What was the catalyst for me going into therapy? And what is the connection between this event and me developing limerence? Let me explain.
Back in 1999, my fledgling crisis management business, docleaf, was asked to provide psychological first aid to the survivors of a flash flood in Switzerland,. This resulted in the fastalaties of 21 young travellers. I managed a team of trauma therapists and during this 10 day deployment, I became vicariously traumatised.
On my return home, sitting in my kitchen, a realisation came over me. However successful my business was, however much money I had, however many materialistic goods I had, I was never going to feel an inner peace and contentment. It was this seminal moment that led me to fist seek out therapy.
Finding a good psychotherapist was not easy. My first, a deeply caring ex nurse and gay man lived too far away and was soon emigrating to New Zealand. Running my business then got in the way of seeking out further help (being busy was a defence mechanism) until a few years later when an employee, an excommunicated psychotherapist priest suggested I may benefit from some therapy. I found and worked with a local trans-personally trained therapist for 12 months but felt stall and once again got distracted by work.
I then dabbled with NLP training, business coaching, hypnotherapy and other less ego-threatening modalities. Nothing was really hitting the spot and permanent change was proving elusive. A few more years passed and then recurring marital issues led me to seeking out a couple’s counsellor.
In our first session, the therapist, Stacey, said I needed weekly one to one therapy and my wife needed to only come for one to one sessions on a 6 weekly basis. When we chatted in the car on the way I home, I said to my wife, Ruth that this showed she was 6 times more resistant to therapy and Ruth retorted, no it just showed I was 6 times more fucked up! The jury is still out on this debate.
Stacey was the archetypal strong Jewish mother figure with 3 grown sons of her own, wise and experienced and could deal with my infantile narcissistic manipulations.
Over the next few months I started to feel changes were starting to shift from transitory to more permanent. In therapy, we say the longest journey is from our head (knowing) to our hearts (feelings). I always could absorb information fast, however this “intellectualism” at a head level was yet another well crafted ego-defence mechanism from my dealing with my deeper feelings of shame and grief.
After 12 months of therapy, I realised that weekly talk therapy was not going to touch the deeper parts I needed to access. I needed something more!
This led me to start exploring training as a counsellor and psychotherapist. I liked the way Stacey worked, she was transpersonal / psychospiritual trained, so decided that was what I needed too and applied to her college. In the UK, this post grad diploma is 5 years of part time work. I managed to get dispensation from the first year as I had worked as a hospital psychiatrist many years before.
Prior to starting the course, my perfect storm ensued. My father-in-law had just died after a short illness from cancer, my crisis management business had stalled, midlife was passing me by fast and I was getting increasingly frustrated with Ruth, who being the avoidantly attached was dragging her feet in our couple’s work. I touch on attachment styles in one of this newsletter’s articles.
I met me LO on the first evening of this course. We chatted briefly, no more than 5 mins. In my journal I wrote about noticing her perfume but nothing more. The next week, at her instigation, we chatted for about 15 minutes and the die was cast. A part of me realised that I knew nothing of this person and yet I was totally obsessed. If you are reading this, chances are you too have experienced limerence and will know what I am writing about here.
In therapy, Stacey described it as “just a crush”. My response was no, this was way more powerful, my mind had been hijacked and I had no control over how I was feeling. I grappled for the first 4 months with my feelings with no real direction or help until I stumbled across the term limerence which led me to an online support forum, now sadly defunct called Tribe.limerence.net. And so my journey from overcoming my limerence commenced.
If you would like to read more of my story drop me an email and I’ll write more.