Normalization

Anne - Garden Grove, California
Entered on May 1, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

While it is true that I have never read a book written by Freud, I do believe in him wholeheartedly. I have struggled to come up with a good explanation that is less abstract than most of my associations, and I think I have finally found one…

While children are in the hospital, there are child life specialists helping them to cope and live as near-to-normal as possible. One of the most common activities to this end, is performing medical play on a stuffed animal. This is where you are given all the toys and equipment, similar to what is being used by your doctors or nurses, and given permission to go to town on a stuffed animal. Without much coaching, kids act out exactly what they are experiencing. For instance, “I have a booboo here and so does she.” Or, “He was really sad when that happened.”

I think Freudian theory has a lot to do with shame and pain, because without these, the unconscious wouldn’t be so necessary. As a society, we’re organized in such a way that certain things are required: pooping in a toilet and not being a mother fucker. I am sure that the reason we all find the idea of our parents having sex so disgusting is precisely because we want it so badly. See, didn’t I just revolt you? That’s called reaction formation. If we didn’t want it so badly, we could be more matter-of-fact, like “Oh yeah, that’s just mom and dad goin’ at it again. I used to want a penis, but now I’m over it.”

Emotions and relationships carry all kinds of rules that nobody necessarily told us, we just picked up on them. And we don’t talk about them, because there’s a whole lot of shame and pain involved. Like with the hospitalized child, nobody knows how in the world to make sense of the situation, so everybody uses coping mechanisms to make life feel sensible and safe again.

Psychoanalytic therapy is about unveiling those once outcast emotions. My therapist, to be rather crude, is like my stuffed animal. I am able to act out everything I experienced in real life in this artificial, but safe environment. And in acting it out, I become aware of it, but it doesn’t have the same power of an unconscious drive. I am freed to accept myself!

Because, really, we’re all mother fuckers.