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Transference shifted from positive to negative

Discussion in 'Treatment & Therapy' started by Searching4Self, May 16, 2018.

  1. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

    This may seem pretty basic... but how sure are you this is actually transference, instead of simply being mad at her?

    You’ve been wanting to work on something for months, had to actually get to the point where you were mad about not working on it, to even bring it up, and then when you did either you were misunderstood or the two of you are on completely different pages.

    That’s a very normal progression of ACTUAL anger, not misplaced anger.

    That doesn’t mean it’s not an overreaction, but it doesn’t read like this is anger coming out sideways onto someone for no reason; nor that you’re mixing up who you’re angry with. Even if you’re mad at both yourself for avoiding it, and her for misunderstanding, anger can be directed at more than one person at the same time without being fictious or misdirected.
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  3. Searching4Self

    Searching4Self Well-Known Member

    @Friday you make a point.

    The reason I thought it was transferential is because of how she referred to my husband multiple times over the course of the session and then I was able to experience a shift with him after that.

    Also, since she has been a positive force, being mad at her for me not bringing up what I feel I should have been bringing up, seems like I’m displacing it.
    hithere likes this.
  4. Stephernovas

    Stephernovas Well-Known Member

    I get we all have our things, but it sound like you’re gettingdefensive and finding excuses. You’re upset with your therapist. Lashing out at everyone else is not going to fix anything
  5. Searching4Self

    Searching4Self Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the support @lostforgottensoul! It helps so much to hear your words. I asked her if she mentioned the dependency because I talked about the transference and she said it had nothing to do with the transference—she said she was trying to get me to speak for myself and that I did it, and she said she was proud of me.

    Also she said that it’s safe to be angry with her. She said that I have to get the anger out, to practice it, to feel it, then I can utilize it with other people.

    It’s weird because I don’t like feeling anger, but now I just had a positive anger experience with her. We also came to the conclusion that it is common to feel confused or scared with anger—especially as women since we were discouraged from being angry as children.
  6. Searching4Self

    Searching4Self Well-Known Member

    Transference feels like emotional algebra and geometry. There is the substituting and shuffling around/exchanging places of emotions and the mirroring and points of reference of experience. I think the rewiring is happening through the transference. It’s like, black and white get switched, and blasted with a current—through rage and/or grief—and that makes them switch how they were doing it before—and allows progress and clarity and entering into a new stage. But it first has to get all tangled up together, in order to get pulled apart, in order to see which was real and which was fake, which was accurately targeted and which was off the mark. Without the transference, it’s hard to get a foothold, it’s hard to see it. Now I see how the transference is a tool for my own benefit, like I’m doing emotional surgery on myself, and handing my emotions to the therapist while I sort out my relationships, my skills, while I practice living the life I hope to carry on some day.

    When I realize that the transference isn’t real, then I have space to consider that the relationships which are causing me the most pain are based on unreal fantasies, hope for change when change won’t happen. Ultimately that will apply to my dad, but I have to get through the closest relationships first before I can get to that one. Going into the transference allows for a great unwinding, of hopefully all the hostile relationships I have held onto, the manipulative ones, the uncompassionate ones, the one-sided ones—and it allows me to recognize who is a true supporter—my T is someone who supports me—she is not a friend, not a mother, not a lover, not an employee, possibly like a consultant—like an emotional consultant—and she supports me—I support me—I support others—but I have chosen to give my precious time and attention to people who don’t support me. This thread helped me see that most clearly! More than a few people answered my call to support and I only responded to the ones who didn’t support me! It took some deep journaling to realize that I do the same thing in my real life—and I don’t have to do that! What a liberating feeling! I do want to connect with supporters. Bit by bit by bit—I will continue to do it. I admit that it is something I avoid—but I’m not ashamed—it is a mistake and I make lots—but I’m going to keep trying as much as I can!

    Now I see how transference can rise and fall, like the wind, like emotions—well they ARE emotions! And acknowledging and talking about the transference emotions gives space for emotions to be directed at real intimacy—the therapeutic process is real intimacy, even if it can never be brought to any kind of fruition in real life. If I can learn how to be fully present during the therapeutic process, maybe I will be able to be fully present during an intimate time with a friend—because in order to be present with another person in their vulnerability, I have to be able to be present with myself in my vulnerability in the presence of a safe person. Unlocking the transference is the path to my vulnerability. So it will be a bit by bit by bit process as well. Every time I cry for myself in front of her, even for just a few minutes, that’s part of the rewiring—that’s the beginning of newness, of growth, and something to be proud of—so I’ll keep going for it.

