Saturday, November 9, 2013

Psychoanalysis for Dummies?

One of the theories in psychoanalysis that intrigue me  greatly is the one stating that we dislike traits in others that we fear in ourselves. Either this is because we lack that trait and in some way envy it, or we have that trait and "have been there" and are upset that we can't fix ourselves or the other.

Example 1: Jerboa is very introverted and HATES when Barfelina goes up to the teacher and requests the whole class get As. When Barfelina is successful, the class celebrates. Jerboa is happy about the A, but still mocks and feels resentment towards Barfelina for being a big mouth who always has to be the hero.

Why is Jerboa upset at Barfelina? According to this theory, unconsciously, Jerboa wishes she had the nerve to ask the teacher and wants to be the class hero. She is unaware of her envy and desire, but it comes off as hatred.

Example 2: Merggy watches as Limon gets picked on by some other kids. Merggy is sick of watching Limon take it and not say a word. Merggy thinks Limon is just a pushover and really needs to learn to defend himself. What Merggy forgets is that he too used to be picked on by the very same kids. He never said or did anything about it either.

So... why is Merggy so judgmental about Limon? The theory explains that Merggy is projecting his hurt and anger about himself; his own regrets. Upon seeing Limon do the same thing, he feels transference for these feelings and therefore, negativity towards Limon.

Of course, sometimes we just don't like people and things they do... but in any case, it's always wise to reevaluate where your anger or dislike comes from before accepting your opinion of others. Why is it that humans have such natural urges to remove our own self-judgment and call-outs by placing them on others? It certainly is more pleasant to dislike another rather than to start blaming yourself for your own actions, but how does this innate trait benefit us? It seems counterproductive as far as resolving issues.

I think it's certainly a defense mechanism, as well as an escape. Every person gets to point where you begin to think, "There is NO way I have this many problems...", in order to defend your honour and sanity, there needs to be some way of pawning off the poor traits. There is a desire to find another poor victim and place some of your own vices on them. Which is good for perspective and for working out issues from a distance, but if one never comes to realize they are your own, then they remain an issue and people like Barfelina and Merggy are bound to be your sworn enemy for life.

This topic reminds me of a friend I used to have. He would tell me that it was stupid that I tried to fix things in the world. He never tried to and believed that I thought I was better than him for this. Despite me only mentioning my interest in activism once, he said I would brag about it and act like I was a saint. First of all, I think I have the right here to say that I am no saint. As a matter of fact, I know there's a super cozy spot down under waiting for me (and I don't mean Australia- although, I hope they have a spot for me too!) I am a human being who sees it as my right and my expectation of myself to do what I can to improve the world's situation... along with a billion other people.

Anywho, it finally occurred to me that this young gent was upset at himself for being too lazy (his words) to contribute to any causes. I realized this once he told me his fear was the inability to help someone. This confused me, being that it sounded as if he had no interest in helping anyone. Which was his right and I held no judgment for his actions or lack thereof. It just seemed to be a bit of a contradiction that he mocked me for helping people, and yet, was afraid of not helping people. Was his inaction due to his fear of not doing enough? Not doing everything? Being in a position where things were too severe for him to help? I understood this and I wish I could have shown him that he can do so much, but his denial was so great that I don't believe I could have convinced him to get involved no matter how I tried.

This is precisely a reminder of why we must be aware of ourselves and our psychology and why we do the things we do. Not just because we're nosey and want to feel like we "get" people, but because in order to better ourselves, which I personally believe is an important goal, we have to know ourselves. The question is, how can I beat these obstacles of the mind and allow myself to be the person I want to be and do the things I need to do?

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