Dysfunctional relations and relating.
Below I share how a recent TV programme got me thinking, that shone a light on dysfunctional relating and relationships.
It’s an extreme example but these kind of things do happen to some woman therefore I feel it’s important to highlight this .
On television, the entire idea of relationships has been glamorized. The idea that someone can be so cruel and hurtful is too much for many to comprehend. We have been sold an amazingly unreal dream about relationships. A vast majority of people can never live up to these idolised versions . The fantasy is great, but we need to live in the reality of what can happen when two people meet.
The script of many relationships is so far off from reality that people don’t realise what they are stepping into. When people realise this, they may have no method to deal with it. Some trot along in monotonous, unsatisfying and sometimes soul-destroying situations.
If you read my article on childhood, then this may become much clearer.
This blog was created as a result of watching a recent show of Dexter .It reminded of the potential for abusive, destructive and damaging components of relationships.
This programmes story line and central theme, is an area that people rarely discuss. It shows how quickly an unhealthy toxic relationships begin. Although this behaviour may sit on the extreme end of the spectrum, but many people have had this experience.
Quite quickly ,relationships can move from something that feels wonderful to dissatisfying and scary overnight.
How people perceive and manage these experiences will depend on their level of self awareness , capacity to mange boundaries and belief system. Once someone is involved in a relationship of this kind it can be hard to get away. They may feel that they are so far down the road that turning back isn’t a choice.
Starting again also evokes a huge amount of fear. Its a often a scenario in domestic violence cases.
Often the partners behaviour changing at the point of pregnancy.
The episode of Dexter I watched reminded me of this extreme end of the spectrum.
Dexter took on a case investigating the suicides of several strong, independent women. He found that they all had a common factor. They had all gone to see a therapist! But before you freak out and classify anyone in the helping profession as a psychopath, remember that this was a television show. Although do use your good judgement. Even this is outside of the normal reality, what was highlighted was very illuminating. This led me to explore further.
Having made the connection between the murders and the therapist, Dexter decided to pay him a visit. While the office was empty,he took to searching it. He found tapes of the therapy sessions with the women in question. The tapes showed and how the therapist had opened up the conversation. Over time he had built up their trust, listened and payed attention. They shared their anguish and pain. They shared their loneliness and past issues with men. He then manipulated the information. The therapist encouraged the women to talk. But over time the women encountered their deeper feelings of depression and hopelessness. And instead of helping them look at anything else, he exploited these emotions. He manipulated them to take steps to go further into even darker spaces. The light of hope got dimmer and dimmer. He focused more on their low self esteem, hopelessness and victimisation. All enabling him to be seen as both the great listener and rescuer. The only person that truly understood them. Yet, no attempts were made to rescue or help them develop resilience. Instead he played on those feelings ,sending them deeper into despair.
(It is extremely important to note that talking about your low moods and suicidal feelings isn’t wrong. Yet , you don’t want to do it for too long. A good therapist can help you acknowledge these feelings and help you move past them.
Over the weeks of therapy, the therapist, through his knowledge and the tools he used created dependency. He created a dependency on him. After time, even if the woman had felt uneasy, they might have struggled to leave. When the women explored being down and not coping well, he encouraged more of this line of thinking. Some of the women explored suicide, and he led them to explore it with more fervour and seriousness.
Unlike ” good” therapist’s, who would help their clients deal with these low feelings: he exploited the information for his own psychopathic desires and dark tendencies.
Dexter decided to pretend to be a client. He also started going through the process therapy. He was learning about himself in the sessions. Although Dexter was playing at being the patient, over time, the lines for him became confused. This made him feel very uneasy. His reasons for being there became blurred.
Being as acute as Dexter, the therapist was able to get under Dexter’s skin and make him question himself. The therapist got right into his psyche with a laser-like precision. This experience left Dexter feeling unhinged. This hadn’t happened to Dexter before, since the character had always been able to keep people at arm’s length. After all he was also a psychopath.
Unlike the portrayal in this episode, therapy is a to help people grow and change.