Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 915379

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I really could use a hug

Posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 9:31:24

In reply to Re: :(, posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 9:28:23

My beloved therapist is turning into someone else entirely in my mind. My safe, calm, placid, newfoundland of a therapist is turning into something else.

 

Re: :( Dinah

Posted by deerock on September 2, 2009, at 11:08:54

In reply to Re: :(, posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 9:28:23

Dinah,

I know what you mean about your therapist mommy.

I often have the first appointment of the day with my therapist and I am used to coming into a clean, cool, crisp office.

Some days, when I need a later appointment, I come in, there is a box of tissues on the couch, the pillows are moved around and I can smell the scent of other people having been in the room. Big deal, right? Of course the therapist has other clients.

Nonetheless, I make comments about someone else having been in "MY" therapists office.

 

Re: :( deerock

Posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 11:45:18

In reply to Re: :( Dinah, posted by deerock on September 2, 2009, at 11:08:54

I hate when the sofa is still warm, or when I can smell perfume. And I always rearrange the sofa cushions so that my corner spot is available. I laugh when I do it, and compare it to dogs marking their territory.

But...

I know it's naive, but somehow I never thought of my therapist treating people who exposed themselves to children, or worse. I try to be nonjudgmental, but that just bothers me. He has to have positive feelings about a client to do good work with them. He's told me that. So that means he has positive feelings about clients who very well might be creepy library guy. Or worse.

I try not to be judgmental about people. I believe in redemption, and I believe that people are more than the worst thing they do.

But that my therapist enters into positive therapeutic alliances with someone who traumatized me, or someone like him, bothers me.

I guess maybe I'm being wrong or judgmental in that, but he's my therapist mommy, and he's supposed to protect people from the creepy library guys of the world. Down deep in the simplest part of me, I feel that way.

 

I suppose I'm being silly

Posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 17:21:30

In reply to Re: :( deerock, posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 11:45:18

It only makes sense that therapists deal with abusers as well as the abused.

I guess I just never thought of it before.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly

Posted by annierose on September 2, 2009, at 18:50:20

In reply to I suppose I'm being silly, posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 17:21:30

It would bother me too Dinah. I don't think you are being silly. It's an honest feeling - and true.

Can you talk to your t about it?

I have opposite politically feelings than my therapist and that bothers me. We do talk about it - but it still bothers me.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly annierose

Posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 19:21:24

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly, posted by annierose on September 2, 2009, at 18:50:20

I don't think opposite political opinions would bother me. I have good friends who don't agree with me politically, and there are a good number of people I don't like overmuch who do agree with me politically. I tend to believe that good people can disagree about the best way to obtain goals that we would all agree on.

I'm having trouble framing that with molesters though. I mean, I suppose I could consider that my therapist is trying to protect the innocent by trying to stop the behaviors. But... I think about what he tells me about the guy at the library, and then realize he must say something else entirely when he's talking to some exhibitionist who targets children. I guess he could hate the behavior while still maintaining a positive relationship with the person. I know he could.

But...

Do you think he's *my* therapist with those people? Is he the same as he is with me? How could he be? Does he smile the same smile? Does he say "I know" as softly and with such humor and understanding?

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly

Posted by henrietta on September 2, 2009, at 19:22:38

In reply to I suppose I'm being silly, posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 17:21:30

How about thinking of it as the ultimate "protection"? He's trying to help the creepy library guy never do that again to little dinah.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly henrietta

Posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 19:25:56

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly, posted by henrietta on September 2, 2009, at 19:22:38

I'm going to try really hard to think of it that way.

 

trying hard Dinah

Posted by henrietta on September 2, 2009, at 20:18:41

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly henrietta, posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 19:25:56

I can't think of any other way to think of it. I've had any number of creepy lg experiences, and some getting much more threatening than creepy, but I've always felt so much pity for the perpetrator's pain, and thought "Why didn't somebody help him?"----First for his sake, and then, in anger, for mine. If somebody had helped him I wouldn't have had to go through this. But the larger picture is always the really dangerous folk you see on the news or on L&O SVU :)----I always think: If they'd been helped all this pain could have been avoided or at least minimized.

If I had a therapist who was doing that good work, I'd only hold him in higher esteem.

