“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.
William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
I ran a therapy group lately where one client made the statement, “I hate victims”. As soon as she said that I knew she had polarised the victim in her and thus the treatment plan was for her to acknowledge the victim in her and to accept it. Once done it gets ‘integrated’ in to the personality as they say. If this happens then she will no longer ‘hate’ victims.
She may dislike them but the deep core level dislike and angst will not be there. The reason why she has strong feelings about such people is because she has that quality in herself which she finds repugnant. The strong dislike of others in this way allows her to not see that quality in herself. It becomes a distraction. Also by focusing on others like that she is trying to convince herself she is not like that.
Write a list of the people who you dislike and what you dislike about them. It is best if it is people who you have known personally.
Will you own the disliked part of the other and accept yourself as that?
There is a concept in psychotherapy which refers to polarities. The therapist looks for polarities in the client such as shown below.
I hate victims -------------------------------------I am a victim
I hate critical people------------------------------I can be excessively critical
I hate war mongers --------------------------------I desire to be a warmonger
The psychologically healthy person sits some where in the middle and not at the polar ends of each continuum. If a client presents at one of the polar ends then the therapist would be looking at them accepting the other end of the polarity in their personality. This concept shows one other interesting aspect of the therapeutic mission and highlights what we are actually suggesting to our clients.
Psychotherapy breeds mediocrity, exceptional people who do exceptional things (both good and bad) have to be neurotic to some degree. The psychologically healthy person does not have the drive to strive for the exceptional. They do not have the inner torment that makes exceptional people exceptional. For instance all olympic gold medalists would be of this ilk.
To do something exceptional such as win at the Olympics means one has to push through a pain barrier, often many pain barriers. If they didn’t have to do this then every one would be doing it and thus it wouldn’t be exceptional. The psychologically healthy person would not waste their time doing such things. They are not going to get up at 4 am 6 days a week to swim up and down a pool for 4 hours each day for years on end. People will only do this when there is some underlying psychological angst and drive that forces them to go through such ‘pain’.
They have to be obtaining some other psychological advantage by doing so rather than the possibly of just winning a gold medal. It is their neurosis that gives them that psychological advantage. Winning the medal means something extra to them that it does not mean to the psychologically healthy person. It can be a wide variety of things such as “If I win then mother will finally love me”, “I will show them that I can do it”, “If I come first then father will finally notice me” and so on endlessly.
The other thing about exceptional achievement whether that be in sport, the arts, science, politics and so forth is the person has to prioritise. To achieve something exceptional some where along the line they have to put in the long hours at their task. This means their family relationships have to suffer. Their achievement becomes more important to them than their family relationships which would usually be defined as a state of psychological ill health.
People will only do this if their potential achievement has some extra psychological meaning for them like I mentioned before. The more we encourage our clients to move away from the polar ends the more psychologically healthy they become and the more mediocre they also will become.
The individual gains and the group looses.