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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate. Can you talk?

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Hi Kate. Can you talk?
I'll be on for a while more. What is going on? How was your day?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm just feeling down about ALL of this stuff.

It's ok to feel down. It is a natural response to the amount of stress you are under and the nature of what you are dealing with.

What do you feel is bothering you the most?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I wanted to talk with Linda more about what happened the other day with the flashback or whatever and what all this means. All she asked was if it has happened again, whether it involved things that I kn0w happened or those things which I don't think happened, and whether I called Dr. M. But that really scared the crap out of me, and I am on edge about it.

She asked me what I had more on my mind this week - things with my parents or the other stuff. I said the other stuff, mostly, and then we talked the whole time about my parents and sister and about some of Linda's experiences. But that is frustrating, because she kind of goes back and forth with her overall opinion and I feel like I've gotten so much further on that issue with you. I don't believe she thinks that affects the way I dealt or am dealing with the other as much as you tell me it does. But I suspect that's because we haven't discussed it as much as you and I have, and when she and I are discussing it in person, I don't have time to think about things and so don't say as much, and also, there's limited time.

And I feel terrible about my neediness and how I go about getting what I need, etc. and I don't know - it just makes me feel like a loser. I was serious about how it makes me feel. But then you say those feelings are wrong. And I don't know if I should believe you when you say my reactions are normal, considering my relationship with my mother and then what happened. Because you may just be trying to make me not feel bad about it.

And I am really upset about that and really upset about the flashback thing and really upset about these feelings I'm having about the incident itself. It's too much.

I know I am being moody and whiny, and I'm sorry. I am just overwhelmed again.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Deleted because a repeat


No need to apologize. You are allowed to feel moody and upset. That is what I am here for- to help you find ways to feel better.

I will not ever tell you something just to make you feel better. I can understand why you would feel I was not telling you the truth or at least stretching the truth. You are struggling with what you learned as a child and what is normal. You have a good grasp on what is normal but it is still a struggle to go against the messages from your parents. You were taught these things when you were most vulnerable and it became part of your belief system. You were able to break free of it some when you turned to teachers and other adults for affirmation, but it is still an internal struggle for you.

It feels overwhelming to experience these feelings after so many years of repression. But you are coping very well. You may not feel like it but from my perspective you are doing great. The conflict you feel is the adjustment to the new thoughts and feelings you have about your childhood and the trauma of the incident. All of it is mixed together and your mind and feelings are working overtime trying to sort it out.

Keep up with your relaxation exercises that we talked about. It's important that you have a way to keep yourself calm while you work on your feelings and thoughts. And try some of the other ways to relax that we talked about. Journaling, talking about how you feel using the feeling list, eating well and taking time for yourself are all ways to help you feel better.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks. Have a good Friday night!
You too!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
In light of what you told me Thursday about my attempts to meet my unfulfilled needs that were not met by my mother, is it really a good idea for me to have a female therapist who is my mother's age?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I still feel pretty bad today. Not a good night. I am wound up so tightly. I did the relaxation things this morning before I got out of bed, but since I've been up, I'm so tense. Going to a funeral shortly then to another town with c and p to do some Irish music at a st Pat's thing. So should be distracted for most of the day. Then I have my 2nd sleep test tonight. So I'm sure I will feel better through the day, not thinking of all this stuff. This sucks, Kate. I keep waiting to turn the corner and feel better. Where is it? L is going to try emdr with me Monday. Maybe that will help. Or will it make things worse at first?
I forgot to ask you - how was the seminar?


Thanks for asking about the seminar. I learned a lot so I'm glad I went. But my butt was so sore after sitting for such a long time I was happy to get out of there!

It is just fine that you have a therapist that is your mother's age. It is actually a good thing! You picked her not only because you felt she was a good fit for you but because you probably unconsciously felt comfortable with her because of her age. You are surrounded by people your mother's age, which tells you how deep your need is to be cared for maternally. You and Linda can use this to help you explore this need. You basically identified one of your own issues without even realizing it.

