The Beginning Part II


For the beginning of this story, please see The Beginning Part I.

So when I left off, I was going to see BN alone, to tell him about my growing feelings  for him. Did I mention the insanely scared part?  I managed to explain to him that I was experiencing strong feelings of attraction that were really confusing me and told him about the articles which recommended taking these feelings to your therapist.  I shared how his understanding and accepting me were so appealing, that I felt less alone than I had in a long time. BN was amazing (I was still capable of being surprised by that at this point in our relationship :)). He told me that he thought I was very brave to come and speak to him, that he was glad I was experiencing such a strong sense of being connected and that all of my feelings, no matter what they were, were acceptable and welcome in his office. Then he reassured me that he had the boundaries and nothing inappropriate would happen so it was safe to explore these feelings.

I almost fell off the loveseat I was sitting on. Then I burst out into very noisy tears of sheer relief that I wasn’t being sent away. It was such a weird experience because he was MUCH calmer and incredibly more accepting of my feelings than I was. So when we finished the session, I thought we were done with that. Ah, naiveté, your name is Attachment Girl. 🙂

I did tell my husband the next morning about why I had gone to see BN and about my feelings for him. Because of his own history, my husband was very understanding. I have deeply appreciated that through this whole process, which has now extended into years, my husband has been patient and understanding and accepting of my feelings. At times, as you’ll see, all three of us have discussed the dynamic, with BN paying close attention to any sign of my husband feeling threatened. May I say, that there’s nothing quite like your therapist discussing your feelings of attraction for him with your husband that makes it crystal clear nothing will happen. Which was healing in and of itself as there was no sense of the “secret” as there had been surrounding the incest with my father.  It was part of the contrast, and a very powerful part, between then and now.

So I figured that was that. But my subconscious had different ideas. A few days later, I had a really intense dream, which led to recovery of a bad abuse memory. I really needed to process the memory and talk about the feelings but had nowhere to go. So I went back to my husband, explained the situation and asked for permission to see BN just ONE more time for help. Which my husband was fine with (things were much better between us at this point). I went to see BN and we had a good session. So once again, I figured I was done. Which was a relief, because I was starting to feel guilty because I had agreed not to see BN, but here I was grabbing the odd appointment. But at the same time, it was getting increasingly more difficult, because whatever I took to him, he helped me to understand and feel better.  I loved having one on one time with him and had started counting the minutes between sessions. And my husband and I only went every two to three weeks, which was starting to feel like an eternity every time I faced that gap. I was feeling guilty about how much I really did want to be able to keep going to him for individual therapy.

But each time I went, it seems something else surfaced and I needed help with it. Reflecting later, I realize that this was the beginning of the “I really want to get closer to you, but as soon as I move closer I need to run!!!!” dynamic showing up in our relationship. So I convinced myself that I needed a therapist and since BN wasn’t an option, I’d find another. I knew of another therapist that several friends had seen; we actually had some connection in our personal lives as he was involved at the private school my children attended and we went to the same (large) church. He also had the same first name as BN, which made conversations really confusing. 🙂 For the purposes of this post, I’ll call him TempT.

I saw him for five sessions while at the same time seeing BN in both couples’ and an odd individual session or two. The truth was that I was getting so much more out of my sessions with BN. What I learned seemed to fit so well and help make sense of my behavior (it was about this time that BN became aware of my disorganized attachment behavior and started telling me about attachment theory, a subject upon which I had hitherto been ignorant.)  The truth was that I really wanted to continue to see BN, but I felt like a selfish, manipulative, greedy child demanding what I wanted. I knew it was “wrong” of me to see him. But here’s the interesting thing about being honest in therapy, both BN and TempT came to the same conclusion:  I should be working with BN.

