Why Do Some People Castrate Their Existences?

I’m talking to an acquaintance about a middle-aged woman we both know. The acquaintance shares with me that the woman has finally divorced her abusive alcoholic of a husband.

“That’s good!” I say. “Now she can find a normal guy.”

“Oh no,” the acquaintance says. “She’s not that kind of a woman. He is the only man in her life. Even if he dies, she will not be looking for somebody else.”

“But why not?” I ask. “I have a feeling that she was never even marginally happy with him.”

“Of course not. She doesn’t even know what it means to be a woman,” the acquaintance explains. “But he is her husband, and that’s final. And I feel exactly the same way. This is an issue of personal psychology.”

“Or, rather, of psychiatry,” I respond.

“Maybe. But that is how we are.”

You are probably thinking that we are talking about religious, downtrodden women whose culture does not allow for remarriage. But that’s where you are mistaken. These people probably did not see the inside of a church (or any religious facility) once as they were growing up, and I can guarantee that they never read the Bible, the Koran, or any other religious text. They have more than one college diploma each and were always more than independent financially. Remarriage and divorce are completely acceptable in their culture.

We often assume that some people choose to castrate their existences (be it sexually, romantically, professionally, financially, or in any other way) because of their religion, their culture, their family conditioning – in short, the big, bad society. The truth, however, is that some people are simply terrified of life. Religion, family and society are excuses that they use to explain this terror. You strip all of that away, and the terror remains.

I have to confess that I’m pretty shaken up by this conversation. This is such an unapologetic, conscious self-immolation that it scares me. The encounter with the irrational in such a naked, unadorned form is terrifying. I can really understand why people protect themselves by repeating the “we are conditioned by society” mantra.

51 thoughts on “Why Do Some People Castrate Their Existences?”

  1. It may be another case of that turning of psychology into metaphysics JFA was talking about. It’s also one of the truisms of 90s type US popular culture – I kept being exhorted, for instance, not to leave the relationship I was in because I’d just find another just like it, because you do just keep on finding new versions of the same person and relationship, etc. (circular reasoning for circular lives, I guess).

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  2. A castrated existence must be very common — hence the logic of psychoanalysis, which I have never been able to understand, as it seems not to apply to me. The assumption that no matter what somebody is saying, they are lying, would apply as a general principle if everyone castrated their existence.

    What I really don’t get is why there is no therapy for those who choose not to castrate their existence. The decision to move in the opposite direction is not without its problems, pitfalls and potential for chaos. Now that I’ve just written that, I realize these are precisely what I wrote my thesis to investigate. There are huge problems with choosing absolute freedom. Alternatively, you could re-interpret absolute freedom to mean the freedom to fit in, to make a buck and to get along with everybody . In that case, you probably wouldn’t encounter so many problems.

    Anyway, the refusal to change is weird to me and, since I am rambling over my morning coffee, I will go on to say there are a number of reasons why I feel this way.

    One is that I’m of a cultural group of individuals who selected themselves as wanting to live on the boundaries, to explore the unknown and to take risks. Those were the kind of people colonial society was made up of. Secondly, I had no option, myself, but to start again, existentially from scratch, when my family pulled up roots and I was 16. So, normality and stability — what are those? I can genuinely say I don’t know how to take my references from any idea of these. (More conservative people think I’m trying to put it on when I remonstrate that I have no experience of ‘normal’, or they assume this is a sign of internal instability. Nothing could be more wrong.)

    Anyway, to be afraid of life — yes, I can understand that. I’ve often been afraid of certain facets of it myself. I’ve been traumatised many a time by overestimating the humanity of others, because I have had a tendency to project my own characteristics into those around me, leading me to vastly overestimate other people’s capacity for change.

    This overestimation causes many people to get upset and attack like you would not believe.

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    1. “The assumption that no matter what somebody is saying, they are lying”

      – I’m confused. Who assumes something like that? And what does it have to do with psychoanalysis?? A psychoanalyst, for example, never agrees to meet or talk even casually with any of the analizand’s relatives and friends precisely because the analyst needs to work with the client’s psychic truth. In this approach, everything that the client says, dreams, mentions, etc. is that client’s psychic truth. And that’s the only thing that matters.

      “What I really don’t get is why there is no therapy for those who choose not to castrate their existence. ”

      – The specific people I am discussing are perfectly fine with their life and aren’t looking to change anything.

