Why Won’t You Just Let Me Take Care Of You?!

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much the therapist redirects our conversations back onto me. I (mostly) think it’s great because I am, in fact, the client here. I’m the one paying her the big bucks to help me. So it should be about me, right?

But what that also means is that she almost never allows me to spend very much (or any) time taking care of her and assessing what her needs are and how I can meet them. This is (I think) what makes me feel so wildly uncomfortable and out of control when I’m in session with her. I need to feel like I can take care of her.

Lest you think this is a selfless act, let me reassure you that it is 100% not. It is absolutely motivated by my own needs.

I grew up in an environment where it was expected that I would be able to determine what everyone around me wanted. Furthermore, I was expected to then MEET that need. Whether it was emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, financial, whatever – I was supposed to be exactly what people needed me to be. Especially my parents and siblings. And if I was wrong or couldn’t figure out how to make them happy? Not good.

So since this therapist really keeps our conversations about me and my needs, I think it makes me feel very unsafe because I fear I will miss something and I won’t be able to predict what she needs from me. Then, if I can’t do that, it means she will hurt me somehow.

I told her during our last session that I could never be what she wanted me to be – that I would most definitely fall short and disappoint her. She followed that up by asking me what, exactly, I felt she needed me to be. I just yelled out, “I don’t know! That’s the problem!!” 

And as dumb as it all sounds, it really is a problem. Not only because of the fear of what may happen if I don’t meet her needs but because I am entirely unaccustomed to having so much attention shifted onto my needs. I guess it feels frightening to me – as if she’s distracting me and lulling me into a false sense of security.

I suppose what I’m saying is that what helps me create a sense of safety is being able to attune to, predict, assess, and meet the needs of my therapist. This is what helps me feel like things will be okay. So the fact that she won’t let me do this is creating a lot of chaos and fear and otherwise pissing me off.

C’mon lady! Why won’t you just let me take care of you?!