Thursday, January 21, 2010

Denying Oneself for Love

{{es|1=C-3PO en la Star Wars exhibition, Madri...Image via Wikipedia
We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life. ~ C3PO

Was there ever a masochist like C3PO? Not in the sense that he has some cybernetic obsession with pain -- that's the last thing he wants. Courageous and loyal to a fault, R2D2 wins your heart. 3PO's bemoaning of fate, on the other hand, can grate on my nerves (apologies to the Intergalactic C3PO Fan Club). He doesn't whine, thankfully, but he comes close.

In the language of interpersonal psychology, masochism takes on a different quality than the one we typically ascribe. Rather than pain-seeking, the masochist is pain-avoidant. In essence, s/he says, especially to those perceived as more powerful,"I'm harmless, don't hurt me." George McFly, in the film Back to the Future, is a good example. Fearful that recognition will result in rejection by his teenage peers, he keeps his writing to himself, and in adulthood, is virtually incapable of self-assertion.

Because this type of personality copes with social anxiety by being overly modest and self-deprecating, s/he can be victimized by those who are either covertly or overtly, narcissistic. The narcissist's internal radar is tuned to target persons who appear shy, secretly doubting or uncertain of their abilities, or who will be flattered by a shower of attention.

And narcissists can be flattering, make no mistake, presenting themselves as sensitive and generous. In their dance of deception, they look for partners ready to believe a long-held dream has finally come true. Once the bait has been taken, the trap snaps shut, and the dream, sooner or later, dissolves into an elaborately constructed fantasy. It's hard to see this, however, if one is accustomed to accepting guilt where none is deserved,
blaming oneself for failure, and denying oneself for love.

It may take quite a bit of face-splashing with "sick and tired" to awaken from the enchantment. Little irritants get bigger, being a perpetual resource gets old, and feet ache from dancing to the same tune over and over. Perhaps a person receives some affirmation at work and it not only feels good, but it feels even better when it's not given away to someone who feels entitled to it. Self-deprecation is displaced by honest self-appreciation. This is how recovery begins, with a drop of positive self-esteem, then another until the faucet is flowing full force and no one can tighten the knobs enough to stop it.

(Creative Commons image of C3PO by Alex Slocker via Flickr)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...