      ” I have had a tendency to project my own characteristics into those around me, leading me to vastly overestimate other people’s capacity for change”

      – I do that, too. I just don’t get why people choose this kind of self-invalidization.

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      1. – I’m confused. Who assumes something like that? And what does it have to do with psychoanalysis?? A psychoanalyst, for example, never agrees to meet or talk even casually with any of the analizand’s relatives and friends precisely because the analyst needs to work with the client’s psychic truth. In this approach, everything that the client says, dreams, mentions, etc. is that client’s psychic truth. And that’s the only thing that matters.

        JFA: I was thinking of a particular academic article I read many years ago and didn’t understand, except in a vague theoretical sense. It exemplifies what I have trouble with in understanding psychoanalysis as a positive system for healing or self help. The article was based on Lacan’s premise that “reality has a paranoid structure”. It set about trying to illustrate this point by using a case study to show how a woman actually knew her husband was having an affair but was intent on denying this to herself. I could not understand firstly why anyone would want to deny something like that to oneself, and secondly, how the principle that reality has a paranoid structure could be generalised.

        Also, when I have expressed my failure to understand how psychoanalysis could be generally true — I’ve stated as much to a Freudian professor — I had the impression he viewed my inability to grasp it as a sign of my determination not to face the underlying, generalisable “truth”. I say I had this distinct impression because he ignored the substance of what I said, including my intellectual query, and began speaking to me in a tone that implied I was silly and infantile.

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        1. “I could not understand firstly why anyone would want to deny something like that to oneself”

          – I can come up with a dozen reasons outright. Maybe he supports her and she doesn’t want to lose his money. Maybe she is not prepared to accept that she is not attractive and bad in bed. Maybe she is terrified of decisions she will have to make once she recognizes the truth.

          In reality, cheating does not exist because the people who are being cheated on always know on some level but refuse to know.

          I lived for years in the mythology that I didn’t know that my ex-husband was miserable with me. It took a lot of effort to recognize that I always knew but it was convenient not to know. 😦

          “Also, when I have expressed my failure to understand how psychoanalysis could be generally true”

          – This is akin to saying “when I have expressed my failure to understand how mathematics could be generally true”. . . A field of knowledge cannot be “true” or “not true.”

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          1. CLARISSA:- This is akin to saying “when I have expressed my failure to understand how mathematics could be generally true”. . . A field of knowledge cannot be “true” or “not true.”

            JFA: psychoanalysis could be a paradigm based on the ideological construction that we are all afraid to face our real selves due to some dire, underlying evil nature or original sin.

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            1. ” psychoanalysis could be a paradigm based on the ideological construction that we are all afraid to face our real selves due to some dire, underlying evil nature or original sin.”

              – Psychoanalysis arose as a form of denial of the constraints of Christianity. So it’s a negation of the very idea of the original sin.

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              1. It’s obviously not a complete enough response to Christianity, though. To me, it retains the tone priestly and paternalistic disapprobation: “What you say can’t really be taken at face value. We can’t really trust you. You’re on the run from facing the dire truths you just don’t want to face.”

                Isn’t this a different way of asserting, “You’re suffering from original sin and therefore twisted”?

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              2. ““What you say can’t really be taken at face value. We can’t really trust you. You’re on the run from facing the dire truths you just don’t want to face.””

                – The first two sentences have nothing to do with psychoanalysis because the issue of being trusted by some external authority is simply not there. The last sentence should be transformed as follows: “We avoid the unpleasant truths that we can’t deal with at the moment through a variety of strategies. When those strategies stop being very successful, we start getting sick.” Some people choose to keep getting sick, that’s their right. Other people choose to address the underlying cause through some other methods.

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              3. Yes, but I don’t think that removing the context from the psychoanalysis, even if this were possible, would be an answer to my criticism. Freud didn’t trust Dora and made it clear enough to her, in a way she could understand, that he wasn’t prepared to validate her experiences or to show any empathy for her sense of being deceived by her family and being treated in an unwanted sexually familiar way.

                By contrast, he showed he was prepared to trust his own paradigm of seduction, maintaining that Dora was trying to seduce others and was having various fantasies about reality.

                He thought Dora was on the run from the dire truth of being a sexual being and being inclined to radically distort the truth into its opposite in order to avoid facing her own desires.

                What she said about her distress at being deceived by her parents who were having affairs could not be believed.

                Dora was not to be trusted.

                She was dishonest with herself. A liar.

