Therapist Attachment Issue

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by random random, Feb 5, 2009.

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  1. I've just started seeing my therapist, but I only get to see her for another 8 sessions. I was subconsciously keeping her at arms length because I knew how it would feel to be 'abandoned' at the end of the time (I have BPD, so rejection and abandonment/attachment issues are something that happens a lot to me).

    Yesterday when I saw her I told her how bad my week had been and she was just like 'Aw <insert my name. I'm so sorry, I had no idea', and her voice just sounded so much like she cared (whether she does or not is a different issue, but nevermind).

    For as long as I remember I have gotten attached to females older than me who showed me care. From what I can work out, it seems to be that they offer me care that I didn't have from my mum (because I pushed her away due to fear of rejection after my brother was born). The fact I now feel some sort of attachment to my therapist is now potentially going to cause problems in my therapy. I think I need to talk to her about it because I don't want it to sabotage therapy, and it's really unhealthy when I feel like this, however, she could react quite badly, and I'm not sure of the outcome.

    Just wondered if anyone had any ideas, or if anyone had experienced anything similar and been able to tackle it with their therapist?

    I'm so embarassed, lol.
  2. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    I have lived in the middle of attachment and abandonment issues and finally I decided that whatever will be, will be, and that I was creating more problems than the number of ppl who could potentially hurt is so hard to find the place where one can trust, and sometimes, you just have to take that leap of faith, not knowing whether the safety net will be of luck and know how brave you are for examining this very 'touchy' issue...big hugs, J
  3. Thanks for the reply SadEyes. When I see you have replied I always feel it's a good thing, but before I see the reply I always get a bit scared of what you might say, lol.

    I get what you are saying, completely. To be honest, I can't entirely work out what is bothering me about being attached to her. Whether it is the trust thing, whether it is because I know that after this comes a 'split' and then I won't be able to stand her, or something else. It may just be that normallyt I fele no emotional anything at all, and this is VERY uncomfortable.

    I guess maybe I should just go for it and tell her, and trust that maybe she won't reject me for it?
  4. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    Rejection and pain are a part of human reality, we cannot protect ourselves from them...therefore, know that someone WILL reject you and hurt you and that is just the way this messy world exists...most importantly, get what you want from it and understand that it is better to try to live life fully than live in the shadows...big hugs, J
  5. Jenny

    Jenny Staff Alumni

    Wow i can totally relate to this and don't really know what advice i can give other than to let you know that i really understand where you're coming from. I wonder whether time-limited therapy is the best approach for you though? Is there any possibility of extending your contract with this therapist.. or finding someone who is able to work over a longer period of time? I am only asking because it sounds like you're holding back from something because you are aware that time is running out and you're scared of being left at the end of it, maybe vulnerable after allowing yourself to become attached.

    I think therapy is about attachment.. it's about attaching to someone healthier than we experienced as children, and it's about the therapist keeping the safe containing boundaries. It's ok to feel attached to your therapist and she will be used to that.. if she's a good therapist she will not reject or abandon you because of it, instead she will respect where you are at and work with you through it. I guess the only way you will find out is to take the risk in telling her..

    I hope it goes well for you.. i've been in similar situations in my therapy also and i know how difficult it can be
    Jenny x
  6. Thank you SadEyes.

    Thank you Jenny for being so honest. It's quite bittersweet to find someone else who has struggled with the same thing.

    I personally would prefer open ended therapy, but unfortunately this is being funded at a local private hospital, by the NHS. The individual therapy comes hand in hand with group therapy, which lasts for X amount of weeks. I did consider asking her towards the end what the options are (as in could I pay for sessions myself, or whatever). But you are right, it is preventing me from being fully open.

    I think you are wise in what you say, and right. I'm going to write down how I feel, and my thoughts about this, and fears, and will show it to her next week and we will hopefully discuss it and work through it.

    Thank you :)
  7. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    Great post.

    I completely hear your terror, random, of being abandoned after a time limited therapy. I personally can't do time limited, it'd have to be open ended and on my terms...

    It's completely understandable you not wanting to be fully open with someone who is going to to leave soon.

    Therapy is all about attachment, creating a safe attachment like to a parent, just like Jenny said. Don't feel ashamed of feeling 'attached' to her, that's a good sign that you trust her. I'd be just like you though, and not want to fully open up, if it was time limited.

    What you said about writing everything down and showing it to her, is a great idea. You sound willing to work with the situation you have, while like you said, isn't ideal (not open ended) is at least something, and how to work with that 'something' and perhaps make the 'ending' of the therapy less traumatic for you.
  8. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    8 sessions is so short too, to establish a relationship, especially if you've had abandonment/trust issues when you were younger. I completely understand where you're coming from.
  9. Thank you for your replies ggg :) You're right in what you say. I have written down everything she needs to know, but I'm going to try and verbalise it as much as possible.

    I'm doing a 12 week course, and we have done 4 weeks (although I've only had 2 one to one sessions so far- its all very complicated, lol), and there are 8 weeks left. It IS on a tight schedule, and I hate it. There is not enough time for me to learn to trust her properly, let alone open up, so I'm going to do the best I can to make as much use of this time as possible. I'm desperate for my attachement and 'splitting' problems to not interfere with that.

    I'm quite anxious about seeing her again. I'm doing my best to block out how I feel because, to be honest, my attachment is completely illogical and goes against everything about me, lol, but it won't go away, although as I haven't seen her since Wednesday, it has eased a bit.

