Transferring (aka transference) is the most common way to displace the pain of withdrawal. Sometimes it is switch-hitting to another subsidiary addiction like food, shopping or drinking. Most of the time it is an unscrutinized person about to become your new PofA.
Transferring almost killed me. My father was my unconscious PofA. The day he died I went work. I took a break and walked by a co-worker's cubicle. He had a picture on his wall of the ocean, which my father loved. I looked at the picture and then the co-worker. I was attracted to him on the spot. I transferred at that very moment. This all turned into the obsession that triggered a nervous breakdown and the beginning of my recovery.
I did this again when Sandra died. I transferred to a guy that came to her funeral. A "thank you for coming" became a slip. Fortunately, I caught myself and it only lasted a few weeks. In recovery I was able to watch myself and then go back to recovery.
Progress, not perfection.
Watch out for switch-hitting and transference. Transference starts with projection. Initially you are not responsible. If you don't feed it with fantasies, it will fade. If you feed it, it will grow.
Last Edit: Oct 20, 2013 14:58:21 GMT -8 by Susan P.
Susan, thank you so much for the "if you feed the projection with fantasy it will grow." That one is sticking with me. Living healthy and in moderation is so hard to do with fantasy. I'm in intense withdrawal at present. I have to shut off or challenge my fantasies and thinking constantly. Accepting what is real is so painful. I'm trying to just be with the sadness today, open my heart to myself and others and let other wonderful realities fill me up. I'm so grateful for this forum. Thank you. -M
WHat's interesting (and bad!) about transference is that it leads to us repeating unhealthy patterns. We are always looking for the father or the mother. We are always assigning traits and characteristics to strangers (becasue they may look or feel like a PoA of the past) in effort to relive or get back a lost PoA when in fact this is not the case. The best method to combat transference is to get to know people SLOWLY and allow them to be who they are, not who you wish them to be. I did this for many years. In fact, it was so obvious with one ex in particular. I liked nothing about him aside from the fact that he was from the same country and had the same ethnicity as a past love. I broke up with him and he ended up stalking me for awhile until I eventually threatened to call the police. Ick.
Last Edit: Oct 23, 2013 5:24:12 GMT -8 by LovelyJune
Post by loveanimals on Oct 23, 2013 22:22:54 GMT -8
I'm guilty of transference the pain of withdrawal of 3 months led me to start fantasizing about some guy who had told me he was trying out for NFL teams yet I wrote him back and said I was in recovery and if he could respect that and stop talking to me. All of a sudden I had this fantasy of dating an NFL player and threw recovery out the window for that fantasy by convincing myself that I HAD to meet him.....which I'm sure he exaggerated the whole NFL thing and I never even met the man.
Thankfully my Higher Power intervened and made me think that this man was scum and go NC with him, or else he could still be a POA.
Last weekend I went to a seminar about bow hunting which lasted 10 hours and had two instructors demonstrating the different kinds of hunting bows, helped us with practice, etc. It was good for me to keep my mind on archery, because it is one of the things I can completely immerse myself into, focus, relax and feel safe.
The downside is that archery is a very male dominant sports (especially the hunting) and so I had more male attention there than I wanted. I even caught myself checking out all the guys for attractiveness, but stopped myself and spent all day practicing and focusing on my own target.
Afterwards, there was some chatting going on and everyone told why they got into archery and bow hunting in the first place and we exchanged contact data, because I was interested in joining a hunt for beginners.
When I got home in the evening, I accepted some facebook friend requests and the course leader sent me a message. So I asked him some stuff about a bow I would like to buy and he answered that he had fallen in love with me at first sight and can't think of anything else but me anymore and wants to see me again as soon as possible. Ugh.
So my emotional reaction to this extremely flattering, but scary message was interesting. My feelings for my current POA went far far back into the background and the relief of this pain was so imminent and relieving that I actually started to check out the hunter's facebook profile and started to think about if I find him attractive, etc.
