Tag Archives: transference

Transference and loss

I couldn’t get out of my own way yesterday to be able to address anything I had hoped to yesterday. 

My defenses are working overtime. 

I’ve “figured out” (again) that my reactions to Dr C’s vacation are mostly a reaction to the loss of my aunt almost a quarter century ago, and to the other losses that have come around this time of year since then. 

As much as I love the summer weather, it’s generally been a season filed with losses. It’s a time wracked by hugely ambivalent emotions. I love aspects of it, but hate others… 

I’m glad Dr C is going away on vacation because it means she’s taking care of herself, but I hate it because I’m losing my entire outside support system. That’s the downfall of having your individual therapist also be your group therapist…

I was going to try to see her colleague, but turns out she doesn’t take my insurance. Other options are seriously limited. So I’m just going to have to suck it up for the month. 

All this transference and displaced grief are making my chest feel tight. It’s starting to ache from the constant tension. 

After tonight’s shift at work, I’m not on the schedule for another 6 days; another break I really could do without at the moment. At least I won’t have to deal with the customers. I’ve not worked much with the dogs these last few weeks because I needed to cover the customer service end of things. Hopefully next week skeleton pot me back into camp again. I was back there over the holiday and it was much needed. There’s something to be said for cuddles with 30+ dogs who want to pile on top of you. 

Advertisements

believing myself

I find myself struggling with the believability of my memories once again.

In the moment of re-experiencing them, I know they are true. They feel very real on every level when I’m actually remembering them. It’s the times between the flashbacks and body memories that have me doubting. They don’t make sense when looked at in terms of other memories. They actually feel contradictory at times.

We covered the doubts a bit in session. Dr. C isn’t so worried about the validity of them. She keeps reminding me there’s no one she would tell, so even if they are all a story in my head, then we can address that too without hurting anyone’s reputation. She asks about the concept of “doing it all for attention”, and as soon as that concept hits my awareness, there’s a panic: No! DON’T pay attention to me. Let me hide and melt away. PLEASE don’t see me or hear me or even know I exist… It’s a little-kid fear. It’s in a little kid’s voice in my head.

I’m not sure why I’m so worried about the validity of the memories all over again. I had gotten to a place with TM where we were just addressing the concept of the memories & how they impact me. I was “talking” about them & getting them out. All of a sudden, I feel like I’ve taken several steps backwards with Dr. C. I feel the need to figure out if they are real. I need to justify voicing them once again. I’m not totally sure why. Part of it may be that I have to re-tell her the stuff I had already told TM (even if it’s just the existence of the memories, not necessarily the details of them). It may also be that Dr. C is an older woman. There was that parental transference with TM and there’s definitely some going on with Dr. C also, but maybe I’m feeling that as well as what I might have with a grandparent this time… The disapproving voices in my head that are louder are from the older women in my family this time around.

Working on containment since the session. I keep visualizing the pensieve holding everything, and hiding in a pillow fort in Dr. C’s office for most of the day. Keeping the desire to bug the heck out of Dr. C and/or TM in check. I know I’m looking for a sense of safety and comfort, so I’m trying to find that around here. Music is playing, doggies are cuddling. I even had one of the snakes out for a while (really wish I could train him to do deep pressure on command).

Anyway, how’s everyone else doing?


an end date…

There was so much I wanted to talk to TM about today, but none of it made it to my lips…

We did talk a bit about last week’s confession around how shitty I’m feeling. We also tried to brainstorm some stuff to give me structure. Well, ok, TM tried to brainstorm. I was having trouble focusing. They moved to the new office over the weekend. I guess today was their first day open at the new location. Nothing was ready. I almost wish TM would have just rescheduled me either to later in the day, or another day. It would have sucked, and I would have felt like shit, but it would have been more productive than today. I guess we were productive for stuff on her end, but not on mine. I kept paying attention to all the noises elsewhere in the office. And the room we were in reminded me very much of a hospital… I hope next week it will be more settled.

