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Awake for Five Hours Last Night



Lately, I've been waking up at 2 or 3 am in the morning and laying wide awake with nothing going through my head. Last night, I feel like I had a 5 hour therapy session in my head.

When I woke up at 3 am, I was thinking about my Dad and how I felt about him. He was a reserved, British to the core man with silly Brit humour, and an unshakeable honesty and integrity that would put most men in my life to shame. We didn't talk much, because we were both so reserved. Although he was a workaholic through the week, he spent a lot of time with me on weekends. I felt like my older sister got my Mom and I got my Dad.

My Mom was very outgoing (still alive but Alzheimers so not so outgoing now). I craved her attention but she kept pushing me to my Dad. She said "You're so much like him", which I took to mean "Self conscious, shy, reserved" so I took it as a huge put-down. I didn't appreciate my Dad's finer qualities until I married his antithesis.

Looking back, I hardly did anything with my Mom, other than being dragged around on errands with her. I especially remember her leaving me in the car for what felt like forever while she went into the liquor store and the post office (I must have been pre-school, otherwise my sister would have been with us). To this day, even though I've not lived in that town since grade 3 and I have a horrible sense of direction, I know exactly where the liquor store and post office are!

When I tried to express my sadness and loneliness to my Mom as a kid, she'd say quick one liners like "Well dear, at least you have your health" or "Don't be so self conscious" or she'd just completely brush off my feelings altogether. Wow, how could such an outgoing, dramatic, musical party girl with so many friends be so heartless to her own daughter?

I didn't feel like talking about that stuff to my Dad. Although we didn't really speak much other than joking around, we did lots of stuff together. We skiid together alot (imagine a 6' 2" man sharing a T-bar with a 4 year old - I think the bar was behind his knees - yah, the good old days - no chairlifts, lace up boots and 50 pound skiis). I skiid with him on his very last run, I can't remember how old I was - but he was getting up there. I flew on ahead and he didn't show up for an hour or so. Somehow he made it down after really badly injuring his ankle. That cost him a lot later. I think it's what eventually killed him because he could barely walk in his late 70's, and I often feel bad about that (he lived to 82 though).

He took us out snowmobiling on the frozen lake, and through the bushes. He let me ride on his back swimming in the lake. He let me ride on his shoulders, he let me push the large mole on his forehead to "make" his tongue come out. He took us to lots of shows - circuses, ice capades, ballet and other stuff. We drove to Winnipeg from Toronto together when I was in grade 9 (a 3 day drive) when we moved to Winnipeg. My Mom and sister took the plane. I later found out he never wanted my sister and I on the same plane together in case the plane went down. I guess he was a pretty darn good Dad.

So I can't figure out why I was so angry at my parents. Could be my memory is wrong. I went to psychotherapy when I was 17 and I remember the therapist pointing out a particular page of my diary in which I was expressing rage at my parents. So that's what I seem to be remembering. But I think most of the time I was angry, I mean REALLY, REALLY angry with my Mom and not so much with my Dad. He didn't help me out with my emotional problems but I didn't call upon him because he was so reserved. My Mom however was just so dismissive, so distant and she obviously adored my sister and heaped praise on her but not on me. (Everybody thinks she's such a lovely lady by the way, so I was the only one who got to see that other side of her).

But this blog is really about my Dad. Because I think every time I talk about him, my therapist says, "How does that make you feel about me?" which I think is a trick therapists use to get you to think of them as your Dad. Can somebody tell me, is every male therapist supposed to be your Dad? Think I'll go ask that in a forum, or maybe I'll just ask him. Anyway, not before I purposely talk about my Dad and listen for the question, because I'll bet you anything he's going to ask it again.

Anyway, last time he asked, it was in relation to something I disagree with Freud on. I told him simply, "I don't think of my father in an erotic way. In fact, the word that comes to mind is YUCK". In my head, I was also thinking "I DO NOT desire my father! No freakin way. You will not convince me in a million years that I wanted to have sex with him, or am envious of his penis or something ridiculous like that. And you will not convince me you are my father either." So after the YUCK comment, that's where my therapist jumped in with his question, "Is that how you feel about me?" Well not wanting to get into all the past E-transference that's been going on, I simply said "No".