Thankfully, I stopped myself, told him I was in a divorce and not willing to engage in anything else right now and closed with a casual "maybe I'll see you at a hunt some day". Phew.
Unfortunately, my thoughts and feelings went right back to my POA the day after, but it was very interesting to see what happened to my feelings. I had no doubt that I could handle the situation and I found it really creepy and uncomfortable. But a part of me was already getting ready to transfer, despite all knowledge, red flags, controlled behaviour (on my side) and logic.
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more. Men were deceivers ever, One foot in sea, and one on shore, To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go, And be you blithe and bonny, Converting all your sounds of woe Into hey nonny, nonny.
Good I finally have a name for what I have been doing for more than half my life!!! Transference!!!! The old saying the best way to get over a relationship is to get into another. I have finally realized this is what I have been doing and I do NOT WANT TO anymore. Since having NC with my POA for almost a month now I have seen myself being drawn to ex boyfriends, thinking oh well maybe things will be different now. Two have actually contacted me, like God is testing me or something, kinda crazy.... One friend of mine who we had a very flirtatious relationship I contacted and told myself it was to find a meeting. That was BS and I know it....the fantasies started almost immediately! I need to be careful and aware .... Thank you for posting about this topic, it can be really easy to tell myself " well he's not my POA so I guess it's alright" it's not
Thank-you for posting this, I wanted to comment on the fact that I have transferred my addiction to this site. Its like a wake-up call and a positive re-enforcement in my life right now. I know its a positive one, and I hope I can learn as much about myself through this transference.
Its not total though, I have had to stop myself from fanatsizing about a certain person at work, but what makes me think twice is my fear of intimacy. lol. What really hit home for me was Lovely Junes comment above "We are always looking for the Mother or the Father" and I thought about this alot.
And I mean Alot! I analysed the stuffing out of this theory! My parents were always together, they had their ups and downs, but they were a constant source of happiness in my life. Our relationships were healthy. We all had a loving family bond. And I could not put my finger on it. Until it hit me.
Omg! My mum DIED. omg. she left me to fend for myself. omg. Ive just realised where my abandonment issues have come from. Ive stopped living. Ive stopped protecting myself. Thank-you LovelyJune. I feel exposed right now, but Ive committed myself to see this through. The Good, the Bad and the Beauty. Unconditional love from a mother is something very profound. Yet I still have not cried over my POA, he seems so much more insignificant every day. Yet my heartstrings are still attatched to him somehow. Maybe its just because he has led me to this point. In that case, Im grateful.
From Susan. . . There is addiction and there is dependency. Depedency on water, food, air and something positive like this board is healthy. Addiction is always negative and implies that your dependenc is ruining your life not helping it.
Last Edit: Jan 17, 2014 18:08:25 GMT -8 by Susan P.
Ive been single for over a minute now and I have to say, that its going rather well,
Like........................its working out!.
Yes, I know what you mean about fantasizing about someone at work too. Even though it has been over a year of physical NC with my ex POA and about 4 months of NC in terms of cyberstalking (looking at his blog), though day by day I am forgetting him,I found myself suddenly drawn to this guy at work, even though we had not spoken. I started imagining how we would be together and that he could be the one I marry! I found myself deliberating trying to doll myself up into someone that he would be attracted to.
Then I stopped myself. I told NO! to my inner child. This is absurd and silly. I do not even know this guy and frankly I am enjoying this process of getting to know myself and finding out the things that I enjoy doing alone. I always fare better when I am alone especially after a break up from a toxic relationship. Then I deliberately did not doll myself up and just kept it simple, dressed up for myself. Then I saw him and I was amazed by my reaction, I just looked him straight in the eye (difficult for me as it always triggers the fantasies) and did not smile(which I always did as a means to people please) Then something amazing happened, my mind did a 360 and I was just grossed out that I could even be fantasizing about this guy. I saw him for what he was, my intuition kicked in and it just did not feel right with this guy.
