Psychoanalytic Reflections 05

Sometimes I come out of a session feeling great. Sometimes I come out feeling like a monster, like some horrible, fucked-up person.

During my first session, my therapist noted that this was a mutual process. It wasn’t as if he was going to surgically remove an issue with me, it would take the both of us working together, with a progressive effort from me.

That’s what I’m doing now. I’m determined to fix myself.

Dependence

  • I have a general feeling of incompetence, which leads to a lack of trust in my own judgments. As a result, I have a very difficult time making decisions because I’m paralyzed by the fact that I may make the wrong one.
    • I can trace this back from my childhood to my early twenties when my parents were overbearing and would never let me make any of my own decisions. In fact, they would make most of my decisions for me, including significant ones, like my program of study in university.
  • The result is that I tend to ask people for advice on everything, although I’m dependent on Pat the most. This is because Pat is so smart and experienced, and has never, ever let me down. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that Pat is so smart because he’s already made his mistakes.
  • This was linked to my anxiety, where I felt like I couldn’t handle anything on my own.
  • I’ve been trying to fix this is to keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if I make a mistake, and that sometimes, making mistakes is the only way to learn.

Unrelenting Standards revisited

  • I realized that I tend to have unrelenting standards when it comes to life in general, but especially in my writing, photography, or art because I feel like this is the only way I will ever distinguish myself and be worth something. I feel like if I’m not the best, then I’m worthless. As a result, it’s difficult for me to enjoy my life, even something as simple as sitting down and watching a movie.
    • The roots of this are more difficult to trace than I initially thought. While my parents were a tremendous influence in terms of making me feel like their love was conditional, I believe a large part of this lifetrap has to do with me making up for my emotional deprivation by filling my deeper emptiness with success.
  • Even when I do something that I know I should be proud of and satisfied, I feel like there’s always another thing to do, another level to reach. While this fuels my self-improvement and has gotten me to where I am now, I’ve come to realize that there’s an imbalance between the effort and the payoff. I work too hard for too little enjoyment.
  • I may realize this, but it’s a hard habit to break. I have a feeling that I’ll need to fix my emotional deprivation at the same time to do so.

5 comments

  1. Bah I hit back and lost what I had originally typed :p Anyway I think you’re making good progress by at least identifying with some key things that have always bothered you. We all make mistakes, some more than others but I think that also has to do with how much risk a person is willing to take. You’re very talented and surrounded by people who care, I know with patience and time you’ll get to where you want to be :)

  2. You’re right about our mistakes being related to the amount of risk someone’s willing to take. My problem was that I would miss opportunities because I was barely willing to take any.

    I realized that right here is where I want to be, because I already have everything I should need/want (looking at it in a somewhat Taoist way), but I’m still trying to feel that from the very depth of my soul.

  3. Here is what I am discovering through therapy: One being that I am an extremely needy person and I tend to consistently seek out people that need to be ‘fixed’; the other being there are things about myself that I am discovering that I really don’t like. I’m sure this is not necessarily a bad thing but my eyes are opening wider with every visit. I want more than anything to be happy with what I have and content in the direction my life is taking but I feel at this point that there isn’t enough therapy in the world to help me get there.

  4. There seems to be a kind of relationship between being afraid of mistakes and unrelenting standards. The latter nurtures the former.

    You once said something like taking steps to better oneself is by itself a betterment. In that sense, taking risks is self-accomplishment, no matter what the result, even when it ‘s a mistake. In that sense, that’re no unrelenting standards to reach. Sometimes we have to learn to laugh at our own mistakes, and reciprocate by enjoying the lighter side of others’ faults.

  5. @Lucy — I used to seek out people that need to be fixed. For me, it was because I felt like no one was ever there to fix me, so I wanted to help others. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing; I haven’t gone through it in therapy.

    When I first started my sessions, I was somewhat overwhelmed by everything as well, but I’ve learned that it just takes time, effort, and patience to get better.

    @Uncle Joe — A lot of the lifetraps are interrelated. In fact, they often need to be attacked simultaneously for results. You’re absolutely right that taking risks is an accomplishment, but I never saw it this way. I used to see risks as danger and a chance to fall behind.

    To change that mindset, I think of two lines from verse 63 of the Tao Te Ching: “Accept difficulty as an opportunity/This is the sure way to end up with no difficulties at all”.

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