Blessed Virgin! It's enough to send me flying back to the Holy Mother Roman Fucking Catholic Church. What do I mean? I mean this: Post-Traumantic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD); Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD); Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD); Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). Happy trails to you, darlin. Flashbacks. Texas tea. Who the Fuck Am I Anyway Disorder (WTFAIAD). Jesus H. Herbert Hoover Christ!
So there I was sitting in Starbucks tonight -- having just come from Borders, down the esplanade through the sopping rain, carrying my plastic baggy full of books and bookish doodads -- sipping a quad espresso and cackling over this passage in Interpersonal Diagnosis and Treatment of Personality Disorders, 2nd edition (from which the above headline was also cribbed):
"The theory of the Klute syndrome suggests that patients cannot change in therapy if they repeatedly have orgasms while conjuring images having the interpersonal dimensionality of the disorder."
I suppose it belies my emotional arrest at the level of the fifth grade (Mrs. Gasparini, where are you now? -- not to mention the five-foot Iguana that ran around free in our classroom all that year at Madrone Jr. High School in Sunnyvale CA, deep in the heart of Silicon Valley back when the nearest silicon was the beach at Santa Cruz...) that I perceived this as howlingly funny, pretty much solely based on the appearance of the word "orgasm." And possibly its juxtaposition with Klute. I'm giving myself the benefit of the doubt. I'm also, in everyday life, allowing myself as much psychopathology as I can eat. Some might label this as indicative of mania, but I like to think of it as a form of intellectual bulimia. To my mind, a less worrisome diagnosis.
As it turns out -- I learned this later as a result of my growing proclivity for reading books backwards -- there is, in truth, a context for the above quote that lends it more rational sense than it appears to have here. Which suits my purpose of the moment (whatever it may be) just fine (as I'm no more sure of that purpose than you). However, as this paperback text retails for something like 26 bucks and deals with hugely abstruse details of pathological psychodynamics, it's more than a bit unlikely you'll ever know what that context is. And I'm not telling. Thus, you could say this is a very private joke.
If you were only more gifted, less short-coming (does this refer, I wonder, I mean in its etymology, to premature ejaculation?) you would compliment me and pay closer attention. Achtung, baby!
But wait. Let me not suggest that the humor in this book, and the reason for my Inappropriate Laughter Reaction (ILR) in Starbucks this evening, was all in my head. I mean, inasmuch as the entire universe is not in my head (cf. Hume [wasn't it? one of those guys] and Vonnegut, esp. Breakfast of Champions). But not to devolve into unscientific philosophical speculation, here's another quote, this time from the Introduction and Overview:
"A great way to come down with a case of 'medical student's disease' is to read a survey of personality disorders. For example, a reader of Milton's (1982) impressive summary of each of the categories for personality disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, third edition (DSM-III; All-American Psychiatric Association, 1980) can believe that he or she has nearly every personality disorder there is. Probably any remaining disorders cab be assigned to one's spouse."
Or, as we are not all (still) married, ex-date.
See? Isn't that funny? But as I look over the rest of the paragraph, I realize it may be worthwhile (for you, that is) to quote the subsequent mega-run-on sentence. If nothing else, it's easier than trying to think up what to write next.
"Who does not suffer from official 'symptoms' of personality disorders, including idealization, devaluation, vanity, temper outbursts, boredom, seductiveness, rapidly shifting emotions, devastation in face of criticism, needs to be special or unique, failures in empathy, cruelty, infidelity, working too hard, working too little, hypervigilance, ideas of reference [see Little House on the Prairie], odd mannerisms, wanting to be too intimate, wanting to be too distant, needing advice about little things, being too autonomous, having trouble getting started, feeling devastated when a relationship ends, being perfectionistic, being irresponsible, being too bossy, being too deferential, being withdrawn, hating being alone, wanting acceptance but fearing rejection, resenting others' control, or being critical of authorities?"
I ask you, is that not a fucking hoot? Is it not, moreover, calming to the terminally besieged spirit walking around Synchronicity City on a Saturday night?
For yes, Valued Readers, it is as if but a single day had passed since last we used that phrase, Out of Our Fucking Tree (OOFT) as we were back then a year ago. But now, thanks to the miracle of Psychotherapy for the Lovelorn (PFTL), returned once again to the Tender Breast of Society (TBOS) -- leaving aside the reference to "breast" and the inevitable Kleinian connotations of primary object attachment it may raise for y'all.
Let's face it. I'm just smarter than you.
And not one bit ashamed or remorseful.
Take no prisoners!
But no, really, I'm OK. I'm fine.
Though you might be allowed to wonder. I wondered last week as I sat here on this very couch holding a Yale University Press tome I'd just scored at (a different) Borders, asking myself why it filled me with such overwhelming joy. It did. True, Severe Personality Disorders: Psychotherapeutic Strategies would not be everybody's cup of tea. But then, I'm special.
Why, just yesterday, I read most of Comparing Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies, by James F. Masterson, et al, in which I learned that Heinz Kohut and his "Self Psychology" are totally full of shit, whereas Otto Kernberg, despite a certain leaning toward richly Teutonic prose, is a fucking gas. I mean, anyone who explains Narcissistic Personality Disorder as your basic "ego trip" is all right in my book. Right on, bro. Das ist fuckungstigung-A richtig, du kleine Muttie!
Hi, Otto! (Hi Don R. & Don W.!)
I got a similar rush tonight when I stumbled onto Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process. As Keanu would say, WHOA! Just check out some of these Table of Contents Entries (TOCE):
Repression, Regression, Isolation, Intellectualization, Rationalization, Moralization, Compartmentalization, Undoing, Displacement, Reaction Formation, Reversal, Identification, Sexualization, Sublimation...
