Friday, September 18, 2015

Projection, Sex and Aggression

“You want to make love to me,”  said the troll to the princess.
The princess thinks, ‘well, not really….maybe I would like to make love to somebody…but not you,"
Then the troll persists and insists and insinuates and eventually the defences of the princess break down.  Indeed, the troll might well actually  ‘rape’ the princess and later say, “you wanted that.”
But the princess never really did.
If she was drinking or smoking dope though she couldn’t know for sure because drugs and alcohol cloud one’s judgement and impair one’s sense of reality.
“You asked for it.”  says the troll.
But the princess doesn’t ‘remember’ ‘asking for it.
Worse, after the fact, she feels terrible and is sure it’s all a horrible mistake.
It is a mis-take. But whose.
Trolls are great salesmen and saleswomen.
You go into a car store and the sales man says to you as you’re admiring the Lexus, “You'd really like to be in the drivers” seat".  And yes, you might consider that but not if the cost of the experience is going to result in your children not going to university.
Projection is the experience of having my feelings attributed to another persons.  It’s the experience of having another person “attribute’  their feelings or desires to me.
In 70’s communications psychology therapists attempted to have people ‘own’ their feelings and desires.  To this end, they taught and encouraged people to use “I” statements.
“I feel you want to make love to me,” said the troll to the princess.
“Those may be your feelings but they’re not mine,” replied the princess.
On the flip side, the paranoid, says, “You want to hurt me.”  or “I feel you want to hurt me."
Freud said that fundamentally our human drives reduce to ’sex or aggression’.
As a metaphor ‘fuck or fight’ are places of discussion where one can get greater clarity because of their ‘extremes’.  It’s similar to a process of discussing “straw men”, extreme arguments to understand where the ‘middle position’ is.
The princess says to the troll, “I want to be your friend but I don’t want to have sex with you or kill you."
Projection is normally ‘unconscious’ but may actually be a conscious process when used by a psychopath or sociopath.
It’s critical to understanding this because the ‘good feelings’ people have when they are drinking or smoking marijuana or using GHB is that of being among friends.  Drugs break down our fundamental immunological sense of self and ‘other’ or self and the ‘stranger’.
Women, especially, the young in general, when they are drinking or using drugs can be ‘suckered’ by the projections of others.
“You want to kiss me."
“You want to fight me don’t you?"
When I was younger I was raped by a person who consciously utilized these techniques manipulatively.  Being older and trained specifically in these ‘boundary busting’ projective strategies and utilizing drugs to “lower my inhibitions” he took advantage of me.
We know today of girls who are ‘seduced’ but rarely do we talk about boys who are subjected to the same kinds of trauma and manipulation.
Seduction is distinct from manipulation in the underlying ‘love’ and ‘empathy’ that the seducer and seducee experiences.  In contrast the ’user’ lacks the capacity to consider truly the other persons desires or feelings. With projection I ‘dominate’ your inner world with my ‘desires’ and ‘feelings’. I over ride the possibility of your distinctness and difference.  The user and taker simply considers the other an object, like a mattress, for they can’t conceive other others having feelings and depth beyond their own shallow narcissism.
I may indeed be so psychotic, so narcissistically injured, that I truly believe that Angelina Jolie is even now just waiting for my phone call.
I have treated some ‘celebrity’ stalkers and have been ’stalked on several occasions’ by psychotic people whose depth of inner inferiority is such that they project onto others that they ‘desire’ them.  Because they falsely believe that if those people did want to have sex with them, then their self image would improve. It’s quite likely that I’d feel good if Angelina Jolie or Rita Hayworth or Nicole Kidman or Taylor Swift wanted me.  I’d feel pretty powerful too if Cassius Clay or Wayne Gretzky or Mohammed Ali  wanted to fight with me.
The key here is to understand that ‘projection’ comes out of inferiority.
A beautiful young woman actually once did try to have sex with me, at least it certainly appeared that way, when she was trying to sell me a house.  The house was rather dilapidated and not what I wanted but the saleswoman seemed so desperate and seductive that she seemed willing to throw her body into the mix to get the sale.  I don’t think the saleswoman for the Taj Mahul would be trying to the ’sweeten’ the deal with me with sex.  The Taj Mahal tends to sell itself.