 

Re: trying hard henrietta

Posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 21:54:13

In reply to trying hard Dinah, posted by henrietta on September 2, 2009, at 20:18:41

I might be thinking of it in terms of the wrong person. I didn't feel at all sorry for that person. My knowledge of him was limited to that one aspect of him. I was in some ways an outspoken and assertive child, but in other ways I was passive and a perfect target. He represents the latter. And he became a symbol in my mind of all sorts of things.

I suppose if I knew him in some other context, I might feel sorrier for him, and be glad that someone would be treating him. In fact, over my life I have discovered that a couple of acquaintances have been arrested for things even worse, but because I knew them elsewhere, I was able to see them differently and retain compassion for them.

I suppose I'm looking at this through a distorted lens. Maybe after I talk to him, he'll resume his normal aspect in my mind.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah

Posted by onceupon on September 2, 2009, at 22:22:36

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly annierose, posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 19:21:24

"Do you think he's *my* therapist with those people? Is he the same as he is with me? How could he be? Does he smile the same smile? Does he say "I know" as softly and with such humor and understanding?"

No, I don't think so. I don't think he could be *your* therapist with anyone else, because who he is as *your* therapist is defined by your relationship, not just him as a therapist. Does that make sense?

Not that I don't understand your distress. It's so much easier to feel reasonable about other people's concerns!

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly onceupon

Posted by Daisym on September 3, 2009, at 1:05:43

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah, posted by onceupon on September 2, 2009, at 22:22:36

Wow - this is one of those things I'd really wish I didn't know. Because I'd be having a huge tantrum around this. In fact, I've had this conversation with my therapist and it sort of goes: "how could you hear all my pain and then sit with someone who caused this pain and have empathy for them?" My therapist tells me he chooses not to work with the perpetrators - but of course, this could be just to soothe me.

But I don't think the style a therapist adopts with someone like you would be the same as with someone who was hurting people. There would need to be accountability and strong boundaries. So he *isn't* the same therapist you have.

And since you had to fight to relationship with him, I don't think he "bonds" easily with clients - and can't imagine him feeling fondly for anyone else. But if he is good at helping people stop bad behaviors, then thank goodness he is willing to engage with them.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly onceupon

Posted by workinprogress on September 3, 2009, at 1:29:48

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah, posted by onceupon on September 2, 2009, at 22:22:36

Dinah-

I don't think you're being silly at all. I understand having really hard feelings come up about that. But I think some of the previous posters might be on to something in thinking that it really is something and important, particularly to survivors, that someone is trying to work with perpetrators in order to stop the abuse. If he succeeds with just one of these folks, someone can be saved from what so many here have suffered. And, my guess is that it is probably from some place of wanting to stop the abuse, rather than sympathy for the perpetrator, that he chose the work focus he did.

It might be interesting to talk to him about why he made that decision in terms of his focus. My guess is that it might be to prevent the very abuse he works to ... hmm, what's the word, I suppose heal/come to terms with, in his other clients.

That said, I *so* get it being *really* hard to reconcile positive regard, warm feelings, and love that you feel from your therapist mommy, with him having similar (though not the same) interactions with these particular clients. But, I bet so much of the cycle of abuse is from the absence of those things (and abuse towards them as well), such that those warm feelings that you might not think such individuals warrant, are actually essential to healing for those persons. In fact, the absence in some part probably contributed to the cycle, as such, continuing to deny such feelings and acceptance to a person could actually perpetuate the cycle.

So.. yeah, that got really circular and intellectual- I think even I, not a survivor except for emotional abuse and neglect which doesn't quite count, have to intellectualize it a bit in order to be ok. But, my thought really is that I bet if you talked to your therapist about why he does the work he does, why he works with these folks, well, I just guess you'll feel better about it. Seems that's what almost always happens when we talk it through. But my guess is (without being a mind reader) that he's doing it to take some part in stopping that cycle, protecting future Dinahs...

Again... not to say your feelings aren't fine (they are your feelings after all) and natural. I can imagine I'd feel the same way. Maybe just another perspective/angle from which to view it...

Hang in there and keep us updated- as I know you'll take the babble advice and talk to him...

(((((((DINAH)))))))))

xoxoxoxo
WIP

 

Re: :( Dinah

Posted by Nadezda on September 3, 2009, at 2:10:30

In reply to Re: :( CharlieGrll, posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 9:01:14

I really understand where you're coming from Dinah. Of course you don't want to think that your T would feel empathy or concern for the library guy.

I mean, I can see that he might feel some sort of human compassion, from a very great distance for many things.. But would he feel compassion primarily? or only? even in the best case, assuming the person were not a serious perpetrator?

