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Old 01-14-2019, 11:33 AM #1
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Default Object constancy?

Iíve had a long period of I guess what youíd call negative transference with my therapist, but itís been gone for several weeks now, and thatís really nice. Last week was the first time in a long time that I left feeling close and comforted and it was just plain nice. Iím not sure why itís different now. A few days later I was even a little freaked out that that good feeling remained. Yesterday the feeling started to fade, and I sent him an email which he says he welcomes, but wonít respond. But today, I woke up and itís completely gone. Iíve tried to get it back by thinking about our session, but I feel nothing and that bums me out. Iím not sure if itís because Iím back at work after having the weekend off and I have some stress related to regular work stuff. I know heís still there and will be there at our usual time on Wednesday. I know he hasnít forgotten me and I donít worry about that. I just feel down about the fact that the positive feelings are gone. So much so that I almost feel like Iíd rather not have the positive feelings at all if they are just going to vanish like that. What is this? How do I deal with this? Is this object constancy? I really donít feel like I have this issue with other people in my adult life - just my therapist.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:08 PM #2
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Default Re: Object constancy?

I don't really know. Do people usually just permanently feel all warm and fuzzy after a pleasant encounter? That would seem strange to me. I really enjoy spending time with my sister, but I would find it strange if the feelings I get from that lasted until I next saw her. I think it is pretty normal to miss people.

When I have heard people talk about object constancy, they have felt like the therapist just didn't exist somehow. That doesn't seem to be the case with you. It sounds like you felt connected, that feeling faded after several days, and now you miss the feeling of connection. I don't think that has anything to do with object constancy, but I could be wrong.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:29 PM #3
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Default Re: Object constancy?

I don't know about object constancy, but I do know exactly the feeling that you mean. Connected and then... empty? nothing? And then feeling upset and disappointed about the emptiness. I have found that it is a little easier to access the positive feelings by myself as time goes on. Maybe like two and a half years ago, I would crave that connection with my T in a really intense way, but eventually it got less intense. I didn't have to fight off the emptiness because I somehow was able to offer those feelings to myself. I do still go through periods where I'm struggling more in general in my life and I want the warmth and comfort that my T provides, but when I'm doing okay, I find that the parts of her that I carry with me feel like enough.
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:37 PM #4
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Default Re: Object constancy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by susannahsays View Post
I don't really know. Do people usually just permanently feel all warm and fuzzy after a pleasant encounter? That would seem strange to me. I really enjoy spending time with my sister, but I would find it strange if the feelings I get from that lasted until I next saw her. I think it is pretty normal to miss people.

When I have heard people talk about object constancy, they have felt like the therapist just didn't exist somehow. That doesn't seem to be the case with you. It sounds like you felt connected, that feeling faded after several days, and now you miss the feeling of connection. I don't think that has anything to do with object constancy, but I could be wrong.
Yeah, I guess youíre right. I donít have to go and find some fancy psychology word to apply to it. Heís nice to me and gives me his undivided attention. Why wouldnít I miss that?
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Old 01-14-2019, 04:10 PM #5
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Default Re: Object constancy?

Sorry if I am hijacking the thread a little.

I don't know what it's called. I am going through something like this at the moment. It's frustrating that's for sure. I don't know if I want the intensity of goodness to fade away. I know I grieve the thought that it might be like that and I won't ever feel that goodness again and that this dullness is what life really will be like.

I've started wondering if I'm not ultra sensitive to Oxytocin or some other neurochemical. Not that it takes a little for me to feel, more that maybe it takes a lot for me to feel it but once I do the high is so high that I crave more of it. In this way, therapy could be an addiction other than for me, once that fade happens, I don't seem to ever get it back with the same person.
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:52 PM #6
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Default Re: Object constancy?

For me, I felt the closeness and it was really, really nice. Itís gone now and Iím frustrated that I canít remember what it feels like. Iím having fantasiies about no-showing on Wednesday. My emotions are like a yo-yo.
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Old 01-15-2019, 05:13 AM #7
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Default Re: Object constancy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lrad123 View Post
For me, I felt the closeness and it was really, really nice. Itís gone now and Iím frustrated that I canít remember what it feels like. Iím having fantasiies about no-showing on Wednesday. My emotions are like a yo-yo.
Aren't your first two sentences internally inconsistent? If you know it felt nice then it seems to me that you remember what it feels like. Maybe your frustration is because you can't chase after it and catch it again, you want that feeling back.

In my experience this is what happiness or other positive emotions are like-- those who study it say that a sustained sense of anything positive (unlike my experience of negative emotions) just doesn't happen. For me, trying to chase after that feeling I want is unlikely to result in feeling it, but if I "wait" for it, trying to focus on the little things that bring me joy-- coffee, having a few minutes of convo with my kid, petting the dog, walking, etc-- it'll come back. I experience happiness more like a visitor where I try to create good conditions in myself for a positive stay, but feel like how it comes and goes is largely out of my control.

I see nothing wrong with fantasizing about no showing on a session-- actually I have no opinion on the "correctness" of no showing in real life. But my logic would be that although there is no guarantee that I'll feel that really nice thing I did in the previous session, if I don't go, there is a guarantee I won't feel it. I guess maybe it partially depends on the kind of risk taking that suits you.
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Old 01-15-2019, 06:49 AM #8
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Default Re: Object constancy?

Yes, my thoughts are inconsistent which is what is so incredibly maddening. If I want to put a label on it, I guess it would be fearful avoidant attachment. I really want the feeling of closeness, but I also feel a big distrust of it and want to get the hell away. It makes no sense, but itís the way I feel. I have made a pact with myself to show up, no matter what, so I will very likely go despite the strong pull to back off. I canít wait for this nonsensical process to stop.
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:19 AM #9
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Default Re: Object constancy?

I don't know if my experience is similar to yours or will be helpful. But, for what it is worth --

I "got in touch" with, and really experienced my last T as, what it means to feel another person is the "bad object". Call it negative transference, maybe, because that feeling had been frozen, stuck, cut off whatever. Would have been an interpersonally "dangerous" feeling/attitude to display openly with my mother, or other females in my family of origin. Hence my potential for, and eventual experience of, negative transference?

So, to me, with a lifelong cognitive orientation and intellectualization defenses, what "object constancy" means to me now is that I can have the feelings/perception of the other as the "bad object" AND a "good object" at the same time, or in some integrated fashion that those are just different ways that the person can appear to me, those are very different (strong, opposite) responses that I can have to them.

Who they are or may be as a person, a person separate from me and my responses to them, is something else.

Reality orientation for me would/will be to see/feel that, to be able to observe and accept the other as they are (though always with a personal bias, I think I can accept that), whatever that may be, including aspects that I respond to as them being the "good object" or the "bad object".
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:40 AM #10
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Default Re: Object constancy?

What is interesting is that many people get just attached to the ďbad objectĒ as the ďgoodĒ one, or even more... Crave constancy and all. I find that a very intriguing aspect of human nature and it is definitely not only in therapy.
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