I know that you feel bad. This is not easy. If it helps, what you are experiencing is normal. People often feel worse before they feel better because they are digging up painful feelings. But burying them is worse. They will still be there and you will still have to deal with them along with the defense mechanisms you use to cope.

You might want to think about letting yourself feel bad. I know that does not sound appealing, but pushing yourself to feel better is only putting a lot of pressure on yourself and making you feel worse. It also uses up a lot of your energy. You expect that you should get over this quickly when it is not something that is healed so fast. I suspect that you are so uncomfortable because you were not allowed to feel emotions as a child and when you did, you were abused or punished. That would create an aversion to feeling emotions.

You have a lot of abuse from your childhood and you went through a horrible trauma. That takes time to unravel. Here is a link to someone describing the therapeutic process:

"There is no smooth, fast road to recovery. It’s a process that’s full of twists, turns, and the occasional backtrack. Sometimes, what originally seemed like a straightforward problem turns into a more complicated issue. Be patient and don’t get discouraged over temporary setbacks. It’s not easy to break old, entrenched patterns."

This describes the process very well. Allow yourself time to take care of you.

This does suck, Shay, big time. I know. But you will feel better eventually. As long as you keep facing how you feel and working on it, you will recover. And you will find that once you recover, you are amazed at how much better you feel and the insight you gain. You will be able to handle your problems easier because you have the coping skills. Things will be clearer and you won't have your past interfering in how you see things. I've seen it happen many times. Plus, you have your faith which will make your journey so much easier to reach. God is taking care of you. And He won't let you feel this way for no reason.

I am sorry to hear that you have to go to another funeral. Was it someone close?

Let me know how your sleep study goes tonight. Hopefully they will find more answers for you.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

It just feels so wrong being moody ad upset all the time. Although I can be a royal b**** sometimes, I am generally a really positive person. But I appreciate that you are trying to help me fid ways to feel better.

I just wasn't sure if what you said about my hanging around older women to get what I didn't get from my mom was normal, and your statement that the sexuality issue was normal, too, were true. Because if it is something I need to resolve in therapy, how can it be normal? And how can it be normal for me to be trying to gain maternal affection or whatever from older female friends when I am 40 years old be normal?

I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean when you said that the fact that Linda is my mom's age was actually a good thing. Can you explain this more?

I also am not sure what you mean when you said: "You and Linda can use this to help you explore this need." Can you explain this further, as well? How would we use that? Also, I'm not sure if Linda makes the connection yet. I have for a while now. As soon as we started talking about how my mom was not totally emotionally "there" as a mother should be (and Linda and I had discussed that before, when we talked about why I didn't tell them what happened and their reactions when I did, as well as how she responded when the thing happened to her daughter), I gathered that my being drawn to older women must be related to that. But Linda hasn't really said anything about it. Except she asked how P was with me, and asked if it was hard for me to get used to such an affectionate and loving person. I told her no - that I really liked it. But we also talked about it a little when I told her I was confused and had been confused about my sexuality.

Do you think that my sexual confusion comes from what happened in college or how my mom was or a combination?

I do understand what you said about my picking her, in part, because subconsciously I felt comfortable with her because she was a female and my mother's age, and I think you are right. And I understand what you say about the fact that I am surrounded by people my mom's age and that this tells me how deep my need is to be maternally cared for. But is that healthy? And am I unintentionally being manipulative because I subconsciously "want" something from P and my other older friends? And isn't it a bit unfair of me to expect - whether consciously or unconsciously - my friends to act as a mother to me? Linda, of course, would have boundaries, but I can tell you from experience that others don't. Like P. - her instinct is to be maternal, in general. I am actually younger than her kids. So she does act maternal to some extent with me. In a lot of ways - like doing my ironing, cooking for me, etc. (don't get me wrong - it's not a one-way street. I do other stuff for her that she can't or doesn't like to do). But also, when I am sick, she is very caring and takes care of me, and if she hears me have a nightmare, she will wake me up and will hug me and sit there with me until I calm down. And when I am upset, she is very caring. And I have to say - I like that. It is nice to have her treat me that way. And I'm sure it is because I never had that. But now that we're talking about all this stuff, I wonder if that's healthy or fair to her. I love her. She's been my closest friend for the last 8 or so years. And her family treats me like family, which is nice, since my whole family lives across the country. But should I change the way I interact with her?

