Yes, My T Really Does Know What She's Doing!
I went out on my bike today to have the time to be on my own and explore my feelings of transference for my T as honestly and thoroughly as I could. There were two questions I wanted to answer:
1) why was it such a painful session and why did she find it so hard too?
2) why do I actually feel safer with her since she has made the boundary as clear as clear and strong as it can be?
So. Number one. I had to text my T to ask if she had set me homework. I was so clocked out most of the time with her that I genuinely could not remember. This was her reply:
"Just to time out before acting on any thoughts to check out if they are coming from transference. It can occur at any time. In it's crudest form it's us responding to a situation or people based on a miss-assumption, so it's worth just checking out where those thoughts and emotions are coming from. Regards T. "
Me being me , I had to respond with this:
"Ok. So, (and I can appreciate the irony of sending this text - but as I have been so distracted I just emptied my purse and tried to pay for my sandwich with two tampons, I think I'm ok to clarify this with you!) the urge to text you inappropriately would include, say, wanting to wish you happy birthday tomorrow? I am finding it hard to separate transference with what's ok and appropriate with you. The erotic stuff is obvious and I can discard it easily. It's the 'middle ground' stuff I am struggling with. I am guessing you would say, if in doubt, don't send it. Guidelines/ boundaries are: homework clarification, appointment changes, suicide crisis? And the buck stops there.
There was no response to this, so I take this silence as a "yay- she has finally 'got' it".
I have realised that this transference comes from two sources. My mum did not like small children. She has told me that she was only interested in me and my brother once we were 'interesting'. To be noticed by her, we had to do something 'special'. For me, this was baking for her, cleaning, performing well in school, thinking of her and doing things for her. She came first. And then I was good. I got attention. Not cuddles, but I wasn't ignored. She didn't 'do' clingy, needy children. She wanted independent children. And that is what she got. I remember sitting on the door step with my brother- I was 6 he was 8. We had a massive house and garden. She would be in the garden. She couldn't hear the door bell. We walked the mile or so to school on our own by this age. She would forget us and we would sit for ages and wait for her to open the door and let us in. The bell was a wind up one. So once we had rung and rung, it would ring no more. This was a common occurrence. It isn't the only time she forgot us either. So I learnt that to be noticed, to be remembered, I had to be 'special', I had to make sure I knew about her, what she liked, what she wanted me to do. I had to show I thought of her before myself. And I realise that this is what I have transferred into my T. My texts and emails are either a:"Look at me, I exist" or "I have been thinking of you and want to show you that I am putting you before me" type of communication.
The other transference influence is HIM. If I didn't give him my sole attention, he would make those I loved cry. He would be horrid. So I was encouraged to show him my full attention. To be there with him, for him. And I was a good little girl. I did as I was told.
So the pain? Obvious really. A transference fear of rejection and abandonment. If I stop the behaviour, I am no longer special and I cease to exist.
So this answers number two. My T asking me to explore this is telling me it's ok. She will still care. I will still exist for her. I don't need to try so hard to get her to care and notice me. She told me how hard it was for her to talk to me because I believe she has had issues with a maternal counter transference with me. Because she likes me and cares, it was hard and uncomfortable for her. Because she understood that it would be painful for me. Because she understands me. She understands me because she knows me and cares for me. And so I feel safe and cared for.
I have not texted "Happy Birthday" to her. And this is ok. Because she knows I'll be thinking of her. She knows that I love and care for her deeply. And I admire and respect her even more as a result of how well she managed Thursdays session. M is trusting her more too. Because M is realising that T is strong and safe. So this is good.