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Hugging My Therapist

prairiechick

prairiechick

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I had a very intense therapy session on Wednesday in which I opened up a lot about my fear of abandonment. It was very emotional and I cried, tears streaming down my face. My therapist asked me if she could hug me, which she has done before, but this time I had mixed feelings about hugging her. I wanted to say no, because every time we hug it intensifies my attachment to her, and makes the thought of therapy ending even harder. But I also wanted to say yes, because hugs are comforting, and I don't get anywhere near enough hugs right now. So I got up out of my chair and she put her arms around me, and I clung to her so tight for a long time. That hug somehow triggered a lot for me, a lot of intense emotions. I've been journalling about it, but it's way too much to post on here. I think I need to talk about it with my therapist, but it's very scary to think of doing that, because it means telling her things I have never told anyone before, ever, things that feel so deeply personal to me, and some things that I feel ashamed about.
 
AliceinWonderland

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It sounds important that you tell her PC, take courage, it sounds like you trust her and feel safe with her. I know it's very hard :hug:
 
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Tiddle

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Please think carefully before saying too much about your attachment to your therapist. Be very sure that she will work with you on this because I told my therapist about attachment feelings I had and I never saw her again not even to say goodbye. I nearly killed myself because of it.

I would never want anyone to be put through what I was.
 
prairiechick

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Tiddle, I am really sorry about the experience you had with your therapist. I can well imagine how traumatizing that would be. Fortunately I have already been able to tell my therapist about my attachment to her and she's okay with it. She recognizes that that can happen in therapy, and it's something we've already talked a bit about. What I would read to her from my journal doesn't specifically mention my attachment to her, but it is stuff that is related to my attachment issues. At this point I have no intention of telling her that her hugs intensify my attachment to her. That is still way to scary to tell her, but the other stuff, even though it's scary, I think I can tell her about.
 
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Tiddle

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My therapist was also aware of my attachment to her and had been for a long time we talked a fair bit about it. I finally got the courage to talk deeply about the feelings that I had and got dumped so please be careful I know how much you value your therapist as did I.

I feel very tricked. She encouraged me to speak about it but I realise now it wasn't about helping me it was about seeing if she still wanted to work with me.

I really hope yours is more understanding than mine was.
 
pepecat

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I'm glad you're able to talk to your therapist about your attachment to her; it's a hard thing to do and discuss with people, but it's good that she knows about it and is able to work through it with you.

Is it scary to talk about how hugs intensify the attachment because you're scared she won't hug you any more? Or because you don't want to become even more attached because you know therapy has to end at some point? Like you're torn between wanting to protect yourself from being hurt, but also needing the hugs because of how they make you feel?
 
prairiechick

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It's all of that. Exactly.
Is it scary to talk about how hugs intensify the attachment because you're scared she won't hug you any more? Or because you don't want to become even more attached because you know therapy has to end at some point? Like you're torn between wanting to protect yourself from being hurt, but also needing the hugs because of how they make you feel?
 
prairiechick

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I haven't talked to my therapist about everything yet, because yesterday we did another neurotherapy assessment and didn't really have time to talk a lot, but I told her about my journalling. I also sort of told her about the memories of a babysitter abusing me and my sisters, but I didn't actually tell her what happened. It was too hard.

I don't know why I am so sensitive to being touched right now. When my therapist was putting the electrodes on my head, she was standing beside me, and in order to to get the electrodes on the right spot on my head she had to lean over me, and I could feel her body pressed against my arm. Then she had to look at the computer to make sure the electrodes were in the right spot, and she had to adjust them, so leaned against me again. I don't know why I was so hyper-aware of her touching me. It was just my arm, for God's sake. But somehow it just felt like too much intimacy. Before she could attach the electrodes to my head, she had to attach electrodes to my earlobes, and she always uses rubbing alcohol to prep my earlobes. When she was doing that she stopped all of a sudden, and commented that I seemed very warm, and she asked if I felt like I was getting sick or something. She just seemed so concerned, and it felt nice that she was concerned about me. She's the only person in my life who expresses concern for me. She's the only person in my life who has expressed any kind of emotional warmth to me in years, and I don't know how to cope with it. I'm just babbling, don't know if I am making any kind of sense at all right now. I feel so confused about being cared for and hugged and touched.
 
pepecat

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She's the only person in my life who expresses concern for me. She's the only person in my life who has expressed any kind of emotional warmth to me in years, and I don't know how to cope with it. I'm just babbling, don't know if I am making any kind of sense at all right now. I feel so confused about being cared for and hugged and touched.
You've sort of answered your own confusion there, in a way. You've not had any kind of emotional warmth expressed towards you in years, and it's the one thing you were desperate for, only now your therapist is doing that towards you, you don't know how to handle it.
Would that sound about right?

