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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Seriously in a funk

I'm in a funk today for a variety of reasons, and it was just deepened by having had to ride an elevator with two of my students who were denigrating my teaching right in front of me. As we were getting off, one said, "Oh man, aren't you the teacher? Sorry for dogging your class." On the one hand, whatever. But, I have a need to be good at something, and this negativity from some of my students is really getting to me.

Class has been much better since the first day, so maybe that's partly too why their comments in the elevator hurt - I thought that those who were unhappy had largely dropped and that the ones who were left felt better about the class, and as a result I was starting to too. I know I ought not take it personally, but I can't help not.

Partly this is because I had a really bad session with my newish shrink yesterday. I have been having some difficulties with her that I won't go into right now - mostly because I need to vent this so I can focus on teaching.

Briefly, I am concerned as she has been pretty directive, which doesn't work for me, has been pretty negative in her interpretations of my behaviors, and has not really been helpful. I brought up my concerns about her directiveness with her 3 weeks ago (partly because she told me when we first talked that she wasn't - and I have so much trouble talking and opening up that directiveness just shuts me down - I like to control what I say, when, and how fast). I brought up my other concerns 2 weeks ago, and then she was gone last week.

Yesterday I was talking about how hopeless I feel about finding a job (a real one, not a temporary teaching job) and noting that part of that comes from the fact that I have applied to so many places, and only got one interview. I talked specifically about one job that I thought I was a good match for, and felt worried I'd not even been interviewed. She said, "Did you even think you were qualified for that position?" in a tone that really seemed to imply that she thought I ought not consider myself qualified, and that she certainly did not (for the record, she's never seen my CV nor have I really talked about my experience - so not sure why she'd have any judgments about this at all). I felt so stung by the tone of her question, and the way I interpreted it (which may have been off) that I just said I didn't know, and became quiet and hurt. My face turned bright red, and I felt unable to even think of anything to say. She then noted that I seemed qualified to teach - and maybe I ought apply more broadly (I don't want to teach! and this comment kind of validates my interp of her question, I think).

Later she told me that I was "more sullen and angry than usual." Ouch! For one thing, to be called sullen and angry at all really stings - and then the implication that this is something I am somewhat often is really hurtful.

Here we just had this big talk last session that I was concerned that she tended to interpret my behaviors awfully pejoratively - and here she did it again. When I left, i really got the sense that she would not be unhappy if I never came back. Gotta say, this isn't helping my sense of being an absolute failure at everything at all.

I know I have to talk to her about this, but given that I have actually been doing so and things aren't improving in terms of her interactions with me, I feel fairly hopeless that we can work through this - and it really isn't an option to look for another shrink.

On a lighter note: has anyone tried the new dulce de leche latte at starbucks yet? I really want to - but it's not getting the greatest reviews on starbucksgossip. Mmmmm.... dulce de leche (I know I will end up calling it "dulce de latte" when I actually end up ordering it).


At 12:59 PM, Blogger Clio Bluestocking said...

Oh, poor Shrinkykitten! The place where you go to figure out how to get out of this funk is actually contributing to the funk -- and not in a productive way. Can you find another shrink? I'd offer you mine, but we are at another side of the state.

Don't worry too much about the students (although, damn!, bitching about the class in front of you takes some great balls of rudeness). It's the beginning of the course and the course is required, so you will get a high number of complainers. They get over it. You are having more confidence in your teaching, so focus on that. Then have another dulce de leche (which sounds yummy!)

At 1:18 PM, Blogger BrightStar said...

Those students can step off. I am mad at them for being rude to you.

Your shrink can step off, too. I am annoyed with her for not listening to you very well.

I am proud of you for continuing to stick up to your shrink, though. Advocating for yourself is the right thing to do, but I understand if it doesn't feel like it's helping right now. I wish she would take what you're saying to heart!

I have not tried that drink. I would like to try it. I have to tell you -- I had a sugar free cinnamon dolce late the other day and asked for soy milk just to try it (in your honor), and I thought it was great! The soy milk added a good flavor.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Seeking Solace said...

Don't let the little bastards get you...their just, well, dumb!

As far as the shrink goes...
She responded "you seem more sullen and angry than usual" after cutting you down for a job that may be a good match? Good grief, anyone would feel the way you did after a cut like that. Did she check her empathy at the door on the way into work today???

Sending good thougts your way.

At 5:40 PM, Blogger Lucy said...

Grr! Stupid students and shrink.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger StyleyGeek said...

You AREN'T a failure, Shrinky! It's the students and your shrink who are failing in their respective roles. Seriously, it sounds to me like you wound up with a shrink who doesn't know what she's doing and a bad bunch of students (they've had how many classes with you, and they hadn't even paid enough attention to recognise you in an elevator? That says something about them, not you.)

Take care of yourself!

PS: I bet if I ordered one of those drinks I'd call it a dulce de latte too. I ordered a skim milk decaffeinated latte a few days ago and asked for a "skim latte with decaffeinated milk."

At 12:43 AM, Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I tried the frappichino version of the new drink yesterday... it was ok, not nearly as good as the cinnamon one it replaced...

At 1:19 AM, Blogger The History Enthusiast said...

Students can be so ridiculous! I can't believe they didn't recognize you. What losers....

At 4:10 AM, Blogger Grad007 said...

Hi Shrinky,

I remember days where my therapist implied that I don't care about my borther, or where she couldn't hide her repulsion when I described a particular relationship I had, or where she cut me off when I wanted to recount an event I thought was important. In response, I felt like dirt, and cried the entire time from one session to the next. Another time she said something which scared me for weeks. I was never brave enough to raise these points with her, even though she often said it was ok to criticise her or the therapy. One year later I'm still with her though. I desperately needed someone to talk to about, and talk me through, that period of my life. After the rocky start, I'm happy with her now. I see that she has invested, and continues to invest, a lot of energy in trying to help me.

I hope things get better for you!


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