she was not gay and said no (and she had this kind of angry tone of voice-??- as if I was disturbing her too much). But it seemed there was someone beside her at the time I called, and she seemed weird... I dont know.

Anyway, you guys can guess HOW messed up my head it!!! I lost a very good therapist and at the same time I think mayb Im CRAZY??? Am I seeing too much??? OHHHHH GOSH, so many feelings!!! I also feel guilt!! So many complicated feelings!!!

Please tell me if I just phantasysed about her having feelings for me!! What do you think?? Please be honest!! I can handle!

(ooohhh Im SO messed up!!!!!!!!!!!!GOSH it feels terrible!!! And what about the shame???)

 

Re: Therapist in love with me or Im crazy?? girl33

Posted by rskontos on June 29, 2008, at 16:09:48

In reply to Therapist in love with me or Im crazy??, posted by girl33 on June 29, 2008, at 10:27:38

girl33 welcome to babble.

I feel badly no one has answered your post but I must say I don't feel qualified to answer it. IMHO I would say she took advantage of the patient/therapist relationship messed with your head and then regretted because of her relationship with your mother. As for how you feel it is natural for a patient to transfer feelings to their therapist but the therapist should keep the boundaries straight. She did not. She crossed those boundaries and then left you hanging.

You of course feel very messed up because you went to her with issues in the first place and all she did is cause more issues. Now, you have a bigger problem on top of those that are probably still unresolved.

Do not feel shame. You as far as I can see did no wrong. She did. She broke the bounds of professional conduct. I am sorry for that.

I think in your best interest you need a new therapist and to move on. I would be tempted to tell your mom what she did but that is up to you. It might be best just to move on to a new therapist to help clean up this situation.

You need help in moving on I think.

Again, welcome and I am so sorry for how you have been hurt.

rsk

 

Re: Girl33, welcome and long reply...

Posted by Lucie Lu on June 29, 2008, at 16:13:14

In reply to Therapist in love with me or Im crazy??, posted by girl33 on June 29, 2008, at 10:27:38

Hi Girl33, and welcome to babble! It sounds like you have a host of painful and conflicted feelings for your therapist and your interactions with her. I know that these feelings can be very powerful and cause a lot of discomfort, to put it mildly. I admit that taking everything in your post at face value makes her behavior sound potentially unacceptable. However, especially in therapy but in other relationships as well, there are a great many grey areas and potential miscues when two people are trying to communicate on a deep level. Considering other possible interpretations may be helpful. No one but you can know what happened in therapy but I'd like to raise a things and hope they will be helpful to you. Here goes:

First and foremost, ***you did absolutely nothing wrong!*** Feelings of love, even romantic or sexual love, for one's therapist are completely normal and happen frequently in therapy. Really, it is not at all surprising to develop such feelings: here you are in an intimate setting, hour after hour, with someone who mirrors the best things about you, unconditionally accepts you, expresses warmth and understanding, and is devoted exclusively to your welfare. For some sorts of therapy, e.g. psychodynamic, the strong positive feelings that develop are important because the strength of a therapeutic bond is a critical factor in healing. But if you read through postings on this board (you can search the archives, too) you will see that many, many patients do struggle with powerful feelings about their T's. Working through these feelings can be profoundly therapeutic since they represent what happens with your outside life too. Except that in real life, you rarely have an opportunity to openly express ALL of your feelings, positive and negative, with the people in your life. But in therapy, you can do exactly that and together with your T work on understanding the ways in which you relate, intimately or otherwise, to other people. As you have discovered, when your feelings take on a romantic or sexual tone, which is often independent even of sexual orientation, it can be especially uncomfortable for you and induce uncomfortable feelings like embarrassment, shame, frustration, longing, or rejection. These responses too are normal and can be very useful to work with. But believe me, therapists are professionals and very used to it. A good T will be both unfazed and supportive, happy that you trust them enough to express such deep feelings.

