Friday, September 30, 2016

The narcissist and echoist in the passive and active relation.

I had an insight the other day, and builds on a previous post about how egoists are usually attracted to egoists and altruists to altruists, until pathology seeks some compensation and "use" for the other pole.

 It partly came from Trump and trying to fathom the person who would be attracted to his boastfulness  and grandiosity.

I realized on the object drives (love life) that there was a pattern that would hold for the ego drives (work life).

The echoist, who instead of staying altruistic and devoted to others, becomes active-altruistic and focussed on asserting himself, often doesn't have much confidence and feels inadequate. These types of men and women often have narcissistic partners who are arrogant, vain, or grandiose in deeper ways. Such people in their work life often are drawn to bosses or coworkers (of the same sex) who represent their own ideal. Because of their lack of confidence, they are impressed by those who obviously hide inferiority feelings and have to broadcast how they are superior.

The narcissistic who becomes passive-egoistic, very often finds a total "child." This is an altruist who doesn't have good structure, time management, follow through or willpower, and is often depressive and in projective identification with the parental imago of Death (just as the egoist is with the parental imago of Perfection in his grandiosity). To be altruistic seems to tied to control of the other and a strong need to not help an equal but someone who is childlike compared to oneself.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

children as an imago II

There's another formulation that has come to mind.

One form of homosexual object choice is loving oneself from the place of one's mother. It's virtually indistinguishable, as far as I can tell, from narcissistic object choice. Except, Freud posited that the latter was a natural stage of development for everyone.

It's possible that the relations to children that I discussed in the last post is one being in projective identification with the castrated mother. This would mean that there are no natural imago relations with children (except as siblings) and that only in projective identification does one come to desire a child...

I'm not sure how strong a hypothesis this is... and it would also mean that phallic symbols would also be associated wth PI. This doesn't make sense considering myths in which the protagonist needs a magical sword or something to defeat a parental-substitute...

Maybe there is the phallus which is the symbol of fusion with the paternal imago of the state of eros, and then there are the phallic symbols that belong to the parental-substitutes or individual in PI. For example, I have worked with a woman who had the anal fantasy of the father having many penises and not having given her one.

... Thinking out loud on a Sunday.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

children as an imago

I've used mythology before (ex. elves and dwarves) to discuss differences between egoists and altruists.

The dwarves' pursuit of precious metals/gems in mines was contrasted with Elves' harmony with the forest, and a larger discussion of the egoist's interest in things (inanimate possessions) vs. the elves and the mystical or other-worldly was discussed.

This early relation, which at this point seems to be at the auto-erotic stage, gives us a template for looking at the roots of relation to phallic symbols at later stages of development.

Freud, Ruth Mack Brunswick, and other analysts have argued that the phallus and the child have an equivalence. Freud stated it in the baby standing for feces, gift, and phallus but the other analysts have shown that it's an important symbol/relation at other stages too.

The longer I practice psychoanalysis, the more I've come to see that the loss of a child, the aggressive wish to deprive a child from the beloved, and the use of the child as an externalization of one's own anxieties is very important in the economics of libido/punishment.

On this blog I've shared some clinical techniques for working with defenses which show the importance of the superego in conceptualizing mental pathology.

For example, in someone who compulsively feels that they must schedule and maximize their use of time there is often a conflict in which they that feel this "thou shalt be like the father (and perfectly use the reality of Time)" is a burden. They procrastinate, watch youtube videos, or do other things to distract themselves. The superego thou shalt is undermined and felt as ego alien or ego dystonic. Feeling the superego to be this way allows the patient to talk about it as a part of them that is an "asshole" or "annoying" etc. and when these are turned into you-statements, it can lead the person to an external conflict with a parental-substitute that underpins it.

I've struggled to extend this technique and have found that many dissociative states can be handled similarly.

Some people are the opposite of compulsive with their relation to Time. They have no structure, they let bills or meetings go unpaid or unmet, and generally feel like things will work out for them.

Once they can see and identify with the formulation that they act as if Time will take care of them, then you can ask them describe the relation of how Time might see them (as if Time was a person). Time might "protect" them and then you have to elicit from them, what kind of person needs protection (i.e. a weak person, a helpless person, etc.).

The words that are personal to the patient are important and though the analyst might have a sense of the relation that is going on, the proper words are needed to serve as a bridge to an external loss.

Once the relation is described and a description of the patient from the point of view of Time is constructed, it can be turned into you-statements. My experience, so far, is that it leads to the individual's loss of a child or children.

It is similar with the relation of a patient to Space.

