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Shrinklady,
Just read the updated "Transference" page. The additions you've made provide even more clarity on the subject. I really appreciate it as I know so many people, including me Smiler, struggle with it. I am really amazed at how well you explain difficult concepts and make them so accessible. Thanks!!

AG
Original Post
I too, appreciated the update on transference....however, I am still stuck with trying to process the fairly recent "experience" with my therapist...the one wherein she gave my prescheduled apt to someone else following an exchange of words (so to speak)....interesting how "reading or hearing beneath the words" simply did not happen...after years of therapy, where was the attunement that you speak of? Where was it on that particular day.....my heart is still so broken...even though she shared with me the "why" it happened....it doesn't take the pain away.....and I feel even more insecure that ever before....While I think writing or speaking about the wonders of therapy (healing) is so so easy, delivering seems to be a separate matter altogether....

A broken-hearted Sarah
Sarah,
I'm sorry I know this must be painful to deal with. The thing that is so helpful about transference is also what makes it so difficult. For me, transference has been the way that many of my struggles with intimacy, expectations, trust, anger, etc. that I experience throughout my life have all surfaced in the relationship with my therapist. The MAJOR difference has been that he has remained a steady, calm, accepting presence throughout. BUT, he doesn't always get it. We've talked about rupture and repair. I spent a lot of my time and energy trying to NEVER get hurt in a relationship. As my T put it, getting hurt in a relationship is inevitable since both people involved are human, so the real trick is to learn to heal from the hurt and repair the disruption. There was a real rupture in the relationship with your T and I think she messed up and didn't handle the problem real well. But, and this is the really hard part because I know for me the terror can get so bad it feels like the air is screaming, is to, against all instincts, continue to reach out and stay in the relationship despite the pain. This teaches us its possible and can be done. My T has a great analogy about playing rugby. Most healthy people could go play rugby for three hours, get the tar beat out of them, go home, take a hot bath, and with the exception of a few aches, feel fine the next day. People who have experienced healthy attachment and been taught to regulate themselves handle emotional pain in the same way. Yes, it hurts, but they quickly come back from it. People, like me, with a real lack of secure attachment and lacing an ability to regulate myself are like a hemophiliac playing rugby. One play could be fatal. We get hurt and have no resiliency to come back from it. We still have to learn how to do it. Its phenomially hard work, and can be painful and really scary, but its worth it in the end. Because its how you heal. Hope that helps somehow. Have you seen your T again yet? Do you have plans to?

AG
Hi AG:

Wow...thanks for all of the words of wisdom....!!!!!You have just an amazing way of explaining things!!!! Yes, I have seen my therapist.....one small part of me, no matter how hard I try to understand her rationale for abandoning me when I needed her most, is so devastated by this experience, I continue to crumple to the ground (I know this sounds so dramatic, but it is the God's honest truth). How do I ever trust her, or any other human being ever again? Insecurity/lack of trust have been my biggest issues...indeed, she (my therapist) played out things just as I had always imagined. I have always mattered less to everyone I know, even her...not that I wanted to matter more....I just wanted to matter as much...this probably isn't making sense....In fact, I am having a real hard time putting things into words....another of my issues....Thanks again AG for your words of wisdom....

From broken-hearted headquarters,
Sarah
Sarah,
Hang in there. I konw its scary and painful but going back time and again and seeing that the relationship is STILL there despite what happened is what will teach you that some people can be trusted. And that our mattering is inherent, not something bestowed by someone else. You are worthwhile and matter incredibly because you are Sarah. That is something no one can take away; they can convince you to FEEL otherwise, but that don't make it true. Often when people fail us, it has nothing to do with us, its about the other person. It's taken me a long time and a lot of hard work (and incredible patience on the part of two therapists) but I've finally come to understand that the abuse I suffered from my father had NOTHING to do with who I was, it had everything to do with my father's trying (in a pretty poor way) to deal with HIS life. That was difficult to realize because that left me face to face with my own powerlessness to affect what was going on, but in another way its freed me to live my life. Please hang in there, it will get better and as much as it feels like it, you will not always be in pain.

AG
Sarah,
That's one of the nicest compliments I've ever gotten! Big Grin Thank you! No, I'm a technical writer, I've just been in therapy so long and read so many books something was bound to rub off. I've also been learning a tremendous amount from my T. I have thought about going back to school and training to be a counselor but I'm not sure how well I would do keeping my own issues out of the room. But thanks again, you made my day! I'm so glad that you find my words helpful.

AG
Its been very interesting finding this site. My T and I have been discussing transference and counter-transference. Knowing that many have dealt with this subject with their therapists helped.

