Friday, June 10, 2016

guilt and reparation in echoism pt 2

Just to clarify on the guilt, which I attached to the "libido" build up in projective identification, the sense of the reparation in the person having to call her friend has another dimension.

A patient with altruistic guilt after his mother died was related to his resentment. An altruist wants to merge and be close, give gifts, and more generally energy to the other person. Because this patient had resentments towards his mother, he didn't talk to her much and held back his "energy". When she went on to die, I didn't detect death wishes against her so much as the feeling that having inhibited his being close to her, meant that she could have been sad and "given up" in a way. The idea was that if he had been close she might not have gone that way. This is a variation of the omnipotence of wishes that the altruist's love can be magical and help someone, and to withhold this makes them responsible.

The link to the built up libido, that isn't projected into the other in PI, is probably better conceived of analogously to the narcissist's rage and aggression, or exhibition wanting to come out. The echoist, in PI with death, feels empty, dead, etc. and the built up libido can be expressed in things like cutting and various forms of pain that amount to "better to feel pain, or torture" than nothing at all (or be alone). I encountered this first through Wurmser and it has showed itself to be true in several patients. Cutting, being with someone dominating, etc. is an expression. However, this has to be differentiated from deutero expressions in PI with the castrated mother who is the model of being aggressed by someone else.

"guilt" and "reparations" in echoism

I had a conversation with a friend this weekend. The subject matter was what she referred to as her guilt regarding friendships. The idea was that by getting close or friendly with someone that she feels the obligation to be close to them and make them happy in some way. Then, if she pulls back at all from the labor involved in this or has other people she spends time with, then the other person can feel hurt, or pull back themselves (as if there was a disappointment or they were let down). Then she feels "the guilt" as if she has to call them, keep in touch, and often put in work while the other person isn't any longer. There's a sense that the other person became disappointed and that the echoist has to make up for it.

We can contrast the control and possession in the love of the egoist that leads to jealousy, to the merger and oneness that drives the altruist, which can lead to aloneness.

There is projective identification here in which the guilty party is identified with the parental imago. The other party wants to get close and have that feeling of merger/oneness: they will spend a lot of time together, they will do the same things together, they will share important feelings and share secrets, etc.

There is something like intrusiveness anxiety. The echoist in projective identification with the parental imago who feels the other person wanting to have a lot of time and share so much with them,  backs away. It's a subtle feeling of too muchness, and moreover, the echoist in PI can feel tired, without much to give, and then you get the "ghosting". The previous merging contact becomes reduced and the echoist in PI doesn't answer calls, might have headaches or physical problems that take them out of commission, or generally is removed in such a way that there is not an overt sense of being rejected, but a sense of abandonment or just a sense of emptiness.

The altruist, as the abandoned party, is part of the echoist's PI. This resembles paranoia in the egoist who wanted to slander, kill, beat up, etc. the parent and in PI he becomes the grandiose parental imago of perfection (i.e. narcissist) and projects this aggression into another person in the role of the child (i.e. individual confronting some one of more power, authority, etc.) and who feels wants to bring the narcissist down. The child/self and the parent/object are connected through drives and emotions. Thus, after the abandoned altruist pulls back, the echoist feels their own aloneness, and the echoist returns to thinking about the altruist as alone and hurt and like he (the echoist) was responsible.

This example is in friendship, but similar variations exist in ego and object drive parallelism. I'm still reluctant to use to say amity drive, but work relations (ego) and love relations (object) and friendships  (amity) all show repetitions and setups for narcissistic and echoistic injuries.        

Another note here, is that for the first time I am using egoist and narcissist or altruist and echoist in a way that isn't interchangeable.

The "grandiose" person in PI with the imago of perfection seems to capture one sense of Freud's use of narcissism. The egoist is driven and competitive but in narcissism he already feels himself to be perfect in some way and isn't as driven and gives the sense of not needing the admiration or recognition of others that the egoist strives for... However, that "libido" builds up in him and there will be the need to have some big exhibitionistic display of power or, anger will build up and there will need to be some kind of aggression that is expressed.

Again, it's important to remember that this operation and the grandiosity will vary depending on the level of development. From auto-erotic megalomania, to feeling like a superior (non-human) alien or another form of being, to feeling like one is bigger than human society and has a freedom outside of the "rat race' (the narcissist often 'living off the grid'), to the individual feeling like he has the best (perfect) ways of doing things, to the narcissist giving one that arrogant feeling that he is better than others in the community.

The echoist is in PI with the parental imago of Death and appears to the altruist as a figure of goodness, but internally the echoist feels depleted and empty and doesn't feel goodness inside. As with the narcissist, the assumption of the parental imago means that the drive is weakened. Just as perfection takes many forms, so too does death, and the altruist may feel like the echoist is dead in the sense of having a bad reputation, in the literal sense of having disappeared so the altruist feels like  the echoist might have died, in the sense of being horrible hurt or crippled with the echoist losing the ability to take care of himself, the echoist just vanishing and the altruist feeling like he vanished, etc.

One last note is that the "guilt" that the echoist feels isn't true guilt in the sense that the echoist might feel bad about her intentions to do something bad to someone else. Its a form of remorse, in which conscience flares up after the action has been done. Instead of remorse, a more active word like penitent might be better, but I don't have the best sense for the use of those words and their religious associations might mislead.