Sunday, December 30, 2012

Of Children and Parents

A couple of more paragraphs from ``Mating in Captivity'':

... Children are indeed a source of nurturance for adults. Their unconditional love and utter devotion infuse our lives with a heightened sense of meaning. The problem arises when we turn to them for what we no longer get from each other: a sense that we're special, that we matter, that we're not alone. When we transfer these adult emotional needs onto our children, we are placing too big a burden on them. In order to feel safe, kids need to know that there are limits to their power, and to what is surreptitiously asked of them. They need us to have our own loving relationships, in whatever form they take. When we are emotionally and sexually satisfied (at least reasonably so; let's not get carried away here), we allow our children to experience their own independence with freedom and support. ---p. 142
Another patient, Charlene, is being tutored by her children. ``My kids have taught me how to be greedy. My fifteen-month-old can suck on me for half and hour, walk off to play, and be back for more within minutes. He shakes his head no when I offer him milk in a cup or bottle, pulls up my shirt, and squeal until I unsnap my bra for him. When he sees my nipple he smiles, coos, and dives in. The three-year-old wants my lap, my time, my attention as often as he can steal it from his brother. He will tell me how to position my body on the floor, exactly how I should push the truck, and feels no guilt or shame in declaring which parent he wants to play with or put him to bed. Of course they don't get what they want, but I am impressed by their fluid transmission of desire between body and mind. They let themselves feel in a way I'd forgotten, or beeb trained away from; and watching them makes me more aware of my own body and reminds me of my own desire.'' --- p.146, Mating in Captivity

Ruthlessness and Intimacy

In April I started working on questions regarding sex and eroticism [see this post: Intimacy, Love, and sexual desire]. One of the books I started reading then was ``Mating in Captivity,'' by Esther Perel. A couple of days ago I picked it up again from where I left and I will probably finish it this time. Here are some interesting parts:

To my thinking, cultivating a sense of ruthlessness in our intimate relationship is an intriguing solution to the problems of desire. While it may appear at first glance to be detached and even uncaring, it is in fact rooted in the love and security of our connection. It is a rare experience of trust to be able to let go completely without guilt or fretfulness, knowing that our relationship is vast enough to withstand the whole of us. We reach a unique intimacy in the erotic encounter. It transcends the civility of the emotional connection and accommodates our unruly impulses and primal appetites. The flint of rubbing bodies gives off a heat not easily achieved through tamer expressions of love. Paradoxically, ruthlessness is a way to achieve closeness. Erotic intimacy invites us into a state of unboundedness where we experience a sweet freedom. We get a temporary break from ourselves---The legacies of our childhood, the habits of our relationship, and the constraints of our respective cultures.
Loving another without losing ourselves is the central dilemma of intimacy. Our ability to negotiate the dual needs for connection and autonomy stems from what we learned as children, and often takes a lifetime of practice. It affects not only how we love but also how we make love. Erotic intimacy holds the double promise of finding oneself and losing oneself. It is an experience of merging and of total self-absorption, of mutuality and selfishness. To be inside another and inside ourselves at the same time is a double stance that borders on the mystical. The momentary oneness we feel with our beloved grows out of our ability to acknowledge our indissoluble separateness. In order to be one, you must first be two. ---pp. 123-124, Mating in Captivity

Incidentally, this year a few good films related to sexual topics have come out:
- Shame:
- A Dangerous Method:
- Hope Springs:
- The Sessions:

Thursday, December 27, 2012


The music, Guitar Quintet G. 448, is by Boccherini and I like this Fundango part very much. I am not sure that the dance is ``Flamenco'' but I like the dancer, Nina Corti. She is a Flamenco dancer with unconventional taste/approach ( In this video, she appears very sensual, at ease with her sexuality, and in control. At the same time, she looks cheerful and appears to enjoy the whole thing. Also, I like the cello player: He is really into it :)

Another performance (only music):

Third (only music):

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Psychic Agency and Vulnerability!

I think there is great knowledge/wisdom hidden in the following words. Of course, I often get over-excited over what I read :)

The sense of psychic agency is related to personally felt responsibility for one's life, that is, to a sense of ``owning one's karma.'' As infants we must first believe that we have created our own personal world; then we claim or ``own'' (i.e., become the agent for) what we have created; finally, we allow for the external world's impact on us, the world of the separated ``Other.'' To put it succinctly, we as analysts must help patients distinguish between persecutors and enemies. Persecutors are always constituted from the patient's projective assignments to others and therefore always originate within the self. The enemy is never the self but may be clinically confused with the persecutor (which is a transformation of the patient's self). When that distinction is clear, the analysands can more sanguinely own what belongs to them, so to speak, and can effectively avoid pathological entanglement with others.
One must first believe that one has autochthonously ``created'' the world that one discovers or encounters, and then, epigenetically, one must become a self with a continuous ``history'' who then---and only then---becomes able to allow one's self to be vulnerable and varyingly helpless recipient of life's experiences. Blame and protest against the world of external objects is often justifiable in fact, but we each must epigenetically and ontologically ``earn'' our passport to such objectivity---by being sufficiently in touch with a sense of self-responsibility that we are separate from our provisional ``enemies'' and thus are able to hold them authentically responsible. --- pp. 56-57, Who is the Dreamer Who Dreams the Dream?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Short Report

Of how things have been lately. Finished the black book (Between Emotion and Cognition). I could not imagine reading this book even a year ago. But it was the right time and it changed my whole landscape. I have not yet finished the purple book (The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy) with only two chapters left. But I won't force myself to read it just to finish another book. I will finish it when I feel like reading it :)

Things have changed gradually and from the outside I am not sure how much of the change is apparent. But from the inside I can feel the difference.

I have started reading the following books:
-- ``Who is the dreamer who dreams the dream?: a study of psychic presences,'' by James S. Grostein, 2000
Found the author in the last chapter of the black book. The book is somewhere between serious psycho-analysis and mysticism! Very intriguing and related to a question of mine that has been bugged me frequently: Is there wisdom in our unconscious?
-- "After Lacan: clinical practice and the subject of the unconscious," by Willy Apollon, Danielle Bergeron, and Lucie Cantin, 2002
I became interested in Jacaues Lacan and D.W. Winnicott while reading the black book and the result is this and the next two books.
-- "Playing and Reality," by D. W. Winnicott, 1971
The writing of this book is amazing, simple and poetic, and it is full of insights.
-- "The Four fundamental concepts of psycho-analysis,'' by Jacques Lacan, translated from the French by Alan Sheridan, 1978
This is a difficult book, a complicated poem, almost. I am not sure if I am actually going to read it like a text, or just browse through it randomly like a poem collection!
-- "Creative readings: essays on seminal analytic works,'' by Thomas Ogden, 2012
I like this guy, Ogden, very much. I would not mind becoming his student/apprentice :)

Well, that's about it. For the last three months I saw my therapist almost every week. It was an intense period, but in the middle of it, he started telling me that he is beginning to see some changes and my true self! Which is quite amazing and frightening! Because once you unleash the true self, who knows where it is going to take you!?!

IT'S NOT ...

.. ``It's not your spread, and it's not how strong you are, and it's not how fast you are, because you have all those thing...