Why do I try to push my therapist away? She was giving me examples of positive things she sees about me, and I told her that she doesn’t ...
Sarah Lee's answer: I would guess shame and cognitive dissonance. Shame tell us we are bad, we are faulty. Nobody really likes us. We are terrible people. When we feel bad about ourselves and someone tells us they like us it is confusing. Is the person lying? Are they making fun of us? Is our i...
Quora Answer by Sarah Lee, Psychotherapist:
I would guess shame and cognitive dissonance.
Shame tell us we are bad, we are faulty. Nobody really likes us. We are terrible people.
When we feel bad about ourselves and someone tells us they like us it is confusing. Is the person lying? Are they making fun of us? Is our internal image incorrect?
Most people are so wedded to their internal image that they cannot tolerate anything that contradicts it.
One way to defend against shame is to be angry. It can feel more powerful to be angry than to admit shame or sadness.
It can also be painful to hear compliments if you never had them before. It can challenge not only your internal image but what you have heard and experienced.
If you have been abused, compliments can jar with what you were told about who you are. It can hurt to get something you always wanted but never got. It may remind you of thousands of moments of longing.
Worse it can cause you to question the validity of abusive statements. It’s one thing to believe you deserved to be ridiculed, it’s another to know you didn’t deserve it and were simply unlucky in coming across your abuser.
It can be the start of the unravelling of many complicated ideas. And sometimes we hold on to things because we are scared of what might happen.
One of the ways people can change their negative self image is by challenging the picture they have of themselves. To do this you need to build a new picture by taking in new information.
If your therapist has previously been reliable then why would she start lying to you now? I highly doubt she is lying it just feels uncomfortable to challenge what you know about yourself especially if what you know about yourself comes from people you trust (such as parents, teachers or other authority figures).
From a related article:
...It’s easy to convince yourself not to go.
You focus on the unpleasant bits – the awkwardness, the tears, the frustration of having to put in work when all you want it to just hurry up and be better.
You tell yourself it’s not working. You tell yourself it is working, but you’ve already learnt everything you need.
You bend over backwards to justify not doing therapy, because your brain, as it so often does, tells you not to take care of yourself.
Remember that when this happens, it’s not the logical part of your brain that’s talking, or the part that actually cares about your wellbeing.
It’s the bit you’re working on, the bit with the destructive impulses, and the patterns that you’re trying to break down, and all the negative stuff.
This bit of your brain doesn’t want what’s best for you...