It does kind of help to know this is normal to feel this bad. But it doesn't make me feel a lot better. I have worried since this happened about my being "normal" and especially since I started therapy. I'm not sure why that matters to me - except that if what I am going through is typical or is normal, then I can rely more on you and Linda and Dr. M's experience. It's not like you guys have not seen it before or know about this kind of thing. Can I ask you something? Have you ever had a therapy client who had a similar experience to mine? If so, how did she deal with it initially, and how did things turn out? I know everyone's different, but part of it has got to be what actually happened, right? So, have you ever dealt with someone who went through a similar thing?

Linda keeps telling me that I don't understand how severe an "attack" this was and how violent and stuff, and that it was much more than a r***. Dr. M told me all sorts of things she has heard from people - stuff with animals, ritual abuse, etc. (she said this when I asked her if she thought it was common for guys to use foreign objects). I know things could have been a lot worse, and I know it would be so much worse if it had been someone I knew or trusted or if I had been a child or if it had been long-term abuse.

But I'm not sure whether it makes me feel better to think it could have been a lot worse or not. On the one hand, it makes me feel a little better knowing that people go through similar or a lot worse things and end up being fine eventually. But on the other hand, when Linda says it was really bad, it makes me at least feel that it is not so pathetic for me to not be over it. I don't know.

I know you say burying the feelings is worse --- but from my current perspective, it seems that things were much better and easier to handle when the feelings were buried. The nightmares, it turns out, were a small price to pay.

I also understand what you are saying about letting myself feel bad. Your explanation makes sense. Is it kind of like if it all is allowed to come out, the pain won't last as long? Like pulling off a band-aid? But I WANT to feel better. I don't want to feel bad anymore and feel so negative. Anymore, when I'm feeling this bad, I am unable to act like everything is great. I find it harder and harder to hide my feelings from everyone else. I can do it in spurts (like - I'm not going to show it with clients or in court or something), but I find it takes so much energy, that when I am not in that kind of situation, I find it difficult to totally hide things. Is that normal?

And I never thought about it until you said it in your post today - but you are right -- - thinking I need to feel better is putting a lot of pressure on me. And I DO feel like I should be over it quickly (over it already), and it stresses me out that I'm not. It just makes me feel more weak. But I guess it makes me feel a little better to know it's not healed so fast. But could you tell me what "not so fast" means, in terms of time? :)

And I also agree that this is probably even more uncomfortable to me because feeling feelings, let alone expressing them, is counterintuitive to me. I'm not used to it, and it feels wrong. But I am getting to the point now where sometimes I don't have a choice. And it DOES take a lot of energy to fight it.

It seems weird for you to talk about "abuse" in relation to my childhood. Linda has never used that word. She is getting stronger and stronger in her opinions of my parents' emotional health and treatment of me, but I don't think she's used that word. Would you really consider my childhood as "abusive"? Do you think it was mild? Severe? This is so strange to me. And I don't want to blame my mother or father or anyone else for anything in my life - I have a strong sense of personal responsibility - but all this stuff you have been explaining certainly explains a lot. And it makes me feel not as bad about things I wanted when I was younger and even want now that I thought were unreasonable, selfish, or just abnormal.

I know God is with me. But I sometimes feel like I have to do this on my own because I got myself into this mess and need to get myself out. I know that is not His nature. But that's how I feel sometimes. And thank you for explaining how things will be when this is all done. It sounds like it will be kind of like when I went on the ADD meds - this fuzziness in my brain, which I never even knew was there - was all of the sudden lifted and things were much clearer. I walked around for a week thinking "I can't believe this!"

The funeral was not for someone close. In fact, I had never met him. It was the son of one of my friends from church. He was only 39 and had some rare disease, and he died within about 6 months. He lived in CT, and this was a memorial basically for the family. I feel so bad for his mom. She's a great person and I know she must be so heartbroken.

