Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 975869

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Re: My story - long Daisym

Posted by gardenergirl on January 5, 2011, at 15:28:37

In reply to Re: My story - long Dinah, posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 12:57:37

Daisy,
Dinah's response was so good, and I don't really have anything to add. But I just wanted to say I'm sorry you're in this right now. I know it feels really and truly awful and alone.

Hang in there. I believe in you.

gg

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by Solstice on January 5, 2011, at 15:49:12

In reply to My story - long, posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 1:47:09

What my gut reaction is, based on my own experiences mind you, is that both of you need time to just process it. Especially you. It sounds to me like his reaction called up a lot of stuff for you, including shame and rejection.

Some ruptures can be talked about as they happen, or soon thereafter, and resolved in a way that supports a stronger connection. Some, though, might take time to process. Maybe what he needs to do right now is help you move to something completely unrelated to the rupture and the csa that triggered it.. something really bland and safe... and let the relationship itself (rather than him trying to address it with words) be what you need it to be. If the relationship can 'hold' you, and he can remain emotionally available and non-defensive.. then when your insides have processed it better, it might be easier to get a better resolution.

I've had a few things like that take place in my therapy. One thing I'll always be grateful for is my therapist's ability to be responsive to whatever rises to the surface. So I can set someting aside for a while and come back to it later - and T can sense the significance of it and will give it the responsiveness it deserves, despite the passage of time.

Solstice

 

Re: My story - long gardenergirl

Posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 23:19:37

In reply to Re: My story - long Daisym, posted by gardenergirl on January 5, 2011, at 15:28:37

Thanks for believing in me. I think one of the things I both love/hate in therapy are the possibilities - hope coupled with the pain of longing. And yet we must still get through each day, alone or not.

It helps to have friends.

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 23:37:49

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by Solstice on January 5, 2011, at 15:49:12

When I was a little girl, bad things usually happened at night. And then in the morning, we all ate breakfast together and went to school like nothing had happened.

When I was married, my ex and I would have these horried fights, and he would say terrible things, and then later he'd want (and get) sex and in the morning I'd just pretend like none of it had ever happened.

So I have this built in response to bad things which is "pretend like it doesn't matter. Pretend like you aren't hurt and everything will go back to "normal."" My therapist knows this, which is why I think he doesn't want it to go underground until I've talked about some of this and we understand it, at least a little. He wants me to express my hurt and learn that a relationship can survive me being truthful. It can even survive me being mad at him when he screws up. He is OK with me being mad. And even if we disagree about which one of us screwed up, he is OK with that too.

But it is very, very hard because I instantly tell myself that *I* am over-reacting and *I* have ruined everything. I feel so stupid - which just adds even more shame to it all. I know I should just move one but I'm pretty stuck right now.

Thanks for your reply.

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by Solstice on January 6, 2011, at 0:14:41

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 23:37:49

> When I was a little girl, bad things usually happened at night. And then in the morning, we all ate breakfast together and went to school like nothing had happened.
>
> When I was married, my ex and I would have these horried fights, and he would say terrible things, and then later he'd want (and get) sex and in the morning I'd just pretend like none of it had ever happened.

I know what you're talking about - that survival is about never speaking up.. never acknowledging what's happening to you.


> So I have this built in response to bad things which is "pretend like it doesn't matter. Pretend like you aren't hurt and everything will go back to "normal."

It teaches us denial of self, doesn't it?


> My therapist knows this, which is why I think he doesn't want it to go underground until I've talked about some of this and we understand it, at least a little. He wants me to express my hurt and learn that a relationship can survive me being truthful.

He sounds wonderful! And Daisy - trust me - he is right. I have learned through my therapeutic relationship that relationships really CAN survive mutual honesty about how we feel. I will testify to it being WELL worth the risk to experiment with it. I started out real, real small.. and it took a long, long time.. but for folks like us, there's something almost magical about being so terribly afraid to put a voice to the way you feel.. and then to experience the therapeutic effect of your feelings being heard, validated, and to see in your therapist's eyes the genuine value they place on how you are experiencing the relationship.


> But it is very, very hard because I instantly tell myself that *I* am over-reacting and *I* have ruined everything. I feel so stupid - which just adds even more shame to it all.