We had a couples’ session with BN, my husband and I, in which we again discussed my seeing BN alone in addition to our couples sessions.  The truth was that I was trying a very sophisticated version of “RUN!!!” As we all talked about it, it turned out that my husband really didn’t have a problem any longer with me seeing BN alone (did I mention he is a very generous, loving man? Not sure I could have done that. )  His only worry was what happened if things took a bad turn and didn’t work out between him and I. To which  BN said, and I quote: “If things go South and AG is suing you, me and the doorman, then I’d work with AG to find a new therapist. But you saw me first, so I would continue as your therapist.” I was really struggling at that point in the conversation with a deep feeling of just being beyond help. Why did I have to go back to individual work again? Why wasn’t I capable of being on my own? BN then made one of the most impassioned speeches I’ve ever heard him make. He told me that I kept stepping away from relationship to be “cured” so I could come back and have a relationship, but that I needed to be in the relationship to be healed. That he thought he could help me, that he refused to believe that I was any more damaged than he was or that I was incapable of living a full life. So at the end of that session, we all agreed that I would continue coming to see him. And the rest as they say is history. 🙂

I met with TempT and explained and he handled it perfectly and agreed that it was where I needed to be. We parted on very good terms with his door still open. Things took a while to settle in with BN. At first, I was only going to see him every two weeks in between couples’ sessions, but eventually I settled into a weekly appointment as our couples sessions became more infrequent. And little did I know that the dynamic of wanting to come, but feeling guilty about coming, was the central issue we would work on for years to come, because I was unconsciously setting up the dynamic of wanting to both go towards and away from my father. It’s been a long, difficult, confusing, messy path we have walked, BN and I, but I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. For I have also healed more than I could have imagined and opened up to life in a way I never thought I could. BN’s belief in me made all the difference.

  1. Bourbon
    June 30, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for writing that all up. Your husband does sound very understanding and flexible. Just what you need and deserve whilst going through excruciating attachment issues. Go you 🙂

    Like

    • June 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      Thanks for reading it 🙂 He really is a good guy, I’m very glad that we managed to pull through with each other (it was touch and go there for a while). I really appreciate the fact that he may not always understand what I’m going through, but he’s always supportive. I’m very blessed.

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      • Bourbon
        July 1, 2012 at 4:54 am

        🙂 that makes me happy

        Like

  2. June 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    I’m enjoying your series of posts on erotic transference. I also struggle with this to some extent, though my feelings for my T veer from attraction to anger and other things – I’m not as uniformly positive about him as you are. On the other hand, I’m thinking you are talking about your experience in the past, from a bit of a distance, so maybe the ups and downs are smoothed out somewhat?

    What a scene, as you say, with both hubby and T in the room, discussing your feelings of attraction. I was thinking this happens to me because I’m single, but apparently that is not a requirement!

    take care

    Like

    • June 30, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      Hi Ellen, “ups and downs are smoothed out somewhat” could actually win an award for understatement of the year, 🙂 It’s one of the distortions that come from writing about things in the past which you’ve had time to reflect on and bring to bear understandings you learned later. I was a volatile mess for quite some time. I used to threaten to quit therapy at least once a month, and please trust me that I’ve done the love/hate flip-flop with the best of them. And yes, I have been angry at him. Actually we did a LOT of work around the issue of getting angry and expressing it. I have even hated him at times. He has held steady through it all, and takes non-defensiveness to a height very few people can reach. So for the record, I’ve often been a chaotic, confused, hurting mess through this. It’s been amazing what that man has held still through.

      And unfortunately, no, marriage does not protect you from this dynamic kicking in if you have unresolved childhood needs. I have always been very grateful that my husband has handled it so well so that I did not have to hide what was going on. All three of us talking about it was surpassed in awkwardness only by the session where all three of us discussed sex. NEVER, never, want to go there again. 😉 Thanks for commenting.

      BTW, if there is an aspect of Erotic Transference you wish to see me talk about or a question you want answered, please feel free to leave it in a comment, or email me at the email address that appears in the right column on my home page. Thanks so much.

