Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for February 25th, 2013

Entitlement

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 25, 2013

Meghan, fifty-six, is bitter that she does not have her mother’s life. She is bewildered as to how she did not marry a wealthy man, stay home, raise a family and then enjoy a prosperous life. Instead, she feels she “has to work, which is not what I signed up for.” she says with the anger of someone whose contract is violated. Meghan is smart, and with motivation, could have scored a professional career, but since she assumed that was not her fate, she never pursued higher education. When her three husbands let her down through drug use, mental illness and financial recklessness, she realized that she had to make a living. She found a great job and she now makes good money, but she is mad. She is not mad at her marriages or their disappointment, she is mad that she did not replicate the life she came from. This attachment to her mom, her connection to a pre-conceived notion of how her life “should be” is her biggest hindrance to inner peace. I wonder if her mom gave her the message that her mom’s life is an ideal, and anything short of that, for a woman, would be “second best”. Meghan, I suspect, is carrying forward her mom’s insecurities, along with her mom’s belief that women who work are not as “lucky” as the women who don’t. Meghan cannot see how work is an opportunity for self-expression, for autonomy and self-esteem. Instead, she views work as a “dreadful” necessity of life. Freud would say that Meghan is fixated on her infantile objects (her mom), and as such, she cannot expand  her ego to contemplate the different ways in which people interface with their world. She can only see that because her mother could have a comfortable life with her dad, while not working outside the home, then she, as her mother’s daughter should have the same life. This very limited view of her life, one based on her childhood attachments, causes Meghan internal turmoil and stress. She cannot enjoy her job, or if she does, she quickly reminds herself that she “should” not have to be working. My job is to help expand Meghan’s world view, to help her see that life comes in so many flavors and her journey is necessarily different than her mom’s. I want to help her understand how this “should” came about; how is it that she feels entitled to her mom’s life. Further, what makes her think that she would be happy with her mom’s life. Maybe it suited her mom, but it would not suit her. Maybe she is fortunate with her work and so maybe her anger could rotate to gratitude. On the other hand, maybe she will stay angry, as her anger is how she stays attached to her mom. Maybe her mom unconsciously needs Meghan to envy her life. The depth of this attachment will, in part, determine how much I can help Meghan see her unconscious entitlement book. The journey, the psychotherapy, begins.

Posted in Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy | 11 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: