Therapy isn’t enough Redux

Greetings dear readers,
I am in the midst of a disruption, probably unknown to BN, of my own making and struggling with what to do. It is forcing me to re-examine my role in therapy and what I am trying to accomplish, and therefore, how I should proceed. I am writing this post to try and sort through my beliefs and feelings and see the best way forward. I would appreciate any feedback or perspectives that anyone wants to offer.

I had gotten very triggered by an event last week, that I took into my session last Friday. The event had triggered some very deep feelings – the early, primitive, inchoate, supremely disorganizing kind – which I wished to explore and understand in therapy. We did really good work. I was able to stay with the feeling without dissociating and put some words to what was going on (a deep-seated, primitive terror of abandonment as it turns out). BN was very connected and very encouraging and made clear, in a fair amount of detail, how well I had faced and handled the triggering event and had dealt with the feelings coming up. That he knew they were difficult to allow into consciousness and tolerate, but that I was doing really well with that and he saw improvements in a lot of areas. The session, while brutal, hugely increased my understanding of the dynamics involved and really helped reduce the pain and anxiety created by the trigger. I had a very deep sense of BN’s compassion and his approbation.

But I was left feeling a little battered and tender, and as often happens after a deeply connected session, was badly missing BN. It was hard to put my finger on what was going on, but I did have a clear sense of just wanting BN’s presence (part of which was making sure he wasn’t going to leave, I am sure, since being left was at the center of the terror I had been facing.) So I did something I know is a stupid thing to do. (Things were going so well, you know! Can’t have that!) I emailed him around 11 that evening, explaining that I had felt very loved and understood during the session which makes it harder to leave and that, feeling a bit sad and a little raw, it would be good to hear from him. I made that part clear, as part of our agreement about email is that I only get a reply if I request one. Why was this stupid you ask? Because BN and I have a long and mixed history with email. His reply times and reliability in replying vary a lot. Actually, that’s probably not fair to him. He usually responds fairly quickly and I cherish a lot of the wonderful things he has written. But every once in a while, things do not go well. I am also very clear that he both prefers to talk on the phone and is rock solid reliable in returning phone calls. But when I am feeling particularly vulnerable, I think emailing feels less threatening. I also think I was feeling a little stupid/pathetic for feeling this way, since the connection was so palpable during the session so it felt wrong that I needed this reassurance. When I feel this way, as if I am too much, emailing feels to me like less of an intrusion. Which is ironic, since I think BN prefers phone calls so much more that actually a quick phone call would have been more welcome to him. But I can’t seem to learn that lesson and/or my fear gets the better of me at such times.

So the whole weekend went by and no reply. I held out through Monday and still no reply. By 9:30 last night I recognized that I was experiencing a build-up of not so great feelings. I kept trying to stop looking for a reply, in vain. I told myself that I KNEW the relationship was intact, it was just the email either hadn’t been read or he had forgotten to answer (yes this happened at least once in the past, he’s human). But I could feel a lot of anxiety and fear rising. I could also feel myself getting angry, that he knew what I was dealing with and why couldn’t he just answer? I had a bad experience a couple of years ago, when BN did not reply to an email I sent requesting an appointment, where I waited so long to call that when I did finally call, I just exploded all over the man in anger while he sat there totally puzzled as to why I hadn’t just called when I realized I was getting upset. Old pattern for me, deny your feelings until they explode out of you totally out of proportion to the situation. It is the ONLY time BN has ever accepted an apology from me. Most of these feelings felt in no way fair to him. There is an incredible frustration that with all that has happened in our relationship, I can’t just roll with these inevitable blips instead of being overwhelmed by them. So I called his answering service and left a message.

He called me back around 10 minutes (and 15 centuries) later and opened with his usual “What’s up?” I told him that I had emailed him Friday evening and still hadn’t heard back and that I was getting worried and upset about that so I called. He told me he had not seen the email (which was both a relief and terrible to hear) as he had been away for the weekend. He said he had literally just gotten home. There was so much going on internally for me, but it was obviously not a great time and I didn’t want to engage in a long call at 10 o’clock at night when he had just arrived home, so I told him it was good to know he hadn’t read it as that was better than something being wrong. I think I said sorry for the bad timing but its a little fuzzy. Then I remember him saying that he would be glad to read it and answer it. So I said thanks and ended the call.

I am going to try and be as honest as I can be and tell you that there were a lot of mixed emotions when I hung up. There was hurt and fear and anger and shame and anxiety. I mean the man has an Iphone, are you telling me you don’t have email set up on it? (Boundary problem right there: where he keeps his email and when he chooses to answer it, is his decision, not mine). Anger, that I spent the weekend anxious and upset (OK mildly, but still) while I was placed up on his work shelf. Fear that I was the world’s biggest PITA, calling just as he walked through the door, and that I am pushing too hard in the relationship and being too needy. I am sure most of you know the drill.

I had enough sense not to expect an answer last night. I mean, if I just walked through the door at 10 o’clock on a work night after traveling, answering my email would not be on the top of my to-do list. But I did expect that I would hear from him this morning, as he often handles emails first thing in the morning before his first appointment. But there was nothing. I still haven’t heard from him. There are several reasonable possibilities. I was so activated during the phone call that I may have indicated he no longer needed to answer the email and didn’t remember doing so. He sometimes books a very early session (7:30 AM) when his schedule is tight (which it tends to be if he takes a day off) and considering how late he arrived home, barely made it to the office in time for his first client, let alone with the leisure to answer his emails. Maybe he’s just fed up with me and pissed and is consequently not in any rush to placate the crazy woman.

I told you all this to actually talk about what is going on with me. 🙂

I fear that at least part of the problem here is that I am having expectations of the relationship that are not reasonable given the nature of the relationship. Also, as Ann so wisely pointed out in the comments of my last post, no one person can meet all your needs, although we all long for that. I do not doubt BN’s feelings of compassion and love and concern for my well-being. My life and my healing matter to him, but within the confines of a professional relationship. When I experience feeling so close and connected to him, when I feel deeply loved and understood, when I can feel his pain in response to my pain, I think it is difficult to hold on to the reality that this is a PROFESSIONAL relationship. He is not my father, or my friend or my spouse, he is my therapist. Which is no small thing; he has helped me immensely and done so by bringing so much of himself into the room and embracing the role of secure base. But the therapeutic relationship is what is between us and it will never be more than that. I am grappling with the fact that when BN made me so incredibly angry by saying I “somewhat” accepted that he was only my therapist, maybe he was right. That I am still nursing the fantasy that the relationship is something more. That I am special to him in a very personal way.

So I just ran full-tilt, full-speed, painfully into the “Therapy isn’t enough” boundary, bounced off and landed painfully on my ass. The painful truth is that BN will always, always be more important to me than I am to him; will always be closer to the center of my life than I am to his. Again, I am not questioning that I matter to him, I know I do. He has too heavily invested in seeing me get better to doubt that. But the reality is that I will never matter to him in the way I long too, as someone who isn’t easily put aside. (NOTE: I need to be someone he can easily put aside, as my therapist he has an obligation not to need me, and to maintain enough detachment to be of help to me. I am not saying that he does this in a callous “I couldn’t give a shit” kind of way.)

So I am questioning if on some level the reason I am still here, still seeing him, is because of this buried and unrecognized fantasy that if I stay long enough, I will get the relationship for which I long. If that is true, then the only thing that will result is pain; freshly unearthing the terrible reality that my parents abandoned me in profound ways and did not give me what I need and that there is no way to replace that. I have spent enough, and more than enough, time looking back at and mourning that loss. It is time to be getting on with things, knowing that I am so much more able to live a fuller life and have so many relationships in which it is possible to feel loved and accepted and get my needs met.

So as much as I cherish the growth I can accomplish with BN, I am also recognizing that the openness and vulnerability I need to experience to go so deep with him, is, I think, in some way continuing to feed this fantasy that perceives more in the relationship than is there. I do not know how to keep myself open enough to do the work without also feeding a longing that needs to die. So I am honestly wondering if it is time to go.

I am aware that this may be a really sophisticated version of “I want to run, this is too painful” or even a really dressed up version of a temper tantrum for not getting an answer when I wanted one (part of what is painful when I hit this juncture is realizing that there is nothing I can do which would make this as painful for BN as it is for me, as I can selfishly want to do at times, being human.) But seeing this as just a defense mechanism also makes me question myself. After all, if I can see this as just a defense mechanism, then I don’t have to leave (and can keep nursing the fantasy and longing.) I’m at a loss as to what is going on. And don’t particularly trust myself to know what is true.

Which would normally be my cue to bring this up and discuss it with BN as that often seems to be how I gain insight into myself and my motivations. But right now it feels so unbelievably humiliating to do that. I am sick to death of discussing this. Not to mention worn out from dealing with other things. So I just want to be done. I think that about covers the mess of my own making in which I find myself. As I stated earlier, I would appreciate any comments or insight (and while I truly desire honestly, a little gentleness would also be welcome, not feeling all that strong at the moment). Thanks.

  1. March 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I wish I had answers for you, but I don’t. However, and you may not find ANY comfort in this, but I could have written every single word that you posted today. And you don’t need me to tell you that you’re right, you need to talk to BN about this. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve had this same conversation with my T, and how I’ve felt better after each conversation.


    • March 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      I was afraid people were going to say that! 🙂 And I do find comfort in it, I don’t feel like such a freak knowing other people get this. Thank you. xx AG


  2. Mike
    March 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I don’t know you, but I can tell you what the truth would probably be if it was me who wrote the above.