Having said that about your feelings while therapists can and do develop tangible feelings of warmth, affection, and concern for their patients, therapists' feelings are not typically sexual or romantic in the usual therapeutic relationship. Even if there were such feelings within the T, those feelings should be kept private and are not expressed to you or acted upon. (I know from this board there may be exceptions but I'm talking about the norm so please don't take this as implied criticism.) While some T's do openly express caring and loving feelings for their patients - and your T may be one of them other therapists may not openly express their loving feelings to you, either because it is simply not their style or they may think it is not be good for your therapy. Perhaps in complimenting you, your T is trying to build up your self esteem and give you confidence since you say you are shy. In saying she loves you (although I agree that these are strong words and I would never hear from my own T; it's not his style, though sometimes I wish it were!) perhaps she just wants to reassure you that she sincerely cares about you and wants to help you, if you feel you can return to therapy. She also may be more likely to use the stronger wording because she is your mother's friend, more like family.

I might guess that your therapist sounded aloof when you asked to meet her outside of the office because she viewed it as a potential boundary crossing, one that would be untherapeutic if she agreed to it. If so, this may actually be a good sign that she has your welfare in mind. If so, then yes, you might feel embarrassed but a good T would be very understanding, accepting, and compassionate if you were to open up about the feelings and perceptions that led you to make such a suggestion in the first place. If she is a good T, she will welcome the opportunity to help you examine your feelings and responses in depth as part of your therapy. And don't worry merely making such a suggestion is not wrong either. I once read, and it is true, that as patients it is our job to try to push their buttons and boundaries and their job to see that we don't (was this from In Session?). So you see, nothing you did was wrong.

Girl33, please realize that I am not ruling out your first impression that she really is making moves on you. You may be correct, in which case you might be better finding another T asap! I am just raising other possibilities and contexts to consider her behavior in. Our prior experiences and relationships, as well as our own subjective feelings, cannot help but color how we interpret our interactions with our T's, and talking about these honestly can be the core of the therapy. You have to decide whether you can or want to open up an honest dialogue about feelings, mutual or otherwise, that you find painful or uncomfortable. Alternatively, you can try to find a different T who does not evoke these particular feelings in you maybe someone less pretty, more motherly or fatherly, etc. You certainly should not stay in an unproductive therapeutic relationship simply because of the family connection.

In a nutshell, if the feelings your T expresses about you make you extremely uncomfortable, you ultimately have two options. You can decide to discuss the situation openly and honestly (at some point) with your T or change T's altogether. Therapy is supposed to provide a safe haven where you can bare your soul and not feel threatened, whatever the reason. Again, your feelings are NOT unacceptable, unusual, or unspeakable or even uncommon! Examining them may be very relevant to your therapy but only if you feel safe enough with your T to do so.

Again welcome to the board and keep us posted!

Good luck, Lucie L

 

Re: Therapist in love with me or Im crazy??

Posted by girl33 on June 29, 2008, at 17:00:05

In reply to Therapist in love with me or Im crazy??, posted by girl33 on June 29, 2008, at 10:27:38

Oh my God, Im so glad you two answered!.. Id never expect to be so welcomed!. Thank you so, so, so very much!!!

Rskontos,thank you so much for your kind words!. And nooooo I absolutelly would never tell my mom about what happened! I think maybe my mom would be mad.. plus I know it might be bad for her career, the last thing I want to do is to do that!!

As I said, she (my ex T) really was a very, very nice person. And IF she really meant "I love you" in the romantic way, what can I say?? Shes human!! Plus I could see she was hurting sometimes (I could catch a look in her eyes- during therapy; I dont know how to explain). I think that at the least she maybe felt guilt too. So as I felt because of the fact that she has a husband. Id never, ever had a relationship with someone whos married.

But this whole thing HURTS!!!!

I swear to you, it hurts sooooooooo much to be away from her!

I know some of you know what I mean, but in my case I cant go on with the therapy anymore, neither I can see her, because its all messed up already!...

=(

Lucie Lu, thank you also sooooooo much for taking the time to answer me in such an elaborated way. Thank you, really!!

And you said the things that I didnt write before in the first post I wrote, because I thought it was already too long (lol)!.. But I was about to write that too: about my suspicious that she said that more in a "motherly" way, a "caring" way, and not a romantic one.

That could also be the case, even because my T mentioned she went through a lot of things I also went through. We have such alike stories, so maybe she saw me kind of a "friend" (even though we never met as friends, we only met in the sessions, but shed mention this or that; my mom also told me some things).

