Hi. It’s Sunday and I imagine you are going to church. It’s true that I’m an ‘atheist’ whatever that means. For me, losing a parent at age 2, it means the notion of a God in the sky and a father in the sky are all mixed up in childhood loss. Neither one are available to bring me presents, based on evidence.
My mother wasn’t available either because she was a narcissist, and I was in love with who she pretended to be when I did something for her. He’s such a Good Boy. Essential grooming and training of a co-dependant and dogs. No wonder I prefer cats. That look, the narcissists stare, the unblinking eyes of the look of mothers love, gets me every time.
I’ve seen it in lovers and yoga cult recruiters. At the Ashram they could really turn it on, God’s love channeling, shining through the eyes of the Guru. They even called it Divine Mother, as they were shopping for and grooming the ‘karma yoga’ codependents, slaves essentially, who traded labour for that look. At the church as well, whether it’s the minister shaking hands at the end of the service, that loving stare in return for the donation, or the bishop when I was 13 at some rite of passage ceremony, the same unblinking intense look of a mothers love that we are to redefine as a spiritual experience.
It’s all part of who they are pretending to be. My last minister in the United Church held a meeting in his home, for us planning some art show I was to curate. He drank 2 bottles of wine in the hour I was there, and still kept the pretense up, of a sober serious man. He had some serious narcissist chops.
The native charisma I suppose goes with it, the powerful personality of a world class charmer. Good actors either have it or are trained in it. I know when I was at art school we were trained, commercial fine art, in how to make an image ‘look good’. I suppose if you can do that, trigger emotional responses with a pencil and a piece of paper, you can do it with anything, especially a human being.
My teacher at the Ashram was a 6’6″ imposing figure of a man, former truck driver with a radio announcers voice, recruiter extraordinaire, the most charming man I ever met. He hid very well the anxious and hostile makeup, I’ve found common in the type, behind the unblinking eyes of feigned mothers love. As age 60 approached him, he married one of the young devotees, early 20’s, and moved to Winnipeg. His former wife, he left at the Ashram, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, discarded and left behind, of little use to him.
Empathy, compassion, caring and love are the things they are pretending to have and of course they are having none of it. Anxiety and hostility are what lurk behind that look of love.
On an institutional scale, it explains the different branches and sects of religion. All that overvaluing (you know the words of God!) then undervaluing as the truth inevitably comes out (no one does), and the fear and bitterness leading to the holy wars and lack of empathy, in the child molestations, for example, then consequent dumping, going on. The movie Spotlight, a true story, goes into more sordid detail about the institutional abuses of children on an epic scale.
Overvalue, *you are a true spiritual being* (there’s no such thing), Undervalue *uh oh he saw that anxious and hostile event* (you are getting to know who I really am), Dump *you are over indulging in the senses by going to art school* (find ways to make it all your fault as you are thrown out the door). True story, life at the Ashram.
So being vulnerable, due to recent loss and abuse, I am picked up in the coffee shop by a beautiful woman who is searching for a codependent, as it turns out, to be a hired hand because it looks like she is going to have Huntington’s disease and will require quite a lot of care, in few years. I’m in the market for a ‘one true love’ so this is what she sells me. She reveals the gene for the upcoming disease after we ‘fall in love’ of course, when the hook is firmly set, with the condition of, maybe it won’t happen. Oh. Well fuck, the sex is abundant and varied (they bore easily) she is charming, has lots of money so I can go to art school, likes cats, so ya let’s roll the disease dice and play house. When she inevitably dumped me, the family therapist who deprogrammed me from narcissist relationships, at the hospital, described our union as a business deal. Huh? Ya, relationships are unconditional, if there are conditions all over it, then it’s a business deal, a contract.
You broke the contract buddy, you asked for what you wanted, codependents don’t have needs fulfilled. Geez, get with the program or get out.
So here we are, you are a church going believer in Christ, and I’m not, well I am waiting for evidence, yet we like each other for no particular reason, other than we just do. Albert Ellis, my fav psychotherapist, puts it like this: Make your partners goals (for satisfaction which is the purpose of life) almost as important as your own (Ellis, Making Intimate Connections, 2000).
So, my new friend, if you are going to church, and you want me there for company, I’m going. It’s my responsibility to find something satisfying, the music, the art or the pretty women to look at, whatever. I’ll not act like a pouting 4 year old about it and make everyone miserable. I’ll not put conditions on it, my liking you, your very loveable traits, because its not in my best interests to do that, then try to get my needs (for communication, companionship and sex) met. It’s self defeating. It’s self helping to accept our differences without conditions. It’s self helping to accept myself, you, and the world without these conditions too. Otherwise I’m just being a 4 year old, holding my breath till I turn blue. You promised to have the secrets of the universe goddammit! The search for perfection is the search for loneliness (David Burns, Intimate Connections, 1985).
Or, I highly prefer to have the secrets of the universe, but I don’t have to. I can still find satisfaction in community, music, art and pretty women, by going to church with you.
Life is a satisfaction, not a business deal because life is a relationship that requires unconditional acceptance in order to be satisfying.