Why can’t we be friends?

I love the internet.

There’s some really good stuff making its way through my reader.

Particularly: Being Excluded From Your Therapist’s Life: Reasons You Haven’t Heard Before, and How would a Friendship with Your Therapist Work? both from a wise retired therapist, Dr. Stein, and finally, this post (of a similar title to the first) which led me to both of Dr. Stein’s posts.

So much of all that resonated with me… that I really don’t know where to begin.  Things I’ve felt, things I’ve wondered… things I didn’t realize I’d felt, and answers to questions I hadn’t realized I’d wanted to ask.

I’ll start by touching on jealousy.  When I first read Life in a Bind’s post, I thought, “pffft.  Whatever.  I’ve never been jealous!”

Oh, wait.  Yes I have.  I totally have.

A few weeks ago, I’d just finished my session with Sid, and as I walked through the waiting room toward the exit, I heard him introduce himself to a new client who’d been waiting.  My next thought was that I’d noticed she was attractive, and I smiled to myself as I thought, “Whatever.  I’m way better than her.  No way is she going to be as awesome at therapy as I am!”  Yup.  Bye bye empathy!  I certainly don’t need to care that, hot or not, I’d venture a guess that almost everyone is incredibly nervous before their first session… and presumably, at the beginning of the therapy journey she’s got some shit to work on.

Oh yeah, and there was that chick a while back one weekend who went in after me — the time slot after me, which I coveted because it was the last slot of the day.  I totally resented her the next few weeks when that slot wasn’t available, assuming it was her fault.

Side note: my preference for the last slot of the day is less relevant now that Sid’s actually enforcing his boundaries around the therapy hour.  There’s a big ass clock above the client couch now, and I feel a little pride that I probably contributed to its appearance.

Anywho.  Yes.  Jealousy.  Kind of interesting that it only crops up around other female clients.  I can’t recall if the time-slot stealer was attractive, but she probably was.

As to the other two posts… man, I’ve probably talked about transference more than anything else here.  What’s interesting is that, at least on some level, it still pisses me off.

And on that note, I think I’ve had another revelation.  I want Sid to like me.  Ok, duh, I’m a people pleaser.  I’ve experienced a myriad of feelings at him, thanks to transference.  This is normal, healthy, and perhaps even expected.  It’s what I’m “supposed to” do in therapy.

So why does this piss me off?  That first word.  “Normal.”  I grew up under the impression that normal is boring.  Transference is such a cliche, I really shouldn’t fall for it!

I wasn’t given praise or recognition for anything above average that I did, or even the extraordinary.  If I surpassed expectations, all that did was raise the bar for next time… and if I fell short, I was chastised.

I had it drilled into my head that I was extraordinary, and that was the minimum expectation.  No wonder I shudder any time I feel ordinary.

Anyway.  I really appreciated seeing those things spelled out clearly.  Why you and your therapist can’t be friends.  And I really liked the other perspective… that while I may wish we could be friends, wishing for more is focusing on the negative, ignoring all the benefits I do get from that relationship.

I’m so fucking special, I get to sit on Sid’s couch for 50 minutes a week, while he helps me work on me!

At the same time, the emphasis on how much focus the therapist has for the client really hits home just how mentally and emotionally exhausting the job must be.  Am I sure I want to do that?

Yes.  As much as the cliche and perceived normalcy makes me cringe, it’s still pretty GD fascinating to watch myself go through this process.

Which is why I blog about it so much. 😛


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