      AG

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  3. June 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    AG, I always feel hopeful after reading your posts. Communication… thank you for sharing your experience so openly. I am always fearful in speaking up with my therapist about the relationship piece between the two of us, and in sharing your experience… well, you almost make it sound simple, though we all know it’s anything but! Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your healing journey xo

    Like

    • July 1, 2012 at 12:03 am

      Purpledream, You made my day telling me that you feel hopeful after reading. 🙂 If there is ONE thing I wish to convey, it is hope. I ran for the longest time on BN’s absolutely unshakable faith in my ability to heal. He believed it for me when I couldn’t. So I have an acute understanding of how necessary hope is, I am humbled and honored by your finding it here. And its scary to talk about the relationship. One of the things I may have failed to communicate is how terrified I often am when speaking to BN. There have been times where I’ve had to sit and get my breathing under control before I talked. But I also know how much good came out of talking about what was going on between us. And hey, it is simple, but that doesn’t make it easy. BN and I have often talked about the strange fact that so many MAJOR breakthroughs in therapy sound SO Duh when you articulate them. But it can be tremendously painful and difficult to get to them. Thanks again for your kind words.

      AG

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      • July 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

        Thank YOU for sharing! I know it isn’t easy – I often sit in my chair in my therapist’s office, biting my lip and blinking a million blinks a second, only to utter a few short sentences about whatever impossible topic it is, and she makes sense of it all for me. Kinda the same way you do in explaining some of this therapy crud! xoxoxo

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        • July 2, 2012 at 11:29 am

          PD,
          That description sounds about right. 🙂 It is amazing isn’t it, how you feel like all this confusing stuff just kind of spews out of you into their office and then they pull order and meaning out of it and explain you to yourself. Never ceases to floor me. I think it’s one of the reasons I just can’t seem to get myself to stop going, I love what BN continues to teach me about myself.

          AG

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  4. Starrynights
    June 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    My favorite part:

    “BN’s belief in me made all the difference.”

    It’s amazing what their faith in us can lead to, isn’t it?!
    What a wonderful story – keep it coming!! 😉

    🙂 Starry

    Like

    • July 1, 2012 at 12:09 am

      Starry,
      I was talking once to BN about self-worth and how I knew I should find it within me and he very gently interrupted and told me that our sense of worth always comes from outside of ourselves. But for people who have “good enough” parenting that they were attended to consistently and their needs considered, learned their sense of worth from their caregivers at such young age that is a “felt” internal sense for them. BN’s belief in my worth and abilities are what taught me to believe in them.

      AG

      Like

      • Heart and Soul
        July 1, 2012 at 9:04 am

        Wow, AG, you and Starry just put a lot into perspective for me… As always! Thank you both! Please keep writing, AG, you’re always spot-on, and how do you always hit the subjects I’m dealing with when I’m dealing with them? Perfect timing!

        Like

        • July 2, 2012 at 11:27 am

          H&S,
          Thank you, I am glad that you are gaining insight. It’s one of the reasons I so appreciate people like Starry and yourself for commenting as I think a continuing dialogue can be really helpful. As for the timing, I’ll just act like it was planned. 🙂

          AG

          Like

  5. "That's what," she said.
    July 1, 2012 at 12:43 am

    I love reading everything you write; your openness, your fearlessness, your honesty You are like a beacon to change and hope, and I cannot express how much I love reading you in your insight and perspective. I am much farther behind you in my therapeutic journey, but you give me hope for change and growth. I still cannot bring myself to even address our relationship, so I am miles in your wake. I cannot express well how much I look forward to your entries.

    Like

    • July 2, 2012 at 11:24 am

      TWSS,
      An Office fan, I assume? 😀 LOVE that show. Thank you so much for everything you have said. I cannot put into words how much it means to me to hear that I am providing hope for you. Please hang on to that hope, as you will heal and it will get better. (I do however, want to correct the “fearlessness” 🙂 Trust me, lots and lots of fear and trembling. Sometimes my ability to speak clearly obfuscates what a truly messy, ugly process this was. I wish you could have 15 minutes with my family, just to find out how much fun I have been to live with at times while working through this.)

      AG

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