Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pure omniscience

I recently met an 18-year-old boy who was righteously certain that he knew everything about truth, love, the failure of people and the ugliness of the world. His logic of disgust was profound. He claimed scientific proof that human existence is garbage, and was so confident as to be magnanimous: I accept everything you say, but . . . A decent therapist should know that there is, on the one hand, angry-hurt attitude, and on the other, fixed, ego-syntonic, pervasive mind corruption. That is, a personality disorder. With such folks – I have seen it in other teenagers – I had never before gone “father superior,” but this situation felt different. Maybe I wanted to jar his mother, too, who had joined the session despite her son’s “adult status.

“You are 18. I am 65. I have spent forty-two years accumulating neuroses and now for the past twenty-three years, every day, eight to ten to twelve or more hours a day I have studied my and other people’s and your problems and the thoughts and attitudes that are hatched in them. I advise you to park your omniscience. Your belief system is your alcohol, your self-medication, not what is true about the world.”

I am too old for this and just right for this, burned out but with the right simmering burn. I had just established with my therapy group that corporal punishment of children is shit, while they argued with me like good neurotics. With the young man, I had more hidden pleasures: I knew, because the theory is correct, that his personality warp started with his mother’s disturbance. And she, intrigued by my discussion with her son, asked for some leads on studying “personality disorders.” I did not give her any information on a depth approach. But maybe she’ll read further, and find where the mother has “issues” in the first three years of her child’s life, and continues to be an undermining presence.

The Attitudinal One and I got along. I acknowledged being aggravating, and offered my services. I’d like to help someone who wonders about suicide, so deadened to his real self, to the child who could still feel life, not end up painting the world rotting.

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.