Well, I wont go see her anymore, I cant handle it.. Im also feeling bad about the whole thing (the way she was, mad when I called her). But I think maybe it would be a nice idea to go see another therapist, one that, like you said, is more of a father or mother figure. That would be a good idea.

Well, once again thank you both very, very much!.. I jst wanted to hear opinions because I really was really messed up.

But even IF she had feelings for me I wouldnt do nothing, ever, to harm her career. I just feel bad about all this (cant believe it happened to me- hey you might think this is a good thing, but its teeeeeeerible, because now I cant even love her platonically, because I cant go to sessions anymore!!!! =( Theres nothing, nothing left!!!)

Once again thank you both SO much for the caring responses, all the best to you!..

 

Re: Therapist in love with me or Im crazy?? girl33

Posted by Lucie Lu on June 29, 2008, at 19:27:42

In reply to Re: Therapist in love with me or Im crazy??, posted by girl33 on June 29, 2008, at 17:00:05

Girl33, nearly all of us have felt the same as you one time or another! These relationships are sooo powerful, with potential to heal and to hurt, and the second can be a real b**ch, can't it?

Given your strong reactions to this T, finding a less-triggering one might be the best move. You can always return to this T in the future if you choose to, since you thought she was good.

Another thing to mention, one that my T has had to drum into my head again and again - it's not always about you, Lucie, he'll say. He is honest enough to tell me whether it is me or not and we've had some interesting miscues over the years. Sometimes I'd detect a reaction or some emotion in him or hear something in his voice over the phone. I'd interpret it in the context of our interaction and stew about it, only to find out later that it was something totally unrelated. Since he's "with me" (paying attention and empathizing) most of the time, I notice when he acts unusual and, like most of us, assume it is something to do with me (after all, it IS my session!). He says I'm very perceptive - easily detect nuances of his emotions - but don't necessarily know where they are coming form so often don't ascribe the correct meaning. One time I was convinced I'd hurt him badly because of the look on his face at the end of the session. It turned out he was dreading having go to court after my appt to testify in a custody case. Another time, he'd had a fight over the phone with his best friend (wife?) just before my appt; another time he was angry because his car got towed. Squirming during sessions that I thought was due to strong emotions turned out to be due to a sore back. Who knows, maybe it was really hemorrhoids but sore back sounded better! LOL- But they are human and have lives and work outside of us. Your T may have been with someone and they may have been in the middle of a session or other emotional thing themselves (an argument?) when you called. So always remember that we do see things through the filters of our own subjectivity.

Let us know how it's going. Looking forward to hearing how your search for a new T goes! Best of luck.
-Lucie

 

Re: Therapist in love with me or Im crazy?? girl33

Posted by sunnydays on June 29, 2008, at 22:41:46

In reply to Therapist in love with me or Im crazy??, posted by girl33 on June 29, 2008, at 10:27:38

I can't tell from your post. It's too hard not being there in person. My T has told me he loves me (he's male, I'm female), but it was very clearly in more of a fatherly way and didn't get in the way of our relationship at all. I had told him I loved him first, and it was just a confirmation. None of it was sexual, though, so it was a different sort of case. Have you heard of transference? It sounds to me that *might* be what's going on here, for either you, or her, or both of you.

But it's too hard for me to tell. Whatever, it sounds like she's not a good fit for you from what you have said, and like you don't feel you would benefit in continuing to see her. So I think you should listen to yourself for the answer as to what is best to do.

sunnydays

 

Re: Therapist in love with me or Im crazy??

Posted by sassyfrancesca on June 30, 2008, at 9:45:56

In reply to Re: Therapist in love with me or Im crazy?? girl33, posted by sunnydays on June 29, 2008, at 22:41:46

Number One: She should NOT have a conversation with anyone else about you (your mom). This is an ethical violation.

I am so sorry for your misery, sweetie.

Hugs, Sassy

 

I would look for another therapist

Posted by Franz on July 1, 2008, at 20:22:43

In reply to Re: Therapist in love with me or Im crazy?? girl33, posted by rskontos on June 29, 2008, at 16:09:48

One that is not related to your mother.


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