Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for July 17th, 2012

The “A” Team

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on July 17, 2012

“I would have been happy if my mom did not die when I was twelve,” Eliot, age thirty, says with a bold and straightforward sense of truthfulness, without the expected sadness that such a strong statement implies. “I have a lot of friends, but I just don’t feel supported,” Fred, age twenty-five, says about his emotional well-being, implying that his family of origin has emotionally abandoned him. Both Eliot and Fred lack the “A-team” I tell them, saying that a parental support system is something that one needs throughout life. There is this craving for nurturing and care taking that only a parental figure can provide. This parental love, I explain, is this asymmetrical relationship where the parental figure wants to see the childlike figure flourish to the best of his ability. This relationship is sometimes created in adulthood  through mentorship,  through marriage, and/or through psychotherapy, but friendships rarely create that kind of sustained nurturing. The lack of this parental feeling creates in both Eliot and Fred a sense of “missing,” despite having so many other important relationships in their lives. “It is hard to tell people that you wish you had parents, meaning people in your life who cared for you in that nurturing way,” I say to Eliot, as he begins to cry. The loneliness of this missing, and the difficulty in conveying this absence, is so deeply painful. “Everyone needs an ‘A’ team,” I repeat to Fred, who often wonders why he is so despairing at times. “Yea, and I don’t have one,” he says with dismay, communicating that his family of origin has let him down and that he does not feel like our relationship serves that function for him. “Maybe you will be able to create one,” I say, hinting that he can cultivate relationships, including ours, to help himself feel more loved and cared for.

Posted in Attachment, Loneliness, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy | 4 Comments »

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