I used to feel as though my analyst was trying very hard to make me cryby Anna Blundy / September 17, 2015 / Leave a comment
When modern psychoanalysts write about their patients they always seem to focus on moments of their own brilliance: the big breakthrough; that sparklingly insightful interpretation of a patient’s words that brings the patient to a moment of tearful epiphany, transforming their life from here to eternity. The tectonic shift. “After that, Miss B was more openly emotional and often cried during sessions. We began to make real progress.” Poor Miss B.
Years (and years) ago, I used to feel as though my analyst was trying very hard to make me cry. I valiantly defied him. In the rare sessions when he won (I spent ages thinking I was allergic to something in his house because my eyes would water on the couch even though I wasn’t aware of feeling sad) he would look all sympathetic and supportive and I’d think—“Bastard!” I could almost hear him writing his paper: “Miss A cried today, proving that I am a psychoanalytic genius.” (NB: Freud didn’t write like this. He happily catalogued his catastrophic failures.)
Of course, my analyst wasn’t trying to make me cry. He probably was pleased when I did though; pleased that my super-chatty-God-I’m-witty defence was cracking and revealing something more authentic. As a therapist it does feel like a bit of a victory when a very heavily defended patient shows some real emotion, and it can signify a breakthrough. But on the patient end of things it felt cruel, as though I had to be desperate, devastated and defeated to get better. Perverse.
So, my very own Miss G always arrives apparently straight out of hair and make-up, teeth super white, smiling, glam and upbeat. The upbeat schtick usually lasts about five minutes before a slump, tears and bitter self-flagellation. This week she wasn’t wearing the armour (in other words,…