                Did it matter what Freud believed?

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              4. ” that he wasn’t prepared to validate her experiences”

                – I don’t understand what this means. How do you “validate experiences”?

                “Dora was not to be trusted.”

                – By whom?

                “She was dishonest with herself. A liar.”

                – I don’t see how the one follows from the other.

                “Did it matter what Freud believed?”

                – In the process of analysis? Absolutely not. He was using a strategy, a technique. When a dentist, say, drills your tooth, she does not necessarily believe you are evil and need to be punished by pain. In all probability, she is just trying to cure your tooth. But taken out of context, it might look like a very cruel form of torture.

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              5. The criticism comes from Judith Lewis Harmon, whose criticisms and revisions of Freud are well worth listening to.

                I’m not going to go into what it might mean for a normal human being to validate the experiences of another.

                Dora’s fragile mental state was exacerbated by Freud’s self-indulgent behaviour.

                Of course, Dora felt that maybe she could try again, after several years to convince Freud that what she’d spoken about hadn’t just been occurring in her head but had actually happened. Freud was unresponsive.

                I’m not sure what is so curative about a psychoanalytic approach to emotional problems. It seems to make situations worse very often.

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              6. “The criticism comes from Judith Lewis Harmon, whose criticisms and revisions of Freud are well worth listening to.”

                – I’m more familiar with the Jungian approach. Maybe I will write a post on how Jung improved Freud’s initial findings. Nobody today works directly with Freud. A lot has been done in the past 100 years. Just like nobody today uses the techniques of the founders of dentistry, which, of course, does not invalidate this entire branch of medicine.

                “I’m not sure what is so curative about a psychoanalytic approach to emotional problems.”

                – Everything. 🙂

                ” It seems to make situations worse very often.”

                – Have you met any people who have gone through psychoanalysis? Everybody I have talked to who has is ecstatic. I can say that the quality of my life has improved dramatically. As for making things worse, what will most certainly do that is a bunch of pills that always have a list of secondary effects from here to the Moon. The pill-gulping society will come up with any justification why gulping pills is THE way, which is why I’m at least trying to get the word out that there are alternatives. Of course, this is not a message that anybody wants to hear. Most people reject the idea of hard work and effort outright when the “easy” chemical alternative is present.

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              7. Herman is pretty good, indeed when I read her I was very excited, because she showed that the development of post-traumatic stress disorder was directly related to the sense of being betrayed by one’s community whom one had relied on for support. The fact that trauma is so profoundly connected to betrayal forms the basis for her view that therapists must necessarily acknowledge the realities of the trauma their clients have experienced. This enables those who have suffered to rebuild a bridge to reality, after it has been severed.

                On the other point — no, I don’t know anyone who has been through psychoanalysis. I’ve been through a very long process, which first began with trying to draw up my emotions so that I could assimilate them with my present choices and reactions. My emotions had become severely repressed.

                Going back into my country’s history to try to understand how trauma was experienced ubiquitously also gave me a deeper understanding of my own mental states.

                Finally, I still felt something was off, because I was constantly disappointed by the actions and behavior of those around me. The final part of the jigsaw was to realise I’d been projecting and alienating the better parts of myself into others, thus setting me up to be deceived (and betrayed!) when their actual views and attitudes led them to behave differently from what I would have done.

                So, my inner work has been exhausting and finally exhaustive.

                I did try to achieve some of it by means of occasionally attending therapy, but due to the lack of awareness of the various therapists, my historical and cultural background — the pivotal dimension of my problems — was never addressed. Mostly, the therapists became hostile, because of course I was projecting into them the necessity of providing knowledge and salvation, and they did not have access to enough of the right sort of material to get even close.

                Writing my thesis, however, brought me extremely close. You kind of have to reenter the trauma that your parents and others went through (and, being a child, you didn’t) in order to understand why their behaviour is so peculiar, extreme and otherwise impossible to fathom.

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    2. Another thing I keep hearing is endemic but don’t understand is “fear of change.” Is it really that common, that much of a driving force for so many people?

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  3. I don’t think it’s terror. I think of it as those women’s goal, to make him love her, to help him, to take care of him, and then a stubborn refusal to give it up. And for me to be able to walk away from women that even when helped will go back to the same or another abusive relationship, I think of them as ultimate thrill seekers; they would be unfulfilled in normal realtionship. You’d be amazed how many women push it longer than they should, to see how much they can endure.

