Monday, May 29, 2017

the good, dead object in object altruism and echoism in general

I've mentioned this before under the idea of "ghosting" in sexual relationships. Invariably, the people I have worked with who have ghosted others can always be coaxed into discussing/guessing how the people they have had sex with might feel about them disappearing. There is always the promise or lure of a relationship greater than sex that the ghosted person feels. Their hopes are raised and then dashed and sometimes there are thoughts about whether "the ghost" might have died or been hurt.

This also works with friendships, of course.


It's simplistic but between the ego drives (work) and the object drives (love) the synthesis is friendship. Just as the idea of happiness, beauty, and the good will be different, depending on one's economics of libido, so too will friendships bear this stamp. Some will lean more towards sharing pursuits and interests with friends, some will prize humor, some will have a friend who is their ideal, some will berate their friends and direct their own self-criticism upon them, some want friends who are exactly like them and have their tastes and traits, etc.


A patient can get into how they are flakey and make plans and break them or are always late. Often their friends are the ones that have to deal with this behavior the most.

As with ghosting, the person is an "exciting object." They are the "life of the party," make things fun, have jokes, humors, or creativity that amuses, inspires, or excites.  Of course the expression 'life of the party' invokes its opposite: this party is dead, it is boring, it is not stimulating...  

The ghost often thinks about it as "gift-giving." They have their ideas, their art or music, their jokes or wit, or something that they share with others and which they can also not share. They are in projective identification with the parental imago and you have to get them to speak through their friends raised hopes and disappointment in order to get to the relevant ego injuries and allow them to reverse this repetition.

One patient was able to speak about how her friends might see her flakiness. They want to be around her, but she is lame, she has good ideas and cuteness and they can't "use her" and enjoy these, they will feel let down. All these can be augmented to ego and object statements : "I want to be with you, but you are lame, I want to keep using you, and you're letting me down." She had two people that came to mind with this. One is more recent and the former was a love interest from a few years ago. However, it's likely that when the relations with these two are explored, that there will be a parental ego injury or "defusion" from earlier in life.

The "exciting" parental imago which the person assumed in PI is simply another version of "the good" from a different libidinal position.

Often subject altruist "gift-givers" who help and assist others can get burnt out, feel used, and depressed and they can also become flakey and let friends down.

The altruists/echoists can often come off as ecstatic, hyper, manic, animated, lively, spazzy, etc. but will then get to the point where they become "dead," empty, have nothing to give,


Mike Eigen's thought is as wide-ranging as the sky and his storm rolled into this area back in the 90s and he's still has lightning flashes of insight after the article Psychic Deadness.

THE SENSE OF BEING DEAD has become a popular clinical theme. More people than in the past seek help for feeling dead. Although feeling dead is a central complaint of many individuals, it is not clear where this deadness comes from, or what can be done about it.
There are many variations of psychic deadness. For some people, deadness does not consume much psychic space. It is a circumscribed counterpole or subtheme in a fuller, richer existence. It comes and goes or nags in the background. At times it becomes prepossessing, and one wonders (with a chill) what one would do if it swallowed existence, if it became all there was. One waits for it to fade and usually it does. It moves along with a variety of moods and states of being.
Some people have pockets of deadness that are relatively constant. They get used to living with areas of deadness. They wish they were more alive, that life offered more, but they make do with their portion. If life is decent enough, a bit of deadness is not too much to pay for satisfactions. One adapts to being less than one might be, to feeling less than one might feel. One talks oneself into imagining one is about as happy as one can be, as happy as one is going to be. One more or less succeeds in believing oneself, since one fears (rightly) that things could be worse.
For some people, the sense of deadness is pervasive. They describe themselves as zombies, the walking dead, empty and unable to feel. 

If the active person, with the deep object of perfection, can identify with the perfection of the parental imago to exhibit grandiosity, arrogance, and superiority, we also know that they often can feel inferiority in self-criticism, although this can often be externalized onto others (which is very common with 'dry drunks' in addiction). The passive pole, with the deep object of Death, follows similar suit. Following Eigen, we can have the aliveness, the gift-giving, the over abundance of energy, the ecstatic when the person becomes the parental imago. However, then these people move to the deadness and can't sustain the aliveness any more than the egoist can sustain his superiority or grandiosity. Then there is the further movement when this deadness is projected out. The person talks about the "deadness" of the city or country they live in and how it is so boring, or they talk about other people, ideas, or other aspects of life this way. They can also have general sadness about the state of the world, in the subject altruist variation, and project their deadness out as the coldness of the world and lack of care and lack of love in society, in other people, etc.

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