But if the person had committed hurtful or destructive acts, such as the library guy did, I'm sure your T, like all of us, would feel deeply conflicted feelings about them and what they''ve done. Being a therapist doesn't mean unconditional positive regard no matter what. It may mean some sort of commitment and may lead to compassion for the damage that person himself has suffered. I truly believe that it must be very difficult work.

The library guy aside--I can't consider someone who hurt you as the same as others--, I feel some compassion for people who are tormented by what they've done-- or who struggle with it..

But would your T work with someone like this who didn't have redeeming elements-- who didnt have some goodness in them?. it depends so much on who they are as a person, and the reasons that they hurt people.. If they lack a conscience,or remorse, or a sense of wrongfulness about it-- perhaps that's another issue altogether.

And no-- I don't think he's the same person with you as he would be with anyone-- in your case especially -- Most certainly not with someone who was capable of hurting vulnerable children or adults. No matter who Ts help, they don't simply do it the same way no matter what the person. And remember, they don't help everyone who comes-- they do have limits. I believe Daisy's T if he says he can't work with perpetrators.

I hope you talk with your T-- I feel sure that in time, you'll refind him. I don't think it changes the deepest things. Does it change it at all? Yes, I suppose-- he's a little different-- but --maybe in a good way, in being willing to take on such a difficult work. Perhaps you'll always have a touch of queasiness about it and feel brought too close to contact with this part of life, -- But I respect his decision to make what I see as a rather unappealing choice for his own work. I'm sure there are types of practice that offer more comfort and more pleasant thoughts. So maybe you'll also see him as someone who has chosen a harder path. At the same time, I'm sure he would do everything in his power to protect you from the library guy or anyone like him.

Nadezda

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah

Posted by TherapyGirl on September 3, 2009, at 6:56:19

In reply to I suppose I'm being silly, posted by Dinah on September 2, 2009, at 17:21:30

I'm so sorry, Dinah. I'm extremely limited in my posting ability right now because I'm on a road trip for work. But this would completely freak me out, too. I have always counted on my T to feel the way I do about people who abuse. I agree with others who suggest you try to think about it as him making the world safer for others, but I also know how hard that would be for me to do.

I think you're going to have to fight through this through lots of painful discussion with him.

I'm so very sorry.

((((((((((((((((Dinah)))))))))))))))))

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly onceupon

Posted by Dinah on September 3, 2009, at 12:11:56

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah, posted by onceupon on September 2, 2009, at 22:22:36

I suppose he can't be *my* therapist with them. He probably couldn't be *my* therapist with any male person, or with any grown woman for that matter. I think he's internalized my view of him as my therapist mommy, and treats me like a therapee daughter, at least inside that room. It's more a daddy/daughter dynamic than a mother/daughter dynamic, I suppose. But come to think of it, I can't imagine him being like that with that many people.

Do you watch NCIS? It reminds me a bit of the Gibbs/Abby relationship.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly Daisym

Posted by Dinah on September 3, 2009, at 12:19:09

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly onceupon, posted by Daisym on September 3, 2009, at 1:05:43

I sort of wish he had your therapist's policy. In fact, I thought of your therapist when I found this out. I thought "Daisy's therapist wouldn't do that."

I'd better not say that though. He's a bit jealous of your therapist. :)

When I was little, it came out that my aunt's husband was abusing her. I remember my normally stolid, calm, sensible, pioneer-like grandma holding up her kitchen knife (which she was using at the time - she didn't go get one) and saying she'd kill him. She didn't, of course, and wouldn't have. But seeing her level of anger that someone would hurt one of her children made me feel so safe. As well as astonished because while grandma got angry, she usually got angry in a sensible way.

I guess that's something I can't expect from my therapist, that level of anger. Not that any of his clients would have done anything to me personally. But...

I hope he's good with them. I shouldn't be that surprised. His unflappable nature is the thing that has allowed him to be my therapist for so long.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly workinprogress

Posted by Dinah on September 3, 2009, at 12:21:45

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly onceupon, posted by workinprogress on September 3, 2009, at 1:29:48

I'm sure I'll feel better once I talk to him. Better, yet a bit irritated since he'll say something immensely sensible and I'll have to agree with him. Still, if I want to be illogical he'll let me be for as long as I need.

He's a good man. At least I think he is. How would I know really?

 

Re: :( Nadezda

Posted by Dinah on September 3, 2009, at 12:27:17

In reply to Re: :( Dinah, posted by Nadezda on September 3, 2009, at 2:10:30

I'm sure you're right. I don't think he'd work with anyone who wasn't interested in changing harmful behaviors.