    It would be the temper tantrum for not getting what I wanted from my therapist, and for not being her only client. And it would be the wrong time for me to be thinking about leaving, because it sounds like right in the middle of therapy, not the end of it.

    I am wondering what you meant by “getting on with things”


  3. mgrayta
    March 25, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Yeah, it seems familiar … although I almost never dare to email or phone my therapist, for fear of exactly what you describe. If I had written what you wrote, then in my case, it would be what you called a temper tantrum about not getting what I wanted.
    I was wondering what you meant by “getting on with things”
    and whether you hope that somehow he sees your post, or that he doesn’t?


    • March 25, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Hi Mike,
      Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. I appreciate your forthrightness. I am not hoping he sees the post; as far as I know he doesn’t read here unless I specifically request it. I also never say anything on my blog I wouldn’t say to his face since he does know where to find it. And if he did read it, he could more than handle it. He’s pretty clear about his own stuff. As far as getting on with things, I meant that in terms of wanting to pursue other projects and activities. Therapy takes up time and energy and is only worth it if I feel like the improvement is worth what I am putting into it. Part of what I am questioning here, tantrum aside, is whether my real motivation for still being in therapy is simply the desire to stay close to my therapist and for the wrong reasons. I am very clear that it is my choice to stay or go and if I go, I know I am welcome back at any time. ~ AG


  4. mgrayta
    March 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    ,,, and I seem to have double posted …


    • March 25, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Sorry Mike, you hit the dreaded “first time I post it goes into moderation” double post. 🙂 Just let me know if you want me to delete anything, including these comments and I’ll take it down.


  5. Lisa Anderson
    March 25, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Sorry you’re having a rough time AG. I often say that I feel as if it’s one step forward and nine steps back in dealing with my attachment issues. Sometimes it helps me to look back at some times when I was really struggling with everything that is me, and to acknowledge that progress has been made, no matter how slowly, or how much I hate to go back over the same old ground. So frustrating to go back to something that you thought you had “solved” only to have life show you that you really haven’t. Here’s hoping for strength and enthusiasm and bravery to continue on your journey. I get a lot out of reading your blog and this one helped me today because I had a set back too. Hugs!


    • March 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks Lisa, I appreciate both the understanding and feedback. I’m just tired and for today, feel like I have run out of enthusiasm. 🙂 Could be I’ll be feeling better tomorrow. For some reason, I just didn’t feel comfortable shoving this off as just an attachment crisis, something feels different. Maybe its that for as painful as it is, it also feels kind of boring. Going through the motions. I appreciate you reading and am glad that this at least helped you! ~ AG


  6. March 25, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    I know these times are rough. And I am also betting you know the way out is through what you don’t want to do, which is talk about it, reveal all of it to him. That is the pathway to feeling better and to finding more freedom for yourself. It sucks that is the way, but it is. To yield to the feelings of humiliation is to all but guarantee that this will only come up again. This is one of the times it is important to rely on what you know, what you have learned about the safety and trust of this relationship and battle your way through the fog of humiliation and fear. It does get better. Honestly it does.


    • March 25, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      Hi Cheryl,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I know you’re right, which means I now get to add the knowledge that I’ve done this bit of humiliation in public. 🙂 I can feel the internal stubborness. I do appreciate the recognition of the suckiness of what is. Do your clients drive you nuts when they do this? I know part of the fear is that his head is going to explode if we have to address my insecurities one more time. It has to occasionally suck being on the other end of this also. I really appreciate the feedback!


  7. March 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Interesting. I’m no expert, but it does seem like attachment issues. I totally relate to the email problem – I’ve struggled with this a lot with my T. I’d also be kicking myself for emailing when things were actually good, in a way. Because I know the pain when email ‘goes wrong’. My T also is not super excellent with emails. It does seem that to get the response you need from BN, phone is the way to go. Though for me also email is less scary.

    I’d be interested on where you take this from here. I hope BN still does reply. And that you are able to soothe yourself until you can discuss all with him. I find the self- soothing a challenge, but find it helpful to tell myself calming things, and tone down my panicky thoughts.

    I also related to my T being a huge part of my life, and myself being a much lesser part of his. It’s a built in frustration. On the other hand, like you say, it allows him to go about meeting my needs without my needing to meet his.

    Good luck. Hope you feel better.


    • March 25, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Ellen,
      Thanks it does help to know I am not alone in feeling this way, and I am certain these are attachment problems, i am just feeling frustrated with the fact that I can’t move past them. I am seeing BN on Friday (I have a rule about not allowing myself to flee therapy so it wouldn’t have been an abrupt ending in any case). It’s not so much his reaction I fear as having to drag through it again. Thanks so much for the feedback.


  8. cherylthejungian
    March 25, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I drove myself nuts in my own analysis when I did this! Relief was coming out on the other side.

    I know the people I work with struggle with the same kinds of things I have struggled with. The more patient I have become with myself, the more patient I have become with them.


    • March 25, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Ah, you put your finger on at least part of the problem, I have run out of patience with myself. I keep thinking I have come out the other side of this to only realize I am still muddling through. AAUUGGH! Since BN never seems to lack patience, at least as a therapist, I am going to assume I am safe from flying brain matter. 🙂 Thanks,


  9. March 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I figured out how to get into the rest of your post so now I can answer you. And from the viewpoint of not only feeling as you do but having only 5 months ago experienced termination when my therapist of 7 plus years moved out of state, I am still angry, grieving his loss, AND wondering if he ever “cared”. You are lucky you could call him and get him to call back – in all those years we never had a phone call except the very first one when he took me on as a patient and the day I called him to get an appointment when my Mom died and I needed him desperately. He had very strict boundaries, which only made me want more from him and the relationship. I thought often of quitting when I sensed (probably incorrectly) that there was an “edge” in his voice and he might be angry at me (I found out A LOT of personal info on him on the Internet). If you ever need someone to “talk” to about this, about termination, about wanting to be “special” (that’s what I am trying to work through because I too didn’t want to be just a textbook case – I wanted to feel he cared, and I was special.) I write volumes trying to get my feelings onto paper – I know I could probably create a good blog if I knew how – am certainly writing a very good fantasy book which includes real and fantasized relationship). And it’s a “bitch” because I have read so much, I know we are actually “set up” to be this dependent, worshipping, needy – I now see a young female therapist who trained under Doug – she is helping me by telling me he did care about his clients and the other things she learned in her training with him. I cry – usually the entire 50 minutes – go through innumerable kleenex boxes and miss him more than you can imagine. Please appreciate and enjoy all you have with this wonderful man – you can’t imagine the loss if either of you were to terminate too quickly. Good luck. Feel free anytime to send a private message or write. You do a great job on this blog.


    • March 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Hi Judy,
      Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting (and for your perseverence in actually locating the post! 🙂 ) I am sorry for your early termination, my first therapist retired and I know it is a painful, difficult passage. It sounds like you are using a lot of resources to work through it and I am glad that you have chosen to continue working with another T. I do have a very deep appreciation of everything that BN is to me, and am very grateful for his very generous contact policy. Actually his good qualities were what first helped me to face my losses, because if what he was doing for me wasn’t enough, then what would be? I also want to reassure you that termination is not all that threatening as he is a “once a patient, always a patient” kind of therapist and his door is always open. A few years back, I actually did go through termination for what turned out to be a four month break, but only had to pick up the phone to go back. I am really trying to sort through the best thing to do. I appreciate your feedback, and am glad that you enjoy the blog. ~ AG


  10. Little Blond Girl
    March 25, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I could have written this, over and over again. Sometimes I talk to him about it. Then things get good and I get the responses I need, but then inevitably something goes wrong again, and I’m back to the insecurity. Sometimes I don’t talk to him about it. Feeling like we’ve been here before (and isn’t he sick and tired of me not believing? – and I say here because I’m currently avoiding talking about the most recent event…), feeling ashamed, feeling like my neediness is too much, feeling like I never give him a break, and feeling like I ask just way too much from him and how can I possibly ask for more? Sometimes I think I that I’m resistant and avoidant because if I heal and I’m all better, then I have to leave and that’s too big for me to handle (even though I know that I can go as long as I want – and we’ve also talked about this and I’ve gotten my reassurance that I can go and talk about easy stuff if all the hard stuff is done – yeah right!). And I harbour that desire, for him to be my dad. The grief I feel at the fact that I can’t have the relationship with him that I want is palpable and excruciating. I do try and remind myself that even though I can’t have the relationship I want, at least I can have a relationship at all (and yes, some days that sounds like placating to me too!).

    Talk to him. He’ll understand. It’ll be okay. Your relationship is strong enough. And so are you.


    • March 26, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks for saying you could have written it, this has been a tough post to leave out there and it helps immensely that so many people understand the feelings. And that’s the cycle, you talk, it gets better, something happens and you find yourself once again in that painful place. BN actually jokes a lot about it (in a “give yourself permission to have whatever feelings you’re having” kind of way). I have also been told more times than I can count that I am welcome to come for as long as I wish to, but I have a deep fear of outstaying my welcome, so I tend to put pressure on myself to leave. Part of why this is so frustrating is that I am experiencing longer and longer periods of security and start to breathe easier thinking this emotional rollercoaster is behind me. I should know better. 🙂 And you’re right about the relationship being strong enough to talk about this, now if I can just figure out how to talk from behind the loveseat… 😀 Thanks LBG, I appreciate both the compassion and the encouragement. xx AG


      • little blond girl
        March 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

        My T has said on occasion that I can’t get any further back on his couch unless he were to pull it out from the wall!
        Doesn’t it just suck that even feeling secure can be scarey.
        Be brave Friday. You may uncover something new and also get reassurance about your relationship.