The St. Patrick's day music thing went fine today. It was kind of fun, actually. We went to eat after and so it took almost all day. C kept saying that he thought I should hang out with them all day, so I wouldn't have time to be worried about my sleep test tonight. I tried to tell him - several times - that I wasn't really worried about it. The first one was so much better than I thought it would be, and I wasn't too worried about this one. But it was a nice thought.

That's where I am now. I have wires all over me, but they haven't hooked me up to the machines yet. Fun times! Speaking of which, I need to get ready because they'll be in to hook me up shortly.

Thanks for everything, and I will check in with you tomorrow.

By the way -- what was your seminar about?

:) Shay

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hey Kate. I just wanted to write to feel like I'm connected to someone right now. I just had a nightmare and the tech here woke me up. I didn't think they were allowed to, but I'm glad she did. A little embarrassing, but she would have been sitting in the other room watching it anyways, so it doesn't really matter. I don't want to fall back asleep, so I'm trying not to, but I'm sleepy. It figures - when I want to sleep, I can't, and when I don't want to, I don't think I can stay awake. Oh well. Just wanted to connect with someone to calm myself. Because even though I'm sure (I would hope) you aren't awake, it still feels like I can at least get this out, and I don't want to call or text and wake up p or anyone. Oh well. Good news is I was wearing a pap mask and it seemed not to bother me. But I guess I made it come part way off when I was having the dream, and that's why she said she woke me up. When I awoke, it was loud. Sounded like wind. I think it made me think it was windy in my dream. My dream sounded like it. Oh well. Glad I could vent for a minute. Goodnight.


Your parents were emotionally abusive. Without knowing exactly what they are like in person I have no way to know how abusive they were, but from the things you told me it sounds like they were at least moderately abusive. To punish a child for expressing emotions, to make fun of them and to not supervise them as teens (including allowing them to break the law) is abusive. It may not be a jailable offense (except for the alcohol use) but it certainly was harmful to you and your siblings. Abuse does not have to involve physical pain to be called abuse. Emotional pain is often just as bad, if not worse.

Your need to be around older women is normal. There is nothing wrong with you responding as a human being to get your needs met. Everyone does it. Some people do it in a dysfunctional way, like an alcoholic or sex addict and others do it in a passive (not harmful) way like you do. There is nothing wrong with you that is different than anyone else. You just learned to punish yourself for it because of what you learned as a child. Allow yourself to get your needs met for now. Don't treat P any differently. As you work through your issues, you will come to see your relationship differently if you need to.

I have worked with many people who have gone through traumas. Not like yours exactly, but similar. Many people were raped as children, some by family members. Others were attacked by husbands or boyfriends. Some feared for their lives. Everyone reacts according to the coping mechanisms they have. And the support available to them at the time. Personality is also a big factor. Some people become dependent on others, some become angry and resentful and others turn to alcohol or drugs.

You don't have to hide your feelings from everyone. While taking out your feelings on people is not the best way to handle it, showing that you are upset or down is fine. Everyone has good and bad days. And most people find that acceptable. As long as you are not hurting anyone else, you can feel anyway you need to.

You probably feel you need to get over this quickly because of the anxiety it brings up for you. Picture this: one child is allowed to have a cookie after they eat their dinner. Their mother helps them get the cookie and some milk to go with it. She smiles at the child and let's them run off to enjoy the treat. Another child wants a cookie after dinner but instead of getting help and a smile, they get slapped and punished. When both of this kids grow up, the one who had the help and smile enjoys his dessert. The other child refuses dessert and gets mad when anyone suggests a cookie. This is a simple scenario but it describes your acceptance of your own feelings. Feelings are not ok for you to feel and the chance to avoid them or make them go away quickly makes you feel better.

I hope your sleep study got better after the nightmare. Any news yet on what they think or do you have to wait for the doctor?

The seminar was on DSM diagnosis. There is a new manual coming out so everyone is confused as to how it will affect diagnosing.

I will be out for a while until tonight. My son is going to a birthday party and it's on the other side of town so it'll take a while. I'll check in later if I can.

Hope your Sunday goes well!