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    1. They both say, though, that they will remain consecrated to the memory of the husband even after he dies. I asked specifically.

      “And for me to be able to walk away from women that even when helped will go back to the same or another abusive relationship, I think of them as ultimate thrill seekers; they would be unfulfilled in normal realtionship. ”

      – That is very true.

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  4. My mother, even though my father has remarried 4 times since, still receives weekly phone calls from him, and most of his wives(!), asking for advice and help. Women like my mother are happiest when they’re fighting adversity. They look for it. But, you should know that, you have a slavic soul!

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  5. “You’d be amazed how many women push it longer than they should, to see how much they can endure.”

    I understand what you’re saying, but is it really so widespread … and/or why do I so rarely meet such people (yet hear of them constantly)?

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    1. It’s all a matter of degees. Every relationship requires some sacrifice of one’s freedom. And some like to take it to different extremes, but they might not want to examine it themselves, let alone let others know about it.

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  6. I can really understand why people protect themselves by repeating the “we are conditioned by society” mantra.(Clarissa)

    After reading your blog for the last little while Ive got to admit, this is one of the truer things you have said. 😉

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  7. I don’t want people to think that this is about domestic abuse. This is not a domestic abuse story. This is a story of people who willfully castrate their existence because that’s what they want to do. Having a full life is a burden, so they choose not to have one.

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    1. I still feel you’re not considering others’ ideas of full life. Another relationship might be an antithesis. 😉

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      1. “I still feel you’re not considering others’ ideas of full life. ”

        – Yes, I fail to see an existence where a person doesn’t even try to achieve sexual happiness as a full life.

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  8. Shame/depression, realistic fear of real consequences, pursuit of other goals, desire to have some time free of sturm und drang, postponement due to current pressing responsibilities – there are all sorts of reasons that people might not be out there looking for new relationships immediately.

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    1. You are not hearing me. These women have dedicated their lives once and for all to relationships that do not even begin to fulfill them sexually. And they will keep that alive even if the “husbands” pass away. This isn’t about “immediately”. This is about “never.”

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  9. Fear of a full life is another thing I don’t get, but apparently it is widespread. Why there is no therapy for it — because it’s more convenient for the powers that are if people limit themselves, I suppose. Also, if they are fine with how they are, well then…

    The goal of psychoanalysis is supposed to be freedom, whereas the goals of therapy are something more along the lines of happiness or “functionality.” Perhaps this is why psychoanalysis (and now I am speaking to another thread) is out of favor.

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    1. I don’t get the fear of life thing, except in the sense that people who have been traumatized will be afraid of life. I remember when I was recovering from the workplace bullying incident, my father came by and projected his own mental states onto me: “You are afraid of everything.” Even at that time, I was far from being particularly afraid of anything, as I thought I had sussed it all out.” However, over time, I’ve realized how even having figured everything out is not actually an inoculation against reality going badly wrong. Traumatic experiences make one less secure–less free to experiment.

      Perhaps one accepts a certain amount of death into one’s being as a way to keep a worse set of circumstances at bay. Thus aging leads inevitably to greater conservatism.

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      1. Fear of life as a reaction to trauma, I do get. But then is everyone with fear of life, traumatized? I suppose one could say so, but that’s a different kind of trauma (I think) than what you or I are talking about here.

        Accepting death into one’s being, I will think about this.

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  10. I should look this up, but isn’t Dora the case where Freud rejected the possibility of actual sexual abuse and went for the Oedipus complex?

    “I’m not sure what is so curative about a psychoanalytic approach to emotional problems. It seems to make situations worse very often.”

    – Well, if you have someone thinking and thinking and there is no response to them, and yet the person listening does have certain ideas about the structure of the psyche and the analysand knows about these and tries to make them work, and I am assuming that even with non response there is some kind of set of responses, encouragement, approval, disapproval, etc. … but the official attitude is non response, so these things can’t get discussed, well, then …

    – Also, anecdote: the time I did try actual Freudian analysis was in Brazil, where I could afford it, at the time, due to the exchange rate. A good analyst, I think, although I didn’t last for reasons I am about to reveal; she did talk some and ask questions. Why I quit: she was very insistent about my not having had children yet (I was in late 20s) and couldn’t quite grock that in my culture and with a PhD program going on I really and truly hadn’t gotten to thinking about that, was not perturbed not to have children yet, etc. It would have been possible, of course, to read that at a metaphorical level and have a useful conversation thinking metaphorically, but I hadn’t figured that out yet and she was literally concerned about the kids.

