Thursday, May 1, 2014

altruist's bad conscience and need for punishment as "shock"

I've had the same experience with several altruists recently.

After a relatively short time seeing me I find that they used to refer to themselves as having been more social in the past. This naturally leads to the question of what is on their minds now that they are isolating themselves; although they may have given themselves over to caring for children or their boyfriends they don't have much of their own life. They respond that sometimes they think about the bad things they have done or that they avoid being alone with their thoughts and will watch TV, overeat, etc. to be outside of themselves. They might even have compensatory narcissistic fantasies about their past or about their talent or abilities that show up before this. I ask them how I would react if they told me some of the things they have done and they tell me I would be "shocked". None of them want to tell me about the "shocking" things they've done at that moment, but just letting me know that they are there already seems to help their conditions a little. I tell them that they will tell me when they're ready and sometimes many sessions elapse until they return to a mood that seems quiet enough that I might ask if they try to shock me...  

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