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks. That's nice that you're taking your son to the birthday party. I love watching kids interact with each other. Their conversations are so cute. When my nieces and older nephew were younger, they used to let me in on their little, I loved talking to them or listening to them talk to each other. I loved their point of view.
The sleep test was okay. I had another nightmare. That time, they didn't wake me up, but I woke up on my own and then felt like I couldn't breathe because of the mask (she said I was hyperventilating and gasping for air before I woke up, though) and I was trying to pull the mask off. She came in right away and took it off and said I could leave it off. I have to wait for definitive stuff until the doctor reviews everything. But she said they should be calling me and emailing me the report in just a few days, because she already had her report ready. She told me that my breathing was a lot better. She experimented with different air pressures, and she said this different one, with a tri-something-or-other and she said that worked best and evened out my breathing and oxygen levels. She said I had a lot more "consolidated sleep.". She said that she thinks it caused something called a "REM rebound," with the treatment of the breathing and it might continue with the breathing treatment for a while. She said that since I have had very little REM sleep because of my medication (which was the point of the medication), the increases REM sleep probably made my dreams more vivid and come earlier. Apparently I had the dreams during REM sleep and was very "active," as they call it, an I was acting out the dream an saying stud and crying and gasping both times. So she said that, along with some leg movements during REM sleep, shows that I don't have the almost-paralysis that you're supposed to have during REM, which means I have REM sleep behavior disorder, which she said was a totally physiological thing. So he'll probably prescribe me a new med - I forget what it's called. But it's the poll that the dr said before might, as a side benefit, get rid of the nightmares altogether ( although it also may not). So I will wait and see exactly what the doctor says and recommends. I Shouldn't have to spend the night again, though. It was weird - somehow I knew that I was going to have another nightmare last night, but I couldn't stay awake after the first one. It still feels weird that someone is sitting there watching me act out during my nightmares.
It is just strange to consider my childhood as abusive. But a label on it kind of makes me feel vindicated. And I think maybe accepting it will Let me off the hook for some things.
Can you explain what you meant when you said thelat it was a good thing Linda is my mom's age and your statement that we can use this to work on this? How?
Do you really think I have major issue from how my parents were and how I was treated? I tried to look up "mother issues" on the web, but mostly found stuff about men and their mothers, Oedipus kinds of stiff, And how to deal with your mother-in-law. I didn't really find anything relevant to me. I want to learn to deal with this healthily. I have been visualizing myself at different ages and remembering how I felt.
I take things out on people sometimes - not being mean, but I may bait them and them use it as an excuse to push them away. So now that I know I do that, I will be careful not to do it now.
People get irritated when people are unhappy or having a tough time. Nobody wants to be around someone who is
acting unhappy. Plus, it is difficult when people ask what is wrong or what's going on (and they will). I don't want to lie, but I also can't tell then the truth. I usually give an honest, yet evasive answer like "I'm just stressed" or "I'm just having a difficult time". But as I said, I am having more and more trouble hiding it, so I may not have a choice.
But I will try to just let myself feel bad. It will be hard. But will it speed things up?
Well, I'm going to take a nap. I have a rehearsal in a few hours. I am dead tired!
Church was good this morning. I love our head pastor. He is awesome.


It sounds like there was a lot of information this time from your sleep study. It would feel so weird to have someone watch you while you sleep. I think you are brave to go through it not just once, but twice, especially since you knew you'd probably have a nightmare each time.

Linda being your mother's age is transference on your part. You are transferring your need for maternal care onto her by picking her subconsciously for her age. This is good because you can bring this issue up with Linda and talk about. How you see Linda is a good indication of how deep your issue is, along with the other material figures in your life.

How you were treated as a child affects you in how you process your emotions. It is not a measure of how much you were affected but rather how you process your emotions and how you see your life.

You may want to try looking up emotional abuse/ emotional repression instead of mother issues. It may get you more results.

It's ok to feel bad. If you feel down and someone notices and becomes irritated, that is their issue. You may also want to think about whether or not that is actually the reaction you would get if you expressed or if it's the reaction you expect because it is the response you got from your parents. You may be transferring these feelings on to others. It's something to pay attention to.

