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Archive for August, 2005

another crappy holiday

today is my dad’s death day. i totally forgot it, i didn’t remember it at all until a friend of mine sent me an e-card this morning to see how i was ‘holding up’.

two years, he’s been dead for two years.

last session i talked to me therapist about J, and through that discussion we also ended up talking about my dad. i said that i think that already, at 32, J has accomplished what my dad never managed- he recognized his weaknesses and his mistakes and then he willingly made a change in himself and his behavior. my dad, at 59, was just starting to work on these things when he died. it makes me so sad to think that he was so close to finally figuring himself out, but he never got a chance to finish the job.

my therapist – i’ll call him scott (cuz that’s his name)- asked me if i felt like our relationship was resolved when he died. i said no, that we had just started down that path when he went off and drove into a ditch. that makes me even more sad. we were so close to being friends, so close to finally having a real relationship with each other, and that chance was taken from us. again. i had resolved myself to the fact that we would never have a normal father/daughter relationship, but we could have been friends. we were so close. it’s not fair that we never got that.

i envy people who are close to their parents as adults. hell, i envy people who can’t stand their parent’s as adults. i want that. i want to know my parents as peers, as real people, to have a friendship with them. i want to argue with my mother as her equal and say ‘no’ to my dad as a grown-up. i want to go to dinner with them and pick up the check. i want to call them and ask them for relationship advice. i want to get tipsy with them and talk about my fears and hopes and dreams for the future.

i miss my dad. i’m not even close to recognizing his death, and i don’t know when i will be. at my wedding? when my first child is born? every holiday and birthday that he’s not there for?

this sucks. it just really sucks.

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Kristoise asked an interesting question on a comment to the last post which peaked my scientific interest, and i ran with it much further than i had expected to, so i decided to make it it’s own post. she asked me what the difference is between therapy, cognitive therapy and psychoanalysis. i kind of knew, but not as clearly as i would like, so i did a little research, and here is what i found:

-“therapy”, as i have known it, is just basic listening and responding; most of my therapists have been licensed clinical social workers, who are defined as follows: ‘A social worker trained in psychotherapy who helps individuals deal with a variety of mental health and daily living problems to improve overall functioning. A social worker usually has a master’s degree in social work and has studied sociology, growth and development, mental health theory and practice, human behavior/social environment, psychology, research methods.’ pretty general stuff, but it gets the job done.

– ‘cognitive’ and ‘behavioral therapy’ (or ‘cognitive behavioral therapy’) is more about recognizing patterns and behaviors in order to change them. to be more specific: ‘Cognitive therapy teaches you how certain thinking patterns are causing your symptoms — by giving you a distorted picture of what’s going on in your life, and making you feel anxious. Behavior therapy helps you weaken the connections between troublesome situations and your habitual reactions to them. Reactions such as fear, depression or rage, and self-defeating or self-damaging behavior. It also teaches you how to calm your mind and body, so you can feel better, think more clearly, and make better decisions.depressed or angry for no good reason, or provoking you into ill-chosen actions.’ sounds good and logical to me- this i am looking forward to trying.

– ‘psychoanylisis’ is the juicy stuff, the stuff that everyone wants to learn about in psychology class (or at least i did); it was freud’s baby, and includes all of those crazy, subconcious freudian ideas. even it’s definition sounds wack: ‘Psychoanalysis is a family of psychological theories and methods that work to elucidate connections among unconscious components of patients’ mental processes, and to do so in a systematic way through a process of tracing out associations. In classical psychoanalysis, the fundamental subject matter is the unconscious patterns of life as they become revealed through the the patient’s free associations. The analyst’s goal is to help liberate the patient from unexamined or unconscious barriers of transference and resistance, that is, past patterns of relatedness that are no longer serviceable or that inhibit freedom.’ it’s all about dreams and repressed behavior and suconcious desires as being the root of and answer to your neuroses; you know, oral fixation and anal retentiveness as a child, penis envy as an adolescent, a secret desire to bed your mom and kill your dad (or vice versa), all as evidenced from free associative (aka: babbling) observations made while lying on your back on a couch. freud thought everything was really about sex or death; though i don’t totally disagree, i think psychoanalysis is a load of hooey. but the theories are interesting to hear.

so, kristoise, there is my (lengthy) answer to your question. i wonder if i only answered so thoroughly because i knew i was talking to a scientist? freud would probably say i have some deep seeded desire to please you in order to enhance my own sexual identity. i think i am just curious and like looking things up on the internet. i’ll ask my therapist tomorrow and see what he thinks.

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therapy went very well. i like my new therapist guy; he seems smart and empathetic and much much more proactive that my last one (and that’s just from one meeting). i also like that he seems closer to my own age. i was thinking about this after our session and wondering why it made a difference, and i think that my last therapist just seemed to have this detached, older, grandmother-figure vibe about her that did not make me feel totally open to sharing every tawdry detail of my life. she seemed more removed and ‘above it all’ than the new guy, and that was not effective for me at all. i also like the new guy because he has a background in cognative therapy and pscyho-analysis, though he said he would only throw in those viewpoints if the client wants them, if they seemed to fit the situation and if the client was up to it intellectually. the cogantive therapy background is particularly interesting to me because it’s all about recognizing behaviors and then learning to change them, which is what i want to do. the psycho-anaylis could be fun just for laughs, as i tend to think it is rather subjective bullshit. mostly, i am just honored that he clearly thinks i am “up to it intellectually”.

