Reverse Transference?

Seventh session today with the therapist. I felt pretty blah and uninvested going into it, but I still talked for the whole session. I brought up how disconnected and lethargic I’ve been feeling this past week and how that seemingly has led me to isolate a bit more than usual and avoid responsibilities I would normally take head on. She asked me what I thought that was about and I told her it was both a lack of energy and a lack of transference.

She laughed.

But then we seriously discussed it. She asked what I mean when I say that. I explained that when I originally sought therapy last February, it was mostly motivated by the desire to preserve the relationships in my life. Since I’d cut off my toxic family-of-origin nearly a year prior, I’d begun developing and re-building relationships with some wonderful, kind, supportive people. I didn’t want to fuck that up.

So about 8-10 weeks into therapy with Zooey, I really felt a shift in how I felt and thought about said relationships. A lot of which related to transference: I had built trust with Zooey and I was thus able to transfer many of the insecurities and shame and fear I have around relationships into the therapeutic alliance and then work on it within the therapy hour (we actually did very well with that part of treatment. It was when the heavy shit came to the surface that Zooey started to disintegrate).

Now that Zooey has abandoned me and I’m left trying to make sense out of the wreckage of that relationship, the transference I had with her is gone. She is no longer a vessel to hold all of that emotion. Furthermore, because I can’t won’t confront her about what she did and its honest effects on my treatment, I am projecting all that yucky emotion onto the other people in my life. Not in the same way, but by avoiding people and convincing myself everyone will hurt me or leave me, I am transferring my emotions about Zooey BACK ONTO the non-therapeutic relationships in my life.

What would that even be called? Reverse transference?

Regardless, this is essentially the exact opposite of what I want to be doing right now. I need my tribe. I love them. I adore them. They’re my people. But to be honest, Zooey broke my heart. She really did. And right now, the world feels like a scary and unpredictable place again. I am so terrified of all these emotions being unleashed again before I am able to finish processing them.

The therapist says that this is certainly something we can work on in session, but I struggle to believe I can do that. I go to each session with a virtual armor of steel around me. I don’t even want to want to connect with this women. I hope I eventually do, but right now – that is some next level terrifying. I just can’t even imagine truly opening up to a therapist again and working within a trusting alliance. The risk is too high to get hurt again.

I need to protect my heart right now.