Soxxi, my love addiction kicked into full gear when my father passed away. Though he was emotionally absent he was a good provider and then the familial responsibilities fell upon my shoulders just because I had the same job as him and was the only one working in the household. I just went from one guy to another looking for my father. After 7 years and finding this board I am slowly learning about this disease. Whenever the urge to fantasize appears, I remember the words shared on this board or to post on this board. The mind feels so much better without the fantasies, like refreshed and clear. I have more grey space for engaging in creative things too. In recovery, I find the transference and the the fantasizing the most difficult aspects of this disease to combat.
While we are going through withdrawal is it best not to have any contact with the opposite sex at all for fear of transference (unless they are a friend only)? I am asking because an old PoA who I feel I am over and we are now "just friends" has been contacting me. I feel like telling him to leave me alone while I am going through this period because I am scared that I might fall into old patterns, just because I am so comfortable with him and he was a boyfriend who I really liked. Plus I feel like I need to really feel and deal with the withdrawal from my current PoA and using my old PoA as a distraction is kind of cheating the process...if you know what I mean.
Post by 2changeatlast on Apr 7, 2014 20:24:48 GMT -8
I am a transfer-er. Busted. I am addicted to the idea of love and getting crushes on people. I have never known what it felt like to NOT be in love!
What a concept. having to face my bare feelings of neglect, rejection, and not being wanted by my parental figure. THAT was what the real issue has been. And all my life I avoided that issue. I used men and crushes and love to cover it up and medicate it.
I'm a transfer-er too - right now I'm actually in my first experience of NOT being attracted to someone, having a crush on someone, etc. It actually feels great to be focusing on other things. I do need to keep myself away from the wine, though, because I have a very addictive personality and also transfer to other addictions when I don't have a PofA.
Good post. This action, moving to a "new love" is the easy way to keep avoiding myself. When I stop avoiding my self, I stop looking for love or looking in others what I have inside of me but not yet discovered: love. The addiction to whatever, for me, is a huge fear of being with ourselves. The other day I was thinking: how I can not be everyday with so much fear, if I see myself as a strange, and that is the key, if I get used to see me as a friend, I will love to be with me alone or with someone.
Last Edit: Apr 8, 2014 17:48:32 GMT -8 by carito1988
this was all so amazing what i read....it was so good to be able to see that is a patern ...i have caugh my self doing this same thing few days ago and i stoped my self.its like evryday i learn more and more.its opening infront of my eyes all.it evolves.i see it is a proces.i feel we need to fall back to god for support or however one calls his spirtual belive.i say to my self please god be with me,protect me,stay with me,hug me like you are my mother ,my father.i ask god to take my pain.i felt befor is selfish to ask that from god but i know now its not.its ok to ask for help.i ask him and he is there...
"What a concept. having to face my bare feelings of neglect, rejection, and not being wanted by my parental figure. THAT was what the real issue has been. And all my life I avoided that issue. I used men and crushes and love to cover it up and medicate it."
I have been in recovery for 31 years. Four years ago my soul mate committed suicide. An old friend came to the funeral and the transference switch was turned on. I asked him out for coffee. Then became infatuated. He was unavailable. I felt rejected and went into withdrawal. I realized what was happened and made a conscious effort to turn off the switch. Within 12 weeks the entire thing was over and I faced my grief for my dead partner head on.
No matter how recovery you have under your belt, your addiction can rear its ugly head. But in recovery it is short-lived and passes. slips like this happen less often. There was no suicide attempt, agony, depression, loss of control and no torchbearing for years. Withdrawal went quickly. Just an interesting lesson is how insidious this disease is.
Best wishes, Susan
Last Edit: May 17, 2014 13:31:06 GMT -8 by Susan P.
Post by loveanimals on May 25, 2014 19:27:06 GMT -8
Thank you Susan for sharing this.
