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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5776
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi Kate! I have missed talking to you. I have some stuff I

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Hi Kate! I have missed talking to you. I have some stuff I want to ask you about and also just want to fill you in.

Hi Shay! It's good to talk with you. What has been going on?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Well, I started EMDR. The first time, we did an unrelated thing that wasn't too upsetting. And it worked - any disturbance I had felt was gone. I was really surprised. So the last 2 weeks we did it on what happened - haven't gotten too far yet. I was surprised to have to tell her all the details. And she asks a bunch of questions about it. I was kind of caught off-guard. And kind of mad at Linda for telling me I wouldn't have to tell rose anything. It hasn't been hugely effective yet. Maybe a little. It is hard to tell her these details and it absolutely exhausts me. And I find that I am really upset in between. Last time we didn't go over much of it, I think because she could tell how difficult some of it was just to get out. I started tearing up a little, too. I couldn't help it. And at the end, when she was trying to relax me before leaving, she said to think of something I would want to change about the picture we were working on - anything I wanted. I said "okay, then this time, I'm not there." And she started trying to get me to envision me having walked away, etc. THAT upset me. I told her this isn't going to work - because it is not true. So she tried having me think about my friends and silly stuff, which did calm things down.

I was also surprised - since rose is just doing EMDR with me - that she gave me homework and stuff. She suggested a book to me called "Healing the Shame That Binds Us". I downloaded it to my kindle, but have only read the preface thus far. She also has had me this week keep a log of the date, the situation, and the feelings I'm having. Also, she asked me to try to write a letter to The mean one. A lot of homework this week - & I thought we were just going to do emdr. I already had an appointment for next week, and she asked me to set up 3 more so we will have them set. I get the sense she feels she misjudged the number of sessions she estimated. Why does that always happen with me and this stuff? Am I just really slow?

I didn't see Linda this week because of scheduling issues. I kind of decided to take a break because I feel overwhelmed with the EMDR. And because looking at how upset I felt when I thought I wouldn't be able to see her during the EMDR, and the way I sometimes get mad at her when I shouldn't and maybe have unreasonable expectations , I am concerned that I have become too dependent on her and too attached. We had a good talk today, though (I will fill you in on a follow-up). But she says the attachment is not unhealthy and I am not so dependent on her and it is a good thing and makes sense because she and I have slowly built up to where I can express my feelings and talk about them with her and I am feeling a need to do that. She said that we have not yet talked about it and she realizes my parents are good people and lover and I love them, but she thinks I was "emotionally abandoned" by them and have abandonment issues we need to address. She said it is from childhood but is deep and is not from what happened but makes dealing with it more difficult.

You and I have discussed kind of this thing, but I would no have thought I had "abandonment issues." But maybe she is right. I looked it up online and the first thing I found said that emotional abandonment is when children have to hide part of their true selves or they will not be accepted. Wow. That rings true. Is that really the same thing? Would you say I have emotional abandonment issues? And if so, is that why it is so hard or me to deal normally with what happened? And how dock fix that? And what does that have to do with my (at least perceived) attachment to/dependence on Linda right now?

I am glad to hear that you are finding your experience with EMDR somewhat helpful so far. When you first mentioned trying it again after what happened with Linda, I was hopeful that it would be a good experience for you this time. Last time was so traumatizing and I didn't want you do have to go through that again.

I have heard of the book Rose recommended for you though I have not gotten around to reading it yet. Let me know what you think of it when you do get through it.

You do have a lot of homework from therapy! I think that is good, though. It will keep you working on the issues outside of therapy and keep the momentum going.

I think sometimes therapists are unsure of how much time they might need to help with the issues people have. What often seems treatable in a short period of time sometimes becomes something that needs more time because there are more layers than they planned on. And it is hard to judge how many sessions that are needed until you can get more facts and a clearer picture of the issues. It really isn't a refection on you but rather the information the therapists have when they first learn of your situation.

I would definitely agree that there are emotional abandonment issues from your childhood. Your parents put very strict rules on what kind of behavior you were allowed to have. The rules did not allow for any expression of personal thoughts or feelings. They, in essence, tried to put their own feelings on you and push your own personality away. This may be why you feel attached to Linda. It is really one of the first times you have been able to emotionally attach to someone who wants you to be yourself and encourages you to be yourself, warts and all. That is very powerful and very attractive to someone who was forced to repress all emotions and personality.