      • little blond girl
        March 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

        Oh and thank you for sharing. I know I feel less alone knowing I’m not the only one who struggles.


        • March 28, 2014 at 5:27 pm

          Suck doesn’t begin to cover it! That even the good stuff is scarey is an endless source of frustration. I am finally able to get this, can’t I just relax and enjoy it! And I am glad that you feel less alone reading this; I know I felt less alone by writing it. 🙂 It was a rough, but really good session, I’ll be posting an update, hopefully sometime this weekend.


  11. March 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    ((((AG)))) First want to send caring thoughts and gentle hugs, and second let you know that you are most certainly not alone in your feelings about this ‘strange duck’ of a relationship as you once said 🙂 It is very painful to run into those sorts of realizations about the nature of a client/ therapist relationship. It is confusing and scary and difficult for sure.

    My first thought, is I would recommend something I’m currently learning the hard way, that you really have to give your nerves time to settle after being so activated for everything to be a little clearer to you (again, just my personal experience at the moment, that whole amygdala hijacking issue!) But I’m also starting to look at my therapy in terms of accomplishing certain developmental tasks that have been arrested since my youth. So in looking at it from that perspective, I think of how a child has to learn to become independent from his or her parents gradually. I think of the process of slowly teaching the child that they can self soothe, they can handle what comes their way, but they must first experience that attachment with a safe caregiver before they move through to the development of independence, while still being able to carry that parent’s love and lessons with them wherever they go, in their heart.

    It was a foreign concept to me until adulthood that I was a separate person from my parents, I wasn’t raised with the goal of sending me off into society as a functional adult, I was meant to be an extension of them, care for them. So I’m learning the hard way the lessons of feeling safe in my own identity while carrying the love of my therapist with me, knowing that will always be a part of me, and that special connection really can’t be taken away. It may FEEL like it is gone, I may return to all the familiar feelings of terror and emotional abandonment, but in reality, it becomes a part of you, just like you would internalize and carry the lessons and love from a good parent throughout your life.

    My ramblings may not fit for you or make any sense, but just the thoughts off the top of my head 🙂 I am very sorry for how painful this process is, keep your chin up AG.

    Love, AH


  12. March 25, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    (to add to last post, I feel I should add that I had the realization after posting that I think almost all of my reply came from things I’ve learned from you, AG!) lol I feel a bit silly 🙂


    • March 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      (((AH))) I LOVED reading this, as I could tell that you have taken all of this in on a very deep level and are using it to heal. And now was not the worst time to be reminded of things I already know. Your care and compassion came through loud and clear and I appreciate both and you taking the time to say this. xx AG


  13. liz
    March 25, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Hi AG,
    I think I know exactly what you’re going through, I find myself doing the same thing A LOT of times, in and out of therapy 🙂
    I will not try to reassure you about the reality and depth of your relationship with BN because I think that has been established, and I will say this instead:
    every time I enter the obsessive phone checking phase I am already far beyond any possible rational thought; that is, I am already absolutely sure that I am just about to be brutally abandoned, and I am looking for any little detail that can confirm my fear, no matter what the other person actually does. In fact, in this phase, reassurance (when it comes) is never enough. Maybe this happens to you too, and maybe that’s the reason why you wrote that stuff about the iPhone (while I was reading, I thought about at least five or six reasons why BN wouldn’t or couldn’t have read your email and they all seemed incredibly reasonable to me :-D).
    I have learned (mostly through meditation, and I only mention this in case you ever feel like trying) to survive those moments of overwhelming crazy fear by doing absolutely nothing, at least until I have calmed down a little.

    My point is, whether you decide to quit therapy for a while or to go back and talk about all this in session, just make sure it is a real decision, and not just a reaction to your fear.
    And I don’t really need to say this because deep down you know it well, but the key here (and also the hardest part) is trust: you should trust your relationship with BN because you have solid evidence of its existence, and you should definitely trust yourself and your ability to take care of yourself.

    I hope you feel better now, and I thank you for sharing all this. Your ability to turn vulnerability into strength and inspiration is stunning, really 🙂


    • March 26, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      (((Liz))) Thank you so much, your recognition of being beyond rational thought and just reacting to those internal messages rang very true. Part of the reason I decided to write about this instead of contacting BN is that I know from past experience that nothing brief is going to help; it will only fuel the fire. So there is a sense of just needing to contain myself until I can talk it through in a session. (And yeah, I knew the crack about the Iphone was out of line, both because there are a LOT of reasons for not getting a response, most of which have nothing to do with me AND it’s none of my business, outside of my sessions, as to how BN uses his time or manages his email. Thoughts like that are always a sign to me that I am having boundary problems.)

      I appreciate the clarity about being able to trust the relationship, it is very much helping to hear that from everyone. I am not carrying a lot of trust for myself or my judgement right now, but do feel like I can trust the rest of you. 🙂 Thank you for saying my sharing this was a good thing, as I’m not seeing it at the moment. xx AG


  14. March 25, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Hi AG,

    Today has been rough and I’m not sure how coherent I am going to be, so I just wanted to let you know that you have my empathy and to throw a few thoughts out.

    First, MB refers to those times when I am obviously having a stronger reaction than the present warrants on its own as “being in trauma time.” Sometimes it helps me to be able to recognize that I am indeed running in two different decades at the same time and not think, “Why the heck am I doing X again?!? I should know better by now!” but rather to say, “Oh, I’m in trauma time again. OK, I need to deal with X, but even more, I need to reorient myself to being in 2014 and in a safe place.”

    Second, I really understand grieving the fact that the relationship that you have with BN is professional. I remember one session where I went in and just let MB have my anger and sense of loss and spent a lot of the session sobbing. At one point, she came right out and asked me if I thought that wanting to remain connected to her might make it harder for me to get better. I don’t know how she managed to do that in a way that didn’t sound accusatory, but she did, somehow. Talking about that made me realize that it could, and I really didn’t want for it to. I am very, very much going to miss her and wish that she was someone that I could have lunch with every so often after she retires, but I also realize that isn’t the reality. On the other hand, my town is relatively small, so I tend to run into her around town every month or two, so it isn’t like I will never see her, so I have a bit of an out that most folks don’t.

    Third, I think that you should listen to the fact that you are feeling kind of bored with dealing with your crisis. I’m not at all saying that I think that you are done with therapy, but I think that your mind may be telling you something. Maybe you need a nudge to move on from one place to another deeper and more difficult place? Maybe you are avoiding a topic that is harder for you to deal with (while this is painful, at least it is a familiar pain)? I don’t know, but I would suggest that when you talk to BN, you may also want to talk about that aspect. The attachment issues are real and they probably won’t ever be entirely healed- at least I don’t think that mine will, so I think that you need to be kind to yourself when they come up. MB always tells me that beating myself up doesn’t actually help anything- it just tends to make things worse. Being kind and compassionate to myself can help. (And yes, I know that practicing kindness and self compassion when in these states can feel impossible. 😦 )


    • March 26, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      I’ve been thinking some more about the “feeling bored” reaction- largely because it’s one that I have noticed in myself lately about something. For me, in this case, it seems to be that the issue is one that I do need to address, but I have been applying my energy to it in the way that I am used to, not the way that I need to. I don’t know if that makes any sense or helps at all. I also hope that all of our responses haven’t completely overwhelmed you! Thinking about you…


      • March 26, 2014 at 3:52 pm

        (((Cat))) Thank you for such a thoughtful reply. I am not overwhelmed, although I will confess to a certain “ouch” factor in reading all the comments, but I knew that going in. I do not lightly ask for people’s feedback and would not have posted if I didn’t feel strong enough to hear it. And everyone’s comments have clearly been written out of care and concern for my well-being. It’s a lot easier to listen that way.

        MB is very wise, I like the description of being in trauma time. I can feel my here and now reactions (which are actually pretty reasonable) fighting with the trauma stuff that gets kicked up. Part of why this happened is that I dug very deep into some traumatic memories on Friday, so this very much helped to put my reaction in perspective. And I agree in terms of never being fully healed. These reactions will always be with me, but my ability to manage them and put them aside more quickly continues to grow (contrary to the present example 🙂 ) We have also grappled with the whole “but if I get better I have to leave” thing and BN has a priceless reaction which is that there is no wrong or right, there is only making the best decision for myself at any given time knowing I can change it if I think its wrong. It’s weird to see someone so relaxed about something that seems so huge to me. Ah yes, and not beating myself up? Seems BN has had a thing or two to say about that over the years. LOL. Thank you Cat, your feedback got me thinking along different lines and I am feeling closer to understanding what is going on. xx AG


        • March 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

          I’m glad that what I said was helpful.

          One of my ‘favorite’ lines from MB: “And if you do start to beat yourself up, can you please not beat yourself up about beating yourself up?” Yes, she knows me all too well.


  15. Stubborn Boots
    March 25, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Dearest AG,

    What you describe regarding the email contact, lack of timely-enough response and the resulting anxiety is well-understood and keenly felt by many of us. I’m glad you took the time and care to write it out here (despite concerns of “public humiliation”), because I am sure there are others who will feel relieved learning they aren’t alone in these feelings of distress. It provides a bit of comfort to me as well, knowing these dynamics are shared by someone at a similar stage in the journey.

