Bitching Brew

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sadistic lovers (a.k.a. I can do 'pseudointellectual' too!)

Before I begin, let me say that we're beautiful because of our weaknesses - not in spite of them.

Anyway, I discovered a post on the Fruit Basket which I particularly like. So I'll see what tangent my own, less-than-analytical reflections take. An excerpt:


Please everyone, note that in song lyrics and in movie lines, the hero or heroine always promises their loved one(s) that they'll never be the one to be untrue, make them sad or upset, or ever stop loving them. What hooey. Everybody makes their lover cry, figuratively, if not literally. Mostly literally, though. Every single one of us who said we would never be a bitch/bastard, has been one. Right? (All saints, step forward.) How many of you out there have wept tears of blood over your past (or current) lover? Hands up, all.


It's almost self-evident - that those we love can wound us the deepest. (It's easy enough to shrug off the barbs of a stranger, or anyone you're indifferent to.) And most of us are aware that they often do; restraint isn't infinite. So how do people deal with this reality?

I get the impulse to lash out (not physically) every so often, which I usually manage to suppress. Passive-aggressive, anyone? ;) Still, it's a dark truth, best ignored or denied, that it's all the more gratifying to lash out at someone I care about. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe it demonstrates my own power - I'm pretty impotent when it comes to hurting strangers, but I know I can burn those close to me, if I choose to. That's why I suppress the impulses: I don't want to hurt them. But I know that a part of me does, and that it's nothing more than a visceral grasping for power over another. I can't proclaim it as a human impulse just because I have it; I'm not quite that arrogant. Yet I look around; I observe, and what do I see? The very same etched on every face, staining every street corner. Perhaps it's a preemptive strike; we're as naked and open to the other's power as they are to ours, and the self is defensive, insecure and... hateful... about that.

Anyway, whatever about my scuttery explanation, it's more interesting to examine how the rich tapestry of man deals with this dilemma. Let's leave aside the relatively well-adjusted folks. Firstly, observe that some people show little restraint, except when it's blatantly in their self-interest. It's smart to stay away from them, yet far from uncommon to witness a friend trapped in a destructive cycle with one of them. Then we have another set of individuals, stemming from two backgrounds. Most have been badly hurt before; the remainder haven't, but are instinctively terrified of the prospect. Nevertheless, both are driven by the same fear - of being impotent and helpless in the face of another's malice, even caprice. Their subconscious guiding object is to never give anyone enough power to reach into their heart (again). That can be served through casual relationships or relationship-avoidance altogether; there's a general aversion to deep trust. I suspect that commitment-phobia is partly an expression of this fear.

None of this is permanent, for the most part. People usually overcome their dependencies and fears, and slowly relearn confidence and how to trust again. But until they do, the patterns of behaviour can be striking, not to mention a little tragic. I think the worst of all is this - that they shrink from those they love the most. Now, in the first case, dependent people seek out sadists. Like I said, there's a sadistic streak in every heart, but it's normally kept in balance. The masochist and the sadist are twins (even in the same body), and so the masochist subconsciously looks for the one who will hurt them. Because there is a perverse pleasure there, as well as an affirmation that 'at least I am worth hurting'. In the second instance, the avoiders give their open affections to those less demanding of them, i.e. those they could never see themselves with in the long-run. (Medium-term, perhaps. I guess it's a progression.) Think of it as the rebound writ large. While two dependents aren't ideal partners, two (moderately secure) avoiders probably are, because they can progressively learn to trust one another and thus break the cycle. Though I've no doubt that a stable and secure white knight would be a fine substitute.

Hmm. This post probably needs some editing. I wouldn't normally consider publishing it, but my blog has been rather empty lately. Maybe I'll restructure it later (even though I rarely do). Like I said, it's a reaction to another post. My reaction is largely a mish-mash of psychoanalysis, my own experiences, and many, many observations.

Feel free to pick bloody holes in it - in fact, I positively encourage you to! That'll teach me to exercise some quality control.

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6 Comments:

  • Is there a word combining 'eros', 'agape', and 'philia'? Now THAT would be a true love, to "arrest one's self love", and love your partner like a friend, a lover, and in the way you love God (that is, if you're a believer :)

    PS: Lovin' the 'pseudointellectual'.

    By Blogger dpineapple, at Fri Jan 27, 09:56:00 p.m.  

  • Thanks. :)

    True love - I agree. Agape sounds like an intellectual crush - or an adoration. Not sure if the latter is healthy... but put an intelelctual crush together with eros and philia, and you're smokin'.

    (Usually. Like anything in life, it doesn't necessarily work out.)

    By Blogger Martin, at Mon Jan 30, 05:17:00 p.m.  

  • I often think that we lash out at others because we need to make someone else feel the pain or frustration that we feel inside. Or to wound someone outright, when they have only wounded us in a subtle way. We choose the ones we love to inflict this upon, because we know how best to wound them adn we know that if profess our sorrow for doing so, that they in turn will forgive us.
    Or maybe it is just me who on occasion lashes out at loved ones.

    By Blogger Etchen, at Tue Jan 31, 12:27:00 a.m.  

  • That sounds right Etchen. A huge part of that is asserting power over a loved one - 'knowing that they'll forgive us', for instance. It makes me feel wanted, and the other left feeling just a little dependent. But maybe also a little grateful that... I'm still there? (The resentment builds, of course, if the whole scene is repeated too often.)

    At times, it seems to me that sorry is the easy (even enjoyable?) part - if you know you'll be forgiven.

    But yes, definitely - the trigger for hitting out is almost always a deep hurt inside, or one that's just been felt. Even an unintentional slight. While sometimes we deal by sharing our pain, there is this other, more forceful way - of almost demanding empathy.

    By Blogger Martin, at Tue Jan 31, 06:22:00 p.m.  

  • This is incredibly insightful. This in particular is the most common trend I see "Then we have another set of individuals, stemming from two backgrounds. Most have been badly hurt before; the remainder haven't, but are instinctively terrified of the prospect. Nevertheless, both are driven by the same fear - of being impotent and helpless in the face of another's malice, even caprice. Their subconscious guiding object is to never give anyone enough power to reach into their heart (again)." What is your field in school because this, like I said is more insightful than most would feel comfortable with.

    By Blogger Amaya, at Wed Feb 15, 04:25:00 p.m.  

  • Thanks Amaya. :) I'm finishing up in economics and philosophy. I took a semester's worth of psychoanalysis last year. The theory isn't very relevant, but it (and philosophy of course!) helped me to look deeper in understanding motives. I'm no expert, but I always think about what lies behind people's behaviour, as well as my own, and more importantly the things we hide from ourselves. It's a good way to learn and to grow, imo.

    I don't mind being honest on here - up to a point. I'm much more comfortable than I was when I started blogging. I generally avoid talking about friends and family though, at least in any identifiable way. Photos etc. being an obvious exception!

    By Blogger Martin, at Sat Feb 18, 12:34:00 a.m.  

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