I think Emimem might have written this book, yo. Isolation, sublimation, muthafuckin masturbation...
But no, it was Nancy McWilliams, Ph.D., of the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSOAAPP) at Rutgers University (RU). Won't she be surprised when she does a little Ego-Surfing on Google (ESOG) and turns up this page.
Actually, I've been reading a lot of these kinds of books lately, trying to get a handle on how I need to, you know, change.
I met this woman in the bookstore tonight, and I said, "Were you looking for something in Psych?" -- I was sitting in that aisle so I could get a better look up her skirt. "...because I just rummaged through all these books and maybe I can help you find what you're looking for." All part of the service. As you know. But of course she didn't. She was about to find out, though.
"I'm looking for The Dance of Anger," she said. I bit down on my tongue so I wouldn't say, "Oh, I can do that. Would you like to see?" What I said was, since I know a little something about psychology, and about that particular author: "Oh, I see."
Letting her work through it.
"Why," she said, "is there something wrong with the book?"
"Well," I said, "it's a little tough on men."
Knowing she'd love it. Eat it up.
She did. "That's the one for me!" she said. At the expense of my entire gender, I had established a kind of rapport. Why, I wondered. The book truly sucks. Anyone who'd want to read it had to be seriously fucked up. Unlike myself.
Hi, Harriet! (Hi, M. Why the fuck are you not returning my calls? It's not like I'm dangerous or anything.)
In about 30 seconds, I learned that her husband was twisted with anger because his Mom had died a while back, then his Dad last August, and she was about to leave him and take the kids. "He needs to wake up and figure out what's going on. He has no idea." The compassionate type.
Personally speaking, if I were in this guy's shoes, I wouldn't get angry. I wouldn't be verbally abusive. I would simply and dispassionately kill her. All Part of the Service, II.
She kept telling me about this book called Rebuilding by somebody or other; she told me about nine times, but I kept forgetting. Forgetting won. Some guy. "Is he from around here?" I asked, because something about the way she was talking about this book made me think he was from around here.
"No," she said. "He's from the Boulder-Denver area." Which I found more than a little curious, seeing as the bookstore we were having this little chat in is situated midway between those two cities.
"Oh," I said. "I see."
"He's dead now," she said.
People are fucking insane, have you noticed that?
I told her I got divorced last August. A bit too obvious, I thought, but what the hell. Letting her know, just in case. She said oh she understood. Was I looking for something to help me get through it? To help me, you know, change?
I said, no, not really, I don't want to change. I'm more into books about psychoanalysis these days, and you know, personality disorders.
"Oh," she said. "I see."
But of course she didn't. How could she? Which is partly why I was chortling to myself in Starbucks later. Heh-heh. The laughter of the damned.
Spring ahead, I reminded myself. Fall back.
Yeah, sure, I'm OK.
In fact, I feel GREAT!!!
Except now all the espresso is gone, dammit.
Well, we can't have what we want all the time, now, can we?
I suppose that's true. But I don't know why not.
Because we get what we need?
Very good! I see you've been boning up on your Stones.
So to speak.
As it transpired, what I needed was right there in Interpersonal Diagnosis and Treatment of Personality Disorders, 2nd edition, in Part Three: "DSM Cluster C -- The Anxious, Fearful Group." I shit you not.
In that section, the title of Chapter 11 -- and what can we draw from this odd coincidence, class? -- is, and I quote:
Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder (Negativistic Personality Disorder): Personality Disorder NOS
(btw, "NOS" means "not otherwise [something].")
The chapter begins with a quote: "Therapy is not helping."
Imagine me cracking up here, and all the other, kinder gentler Starbucks customers looking suddenly alarmed. Including the young girl with the lovely face sitting by the window with her boyfriend, and the really nice breasts.
But now it's gotten late. Too late. Morning already. And I forgot to take my meds. My head feels funny. I got what I need, though. Another cup of motherfucking coffee. Peets, if you must know. Bought at the local Safeway, for christ's sake. However, despite daylights savings time (DST) -- which saves us from getting the daylights knocked out of us -- the whole point of writing tonight was to tell you about this particular Chapter 11. So whatever you do, don't stop reading now. Trust me, the last bit is quite amusing, really. Not to mention sensitive, perceptive and caring.
It seems that the compilers of DSM-IV (by now you've gotten the hang of this, right? Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Etc.) first saw fit to shitcan the Passive-Aggressive rubric altogether, later thought better of it, but added the parenthetical "Negativistic Personality Disorder" rider, then, adding insult to injury, dumped the whole shootin' match into an oh-by-the-way Appendix. Moreover, they removed nearly all the really aggressive diagnostic qualifiers, replacing them with a boatload of nicey-nice passive descriptors, thus making the asswipes who not only deserve the pasive-aggressive label, but moreover, deserve to be locked in the darkest dungeon of the blackest bedlam forever, appear to be misunderstood little psycho-gimpy wimp-wits who wouldn't hurt a fly. Whereas they are, in point of fact, blood-thirsty vampires of the first water.
And, as if that weren't enough, the acronym NPD, which has traditionally been used for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is now shared, thanks to this sneaky underhanded psychiatric boondoggle, with "Negativistic" Personality Disorder.
As in: "Ewwww, why do you have so much negativity?
Hell, like it was shit on your shoe or something.
Listen up. This is the work of lowdown lying loathsome passive-aggressive narcissists FROM BOULDER COLORADO, ALL OF WHOM DESERVE NOTHING LESS THAN DEATH FOR THEIR HUMORLESS WITHDRAWAL FROM FUCKING REALITY!!!
God, I feel better now. I just had to get that off my chest.
I realize this post has been a little challenging for you, but just remember this and you'll be OK:
BORDERLINES GOOD, NARCISSISTS EVIL.