    “I do not know how to keep myself open enough to do the work without also feeding a longing that needs to die.”

    I am wondering if it really needs to die. Is longing for the care and comfort of BN that much different from longing to be someone special in his life? Isn’t it really just another facet of the same work? The work of seeing, acknowledging, believing you are worthy and important? The work of learning to not abandon yourself, regardless of what you’ve experienced with other attachment figures? Because I believe it is when we truly integrate this concept of our whole-ness and our enough-ness that the longings begin to dissolve. That doesn’t mean the attachment goes away. Only that we are more secure in our own power, our own self-reliance.

    There is more to do. You can do it with BN. It doesn’t have to mean you are feeding a fantasy. It’s up to you to decide if you want to do the work. Or if it’s time, as you say, “to be getting on with things.” I believe you know. Trust yourself.

    Sending hugs and love,
    Stubborn Boots (aka RT)


    • March 26, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      SB (aka RT 🙂 )

      Thank you for saying this, it helped very much to hear it. I felt very exposed and I think was expecting to hear “stop your whining” so I appreciate all the compassion and understanding. And I very much appreciate your approaching the longing as something not to be condemned but to recognize its healthy roots. I have a long history of being threatened by my needs and longings and beating myself up in an attempt not to have them. Good food for thought. And the truth is that there is an ongoing situation on my life (“the situation which must not be named” 😀 ) that truly requires BN’s support for me to get through. But stamping my feet and shaking my fists made me feel better, I think. 🙂 Thanks for being so understanding. xx AG


  16. Betty
    March 25, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Hello AG,

    First and foremost, I am sorry to hear you and others having this experience as I can tell you I feel this pain every week and truly understand the “they are just a therapist” as I tell mine this all the time. Like I can go get another, just like they can get another patient!!

    I didn’t have the issue so bad until I landed up with some type of neuromuscular disease that I have been waiting for over a year for a diagnosis (it is looking like ALS unfortunately) but I feel the strain in my heart each and every time she leaves. She is doing a home visit once a week for which I am extremely thankful for.

    I have parts that apparently have attached to her and I hate that I am an adult with what I consider such childish feelings but I think as we all know this is the very reason all of here are in therapy!! Even if it is not DID/PTSD there are so many folks out there that cannot form a “real” attachment!!

    The only words that may help is I try to look at this that when we are further in our healing we will truly be more aware of the warmth, love, and meaning each day brings compared to the average person who will never really experience these things because they continue on a mundane path in life looking for something they will never find until they really connect to themselves as we here are trying to do.

    I hope my rambling makes sense and helps you out even a little as I do know that a lot of what you write gets me through some really tough times 🙂


    • March 26, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Betty,
      Welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting. It made a lot of sense and very much helped. It really can feel so ridiculous to feel this way, especially as I truly know that BN is trustworthy and steadfast, I hate when my feelings don’t cooperate with what I know to be the truth. It helps to know that so many others also struggle with these feelings, puts them back into the realm of human experience. I also very much agree that having to heal this way provides a deep understanding and appreciate for attachment and connection that I do not think more secure people have, because, bless them, it has always been the taken for granted background. While I am not glad for what happened to me, I am very grateful for the strengths and insights that have grown out of healing from it.

      I am so sorry for your health problems and so glad you have a therapist willing to make house calls. It’s hard enough having to face that kind of diagnosis while also having to give up such an important source of support. I am very glad that what I write helps you to get through tough times, thank you for returning the favor. ~ AG


  17. March 25, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    AG–I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now, and this is the first time I felt compelled to post 😉

    The first thing that came to mind when reading this (and this is coming from a total observer, fan of psychology, layperson’s opinion) is that aren’t you going through some serious stuff in therapy right now? Reaching the core body shame issue stuff? I could be completely wrong (I was too lazy to click back through your last few posts), but maybe it is “easier” to feel frustrated with your feelings of attachment with BN whom you do have a secure attachment with (even if it is a bit lopsided), and focus your energy on this than going back to the hard(er) work of your shame?

    Please, if i am way off base, feel free to ignore it, roll your eyes, or shout at your screen 😉 I am ok with that!

    In one of your comments you mentioned how you lack patience with yourself, sick of mucking through the same sort of issues over and over again. Now THAT is something i can relate to!! My background is not anything like yours, so I often feel like I have nothing to add–but I can tell you that one of my frustrations in therapy was talking about the same sh*t over and over again, for it to go away, and then come back again. My therapist said something that really stuck with me, that therapy isn’t linear. We can’t just talk through a problem once and move on, but its circular. We come round and round to it over and over again, but each time we do we unearth a different layer, or come at it a slightly different way, and therefore can heal it a little bit more. I feel your pain at that frustration, and i am sure you already know this, but maybe it helps to hear it again.

    Who knows, and if none of this relates to what you are going through, just know you have someone who is on your side! Of course I agree that you should talk to BN about it 😉


    • March 26, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      OK, first I just have to say, awesome username. LOL. Thank you for reading all this time and I am glad I posted this if for no other reason that I get to “meet” you. Thanks for commenting. I think you make a lot of sense about questioning whether this is an avoidance technique. It’s certainly one I have used in the past and I have been doing really intense work. I just don’t think it’s the shame I am avoiding in this case, but I am saving that for a follow-up post. So there was no shouting at the screen. 🙂 I really appreciate people being honest about what they see when I ask for feedback and feel comfortable using it as input for my process and only owning the stuff I think I should. I am ultimately responsible for my feelings and responses, asking others for help is an attempt to circumvent my own blind spots. I really appreciate you taking the time.

      And I am a big fan of the helix analogy of therapy, that you go round and round digging deeper on each pass. I’m just not a big fan at the moment of living that out. 🙂 I am understanding that some part of this is about feeling worn out right now and kind of sitting down where I’m at and saying “no more!” This would all be a lot cuter if I was three. 😉 And thank you for being on my side, it truly helps and strengthens me to know I have so many kind, thoughtful people pulling for me. Hope to see you around the place. ~ AG


  18. March 26, 2014 at 8:41 am

    I, too, get frustrated with going over the same issues again and again with my therapist, but if they could be solved in just a few sessions, they wouldn’t be wrecking our lives! 🙂 And I agree with bullpoop04 (not a phrase I ever anticipated writing….), therapy is circular — each time we go around again, we get our thoughts and feelings together on a different level. You are rewiring your brain about a lot of issues, and it’s like making a path where there was none before — lots of traveling the same path again and again, until it becomes natural.

    Sending good thoughts and prayers your way today, AG. I love your honesty and willingness to share.


    • March 26, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Gracey,
      Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. Totally cracked up when I read “And I agree with bullpoop04 (not a phrase I ever anticipated writing….)” Thank you for the laugh, I needed it. And thank you for reminding me that the hard work of building new neural networks is part of the reason this feels hard. While we always retain plasticity in our brains, laying down new pathways is a tad harder at my age. Again, it is one thing to understand in the abstract the need to repeat an experience over and over again to implicitly learn a new truth and way of being, and another to have to suffer through all the feelings that the repition subjects us to. Ah well, if healing were easy, there would be lot of considerably healthier people in the world. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! ~ AG


  19. Ann
    March 26, 2014 at 10:46 am

    AG, I don’t know if I can add anything helpful after reading all the other replies. One thing I do notice here- you are loved! Yes, you are very loved by your readers. I too have obsessed over attachment to my Therapist. My main concern for you is the amount of access he allows you during the week. It seems in today’s world we all expect immediate access and an immediate response to everything. By pushing a button, (phone, I-pad, e-mail, text etc), we expect immediate results (a person, information, directions etc.) I believe our current lifestyle teaches us we need to get what we want now, now, now!!! 🙂 It almost becomes like a drug for us, to get our needs met immediately. It can be seductive and addictive.This makes it harder to wait, sit with our emotions, and know that the answer will eventually come. Do you and BN discuss ways to be patient with your painful feelings? One positive thing I see you do is write! (And we also receive the benefit of you experience!) If you and your BN explore added ways for you to self-soothe during part of the time, you may experience more confidence in your own strength! When I experience a longing for my therapist’s time during the week, I challenge myself to think about what “real life” emptiness or trauma I am trying to deal with. It is much easier to be upset about your T not returning an e- mail than focus on the real issue. (Which for me is wanting to have a person who is always available to soothe me and tell me I am Ok!) This wouldn’t really take care of my problem even if he did that 24-7. I can understand the need to take a “break” from intensive emotional work. However, maybe you and your T can explore ways to help you detach a bit from him and from the heavy emotional work during the week. Maybe the last 10 minutes of your session, he could stop the therapy and check in with how you are doing and discuss how to concretely deal with the seperation between sessions. Even giving you a transitional object to hold onto during the week to remind you he exists, cares, and you will see him again can prove helpful. As much as I would love to have as much access to my T as you do, I think texting or calling and then waiting for a response would cause me more anxiety and dependency. I want you to use all the “tools” in your “toolbox”, but sometimes we change focus and need to reevaluate the need to trade in an old “tool” for a new one! You know I care about your healing and your honest struggles help me look more clearly at mine. We all work differently through life’s struggles, but are all valuable in the sight of God. I hope you can experience some peace this week!!! Xoxo and always on your side. Ann


    • March 26, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      My gentle friend, you make some very good points. I am very grateful for everyone’s responses, I felt very alone, which is really not true at all. Stirring up those profound memories from childhood can leave me feeling like I am still that isolated, which is far from true.