I did the same thing to myself. I know that shame and self-blame. It tortured me. I'll tell you what made it turn a corner for me. After spending several years in a therapeutic relationship that turned toxic and reinforced all of my previous trauma, the therapist I have now had an entirely different approach. Whereas my toxic T was more than happy to blame me for every misattunement or rupture, the therapist I see now was just the opposite. It was surreal for me to - any time there was a rupture of any kind (no matter how small) - my T Never looked at me. Didn't even try to get me to share the blame, even though the majority of the time I played a role. My T only looked at their contribution. I was all too ready to carry the blame for anything and everything - so it was almost as if my T addressed it by Never allowing me to pick up the bag of blame. T would hold it, and we would conversationally 'walk' with it together. It's not that T and I weren't both wholly aware of my contributions to the rupture - it's just that it was clear that I was not going to be allowed to carry the burden of fixing it. Even if I had misunderstood/misinterpreted something T said and got myself worked up over some erroneously perceived therapeutic injustice or failure - T's attitude about it was that there was a reason behind my misperception, something driving it that it was T's responsibility to figure out and address. For my particular situation, it was the perfect approach. I had carried a heavy load for so long, that my healing elixir was for T to take 100% responsibility for the well-being of the relationship, and then to let me hold onto my parts of it as I was able - but always holding it together. So Daisy, it's obvious that you've experienced the therapeutic effect of your therapist's acceptance of your feelings, and I would really encourage you to experiment with testing it on the really hard things - like the situation you described. It's hard - but the more experiences you have with it - the closer you will get to your more healed self.

Solstice

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by annierose on January 6, 2011, at 6:34:43

In reply to My story - long, posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 1:47:09

You are in the middle of the hurt but I do see light at the end of the tunnel. When both parties in the relationship want to work towards undertanding while being truthful and kind, I feel time will get you to that peaceful loving place you want restored in your therapy.

I think the world of you.

I wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you yesterday but our basement drain was backing up unpleasant nastiness and I couldn't deal with life.

 

Re: My story - long annierose

Posted by Daisym on January 6, 2011, at 10:39:50

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by annierose on January 6, 2011, at 6:34:43

Sounds like my life right now...

 

Re: My story - long Daisym

Posted by sassyfrancesca on January 6, 2011, at 12:21:59

In reply to Re: My story - long Dinah, posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 12:57:37

Oh, I so resonate with you, sweetie. I too, am alone with grown children, after 31 years of abusive "marriage". I have been in love with my t for 6 years...too long to go into here....We have a personal relationship....unfortunately he allowed me to 'see" him.....get to know him....it happens

He DOES fill that empty spot....we are alike in over 23 different ways...same age, background growing up; he even has the same (rare) eye problem I do....go figure........He fights his feelings for me.....there isnt anyting we can't (or haven't discussed), LOL, LOL

Hugs, Sassy

 

Re: My story - long Daisym

Posted by Dinah on January 6, 2011, at 19:49:27

In reply to Re: My story - long Dinah, posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 12:57:37

I'd be happy to talk to him! Or you could read him some selected quotes from my post if you prefer.

Bringing in Babblers posts last time with my therapist got through to him in a way I never could have in a million years. Me he argued with. But when he heard Babblers, he was forced to see things from an outside point of view.

I think that fantasy isn't so uncommon. It might be deeply buried and of course rejected by our rational minds. Letting go of it seems to be a prospect that has more losses than gains. I think I still see more losses than gains in it.

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by pegasus on January 10, 2011, at 16:53:20

In reply to My story - long, posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 1:47:09

Daisy,

I'm so sorry to have missed this thread until now. I think I get how humiliating this whole thing can be. You need him to be able to trust you, as much as you need to trust him. His repeatedly reminding you of boundaries that you have no intention of crossing (except maybe in very unconscious fantasies) feels like a lack of trust. How hurtful to have a message that he has uneasiness about those boundaries! It's not clear to me whether his uneasiness is about him holding his side of the boundary, or you holding yours, or both. I see that you feel he is uneasy about your honoring your side. But of course it's torturous to discuss either way.

