‘Bodies By The Side Of The Road’
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 12, 2012
“Bodies by the side of the road,” I say to Rosie, twenty-five, describing the image I have as she describes her constant rejection of men who are interested in her. “Wow, that is a powerful thing to think about. I don’t see it that way. I just have not found the right person.” Rosie says in a way that makes me think that she is being defensive. Her fear of intimacy feels palpable to me. Everyone she dates is flawed in some major way, but as we discuss, each potential partner begins idealized and over time, the almost inevitable disappointment sets in. “Maybe we need to think about how that happens that you go from excitement to disappointment in about four dates.” I say, trying to tread lightly over this very sensitive subject. “I try to keep an open mind but then my needs are not met and then I can’t stand it any longer.” Rosie says, again pushing away a sense of internal disappointment and thereby projecting the upset outwards. “Maybe the trajectory of your dating reflects an internal process which feels insatiable in some way.” I say, again moving the discussion from outer forces to inner forces. “Well, maybe,” Rosie says reluctantly, ”but I think I have just not found the right person.” ”Maybe when you feel you are the right person, then you can find the right person,” I say, trying again to help her see that the ’wrong person’ may be a projection of how she feels about herself. ”I hope there are not too many more bodies,” I say, maintaining the imagery of the pain of her chronic rejection of potential mates. ”I don’t feel that bad,” Rosie insists. “And yet, I have a wounded feeling,” I say, explaining that perhaps I carry the upset for her. ”Interpersonal dynamics are very interesting. Maybe I am feeling something from you, and yet you don’t feel it.” I explain a concept of projective identification, pioneered by Melanie Klein. “Maybe,” Rosie says as she leaves confused.