    To be honest, I feel like a real dependent fuck up. I certainly don't view others who get attachments in the same way, and I am ultra harsh on myself, but I can't get passed how stupid I feel for this.
  10. Jenny

    Jenny Staff Alumni

    I genuinely can relate so much to what you say and I just wanted to wish you well in your next session.. you sound like you have a lot of self awareness. If you're a member here on the forum please feel free to drop me a PM or anything if you'd like. Thinking of you and wishing you all the best x
  11. wheresmysheep

    wheresmysheep Staff Alumni

    i can understand how this can effect you though i have not been there myself. i only have this advise and it could be totally wrong.

    you could aproach it from the angle that it is only time limited, though you may need more, so your relationship with this therapist WILL end. and so you will have to move on and there will be no further contact. and in that way your issue, is kind of addressed but not really, your just locking it away untill you cant do anything about it because you wont be seeing her.

    or you can bring it up with her, as it is an on going issue in your life, and due to that issue being brought up, as a professional, she will have to adress it and help you through it, and possibly that would be better with a therapist you have grown attached to. also this could lead to addressing why you grew attached so quickly, and to be fair it was very quick. this also may lead you into a longer time in therapy, which by the sound of it; you do want, not only so you can spend time with her, but that you can have your issues adressed.
    12sessions is a very short time imho and it is what i face when i get my therapy sessions asigned to me, though its in a 'we'll see whats wrong with you then tell you if you need further help' kind of way. i think if you do open up to this it may lead you to get further help, and i doubt she will be freaked out by it in any means as she probably has dealt with this many times before. :hug:
  12. Thanks Jenny :) I'm not currently a member (I have NO idea what my password was, when I was a member), but you were always good to me then, so thank you.

    Wheresmysheep. Thank you for your reply :) An 'outsider' (as in someone who has not necessarily experienced this) view can always be valuable.

    To be honest, everythink you said makes sense to me, however, there is no logic to this at all. As a person I HATE being attached to people, and it takes me a very long time to get any sort of trust or attachment. What has happened here is that she has met a very basic emotional need of mine. I pretty much grew up in an environment void of emotional care, and she showed me some sort of care and compassion and it basically flicked a switch, and, to be honest, I hate myself for that. It is always the same type of person, but doesn't happen that often. It's always someone older than me, and a woman, and basically it reflects some sort of 'mother figure'. I do just want to clarify that materialistically I had everything I wanted as a kid and never went without, and was certainly never abused, but there was no emotion, no cuddles, none of the care and nurturing that I apparently needed.

    You are also right in that it is very quick. I met her for an hour assessment, had 4 group sessions of 5 hours and two individual sessions, and it's so ridiculously quick, and I hate that, I truly do. But there is no rationalising with this.

    Unfortunately, there is no chance for further therapy from her. Once these weeks are ove,r it's gone. I'm currently having therapy at a private hospital, funded by the NHS, so the NHS will only fund for so much, and I will only see her for the duration of the course she runs, which is what I am funded for.

    I am hoping though that I can raise this with her. My splitting has a huge impact on my life and is something that does need addressing. I'm hoping I can speak about it, not just show her my writing. I'm also hoping she doesn't push me about it in group, because that is a possibility given some of the homework I've had to do.

    I am a very logical and rational person, and there is nothing logical or rational about this, and I can't deal with that, probably more than anything else. I just hate it. I don't want to be attached. To anyone. I want to be me and rely just on me.
  13. wheresmysheep

    wheresmysheep Staff Alumni

    so they dont have a chance to let you donw, right? i can relate.

    i think it would be good to bring it up with her, so you can try deal with it, becuase hating yourself for it is not healthy let alone the fact taht its slightly unhealthy not to let anyone in (though i do it myself).

    if she is the caring person i a sure she will aproach this tactfully and if it is brought up in a group session it will hopefully benifit you and not push you away.
    let us know how it goes if and when you do tell her, and i say definitely bring it up with her about further therapy.

    as for your password; you can get a reset sent to your emil account :smile:
  14. Yes, that is exactly it. If I only rely on myself that no one lets me down or hurts me. It means I am self sufficient and not dependent. It means I am safe, in some senses of the word. No, I compeltely agree, it's not healthy, but it's the only way I know how to be, and as time goes on, it does get worse, and it is something that, again, does need addressing.

    I will tell her, and I will update. I'm aiming to do it in my individual, if I can, because I think I would die of embarassment in the group. Yup, right there on the floor. :p (ok, so that might not happen, but I would definitely be embarassed).

    Thank you for replying, and for not being judgemental, even though it's something you haven't experienced.

    Thanks also for the head sup about my password. To be honest though, this place was REALLY bad for me, so I don't want to get too involved again, but I will bear it in mind for if I change my mind :)
  15. Today is the day. I'm shitting myself about this, completely and utterly. I've nearly done some very stupid things just to cope with/avoid this.

    I'm going to try and verbalise it, but just in case I can't I have written this and will take it with me.

    Oh shit. Wish me luck :|
  16. thedeafmusician

    thedeafmusician Staff Alumni

    Oh gosh... this is something I can relate to as well. How did it go?

  17. jonstark

    jonstark Well-Known Member

    Maaan... You're so fucked.

    Good luck with this insanity.
  18. *rolls eyes* Gee thanks. Good luck with being narrow minded.

    * * *

    I did manage to tell her, and she was really, really good. We talked about it for a while. She asked if it would be ok with me if she tried to apply for more funding to see me for longer after the 12 weeks finished, to which I agreed, but explained I would need to know what was going on and any further time constraints. She understands that it's pathological and that right now I'm not in control of it. I explained some things that have happened due to this attachment issue before, and she explained that she would not be abusing the attachment, but that it could be a useful tool in the therapy. It was a huge relief :D
  19. wheresmysheep

    wheresmysheep Staff Alumni

    how did it go hun?
  20. jonstark

    jonstark Well-Known Member

    Glad it went well. Good luck with this!
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