Saturday, June 14, 2014

Big Snake, Ugly Mirror

I said , "Yeah ." And he goes," Do you mean to offend people?" 
I said , "No, no." And he's like, "But you still do it anyway?" "Yeah ." 

He's going , "Okay, we're gonna put you over here." I was like, "Where?" 
And I , you know, I can't see him ,but I think he went like this: 

And I really want to know what over here is, but he doesn't explain . 
He gets very cryptic like that. 

He's like, "Kevin , if a big snake gives birth to a little snake. . . 
. . .what is that little snake gonna grow up to be?" "A big snake?" 

He's like, "Right. 
That snake gives birth to a snake. What's that gonna grow to be?" 

And I said , "Big snake." 
He said , "Exactly, you gotta know who your father is." 

And I'm like-- 
I don't know what that fucking means. So I'm like, "I hear you . I hear you 
The above is an account by Kevin Smith of a phone conversation he had with Prince. Yes, Prince.

On monday june 9th, I posted boldly that I was fully recovered. And it's true. Ima standing on a plain from which I can start pulling myself apart, making changes and actually do something. I'm engaged in the difficult introspective task of knowing who my father is.

And here I need to be clear, so I'm going to hit you with some Greer:

"Menstruation does not turn us into raving maniacs or complete invalids; it is just that we would rather do without it." - Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch pg 59 (of my copy at least)

And by analogy, this post will probably contain things that reflect poorly on my father, yet don't define him as a person and are not in any way seriously debilitating or necessarily damning traits in any person. It's just that I'd rather do without them.

It's a very personal reflection on what tendencies he and I share, that having been on the recieving end or having a lifetime of observation, if I can learn and cease to replicate this legacy I and the people around me are probably better off.

Of most concern, I believe is that I'm at risk of forming this adult attachment pattern:


People with a dismissive style of avoidant attachment tend to agree with these statements: "I am comfortable without close emotional relationships", "It is very important to me to feel independent and self-sufficient", and "I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me." People with this attachment style desire a high level of independence. The desire for independence often appears as an attempt to avoid attachment altogether. They view themselves as self-sufficient and invulnerable to feelings associated with being closely attached to others. They often deny needing close relationships. Some may even view close relationships as relatively unimportant. Not surprisingly, they seek less intimacy with relationship partners, whom they often view less positively than they view themselves. Investigators commonly note the defensive character of this attachment style. People with a dismissive–avoidant attachment style tend to suppress and hide their feelings, and they tend to deal with rejection by distancing themselves from the sources of rejection (i.e., their relationship partners).

Which is a mouthful, and not a great fit at describing my father or me. I said 'at risk' after all. More useful is the rule of thumb -

Security-based strategy of affect regulation
thoughts about self
thoughts about others

See, I have good self esteem. I'm very self referential and actually think highly of myself. My parents did a good job of this. I walk a knife edge though in how I treat other people. If I regard them positively then all is golden. If negatively though, I can certainly see in myself and my father behavior that is dismissive-avoidant. 

Looking to my father for answers is extremely hard to do, and also extremely useful as per this post I wrote previously. And as somebody who actively solicits feedback on myself - the very word 'dismissive' has come up with me in the past. I find the exercise also very self-validating, in that the stuff that comes to mind - eg. when my mother said this to me once "I felt like work was the other woman" it comes to mind for a reason. My memory has red-flagged it.

And you have to question how is it really different from a statement like "I discovered Cheryl was the other woman" whether my mother was conscious of what she was saying or not, she said it and I don't want to make a partner/spouse or whatever feel that way. 

Yet despite my many claims to laziness and a life of leisure, I know I have the same workaholic and solitary nature within me. 

What's tricky, is trying to imagine any other way to be. If my father was alcoholic (he isn't) then I would hope it doesn't take particular imagination to see you have to abstain. It's a behavior. But for me, how do I not be dismissive? Or framed positively - how do I cultivate interest (in people)? 

The best answer came from my friend Jon, who asked me how old I was and told me it would happen in a couple more years. 

Albeit if my father is still prone to dismissiveness clearly time/age is no gauruntee. Friend Zoe said it was the simple act of abstaining from being dismissive. Thing is, when I am dismissive, or the behavior I suspect makes people feel like I'm dismissive, it doesn't feel like an act of commission.

One thing I can conclude is that negging as a pick up technique is out. Because that's the thing. I may be dismissive, or may 'not suffer fools' or whatever. Be obnoxious or arrogant. And these are bad ways to treat people and make people feel, but it doesn't actually hurt your chances much with the ladies. 

What it does, is give you the ladies whose esteem fits the mold you are carving. I think at the very least I have found the filter by which it is no accident my dating history is populated largely by depressive women.

This is a hard post to write, and I think I've written enough now. Probably the next phase of thinking I do should be a conversation and not undertaken in solitary.

Good night now.

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