I need something else.
And what I need doesn’t exist anymore. Not for me.
I don’t need a therapist. I need a mum. A proper one, and attuned one.
I need a mum that responds like Sienna but doesn’t have the limitations Sienna has in her capacity as “Therapist.”
And I think that’s where the pain and confusion is. Because I need both. I need a therapist and I need a mum. And I can’t have a mum (the kind of mum I need.) So I try to get what I can from Sienna, I try to take the mothering that Sienna can give and make it enough.
And even though I need a mum, I don’t want her 24/7 anymore than I want Sienna 24/7, because I am all grown up and I don’t live at home anymore and I have a husband and an adult life to lead.
But I still want to know my mum is there in the background and will soothe me and love me and let me return to the safety of her arms sometimes, when life gets too much. I want a mum who doesn’t talk about boundaries or how my texts invade her down-time and who is only accessible at prescribed times. I don’t want 24/7 access or 24/7 attention but I do want to know that if I need it, she’ll be there as soon as she can.
I want a mum whom I am entitled to. I am entitled to her time, I am entitled to invade her downtime in times of need, I am entitled to access to her anytime I want it, I am entitled to access her and her love, that I take space in her life and it’s my god-given right to be there, I have a place within her, because I am her daughter and she is the mother and she wants and needs that as much as I do.
Is this the confusion? That I want and need that and in absence of a real mother, I am trying to get that from Sienna whilst still recognising her role as therapist?
I want access. I want it when I need it. Both from Sienna and from my imaginary good enough mother. But the imaginary mother isn’t real, so I can’t access her. And I have never had healthy access to my real mother and so that leaves Sienna, my therapist. Who is trying to be my therapist and I am trying to make her be my stand in mother. My “better than nothing” option.
And every time she tries to be just my therapist with all the limitations that has, I hurt as if my own mother had just rejected me.
I always deny that I think Sienna as my mother or that I want that. I always say I am perfectly aware of the limitations and boundaries Sienna has and that I am aware of her place in my life. Because I really feel all that to be true.
I do feel clear that she’s my therapist. I don’t want her to be my mum because I have no idea what she’s like as a person or a mother. She might not be as attuned as a mother as she is as a therapist, I don’t know. She might be as annoying as most people find their mothers. She might engage in weird mother/daughter dynamics that most people feel with their mothers, she might not be very available or accessible in her real-life relationships. And I don’t need that, I don’t want that. I need her as my therapist, I need her to be this super-attuned, warm, committed therapist whose attention is fully on me and who is there solely for my needs. Because I really need a break from having to be there for everyone else’s needs.
But a tiny voice says that she does want her to be my mum. And when she denies me that, the rejection and the feeling of worthlessness and the pain of her choosing not to be that for me or her finding the idea so abhorrent, just like my real mum did, that she has to create distance and boundaries, is unbearable.
I know she’s my therapist and I want her to stay as that, but the traditional boundaries of a therapist don’t work for me. I need her to be my stand in mum. The “better than nothing option.” And that means that even though she isn’t my mum and even though she is bound by certain ethical considerations and rules….and so can’t do everything a real mother could do, she gets as close as possible to that mother role.
And maybe that’s where the conflict is. Maybe she’s not prepared to do that. Maybe she shouldn’t. But it’s what I need. I need more than a therapist. I need it like I need air.
I guess I want a mother who responds like a therapist AND a therapist who responds like a mother or is that one of the same thing?
I want my therapist to be my mother-figure but also keep the benefits of the therapist part in that her whole attention is always on me. And that I am protected by the good parts of the therapy boundaries.
Maybe that means I want the mother an infant is supposed to have. That un-ending attention and constant attunement and enmeshment, that hazy safe warm place where all there is, is baby and mother and there’s not split, they are connected, they are blissfully enmeshed.
But that also sounds super intense. Too intense. Because that’s just not realistic as an adult. And as an adult I neither need not want that… but I think I have baby parts who do want it.
I can’t seem to figure out what it is I really want from Sienna. It doesn’t feel enough to have her just as my therapist. It isn’t enough, it just isn’t….. but that doesn’t mean I want her to stop being my therapist and start being my mum either.
It’s like, I want her to be my mum and I want her to be my therapist. OR maybe it’s that I want her to be my therapist but I want her to do mum things, I want the same entitlement and access to Sienna as children have to their mothers.
And she wants to be just my therapist.
And like oil and water, the two don’t mix.
Yes, I think that might be it. I want Sienna to be my therapist but I also want to inhabit the same place in her life as her child would, with all the same entitlement and access that her child would have. With the same love and belonging and care and attention and bond.
Anything less feels torturous.
I can accept the limitations on the therapeutic relationship in terms of we only meet in the same place, there will never be shopping trips, movie nights, longs walks and cozy chats by the fire. She will never be in my life in the way others are. And I will never be in her life either. It imperfect, it’s not what I’d like yet it’s what I’ve got and it has to be good enough.
But I can’t accept the space that just being my therapist brings. The emotional space that opens up when I bump into the emotional boundaries she has up to protect herself from me. The rejection of me as anything other than a client. The box she puts me in when I’m not right in front of her. I am reduced to just being a client, someone she can only deal with at pre-agreed times and meanwhile I am at home just dying for the presence of my “better than nothing mother”. I am at home loving her, feeling attached to her, bonding to her and giving her very special status in my life.
And I am filed as “ work” in her life.
How painful is that? How humiliatingly degrading it is.