Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for December 7th, 2010

The Repeating Defense

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on December 7, 2010

   Sienna, twenty-six, tells me three times in a thirty minute time span about how Leo, a guy she likes, did not text her. Seemingly unaware of her repetition, each time she tells me, she expresses a freshness of thought, as if it just occurred to her that she wanted to share that with me. Harriet, sixty-one, seems to enjoy repeating the story describing how  her family enjoys making fun of each other at Christmas time. The words are the same, each time, but as with Sienna, there seems to be little awareness that she told me that before, many times. As I gently point out to both Sienna and Harriet that I have heard ‘that’ before, they both look at me with disbelief. Sienna repeats her story because she is anxious that Leo, will not respond to her. Rather than identifying the feeling, she repeats the story. Harriet’s husband cannot stand her family, so Harriet is repeating her story, as if to convince me that her family dynamics are amusing; not disturbing as her husband states. Both Harriet and Sienna have a deep reason why they repeat their stories, but that reason, at least at first pass, is mysterious to them.  Psychotherapy helps to uncover the deeper meaning of  repetition, but as with all defenses, the path is narrow. No one wants to be told that they are ‘boring’.

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Parenting ‘The Emerging Adult’

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on December 7, 2010

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