Speeding things up is not the best way to deal with how you feel. You want to be sure you work your issues through rather than just try to get to a manageable phase and quit. It can backfire and cause you to have a resurgence of your symptoms.

I hope your rehearsal went well! Talk with you tomorrow,


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well, once the sleep dr told me that people weren't supposed toove during dreams and when he told me that the med they give for the rem sleeps disorder may stop the nightmares once and for all, and hen he to me less than 1% of people have nightmares during sleep studies (yeah, right), i reconsidered my position that I would only do one of I could do it at home. That and the fact that they were saying all these things they could do to "desensitize" me and make me less anxious. I don't want to be one of those people who can't do things because of anxiety or whatever, and I didn't want to be a wimp. And it was so much better when I went the first time than I had feared. I was thinking about it today, because I was feeling self conscious about t, and I figure - they are medical professionals. Having a nightmare in front of them is not as bad as goin to the gyn or something, and I'm sure they've seen about everything someone can do in their sleep. And it might help me. So, I'm not going to worry about it. I am curious to see what the doctor says and suggests.
So - should I just tell Linda "hey, I'm pretty sure I felt comfortable with you is because you are my mom's age" ? Or "I think I am having transference issue with you and other people on my life because of need that were not met by my mother"? I mean, she probably has this figured out by now, wouldn't you think? I mean, she's met p and she knows c is 60 (although he is male - geesh. Maybe I have gather issues, too :) ) an that most of y other female friends are her age. Maybe she just hasn't mentioned it to me. But what if I tell her and we discuss how I am drawn to older females, and she gets uncomfortable? I think she knows I'm not sexually attracted to her or anything. And then, assuming she is not uncomfortable, what happens next? Does she do things that make me stop looking at her, and thus others, as a maternal figure? I don't want her to start being distant or nonresponsive because she doesn't want me to lean on her as a mother figure. I guess I am afraid he will go overboard with trying to get across to me that I'm not going to get my mother needs met with her, and I don't want that. Part of what I like about her is that she is compassionate and understanding. I don't want her to stop being that way. I don't want her to remove herself because I might see her, in some ways, as maternal.
I hear what you are saying about not wanting to speed things up, and I can see that if I don't resolve things totally an work through them, it will backfire and come back to bite me. It is just hard. I feel like I have entered a different dimension where my feelings are now central, instead of logic or whatever, and it is a much more painful place. I assume that eventually it could be a much more fulfilling and happy place than that other dimension, but right now it's painful. And it is hard to purposely offer myself up to this kind of pain if I have a choice.
I had no clue how deep or intense these feelings might be. I am really surprised. I thought maybe there were a few therapy sessions worth ofewlings and that once I told Linda the whole story - and was able to let someone know everything, it would get better. I had no idea. I also would have never guessed I had emotional issues because of my childhood. If anything, I would have guessed that I may have issues because I didn't always comply with what. My parents taught me as to emotions. So all p this is kind of a big surprise (and not a pleasant one).
Thanks for suggesting the other search subjects. I will try them.
Rehearsal went fine. I slept for 2 hours before I went and will be ready to go to be pretty early, I think.
I'm anxious to hear your suggestions about what (if anything) I should say to Linda. I have an appointment tomorrow evening. She wants to start EMDR tomorrow, and I want to decide whether I need to bring this stuff up to her before that, since the EMDR will probably go on for a while.
I am still feeling pretty bad, and I'm sure my being tired doesn't help. I'm feeling kind of teary again. I guess , from what you're saying, I should just go with it? Should I write down any feelings I can identify? Then what do I do with that?
Thanks for taking your time to help me, Kate.


You're welcome! I am happy to be here for you.

The situation with telling Linda about the maternal issues is completely up to you. This is not a "have to" or something you'd have a set back on if you didn't bring it up right away. It's an observation that you can do whatever you want with. As long as you are aware of it, that is most of the battle. Insight can help you work the problem yourself as well.