      I very much agree with the seduction of instant answers, but feel like I do give some space with BN in terms of that (mainly because I know how much I struggle to keep up with answering comments and correspondence and how the timing of responses have everything to do with me and my resources and nothing to do with the people I am responding to). I did go three days without an answer before calling, and it was a very short email that only asked for reassurance. I do very little processing in email, or on the phone, but use both just to connect. I understand your concern about the level of access. I never contacted my first therapist between sessions except for scheduling issues and one emergency in all the time I worked with her. BN shocked me when he first told me I could email or call and it actually has taken a great deal of encouragement by him to get me to do so. He feels very strongly that you do not know when the need for your attachment figure will rise up and he feels comfortable setting his boundaries around the availability. This situation is a good example. While he was very understanding and non-defensive on the phone, he also did not apologize to me, because he knew he had done nothing wrong. He believes that it is therapeutic for me to reach out when I have a need (totally counter-intuitive for me) and experience having someone be available. So we have actually spent a lot of time over the years working through my tendency to grit my teeth and get through the hard way, instead of availing myself of my connections to find comfort and strength to face painful situations. He actually often refers to my “patented one minute phone calls” which I find very reassuring and when I have worried about abusing the contact, he has been very clear that I do not come close.

      Part of what I have found so frustrating about all this is that the frequency of my contacting BN between sessions has really been greatly reduced and so has my anxiety. I emailed him last week about getting an appointment for both my husband and I and never heard back from him until my next already scheduled session. A few years back that would have freaked me out. So this has very much felt like a regression. And BN is careful about the end of sessions and I have a blanket from his office that serves as a transitional object. I suspect that I was acting unconsciously in this case and fell back on old behaviors.

      Thank you for saying all this Ann, I am sure it felt a little scary. I am very glad you said it as I think I do need to think about my part in this and the reasonableness of my expectations no matter how I am feeling. I also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of how much you care and support me. Thank you for always being so encouraging. xx AG


  20. XXX
    March 26, 2014 at 11:53 am

    AG, I too could have written this post. I actually told my T I feel like a toon they kill in Who Framed Rodger Rabbit. Then she starts to question is she is “helping” me. Which makes me fell bad cause my insecurities can impact her. I think what is going on for BN is that it truly takes a very very special person to hold a strong boundary for himself because it is a marathon to get thru this, and you need him to run with you every step of the way or it won’t work. I don’t think his lack of reply is indicative of his care for you. You know I deeply struggle with the boundaries of therapy, and so does my T, they are not perfect at their jobs!

    Marijke posted that exchange with her T– Where her T said or you could stay by the fire and get warm. Part of me wants to jump I the fire, and be obliterated, it feels like what should have happened long ago, the pain should have destroyed me. This feels a lot like the past for me. Why cant I get warm already??? Be gentle with your self and know that you are not alone or crazy or stupid, your HUMAN, and I’m sure a damn good one at that!!!!


    • March 26, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Wow, I am so sorry your T starts questioning whether she is helping you. That would make it very difficult for me to open up about my feelings. And I think you’re absolutely right about BN’s commitment to the long term work. The boundaries protect me, but they are also in place to protect him and his resources so that he doesn’t burn out trying to do too much and then end up abandoning me. Ironically enough, we were discussing the boundaries the session before last and BN thanked me for understanding and accepting how necessary they are, he told me a lot of people don’t. Sometimes I have a very human moment when I don’t want to understand, I just want to be angry! I am grateful he gets that and also understands that he needs to hold still no matter how much I am bouncing off the walls Thank you for the reminder.

      And I am with you totally about not jumping in the fire and trying to stand close enough to get warm. And I also heartily agree that it is rooted in the past. Thank you for the reassurance! xx AG


  21. Mrs. Sharkey
    March 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm


    I get the humiliation and the choking fear of abandonment. I’m right there in my own therapy and it sucks. What I have found is that, over and over again, the topics that scare me the most, the ones that are terrifying and humiliating, are the ones I most need to talk about. And every time, my therapist meets me with compassion and understanding.

    You are right. Therapy is not enough. It can’t ever be. Nothing will ever replace what we didn’t get as children. What therapy can do is help us come to terms with that. It can makes it easier for us to accept the love and support we do have in our lives, because so many of us who were damaged as children struggle to let love in.

    A small child can’t fathom being separated from her parents. A young adult will take that step with ease because her parents have prepared both her and themselves for it. I can’t tell you for sure whether to stay or go, but my instinct is that if you stay and work through this with BN, you and he will get you to the point where you can terminate with relative ease. Because the time is right and not because you’re being driven away by fear.


    • March 26, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Mrs. Sharkey,
      I don’t have much to say in response except that I think everything you said is true. And I know that this is no way to leave. Sometimes I think, allowing myself to think about leaving makes it feel safer. I don’t usually threaten to do so in public, only in private to a few very forebearing friends. 🙂 Thank you so much for your wisdom. xx AG


      • Mrs. Sharkey
        March 26, 2014 at 6:41 pm

        I’ve thought about leaving too, usually when what I’m working through feels insurmountable. I have also freaked out over not getting the response I expected to an email I sent him. I was sure he was angry at him, and that sent me into such a frenzy that I had a massive panic attack before my session Fun times. :/

        My tendency, when I’m not running away, is to rush headlong into really hard topics. Maybe because I’m so afraid that I *will* run away that the only other option seems to be the headlong rush. My therapist is always encouraging me to adopt a more moderate approach, to take the hard topics little by little, reminding me that we can come back to them as often as we need to. Is there a chance you might have these same tendencies? 🙂

        I swear, therapy feels like a second full-time job sometimes.


        • March 28, 2014 at 5:37 pm

          I swear, therapy feels like a second full-time job sometimes.

          Right?!? Sometimes I go to my day job to rest! 😀


  22. Blackbird
    March 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Hi Aglet! I will try, be gentle. I know it hurts. I feel very much for you in this place you are in. Its a kind of Limbo, maybe.
    I will be very honest with what came up for me as I read your post. Reading it will hurt, maybe, so pick a time when you feel strong. Also- as always I may be completely, totally off-base- and probably am! But here goes:
    It is my belief that there are times when therapy can almost become a type of self-harm- do you know what I mean? Well it was that way for me. Times when maintaining self-respect and value for myself as an individual required walking away. When it can be healthy to say “You know what? I will never be in your inner circle,dear Therapist, so screw it! Thank you for everything you’ve done, but I’m better than this- begging for scraps from your table is NOT what I was made for. I’m done!” the question then becomes, would the insight from the relationship that you would lose from walking away be worth replacing with a new therapist? the other issue seems to be, that you feel that the shame
    at exploring these issues with him once again, is something that you must “conquer” or suck it up and go through it once again. Have you considered that it might be “good shame?” Those feelings might be trying to protect you from hurting yourself with the relationship- tellingyou that you in fact, DON”T need to keep doing this- that it’s actually ok for you to respect yourself and develop some boudaries of your own with your therapist at this point- Maybe its ok to say- “I’m not going there with this man anymore. I do not need to give him my heart and soul anymore.”
    Don’t get me wrong- Someone who hasn’t “gone there” probably needs to do that- and maybe, multiple times- but perhaps there is a time when maybe, its been done enough and just awakens more shame, then more neediness, then more shame…the “scab” analogy again.
    You’ve articulated things really well. I imagine, if you are like me, that you are HOPING that: “this may be a really sophisticated version of “I want to run, this is too painful” or even a really dressed up version of a temper tantrum for not getting an answer” – well, if it were me, I’d be hoping that, because walking away would be almost unbearably painful, and I would want to trick myself into staying any way I could! I would ten times rather pick at the scab of my therapist’s lack of desire for me then carry on with my life say “see ya” and let the scab fall off!
    Remember that your soul belongs to you- and to the One who made it- not to your therapist. Walking away can be healthy and an act of self-respect and self-love.

    Gaurd your treasure. These are my thoughts, my dear. I’m thinking of you today with affection.




    • March 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      (((Beebs))) It is wonderful to hear from you, I feel better just knowing you are there! Thank you for everything you said, you have a gift for sharing hard things with a great deal of compassion. I truly understand where you are coming from and have spent some time thinking about this (and will spend more) but must confess that so far it’s not ringing that true. For this reason: my feelings of shame and humilation originate with me. My T has truly never acted in a manner that has in any way communicated that he finds my feelings for him gratifying or that he takes any pleasure in watching me experience them. He has unfailingly met me with compassion and acceptance and striven to help me understand where the feelings are coming from and how to heal. He has given me a safe place to allow this longing to surface and been very gentle in his clarity about what can be met in therapy and what cannot.

      He has also held me very lightly. When I decided to “end” therapy and leave, he let me go freely and with a lot of encouragement, even though he felt there was more work to do (we discussed it at a much later date and he thought that I had needed to know that I could survive without him).

      But I also know that part of the emotional pattern of an abused child is to stay and try and get there needs met no matter what their parent is like or how unsuited they are to the task, and it may be that I am doing that. But while there has, no doubt, been a lot of pain in my work with him, there has also been a lot of growth, especially in my ability to have closer, more meaningful relationships outside of therapy.

