Apathy and the Lack of Object Constancy

It’s now more than halfway through this therapy vacation and I’m not sure what I feel. I know I don’t feel the level of intense emotions I normally feel around this. And I’m not completely numb about it (although I sorta feel like I’m moving in that direction).

I’m mostly apathetic, I think, which is one step above numb and somewhat unsettling to feel.

It’s a difficult state to explain, really. I don’t miss the therapist. And now that it has been nearly a week without any contact at all, I realize I don’t miss therapy. I definitely thought I would feel differently about this and it bothers me to feel indifferent to a process I have been so invested in.

I’m still invested in it. I just feel completely pulled out of it, which was initially rather jarring and is now making it hard to remember what it felt like to be in it at all. The more days pass without it, the more I begin to wonder how much I really need this therapy stuff after all. And the further I get from the therapist, the harder it becomes to remember what I found useful about that relationship. It’s hard to remember her at all.

I suppose this is fairly common for me. When I look back at my relationships, I have a habit of feeling this way. When people are part of my routine life, they are front and center – so important, so involved, so relevant. But the further apart we get or the more time passes between connecting, that harder is becomes to reach out to them. It feels increasingly difficult to remember why I enjoyed their company and it becomes increasingly more attractive to just, you know, NOT reach out to them.

When I do see or talk to them again, I suddenly remember exactly what I love about them and I laugh at myself for being so silly and not reaching out sooner. Until a few days pass and then a few weeks and then a few months and I’m right back at that same point where they are now irrelevant.

I obviously have no object constancy.

Hopefully this is just a side-effect of having a therapy break and once I’m back in session again, I will pick up (mostly) where I left off and all will be back to normal.

If not, well, we’ll probably have a couple of rough sessions that won’t feel good for either of us. I’ll need to rebel a bit against the process and she’ll need to be patient with me and let me work through the emotions of feeling abandoned and thus emotionally fleeing the relationship for the sake of self-preservation.

Which, in case anyone has forgotten, is where Zooey failed spectacularly.

Four days left.


36 thoughts on “Apathy and the Lack of Object Constancy

  1. amandarocksyoursocks says:

    I’m TOTALLY feeling the same way you are about my (freakishly) long break as well! The longer I spend away from therapy and my therapist, the more I wonder how much I actually need her and the relationship. It’s something I struggle with in my relationships with my friends as well, and I am happy to be a recluse when I don’t reach out and spend time with friends. Thanks for the post~ its giving me lots of stuff to think about. Good luck with the last half of the therapy break!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andi says:

      Thank you for the support and luck and feedback – one of the things I love the most about the blogging community is when someone tells me that they can relate to what I write about. Then, instantly, both of us are much less alone. I think the distancing is a self-protective thing, but I’m not sure it’s as useful as we might imagine in the long run, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jean says:

    The last couple of posts, I said to myself — aha! this is a stable attachment. With Zooey, it was a insecure attachment; that’s why you felt so intense– you had to connect for both of you, cause she wasn’t reliable.

    I still think so. It’s just that you are getting that “out of sight, out of mind” feeling. I don’t know whether that is normal for everybody, but it’s normal for me.

    Like with my grown kids. When I am with them, it feels normal, and like it will always be like this. When they go, I feel teary at the airport and then I don’t miss them at all, because I know they will be there the next time, and they will still be themselves. They don’t periodically turn into monsters. There is no anxiety involved, unless they are sick or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Stable attachment? Ha! Imagine that 🙂

      But I think you’re right. I am so not used to this, so I think it frightens me. But yes, I absolutely had to connect for both Zooey and myself. I’m trying not to read TOO much into the apathy. It can be hard for me not to pathologize myself, honestly.

      And I suppose I still haven’t had enough experience where someone was still there, still themselves, still someone that cared about me. Maybe this vacation will end up proving that when she goes away, she’s still there and she still cares. That would sure be nice.


  3. Zoe says:

    I rebel too. Because I can’t see them as often as my healing process would merit, that makes me even more rebellious. I hope things work out as smoothly as possible when she gets back.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cat says:

    I’m also on a break and you already know that I don’t miss therapy during breaks. Somehow I always feel these times are part of the process. You might be surprised when you return because this relationship seems a lot healthier, but if you rebel, she’ll deal with it for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. ambivalencegirl says:

    I can very much relate to this but in another way. I am like this with everyone. Friends and family and pets. And I need you but I can forget you. People come and they go. I can be with you every day for years but if I never see you again that’s fine. On some level I pretend at first to care but really it’s no big deal once you’re gone. I forget rather easily. I attach and need and want others but once they are gone I’m done and nothing matters and I don’t remember much of anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jean says:

      I don’t know what your situation is with parts, but I wonder if you switch when people leave. It was the not remembering that made me think of that. If they come back, do you then remember what it was like when they were there?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jean says:

        Well, everybody has different parts. Like I have a part that is a great secretary and one that is a pretty good cook, etc. I don’t use my secretary skills while cooking, don’t even think about them. But I can jump back into secretary mode any time I need to, and I know this.

        People who identify as multiple have parts that are more separate from each other. So they might be in one state of mind when with people, and another when apart. If those parts were totally separate, they wouldn’t know of the existence of the other one. So when apart, they might not even know that they had met the other person. But if they aren’t that separate, they could remember that they had been friends, had liked the person, but couldn’t remember details of the relationship.

        It’s a continuum. I don’t feel I explained it very well. Sorry, it’s been a long day and I am tired.

        Liked by 1 person

    • La Quemada says:

      To some degree, aren’t we all like this? We just don’t have time in the day to think about everyone we like or love. But it may indeed be more intense when there are attachment issues or a lot of complex emotions around a specific relationship.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Rachel says:

    The fact that you are having this apathy versus the desperate grasping to connect indicates to me that you are in a different type of therapy relationship, and importantly relationship with yourself. I see the apathy (which I think sounds slightly judgmental, but I can’t come up with a better term right now), is an indication you are meeting more of your own needs and that she is actually meeting your needs too, so you aren’t really left with much need in this absence except the normal want of her return because she is important and helpful. I see this as a sign of strength and progress, not something to be pathologized.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. alicewithptsd says:

    OMG. I could have written this. I never exactly realized, or could put it into words, but OMG, I could have written this. It’s why I miss friends the first week, maybe two when we lose touch, but then…well, after that, I just…sort of, forget why they were exactly so important. I don’t know. I can’t really write so much because I’m having this mental tornado whipping through my mind, but I get this, I do this. I think it’s good you can see it, and recognize it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anxious Mom says:

    I felt sorta this way with the month-long therapy vacay, even though I haven’t been seeing this therapist for long. I sorta dreaded it at first, then got to feeling like whatever, then dreaded going back. Whatever causes that exactly, I’m glad that you recognize it and know it may take a session or two to get things back on track.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Yep, I think that’s a very normal ebb and flow in the therapeutic relationship. You had a month off, but I did the same thing in the span of a week. I am grateful I didn’t have to wait a month – I think that would have been impossible for me. It might be difficult at first, yes, but I’m willing to be patient and trust that it’s all part of the bigger process. Thanks for commenting, E.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. mm172001 says:

    I found some weird object constancy I had with the voices. After they were gone I doubted they ever existed. It was very strange but with people I have severe attachment issues and sometimes feel like I can’t live/function without them.


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