for our first meeting we mostly just got to know eachother, him telling me about his training and professional background and me answering his many questions about my own background with long, tangential rambles. i realized that i like talking all about myself and my background in a guilt free setting. i guess everyone would. it’s nice to talk about yourself and not feel selfish, boring or self-centered. ah, the joys of paying someone to listen.

somewhere near the end of the session i casually mentioned ‘six feet under’ and he asked me if anyone had ever told me that i look like brenda (Rachel Griffiths) from the show. i said yes, many times, though he didn’t have to worry as i am not a recovering sex addict atheist with an odd attraction to my twin brother. i have been getting the brenda thing a lot lately as the show is drawing to a (sniff,sniff) close. i think she is beautiful, and certainly an amazing actress, but i do not think that we look all that alike. mainly it’s just the hair and the eyes; her face is much more square and mannish than mine, and she’s about three feet taller. plus, she named her child ‘banjo’, and i would never do that to a child. i liked it better when people used to say i looked like Juliette Binoche.

in reference to a few responses to my last post, i feel i must clarify. my fear of marriage has nothing to do with a fear of the instituion itself, and i also suspect that once it is done i will feel no differently towards J. my fear of marriage comes from a fear of formally bringing someone into my life knowing that i may lose him someday, either to death or abandonment. i am not afraid that my relationship with J will weaken or grow stale when we get married, i am afraid that he wil die. which i know is silly because of course he will die, some day. kristoise, i think you are right, that i would feel just as bad if i lost J now as i would if we were married. but it’s the public proclamation of it all, the ‘we will be together forever and ever, or til DEATH do us part’ that seems daunting. forever and ever has been a cut a little short and death had done me part a few too many times for my taste, and i almost feel like publically proclaiming it is a jinx. i may not even include that line in our vows, or may reword it somehow. if J can ask me not to include ‘god’ in the ceremony, i can ask him not to include ‘death’. vixanne, i agree with you too; it really is just a huge party, and in that respect i am definitely looking forward to the wedding. and no, we haven’t registered yet, but we will soon, i promise,; we are thinking it will be at Target and Crate and Barrel. as soon as we get it done you will be the first to know.

well, i just took two benadryl, non-drowsy formula, and they are making me feel high, so i must cut this short for now. i will post again very soon though, because i am desperate to chime in on the last episode of ‘six feet under’, and i have more to say about weddings and loss and my new favorite therapist (who i will see again this weekend- yea!).

in the meantime, i highly recommend taking two benedryl non-drowsy pills if you want a quick and legal high. i haven’t felt this wacked out in a while…

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so tomorrow i start therapy with the guy that J’s therapist recommended. that’s right, a guy, but he’s gay, so that made it okay for me. call me crazy (no joke intended), but i would not feel comfortable with a straight male therapist; somehow a gay man is not so threatening. not to stereotype, but i assume a gay man would be more sympathetic. i talked to him on the phone, and he sounded cool- he congratulated me for recognizing that my old therapist wasn’t working for me, said that lot’s of people just stay with people they don’t really like. he also said that he is very interactive and hands on in his style, which is much more of what i’m looking for. my last therapist just sat and listened and then basically repeated back to me what i had said. i could accomplish that with a tape recorder.

in the spirit of my upcoming emotional exploration, i had a pre-therapy session of my favorite kind last tuesday with J: magaritas at our favorite mexican restaurant. whenever we go there (which is as often as the budget permits) we end up having very postive, soul-searching talks, and this week was no exception. in fact, about a half a pitcher in, we had an epiphany, or at least a very interesting realization. all of my fear of commitment and fear of marriage and fear that everyone around me is dead if they are five minutes late comes directly from my belief that everyone i get close to will be taken away from me. because they always have been- from my dad (as a child and then literally, with his death), his wives, K and C (my childhood surrogate family), my stepfather and stepbrothers, my mom’s boyfriends, to (the ultimate) my mom, the one person who swore she would never leave. so now i am trying to push J away, because i assume he will leave anyway. i am testing him to see if he will leave, because i assume he will. i am freaked out by marriage because i am terrified to count on someone again, to cast myself in with someone else who i believe will get taken (or go)away again. in other words, MAJOR fear of abandonment. and maybe this doesn’t sound like such a revelation, but for some reason it seemed like it to me. i guess because i looked beyond the normal ‘people who left me’ list and noticed that there were even more, that almost everyone i had grown attached to as a child had gone away. i grew up so seperated from my extended family, and anyone else i tried to ‘adopt’ went away. i grew up expecting to be left or forgotten about.

the only exceptions, and they came later in my teens, are my friends, many of whom read this blog. so thank you all, thanks for being the ones who stayed. i guess that means i’d feel okay about marrying any of you.

the greatest thing about this revelation is that J made it. and so now he understands why i run away and why i sometimes act crazy and try to push all of his buttons at once. so maybe now it won’t work on him. i guess i will just have to try to accept that he’ll be the exception to the rule, that he won’t leave, or at least not for a really, really, really long time.

and i want to believe that so very much. i am tired of being scared, i want to just be happy and trusting and open. i love J and i want to believe that we will be allowed to grow old together.

maybe my new therapist will help me begin to believe. i’m sure he’ll be impressed that i’m coming in with so much homework started (but then i always have been a teacher’s pet). maybe i should suggest to him that we have margaritas for our session, just to get the ball rolling…

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i have been desperately in need of a laugh lately, and this did the trick. hope it works for you too.
watch it, really, it’s very very weird and funny.

more blogging soon, i promise.

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