The trouble with projection is that it’s tied in with another aspect of psychological development, merger.  When we are infants, we are indeed ‘merged’ with our mothers.  As a fetus  in the womb  we are de facto ‘one’, a mother child unit,  linked by the umbilical cord.  As we grow we ’separate’.  The one becomes two yet there is this desire to overcome the ‘isolation’ of existence.  Each of us has ‘boundaries’ about us. Not really boundaries but membranes for sure.
I personally don’t like this term boundaries because as  biological beings we are surrounded by membranes not boundaries ‘per se’.  Boundaries comes out of the political and social schools of thought rather than the biological. Membranes have forms of active and passive transfer and are always interconnected with their environments and their neighbours.  They are  dynamic and flows and exchanges as compared to boundaries which bring to mind the fixed, rigid static and 19th century thinking.  
Psychotic projection is about one individual wanting to become ‘one’ with another to overcome their ’sense of separateness’.  Unfortunately or fortunately the merger (sex or aggression) doesn’t solve the problem for the individual.  So they quickly move on like parasites when the host has become immune to their type of drama.
It’s been said alcoholics and addicts don’t want relationships but rather ’take hostages’.
The users and manipulators don’t really care deeply what you want because they are obsessed with their own desires and feelings.  If they are sexually aroused then ‘you made them that way’ because they ‘don’t own’ their own feelings and desires. There is nothing more immature and antiquated than a man who said “I had to rape you because you were wearing a mini skirt”.  Clearly such a deeply inferior individual or rather an individual with such deep sense of inferiority lacks personal self control and sees the environment and others as controlling them.
Melanie Klein an early child psychoanalytic theorist described the ’splitting’ we see with the projective as being the inability of the child to acknowledge that the mother has a ‘good breast’ and a “bad breast’ rather than her being ’the good breast” or “the bad breast”.  To the ‘egomaniac with and inferiority complex” ( a common description of narcissists or alcoholics or addicts) others are only good when they are serving the individuals needs. That they have a life independent of being a breast is inconceivable to the baby at an earlier developmental stage, the narcissist who has not developed empathy because of early childhood trauma, or the narcissitically regressed due to later trauma or simply the alcoholic or addict.  Alcohol and drugs of addiction cause developmental and emotional regression and retardation.
The thing about ‘projective’ individuals is that they make already complicated matters such as sexual relationships more messy.  For an adult person to have sex and share bodily fluids with another they must join membranously with another.  In the old days of boundary talk and ‘every man is a castle’ we’d say we had to ‘let down the drawbridge and drain the moat to ‘let the other person in’.  The trouble with that boundary metaphor is that indeed we are more like mollusks or amoebas in sex and the experience is fundamentally that of ‘merger’.  In the physical act of orgasm we ‘lose ourselves’ and ‘become one’.  The problem then becomes ‘separation’.
With the individual with an ‘inferiority complex’ they want to remain stuck on. They can go on to be the love addict.  Alternatively the narcissist having had their ‘sexual addiction’  “fix” just wants to move on to the next ‘host’.  Half people like narcissists are like vampires and mosquitos, they are parasitic in their relationships.  They ‘attach’ and don’t let go, not gently  as ‘loyal’ people but rather with the grip of death of ‘needy’ people.  Alternativelty  they are so superficial that they just  bash about one to the next like a pig in in a fine parlour.
Historically in ‘courtship’ and ‘community’ relationships ‘grew’ and ‘climaxed’.  My gay patient said of the alcoholic gay bar “scene” “we shook dicks before we shook hands’ and there wasn’t time ‘to learn or remember names”.  The ‘alcoholic gay bar scene’ is no longer limited to the ‘gay’ population. It’s the metaphor of any ‘night club’ or ‘alcoholic mixing scene’.  Theorists in the LGBT community described the alcoholism and lack of relationship with only raw sex and exploitative encounters as being related to the shame and hidden ‘illegal’ “illicit” nature of the sexual contacts prior to legalization of homosexuality. That ‘illicit’ nature of the sexual encounter between strangers has spilt over into the general population following ‘AIDS’ which resulted in the feeling of ‘extreme risk taking’.  When two people were attracted to each other even superficially in the gay bar coupled with copious alcohol they ‘merged’.  This was thought because they were running from their own ’shamefulness’ to be with another in ‘validating’ experience. (See the classic text Velvet Rage) .  The same holds true today with all stranger sexual encounter in the ‘bar scene’ because the dangers are explicit and there’s such ‘alienation’ in the general consumer culture.
