I found this incredibly affirming and uplifting even as it broke my heart.

what a shrink thinks

I curse in session too regularly, and should probably be more ashamed of my potty mouth than I am.

I can talk frankly about anything from money to masturbation without blinking an eye.

I can discuss the darkest sins, the deepest shames, give words to feeling states that are subtle, terrifying, violent, kinky, mystical and murderous. I can use and parse my counter-transferential, intersubjective, empathic and projectively identified responses through some pretty tricky co-created therapeutic enactments.

But there is a word that I have almost never used
Even, (actually, especially) when I am near bursting with it.

I’ll speak all around it. I will, when the time is right and the relational necessity emerges, talk about feeling protective, allude to our connection our history, our alliance and hard work together, admit that I am touched, or deeply moved. I will share about the ways that…

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  1. NextInLine
    May 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Your fearlessness and vulnerability amazes me, and her words and eloquence do as well. I cannot speak so openly to my therapist. Maybe I am just not there yet, maybe I don’t have one iota of the strength that you do, maybe I am just not there yet, maybe I will never reach that level of trust. But you guys, your words, your ability to express and reveal and learn and love — this is that for which I should strive. Reading you makes me want better, and that is a gift. I don’t yet have the balls to act on it. But thank you.


    • May 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Thank you for that, it’s a real encouragement to me to know that you are finding inspiration in what I write. But I have to tell you that you are not seeing fearlessness as I am terrified for most of the time and I spent my last session with BN throwing a temper tantrum over the fact that I have to be vulnerable and how very much I absolutely detest it. That I am angry at him because he doesn’t have to show that same vulnerability. So just know that I am, at times, doing this kicking and screaming. Not to mention that I’ve been doing it for a VERY long time. So be compassionate with yourself and give it time. Thank you again, it was very kind of you to say all that.



  2. chewingtaffy
    May 2, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I loved this, too. My parents were so quick to say the words…they still are…and yet, the part that matters–the actions–just aren’t there.

    Love is a verb, not a noun.


    • May 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      You know at times, when I have struggled to trust that there is really love in my relationship with BN, that’s really the bottom line. When I think of everything he does for me, I find myself thinking “if this is not love, then I don’t know what it looks like.” May I confess that I find the thought of BN sitting there, having to tightly hold in affection and tender feelings quite lovely. It’s so difficult for me to trust what I see, but in the end I know his behavior is the only thing I WILL trust. You’re right, too many people who said they loved me, hurt me too much to trust the words.



  3. MAC
    July 27, 2015 at 11:09 am

    This was really fantastic. So lovely and heart-breaking, just as you said.

    I struggle with this a lot, particularly as my mother was one who could never say the words and had only limited actions to convey whatever love she may have felt, so my need butts right up against this wall ALL. THE. TIME. (And it mostly feels like a head-butt).

    I, too, am very, very, very, very slowly taking the (teeny, tiny, baby) steps to talk about these feelings with my T, and every time I even think about trying, I want to crawl out of my skin and go hide in a hole where my T can’t actually see me and no light of day can ever reach me.

    It gives me hope to read this post from whatashrinkthinks and to read about all of your conversations with the BN about your feelings for me. It gives me hope that the love and affection I’m looking for really are there AND that I can some day successfully talk about them in ways that are productive and healing, even if painful.

    Thank you.


    • July 30, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Being able to talk about these feelings has been a long, slow process let alone believing them. I am always a bit taken aback that BN goes right there when I bring it up. Somehow I always expect him to scoff and tell me I’m nuts for even thinking that. 🙂 But he doesn’t; I have never seen him back away from the depth of the relationship. I understand that I will never be as important to him as he is to me (if I was it would really screw up my therapy) but I no longer doubt that there is real love on his part for me. Not so much affection, as a deep commitment to my well-being and keeping our relationship intact. I’ll take it. I’m glad this gives you hope. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed the quote in the menu to the right, but it seems very apt.

      Lend me your hope for awhile. A time will come when I will heal, and I will lend my renewed hope to others. ~ Eloise Cole

      Just pass the hope along once you’ve healed. I am only passing along the hope gifted to me. xx AG


  4. September 14, 2021 at 10:17 am

    Loved reading this thaanks


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