      Thank you so much Beebs, I have always appreciated how fiercely you protect me! love always, your Aglet


      • Blackbird
        March 26, 2014 at 10:25 pm

        wow- thanks for being so gracious Ag- I’m glad that it is not ringing that true for you, actually! After I posted I realized that I projected a lot of my own stuff that I dealt with around my own therapy, and what was true for me (I had to leave, sooner rather then later) definitely isn’t true for everybody! But it was too late to delete. I wondered after I posted if I said what I said because in therapy I learned NOT to trust the therapist- or, maybe not the therapist’s fault- I at least could never make that leap of allowing myself to trust them, though I certainly was vulnerable- that experience isn’t true for people who have really good therapists, and who are willing to open themselves up to others and actually talk about their feelings- people like yourself.

        I have always felt strangely protective of you- which is odd considering that you are probably older than I, and have loads more experience and wisdom than I! Still- there it is! One of those things. Sorry to barge in here and basically, yell:” save yourself from the evil therapist!!!” *blush*

        Much love and many hugs to one of the classiest people I know, (((((Aglet)))))



        • March 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm

          ((((Beebs))) Having lacked a lot of protection when I should have had it, I love that you are so protective of me! Makes me feel loved! And no apologies, I knew you were offering a perspective based on your experience and asking me to consider it which is what I asked you to do and I it did give me food for thought. Much love back my dear!


  23. Ann
    March 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Amazing AG! Even in your pain, you have the strength to read other’s opinions (including mine) and not be defensive. You are so accepting of our thoughts and suggestions. Could it be your inner therapist is taking over! :-). I would love to know what BN thinks about your posts and responses to your readers. Who knows? Maybe he uses some of your ideas with his other clients! One thing I did get from my T recently. We had hit a horrible impass about the same time I was dealing with negative issues with my parents. I hit a crossroads. I knew that nothing would change with my parents, it never has. But I had an opportunity to work it out in a healthy manner with my T. We did it in a mature healthy way. He owned his part and I owned mine. For me this was an emotional victory. Does that mean my T loves me? Probably not. But that didn’t matter. He was willing to do the work with me. Of course I should have recognized how much thought and work you have put in with your T. You are eons further along the road in terms of communication with him, than I am with my T. Your response has shown me how possible it is to be honest with my own T. It seems to me you guys make a great team. I am sure he gets a lot of joy working with someone like you who possesses both good insight and great communication skills! Xoxo Ann You will never be truely alone. Your readers are tenacious like pitbulls. We will never let go of you. 🙂


    • March 28, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      Ann you give me way too much credit, but thank you it makes for nice reading. 🙂 BN’s one remark about the comments was that he liked how the conversation continued, which i thought was a lovely description

      And I do think it was an emotional victory. When we were never allowed to address disruptions and have other people own their stuff and be forgiven for our stuff, then the inevitable “stuff” that goes wrong can feel impossible to work through. Being able to safely do that and have the relationship remain intact is so very, very important to our healing and learning to move closer in relationship. Our Ts going through that with us is in actuality what teaches us we matter, I am really glad that you were able to have that experience.

      As for further along the road, o modest one, I think I am (possibly) only a few steps in front of you. And very, very glad to know that I do not, nor will I, walk alone!


  24. muff
    March 26, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Nothing to add AG~ just dropping in to say G’day, and job well done in this pull N push process of ‘letting go.’ Logic sets in after emotion is released. We think, feel and then know. Bugger of an unpaid job aint it? And the intense feelings of isolation when letting go are brutal too. Meantime, your getting to know you very well via Mr BT. My regards to him as always.

    On wards!


    • March 28, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      G’day Muff!! I hope things are well in Oz! Think, feel and then know is an excellent description of the process and I totally agree, BN is the mirror in which I can get to know and understand myself. I will pass on the regards! Take care. xx AG


  25. NextInLine
    March 27, 2014 at 3:50 am

    I know everyone has left such incredibly brave and selfless comments here, and AG, I truly think that is a reflection on your ability to be so honest and open and amazing. I have nothing original to add. The trust your heart comments to me seem to explain it all. Except that your indecision is built on a faith and knowledge that i believe a lot of us do not have, not yet even if we are working towards that, so our limited knowledge can only serve as a stepping stone. I honestly, from your writing which to me is everything I wish i could be, I honestly believe you already know what to do to make the best outcome for you. And I think you have the faith in you to do just that. If not, well, I have faith in you. you take care of so many of us with your courage and honesty and faith, there is no way we will not have your back. i told my T I read something that reminded me of him and he asked me to read it. i said no, not yet, but it was you. I am just not ready to go there. You inspire me.


    • March 30, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Thank you, I am truly overwhelmed by how you see me (although I will repeat what I said to Ann above, you give me too much credit). Please know that in no way is this blog a one way street, I so appreciate the understanding, compassion and support I get from all of you. This community is an important part of my healing. And I would be truly honored if you were to read something I wrote to your T, I am grateful to know I am helping in your healing. xx AG


  26. Marijke
    March 27, 2014 at 4:49 am

    Hey AG,

    Sorry things are so rough for you right now. I have very little new to add to what other people have already said in their replies. Just that I so relate to the feelings of somewhere, deep down harboring this feeling that a the end of therapy, a different kind of relationship might be possible.
    That where I’ve always thought that boundaries, as useful and crucial as they may be in a therapeutic context, are also very unnatural. Of course therapy is about the clients’ needs and should be focused on them as much as possible. And a T aware of his own needs (i.e. countertransference), should work on those in supervision. But in ‘real’ life, that’s just not the way things work. A good enough parent, focused on his child’s needs, also ‘gets’ stuff out of this relationship. That the way nature intended it. Experiencing this one way dynamic in a therapeutic relationship just doesn’t completely feel ‘right’, does it? A couple of months ago, after an intense session where T and I got very close, I asked her if doing this kind of thing was all right for her too (like in “am I not too demanding/needy). She simply replied that offering me comfort and feeling the energy of love flowing between us, was something enjoyable for her as well. This may seem as very boundary crossing for some people, but it doesn’t feel like that to me. It just shows me she’s human and aware of what the interaction with her clients does to herself. And willing to talk about it.
    I think your reactions are more than natural. BN is a superb therapist, sucking boundaries and all, and I agree with everyone insisting that you talk to him about this on Friday. We’ll all be rooting for you .

    I also agree with Ann about this 24/7 communications technology thing and self soothing. My T is 58 years old, very much into eastern wisdom, meditation and astrology and NOT into texting and e-mail at all. It was YOU, dearest AG, in your reply to the very first comment I left on your blog (go read  who told me BN’s response time to e-mail could vary “…from 8 hours to four days to never. What was really interesting is that if I call his answering service and leave an “emergency” call, he calls back within an hour. Yet I would choose to email knowing it wasn’t as reliable. So through much discussion, I realized that emailing was connected to how threatening it felt for me to ask for what I needed…”
    Aren’t you glad having all these people who love you, bouncing you back those words of wisdom you gave them in their time of need?
    My T is also much more responsive on the phone. I’m sure it’s an age/affinity thing but also very much a way to ‘enticing’ me into practicing directly expressing my needs. And every time I do get myself to make that call (usually after a couple of days of self torturing going round in circles), the relief and relaxation afterwards is immense. How simple and excruciatingly difficult can it be!
    I also asked about ways to self soothe in my last session, as in “how can I avoid bugging you too much?”, and I’m trying to get some practice with that. That’s where (I keep repeating myself) the body comes in. All the words in all the world cannot replace healing touch. When you get activated in such a way, I think words – as in already cognitively processed emotions – can only reach you up to a certain level. And processing them also demands energy. Stuff like a massage (my wife doing Shiatsu training. It’s heaven!), a sauna, or even a hot bath and an early night help me trough instead of worsening the activation (which words often do for me). I am still a million miles away from ‘being in my body’, and I recognize wholly that everyone else’s experiencing of their body can be completely different. BUT, and is a big but, I’m also convinced it is where our emotions originate and are processed for the most part. We just cannot ignore it if we want to heal. We do not have a body, we are it.
    Again, hats off to you, for connecting about this. Take good care of yourself (mind and body) and let us carry you a bit through this difficult time. It’s the least we can do as you have been there for us so many times before. Even though BN cannot ever acknowledge it in the professional relationship with him, YOU ARE EXTRA SPECIAL, AG, we all here think you are.
    ((((Be thinking of you))))


    • Lisa Anderson
      March 27, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Well said Marijke.