I agree with Sarah, Attachment Girl you have quite a way with words and explainations. The rugby analogy was right on point. Thanks for the input
Ellison,
Welcome! And thanks for posting, its good to see a new face (not that the old ones aren't wonderful. Big Grin ) Thanks for your kind comments. The rugby analogy was told to me by my T and when I told him how apt it was he broke out in a grin like a four year old on Christmas morning and said, "thanks, that was one of mine!" One of those awesome moments of connection. Just wanted to give credit where its due. But I agree, great analogy.

AG

PS Sarah, thank you so much but you really need to stop, I'm actually starting to blush. Smiler
Hi. I am a newbie. I really enjoyed the article and posts about Transference. I know that it is good therapy fodder but it is so dang hard. I feel tormented all the time with the longing to see or talk with my T. I deal a lot with social anxiety so in between sessions it is hard to connect with others to lessen the pain. Reading the posts here have helped so I didn't want to keep "lurking". Thanks to everyone for being so open and candid about your experiences. I will try to do the same.
Hi River,
Welcome to the site, and thanks so much for posting, its good to hear from you. I hope this will be a good place for you to connect and get support for how you're feeling. I know it can be really tough to deal with at times, but it does get better, and you're not the only one who feels this way, it happens to a lot of people in therapy, so there are people who understand what you're going through here.

AG

PS Hi BW, good to hear from you too!! Smiler
Has anyone had a strong transference experience with someone other than your T? I have with my boss for years but I didn't know it until recently. I can be a pretty shy person so I have kept all those feelings contained so I wouldn't make a fool out of myself in front of her and freak her out or something. I know what is going on now but I still don't know what to do about it. Has this happened to anyone else?
River,
I've never experienced transference as strongly as I have with my current T but I really think that's because he's given a space to express it and deal with it. I definitely went through a time with my first T, a woman, in which I intensely wished she was my mother but never really talked to her about it. But all through my adult life I've had a series of "crushes" which I wasn't able to really see until I started working on the transference issue. For me, the transference has turned out to be a need for a secure attachment, I think in some ways that has been what I've been searching for my whole life and has affected most of my close relationships. I have revealed my feelings in varying degrees depending on the person. I will say that for someone not trained to handle it, it can look pretty weird. So I think its good to be careful how much you talk to someone about how you feel. On the other hand, if they can handle it, and let you work through it, it can be incredibly healing. Sorry I know how crazymaking this can feel, but it really does come from a healthly place. These kinds of feelings are a sign that you are seeking connection and relationshp which is exactly what you should be doing.

AG
AG,
I am coming to accept that having these "crushes" is actually a good thing even though it feels like torture because I am trying not to scare anyone off. I haven't yet been able to express any of these feelings to anyone but my T and even that took a really long time. I guess I am afraid that if I reveal myself even a little bit then I am wide open to rejection but if I hide too much then I am invisible. Relating to people just does not come naturally for me, I always feel like I am trying to learn a foreign language. So, is there anyway to find "relief" from the crush experience with someone if you are pretty sure you won't be able to talk to them about it?

-River
River,
I think you're doing it actually. The best way to find relief in the long term is talk about the feelings with your therapist. Working through them and getting to the root of them can solve the "longing" allowing us to be more balanced in our relationships. I know that doesn't much help in the short term. For someone you really can't talk to I would probably try to limit contact as much as is practically possible. I really relate to how scary it is to reveal yourself. I've spent my whole life believing that if someone actually knew all of me they would leave. That real intimacy was impossible because it would end the relationship. That's at the heart of my transference with my T. Is he really going to stay? Is it really safe to express all my feelings? etc etc. Its a very different experience and sometimes its unspeakably wonderful and at other times its sheer hell. But I will say that its getting steadily better, just at a much slower pace than I would prefer (which would be instantaneous. Big Grin ) Sorry not to be more practical help but I can always listen!

AG
I have recently found out some information that is really bothering me. I have talked about my "crush" on my boss in therapy a couple of times. This last time though my T felt compelled to confess that she knows this person. Turns out that her kid and my boss' kid are friends. Anyway, she told me because she thought that I might figure it out on my own eventually so better to be upfront about it. OK, I agree, I appreciate the honesty. But this collision of my worlds feels like an emotional car crash! What are the chances that out of everybody in town I happen to have transference issues with these two? The two people that I have such deep feelings for and whom I would love to be best friends with may actually be friends with each other and I won't ever be a real friend to either of them. I feel this horrible rejection and betrayal at the thought that they may be friends. Intellectually I know that there is no actual rejection or betrayal but it feels devastating nonetheless. I loathe transference.
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