Your question about whether it's helpful to have unearthed and forced a close examination of this particular fantasy is interesting to me as well. Maybe it will be useful in the end, but oh how painful in the meantime! At the moment I lean toward thinking that perhaps it might have been better for you if he had kept his unnecessary reminders to himself.

Please let us know what comes of this for you.

- P

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by gardenergirl on January 10, 2011, at 17:22:33

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by pegasus on January 10, 2011, at 16:53:20

I'm reminded of an assignment when I was in grad school. A classmate and I had to role-play a "boundary crossing", and I had to play the therapist. I was embarrassed about how strong my reaction was to the boundary crossing enacted, which wasn't any kind of sexual or love toward the therapist. But still, I was really uncomfortable, and it showed in my response. What this taught me was that *I* have issues which could affect the client. They didn't seem like that big of a deal, really. But however small (or not), it was enough to "throw me off my game" for a moment. And I don't think therapists are overly comfortable acknowledging that and looking at how that might be perceived by the client.

Thinking of you, Daisy, and hoping you are finding some relief.

gg

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by Solstice on January 10, 2011, at 22:29:40

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by gardenergirl on January 10, 2011, at 17:22:33

> And I don't think therapists are overly comfortable acknowledging that and looking at how that might be perceived by the client.

ooohh boy. That one sure opens up a can of worms for me...

Solstice

 

Re: My story - long sassyfrancesca

Posted by Daisym on January 10, 2011, at 23:12:31

In reply to Re: My story - long Daisym, posted by sassyfrancesca on January 6, 2011, at 12:21:59

I think we are in different places - but I appreciate your thoughts and warmth.

 

Re: My story - long Dinah

Posted by Daisym on January 10, 2011, at 23:21:34

In reply to Re: My story - long Daisym, posted by Dinah on January 6, 2011, at 19:49:27

He keeps asking me if I'm writing about all of this. It is hard because instead of getting clearer, it gets more muddled as we talk about it. I don't know if it is just too painful to really stay with it or if it was a door blown open and now there are layers and layers to look at.

But he says what you said - it is an opportunity to look at stuff we haven't yet. AFTO - I hate them.

 

Re: My story - long pegasus

Posted by Daisym on January 11, 2011, at 0:24:03

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by pegasus on January 10, 2011, at 16:53:20

I wrote another long reply and it is gone...how frustrating.

The trust issues are huge - and of course, most of this is not about actually having sex. It comes down to needs - I think my needs are too big - and I feel like I just had that confirmed. Beyond that, it is crushingly clear that he (meaning - no one) is going to be able to make me feel safe and secure forever. It is a huge fantasy to lose - coming from a very young place.

The icing on all of this is that I have a tendency to keep my mouth shut about most things that bother me. I let them go...I'm pretty accommodating in all my relationships. In this case, I spoke up and look what happened? So again - another confirmation that relationships get destroyed by my needs.

My therapist keeps finding these deep pockets that are attached to all of this. Poor guy has a cold and was losing his voice today. Kind of hard to keep pulling stuff out of me when he was struggling to talk.

We are doing this kind of waltz of easing into the session, eventually going back to all of this and then moving away from it with some kind of humor as the session ends. I have to admire his faith in the process.

 

Re: My story - long gardenergirl

Posted by Daisym on January 11, 2011, at 0:39:20

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by gardenergirl on January 10, 2011, at 17:22:33

We've spent a fair amount of time talking about disclosures and how it feels to me to read him. Here is where my training really kicks in because I'm good at thinking about the possible reasons for boundary crossings or fantasies - I can write it up as a case study. But trying to figure out my feelings is so much tougher. And it is hard to admit that I really don't want to know about his thought processes - it feels selfish.

I think we all believe we are too self-aware to let our "stuff" get in the way of our work with clients - even though we also seem to be alert to our own transference and counter-transference feelings.


How would you feel about role playing a repeat of a conversation that didn't go well?

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by pegasus on January 11, 2011, at 10:24:04

In reply to Re: My story - long pegasus, posted by Daisym on January 11, 2011, at 0:24:03

Daisy,

Yeah, I know it's not really about sex. But it refers to issues around sex. Don't worry, I totally get that.