I have been on other recovery boards where the moderators who are recovered make it sound like they have never had any slips with the disease, and I find that difficult to believe.
What you wrote is more believable to me. That in times of high stress, sometimes love addiction can rear its ugly head. Yet we are aware of it and can take care of it faster so there isn't the suicide attempt, agony, depression, loss of control and no torchbearing for years.
I find that I will obsess about someone when I am under a lot of stress, but I catch it and realize it's the love addiction, and the result isn't nearly as painful as it is short-lived and passes. I remember one therapist said first you catch the thought after the fact, then you catch the thought right when it comes into your brain, and pretty soon you reduce the thoughts dramatically. Vs before recovery we are just on auto pilot and are not even aware as to what love addiction is.
loveanimals i realy like what you wrote about following the thoughts as the arise(the bad ones).and i so agree with you that L.A shows when stress comes up.im so grateful i can read this things here on this forum and learn.
Post by weepingwillow on Jul 12, 2014 8:09:48 GMT -8
This explains my patterns so well, I'm actually shocked! I never thought I could be transferring. But it makes sense. My current PoA and I had a week of separation, and I was on a dating website looking for my next PoA that night! Not to mention making eye contact with every man around me incase he "turns out to be my soulmate". I also made eye contact with someone at work the other night (I work in retail), and then I went and helped him with something, and as he walked out the door past the window, he waved at me. I then started fantasising about him coming back into the store and asking for my number, fantasising about being with him, going on a date with him, how we would look together. But now I'm realising it's transferring those empty feelings onto a new PoA, and I need to stop the behaviour!
I have been practicing not looking at men though, not making eye contact and just ignoring them.
Transference is definitely the catalyst to the addiction. It's like a house. The emotional problems are the floor, the transference the walls, and the PoA is the roof. Without my roof, it's going to rain, hail and storm some nights, but there will be sunny days, and I look forward to those. I look forward to lying on the ground happily watching the clouds with the sun on my skin. Maybe one day I can have a roof, one that won't collapse on me and crumble around the edges, I'll have healthy walls and a good floor that will be a great base for a well built roof. But for now I want to star gaze!
Oh bless its feels so good to read these coments. I started comming to this forum only few days ago, i was looking for help and found al anon group not far my home, but did not go. I dive through pages and wrote email here, am so glad to be here. Lol its 5 am i am here and reading, about transferantsy. First what i read about inner child made me have a panic attack. So scared i was, few days after i feel that am addicted to this forum and i canot wait when i can come and read here. Its very frigtening still to feel them feelings screaming inside.... Urg.. Like a beasts or snakes hiding in my stomach. My bf sleeping, i told him i dont want continue longer. Even if he does everything to make this work... How cruel i am.... Am just not ready and it was 1 relatiinships after another. So on. I guess i need to transfer my mind and download this page on my mind, looolll. I cannot even look at the men , dont know why.. The one who next to me lucky :DDD joking. I want to be on my own, kids will be ok i ll manage somehow , new beggining starting to figure out about my parents and the role in my life, good luck everyone. Thankyou for being here am not alone no more.
i feel that am addicted to this forum and i canot wait when i can come and read here.... Thankyou for being here am not alone no more.
That is nice to know. Big hugs to you! Better be here in this loving, supportive community who cares about you and your recovery than be anywhere else where you are not understood. Moreover, as you can see we really focus on long-term solutions here.
Your recovery is worth the pain of your withdrawal. Remember that "the pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow." Fantasy-based relationship is a lie. Face your reality and stay well!Kind Regards to all LAA members here, - Codepnomore
I just ordered 3 books Bradshaw Home Comming, Susans Love Addiction, and Art off changing i could not find recovery worktop ? Soooo exited cannnot wait for books to come !!! I ve got Robin Norwood about women who loves too much. Thats why am here. the firts time i read just coudnt accept i guess, and then realize after crisis this in not right. I just want to thank you for all your comments its very supportive. may God Bless us All. X