    • March 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      (((Marijke))) Thank you for so much wisdom, and this teaches me the wisdom of my favorite adage: “Lord, make my words soft and sweet because I may have to eat them tomorrow.” LOL Thank you for serving them up so gently. I definitely agree about the body because I usually cannot figure out how I am feeling until I go down into my body. And as I will talk about in a subsequent post, it wasn’t really about email (go figure! 😀 ) Thank you for being here for me! xx AG


  27. GreenEyes
    March 28, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Dear AG
    Firstly hi 🙂
    I haven’t had the chance to read through all the comments though I’m sure they are thoughtful and helpful.
    It sounds very much to me like you’re holding out against having to go through more shame, rage and grief over how appallingly your parents treated you and how much you needed to feel special and important in their eyes. I know first hand how heartbreaking and insanely painful it is to have such primitive needs awoken that cannot be fulfilled. I know what it’s like to want a parent who will protect and love and tend to those deep excruciating wounds and make it all better. Together you and BN can give little AG everything she missed out on so she can keep growing and healing.
    IT is normal to rail against pain and seek pleasure but in therapy its brutal and avoiding distress usually prohibits further growth. The bedrock of intimacy is empathy and it sounds like BN is doing well there.
    I also think this may be a knee-jerk reaction to feeling so close and cared for with BN. Its almost like part of you wanted to prove that this wasn’t safe by choosing a method of contact (ie email) that you know he is not always quick to respond to rather than a phone call which he is solidly reliable with. Your needs are your needs, plain and simple and it is healthy to ask to have them met and to work to care for yourself too. Just remember taking a step closer to someone when you’ve been abused by a parent often evokes an enormous backlash in some way shape or form that can attempt to disturb or end the relationship. From all I’ve read and heard of BN its not going to go pear shaped and he cares for you enormously.
    Hugs xxxx


    • March 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      (((GE))) It’s wonderful to hear from you, I have missed you! I hope that you are doing well. And congratulations, I think you completely nailed it. I had also talked to a friend about this after reading all the comments and I had come to the conclusion that I had moved so close (our previous session was pretty intense) that I had gotten scared and unconsciously set up a “failure” on BN’s part to justify my moving away. We talked about it on Friday, which really helped. I’ll be writing an update post on it. Thank you for giving me back my words in such a gentle manner. If anyone has a right to do so, it’s you, having endured hearing from me so graciously on the subject of grief. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. And you’re quite correct that BN cares for me enormously. 🙂 much love, AG


  28. Elsewhere
    March 28, 2014 at 4:06 am

    Hi AG, just a question: do you think you *deserve* all the time with BN you get? Or are you – in your own imagination – *using him too much*? (Sorry, my English hasn’t waken up yet). Could it be you are limiting your needs, just because that’s what (early) life as taught you? I hope you will find a generosity in yourself that allows to receive whatever BN is offering (including the frustration etc.). You DESERVE it


    • March 31, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      LOL! Elsewhere, of course I don’t think i deserve BN’s time or attention! Denying and trying to suppress my needs is a lifelong pass time, one which BN is slowly getting me to give up. Even after all this time, and knowing I am safe, it can be a struggle to contact him (except, to give myself credit, in a serious crisis, about a real event, not just my projections, there is no hesitation). Thank you for the reminder, as I do know in the abstract that I deserve it. 🙂 xx AG


  29. March 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    (((AG))) I love reading through everyone’s comments, so much insight. I had a thought about all this today, and it may be very overly simplistic… but I’m wondering about the idea that you feel like you are ‘feeding a fantasy that needs to die’ as you said. Do you think this ‘fantasy’ may be not so much about BN specifically, but about the idea of any other human being able to soothe you in distress vs. having to face the task of self soothing and loving yourself completely? I’ve just stumbled upon that realization for myself recently, and it made me think of this post. I feel like I am terrified at the idea of having to love myself enough to be okay with other people’s boundaries, and I feel incredibly alone when I have to self soothe, I wonder if any of those feelings fit for you?


    • March 31, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      ((AH)) I appreciate the insight and will freely admit that those are feelings I have acknowledged and worked through. One of the griefs I have mourned in therapy was not being soothed and cared for with the focus I should have had. I recognize that my yearning with BN is about the absence of that when I should have had it (we glanced on that on Friday). In the end, I decided this particular episode was about an unconscious need to move away. I think it’s an important insight and am glad that you shared it


  30. muff
    March 28, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    “I feel like I am terrified at the idea of having to love myself enough to be okay with other people’s boundaries, and I feel incredibly alone when I have to self soothe…” Spot on my amoredheart. It does feel very isolating depending emotionally on self, but I am told it is a part of the process of “letting go” of our infantile needs that were unfulfilled. Self love is the goal! Imagining self love at first then waiting for it to become our reality is a real possibly. 🙂

    Sorry for butting in but this hit the nail on the head as to what is going on with me now.


    • March 31, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      No butting in Muff! Conversations are very welcome and I think we all learn from each other.


  31. Elsewhere
    March 31, 2014 at 1:46 am

    well put, myarmoredheart and muff! Self-compassion. I’m doing meditations from Tara Brach on this subject and it´s incredible powerful – and difficult.
    The one about selfcompassion is called Finding Refuge in Living Presence.
    Keep tissues at hand! Love you all,


  32. Elsewhere
    March 31, 2014 at 2:17 am

    Sorry, the correct title of the meditation is: Taking Refuge in the Beloved.


  33. Louise
    March 31, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Thanks for sharing AG. I have these same feelings each and every time that I send my therapist an email. Even when it’s for a structured writing session where I write and she responds at a specified time. Even then I find myself compulsively checking my inbox, waiting, willing for her response. It can be very exposing to put your thoughts and feelings into written word (as I’m sure you’ve experienced with this blog) so I think that contributes to the need to have emails acknowledged and responded to.

    But even so, each time I’m certain that I’ve gone too far, crossed some boundary, said too much, asked for too much in return. And each time her response is that by opening up and sharing what’s really going on inside, she feels connected to me and trusted by me. What I inherently experience as a “pushing away” she sees as something that actually brings us closer.

    And similarly, there is a wish to be more than just your average client, but I suspect, based on the comments here, that many of us are. Not everyone embraces the job (as someone else alluded to and it is a job requiring time and energy, not to mention money) of therapy so seriously. I think it’s very easy to assume that everyone else is putting as much into the therapeutic process but that’s not always the case. Not everyone is willing to go deep and round and round and round again and to meet and match the energy of the therapist. I’m told it’s not hard to be connected to an engaged client.

    My therapist gave me her cell phone number at our first appointment (the only therapist to-date to do so) with the mandate to use it if I needed to. She will pick up if she can talk, let it go to voicemail if she can’t. Texts are fine too, as are emails. In fact, it’s when I don’t email between sessions that makes her start to worry. At least if I’m emailing, then she knows where I am. Maybe that’s how BN feels about your voicemails and check ins? Not as intrusive but connecting for both of you?

    Besides, it is a real relationship between two people. My therapist said just last week that there are plenty of therapists who are willing for them to be the only person in the room, or for the client to be the only person in the room, but in her model we BOTH have to be in the room. I know that I am more than just a “client”; I am a real person and we have a very profound and intimate relationship built on trust and care and respect and sometimes that’s hard to hear and accept. When I was throwing a hissy fit a few months ago and wanted to leave, her response was “we’ve gone to important places together and you don’t get to just go like that. That doesn’t feel fair.” Which isn’t to say that I couldn’t go if I so choose, I just had to leave in a self-respecting way.

    I left my prior therapist when we hit a dead-end. It’s an ending that I’ve had to process in my current therapy. I once questioned whether I meant something to him. My therapist responded, based on her work with supervisees, that if I felt the relationship was real, then she suspects that he felt the same way too, even if he wasn’t able to verbalize it or express it.

    Therapy is all about real, honest, authentic relationship between two very real, vulnerable people. On both sides of the couch.

    I recently told my therapist that I sometimes felt like I was dating someone who I never could marry, that there was an inevitable break-up in our future. She challenged this, of course, by saying that she never felt the need to breakup with her therapist and reminded me her door is open as long as she has a door. And that if perhaps I ever feel the need to go, it will be felt as a graduation and not a termination or break-up.

    Sending you strength and compassion…


    • April 6, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      I very much agree with your take on the therapeutic relationship: that it is real, honest, and authentic between the two people on both sides of the couch. I know that parts of the T are kept out of the road, but in order to go deep, but people must risk and reveal. Struggling with whether the relationship is real was a very long struggle with me (and can still occasionally crop up because of MY issues) and I remember once BN saying to me “this is as real as it gets.Part of my frustration when situations like this occur is that I know how truly rich and intimate the relationship is within the boundaries, why can’t I just let it be enough? Especially since the boundaries are what allow the intimacy and depth to occur. Because the relationship is protected by the boundaries, I am completely free to move within them however I need to, And the truth is, I can sometimes wonder if we get the best of our Ts. But knowing all that does not stop me from occasionally slamming painfully into them. 🙂

      BN has an always open door policy (I actually did leave at one point although it ended up being only a four month break, followed by a year of going once about every 4-6 weeks until some life events sent me back to a weekly schedule. BN has also told me that I am always welcome to come, he will never ask me to leave. So I know that if I ever leave, it will be my choice and when I am ready. And honestly, BN is so woven into who I am, and to a lesser extent, I am woven into him, that it is impossible to break the relationship. To quote “For Good” from ‘Wicked” I carry his handprints on my heart, I am glad that you experience this reality and depth with your therapist. Thank you for your understanding and support.


      • Laura
        August 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm

        Maybe why it’s hard to ‘let it be enough’ is that you are experiencing this attachment to BN with a childlike need but also at the same time with an adult awareness/consciousness of picking apart what it ISN’T, when a kid simply receives what it IS when things go right.

        In a sense, it might be 100% enough for your inner child and yet not enough for the grown up you, who missed getting it when it should have come in and who paid the price for it and who knows that.

        Seems like one of those paradoxes of healing, enough and not enough at the same time.

        Sometimes the way I comfort myself is realizing my empathy for others increases when I hold my own pain with bravery.