    Can you tell that I’m not experiencing it right now? Lol! It hurts when it takes hold—whether positive or negative!!! So it’s nice to have a little break and feel proud of myself for getting through that last bout—I think that’s the first time I ever went through the whole cycle and didn’t get pulled into depression! I think this is the first time I’ve ever said I felt proud of myself in regards to the transference! I know that the support of @lostforgottensoul @Emotional girl @hithere and @Friday helped me feel that—because otherwise I would not be able to come back and post this—I am grateful to each of you for your support. @Stephernovas your response confused me—it didn’t feel supportive—it felt authoritative like you were explaining my situation to me for my own good. Maybe I misread it, maybe I was projecting, maybe it’s hard to know what a person means by text—but that’s how I experienced it. If I had only received messages of non-support, I would have eventually given up (probably after trying to defend myself) and thought I was way off mark—but I DID receive support—I just didn’t pick it up, hold it, receive it, and give it back—like the story about which wolf do you feed? The aggressive one or the loving one? Who do I give my time and energy to? These questions make going into the transference less scary—because I now know—I know—that T supports me—and I can—I can—gravitate toward others who support me as well—I can notice the difference—and I can try to reach out to those who support—those are the wolves I want to feed—those are the people that I want to feed, and support, and connect with. I can do this, yes, I can do this.
  7. hithere

    hithere Active Member

    I don't think I've ever gone through a cycle like that and not be pulled into de-stabilization. So that sounds like great progress for you. I didn't write about my swing from positive to negative and back to neutral transference issues with therapist because it would be a book. I know that was the original post question. I just had no answers or tips to give. To write about my experience with postive to negative transference would end up being over 100 pages long, I'm sure. So, so painful. Then in the midst of the pain I got the axe-the big power differential came slamming down-I got rejected and pushed away and terminated. OUCH. The result is I learned to trust myself. If I don't "feel" safe to talk, I'm probably not safe. I Don't talk about stuff unless I am sure I can handle being rejected, unless I fully count the cost and brace myself if I'm going to be vulnerable, I very well may get terminated. It really sucks because I'm paying that person. It's like "man, if the person I'm paying rejects me, how much more will a regular real life person."
    Searching4Self likes this.
  8. Emotional girl

    Emotional girl Active Member

    Thank you @Searching4Self as well.Your last post was informative and really helpful to me.
    Transference is a really difficult concept to deal with in therapy both the positive and negative experiences but for me personally I don't think I could have trusted my T and have been so open and honest without positive transference .I had to have some kind of connection with him for it to work.
    I think that you are doing amazingly well and you are learning from your experiences which is good not only in therapy but in the outside world as well.Well done you and good luck with everything.
    Searching4Self likes this.
  9. Searching4Self

    Searching4Self Well-Known Member

    @hithere yes, I think you nailed it about the termination! When I was finally ready to talk about the transference it was only if I accepted that I might get terminated—I think that’s where the anger came in—like a brace. And I’m going to have to do it again?! I’m already starting to feel scared again! I felt some positive transference rising up yesterday and a small part of me said “Uh-oh,” but when I go back and read what I wrote yesterday when I felt strong then I feel slightly better.

    @Emotional girl I agree that without the positive transference I don’t think I could do this—that is like a base—but it’s interesting that when the negative transference rose up—it was directed at the positive!

    It’s all stories, fantasies. The fantasies were for survival when I was enmeshed in abuse. I don’t need to live in fantasies anymore, but old habits and old programming require more than willpower to change. In this moment I am amazed that rewiring can even happen. I am grateful for supporters, and including myself in that group.
    Emotional girl and berlinda like this.
  10. erigby

    erigby Active Member

    It's like you are reading my mind.
    I can't tell you how I have struggled with something very similar (recognizing every relationship is unique).
    I'm not sure what to say except...
    You are not alone.
    It is so hard.
    So painful.
    It sucks.
    I am so sorry you are experiencing this.

    Me again.
    I find I am angry at my T all of the time.
    It seems he can't do anything right lately.
    If you find a reasonable explanation for this please share.
    I am grateful you have a trusting relationship with your T.
    Be mad! That's what I say. Maybe there are all sorts of disappointments etc. you are lashing out at her about that have nothing to do with her.
    Maybe it is simply cathartic.
    I don't know.
    I just know...if you try to keep those emotions in check with your T...they just manifest in other places.
    Let it out.
    Free yourself.
    (I do realize this is me mostly talking to me but I do want you to know you are not alone. Right now I hate therapy and I hate my T...but I know...something is happening I just can't name what it is).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2018
  11. Searching4Self

    Searching4Self Well-Known Member

    @erigby thank you. Thank you for saying, “You are not alone.” Thank you for confirming the uncomfortable, squirm-in-your-seat feelings that can feel overwhelming in session and between sessions. I like how you said, “Let it out. Free yourself.” Very uplifting. Get those emotions OUT! :eek: Lol—we can do this!
    Emotional girl likes this.
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