This topic is very difficult for me to write about, but I also believe it is very important to dissect and address the feelings I experience.
While I respect and care deeply for Dr. X as a person and psychiatrist and I feel he is an extraordinary human being, I do not REALLY love Dr. X. (I feel sad saying this.)
The reason I brought up the love/lust/caring thing with Dr. X. is not because I wanted him to know how I feel about him...I think he could have guessed that. I am pretty transparent.
The reason I brought the topic up is I believe it reflects and shows me difficulties and patterns and relationships in my life that need changing. I believe in acknowledging my feelings I have the opportunity to open up at a deeper level than I have ever been able to in therapy. I also believe this needs to happen before I can set about making changes to the relationships I am having trouble with. I think the love I feel for Dr. X. is a reflection of the love and connection I am missing in my "real" life (vs. life in therapy). Dr. X is a "surrogate" for the feelings I want to experience in my life.
I thought it might be helpful to brainstorm some of the real life connections/disconnections that lead me to desire the love of my pdoc. By writing them here I will have a list of things to discuss and work on in therapy.
I came upon a very powerful statement about transference the other day. I have turned it into a question for myself:
What are the feelings the patient has towards the therapist? Examine the feelings the patient has and how they relate to unconscious motivations, desires and fears.
Conscious/Unconscious Motivations that Lead to My Feelings:
- I feel listened to. How could I not feel attracted to someone who listens carefully to what I say; someone who listens not only to what is being said, but also wants to uncover what is not being said. In my real life love relationship I feel unheard, undervalued, and ignored.
- I feel safe. I feel I can say pretty much anything with Dr. X. He never gets mad at me, never yells at me, never challenges my opinion in an angry way. My spouse always seems angry at me.
- I feel cared for. by Dr. X. He is always thoughtful, kind and compassionate. In my real life love relationship I feel the target of a huge amount of anger and frustration. I feel like my husband goes out of his way to avoid me. Much of the time I feel lonely when with him.
Conscious/Unconscious Desires that Propel My Feelings:
- I desire the love of a kind man. Dr. X is like this, always. I recognize it is his job to be this way, but I have NEVER encountered a man like this...ever. It would be hard not to have feelings for someone who, every time you see them, is kind, and thoughtful.
- I used to enjoy casual encounters with different people. On some level I miss the excitement and newness of casual sex. I get bored in my sex life. Dr. X is a powerful "taboo". This excites me. It is the IDEA of a prohibited encounter that excites me.
- I desire a man/woman who wants to spend time with me and who shows me that. I feel wanted (as in I don't feel rejected) in therapy. I often feel rejected by my husband in many areas of our relationship. He calls me greedy for wanting too much sex, or ignores me when we are together, or is angry at me all the time.
- Dr. X seems to enjoy many of the cultural things I do (music, art, intellectual pursuits etc). My husband could care less. It is a chore to get him to participate in cultural events. I feel like we have little in common. I would love a partner who liked to do some of the same things as me.
- Dr. X never seems uncomfortable with my sexuality. Rather he normalizes the desires I have that may seem out of bounds to some. My husband is good like this too. He is really open minded...but he gets jealous. I like to flirt sometimes. It feels like harmless fun to me because I never have the intention to take my flirtation to the next level. I am just flirting as a form of fantasy. I get angry when my husband wants me to stop being a sexual being with anyone but him. I don't mean my having sex with others...though I miss that...I mean innuendo and flirtation, just for the fun of it
- I love a man who is an authority figure. Dr. X is this to me...though we have tried and tried to help me lose that feeling. I recognize Dr. X is not authoritative with me/towards me. I appreciate that. He really has tried and tried to help me feel like an equal, but something about how close I feel to him makes me want him to control me. Part of my sexual psyche/my love psyche craves someone in control, someone who knows what to do, someone who has power over me, someone who "forces" me to do things I do not want to do., who forces me to do things I need to do, etc. I have created a fantasy world where people in my life, other than my husband are doing this for me. This is a weird pattern of behaviour in that, on some level, it reflects my feelings towards my father. He was intensely controlling and my feelings of having an authority figure "force" me to do something, or tell me what to do are holdovers from both my childhood and from how my dad still treats me. I suppose, given my father's authoritative behaviour I always have had a difficult time making decisions for myself. I have an ingrained need to be given the answer, the activity, the way of being. This has slipped over into my sexual fantasy life.
Conscious/Unconscious Fears that Lead to My Feelings:
- I am afraid I am unlovable and cannot love. I feel like I have never been loved by a partner. Likewise, I have never felt "love" for any partner. I care about them, lust after them, am obsessed with them, excited by them etc., but I don't think I have ever truly loved or felt loved. I am not sure why. I think I am so scared I will be rejected that I neglect to allow myself to feel and show love.
- I am afraid my marriage is a sham. I fear I have spent from 27 to 43 (16 years) trying to hold together, repair and survive a marriage that was not meant to be. I am terrified that my husband stays with me just because he doesn't want to hurt me. I am scared we both stay together because the other choice is too difficult to decide and take action towards.
- I am afraid I have become old, depressed and unattractive. I am afraid no one will desire me. On some level, my desire for an "other" reflects my fear I will never be interesting, or desired by anyone else. I fear dying and not having experienced true love. Or having missed out on opportunities to exchange an intense and everlasting bond with someone else.