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Old 02-14-2019, 07:27 AM #1
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Any time I have worked with a therapist they have always told me I needed more friends, I needed a larger support system, I needed to be more social... Then get frustrated because I “wouldn’t”... then I was resistant, un-helpable, not willing to try... and usually therapy would start to fall apart right there.
New T told me last Monday that I needed a bigger circle of support. My heart sunk. All I could think was here we go again and I thought this was the T that could actually help... so I looked at him and said what I have said before... that is a little like the chicken and egg debate. He looked at me kinda funny. “T, I need to be healthier to attract healthier people into my life but I need healthy people in my life to get healthier. I’m stuck”. T smirked (lovingly)... “Well, that’s why I am here, I’m the first”.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:35 AM #2
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Default Re: Chicken or egg

Find a therapist that meets you where you are, rather than you meet them where they think you should be.
In 16yrs T has never suggested anything like that to me.
It's OK to not have a big circle of friends.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:45 AM #3
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Omers, that made me smile
Your T sounds ready and willing to embark on this journey with you... I hear your T saying “you’re not alone”.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:50 AM #4
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Default Re: Chicken or egg

I've had the same thing tossed at me. I did get out, try meetup groups, lucked into a great one -- and then the T dumped me.

It may help to get out some more -- it's kinda ironic, I did it in kind of rebellion, because she said, with scorn, "You have the ability to be with people" or something like that. So, I rebelled against the scorn. Maybe that overcame my resistance, IDK.

But some underlying stuff, that made me rejectable even though it came out in therapy and not in real life, she "didn't have the emotional resources" to continue therapy with.

So -- I'd say, just a caution --make sure when you T smirks, it's lovingly. My T thought she, too, was going to have a "reparative relationship" with me. She couldn't.

The rejection felt horribly re-traumatic, and was a real downer.

Last edited by here today; 02-14-2019 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:05 AM #5
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I had strong family support, but I had isolated myself when I was not doing well (I had previously not been so isolated so it was a change.) My therapist and I both had the goal that I'd get to that place where I felt like I could and would rejoin the human race again. It took a long time, but eventually I started, one step at a time.

I returned to church which for me was something I had stopped doing and I truly missed. Part of my not going back was the fear of having to explain my absence to people, so we had to work through that. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had blown it up to be in my head. I don't have a large group of friends; I never have. But I had always been involved in church and during my illness (and I do think of it as a long period of illness or mental unwellness) I deliberately isolated myself from church (nothing against the church; I just had no energy, so I didn't go. And weeks of missed church turned into months and years). When I did go back, that was a positive turning point for me. It added a consistent support group for me and activities that challenged me to commit to getting out and being a bit social. It felt better.

Later, my sister challenged me to audition for the chorus. That was a HUGE risk-taking adventure for me, and I was NOT a risk-taker. But something within me took that risk and I've been with the chorus now for six years. Another activity that gets me out, makes me commit to something larger than myself. Gets me to meet new people and I have made some very dear friends through that activity.

The need for therapy basically went away once I rejoined life in a meaningful way. I am glad I had a therapist who helped me find that part of myself again. It helped me get unstuck from my "comfortable" discomfort and move forward.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:14 AM #6
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Default Re: Chicken or egg

I think the difference is whether you agree to the goal of creating a larger social circle. It sounds like from your description, that having healthy people in your life is something you want. You're just not sure how to make that work, if I'm understanding correctly. I don't believe T's are generally interested in forcing goals upon clients who don't want them (but of course it could happen with a controlling or overbearing or simply misguided T who thinks they know best). I think it's a problem if this is not something you want to work on. If that's true, then you need to communicate that. "I understand you think that developing more support outside therapy would be positive for me, but I am not willing or don't feel I'm able to do this right now. I'd like to table the discussion and revisit it in a few months. What I do want to work on right now is _____."

For me, it was not so much that I needed physical bodies in my life, but that I cultivated the kind of open and honest relationships I wanted, and that I learn how to negotiate conflicts or disagreements in a healthy way, supporting my friends and family while staying true to myself. I have not found this to be easy. I think there's a lot that goes on in a relationship or even in a connection with somebody. Negotiating your way through that is a big and complex task.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:43 PM #7
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Default Re: Chicken or egg

I agree that I need more friends and support, especially locally. T is really awesome with me. He would not force a goal on me. He is SO gentle and kind. He knew I was right about not being able to attract the kind of people I need/want in my life that’s why he said it starts with him. He is my first experience of a healthy supportive relationship and as I work out my stuff within our relationship it will open me up to healthy relationships IRL.
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-Blackmoores Night
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:12 PM #8
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Re: "chicken or the egg?"
I just ordered both from Amazon. I'll let you know.
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