Recently I picked up a book on learning theory for work, Lost Subjects, Contested Objects: Toward a Psychoanalytic Inquiry of Learning. It was recommended by a colleague, so I read it specifically to gain insight on my work in the education field. Second to my three years in intense therapy – this turned out to be the biggest “a-ha” moment in my quest for good mental/emotional health.
“[The] desire for purity compels one to project what is impure in the self onto others…. the narcissist must hate the body of the other because it cannot be the same the same body as the ego’s. The projection involved is essentially one that returns, but in the form of a threat.”
Three sentences that encapsulate my journey of self-destruction. I wanted so much to be “good” that what I hated most about myself I projected onto others. My ego was making me “hate” other people and treat them inappropriately because I was projecting my bad qualities onto them. What I hated most about myself was making me hate others even though they had done nothing to me.
You often hear these complaints from women over a ‘certain age.’ “Where are all the good men?” “Why can’t I find a good man?” “I’m a good catch. Why am I alone?” Well I think I’ve finally divined an answer.
My friend Kathleen and I were marinating on our dating histories and I mentioned that I dated more living in a small western city before moving to my current home in a big east-coast city, where per-capita there are more men. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that I would have a bigger pond to play in and more fish to catch? Kathleen had a different perspective. Reflecting on my journey into better emotional and mental health over the last four years she said, “The healthier you get, the smaller the pool of men.”
Ding, ding! Ah-ha. So true.