        • August 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm

          Hi Laura,
          Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. Interesting take on it, as a difference between the inner child and adult. I see it more as the tension between what I am getting as being vital to my healing and growth, while it also identifies what it is that I lost that must be warned. In other words, therapy is enough to finish our development and heal and live more fully going forward, but it is not enough to reach back and eliminate the loss we experienced. So I totally agree with your description of it being a paradox of healing (there are SO many of those), enough and not enough at the same time. I also absolutely agree that holding our own pain increases our empathy. We develop an ability to stay with someone in pain. As much as I can sometimes struggle with how difficult healing can be, I am also very grateful for the strengths and abilities that have grown out of that struggle. ~ AG


  34. Gel
    March 31, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Hi AG
    This post drew me deeply into my own process. I admire everything you are going through and working on….I am not a good writer and I write too many words in an effort to find what the heart is of what I want to say. So….I have a paragraph from a bunch of writing from the last several days. Here is what I hope is the heart of what I want to share:

    What I think of when i read your writing is that it’s a natural part of development that all humans have to go through. It’s not just about whether or not you got enough secure attachment in early childhood to develop healthfully beyond childhood. And it seems like humans have to go over this again and again….babies with parents, youth with teachers, adults with spiritual leaders, and people with therapists…..It’s not about getting over attachment and never having to deal with it again. It’s not about finding the perfect attachment and being finally complete….it’s about going through attachment and heart break over and over and in the process something is developed within us, a set of skills or a level of spiritual openness – something in us is developed but never perfected. I think it’s because we are “designed” to learn how to set our holy longing free. Not that we are to be free of longing, but to set it free so that it can always be available for God. ​
    ​so that it can be available for this ongoing collaboration with God.​


    • April 6, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Thank you Gel, I think that was deeply insightful and very encouraging, I am so aware of the need for repetition, especially in learning developmental skills (neural pathways laid down strong enough to last are created by the repetiton) but it’s hard to hang onto that truth when you are actually doing the repeating. 🙂 You put it so beautifully, especially about the process. BN has often told me there is no end to growth, not while we are alive. That healing is not a destination, it is about learning to continue to go forward, both outward and inward, to risk and to grow, knowing that you can endure the trials along the way. Setting our longing free for God encapsulates that truth perfectly. I love how deeply you think on these things, thank you for sharing this. xx AG


  35. Ann
    March 31, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Gel, Outstanding! You make so much sense. I love your perspective! I will ponder on it for a while! AG is so amazing to let us all share here. I think everyone has something to bring to the table. AG justs opens the door (her heart) and lets us walk in! Ann


  36. LJB
    April 1, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    At least you have the guts and courage to bring this up in therapy. I’ve been struggling with this for about 3 or 4 months now…it just started to emerge out of nowhere. I’ve read your blogs and know I should bring it up with him, but I just can’t. I keep thinking it will go away or wear off, by some miraculous way. I have a feeling there is going to come a time when I definately have to discuss this. And I KNOW he has had to have had other clients that form this kind of attachment. It can’t be just me. I’m sorry you are in such horrid situation right now with the way you are feeling. Sure wish I could help. Ann is right, you have opened the door for all of us. If I hadn’t run across your website, I would have thought I was actually going crazy!



    • Marijke
      April 3, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Dear LBJ, you are not going crazy, but your feelings won’t wear off just like that either. When I first told my T about my feelings of attachment to her, a wave went through my belly as if I was having a contraction – no surprise the type of transference I’m experiencing is maternal. That’s about a year ago, after… 4 months of therapy. Like AG’s BN, my T doesn’t like the term transference but talks about it as feelings that can and need to be explored. They are so near the core of my attachment wound, which explains their intensity, and represent an energy that – when transformed – has immense healing potential.
      Don’t push yourself, but be conscious of their importance and know that, if you shy away from them now, they will keep coming up again in the future.
      It’s still b****y hard at times, to talk about this to my T, but every time I do, relief follows. Not just because she accepts and acknowledges them with compassion and non judgment, but also because I get to be proud because I had the courage to express my feelings and needs.
      Be gentle with yourself


  37. LJB
    April 3, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks Marijke…I appreciate the comments. I will definately take it under consideration for future sessions. It’s going to take a lot of guts, though…lol!


  38. candycanandco
    April 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    So painful to read because I go through all the same things with my T. No advice for you here 😦 sorry


  39. Kate
    July 4, 2014 at 6:45 am

    I could have written every single word of this post so many times that I had to double check that I hadn’t actually written it … which was hard to do because by the end I couldn’t really read the words because you’d touched a nerve that made me cry and I couldn’t see through the tears! Painful because I recognised myself; bittersweet because I realised I wasn’t alone.


    • July 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Hi Kate,
      Welcome to my blog and thank and thank you for commenting. I am so sorry this resonated so strongly with you, because I know the kind of painful experiences you must have had to have this touch you so deeply! But very glad that it helped you feel less alone and more understood. I am sorry for the tears but hope that they were healing. I think bittersweet is the perfect word. Thank you for taking the time to say this. ~ AG


  40. DpBluSee
    July 18, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Hi AG,

    I am not sure whether you have already posted about if you have achieved insight on this particular topic? Have you? I know you didn’t decide to leave therapy!

    The reason I wonder is because I have been going through an episode very similar to this in my own therapy. I had a moment where I wondered if staying in a relationship with someone that I can never have in my life the way I want was a healthy thing. What was interesting for me was instead of resisting the wanting of the relationship, like I typically would have done in the past, I let myself have the need. I let myself really feel it and accept it. This led to a deep well of pain that I didn’t know existed still for me that has been wanting to surface for a long time. I have been going through a very good, optimistic phase in my process and a lot has been changing for me, in my life, in a good way, and I’ve been in therapy for four years with my current T, so I thought I had sort of “felt it all”! (Right! ;)) Apparently not! This was quite a surprise for me!

    I am still dealing with this, but I no longer feel like I should leave therapy. I am now aware, on a deeper level, that I need to feel the intense pain of what I never got. I know I can get an approximation now, but I won’t until I deal with this pain that has lived inside of me all along.

    I know you have dealt with these feelings, as you have described, over and over. That sucks. My T has told me that I continue to experience this pain because that is just how bad my childhood was.

    I was wondering if you had come to a similar conclusion with this or if it worked out differently for you?

    Thanks and all the best,


  41. July 19, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Hi DBS,
    I came to the conclusion that I was trying to run because the previous session had been so deep and intimate and I had been so vulnerable. Whenever I move closer, I react by trying to run. 🙂 I did write a follow-up post about the next session and how I processed it, if you want to read it. Wanted, not needed, to go.

    And what you’re describing about the intense pain fits with my experience. When I stopped and let myself feel my longing for the relationship, the pain of what I didn’t have got evoked. I also decided at that time that it was important to continue in therapy. In hindsight (this was a number of years ago) I was absolutely right to stay. 🙂 It was good to hear from you! xx AG


  42. July 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I have a little bit of a theory about this phenomenon. I think humans are designed for certain kinds of relationships: Friendships, romantic relationships, parent-child, mentoring, etc. While therapy is useful and I am thankful for it, it’s a relatively new type of relationship and I don’t think we’re designed for it. So I think that’s at least part of the reason why some of these problems pop up. I share more intimate things with my T and take more risks than I do with my friends, and yet we’re not friends. And she doesn’t share much with me. I understand why within the context of the therapy relationship, but I think that imbalance causes inevitable tension that would be there even if we didn’t have attachment and other issues. I think it’s natural for me to want to know more about her, to maybe have her lean on me sometimes, or to be able to get to know her in another setting. It’s just what humans do, but because of the strict boundaries of the relationship they can’t happen. But I think those longings are perfectly normal and will create frustration when they’re unfulfilled.

    I think I am dealing with something similar right now. I’ve been in therapy with my current therapist now for about six months, and am just now starting to feel connected and close to her. I find each step closer to be painful and bittersweet, because it’s one step closer to the relationship ending. (I’m in the middle of working through this so bear with me) I know my attachment issues make everything more intense, but I still think some of the issues would be there even if I didn’t have that, of course I could be totally off.

    I try to remind myself that my options aren’t between having a relationship with her outside of her office and not having one, but it’s really between having the chance to have met her and get to know her and have the relationship we do have, and never having met her at all. There is no realistic way we would have ever crossed paths except for me needing therapy and her being a therapist.


    • July 21, 2014 at 9:58 pm

      I agree, BN and I have discussed many a time how unnatural the boundaries of therapy are. They are vitally necessary and there are valid, important reasons for how it is set up but its not natural. Even in a child/parent relationship, eventually the child grows up and can form a more equal friendship with their parent. So I totally agree that there is nothing wrong with the longings we have about our therapists. We are hearing no, not because what we want is wrong to want, just that fulfilling that desire in THIS relationship would be damaging. It’s why a good therapist most resembles a good parent in that they are trying to put themselves out of a job and help you grow so that you can fulfill your desires and needs outside of therapy where you can fully know someone as well as being fully known.

      And I’m with you on being grateful for BN as my therapist. He has helped me heal beyond all my expectations and the truth is, I would never have met him if it weren’t for him being my therapist. I certainly would have never had this deep and intimate a relationship with him. I need the protection of the boundaries in order to achieve that and still live by my moral values.

      And honestly, in some ways therapy serves as a laboratory for learning to deal with the end of relationships, just as it does with other aspects of relationship. Being humam means that we will eventually lose all of our relationships, no one gets off the planet alive. So at the heart of the human dllemna is how do I allow myself to love and care and depend and connect, knowing that inevitably that very openess will lead me to pain. For myself, its because the love and comfort and strength and joy I gain from a relationship is what allows me to face my losses and pain. And there is the mystery that holds the stars apart. No matter where I go or how long I haven’t seen him, BN is woven into who I am (as well as other significant people in my life) in such an intricate way that I could not leave him behind even if I wanted to. Grief is the price we pay for love. I think its worth it. (Sorry, I am a bit philosophical this evening aren’t I? I suspect its because I am missing BN. 🙂 ) I really appreciate you sharing your perspective. xx AG

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