Would you mind if I asked you to elaborate on why you think this shows that your needs are too big? I get the trust issue. But the jump to your needs being too big is eluding me at this point. Is it that you don't think your needs should be big enough to trigger any need in him to refer to those boundaries? What exactly is it that you think your needs are doing, that they shouldn't do?

And, of course, please feel free to ignore the question, if it's too painful, and/or if I'm being insensitive.

- P

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by Daisym on January 11, 2011, at 20:06:25

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by pegasus on January 11, 2011, at 10:24:04

Needs are a tricky thing. On the one hand, for other people, I would say that everyone has needs and wants and there is a full range of intensity when it comes to needs and wants. And I would tell anyone else that needing someone to fill certain needs for you is perfectly OK. Humans need other humans.

But when I try to apply this to myself, I immediately get all twisted up with shoulds and shouldn'ts. I shouldn't need anyone else to make me feel OK, etc. etc. I should be able to take care of myself. Feeling needy for someone feels awful, shameful and just really wrong. I understand why I feel this way and I know where these strong reactions come from but understanding has not necessarily lessened the shame of having needs. I feel like I don't know how to titrate need - it gets worrisome that it feels like meeting any part of a need is going to trigger it to get bigger - it all feels insatiable. And because of the insatiableness of my needs, the object of my neediness must react negatively. Either they give in and I destroy them with my need (my dad) or they react to the need by pushing back, punishing me or otherwise abandoning the relationship (my mom).

My therapist has consistently let me need him - to borrow his "core self" as I've worked to strengthen my own. But this need, I think, grew big enough and demanding enough that his core-self felt threatened - and he needed to push me back and anchor himself. We happened to be talking about sex - but we could have been talking about longer sessions, phone calls - anything that clients do to "possess" their therapist. Intellectually I totally understand that every human being has moments like this - mothers withdraw physically and emotionally from their infants to regain their equilibrium - and then reengage. But in this case, I feel like the infant who experienced this withdrawal as life threatening and can't risk ever feeling that way again, so shuts down. If I don't need too much (or nothing) from her, she won't leave me.

So my best guess about my reaction sort of goes like this - I was in high need mode (unconsciously) and for whatever reason, not monitoring myself as well as I usually do. I didn't pull back before he pushed back. And while I can intellectually understand that one event does not define a relationship or undo everything that has gone before, it felt so awful that I can't get it back into perspective. I am having a really hard time knowing that he has to think about the boundaries (ie control my needs) because I didn't take care of them well enough for both of us. This is very narcissistic thinking - I'm well aware. How powerful do I think I am? But it is a life long pattern of not trusting myself that is very hard to break.

Sorry for the long reply but I keep struggling to articulate and understand the painful feelings and this was another opportunity to sort through it. It probably still doesn't make a ton of sense.

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by annierose on January 11, 2011, at 22:51:15

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by Daisym on January 11, 2011, at 20:06:25

I think it makes a ton of senses and you do articulate the struggle perfectly ... as painful as the inner turmoil is. The more you're able to put words to all this angst, I think, in time, the more your brain can help sort it all out.

 

Re: My story - long Solstice

Posted by Daisym on January 11, 2011, at 23:49:30

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by Solstice on January 10, 2011, at 22:29:40

Me too.

I think most therapists are willing to look at themselves and what they bring to an interaction. But that willingness has to compete with the need to feel competent as well as training and experience with lots of different kinds of pathology - they see the world as full of unconscious motivations. What did Dinah say? - Therapists are human too - which is hard to know and see sometimes.

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by gardenergirl on January 12, 2011, at 12:23:07

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by Solstice on January 10, 2011, at 22:29:40

> > And I don't think therapists are overly comfortable acknowledging that and looking at how that might be perceived by the client.
>
> ooohh boy. That one sure opens up a can of worms for me...
>
> Solstice
>

I should amend my statement. What I really meant is that therapists have differing comfort levels and capacities for that kind of self observation, because they are human. I didn't mean it to sound like a slam against all therapists.

gg

 

Re: My story - long Daisym

Posted by gardenergirl on January 12, 2011, at 12:33:49

In reply to Re: My story - long gardenergirl, posted by Daisym on January 11, 2011, at 0:39:20

> And it is hard to admit that I really don't want to know about his thought processes - it feels selfish.

