Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Feeling Used

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 26, 2012

Monte felt used by Marla again, only this time, the drama unfolded years after the event. Marla, the senior mentor/advisor encouraged Monte to pursue medical student education to encourage more medical students to go into psychoanalysis. Years later, Monte finds out that Marla received funding from a benefactor which was going to support medical student interest in psychoanalysis, such that Marla then received an award for spearheading a medical student program. In essence, Monte feels that his work was used to give Marla recognition. “It is the old story,” Monte tells me. “The old story where the little guy does all the work and the big guy gets all the credit, but in this case, I was unaware of Marla’s motivation until now, which is years later.” Monte tells me with both understanding and dismay. “You use Marla as a way to beat yourself up,” I repeat, over the years that for Monte, Marla has become the relationship in which Monte continually feels bad about himself. “Yes, I can see that,” Monte says, without a sense of relief, but with a sense of cognitive understanding. “I can see how my trust in Marla has led to one betrayal after another, but that I keep going back for more.” Monte says, again showing an intellectual understanding without the emotional understanding which would make Monte separate from Marla. “It takes time for you to feel that you deserve relationships which are more respectful of your time and energy.” I remind Monte, to help him see that he cultivates relationships in which the other person treats him how he feels he deserves to be treated. “Yes, it takes so much time that I think I will be dead by the time I figure it out.” Monte says in despair. “I hope not,” I remind him, but I also appreciate how long Monte’s painful  journey with Marla has been. “Moving forward is painful because you have to look back and feel your mistakes.” I say, trying to convey this understanding of how challenging personal growth can be. “I resist that,” Monte says. “I don’t want to look back, so maybe I can’t move forward.” “Sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t,” I say, reminding him about the changing nature of his mental state.

2 Responses to “Feeling Used”

  1. Shelly said

    Monte and Marla’s long relationship has been long and painful. She has continuously used Monte over and over. it is always difficult to look backwards as you say, but even harder to move forward and make the change. Monte will feel better without the burden of Marla on his shoulders. A quick, clean break is needed.

    • Shirah said

      Yes, Shelly. You and Jon both see the situation so clearly. As with so many things in life, there is an intellectual understanding and an emotional understanding and trying to get these two strands to work in Harmony is Monte’s challenge. Intellectually, Monte sees your point. Emotionally, it is far more difficult to implement the “clean break.” Therein lies our work. Thanks again.

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