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  11. JFA: Mostly, the therapists became hostile, because of course I was projecting into them the necessity of providing knowledge and salvation, and they did not have access to enough of the right sort of material to get even close.

    — This might have been part of what happened to me, the time I attended psychotherapy (not analysis).

    JFA: Writing my thesis, however, brought me extremely close. You kind of have to reenter the trauma that your parents and others went through (and, being a child, you didn’t) in order to understand why their behaviour is so peculiar, extreme and otherwise impossible to fathom.

    — This is what my novel is supposed to do and/but working on it is wrenching. However, also of note is that I’ve felt impelled to go through some things they always feared and managed to avoid going through, but whose shadows haunt them still – I had to walk through it so as not to live in *their* fears, it would seem.

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    1. “This is what my novel is supposed to do and/but working on it is wrenching.”

      – You are writing a NOVEL?? How fascinating! Make me completely happy and tell me it will be a Bildungsroman. 🙂

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      1. In a way, yes, but not in a traditional format! It is about piecing together the fragments of the tales one has heard, without understanding their meaning or knowing whether the tellers did.

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    2. profacero>>> This is what my novel is supposed to do and/but working on it is wrenching. However, also of note is that I’ve felt impelled to go through some things they always feared and managed to avoid going through, but whose shadows haunt them still – I had to walk through it so as not to live in *their* fears, it would seem.

      Good luck with the novel. As I’ve suggested, my personal experience with writing this sort of stuff was strange, because one starts of with one paradigm about identity and ends up with another. I began my own project as an exploration of my character to see what flaws might be there. I was perfectly willing to entertain the possibility, even the likelihood, that I had significant flaws. After all, I had been brought up with Christianity, accustomed to thinking in these terms.

      I started with a Christian-humanist paradigm and ended up shamanistic. It seemed to me, by the end of my explorations, that everything was a violent network of exchange mechanisms, passing through porous human surfaces. Identity was not what I had assumed it to be.

      So, in a sense, even the fears and anxieties one thought one had are not necessarily wholly and meaningfully real. They’re other people’s fears and anxieties transfused into you through osmosis.

      Working through the process of writing, from 1997 to more recently, has been like dealing with the revelation that one does not actually exist — not in the way one once had thought. Phantoms are three-quarters or more of human relationships. We don’t see each other, because we are afraid to — and when we do, finally, see each other, we see that the other person is a network of the strange ideas and attitudes we had projected into them.

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  12. Mmmm, I have thoughts about this but I’m feeling rather stupid today and so they won’t come together. However, the castrating of existence thing: well, I think often people do this because to live a full life is hard. And frequently painful. Much easier to hold onto a narrow, rigid world and use the feeling of moral superiority as a bulwark against fear. That fear may be societally created, familial, created by random life events, or just existential. Or a combination thereof. Even if we had the most egalitarian, rational, safe, just and balanced society in existence, there would still be people like this woman. It’s just that we’d be far more likely to look on her with pity and suggest therapy than laud her for self sacrifice.

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  13. Those are strange comments (personal psychology). It’s hard to know why someone would make a comment like that. Those comments tend to be about private subjects that I avoid and don’t want to know about others, because they feel too personal to me. I also have way too much experience dealing with people who tell me private things that I don’t ask and don’t want to know about them anyway.

    I have a friend who is just now in the early stages of seeking a divorce and he says that he will never remarry–it’s part of his belief system. I never inquired or asked what his future plans were either, so he volunteers this information and I don’t question him about his beliefs either. Some people just need time and space to sort out their feelings and life and they don’t need the additional pressure of people questioning them, even if it is well intended–there’s a point where that type of behavior crosses the line into feeling way too intrusive.

    I tend to agree with the last commenter though.

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    1. I feel that if they decided to make me the recipient of their confidences, they should be prepared for any genuine reaction I can offer in response. Otherwise, I;d feel manipulated into tacitly endorsing something that I find to be egregious.

