Seek guidance, alone, no love support

by RD
(Central Florida)

Upon reaching exercise 1 in Thawing ACS, a thought came to me with a shockingly intense feeling of panic, "These exercises aren't going to involve anyone else but ME? I'm supposed to do this ENTIRELY alone?!" I scanned exercises throughout the book and found nothing to indicate otherwise. I was beyond certain I'd need to involve others to heal. I cannot describe the depth of the "shut down" chasm I see before me if I consider opening up to my root pain ALONE. Relevant details... I identify EVERYWHERE on this site as emotionally abandoned. My 20s were in useless therapy, able to "control" therapists with my extreme IQ. In my 30s, found 2 therapists, the 2nd ended sessions after 5 years, yet I'd made HUGE growth. I see finding a new therapist I can't control who will do sliding scale (I need) truly unlikely. I've continued to work well on myself (using crisis lines and friends), but need much more work, having grown aware I "never succeed" and "stay poor" despite winning awards in school/at different jobs and always being the "go to" guy. I recently wrote, "I want to cry while someone holds me and cries with me because they "see" and "get" the hell-past-and-present of my life, but my becoming successful will make the hell pain too remote for anyone to "see" or "get" the understanding/love I need from them." I am NOT a Christian, but I AM intensely spiritual. Strangely, I have NO classic addictions, YET I may have one in friendships. A problematic twist? One could argue I obsess over maybe 50+ friends, constantly on the phone, throwing huge, complex (but low budget) parties, replying to endless e-mails... (Hate Facebook, too shallow!) I can say I'm the "best friend" to more people than anyone I've ever met. The only thing that pulls me up in despair is a friend. I consider my one brother (out-of-state) a friend. No other family but the abusive divorced parents far away. Out gay at age 12, I've been asked out once on a date (now 48), never a boyfriend. No love except from friends who "connect" at most once a week. Wondering about modifying the therapy by sharing exercise writings by e-mail with key friends? Freaking-out terrified, even with prayer, to work on this alone. Feedback?

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Jan 20, 2015
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There are 12 meetings, sponsors etc
by: Anonymous

You are never alone, get involved in a group, even several groups, with those in recovery. Codependence can be an addiction too. I relate and we can never heal alone, others made us sick, but others can help us heal.

Take care and never give up hope

Jun 30, 2014
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moving forward
by: RD

I am so grateful for your confirmation that I will not be working against the exercises by involving specially selected friends. I chose four lifelong friends, after much thought, the four with whom I feel most "safe." All agreed far more easily and sincerely than I imagined, to receive e-mails of my exercise journalings. I think I can do this now knowing they (someone) will be aware of my process. I've told them and believe that just their reading what I send is enough, but if they feel moved to respond at times, I will welcome that support.

Although everything, truly everything in your reply was valuable, I do feel bad that I came across as so defiant of therapists. A more accurate picture includes how I spent probably 7-8 years with two last therapists who WERE able when needed to stand firm against my certainties until I acquiesced that I was actually (and often) fooling myself. My intent was only to stress to you how I do not see finding a therapist now as a realistic option, one because of income and two because it took me so long to find therapists whom I couldn't manipulate (when I didn't even realize then that I was doing so). I do know very well how right you are that the counselor doesn't need to have a higher IQ to be effective, and after so many years of therapy, I believe (hopefully realistic) that I have finally learned to truly listen and consider when someone doesn't see what I see. I am so grateful for your book so I am not left "stuck" because I cannot afford the resources to find a "therapist match" right now.

How powerful was your reminder that one can both fiercely crave and fear intimacy at the same time. Atypically, I developed deep friendships choosing to be vulnerable emotionally from early on, but I rather "protected" myself by blocking all physical intimacy. Now, I am a 48 year-old man who suffers fiercely from touch deprivation, and it feels more and more like its killing me inside. Just now, in committing to go back into self-work and reading the wealth of understanding on your site and in your book, I have already had the first epiphany in years, and discovered that when I reached out as a youth to find love, I was met (being gay in the early 80s) with violent negativity in high school, then my community, then in college, and by this third time, I had developed a phobia, being terrified to show any peep of my physically intimate feelings, for fear of a violent reaction. This is true even today when I am well immersed in the gay community!

I also hear clearly the idea of support group, and if my self-work appears to require more than hand holding by friends, I hope to remember that option. It was silly for me to think that just because the exercises don't specifically advocate sharing them with truly loving people in your life, that you can't. Perhaps my subconscious was doing its best at self-sabotage. I don't intend to let it win.

Jun 28, 2014
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Welcome
by: Anonymous

Hi RD,

Welcome to the forums! I think it took a lot for you to reach out to others for a couple of reasons: One reason is that you told me in an email last week :) But the other reason is that I see that you may be putting up walls between yourself and others.

It's just a hunch on my part so please don't take that as a diagnosis - you are the one who gets to say what your issues are.

A lot of times when we grow up with abandonment issues, we experience both a craving and a fear intimate relationships - intimate emotional relationships (physical intimacy is easier that emotional intimacy)

With emotional intimacy we are authentic with our feelings and we let other important people in and drop our defenses/walls, which feels very vulnerable.

Vulnerability is frightening to a seriously wounded person, so we build walls over the years to protect ourselves from being vulnerable. The problem with that is that the vulnerable part is the part of us that needs to be reached. It is the part that needs to connect. It is the part that needs to be healed.

The one thing you mentioned that I know as a wall is a psychological game well known in the counseling profession as the "Defeat the Therapist" game - Most therapists know that we can never win psychological games, so we don't play. Even if we did win, we know we have traveled further away from therapy goals and we have been less than therapeutic by reinforcing the game.

In fact, most counselors know that when a client talks of defeating the other therapists, or being too smart for their other therapists it is likely that they are next in line to be added to the list -- and some will refuse to take the case because of it.

Psychological games are usually beneath the players awareness - but not usually too deep down if we are willing to take an objective look.

I'd like to invite you to consider the possibility that even if a client is smarter than their therapist, it doesn't mean client and counselor cannot be successful together.

I'd also like to invite you to consider the possibility that much more can be gained by letting the walls down and working authentically as a team with your therapist... Just because you can control the therapist, doesn't mean you MUST "control" the therapist.

I'd also like to invite you to explore the possibility that you could practice emotional intimacy by refusing to let the old programming have free rein. Yes, it was developed in order to keep you safe as a child - but at least in some cases it is not helping you get what you want as an adult.

Good luck in your search for a therapist. As far as the book, it is a tool and you are right on that the safe container of supportive relationships are a must to be able to work through such issues if they are moderate to severe in nature. A therapeutic relationship and maybe a good adult-child recovery group would be a good start for such a safe container to do your work.

Take care,
Don

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