Psychotherapy along with the Struggle to Individuate
- January 4, 2017
- Posted by: marlenedubois
- Category: Home Health Aide Training
Having trouble individuating creates a wide variety of problems. When you haven’t sufficiently individuated, the idea is usually often difficult to know what you want along with need. If that will is usually the case, finding satisfaction in life is usually not easy. You are stuck with questions such as: “What do I want?” “Do I like X?” “Should I be feeling that will?” Marla* is usually an example of someone struggling with individuation.
Marla came to therapy at the age of 29. She was a young woman who could find little satisfaction in her life. Her job as a computer programmer in a smaller retail company offered little satisfaction. She had one or two people at work whom she felt some connection to, nevertheless had no relationships with either of them outside of work. She had never been in a relationship using a man for more than two months. At the time she came to see me, she was using an internet dating service, nevertheless rarely found a man she was interested in. Her perfectionism resulted in her ruling most potential matches out as either not educated enough, not Great looking enough, not rich enough. Marla had two friends via college whom she was in some contact with. One, Fred, was in a committed relationship with Philip, his partner of 3 years. The different, Connie was single along with also using the internet to find a relationship. However, Connie frequently found men to go out with along with was not as available for socializing with Marla as she might like. Connie was also (according to Marla) very beautiful along with that will created a lot of envy for Marla.
Marla had always found reasons for keeping relationships at a distance. Like many people struggling with individuation, she worried a great deal about whether people liked her along with found the idea intolerable to imagine that will anyone might have any negative feelings toward her. To assure that will only positive feelings existed between her along with her friends, Marla was pleasing, sensitive to what the different needed along with was inclined to go along. She was not individuated. She had only a vague sense that will she was paying a cost for giving up her own desires.
Marla had a very close relationship with her parents who lived nearby Marla’s apartment. She frequently went home for dinner or went out with them to a concert or movie. Marla’s older brother, Ted, had moved to another state where he lived with his wife along with two daughters. He had little contact with the family. Marla was seen by her parents as the Great child. She was the one who stayed close to home along with kept in close touch.
When Marla confided her unhappiness to her parents they might get impatient with her. They wanted her to do something to make herself more satisfied along with found the idea hard to tolerate her unhappiness. They might often press her to follow up on job ads they might find on the internet or bring her catalogs they had obtained about graduate programs. Marla might describe to me how via the time she was a young child, her parents always did everything for her. They chose her clothes, had strong opinions about her friends, helped her extensively with her homework. Later, they picked her college along with decorated her apartment. They still helped choose her clothes. When Marla might express a preference, she typically was told her choices were not the best ones. Marla’s mother was obsessed with Marla’s looks along with suggested at age 15, that will Marla get a nose job. When Marla agreed, her mother’s anxiety about the surgery pushed Marla into a series of panic attacks.
Some children learn via a very young age to be what along with who their parents need them to be. In ‘wanting the best’ for their children, some parents don’t understand that will they are interfering with their child’s ability to experience life by trial along with error. Children need to discover what they like along with how they feel. They need to develop the capacity to tolerate their own feelings along with the negative feelings expressed by others in their lives. that will is usually all part of the process of self discovery. the idea leads to feelings of self confidence along with is usually part of the individuation process.
As we talked in therapy, Marla began to consider that will she relied too much on her parents. However, she was conflicted since she was less anxious when she went along with their choices rather than make her own decisions. As we talked, Marla also began to discover that will she was not very clear about what she wanted along with so was very afraid of producing the wrong decisions. She expected that will her father, a very critical man, might berate her for doing the wrong thing. Our talking also helped Marla to become aware of how much she liked being the Great daughter. the idea seemed like not developing an independent self was a smaller cost to pay for being seen as the Great daughter. the idea had been worth the idea. nevertheless right now, at the age of 29, being the Great daughter was not enough. However, she was terrified to give that will up. She did not know that will there might be options between being a bad daughter or a Great daughter. nevertheless the idea was going to take time to tolerate the grays. Being the Great child can often conflict with being oneself. Giving up the rewards that will come with such a favored designation can be very difficult. The choice to remain who the parents see you as along with want you to be is usually not easily surrendered.
the idea wasn’t easy for Marla to keep talking along with to begin to take smaller steps to get to know what she wanted. She was clear that will she wanted a relationship. nevertheless she had not recognized that will a major difficulty that will kept her via pursuing a relationship was her worry that will she might be taken over or criticized by the different. She had no sense she could have her own thoughts along with feelings in a relationship along with not be told she was wrong. How could she feel okay in a relationship if she was different via her partner?
Marla is usually finding more men of interest in her internet dating along with has come to understand that will she was using her perfectionism to avoid a relationship. She is usually beginning to consider that will she can have her own opinion or needs in relation to someone she is usually dating along with that will the idea doesn’t have to mean she will be criticized or rejected. Marla has also been working on saying NO to her parents. She has told them that will she doesn’t want them to be looking for a job for her. Her parents responded well to her request.
As the individuation process proceeds, the self becomes increasingly aware of what is usually satisfying. The individual is usually learning what I want along with desire, rather than what I am supposed to wish for. An individuated person is usually able to make choices along with tolerate the consequences. Whether expressing or receiving negative feelings, an individuated person has enough confidence that will they, the different along with the relationship can survive.
* Names along with identifying information have been changed to protect client confidentiality *
©Copyright 2010 by Beverly Amsel, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved