Why Our Partner Is So Much Like Our Parent

I really like this video.

It demonstrates well the link between our choice of partner and our understanding of love and affection from our relationship with our parents.

It tells us how we re-inact our past within our current relationships, where we either “seek out the fault of a parent in a partner, or mimic a fault of a parent in a partner”. 

Very relevant for those of us who have been in an unstable relationship….and wonder why we keep attracting abusive, unstable relationships within our lives.

On a more positive note…Happy New Year!

The New Junior Doctor Contract: Exception Reporting, The Guardian Role and Power Dynamics

We all recall with interest Samuel L Jackson’s role in Quentin Tarantino’s film “Django Unchained,” playing the role of the slave manager within the film and reporting to Mr Candie, the slave owner, of any difficulties amongst the slaves.

What is of interest, of course, is that Samuel L Jackson is Afro-carribean himself, whilst the film itself portrays 1858 Texas, depicting the slavery that occurred amongst Afro-carribeans and the inherent acceptability of racism within the society at the time.

His role as an Afro-carribean man, controlling the Afro-carribean slaves, was demonstrated in Samuel L Jackson (named as Stephen within the film) being a slave himself, but in a higher hierarchical position than the other slaves, giving him the privilege within this position to talk back at both Mr Candie and at Django in a way that the other slaves would not dare to.

Thus, whilst Stephen would never have the status and prestige within the film of a Caucasian man in 1858 Texas, he was able to behave under certain boundaries as if he had this status. A further important point to note is that Stephen actually believed he had such status and prestige, due primarily to his loyalty and servitude to Mr Candie’s father, whilst of course, Stephen was never to reach equality within this film due to the racist beliefs of Mr Candie, who justified such beliefs by carving a skull to show how, in his view, the skull of an Afrocaribbean will always differ anatomically from that of a Caucasian man.

I look with interest at the underlying power dynamics taking place within the film with reference to that of the current NHS Junior Doctor crises, which this year has led to industrial action for the first time in history amongst junior doctors over an imposition of the new contract.

I find that doctors are the most interesting profession to study within power dynamics, for they are truly an abused profession.

Particularly, the unfortunate power dynamic played towards doctors by those in power attempting to mask their power, is to try and convince doctors that doctors are in power, that they have influence and that their views are being listened to and taken into consideration, whilst in reality, within the organisation, the majority of doctors often have little power or influence over much other than the management of their individual patients and their views on more broader issues are often ignored. 

This masking of power extends to that of the public who assume that doctors are in authoritative positions, holding the strings, in charge of hospitals and the NHS organisation and hence responsible for its failures, whilst actually, the NHS is in the deep claws of a political chess game, of which those who are on the front line and who actually understand the realities of the NHS are pushed to the side, devalued and undermined. 

To give an example in current times of how power is imposed and controlled amongst a bright, academically brilliant group of people, let us simply look at the new Junior Doctor contract and the “exception reporting” and “guardian role”.

Within the current Junior Doctors contract, if doctors work an excess of hours, the trusts themselves are financially penalised. The new contract will enforce a method of “exception reporting”, which essentially means that the junior doctors will have to declare through a form based procedure that they have worked over their stipulated hours. This will then come under scrutiny from their educational supervisor (who is also a doctor), who will, (as taken directly from NHS Employers website) “discuss with the doctor what action is necessary to address the exception and to ensure that it remains an exception.” Following this, NHS England has stated “where exceptions become more regular or frequent, a work schedule review will usually be required. The guardian (also a doctor), will also be informed, who’s role it is to “oversee the work schedule review process and will seek to address concerns relating to hours worked and access to training opportunities.”

Of course, it is an obvious predictability that the flaw within this system is that the responsibility as to why doctors are unable to keep to their assigned hours will fall into the hands of the individual doctor, or the educational supervisor (a doctor), or the guardian (a doctor), and be blamed on the character flaws, work ethics or competency of the individual junior doctor, rather than that of the Trust, or the work load being unsustainable, or the intense pressures faced on the clinical workforce due to underfunding and understaffing.

Don’t believe me?

Have a look the latest NHS Employers factsheet on Guardian Fines, released only a few months prior to full imposition of the new contract, which states: “In anything other than truly exceptional circumstances, the levying of a fine indicates that the system has failed and that some-one- the supervisor, the guardian or the individual doctor concerned- has failed to discharge his or her responsibilities appropriately“.

What is less obvious than this predictable outcome, however, is the ingenuity of using senior doctors (i.e. the educational supervisor and Guardian) themselves within this process to manage and supervise the individual junior doctor’s exception reporting. The educational supervisor is a senior doctor that needs to sign off the individual junior doctor at the end of each year so that he or she can progress up the system, so this obviously is going to deter junior doctors from raising exception reporting as ultimately it will create more work for their superiors. Apart from this, the emphasis of the role of educational supervisors will be on identifying, as NHS England has stated themselves, that the “exception remains an expection”, otherwise “a work schedule review” will be required, hence placing the educational supervisor in a position of having to scrutinise, ensure the competency of the junior doctor and to “improve” the junior doctor, in order to demonstrate that attempts were made in ensuring that this remains an exception, rather than being able to redirect the problem to its probable cause which is that of the organisation the doctors work for.

I argue here the similarities of power structures between that of the new junior doctor exception reporting process and that used within Django Unchained. This may sound far-fetched, making a comparison to junior doctors and historic times of slavery, but I mean not the barbaric and inhumane slavery itself, but of the mechanisms used to control slaves, which was to incorporate “one of their own”, some-one who speaks the language of the slaves, and is himself, a slave. This is the mechanism that acted as the buffer system within Django Unchained, with the benefit for the master that the anger would be directed from the slaves towards Stephen. Stephen was placed in a position as the communicator between the master and the slaves whilst handling all the dirty work for Mr Candie, allowing Mr Candie, if he so chooses, to act friendly and kind amongst his slaves.

Whilst the BMA apparently believes it was their negotiations that led to this guardian system, I question to what level this was considered in terms of its ability to be misused and its potential manipulation of other more senior doctors to be used within this power structure.

I urge therefore that those taking up the role of the Guardian or the educational supervisors themselves, to consider fully how they may be in a vulnerable position and may be misused by those in power as a buffer system to project and divert blame and enforce a contract which 98% of junior voted against, and to please not wrongly believe, like Stephen did, that this contract has granted them with an actual position of power and influence in real organisational terms.

Caring, For His or Her Own Satisfaction

“Like the proverbial husband who works all day to support his crippled wife, yet would probably abandon her were she to regain her health and become a successful career woman. It is much more satisfying to sacrifice oneself for the poor victim than to enable the other to overcome their victim status and perhaps become even more successful than ourselves.”- Slavoj Zizek, Living in the End Times

Am I Too Messy or Is She Too Clean?

 

A common argument between two cohabitants, often leading to nagging, quarrelling, frustration, resentment and all too often, an ending to the otherwise harmonious relationship.

Firstly, let me focus this post carefully and deliberately avoid the gender specific argument here of man being more comfortable in mess and woman more comfortable within cleanliness. Such gender stereotypes are depicted within the movie “Break Up”, which shows Gary and Brooke’s sudden relationship deterioration following an argument on doing the dishes.

What is more interesting to focus on from this movie is that its success lies in the audience divided as to who they feel more sided with amongst the couple, whether it be the devaluation of Gary to an “inconsiderate prick” or that of Brooke to a “nag”. 

I do not believe that this division is based on an alliance of genders- that men will simply take Gary’s side whilst women take Brooke’s side.

Instead, I believe the division in opinion to be based on the consideration of what is considered more acceptable, or less taboo, between having one’s home to be too “messy,” or instead one’s home to be too “clean.”

The focus of this post, therefore, shall be on understanding this difference in opinion.

For what is worse, living in a house that is too messy, or too clean?

The immediately obvious, more acceptable answer is that of a house that is too messy, but we have yet to make one further very important distinction, which is that of the definition of “messy” and “clean”.

Being messy or clean are not definitions necessarily mutually exclusive, nor on the same spectrum: a house can be messy, yet clean, whilst another house can be clean yet at the same time messy. There needs to be a distinction between “cleanliness”, which is that of hygiene, where “cleanliness is next to godliness”, of which lack of results in infestation of maggots, mould and so on, in contrast to “mess“, which can be more accurately described as “disorder“, rather than organisation and “order“.

I doubt that Brooke or Gary would argue of the importance of “cleanliness”- clearly, their home had no infestation of maggots and as the film progressed it showed Gary to create “mess” i.e disorder with various furniture and items out of its original position or “order”, but not that of creating a lack of “cleanliness”.

I claim that the arguments for most relationships lies within the spectrum of “mess” , the spectrum of which lies between the extremes of “order” and the extremes of “disorder” rather than that of cleanliness. 

This therefore leaves us with our final question, as to whether Brooke’s preferred position of “order” is considered more acceptable than Gary’s preferred position of “disorder”, depicted within the film as Gary and Brooke began to divide the house into different territorial sections, demonstrating their differing preferred positions within the “spectrum of mess.”

The answer is that neither is more acceptable, for unlike cleanliness, both extremes co-exist more easily as a negative. An overly ordered house, with objects lined in perfection, with no allowance for change or persons who may inadvertently modify the order, provides no room for breathing or life. Rather than being a positive, the extremely ordered is a disorder of an anal obsessive nature, of a subject who can not bear the slightest of chaos or uncertainty, within an uncertain and chaotic world.

The other extreme is that is of the overly disordered house that leads to chaos, confusion, a structureless sea with no anchor, the disorder of a chaotic mind or a constipated hoarder, unable to let go and face the world, instead preferring to remain within the solace of his own mess.

Yet, opposites attract, and hence we often find ourselves fighting over where we should leave the oven mitts, or for that matter, who is to define what is the correct “order” for the oven mitts…hanging next to the oven, or on the cupboard railing?

Where both extremes provide the propensity for arguments amongst the couple, the solution of course is tolerance, but this requires an understanding of the nature of the “spectrum of mess,”  which lacks a correct position amongst the spectrum. Ability to function well in society does not correlate with level of order- one man’s order is another man’s chaos…and so on. Many successful people prefer to come home to the excitement of chaos, whilst others prefer the calmness of order. Tolerance is therefore needed on both sides, where the ordered subject truly accepts disorder as equal and the disordered subject accepts order as equal, and neither labels the other as more weaker. Until this can happen, both subjects will exert their spectrum onto the other, until one dominates or the other leaves.

 

 

 

 

Wishing a Narcissistic Free Merry Christmas

For many of us, christmas is a difficult time. 

Why?

As much as we deny, try to forget, go no contact or leave it all in the past, the houses around us decorated in christmas lights, with the image of the happy children opening their christmas presents gives us no solace from the constant reminder of what we have not had, or what we desperately seek to forget.

We may be facing christmas alone this year. 

Those of us further on in our journey to recovery may have built our new network, who soothe our christmas to feel somewhat normal, a normality which will be cherished, but still bringing about mixed feelings of anger to what we lacked in our past, with new found hope of what we can continue to have in the future.

I wish not to pretend that a christmas wish from myself or from any-one will make this a happier time. Deception is never welcomed by those of us who have experienced what we have.

But let me say this. That we can celebrate what we do have, which is insight into the madness that we now see in its true form, that we no longer are bound to be a part of in darkness. 

We all remain together, our trauma from our past helps us find one another, to help one another and to be there for each other in a way that we have never experienced.

We seek normality and christmas is a reminder of our abnormality, but it is our abnormality that is what makes us who we are and gives us our identity.

Celebrate your christmas as the symbol of your courage to make the difficult journey away from the comfort of ignorance and delusion to that of sound mind in reality

You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. I admire you. 

Merry Christmas 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why am I an Addict?

I’m addicted to the high.

It’s not just that I have an addictive personality.

It’s that my world is of extreme highs and lows.

For me to have a moment of happiness, I need my fix.

That short drug fueled moment is what you normal people call normality.

My normality is depression.It is the inability to understand or recognize any pleasures in life, the point of waking up everyday, the mundanity of relationships, social greetings, Christmas presents, birthday cards..and the rest of it.

Without a fix, I can’t escape the low.

Nowadays, when I get “high” it just makes me feel normal again.

I am an addict that wants to feel normal without getting high, just like you.

Welcome to my world of highs and lows.