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Trying to let go.


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Today, my therapist very bluntly told me that I will never have the father that I want, that I am living in a fantasy world, and that I need to accept that my father probably doesn't care about me.

I started off my being angry, and maybe hurt. It's as close as I've ever come to crying in therapy, but as I am processing everything now, I know that he's right.

Dad never wanted girls...he always told my sister and I that he wished we were boys. It made me feel worthless. When he paid any attention to me, it was either to insult me or to use me for his own agenda. I have realised that any time he's been nice to me, there were strings attached.

It pains me that I never had a strong and caring male figure in my life. This has of course caused me to crave attention from older men, which as one might imagine, can be dangerous if you're emotionally vulnerable like me.

I am trying very very hard to accept the fact that I will never have a strong male figure in my life, at least not in the way I want. The attention that I crave, I will never ever get. What I don't understand is how I am ever going to be ok with this? It hurts just thinking about it.

My therapist says that I am very strong and that I can handle this. I think that everyone has a breaking point and that I am very closing to reaching it.:P

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I think that all it means is that you won't get what you're looking for from the specific man who is your father. His shortcoming, not yours.

Craving attention from older men can be dangerous, but so can any need that seems more important to you than your own safety. Yet, if you put yourself first, you might also find that it remains possible to find a strong male presence who values you as well.

Perhaps it's that possibility that you're not seeing, at the moment.

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I wonder if that is possible though. I don't mean to be negative, but I have even discussed this with my therapist. Most older men are not looking for non-sexual yet meaningful relationships with young women (I'm 25). So it is hard to believe that I will ever find what I want. I am telling myself at this point to mourn it and get over it. It's just hard.

The main reason for the pain is no matter how much I am hurting, I know my dad isn't and he doesn't care. It's not fair. No one ever said life would be. But I am just having a hard time dealing with emotional pain right now. Not much is going right at the moment. The past 2 months have been terrible. Bad news all around really. And everything is pilling up and is becoming very ovewhelming.

Thanks for your support, I do appreciate it.

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It is certainly confusing when you want a father figure in your life. The idea of having a sexual relationship with "the father" is kind of gross. However I think that if you get the love, respect and attention that you want from a man, the need for a "father" may fade away, and then you may feel like having an intimate relationship with him.

I am having terrible memory problems, I think I should get it checked out. As I wrote the above, I totally forgot you have a fiancé, having only read that within the last ten minutes. Anyway, I decided what I wrote above may still be valid, as in: do you see your fiancé as being strong and protective and loving? Could he possibly give you what your father couldn't?

For example, i saw my therapist as some kind of "ideal lover", to the point where I thought I could never, ever think of him as a father, and yet sometimes I do. For instance, he gave me a feeling that I was loved, protected, cared about, visible, listened to, not judged. Isn't that after all what we wanted from our fathers? So I kind of got what I needed in the therapeutic setting. The question is why then did I view him in a more physical way? I don't know, but I'm beginning to think that Freud might have actually been onto something with all his weird ideas about close relationships always having a physical aspect to them.

What do you think?

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I've discussed a bit of this with my therapist actually. We've talked about my tendancy to seek out older men who are more "fatherly" I suppose, but that I tend to be looking for a sexual relationship as well. He said that this is typical in my case and the idea is I know that using sex/flirtation will get me the attention I want. However, it's not what I need, and in the end i would get hurt (I have). So it's not a sexual attraction to my own father. I have read some of Freud's theories and I'm not sure exactly how much truth there is to that one. Maybe I should bring it up in therapy.

As for my relationship with my therapist, I've always gotten the impression that he wanted me to see him in a fatherly way. I struggled with the idea of "getting the fatherly attention that I never got" in therapy, because 1. my therapist is at least 20 years younger than my father, and 2. he's not my father and it's weird seeing someone in that way. There have been times where I have though, wow, my therapist or someone just like him would be my ideal partner. And I've experienced some erotic transference. However I've come to realise that I don't know him at all. All I know is these feelings of comfort and love that I get from him in therapy. And it took me a long time to realise, but he is not my ideal mate at all. In fact, the love and protection and comfort and nurturing that I feel is not romantic love. Only at the point where I began letting myself indulge in the attention he gives me, much like a child would do naturally when engaging with their parents, did I realise that this "fatherly" attention is what I've been needing all along. I just had to let my guard down and stop feeling so stupid about it.

I told my therapist a few weeks ago that I need him. I made it clear that I did not mean that in a sexual way (he asked, of course) and he said that this is good...I'm finally letting him care about me. Actually, he said he cared about me a lot, which made me feel more comfortable about him "nurturing" me. This week, therapy has been very good. I'm feeling a lot of personal growth going on.

That being said, you mentioned my fiancé...this is a whole other issue. We are having some issues as at this point, both of us are in therapy for depression and anxiety. Our wedding is on hold indefinitely. As for getting what I need from him, in terms of what my father never gave me, I just discussed this with my therapist last night actually. I explained that at times, I have gotten what I've missed out on with my father from my fiancé. The side effect to this is we've grown very close on that level, but not sexually or romantically. We are best friends, but our romantic relationship barely exists anymore. My therapist brought up the fact that this may be the reason things are not going well for us, because we have been using each other for things we needed to get that we both missed out on in our childhoods (although more so me), so my task now is to re-evaluate the relationship. Yet another source of stress during the holidays :) Although no decisions will be made at this time...we're both too depressed right now.

So, all that being said, all I ever wanted from my father, I am finally getting in therapy, and i am slowly starting to piece my life together, almost like for the first time. My therapist never judges me, never hurts me in any way, and always has my best interest at heart. I don't see him as my father...I'm just getting some attention that has been long needed.

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I don't think we actually consciously think of our therapists as our father, or any other real person from our past for that matter. All along, we consciously know that it is our therapist, but on an unconscious, nonverbal emotional (id) level, I think we react to them as if they were our father, or other person, depending on the emotional issues we are dealing with at the time. I must say, I still struggle with the concept of transference, but that's where my thinking is at right now.

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