Many echoists (altruists) can express their lives as living for others and that they don't know who they are, what they want, and often what they even feel. Their "self" doesn't exist, in their estimation, and they can talk freely about needing to "find themselves."

The important relation to Space here is the relation of being able to tolerate emotions. These people aren't flat in the way that the affect blocked egoist is flat, but rather, they aren't able to tolerate feelings.

Subjectively, they experience the feeling of emotions being pushed out of their consciousness after they get overwhelming. This something that pushes their feelings out, which doesn't allow their feelings to have any Space in their internal Space, is also a "protector," "a mother or parent," "a rescuer" who is trying to protect, take care of, or rescue the patient. This relation can be spelled out and you-statements constructed. And, again, this has consistently led to children so far.

So, instead of just interactions with parent-substitutes (those above one), sibling substitutes (those equal to one), and these considered in the variations of the proto, deutero, and trito stages that I've isolated, there is also a relation to children. Moreover, I brought up the elves and dwarves above because it's probably also a relation to the phallus too. The question is whether it is its own relation, or whether it is a defense against a parent or sibling relation.

(note: in a previous post I brought up how phallic symbols also exist for altruists. For example, all the little statues on Freud's desk and all the knick knacks that some people have on their shelves or on display in their home, are essentially little children. Similarly, in the Spike Jonze's Her, I brought up how the letters or cards that the protagonist would write for others are phallic symbols to make up for the lack of altruistic empathy and care that a husband, wife, or child may suffer from. The altruist fills this lack for the person lacking these feelings/words. However, it's also possible to read these things not just as a phallus, but as a child too. In the movie there is a scene in which a woman wants to help the protagonist have sexual intimacy with his AI girlfriend. In this relation the child wants to help the fighting or distant parents enjoy each other sexually by joining in herself. The letter or birthday card serves the same relation. Without knowing the person and their individual economics of libido/punishment, it is difficult to know if these are compromise formations between the egoistic and altruistic poles, or if for example, altruistic symbols are also expressed through 'things' on their own.)

These questions in symbols are interesting, but the important one is whether the child exists as its own true imago relation or as a derivative.

One last thought on this is Freud's observation that the wish for the phallus becomes the wish for a child  in the woman. Although criticized for this, the critics often mistake the penis for the phallus. It is a fact that one can see how many women (and some men too) are most interested in finding romantic love when they are young, but after some disappointments, they begin to desire a child more than romantic love. This is the movement from phallus to baby. Penis envy is something different and is an alternative expression of Oedipal, Electral, Antigonal, Bellerophonal conflict. Triangulation can occur in love relationships, in social relationships, in sexual difference, etc. Viewed in this way, the desire for a child is a derivative. But, is this always the case?

Similarly, doesn't a man's preoccupation with cars, gadgets, or things that are phallic symbols a derivative for failures in being able to manifest one's perfection in competition with others? If one still felt he was going to be the first in his field or win admiration in his writing or become very rich through his talents, would he lose time and energy in the preoccupation with going to car shows and seeing rare cars, reading up on the latest technology and coveting something he doesn't need for his work? That being said, I know that there are very productive and intelligent people who still have idiosyncratic interest and hobbies, so, economically, we'd talk about how they had ego injuries in the past and how they have refused with the paternal imago subsequently...  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Conservatives in America

The only way to make sense of why the Conservatives in the US attack the liberals so harshly, is that they want people to be able to suffer greatly and/or die by their "choices."

There is a strange beauty to seeing life as a game with very serious consequences, and we should remember all the wars in the past in which competing against a rival army would often mean death for the loser.

To take away the great contest away from men is the sign of patriarchy's demise.

They won't accept it unless it is part of a new meritocracy and perfectionism that seduces them to new forms of competition.

Progress or regression?

The clock is ticking.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

ties of hate and ties of aloneness

There's the cliche that hate is not the opposite of love, indifference is.

Hate still makes you think of the person and is an intimacy just as much as you can think of them out of love.

Interestingly, aloneness follows the same structure. To be noting the absence of the beloved and one's feeling of loneliness is something that keeps you close to the object too.

There are several patients I've worked with that have brought up the idea of letting go of the aloneness (pain) they feel because they might forget the former beloved. This is said as if the moments of love and oneness that were felt ("the good times") aren't strong enough, or aren't the memories that will be missed. This is probably not too important, and the issue is really that they want to hang onto the pain. They want to think of the moment of separation and the pain that this brings than really mourn.

With those who hate, there is often a conversation of forgiveness that takes place, but what about those who want to hang onto the pain of separation?

Do they blame themselves for the lost oneness they had in love? Do they have to "masochistically" forgive themselves for becoming "out of sync?"