Enough on the ‘description’ of the phenomena.  What to do about it?  Of course the 70’s gave us ‘I” statements but really, the language changes but the insanity prevails. That’s the fundamental problem of political correctness.  We change the names of things so Auschwitz,  the Nazi extermination gas chamber, was called  the “Solution”.  The word ‘abortion’ is acceptable but ‘murder’ is distasteful.  Fuck is distasteful, but ‘make love’ is acceptable.  The South African Army didn’t ‘kill’ the blacks, they ‘culled them’.
Language is important but the politically correct normally are content to ‘relabel’ gas chambers because changing the sign on things is cheap and gives the ‘appearance’ of change. Indeed they commonly call this ‘real change’ when it’s usually just more of the same with a different ‘spin’.
Obviously avoiding drugs and alcohol all together is perhaps the healthiest ways adults can avoid poor judgement in relationships.  Drugs and alcohol caused the sense of ‘false’ merger’ and are commonly associated with projection and exploitation.
But projection occurs all around us.  People ‘speak’ for others. Politicians are an especially bad lot for claiming to speak for the ‘people’ when they are as often promoting their agenda.
“Do you want to make love with me” said the prince to the princess.
“Do you want a fight?” said the princess to the prince.
At the extremes of sex and aggression we can see ‘our part in’ the relationships but this is true at all levels between.  
“You want pizza tonight?"
“No, why would you think that?"
“You always want pizza on friday night."
“But that was then, this is now, I think I want Chinese tonight."
Don’t ‘ASSUME”  Assume makes an ASS out of U and Me.
More importantly don’t get ‘angry’ or ‘lustful’ or emotionally charged at the knee jerk level in relationships in general.  Go slow.
“You want pizza tonight?"
“No, why would you think that?"
“What about Chinese?"
Now all of this said, there are indeed a whole group of people who are sexually and physically different than the mainstream.  They believe that by having sex first they avoid all the nuisance of relationship. They like to start by fighting with another person physically and getting to know them that way. I remember as an adolescent making best friends with a guy I fought with.  We’d bashed each other with our fists and feet till we came to a draw and later just began to hang out as friends. We had music in common and felt that after that fight we were somehow bonded.  A lot of military folk are that way. Ex prostitutes have told me that they liked to get the ‘sex out of the way’ so they could find out if they liked a person.
I mention this because the whole issue of merger and projection then becomes part of the ‘risk taking’ ‘fast living’ ‘carpe diem’ life style of these individuals.  As a psychiatrist I don’t approve or disapprove. I have problems when people get hurt and people who are using drugs and alcohol are likely to get hurt.  Also we see young people getting taken advantage of by older more sophisticated people. When I worked in the theatre and television the old lecherous men and women were for ever literally taking advantage of the young and naive with false promises and gross manipulation.
In retrospect I think of “Hannibal the Cannibal” saying ‘You really want me to eat your brain."
And Monty Python answering, “Not really, I was just looking for my lost parrot”.
I have written about this “projection”, ‘classic defence’, so that people can be more aware of when they are doing it but most importantly when others are doing it.  You can’t counter projection by saying “You’re projecting” because it’s either something the other person is doing unconsciously and will deny or the other person is a manipulator and will deny as well. However if you are aware of this you can recognize it.
You can say, “is this really what I want.'
You can then say to yourself, “I drove my rolls royce to the 7-11. I want some peanuts.  I didn’t want to have sex right there with the rather plain girl buying nachos beside me..  I didn’t want to share my life with her and half my assets. I think that might have been her desire."
The troll said to the princess, “You want to have sex with me."
The princess responded, “Maybe not. Give me some time to get back to you.  Let me think about that.  I’ll call you. No you give me your phone number.”

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