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The Wish to Get Mugged

One of the more ironic fantasies I’ve encountered among my patients is the wish to get mugged.  Ironic, because , who in their right mind wants to get beaten up and robbed? (Not that all my patients are in their right mind:  I’m a psychologist, after all). But the wish to get mugged is not really about the wish to get hurt. Rather, it is a wish for an EXCUSE to hurt someone else, anyone, (in this case, the mugger) with impunity. It is a free pass for acting out your aggressive feelings. You’re entitled to defend yourself

Beating up a mugger is not really about the mugger, who is a stand-in for a hated person, or maybe even for the patient himself. Perhaps this explains the recent spate of murders of homeless persons in California. The murderer may be killing a debased image of himself.

Maybe Nietzsche was onto something.

(Note that patient identities are disguised)

Dog Love

The woman on the phone sounded hesitant. “My girlfriend makes love to our dog,” she said. After thirty years of practice I thought I had heard everything, but making love to a dog was a new one to me.  Dutifully  channeling my inner Sigmund, doing what therapists do, I invited her in to talk about it.

Not that I know anything about bestiality. I practice in a city. Lots of amorous people cruising around but no cows or sheep. Be open-minded I counseled myself.  After all, bestiality is harmless. No one is hurt. No human. But…what about the dog? Was it an adult? Was it consenting? The truth is, I find the idea of making love to a dog repulsive. No, no, this is not about me, nor bestiality…. it’s about the quality of the women’s relationship, their ability to communicate and respect each other.

I didn’t know what to expect, but the attractive, thirty-something professional woman from Colombia who came to my office did not match any of my mental pictures of her. I immediately asked her the obvious question:  What do you mean, exactly, by your girlfriend making love to their dog. She answered with disgust — that her girlfriend actually kisses the dog on its face, allows it to  sit on her lap and lick her,  and, believe it or not, takes it into their bed.

I burst out laughing. “Welcome to the United States,” I said. A few years later, when she became a citizen, she sent me a photo her girlfriend and herself hugging the dog.

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Welcome to my blog about doing psychotherapy. Don’t worry. No one’s confidentiality will be violated.