But if you choose to tell Linda, you could just say "I've noticed that I seem to be surrounded by people older than me and I wondered about that" or something similar. I think Linda does see it. She may just either want you to notice it (your own insight helps) or she doesn't feel it's an issue that needs addressed right now.

I highly doubt that Linda would ever stop being the person she is if you talked about this issue. She would approach it like she approaches all of the other issues the two of you discuss. Therapists expect to deal with a wide range of issues, even things that shock most people. And I'm sure Linda has heard almost everything in her time as a therapist.

What makes you feel that not facing your fears makes you a wimp? That belief reminds me of what your father said to your nephew when you visited, as if somehow feeling overwhelmed with emotions makes you a weakling. If you chose not to do the sleep study, that would have been fine too. It might have made it harder for you to explore the nightmare issue, but it does not devalue you because you are afraid.

People are a balance of logic and emotions when they are emotionally healthy. And that is the goal of therapy. It's to help you use your logic and emotions in healthy ways so you can get the most out of your life. Right now you feel emotionally driven because of what you are working out. Other times you may feel that way is when you are in mourning, or you are in love. Accepting that you have both feelings and logic and using them appropriately is when you will know that you are ready to leave therapy.

Go with your feelings when you have them. Don't try to hold them back. You will end up feeling better when you let yourself express your feelings rather than punish yourself for feeling them.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I guess I've always thought that facing your fears and doing something you're scared of has to be good. I have thought that (or at least employed it) more since what happened. I don't want for that to make me scared of everything. I have tried hard not to let things scare me more because of what happened. And I don't want to not be able to do what I need to do because I'm scared. And in this instance, I was scared of someone seeing me have a nightmare - the same thing that causes me to take all sorts of precautions when I might be in the psition to sleep near anyone or just not go - but the nightmares are exactly the thing that they are trying to help me with by doing the studies. My fear was irrational, considering what these pekoe do for a living and that they understand my concerns. The same thing with goin to the gynecologist. I was scared to death. I was so nervous. But I also knew I needed to suck it up and do it, because I had put it off for 8 years, and that was probably not smart.
I know that other fears are maybe different, and that not all of my fears are irrational. I did learn, in my young adulthood, that sometimes I am scared of things for a good reason. I guess some of this probably comes from my parents. I just didn't see it. I'll have to tell you later what my dad did to my brother when he was little. We thought it was funny at the time, and we were pretty young, but in hind sight it was terrible.
Anyway, point is, don't you think it is frequently good to face our fears, no matter what th reason for doing so?
Linda and I have talked a little about the fact that most of my friends (except my collee and growing-up friends) are much older. But that was kind of in the beginning, when she was just finding out about me. I told her I felt comfortable around older people. Actually - now that I think about it, we kind of talked about several weeks ago - I don't remember what we were talking about, but she said it was okay that I got "mothered" by p, and she said sometimes she wants to tell people to go find a "mother.". But I don't remember the context. I do think I will bring it up to her. Better to do so now than worrying about it. I will just do what you suggested. I do think she is probably well-aware of the fact that I at least partially react well to her because she is my mom's age. I guess I'm just afraid she will react negatively, maybe because I kind of learned that expressing my fears or weaknesses would bemet with a reaction of telling me I was wrong for the need or giving me the exact opposite of the need I expressed. I kind of figured the way she would have to deal with it would be to do stuff to make sure I didn't feel that she would act maternally towards me, by
doing the opposite.
So, through therapy, the point will be that I will end up not having that hole there apparently left by an unresponsive and unaffectionate mother? So it's not that I will learn healthy ways to get what I need from others - I will be able to give that to myself. Is that right?
And as far as love relationships go, is it supposed to be that each is fulfilling unmet needs for the other, or is that dysfunctional? Is it not about needs as much as just getting the " bonus" of that person enriching your life further? Isn't love sometimes felt because the other person does fulfill some unmet need? Is that part of it or is that something that will lead to unreasonable expectations and dysfunction? I would think that if it is only one one side where there are unmet needs, the dynamic between the two would be skewed, and in my experience, in any kind of relationship, it is difficult to change the dynamic between two people.
I am clearly not at the point yet where I can balance logic and emotion. I feel like I have to switch from one to the other. I know I am getting better at expressing emotion somewhat, as I don't fight it so hard when I am one or with Linda. I used to spend the whole session sometimes just trying as hard as I could not to cry, but now I just cry usually if I feel like it. Sometimes I feel so relieved just to go in there and sit down because I know I don't have to fight it right there. But i can't yet incorporate it into my regular life. From what you say, though, it will get there ? Is maybe one of the problems that I have all these feelings built up for so long that I ignored and they seem to be pretty strong feelings, and so it is a lot more and more intense than things normally would be? And I know part of the problem I have with it is that it is so long after what happened (and as to other stuff, soong since I've been a child) that expressing anything about it now just seems so inappropriate.
I looked up stuff on emotional abuse. Holy buckets. Some of it fits so squarely with what my parents did. It is weird! But some of the other stuff (like trying to get a child to fulfill the parent's unmet needs, like a spouse or friend or something) didn't fit at all. Several of the sites listed things like invalidating, blaming, installing guilt, punishing for crying, chastising for differences, etc. I also happened upon a site that talked about sibling bullying. It talked about why the bullying sibling does it, which totally fits, and also that the parents allowing it to go on (even just verbal stuff) was emotional abuse. I looked up some other stuff on it, and basically all of them indicated that the way my parents dealt with it were dead wrong. Do you think my sister bullied me? I was thinking it seems she did. ?? It was all very interesting. Oh yeah - and one of the sites about emotional abuse, talking about the long term effects, said that the che, as an adult, is always "waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.". I thought that was so weird, since I just told you the other day I always felt that way. Hmmn.
Well, I better get to work.
By the way, I did let myself cry last night, but I didn't know exactly why I was crying. I tried to pinpoint and write down my various feelings, but all I could come up with is that I am angry, frustrated and sad. I looked at the list, and it seems like either all of them in a category applied, or none. I think I was just very unfocused. Then I stopped because I felt like just crying without trying to analyze it.
Have a good morning. Talk to you soon. :)