She kept trying to tell me it was ok to ask for more support. She talked a bit about the various therapeutic programs and how they took a while to get into. She mentioned some volunteering. I just couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying.  We determined that our last session would be June 23rd…

I kept wanting to wheel myself out of the room (we were both in rolling desk chairs). It looked and felt too much like a locked unit. I kept worrying that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Rationally, I know that wouldn’t have happened, but it triggered the fear in me. I wasn’t able to put together that I was triggered till long after I left her. I just knew that in the office, I kept pushing myself and my chair as far back as possible, and I was scared of TM. I wanted to reach beside me and open the door, but I kept thinking it was locked. It felt like TM was matching my discomfort because her chair was all the way back against her wall also. I’m not totally sure if she realized that, or if it happened by accident. I kept waiting for the conversation to turn to me needing a higher level of care, and then being hospitalized. It didn’t happen, but part of me was surprised to have walked out at the end of session. It’s not even like I mentioned safety concerns to her, we actually talked about how much better I have been handling this than in the past. It was just that the room looked so much like a locked mental health unit, I couldn’t pull out of the fear…

I think we may have talked about other things too, but I’m not sure what. Maybe those things took up the whole session time. I know I wanted to tell her some of the stuff flying around in my head. I wasn’t sure how to get them past my lips. I wanted to hand her some of the stuff I had been meaning to give her for the past 2 weeks. I wanted to talk a bit about the support forum. I wanted to talk to her about my experience talking to a friend about some of the stuff TM and I have been covering. None of it squeaked out. None of it made it through the panic.

I kept apologizing for being a pain in the ass. She asked again what made me think I was being annoying. I tried to convey that I had answers, but couldn’t find them in the moment, and that is what I thought would annoy her. I couldn’t get past the internal panic though… I kept giving her “I don’t know” because I couldn’t access the answers in my own head. I couldn’t “act as if”. I couldn’t function… I tried to think whether or not I would be annoyed at a client if they presented like I did. I landed on “no”, but I also could not then translate that to apply to myself. I tried to tell her my self-esteem and lack of self-worth didn’t allow me to move out of that head-space, but it all sounded like jargon to me. I imagined her thinking how annoying I was, how frustrating and resistant and willful I was being, and that if I could just stop being that way, we could get somewhere. I tried again to gain an outside perspective, but I still couldn’t apply my own patience with others to myself. Who am I to warrant any compassion? (At the time, a combination of speaking with a DBT clinician and multiple hospital experiences were crowding my head. I remembered being blamed for not trying hard enough, for not being able to use my skills, for being resistant and willful and deliberately sabotaging my recovery because I was stubborn. I couldn’t separate it from the experience of speaking with TM in the present. I couldn’t look at her, and in my head she looked like the DBT clinician L)…

I did manage to tell her about the line of thinking that allowed me to see some smidge of self-worth last week, and how I kept going back to it to try to get through the weekend. Even as the words left my mouth though, they felt stupid and contrived. I was suddenly reacting to her like I would have G. I was afraid that if I said the wrong thing in the wrong way, or because I wasn’t calling her the most intelligent and worthwhile person on the planet, I was being disrespectful. I didn’t attribute all of my change in thinking to her though. I told her of the success and quietly waited for her to blow up at me… Again, the full realization that I was triggered and responding to the past rather than TM or the moment only hit me long after I left.

We set up a time to check in on Thursday. I protested about being bothersome, so she was going to leave it up to me to call if I needed, but I was able to tell her that I would prefer having something scheduled. I told her I would probably agonize over calling her then end up not deeming anything worthy of bothering her for. She said we would schedule it and she would call Thursday… She left an invitation open for me to call tomorrow too if I feel I need it. I instantly shook my head. That would be too much of an imposition to be able to agree to. Though thinking about it now, I may leave her a message hoping it lessens the anxiety. I would like to be able to let her in on what went on for me today without wasting too much session time.

Even writing about it all is triggering a lot of anxiety and fear. I really hope next week feels different. It will be more than a week for settling in (because of the holiday next week), so I really hope they get things decorated and set up better. And I really hope TM’s office doesn’t feel as triggering as the random room we were in today. When I speak with her on Thursday, I should remember to ask if it would be ok for me to leave her a message over the weekend to help get through it. I know she won’t be there or anything, and I wouldn’t expect a return call. It just sometimes helps to leave her messages.

