Where are the intimate relationships my analyst promised?by Anna Blundy / October 15, 2015 / Leave a comment
I’m sitting on a beanbag up a remote mountain in northern Italy. This isn’t the English person’s idea of a Tuscan idyll: olive groves, lanterns in the trees, a warm evening breeze and a pink glow from the sunset as the first sip of Chianti goes down and the burly villagers shout greetings from the lane. It’s raining and the house is taking on its winter chill. I’m on my own, have been on my own for days and will be on my own for…well, perhaps forever? I am sick with fear about money (there isn’t any), about my son (too far away, too vulnerable) and I’m going to try (fail?) not to drink a whole bottle of wine tonight after my daughter goes to bed. Apart from the son and daughter aspect, it feels as though nothing much has changed in my mind since 1994 when I first visited my psychoanalyst. No, wait. It has. I had money then.
I am disappointed in psychoanalysis and angry with my analyst. I told him this the other day in London. In my mind I wept and shouted, told him he’d held out false hope. Where is this authentic self, this peace of mind, these more easily intimate relationships he promised? Where is this sense of fulfilment and acceptance of reality: of being old (45), of being single, of things not having worked out as I’d planned (marriage and career)? “But you promised!” I’d like to have shouted. “You made me believe my sense of isolation was a state of mind, self-imposed! You said if I get better and am able to accept people they’ll accept me! You said if I was honest, angry, real that people wouldn’t turn away! You said I might find someone who isn’t you to rely on! You lied!”
But he never promised those things. Only by implication, and in my fantasy. I didn’t shout or cry. After all, I’ve read the theory: Freud, Klein, Bion, among others. A patient came into a session recently in a very manic state, telling me she was worried she has OCD, that she is so stressed by the calendar (hers, the kids’, her husband’s) that she can hardly breathe. Half way through the session we agreed that she was masking a feeling of being…