It's good to face your fears but sometimes people are too overwhelmed to push themselves through the fear. The idea here is that you are ok either way. If not facing your fears was harming you in some way, then it would bother you. You would present as someone with a phobia or anxiety. But you don't have those issues so not facing a fear here and there is not an issue for you. Everyone needs to evaluate what is good for them at the time. Judging yourself according to what your parents taught you is only going to put undue pressure on you and make you feel worse.

Therapy helps you explore the issues that hold you back from feeling good about yourself and others. It treats symptoms that interfere in you ability to enjoy your life, such as your nightmares for example. It also helps you reshape old dysfunctional beliefs and work through them so you can get satisfaction from your life. That includes helping you find ways to address the emptiness left by the abuse from your childhood and teaching you better ways to get what you need from family and friends.

Only you can make yourself happy. A love relationship cannot do that. It may feel that way in the beginning when you fall in love, but eventually if you are not an emotionally healthy person you will find that the relationship falls apart. A relationship can add balance to your life. Most people want to have a mate. It can make you happier and ease your stress to share with someone else. But it's not the answer to emotional problems like some people feel it is.

You will be able to find a balance to your emotions once you can work through them. Right now, the scales are tipped because you had so many bottled up feelings from your childhood and trauma that it has become a focus. Your nightmares took the lid off and now your feelings are overflowing. But as you work through therapy, the flood is reducing. Once it stops, you will find a balance between logic and emotion.

There is a lot of emotional abuse going on in relationships and in childhood. I'm glad you could find some information to fit your childhood. Your sister may have bullied you, but what she did she learned from your parents, who encouraged cruel behavior. That doesn't mean you can't be angry with her, but understanding that she was caught up in the same abuse that you were might help you work it out better.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop is often an issue for abused children. They are so used to living on the edge and not knowing when they will be hurt that they become hypervigilent or over analyze things. What you feel is very common.

I'm glad you chose to let yourself cry last night. Anger, frustration and sadness are very valid reasons to cry!

Talk to you soon,

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