 


o_O

This move is so anxiety-inducing… and then the decision around whether or not the anxiety and depression warrant a check-in call to TM today is anxiety-inducing. I think I will ask that it’s either scheduled, or that there isn’t a call expected, but that it be decided before I leave session either way. I’m leaning towards “I’ll call and leave you a message if I need to” but not set a day and time for a check-in call that may or may not happen. Having to make that decision (even though she said either choice would be ok) is worse than having to make a decision to simply leave her a message. I keep landing on the side of “this isn’t important enough to warrant a check-in”. It feels like a check-in would only be ok if it was something hugely impossible to get through (kinda like last week). This week is difficult, but not as bad as last week…

The depression is still really bad, but it’s manageable at the moment. Going out for a bit yesterday helped (so did that nap). The flashbacks are once again just “background noise” in my body. Though I would love to get them to stop completely, as well as this newer pain that comes with them, I don’t think it’s enough to bug her today… I can still change my mind for the next 2.5 hours, but at this point, I’m settling on “not gonna be annoying and needy”.

On another note, I don’t know why I thought that the happy memories timeline would be emotionally easier than the aversive memories one. There’s no real emotion attached to the happy memories, but they trigger more aversive memories that are connected to them in one way or another. Those negative memories definitely come with some serious emotions. :/

I keep telling myself I need to handle all this differently. I need to not be so triggered by it. I need to be able to deal with it without contacting TM. And then I cycle around to wondering what use trying to deal with all this is with only a few sessions left. I want to hide and put up walls and push TM away (or, push myself away). I don’t want to feel a need to talk to her about anything. I don’t want to find myself looking to her for support. I don’t want to feel like she is a safe person. I don’t want to trust her. I want to be able to walk away without looking back. I’m trying to prepare for this loss that will be huge when it shouldn’t be… Attachment and trust and safety are sticky and messy things for me. I’m not sure how to navigate them as easily as I should. It plants a lump squarely in my throat, and a huge weight into my chest.

The other day I had a lightbulb moment around why I cling so desperately to anyone I care about right before an immanent ending. I’m not really sure why didn’t realize this sooner. I was journaling when it suddenly jumped out of the screen at me: I pulled away from my aunt before she died. I didn’t spend much time with her in that last year she was sick. It was hard. She was cranky and mean from the chemo. I didn’t want to be around that, so I stopped going to see her. I stopped spending time with her. She was one of my favorite people, and I abandoned her because I couldn’t handle her being sick. Then one day, my parents tell me I should go see her because “she doesn’t have much time left”… I think I might have seen her 2 or 3 more times before she lost consciousness in her final week. Then the hospice nurse told us she was likely going to pass that night. Her body was giving up, it was out of fight. She was out of fight. So we spent several hours with her. We would talk to her, and hold her hand. And then it got late, so my mom, brother, and I left. She died later that night…

I felt cheated. And I was angry at myself for not having been there for her. I was mad that I had let my fear and anxiety win to push me away from “my other mother”… I think because of that regret, my reflex is to cling desperately to any relationship right before it’s over. Be it romantic or therapeutic, if I know it’s ending, I become annoying and needy and ever-present… I’m trying not to do that with TM. The only alternate though seems to be building huge walls and lots of distance. It’s another thing I can’t find a middle-ground with. I don’t know how to take an impending loss and not feel giant emotions around it. It was easy to recognize in the termination timing with De, but it’s been harder to put together when it wasn’t so obviously entangled. With De, termination came 6 days before the anniversary of K’s death. I would trip up and use K’s name with her. It was painfully obvious much of the gravity of emotion came from the first loss (and from the coinciding anniversary of my first suicide attempt, thought that came 13 years after K’s death)… Other losses have felt as huge, but never were that easy to put together. I’m not sure what prompted me connecting the dots with the impending loss of TM, but it finally clicked. I am well aware that most of the emotions going on right now are transference. Yes, I will miss TM. It was a good fit for the most part. I know though, that most of my issues with loss go further back… I know losing people I trust and feel safe with just picks at an old wound that never truly healed. 😦


transference sucks ass

This transference crap is such a pain in the butt. I got past the stuff that was blocking me from taking TM up on the offer for an extra session (was able to leave her a message after many false-starts). Now that I have though, I’m panicking because I think she’s pissed at me again. Rationally, I know she’s just probably not gotten a chance to check her messages and/or return calls. Irrationally, I think I failed the test. I think she is mad at me because I dared to try get more than I was originally offered; that I thought I was worthy of something else.

