Tools #1

I’m basically a beat down grunt that’s trying to learn some medicine these days.  My definitions of psychological principles are worth nearly what you paid me for them. Bearing that always in mind, here are some basic definitions:

Transference:

Unconsciously transferring feelings experienced earlier in life to an object encountered later in life because the two objects are similar.

Me – I fucking hate horses.  When I was a kid, a horse stepped on my toe and broke it.  I can barely remember the actual incident, but I sure as hell know I hate those dumb goddamned animals.  Probably as a result, I dislike camels.  Those long faced, humpy pieces of shit are too close to horses for any sane person’s (by that I mean me, of course) comfort.  That is transference.  I hate horses, camels are pretty close, so I hate those sons-of-bitches too.

I sometimes dream of owning a horse ranch, but instead of letting little kids ride the horses on the weekends and stuff, I’d just make a fortune in cat food.  I’d also teach courses on long distance precision marksmanship with camels as targets, and I’d die a happy man.

I don’t do so well with girls who like ponies, and I don’t fucking want to, either.  They are infatuated with my equine enemies, and are treated like the traitors they are.

Anyway.

Countertransference:

This one’s a bit stickier.  It typically refers to the interaction between a therapist and a patient.  Basically, the therapist feels certain emotions based on the emotions of their patient.  The therapist’s emotions are usually tied into the therapist’s own past, and aren’t necessarily relevant to the situation being discussed with the patient.

If you try and look this one up on the googlebox, you’re going to get bogged down in a bunch of psychological mumbo-jumbo.  Since Siggy Freud coined this term, anybody who’s a Jung fanboy is going to have a conniption fit, and you might get dragged into an argument about which dead brain-shrinker’s dick is bigger.

Who cares about all that?  Not me.

Here’s what I’ve noticed, and how I use my street-level definitions:

Most people you interact with evoke some feelings in you.  The feelings aren’t usually all that strong – a general happiness if you like the person, or some mild distaste or even dread if the person’s a pain in the ass.  Now, once in awhile, you get some really strong feelings that motivate you to do something when you encounter a person.  The mere fact that you had these strong feelings in an otherwise routine interaction is the key to start paying close attention.  You need to kick up into Condition Yellow, or even Condition Red.  Your radar is telling you something.  Why?

Here’s another example from my own past experience:

If I talk to two different women about normal stuff for five minutes – different times, different venues, with both women being equally attractive – I’ll come away being really attracted to one of them.

Here’s what I know:

The woman who I’m really attracted to has problems.  She’s got a coke habit, sexual abuse issues, an eating disorder – something like that.  The women and I won’t talk about that stuff, but my subconscious has picked up on certain patterns and mannerisms.  Those subtle cues have rung the fire-bell hanging on the wall where my own personal White Knight hangs out.  That bastard starts polishing up his rusty armor and looking around for his sword.  He’s gonna go rescue this chick from herself, and he starts conspiring with my limbic system to make me attracted to her.

See?  The gal with problems acts a certain, subtle way.  Subconsciously, she’s broadcasting her pain/problems out into the world.  Because of certain experiences I’ve had/the way I was raised, my antennae are very sensitive to certain signals.  Because of those signals, I feel certain things – attraction, the need to rescue, the need to “be there”, etc.

I’ve just been countertransferenced!

For whatever reason, I was a rescuer.  I’m initially attracted to people I think I can help.  After a few disastrous relationships, I’ve learned to look at that initial extreme attraction with a very skeptical glance.  I learned that my “girl picker” was broken.  If I act on that initial extreme attraction, before long I’m going to be looking up various support groups for my girlfriend, or even having her drug dealer ex-boyfriend try and stab me in a parking lot after work (yes, that actually happened).

More people ought to do this kind of analysis about the people they’re attracted to.  If the new person makes you feel exactly like the person in the last five shitty relationships did at first – well, there’s probably something to that.  Start looking for patterns.  Don’t just dive in to those feelings.  Sure, enjoy them, but realize those feelings are there for a reason, and those feelings signify something important. Just because the feelings are good doesn’t mean you’re going to end up happy, either – don’t confuse the two.

Don’t get too wrapped up in my examples.  I used to be Sergeant Save-A-Ho, and maybe you laugh at guys like that.  No worries – I don’t care.  Just don’t overlook your own patterns.  Every guy has a “type”, and physical appearance isn’t always the biggest part of that.  What is yours?  Think back to girls you instantly were attracted to – what did they have in common?  Upbringing?  No gag reflex? Lots of brothers?  Slutty, but hiding it?

By mastering, then monitoring your countertransference radar, you can learn things about people they don’t want you to know.  That information will help guide your course, and keep you efficient in your efforts.  It takes some effort and thought to get this kind of working knowlege of how your subconcious works.  I assure you it’s very worth the effort.

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25 thoughts on “Tools #1

  1. A good entry. Actually, I think this exact phenomenon just happened to me over the past two weeks. I ran into a lady friend that I had not seen in a long time and ended up talking to her for an hour or so. I had always known that she had issues, and talking to her again just confirmed this, but I thought it would be nice just to meet up with her and talk again even though a voice was telling me that I would be better off not. Over the next week we arranged to meet again and some confusion arose, with my forgetting to respond to one email message and her being confused about something I said about meeting her at so-and-so spot – honest mistakes on both sides, I would say. Well, she ended up becoming the drama queen and rather rudely blew me off because all of this, just confirming the legitimate fears I had about her. I guess the lesson there is that if the Holy Spirit – if you will – is telling you something in that quiet tone of hers, you should give attention to those promptings and put aside wishful thinking.

    • It can be done. One can start to associate those attraction cues to the really bad relationships that came from them. Eventually, when one sees the subtle cues that used to bring about the attraction, they instead bring about awareness and even a “get outta dodge” type reaction. Then you run like hell. That girl might still draw your eye, she may still intrigue you, but the “attraction yellow’ state of mind will no longer go away and it will continually warn you to keep her at a distance. The key then is to not let the girl spend enough time with you to try to comfort the “condition yellow” out of you.

  2. GOLD!
    This is the kind of self knowledge everybody should get as soon as they reach puberty. Pay attention to what you find attractive and try to realize if that is actually good for you.Seriously your journey has been really good.
    And just visiting has a good question you are with a good woman know is the “relationship” as rewarding as the “hoes that needed to be saved” ones? Some people kind of learn that they only like the bad ones but can’t make themselves enjoy the good ones, so any pointers on that?

    • True. I think if we go down the list of encounters, there will be more similarities than differences. Rather than finding oneself going down a road of counterproductive choices, it’s best to assess and analyze the thought process as early in development as possible.

      I think that comes down to parenting though. It’s really tough to make a 14-year-old overgrown hormone look within when it comes to these types of choices. I have no kids yet but I’m pretty sure I’ll be schooling my sons and daughters on relationship aspects pretty early since so many dynamics these days are shifting.

  3. “make a fortune in cat food” lololol
    Great post. I’ve found it valuable to ask myself, “self, WHY are you attracted to that one?”
    On the other hand: Crazy Chick Sex.
    I guess it comes down to making a choice consciously.

