I was reading tonight about a client who’d gone through many years of 3-4 times weekly psychoanalysis. She wrote about how after around 8 years at that frequency her maternal transference, all the longing and tears of not having her therapist as a parent and all the drama that comes with maternal longings has finally been resolved.
She said she could sit with her therapist now and not feel any of that stuff at all and how lovely it was to just view her as an old friend almost. Someone she’s just very comfortable with.
It is nice to hear that the mommy stuff can be resolved with enough time. But a thought struck me – “ I don’t want to not feel the transference, I don’t want it to go away.”
I do NOT enjoy the pain of maternal transference. I do not enjoy the agony of wanting to merge with my therapist and her not allowing it. I don’t enjoy longing for the safety of her all the time and not being able to access it when I need it. I don’t enjoy being plunged into the depth of despair when I am triggered by her temporary lack of attunement or by her absence or perceived rejection/abandonment.
Maternal transference is hell on earth.
But the flip side is the heavenly bonding moments. The warmth and caring, the cuddles, the mothering to fill the gaps that were left by my birth mother, the protective anger she feels when someone has done wrong by me and the gentle advice she gives me, the education on all things I missed learning first time round. The joy of hearing her say she’s proud of me or that she loves me or the little tears that escape her eyes for both happy and sad reasons. The warmth and security of her stable influence in my life. The moments we share that leave me floating on a big oxytocin cloud, a huge big “ I love her” fest.
I don’t think I want to lose that. Ever.
Is it possible to keep that? I don’t know. I won’t know until I get there.
I do know that there have been a couple of rare moments in the 3 years we’ve worked together that all my parts disappeared. I was just one. An adult. And as such, I viewed my therapist as just a normal human being. Someone just as flawed as the next person. I didn’t see a golden light around her, I didn’t have her on a pedestal and I no longer had much need for her.
And I didn’t like it much. I liked not having the bad side of transference. But I really missed that delightful innocent love and blissful oxytocin hit. I missed the intensity of the relationship. I felt a bit empty and sad.
Luckily (or unluckily) all the parts and all the maternal transference gradually flooded back in.
I am guessing we maybe grow out of needing that intensive mothering. We get to a point we are filled up enough to go out into the world and develop other relationships.
But it makes me sad to imagine seeing her as just a normal human. And to not feel that motherly-ness, that safety in her presence, to not feel filled up by her attuned responses. I don’t want her to be reduced to “ normal”. I like her just where she is – on her pedestal, glowing in warm safe light.
If I had a choice, she’d always occupy a very special place in my heart and in my life. She would be someone I could return to, she would always be “ home”. And when life got too real, too exhausting, too stressful, I could go “home” and be a child for a while and find my center again before heading out into the big adult world again.
I have no idea if it’s possible to keep that feeling or whether it’s linked to very young under-developed child parts who really need that right now.