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      1. I’d thought to ask if you’ve had experiences similar to mine and how you handeled them. I find it a bit unnerving that it just feels like so many people get way too personal with me. They interpret me as being an introvert, but what does that have to do with their lack of boundaries and being intrusive. Truthfully, I really hate it. I don’t want to know such details about co-workers or anyone else. I find myself wondering why people tell me such personal details. I really don’t want to know. I try to deal with it in a non-rude way, especially some social situations, so that there will not be ugly consequences. I’m probably the exact opposite of people who love those types of details about others–me I’m sick of it and I really wish that they would consider therapy or analysis. What I often hear from others is that they knew right away that they could trust me. That seems such a bizzare and off-the-wall comment to make. How can anyone know someone is trustworthy right off the bat.

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        1. ” I find it a bit unnerving that it just feels like so many people get way too personal with me. They interpret me as being an introvert, but what does that have to do with their lack of boundaries and being intrusive. Truthfully, I really hate it. I don’t want to know such details about co-workers or anyone else. I find myself wondering why people tell me such personal details.”

          – I have these same things happen to me all the time! I see myself as a very reserved and unsociable person, yet people start sharing very intimate stuff with me almost as soon as I meet them (or after I have seen them a couple of times). I have no idea how to handle this because I always become intensely uncomfortable and kind of lock down in such situations. Then, I start avoiding such people.

          ” I’m probably the exact opposite of people who love those types of details about others–me I’m sick of it and I really wish that they would consider therapy or analysis. What I often hear from others is that they knew right away that they could trust me.”

          – Exactly. And the worst part is when the students start to share. I’m very limited by my position in what I can tell them. I can’t, for instance, say to a student, “Oh, just dump this stupid loser already and get over it.” So I feel like I’m forced to listen impotently and in silence and that annoys me.

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  14. “- I have these same things happen to me all the time! I see myself as a very reserved and unsociable person, yet people start sharing very intimate stuff with me almost as soon as I meet them (or after I have seen them a couple of times). I have no idea how to handle this because I always become intensely uncomfortable and kind of lock down in such situations. Then, I start avoiding such people.”

    I’m glad you shared this as I don’t feel so alone, not that feeling this way or having to cope with these types of people is pleasant. This happens to me all the time too. I start avoiding such people too, because I haven’t a clue how to otherwise deal with them. When I’ve attempted to explain this issue to others their strange response is to tell me that I should feel flattered that people want to share with me. Honestly–some fool actually told me that I should feel proud. How so. I don’t want to hear about their personal issues. Are they completely insane?

    “I’m very limited by my position in what I can tell them. I can’t, for instance, say to a student, “Oh, just dump this stupid loser already and get over it.” So I feel like I’m forced to listen impotently and in silence and that annoys me.”

    Oh, I can so relate to this, unfortunately. I feel very limited too. It’s not like I can tell a boss or manager to go jump off a cliff or I’m sorry your wife doesn’t understand…like where do you get the idea that I care or want to know this stuff anyway. Most of the time I just feel resentful like I’d like to shout at them to stop annoying me and to just bugger off. Why can’t people behave like professionals.

    Why can’t they just find a good therapist and get into analysis. It works. Any suggestion on my part to consider therapy and people get angry. Gosh I would just like to tell them that I’m so pro psychoanalysis. What is is that people fear anyway.

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    1. I could have written this entire comment myself, in those very words!

      “When I’ve attempted to explain this issue to others their strange response is to tell me that I should feel flattered that people want to share with me. Honestly–some fool actually told me that I should feel proud. ”

      – Same thing here. And then people start acting all betrayed when I avoid them as a result, as if we had some contract where I promised to listen and respond the way they like. This is why I prefer to interact with people on the blog. People sometimes send me emails asking for advice (mostly about grad school and life in academia but sometimes also in their personal lives.) In an email format, though, I always have the freedom to respond or not when and how I wish. So I don’t feel driven into the corner. In real-life situations, though, when a person you barely know starts crying in your office, it isn’t like you can leave. And it’s very strange when people do that because I always think that there should be some process where a relationship develops, grows, you let a person know that now it’s OK to share more personal stuff. When it happens in such an unprovoked way, I freeze up completely.

      “It’s not like I can tell a boss or manager to go jump off a cliff or I’m sorry your wife doesn’t understand…like where do you get the idea that I care or want to know this stuff anyway. ”

      – BEEN THERE. And did not like it at all.

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  15. There is a type of person who wants to keep telling their story to an audience that won’t respond except to say, “that is hard,” or “poor dear,” or something like that. Therapy and psychoanalysis assume one wants to make changes, or come to a deeper understanding, but that’s not what this type of person wants; they also don’t want practical suggestions from a friend. They seem to want company and an audience, but not an actual conversation.

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