Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

The No-Show

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on July 16, 2010



Zach,,,, leaves his appointment feeling bad that he does not speak to his mom. The next day, he calls me to tell me that he cannot make the appointment on Monday, but he will be seeing me in a “few hours.” I look at my calendar, confirming my thought that we do not have an appointment on Monday. I wonder. His appointment time comes and he does not come; he does not call. I wait five minutes, but I know he is never late. I wait another five minutes. Now, I am concerned. After fifteen minutes of waiting, I call him on his cell phone; I get his voicemail. Days go by, I still have not heard from Zach.

I have known Zach for ten years. Sometimes he is as reliable as a clock. Other times, he seems to evaporate from my atmosphere. Still, this is a new experience. My hunch is that it was so upsetting for him to talk about his mom, that he could not face another appointment. My hunch is also that this upsetting feeling which causes avoidance is unconscious, and as such, he will tell me that he got “caught up” with something and he lost track of time. I will of course, wonder why he did not call me, when he regained his sense of order. I will also wonder whether I should pose this obvious question to him, or whether I should let it be. I will want to pose my theory about his no-showing being connected to our difficult session, but as more time goes by, it will be harder to feel the heat of these moments. works; temporarily.

6 Responses to “The No-Show”

  1. Suzi said

    I do the avoidance thing too.

    • Shirah Vollmer said

      With consequences to others?

      • Suzi said

        I would think that avoidance effects others anyway. Someone will be put out no matter what. If I’m avoiding the truth, reality or how ever you want to put it, then, yes… the consequences will wash onto or over other people’s lives whether I mean that to happen or not.

        Why do you ask?

        • I ask because I think there are many different types of avoidance. For example, one person might binge eat to avoid the pain, but that does not directly hurt other people. Another person will flake out on plans to avoid an uncomfortable situation, and of course, this is just plain rude. Even though avoidance might be understandable, it does not take away the fact that the behavior might also be inconsiderate.

  2. Shelly said

    Is there anything wrong with avoidance to prevent discomfort and pain (except for the fact that you waited for him and he didn’t show, obviously)?

    • Shirah Vollmer said

      Usually, the thing you are avoiding comes back to haunt you. It is like that arcade game where you push one clown down, but then another pops up in another place. If it is the elephant in the room, so to speak, the attempt to avoid it, is only a temporary solution. And yes, other people (like me in this case) are collateral damage to your coping style.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: