psychoanalysis emotional masochismSeptember 4, 2017

I haven’t even begun psychoanalysis and it’s already driving me nuts.

I’m exaggerating a little, but at the end of the free Skype consult, I was angry. What does negotiating a fee have to do with my mother?

Yes, it went there.

My first official psychoanalysis session begins in a few days. I still don’t know the fee, but we’ve got a range to consider. The psychoanalyst is mulling it over too, as he’s uncomfortable with money talk. We’ll work through it.

What Made Me Angry at ‘Psychoanalysis?’

I’m frustrated because psychoanalysis already feels unproductive. It’s slow. I want to get moving – get stuff done! What’s your fee? Oh – a range between $100-175? I’m comfortable with $125. Good? Great! Let’s get the show on the road.

But no. We belabored the point for 30 minutes. I felt my feelings. I noticed the inner conflict. Memories of mother warning me not to waste money floated through my mind. I felt a sense of shame emerging like slow, gurgling lava. All I wanted was to know the fee!

I thought psychoanalysis patients grew angry over a period of years. I remember a movie quote that went something like this:

I’m angry at my mother! Ok? And I’m angry at you! Ten years of psychoanalysis and I can say one thing: I’m angry!

I have that guy beat! My first formal session has yet to begin, and I’m already pissed. And I told him so. (He was fine.) Maybe I’m already star patient, ahead of the curve.

In a psychoanalytic mindset, I can’t help but wonder about other things. Am I self-indulgent? Do I need to spend money psychoanalyzing when there are people in this world who suffer? Or was my mother wrong to scold me for spending a quarter on candy? I was six! I wanted to spend my allowance on something good. But there she was, condemning me. Is this why I felt ashamed as we were discussing payment options? Could it be that I secretly believe it’s morally wrong to spend money on something I want?

Down the rabbit hole we went. Material concerns could wait.

Can you imagine psychoanalysis in the boardroom?

Now, onto Jensen’s proposal for a new line of flip-flops. Hmm…these are women’s flip-fl… Jensen! Was your mother inconsistent in her discipline? Some women do wrestle with inner conflict around motherhood. Could it be that mom was prone to “flip-flopping?” Jensen? Ok, somebody get the tissues.

Poking fun at psychoanalysis may come from my own conflicts. What’s lurking in my subconscious mind that might manifest in such passive-aggression? Am I making a joke of psychoanalysis now as a defense mechanism?

Round and round we go, where we stop….we never stop.

And that’s the point. It’s all in there, a lifetime of memory, churning in a mysterious cauldron of impulses. We don’t know what’s going on outside of conscious awareness. We don’t understand how hidden motives affect us.

This is where psychoanalysis can’t be challenged. It’s a relentless invitation to discover something deeper on the inside. The process slows life down enough to consider what you’d rather avoid. It’s annoying, but we may all need more of it.

Sign me up.