I can understand that. You are a warm, empathetic, caring person, after all. I suppose it is selfish in a way, in a strict sense of the word. That word is loaded, though. I think that the therapy relationship is one in which it's okay, perhaps even useful for the client to be selfish, or perhaps self-focused. But since we are humans and relational beings, and therapy is intimate, we care about our therapists, too, and about their needs. It's complex.

>
> I think we all believe we are too self-aware to let our "stuff" get in the way of our work with clients - even though we also seem to be alert to our own transference and counter-transference feelings.

I agree. And I think we want to be totally self-aware, but I guess blind spots are called blind spots for a reason, eh? :)
>
>
> How would you feel about role playing a repeat of a conversation that didn't go well?

I think I'd feel incredibly self-conscious (ha! that's an ironic phrase!) and would probably hate it. I hate role-play in general. It seems to put too much focus for my comfort on the sense of being observed, sort of on display. I really, really hate becoming aware of that feeling. I'd rather be more in the moment.

gg

 

Re: My story - long

Posted by Enigma on January 13, 2011, at 16:19:00

In reply to My story - long, posted by Daisym on January 5, 2011, at 1:47:09

Wouldn't it be better to just find a female therapist? Seems like you would be avoiding "issues" like this altogether.

Personally, I've never had any emotional attachment to anyone in the medical field, in any form... so, it's VERY hard for me to relate to.

After reading all of that, and some responses, obviously from females, as a male, I'm confused in so many ways.

Women seem to read so much into what men (and other women?) say, to the point at which I avoid them entirely. I wish I was exaggerating...

There are many different ways to "interpret" what he said to you, but why go down that road at all? Why don't women (in general) just take words at face value? Pretty much all of the men I know (or know of, have known, etc), including myself, mean exactly what they say, the vast majority of the time, and do not intend or desire anything else to be interpreted from what they said.

More often than not, there are NO hidden meanings in what we say. Women are so emotionally driven, again, like the statement I made above, so much so, that I'm afraid to say "anything" to them; for fear of how what I say will be twisted around, misinterpreted, and so on. It's infuriating, really...

Logic > emotion, any day. Understand that, and you'll understand most men.

 

Re: My story - long Enigma

Posted by Daisym on January 13, 2011, at 22:58:22

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by Enigma on January 13, 2011, at 16:19:00

If only human beings were that simple...

And mostly, I've been talking about MY unconscious motives and what meaning I'm making from it - not his.

I AM taking the words at face value - we won't ever have sex. Absolutely understood. No argument there.

But it is the feelings that have been engendered tht don't match the interaction that I'm working with.

I have had a female therapist. It was equally hard, if not harder for me, for different reasons. But I don't think sexual feelings are limited to opposite sex therapy situations.

 

Re: My story - long Daisym

Posted by pegasus on January 14, 2011, at 12:31:58

In reply to Re: My story - long, posted by Daisym on January 11, 2011, at 20:06:25

Thank you so much for this, Daisy. [And, sorry to be so long in replying, after asking you to respond. Busy, busy . . . you know. And I wanted to have a chance to reread your post, and really think about it first.]

I think I get it now. A lot of what you say resonates with me, as well, once you explain it this way. My neediness in therapy terrifies me as well. I was describing your situation in my own session this week, and my T replied, "Who are we talking about here?"

And, also, I think we all have our own unique spin on this stuff, and yours seems to include some very painful, and, yes, narcissistic elements. I'm glad that you intellectually know that it's unreasonable for you to take on the full responsibility for managing boundaries (i.e., your needs) and your T's experience of your therapy. And that the type of thing you've experienced is "just" an example of temporary and healthy work on the part of your T to regain equilibrium (if it even goes that far - of which I am not convinced).

And . . . I think I also have some sense for that devastated, bereft infant who feels that her life/relationship is over because of this. How terrifying to feel that those boundaries are exclusively your job to hold, and at the same time to not trust yourself to do it so well (more than perfectly) that your T never needs to even bring them to mind.

Let me know if any of my paraphrasing doesn't sound quite right yet. This is extremely interesting, and important-feeling, for me to get. Thank you, as always, for sharing it with us.

- P


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