I'm working on a book, which should be out end of 2013 or 2014, to be published by Routledge, in the Relational Psychoanalytic Series. It wil be called "Traumatizing Narcissism" I think. And what I realized, working on my final chapters these last few weeks, is that I have been writing a book about freedom.
Psychological freedom - what is it? It's not mania, it's not being Robin Williams or Tina Fey, who seem to have an endless supply of wildly brilliant and hilarious free associations ready to spring forth at any moment and make you split your sides laughing. I bet they are awesome people, complicated, no doubt, but so cool. I love that, but I'm thinking of something else.
I'm thinking of the difference between feeling like a subject or feeling like an object. This is subtle stuff, but if you've been in enough miserable relationships, you might start to get it. When you are concerned with what kind of object you are for someone else - are you who, what, where, and how they want you to be? - you eventually burn yourself out from getting used. You've stopped knowing who you are, how you feel, what you need - you've just been obsessed with what you think the other person thinks of you. Eventually, your rage and contempt for the other person, for using you and taking advantage of your selflessness, becomes impossible to hide. Things go downhill from there.
Making yourself someone's object is a form of self-enslavement.
Tending to your own subjectivity - your sense of yourself as a subject - is a creative act, an act of self-definition, an act of freedom. As the parent of a teenage boy and an almost teenage girl, I'm noticing all of this self-defining stuff they're doing - much of it aimed at not being like me - and it's pretty rough going at times. But I love it, I'm proud of them, and I want them to figure out who they are and not try to be what I think they should be or try to force them to be.
Anyway, hope you'll all keep an eye out for the book - maybe a year from now it will be in print! I'm writing about object/subject, about narcissism and how traumatizing narcissists only want other people to be their objects, and to be objects they can control. And I'm talking about finding yourself as an adult without your subjectivity intact - and what it takes to find it, grab hold of it and have faith in it. I'm excited. Wish me luck!
Happy Freedom Day!