I know the rational line of thinking is likely the true one, but the emotional line is the one that is screaming in my head. It’s the loudest one. It’s the one I can’t drown out or talk away with reason… I think TM and I talked about it last session, or the session before (I’m not really sure which). I know she knows about it, and we will continue to address it in the remaining sessions, but right now it’s a huge barrier. I don’t know how to reach out without guilt and fear. I don’t know how to hold on to a consistent, caring, and genuine version of her in my head. She keeps getting mixed up with the past. It’s very frustrating.

I want to ask her how to move past this, but I can’t get the words out in front of her. Most everything gets stuck in my throat (then it erases everything in my head). I’m lost on how to communicate, or even what to communicate to her. I tried writing it down after a brief monologue in my head, but as soon as I tried it, I lost everything I had figured out. Ugh!

Can someone shoot me already?! I’m so tired of this struggle. Stress is building, sleep is waning… I’m out of ideas. Any plans that may be in the works feel hollow; like a smoke-screen to try to assuage the anxiety. It gives the illusion of competence and togetherness, but it’s the furthest thing from it. None of the plans are actually realistic or viable. I know I need to ask for help around them, but I have no idea how. I feel like I should actually know how to fix the issues before I ask for help figuring out how to fix them. I know, that’s not really how asking for help figuring things out should work, but I guess that’s another throw-back to the past. Asking for help should only be done once you actually know how to accomplish whatever it is you are asking about… :/


old defenses kicking in

I know I had therapy today, but… what did we talk about? I was there the whole hour… I think I knew when I had left her, but now a ton of walls went up.

I know at the end of the session, she offered me another one this week. I was really conflicted about taking it. I couldn’t voice to her why. I still can’t really put it into words. There’s a lot of transference. It’s definitely a block to me being able to speak in session with her. It’s kind of blocking me even now. I can’t remember all the reasons I had in the moment…

I think maybe there was also some worry about… I dunno. It’s all kinda just gone. Was gonna call and leave her a message telling her why I was hesitant, but I guess there’s no point now. I can’t figure out what to say. I wouldn’t know what to say in the session. Sure, it makes the days a bit easier to get through, but… 😦

I hate when my old defenses shut me off from everything. It was great when I developed it, but now it just sucks.


hit the transference motherload…

So, I was able to ask TM if she hated me today. I was also able to explain why I needed to ask, despite intellectually knowing I didn’t experience her as hateful in the moment (only after I left, and after over-thinking kicked in)…

We talked about the roots of it (or started to). She pointed out a bunch of stuff that made total sense.

I got lost a few times though. There were points of the conversation where she brought up ideas that scared the crap out of me. I struggled to “come back” to the room and the moment and recognize it as safe. I had trouble seeing her genuine reactions to it because I was so lost in fearing she was mad at me for checking out. I finally was able to tell her that I was scared of her reaction, and being able to give voice to that fact helped me come back a bit more.

I’m hazy on so much of the session. The fog comes and goes around it.

She offered another additional session this week. My hesitancy was two-fold around it. On the one hand, I really wanted to take the time. On the other however, I worried not only that it was a “trap” to test my neediness (she would be mad at me for wasting so much of her time), but also that I would get too used to the safety of knowing I can go back. If I get too comfortable with it, it will suck a whole lot when I have to wait a week again… She left it open for me to call back about the extra time if I needed it. After getting more grounded and getting some distance from the triggered fears, I was able to call her and set up another appointment. Some things are easier to only have to contain by myself for a few days vs. a whole week… A ton was triggered today, and I’m glad I get to go back and address it again before I put too many walls between it and myself. I definitely don’t want to get too used to it though. I don’t want to wear her out, or be too much. I also need to know for myself that I can hold myself together between sessions…

Anyway, my brain is shot at the moment. I hope this post makes sense. I still feel like I’m in a fog, but it’s more because I am tired from the effort of holding it together in session while revealing some stuff that took great effort. I think I need a nap…