Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for May 2nd, 2013

Emotional Vacancy

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on May 2, 2013

Stuart, sixty-three, a beloved teacher, psychiatrist, mentor, creates feelings in his students, which Jerry, forty-four, also a psychiatrist, leaves him feeling “vacant.” “I do not think there is a there, there,” Jerry explains to me. By that he means that Stuart, although enthusiastic, clear-thinking, and an excellent teacher, does not appear to have a deep sense of himself. Although this is a vague concept, Jerry is trying to describe the feeling of Stuart as a shell of a human being, a person who says the right things, but in his core, he appears to feel insecure and as a result, uncaring of others. I begin to think about the “no there, there” feeling that sometimes happens in the presence of others, which is so hard to pin down, yet manifests in a feeling of emptiness. “It feels like you are sensing that Stuart is detached from himself in certain ways, and as a result, you have a sense that he is not capable of deeply caring for others.” Jerry gets excited by my comment. “Yes, that is how I feel.” “Authenticity of feeling is quite the personality challenge.” I say, elaborating on the notion that for someone to feel authentic, one must accept the entirety of feelings which include both positive and negative life forces. One imagines that Stuart has to shut off a part of himself which is unsavory, and in so doing, he makes himself more shallow, and hence less emotionally available to others.

Posted in Personality, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy | 4 Comments »

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