Then last night I thought "Suppose he's supposed to be my father", then what? Well that would certainly kill off any remaining romantic feelings I have for my therapist. Perhaps I have been resisting that flip over to my father. Although I tried to kill off the E-transference because I hated myself after talking about it with him, I think part of me still wanted to have a bit of fun with it in my head, after a pretty passionless (at least from my standpoint) 20 year marriage. But I don't think that's what my therapy is about. The marriage was definitely damaging but I had problems before that which caused me to say "yes" to my ex in the first place. And the "AHA" is the observation that I probably have to let go of the romantic feelings if I am to move on in the therapeutic process and let him be my father, if that's what's supposed to happen.

If I'm right about this, I'm hoping my insomnia will go away.

Well, that's pretty much my five hours, at least what I remember now. By next session I'll probably forget most of it. Hence the blog.


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It sounds like you had a pretty good relationship with your dad!! That is cool.

I am pretty sure that a therapist even suggesting that you feel romanitcally about your dad without having reason to believe that is what is affecting your behavior is totally unprofessional, muchless asking you if that is what you feel about him after answering a question about your father. I could be totally wrong though. I am not brave enough to see a male psychologist so I can't say for sure, but I would have left if he would have put me in that position.

Are you really busy during the day? I wonder if that is why your mind is working through things at three in the morning.

I hope you get some sleep soon!!

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Thanks for your comments chatterbox. I am beginning to wonder if he is trying to find a more suitable "transference object". So far, it seems to be an "ideal" that I've created, perhaps resembling my therapist a little too much and I'm wondering if this causes problems. The perfect future lover or something. I don't know if the "transference object" just appears on its own or if the therapist suggests various key people in your life and you only "latch on" to the appropriate one. I still find the whole concept so bizarre.

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Based on your other post, I think your therapist has a pretty good idea of what the ethical boundaries are, (i.e. being held when really hurting), but I am still confused on why this guy would ask you whether feelings you have about your father (either bad or good) are similar to how you feel about your therapist. I am not sure how transference works though so maybe he is trying to let you see that you may be tranfering how you feel about your father onto your therapist. Any way he must be cute :) But if it is working for you then I guess it may not be to bad. I am glad that you are writing these blogs down so that you can have something to look back on. I actually have a file on my computer which I do the same things and for letters also. This way I can look back and see how I have grown or what issues I have addressed. I think your daughters will appreciate it also.

From the sounds of it you are trying very hard to be a better parent than yours were, and that is always a good thing. Just remember it is the time spent with your children (as you remember) that makes the best memories. You are well on to your way of making great ones with your girls. Keep making them smile :)

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Then we are both confused (about transference). I don't know why I'm obsessing about it so much. I have a natural curiosity and I think not being able to figure out what's going on drives me insane. And yes, he's very "cute" and although he's 62 he doesn't look a day over 50. It's his voice that drives me crazy though. After I told him the e-transference was causing some problems for me, I told him he may have to tell me he's an avid golfer or something - that would also snap me out of it! (he knows my ex golfed instead of working).

I do try hard with my kids. Thursdays seem to be the "drama" day though. Last week, my almost 6 year old ran into a grand piano and had to get "taped and glued" together (instead of stitches). Today she had a meltdown in therapy and 2 therapists tried to calm her down while I stood in the hall. When I looked up, I saw 3 pictures with the caption, "How you shape your kids before age 6 will affect the rest of their lives". Great, I've got 2 days til her 6th birthday!:eek:

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Well I finally got my answer about transference. It is NOT induced by the therapist, at least not by mine. It is ubiquitous in life. It's just that in the therapeutic relationship it is more powerful because you actually DISCUSS it. So basically it just happens on its own. Your therapist simply checks in to see if it's happening and if so, draws your attention to it.

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