Come to think of it, he's even very intolerant of self harming behaviors. And once I remember being absolutely furious for asking me questions about whether I would hurt my son. I was having some suicidal ideation at the time, but I was absolutely furious that he didn't know me well enough to know that I'd only ever hurt myself. He said he did know that, but that he also had an obligation to make absolutely sure that a child would not be harmed. I suppose if he was willing to alienate me to protect a child, when there was absolutely no reason whatsoever to think I'd ever hurt one, he'd feel the same about other clients.

Hmmm.... It's very helpful to think these things out.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly TherapyGirl

Posted by Dinah on September 3, 2009, at 12:31:30

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah, posted by TherapyGirl on September 3, 2009, at 6:56:19

I'm feeling better about it already, after talking it through with Babblers. He may find most of the work already done for him. :)

But I do think I need to hear from him personally.

He generally manages to come through for me in the end, though, doesn't he? Already he wasn't angry that I looked things up on the internet. I said I think it would have been better for me not to know. But he thinks it's always better to know and deal with things.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah

Posted by TherapyGirl on September 3, 2009, at 22:15:13

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly TherapyGirl, posted by Dinah on September 3, 2009, at 12:31:30

That is good and you are right -- he usually comes through for you. I'm glad you are feeling better about it and that you have already started the discussion.

I had a pretty good session tonight. It wasn't all that deep -- she's coming up on the anniversary of her husband's death. But it was nice and we talked and I gave her a card and she teared up and we shared a big hug.

And she told me where she moved, which I was going to ask her about. I was feeling a little out of sorts not knowing where she is when she's not with me or at work. It was nice not to have to ask. Almost as if she knew I needed to know. We haven't had too many of those moments in the last few months, but we've had several lately.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah

Posted by onceupon on September 3, 2009, at 23:58:26

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly onceupon, posted by Dinah on September 3, 2009, at 12:11:56

I love that your therapist has internalized your view of him. Do you imagine that he wouldn't replicate that daddy/daughter dynamic with many people because it's taken you a good deal of time to develop that kind of relationship? Or for some other reason?

I'm not familiar with NCIS, but now I'm curious!

Oh, and I hope I didn't offend you with my earlier post. When I re-read it, I realized it sounded like I was maybe implying that you were being unreasonable in your feelings and/or reaction. Totally not my intent - I was just trying to convey that sometimes I wish I could think about my own concerns with the same clear head that I seem to apply to others' - as we all do, I guess.

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly TherapyGirl

Posted by Dinah on September 4, 2009, at 20:01:14

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah, posted by TherapyGirl on September 3, 2009, at 22:15:13

I'm glad you're having those moments with her again. And it really does make a difference to be able to picture where they are.

When we started off talking about it, it didn't go all that well. He retreated to professional, defensive, trying to figure out the "right" thing to say mode. And I couldn't figure out what I was doing to provoke that.

But eventually he figured out what it was that I was concerned about and was more his usual self in talking to me.

He was grateful to Babble for helping me sort it out before I saw him. :)

 

Re: I suppose I'm being silly onceupon

Posted by Dinah on September 4, 2009, at 20:06:26

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly Dinah, posted by onceupon on September 3, 2009, at 23:58:26

Oh no, I wasn't at all offended. I understood what you meant.

He was so cool when I was trying to ask whether he was the therapist he was with me with them that I got a bit nervous. He said he didn't know what to say, that no one else had come close to seeing him as long as I had, or had the time to build the relationship we had. And that he wasn't called on all that much to be a therapist mommy in those circumstances. :) He might not have known the right thing to say, but he said it.

So I suppose he'd say it was the length of time we have put in. But I'd also say that he often tells me I come across as much younger than my chronological age, and he likely responds to that.

 

Recounting vs remembering

Posted by Dinah on September 4, 2009, at 20:11:45

In reply to Re: I suppose I'm being silly onceupon, posted by Dinah on September 4, 2009, at 20:06:26

It also led to my telling him about creepy library guy. I'd told him before of course. But this time I told him with feeling. With all the feelings I'd rather not remember.

I cried a lot. But I don't think that the memory has such a "Halloween" feel to it anymore. He asked me if I felt sleepy telling him about it, and I said no, and he said that meant I was getting better - at least with this memory. It wasn't upsetting me enough to make me fall asleep.


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