So, a while back I posted for a heat-themed Grand Rounds blog carnival that was being hosted at/on Shrink Rap. https://sarebear.typepad.com/blog/2011/06/when-the-doctorpatient-relationship-becomes-heated.htmlUgh, I tried to insert a link the regular way, and it wouldn't.
This last week, for no reason I can figure out, I was thinking about that post, and how it led me to compare my first and third shrinks, and then further led me to realize that I could stand up to my first one (male) and not my third one (female). They were both strong, intimidating personalities. My second shrink was very laid back and mellow.
I thought to myself, "WHY could I stand up to Doctor Number One, and not to Doctor Number Three?" (Names changed for obvious reasons.)
Within about 10-15 seconds, a quiet, deeply felt thought came to me in response, even though I wasn't expecting a response . . . . "Because it was standing up to your mother that got you on the receiving end of her fist." I instantly felt the deeply personal TRUTH of this, and it felt like I'd connected up an essential puzzle piece.
I pondered then, though, that, "Didn't I already "know" that my problems with her were because she raised the same feelings of fear in me that my mother did? That I had already connected up what my mother did to me, with why I was afraid of Dr. Number Three?" What I realized was, I had intellectually realized the connection between #3 and what my mother did, and I'd even told #3 that I was afraid of her because my mother hit me; however, I'd never FELT this inside. It just made sense to me knowing how transference has shown up in the last 7 years of therapy, it just made SENSE. Yet I didn't FEEL it.
THAT's what the difference was when I had this response, this realization this last week. I FELT the truth of this, and it connected everything up on an emotional and other deep levels. It's one thing to KNOW something with your head; it's another to know it in your heart, in the depths of your being, not to get overly dramatic about it . . .
So, it's been a week since that realization, and I've come to another one because of it, and that is that I can now use the word "abuse" to describe the physical, well, abuse that my mother heaped upon me when I was a young teenager (and maybe pre-teen, but that part's fuzzy). Before this, I said in therapy that I just couldn't approach that word because it felt like it was too big, too painful, that the meaning of what she did to me would crash down on me and I couldn't . . . . I tried the word on, especially after my therapist asked me if I would think what my mom did to me was abuse if I heard of someone doing the same thing to their kid, and I said yes, at first, but after that session, I realized I'd HAVE to say NO, because I couldn't, just couldn't, approach the meaning of the word "abuse" and all the pain denying it was "abuse" was holding back.
I did try to cut through the bull a few days after that session, and say, "Really? Your first instinct was to agree that yes it was abuse for someone else, isn't it just you dancing around what's going on, to later say No?" And I thought, maybe it was, but it just felt too dark and horrible . . . this was about two months or so ago (not counting the first times I avoided approaching "abuse" several years ago when I first brought it up in therapy in more than passing.)
Back to the main point(s) of this post . . . Today I was thinking that I am actually quite GRATEFUL to my most recent psychiatrist, much as I dislike her, for helping me (not consciously on her part, as far as I can tell, given her objection to the notion of transference) to make more progress on a difficult, painful issue than I've ever had. For being what I NEEDED, even if it wasn't what I WANTED.
I realized, and I never thought I'd feel or say this about her, that I am GLAD she was my psychiatrist at this time in my life; things just came together to help me learn from her, and I can take what I've learned and appreciate both it, and the fact that she taught me, willingly or not, something that I'm not sure I'd have learned any other way.
Now, I am moving on and finding another psychiatrist. Could I perhaps have learned further from her, in dealing with her and processing my reactions, about how I feel about what my mom did to me and perhaps some measure of how to get over it? Perhaps. The thing is, I also NEED a psychiatrist I can trust, and I can't trust her to be emotionally safe, or to treat me and my feelings with respect. At this point, I think the "what if" of what I could learn from her is outweighed by my need for a safe psychiatrist; that, and it's an hour round-trip to see her and since I need to ask congregation members for rides to get to appointments sometimes, I really need a closer shrink. This next one is about 15-20 minutes away, which isn't as close as I'd like given I'm asking for rides, but it's better.
I am also quite grateful to the part that Shrink Rap played in my coming to these helpful insights and things; if it weren't for them hosting Grand Rounds, and picking the theme they picked, I'd not have come up with that blog post during the writing of which I realized the things that started off this chain of realizations. So, while they may have played a small part, it is an important part, nonetheless, and I am grateful to them for it. It also teaches me that maybe I should put myself out there more and participate more in things like this . . . Anyway, thanks guys (not that I know if they read my blog or not lol.)