I don't think that's an unusual state to be in. When i started opening up more to my therapist and she was being gentle and supportive towards me, it generated the same sort of feelings in me. She never hugged me (until the end of the last session), but having her giving me a 'snuggle with words', as she said once, was something that I'd wanted without realising it for a long long time, but when that happened, I didn't know what to do with it. I mostly cried. I think some of it was relief, that someone understood what was going on for me; some of it was grief at not having had that when I was a kid, and getting it as an adult just highlighed what I'd missed out on and made me really sad; some of it was the sadness that it was temporary and therapy had to stop at some point; and some of it was fear that I'd be all alone and cold again once therapy ended.
It was a whole mix of stuff and I had no idea how to handle it. It is confusing, because you're not sure what the 'right' reaction to feeling like this is. The 'adult' knows what the sort of......sensible....reaction should be, but the kid bit of you is desperate for some 'parenting'.

I found that as I began to open up and my defences came down a bit, I did feel all over the place as well. The therapist said it's because I was 'betwixt and between' - the old ways of being and doing things were being taken down, but new ways of thinking and feeling weren't really very strong. So there IS a stage we go through where we're completely vulnerable and being assailed from all sides and feel like we have no resources and don't know which way is up.

You know what I'm going to say though........ if you trust your therapist that she's there for you and is going to stick by you..... talk to her about this stuff. Tell her you're confused about how you're reacting to the hugs. It's stuff to work on. Maybe I was just very lucky in my therapist, but I found that every time I opened up - even about attachment stuff and what that was like - she was ok with it. Yours sounds like she's been like that with you, too.

I would also add.......maybe don't try too hard to figure out what's going on in terms of how you're reacting to things and how you're feeling after therapy sessions. What I mean is, whenever I used to feel like I had to come to some conculsions and I'd sit there with a cup of tea and think 'Ok, lets think about this, how do I feel?', I'd never get anywhere. It's like, if you consciously try to work it out, it doesn't happen. But if I was making dinner, or walking to work, or even AT work...... my brain would be almost subconciously mulling things over, and I'd often find a couple of days later or so I'd have realised things without even trying.
If that makes sense.
So don't beat yourself up trying to work out what's going on. Sit with it - just let your reactions be what they are, accept that things might be all over the place for a bit, and you might find that things sort of settle a bit in their own way.
 
prairiechick

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"With some wounds, you have to rip off the Band-Aid, let them air, and give them time to heal." I've been watching Grey's Anatomy all day on Netflix, at that's what Meredith Grey said at the end of season 2, episode 20. I know I need to tell my therapist what is going on, but I am so freaking scared. I wrote 810 words about it, after editing it. That feels like too much to read out loud to my therapist, but I don't have any other way to tell her what being hugged triggered for me. And then it was after writing about all of that that I started remembering about the babysitter.
 
AliceinWonderland

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Hugs to you PC, I hear you that it's so scary, it does take courage this therapy business, I think you're showing a lot of strength to look at these things, you deserve credit for that. Hugs and strength to you (((prairiechick))) x
 
prairiechick

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I finally read what I wrote in my journal to my therapist today, and she didn't shut me down. She told me I was incredibly brave. I also told her about the memories of the babysitter abusing me and my sisters. My therapist was really worried about me, because when I got there I was shaking from head to toe and I couldn't say anything. I couldn't open my journal and start reading even though I told her I needed to do that. She thought I looked really pale and she thought I looked like I was going to pass out. Before I could read from my journal we had to talk about why I was so afraid to read what I had written, and that I was scared she would ask me questions I didn't want to answer. So she promised me she wouldn't ask me any questions, but just let me tell her what I needed. It was the hardest therapy session I have ever had, and she didn't tell me she couldn't meet with me anymore. She just told me that I was really brave. And at the end she didn't ask me if she could give me a hug, and I am so grateful that she didn't, because a lot of what I read from my journal was about my mom how I felt unsafe with my mom hugging me when I was a child and how that has affected me in other relationships.
 
StillFighting

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I agree that it was really brave of you. I imagine it must have been so difficult, and I'm glad that you were able to do it.
 
AliceinWonderland

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Well done for being brave PC, it sounds like you approached it in a way that worked, and your therapist responded wisely and sensitively too. (And I'm sorry I was insensitive in my last post, I said 'hugs' without really thinking what I was saying, I'm sorry).
 
prairiechick

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It's okay.
Well done for being brave PC, it sounds like you approached it in a way that worked, and your therapist responded wisely and sensitively too. (And I'm sorry I was insensitive in my last post, I said 'hugs' without really thinking what I was saying, I'm sorry).
 
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