  4. Dogsquat, have you ever tried any form of meditation or qigong or bodywork therapy? It is extremely effective in washing out the gunk you are carrying that creates dysfunctional attraction patterns. It does not just allow you to not respond to attraction patterns that are wired for ever but removes the bad attraction pattern entirely. You get a healthy one in stead. If you try the qigong meditation the six healing sounds you will find most of your issues when doing the spleen sound. It is connected to unhealthy empathy that stems from insecurity and to codependency. It will take time before you start to feel much when you do it but if you consistently d o it over time it will work remarkably well. If you do regular concentration meditation on the breath or a mantra alongside it, the healing sounds meditation will start to work much faster. Bodywork therapy can also be quite effective in fixing bad attraction patterns and healing emotional trauma. THe problem with talk therapy and just reflecting on your issues yourself is that it is difficult to actually get in touch with the old emotions and to process them properly so they stop being damaging. Bodywork therapy gets you back to actually feeling whatever bad you felt in the past so you can go through the grieving process and heal the trauma. Body therapy can be a bit brutal and far less pleasurable than meditation and qigong though. With the latter you mostly feel really good while doing it and sometimes you get up some really bad emotions but those are much quicker to process in the meditative state or with qigong techniques. Bodywork can be good alongside those though in order to speed up the process or for those who don`t want to or can`t do meditation or qigong or for those whose practice isen`t getting them in touch with their issues fast enough.

    • I did some yoga for awhile, and I’m quite interested in the other things you’ve mentioned. My current enemy is time. I did fix myself, though, and I’ll post how in a couple days.

  5. Left this at Vox:

    Very long story short, Dogsquat has unresolved issues and he’s looking for someone to resolve them with and finish that game. He wants to salve someone else through the girls, his mom, father, himself, go figure. Mix that with a heavy dosis of sexual attraction and it feels like home. The same broken home where all this originated.

    You can change your attraction cues by fixing your core wounds

      • Ah ok, Gotcha.

        I started to write out a reply, but it got super lengthy, so I put it over at my blog instead. Basically I’ve already change a ton of my physical attraction cues to mirror the physical tells of a healthy life style in women.

        Now I’m starting to read and dig into issues that I have with myself and how they influence who I’m attracted to. I have a feeling that its dealing with my issues as well as consciously recognizing cues that were previously subconscious attractions. Then taking those recognitions and consciously associating them with the very rational ideas they’re associated with and the emotional pain they’ve previously led me to through my actions.

        Still, like the others, curious to see how you went about it. All I have are theories I’m putting to use without knowing the results as of yet.

  6. Pingback: Finding Your Wounds « stagedreality

  7. Dogsquat,

    This is so true. Great post.

    To those who are asking about changing attraction triggers, I think Dogsquat touches on his method of changing attraction cues in the post. Somewhere up there, he says,

    Now, once in awhile, you get some really strong feelings that motivate you to do something when you encounter a person. The mere fact that you had these strong feelings in an otherwise routine interaction is the key to start paying close attention. You need to kick up into Condition Yellow, or even Condition Red. Your radar is telling you something. Why?…

    See? The gal with problems acts a certain, subtle way. Subconsciously, she’s broadcasting her pain/problems out into the world. Because of certain experiences I’ve had/the way I was raised, my antennae are very sensitive to certain signals. Because of those signals, I feel certain things – attraction, the need to rescue, the need to “be there”, etc.

    Probably, just becoming conscious of those “subtle cues” a person gives off, and learning to associate them with the negative outcomes one has experienced in the past, is enough to kill that attraction switch. That’s why the moment you feel that intense attraction you move into Condition Red. You know your attraction triggers are fucked up, you feel that sudden wave of attraction, and you study the person and the interaction for what set off the triggers.

    That’s my take, anyway.

    Great blog, Dogsquat.

    • Thanks for swinging by, man. You’ve got it. Just knowing what’s going on is 75% of the deal. The rest is addressing whatever insecurities cause Sgt Save-A-Ho to come out.

  8. Makes one rethink hollywood’s “love at first sight” theme! I agree, but does this account for every bad relationship? There is another person involved, and maybe they are counter transferring you! Would one be able to account for that? And, we are creative. If we want to find similarities in our choices, we probably can. People are all a little screwed up. But I think it’s a good exercise, and I did it considering I just got out of a relationship with a total train wreck of a human!

    Here a take on it:

    Ex wife: Highly successful and driven. Controlling, blonde, beautiful, tall. Aggressive. Temperate and even keeled personality. Never saw her loose her temper in 4 years. I was instantly attracted to her and vividly remember meeting her.

