Back to Love…Except..


….In my therapeutic encounters with Caroline, I experienced myself a lot of the time as a little girl trying to be and appear grown up, which made the experience of building up trust with her difficult. Perhaps even more difficult was the building of trust with my very own mother, a building that never quite got started, let alone completed, and was a very painful, uncertain and unpredictable experience. So, the much-needed building of trust in the therapeutic relationship with Caroline brought with it many archaic unresolved conflicts, as well as painful and uncomfortable feelings of neediness – a neediness and dependency I tend to want to flee from.

There was also this all-encompassing sense of shame that took up residence throughout the whole experience. Even at the best of times, I used to find it really hard to meet Caroline’s gaze in dialogue during sessions. I remember feeling compelled to bow my head in an unconscious shame, and I could only just about maintain eye contact when it was my turn to talk. I was always expecting to be judged, scolded and rejected, like had been the way of things for me as a child. I felt so little and terribly flawed in the meeting of her gaze, so unworthy of her care, so it felt less emotionally painful to bow my head.

I also had this immense, yet undefined and unfathomable, fear that I would overburden Caroline and inadvertently damage or cause her way too much stress and pain with my neediness. Along with all these fears and concerns was this intense need for her acceptance and approval, as well as the need to be her ‘good little girl.’ To me, being Caroline’s ‘good little girl’ meant doing exactly what was expected of me by causing her very little trouble and wanting for nothing…

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