Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Hostility As A Search For Love

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on October 23, 2012

Brooklyn, twenty-six, was always mad at me. She felt I was harsh with her and unsympathetic to her struggle with her divorced parents. “Maybe you are hostile towards me because you are afraid that I don’t care about you, so you deal with that fear by being angry,” I say, after knowing Brooklyn for many years. “Yes, I am afraid of that, but I am not sure that explains my anger. I feel so alone in the world. My mom only cares about her boyfriend. I am an only child. My dad has a new family, so to see me represents his past mistake and I feel that every time I am with him. You are all I have, but you are my therapist, so of course I am angry with you. I know that you are trying to help me, but I also know that you expose my defects and I don’t like that. I know that I have to learn about who I am, but sometimes I wish that we could talk about nicer things.” Brooklyn articulates her struggle in a calm and meaningful way, which is  uncharacteristic, given that in previous sessions she is often  violently upset with me, her parents or her employer. “Anger seems to be more comfortable than trust,” I say, “probably because your trust has been violated so many times.” I expand on why it is hard for her to love others given the betrayal she feels from both of her parents. “On the one hand, after all these years, you know you can trust me, but on the other hand, you feel so scared of depending on anyone, that you lapse into anger, which is a more comfortable, more familiar place for you.” I say, thinking that she will agree with me, as she has acknowledged that this concept resonates for her. “I have come a long way in seeing that,” Brooklyn says with appreciation for her journey.

One Response to “Hostility As A Search For Love”

  1. Shelly said

    To accuse someone of always being angry is an insult as it constitutes an inability of mastering one’s emotions. Perhaps Brooklyn doesn’t like being told that by anyone, even by her therapist. It may be true that anger and hostility is easier than trust, but in her world, she sees little reason to trust anyone. Parental figures (and you, as a woman, someone of her parent’s age–continue to point out all the things she does wrong) have given her little reason to trust them.

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