    Last “girlfriend.” I’m comparing them because our breakup was surprisingly painful even though our relationship was short, rocky and I knew it was a bad idea long term.

    Not instantly attracted, but she put out on the 1st date. Regular blackout-drinker, overly flirtatious, serial dater, anecdote after anecdote about old boyfriends. Brunette, maybe a 6, not ambitious but intelligent. Extreme vegetarian, would not eat altoids because they contain gelatin, would not wear leather. Obsessive about having many friends. Constant social calendar. Marathon runner (but still overweight! Christ come on!) Extreme adventure-vacationer.

    Extreme personalities is the only guess I have as to if I was counter transferring? Or was my ex a countertransference (I wanted her type of success and social status) and the other was a remedy for loneliness and has nothing to do with transference.

    • Tough to say, man. Any alcoholism in your ex-wife’s family? Sometimes people end up keeping emotions bottled up/under strict control when they’re raised in those kinds of environments. Your “ex-girlfriend” is an alcoholic. In my experience, people who are endorphin/adrenaline junkies (marathons and extreme adventure vacations) have a propensity for addiction to opiates. Their brain is just wired that way. Usually, they break their leg or whatever, take percocet or something for a few weeks, and pow! Now they’ve got another addiction to deal with. It’s weird – I can make a pretty good guess about that based on their initial reaction to the first dose of IV pain meds I give. Most people get sleepy or feel nauseous and weird, but people like your ex-GF feel really, really good. It’s slightly unsettling to start a Fentanyl drip on somebody with a compound fracture, then look up to see them grinning at me. I’ll admit to a mild suspicion about people who severely restrict food like that, too. It usually means something.

      The first thing that sticks out to me is that both women have control issues. Don’t forget that you’re evolving, as well. Another mitigating factor is sex right at the start of the relationship. Vagina is an excellent obfuscatory device. Sometimes it’s hard to be objective if you go from celibate to getting some, and from lonely to social in a short span. You can get swept up, like.

      It’s worth thinking about from time to time. You’ll figure something out.

      None of that should be considered medical advice or a diagnosis. I’m just a dumb-ass ambalamps driver, and the info above is a just my observation.

      By the way, you dodged a bullet with the ex-GF, Brother – believe it. I see where that lifestyle ends up every shift I work. It is Not Nice. Regular blackout drinking keeps trauma surgeons, GI docs, and orthopedists employed. It’s a veritable fountain of hope for patients waiting on donor organs. Sometimes, the drunk will manage to kill or maim some innocent bystanders, too. Those people are fucking dangerous, and I wish I could put them down like rabid dogs when I see them in drunk in public.

      Seriously, dude – you want to get over her quickly? Go volunteer for a few weekends in the emergency department of your nearest Level 1 Trauma Center. You’ll realize how utterly selfish she is for refusing to deal with her drinking.

  9. What I really like? Tall girls with big tits and high cheekbones, lots of dark hair, and eyes that were just a touch too twitchy and bright for their own good – neurotic life of the party chicks. And strippers. Dated several. Profoundly broken women but physically hot and good enough for the purposes I used ’em for, wallowing in some good old fashioned short term lust, for the most part.

    Ravingly attracted to me? Hot little left wing pixies. Like really left wing – state Green Party chair, a National Lawyers Guild organizer, a goofy ass German performance artist. Drawn to me like a dog to bacon. Or like me to bacon. Why this is I do not know. I will ask the question of the others in the mead hall when I reach Valhalla. Perhaps they have some insight.

    Wife? A solid 7, stable, pretty solid character as women go, moral, good mother, headstrong, responds better when I’m stronger toward her. A good counterbalance to my weaknesses and a good match. I tried the save-a-hoe thing a couple times when I was quite young. It didn’t pay off, so I switched over to being very aggressive and mildly condescending. Bingo. Then it wasn’t so much about my attractor, as my picker. I’m pretty happy with my pick, still wonder why most of the hot chicks I dated were so screwed up.

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