From ideas

The root cause of narcissism (and aggression towards women)

Gabor Mate and the causes of narcissism in people (like Jian Ghomeshi)

There is a time in life, in infancy, when we are all narcissists. In this early developmental phase we implicitly believe the world revolves around us, and properly so: we have but to feel a need, and the world moves to meet it. The people who remain stuck in narcissism, whether everyday narcissism expressed as ordinary self-centredness or the extreme forms we label as pathological, are the ones who never fully developed past that early stage. We graduate from a developmental phase only if our needs at that stage were fully satisfied. And in our society, most children do not get their needs met.

The growth of a healthy self depends on emotionally rich, attuned interactions with parents who are emotionally present and available. Stressed, depressed or anxious parents, or those who were themselves traumatized, may be incapable of providing their children with such interactions. In our increasingly alienated, isolating, and hyper-stressed culture, many children grow up under conditions characterized by what the seminal psychologist and researcher Alan Schore has called “proximal separation”: the parents are physically there but often emotionally absent. In this context healthy human development is impaired. Thus narcissism pervades our culture.

I am a big fan of Mate, he has helped me understand a lot of the issues I have had as an adult but I always find him talking about narcissism fascinating.  

If you looked up “proximal separation” in a dictionary, it would show my home as a kid.  My parents were there but were always emotionally absent.  Since they were emotionally absent, they never realized that was the case.  I’m the same way as a parent.  Jordon is the one that has seen it and helps me relate to the kids.  The difference is that Jordon sees it and can call me on it.

The rage against women is rooted in what the late feminist scholar Dorothy Dinnerstein identified as the “female monopoly of early child care,” where an isolated woman is seen by the child as the sole source of nourishment, physical soothing, and emotional support. In a mobile and economically unstable society, it falls upon an individual female to become the entire world for the child. The male child, finding his needs frustrated, develops rage. As the brilliant Canadian psychologist Gordon Neufeld points out, “frustration is the engine of aggression.”Rage against the mother later becomes generalized into rage against women. In pathological cases, that hostility is acted out precisely in moments when intimacy is sought, such as sex, because it was in early moments of vulnerable intimacy that the narcissistic wound was sustained. The rage is an implicit memory of intense proximal separation. Many boys also witness and absorb the hostility of their overworked and emotionally alienated fathers and, unconsciously, blame their mothers for not having protected them.

We Are Moving to Detroit and So Should You

In January 2014, Lowe Campbell Ewald moved 500+ employees to a city that recently filed for bankruptcy. Why? Despite media reports, Detroit is quickly becoming rich in creativity, innovation and inspiration. With a “we’re all in this together” mentality, everyone is utilizing their skills to not only help one another, but define Detroit’s future. Whether you’re a designer, innovator, entrepreneur or an investor, the talent is moving to Detroit. And so should you. 

To Understand Depression, Understand Fun

Erika Forbes, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Affective Neuroscience and Developmental Psychopathology Lab. She completed her AB at Harvard University and her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a clinical and developmental psychologist by training, and her work examines the neuroscience of mental health in young people. Specifically, she uses techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate how unusual brain function in response to rewarding or pleasant stimuli is involved in the development of depression and substance use in adolescents.

Tradition of violence against women in Guyana

Staebrook Market, Georgetown, Guyana

A discouraging piece about the culture of domestic violence in Guyana

It is now accepted that domestic violence in Guyana is widespread, and its perpetrators disregard race and socio-economic circumstances. Reacting to this situation, the law prohibits domestic violence, gives women the right to seek prompt protection, and allows victims to seek protection, occupation, or tenancy orders from a magistrate.

This is all good from a theoretical standpoint. Given the prevailing culture of discrimination against women – from a practical level, domestic violence remains a national crisis, since law enforcement is weak, there is logistical difficulty in monitoring interior communities, and it is not easy getting people involved in campaigns. As such, it is time then to persistently target the traditional Guyanese mind-set.

Research shows that social scientists and feminists refer to male-perpetrator, female-victim violence as gender-based violence, because it evolves from the female’s subordinate social status and the beliefs, norms, and social institutions that support a patriarchal structure.

Simply put, patriarchal societies, of which Guyana is still one, give men power and authority over women. This can be found at individual, group, or institutional levels. If we add religious endorsement, it becomes even worse for women. Religious texts are replete with admonitions for women, contextualising their behaviour to accommodate a patriarchal world.

Another compounding factor is the condition where male power is influenced by personal resources and group membership. Adrienne Rich explicates on a patriarchal continuum where a group of individuals (males) are ascribed power over females because of their sex (male) and the group to which they belong – for example money, family, tribe, and clan.
Research also shows that there are three primary reasons women or wives are believed to “deserve” and often receive beatings: sexual jealousy as a result of real or suspected adultery; failure to treat her so-called “superiors” (husband or male members of the house) with what they perceive as respect; and her apparent non-compliance towards a husband’s notion of “privilege” as absolute ruler of the household.

All three categories involve the notion of exerting control over a woman’s sexuality, her performance of what is referred to as wifely duties, and even her life. In most traditional societies, a wife’s adultery and a female family member’s premarital sexual activities are viewed as the most serious violations of codes of male and family honour, which merit the most severe penalties that frequently include death.

In these settings, it is the male members of a female’s family who must control her behaviour. Further, if punishment, especially death, is called for as a means of erasing shame and restoring honour, it will be the males in the female’s biological family who must administer the punishment.

The double standard that usually exists with regard to how male and female behaviours are viewed and what the consequences are is glaringly obvious. Take the Jordan case, where a young woman was killed by her father because she had accepted the advances of her lover. The lover was not perceived as guilty, because the woman had accepted his advances. The father was sentenced to only six days in prison for the murder of his daughter.

I never saw the violence growing up but as a Guyanese girl, it was made clear that I had less value then my older brother.  This was confirmed growing up by them encouraging an ex-boyfriend who had threatened me with violence and a gun to keep pursuing me.  Later on it was made very clear that their focus as a family was directed to my brother.  It was made clear to me that my role as a women was to “please” men.

Of course we later became part of a very patriarchal church that reinforced many of those same beliefs that women were inferior and there for the benefit of the men.

Luckily I dated and them married Jordon who was raised by strong single mother who taught the opposite and he has always treated me with respect but has stopped me when I revert to my default mode of being subservient. Actually that has been a gift that has been given to me from most women that I know and that is that I have value.

Of course that leads to some major conflict when my parents who have grown up in a culture that does not value women now has a daughter that has been raised in a culture that does (or at least has a much higher value on women than Guyana does).

It saddens me but I feel that the main reason that I don’t have a relationship with my mom and dad is that I have abandoned the role of serving the men in the family.  When I stopped doing that, I was of no use to them and haven’t talked in many, many years.