Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex, continued

Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex, continued

According to von Franz (1964, p. 162), “The Self can be defined as an inner guiding factor that is different from a conscious personality … a regulating centre that brings about a constant extension and maturing of the personality. But this larger, more nearly total aspect of the psyche appears first as merely an inborn possibility. It may emerge very slightly, or it may develop relatively completely during one’s lifetime. How far it develops depends on whether or not the ego is willing to listen to the messages of the Self.” And the narcissistic character (and each of us to the extent that we share narcissistic character traits) is absolutely terrified of discovering the Self, for fear that emotional interaction with the unconscious will result in personality disintegration and death. However, if the narcissistic character can summon sufficient courage to begin this self‑exploration, he is most likely to find not eternal chaos but just the opposite, an inner reality that is both strong and dependable. In the process, however, the narcissistic character is brought face‑to‑face with a deeper schizoid level within himself, although one which is very different from that of the schizoid personality. In the latter case, the split‑off Self is passive, and its energy content is easily drained. But there are schizoid dynamics that are symptomatic of a different kind of split‑off Self, one which is intensely alive and exudes a sense of power, one which is connected to and sustained by the archetypal dimension of the Goddess, the feminine influence which dominated archaic cultures until it was suppressed by the development of a more patriarchal society.

When this schizoid dynamic appears, it is often indicated in dreams in the form of two children. These children are not exactly equals but, rather, one is more potent than the other, far more archetypal, “the true child of joy,” while the other is more passive, more easily depressed, and more generally masochistic. The deeper child image, the child infused with joy, comes forth much less often than the other, usually slightly older child. Relating to either child is fraught with difficulty, for the masochistic child aspect of the emerging self induces strong sadistic feelings in the analyst while the joyful child stimulates the transference to become eroticized as the patient tests the feasibility of letting himself or herself be identified with the joyful child. Both have to be accepted in a caring, kinship sense, for when both these children can become integral parts of the personality, the patient gains not only the empathy associated with successful resolution of the depressive phase of child development but also the archetypal energies of the child of joy, a new awareness of the Goddess within, and a feminine force within the personality before which egocentric masculine grandiosity pales into insignificance.

Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex, continued

Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex, continued

In classical clinical psychoanalysis, narcissistic character disorders were believed to be untreatable because of an impenetrable barrier to the establishment of any kind of transference relationship with the analyst. However, as this impenetrable barrier began to be penetrated by investigations into primitive internalized object relations and their role in the treatment of pre‑Oedipal conditions, it was found that this nihilistic belief was, in fact, far from valid. Actually, very strong transferences are established, but these strong transferences also induce strong countertransference reactions in the therapist, and these countertransference reactions tend to interfere with therapy. According to Searles (1979), “The analyst inevitably regresses in the course of the session and will experience the patient as being identified with the so‑called bad mother of the patient’s past. The analyst will inevitably react to the patient as being a very disappointing and enraging unempathetic mother….” However, if the analyst properly understands rage and hate and other negative emotions, and particularly if he or she sees them as disintegration products caused by wounds to self‑esteem, then it is sometimes possible to step out of these negative countertransference reactions or, alternatively, to metabolize them into insight when that is required. Proper use of these negative emotions enables the analyst to mirror the narcissistic character’s emerging personality until the pre‑symbolic stage of mental development is mastered and the client becomes able to appreciate the reality of the symbols involved in interpretation of his productions. When this occurs, the exhibitionistic‑grandiose Self, which has finally been “heard” by its captive audience, can transform into more realistic self‑esteem. This transformation heralds the second stage in the treatment of the narcissistic character disorder, in which the client begins an introspective examination of and investment in the Self.

Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex, continued

Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex, continued

Certainly, the inferior position of women has existed for a long, long time, and there is some question as to whether women are even holding their own. In a recent article concerning changes in the status of women since the Second World War, Lipovenko (1983) reported as follows: “While the number of Canadian women working outside the home has grown rapidly since the post war years, there is ‘depressingly little change in the kind of work they do,’ says a federal report to be released today [21 February 1983]….

More than 70 per cent of women who work for pay are in clerical, service, sales, processing and fabricating jobs – and women are becoming more dominant in those traditionally female occupations, says the report for the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women….

As of 1980, one‑third of all working women do clerical work and half of them are concentrated in trade and service – the lowest paid industrial sectors, the report noted.

Since 1975, women have lost ground in two well‑paid occupations – teaching and jobs involving machines. There has been a significant drop in the number of full‑time teaching jobs going to women: new teaching jobs are going to men working full‑time and to women employed part-time….

Women’s average annual earnings in 1979 (the most recent year for which data were available) were $7,673 compared to $14,981 for men, the report said.”[1] It is within this context that I offer to women my advice on getting ahead in the world.

[1] As a 2008 update, the gender gap in salaries was $ 0.71 for women, for every $ 1.00 earned by men. The gender gap remains regardless of education. “Female high school graduates earn 27 percent less than male graduates. Female university graduates earn 16 percent less than male graduates.” (The Toronto Star, September 17, 2008).

Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex

An Old Psychologist’s Reminiscences

In honour of my eighty-third birthday, I think that I will begin to serialize one of the better papers that I have ever written: Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex or How to Fuck Your Way to the Top. It began with a trip to Toronto on the Wednesday night before the Ontario Psychological Association’s annual convention, probably in 1983. Len Goldsmith, who was president of the Clinical Division of the association asked me if I would like to present a talk at the Clinical Division banquest that Friday evening. I drove back to my office in Brampton and wrote the first draft that night. My secretary typed it up for me and I delivered it at the banquet. You could have heard a pin drop. They didn’t know what to make of it. Perhaps you won’t either.

For popular consumption, the title has been changed to:

Women’s Lib, Witchcraft, and Sex


Let Your Goddess Be Your Guide

In an article entitled “Who said women are all bad? Almost everybody,” Landsberg (1983) reported the opinions of women expressed by a number of Titans of Western Thought. Socrates is quoted as saying that “Woman is the source of all evil. Her love is to be dreaded more than the hatred of a man.” Plato believed that “Those of the men … who led a life of cowardice and injustice were suitably reborn as women.” Aristotle felt that “We should regard the female as afflicted with natural defectiveness.” Pythagoras believed that “There is a good principle which created order, light and man, and an evil principle which created chaos, darkness and women.” Martin Luther observed that “God created Adam Lord of All Living Creatures, but Eve spoiled it all.” Napoleon Bonaparte avowed that “Nature intended women to be our slaves … they are our property … just as a tree that bears fruit belongs to a gardener. What a mad idea to demand equality for women! Women are nothing but machines for producing children.” Tolstoy said that we should “Regard the society of women as a necessary unpleasantness of social life, and avoid it as much as possible.” And Freud said that “The great question that has never been answered and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is what does a woman want?” But the most telling quotation of all is from Kurt Vonnegut who said “Educating a beautiful woman is like pouring honey into a fine Swiss watch: Everything stops.”

Zen Teachings

Zen Teachings

Always remember that you are unique, just like everyone else.

Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow. In fact, just leave me alone.

Sex is like air: it’s not that important unless you aren’t getting any.

If you think nobody cares whether you’re alive or dead, try missing a couple of payments.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.

No one is listening until you fart.

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

If you lend someone 20 bucks I never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

Some days you are the dog, and some days you are the hydrant.

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.

There are two excellent theories for arguing with women. Neither one of them works.

When you are dead, you don’t know that you were dead. It’s difficult only for others. It’s the same thing when you are stupid.