Fixing the abandonment issue is a matter of exploring how your past emotional abandonment has affected your beliefs about yourself and your perception of others. Once you recognize how it has affected you, you can go about deciding how you want to change your beliefs and introducing new ones. This will not only give you permission to express your feelings with freedom, but also change your perception of your world. Linda might be the best one to help you with that since there is some attachment from you to her. In a way, the attachment you have with her might be transference which is very helpful to you in recognizing your feelings and changing them.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I didn't know what you and I had talked about before would be considered "emotional abandonment." I would not have thought I had abandonment issues. (Although I'm not sure i really understand what they'd re and, let's face it, I didn't know I really had any issues except nightmares a year ago. :)). I am glad, too , that the EMDR did not turn out to be like when I tried it before. I understand why Linda reused to try it again with me. She told rose ahead of time what happened when we tried it before, and rose does things so differently. I think she purposely makes sure to talk (even when she is just saying "uh huh" or "you're doing well." Maybe that is why she has me tell her the stuff I stead of just picturing it or thinking about it. If I am talking or she is - it wouldn't be easy to slip into a flashback or dissociate or fall into whatever happened last time. Maybe that's why it is different than Linda thought it would be. Hmm. Just thought of that. I still don't understand how transference works. I gather from what you have said that it is kind of like self-projecting? But then how does the "attachment" play into that? Linda told me today that It is a positive and important that I feel like being with someone (her) who gives me permission to feel and to express those feelings. She did it was the opposite of the messages I got from my family. I kind of understand. And she is right - I can't hold in my feelings. It is becoming impossible the more I dwell on this stuff. And it is a relief when I feel okay to do that. And I'm sure that is part of my attachment to Linda - and why I like to talk to you and stuff. But I am not sure how that relates to what you said about how to deal with the emotional stuff. Can you explain that to me? And so that stuff does affect my ability to deal with this other thing? Does what happened have any effect on how the emotional stuff affects me, wow. All so complicated! I just don't understand. But you know, as unpleasant as this is, i do feel more positive about it, I think. I was telling dr m the other day how I was surprised I had to tell rose stuff. She wasn't surprised - but she and rose worked of ether for years - she was apparently the director of wherever they were. Anyway - she asked if it was getting any easier to tell. I hadn't thought about it before, but when I did, I realized that yes, it is. I don't think I could have done this a few months ago. But why is that necessarily a good thing? I mean, why do I need to tell anyone else after all this is over? Meanwhile - we terminated the purchase agreement on the house we were going to buy. Too many issues after the Inspection. The house wasn't old enough to have all the problems it did. We were too concerned. But we found another one. We close at the end of the month. (So not closing on the 20 year anniversary of what happened anymore, but that's okay.). Haven't sold this house yet. Wish we would. It's hard to pack and keep things spotless to show the house. So - you agree with Linda? The attachment/dependence is not something to be concerned about at this point? If not, then why does it make me feel bad and uneasy?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Do you think that even though I feel bad a lot of the time, I am doing better than I was? How can I tell if I am progressing when I feel like I've turned into a needy, emotional mess?
Transference happens in most therapy sessions. Transference occurs from the client to the therapist (counter transference, in the other hand, is from therapist to client, something all therapists are (or at least should be) trained in). It is when feelings from early life that were not met by caregivers are put on the therapist. The client makes assumptions about the therapist's attitudes and feelings towards them or it can be when the client attaches themselves to the therapist because they are getting needs met that were not met before in childhood. This helps reveal some of the unresolved issues the client has from unmet needs and other ways they were treated as children. For example, if a female client was sexually abused, she may see the therapist as attracted to her when in fact he has shown no such behavior or attitude to indicate that he feels anything remotely sexual towards the client. These feelings are encouraged though because it helps the therapist understand the feelings and emotions around the sexual abuse and help the client to see them herself. And in your case, you are able to let in some of the attachment feelings with Linda because she is showing you that someone can care about you and want you to express your feelings. It may feel odd or unusual, but it is very normal.

What happened to you as a child has a lot to do with how you dealt with the attack. With emotional abandonment, you were taught to repress your emotions. When you were attacked, that played into how you were able to process what happened. It is very complicated, you are right :), but it sounds like you are unraveling it and finding a way to fulfill the unmet needs you didn't get met as a child, and that affects how you see the attack. I believe that is why you are feeling more positive about your experience.

I would not worry about the attachment you have to Linda. In dealing with transference, it is the therapist's job to see it and work with it to help the client benefit from it. And it sounds like that is what Linda is doing. So you are in good hands.

To judge your progress, it might help to keep a journal and rate how you feel as you go along. By doing that, you can look back at where you were and how far you have come. But just from talking with you, I can tell that you are feeling much better. You sound great to me!

Just to let you know I am on the road today so if you do write again, it may take me a bit to get back to you but I will respond as soon as I can.

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