Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for June 29th, 2012

Unpacking An Obsession

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 29, 2012

Abie, fifty, stopped obsessing over me, her therapist, but remained in twice weekly psychotherapy. “I feel so empty now that I don’t think about you all the time,” she reports. “So, the obsession was masking an emptiness,” I said, repeating her idea, but giving it to her in the reverse way. “I don’t think the obsession was masking an emptiness, but when I was obsessed with you my head was busy with happy thoughts, and now I just feel nothing.” Abie says, as if we are trying to figure out a puzzle. “So, what stopped the obsession?” I ask, wondering if I should already know the answer to that question. “You know, ” she responds, reminding me that she has mentioned this before, but also reminding me that her answer has never held together for me. “You hurt my feelings when I confessed my obsession because you told me that I was obsessed with you and in that moment I was humiliated so I stopped obsessing, but I still enjoy coming to see you.” “So, even though you agreed with the word ‘obsessed,’ it still hurt you deeply that I used that word.” I said, understanding why her explanation was so hard for me to remember. “Yes, I know it does not make sense, but that is how I felt.” Abie says, reminding me that constant humiliation was a theme of her childhood. “So, the obsession made you happy, but calling it obsession stopped the spell.” I said, trying to understand this dynamic. “Yes, that is exactly right.” Abie replies with enthusiasm. “And you have not found a replacement obsession?” I ask, thinking that she might have transferred that energy on to another person. “Right, I am looking, but I have not found it. However, I do obsessively record every movie I see, but of course, that is not the same thing. Still, I started doing that after I stopped being so focused on you.” Abie says, again, struggling to understand how her brain travels through time. “I know I have to go, but I have to say that although I am not obsessed with you, I still think about you from time to time,” as if to reassure me that I am still important to her. “Vice versa,” I reply.

Posted in Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy | 4 Comments »

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