Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Solipsism #2*: A less made-for-tv understanding of teen suicide

I could ask hundreds of parents of clients I’ve seen: Are you lost in yourself? Are you self-absorbed? And they would be puzzled, would say “no.” But they would be wrong, and absolutely clueless. These parents are the solipsists for whom the ultimate meaning of every thought, every feeling, every perception and every consideration is Self. They are trapped in a world of Self and do not know it. It is a trap that pushes reality over the horizon, never to be reached. It doesn’t matter that they have relationships, pet the dog, “love” people, go on vacation and see new sights. They can never throw themselves beyond themselves and land in the arms of the strange world, of deep experience. Their need, their soothing and their value are their only path and destination.

You are their child. They have never seen you, but possibly in their last minute on their death bed. They have never known that you exist as a separate person apart from their demeaned property, apart from their idea. If you were your own person in your own world, who looked down at them like the sad, lost, bunched-up souls they are, they would be all alone, with no one to be better than, no one to consume. They would feel like children. You have never been touched by them, you have never been loved by them.

You have no parent, but this is the parent you crave, the one you cave into. Mother is the center of your life. You pay regular visits to father’s house to look after him, bring him his grandchild. “I forgive, but I don’t forget,” you declare solemnly, but you actually have killed the feeling in the memory, because it killed you.

In your desperation, you are competing with a child to be the child.

It may seem impossible to finally blink these parents out of existence, but I have seen a nineteen-year-old young woman do it. Her parents produced not one, but two suicidal teens, because all the critical years they only had mocking contempt and dislike for the strangers in the room, their own children. She doesn’t need them, really. I don’t know how she doesn’t, but I can only smile sadly with her.

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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.