Strong Opinions

by Barry Drogin

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In your eyes, I have strong opinions and the ability to express those opinions strongly. In my eyes, I do not always have strong opinions, but I do have the ability to express my opinions strongly. Because I at times express my opinions strongly, you wrongly assume that I hold the opinions themselves strongly.

You conclude that a person who holds strong opinions is one who inherently will impose those opinions on others; thus, you ascribe to me inherent motives of domination and control, for their own sake. When I describe other motives based more on circumstance, situation, feeling, love and so on, you take these explanations as mere rationalizations. Thus, you are always insisting that you know why I really did something, your explanation being: because I seek to control and dominate. You have never succeeded in explaining why I seek to control and dominate --- for you it is some inherent psychological character flaw. When I try to explain why I actually did something, you refuse to listen, preferring your own catch-all simplistic explanation, which prompts me to characterize your position as belonging to a "fantasy world" of your own devising.

You ascribe more trust in your feelings about your perception of an event than to the facts of the event itself. Thus, I "threw the cat against the wall," which, when repeated like a mantra, calls up its own images and associations totally unrelated to the actual occurrence, which you are uninterested in reconstructing. Similarly, I "destroyed the apartment," I "stole the checkbook," a phone call and letter are "cruel and inhuman treatment." You are embarrassed to admit that the emotion you attached to the actual events may not be justified by the actual events themselves, so you cling to your simplistic versions of the events, and to the emotions you associate with them. Reality, for you, has become a simplistic version of complex events, your associated over- reactions, and your catch-all motivation ascribed to me. You then feel this world-view justifies actions on your part which are gross, cruel and inconsiderate. Then you seek from me an admission of guilt, i.e., confirmation of your original interpretation of the events and justification of your later actions.

Despite my wish to end the hurt you have inflicted on me by your actions, despite the associated loneliness of the current situation, and despite my desire to forgive you, I will never allow your incomplete, non-empathic descriptions of past events to stand as is. Your uses of the words "pain" and "anger" are mere abstractions to me --- the first self-deluded, the second self- inflicted. I refuse to be your "yes man" and continue the selfish charade you insist on playing.

Because I am eloquent, I am not, by definition, elitist, deceiving and untrustworthy. I am fed up with your need to take every desire, need and opinion of mine and profess the opposite for no other reason than to assert your independence. This tendency of yours absolutely sickens me. You must start listening to me from an open and honest vantage point, and not see every acknowledgement of truth from my lips as a loss in your own autonomy. This is not to say that I, myself, believe that 100% of what I say is true, or, especially, complete. Refer, for example, to the first paragraph of this document. But your hunger to disagree with every word from my mouth is disgustingly immature and selfish.

It would appear that a major source of dissatisfaction for me stems from the false versions of events you use, the false motives you ascribe to me, and the wrongful actions you then follow up with. A major source of dissatisfaction for you, aside from those falsely described, is my insufficient approval of you and your actions. Thus, for me, it is things you say and do, and for you, it is things I do not say and do. You must admit that, beyond a debate of first causes, my dissatisfaction is more grounded in reality. Nevertheless, your dissatisfaction has some grounding and can be addressed in the future, but not when you specifically sabotage the compliment (for example, in the realms of food, transportation, appearance). You cannot expect to prove your independence by specifically going against my desires, and then complain when I do not approve of the result.

I have said that you have no explanation for why I am controlling and dominating, in your eyes. But I have an explanation for why you act the way you do --- it is inherent in the process of continuous self-evaluation and self-justification tackled in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy teaches that there is no reality; all that exists are your perception and feelings about reality. Also, the language of secret motivations, control, domination, pain and anger are cribbed from psychotherapy's halls. But all this proves is that psychotherapy is incompatible with reality, not that reality is incompatible with psychotherapy. Events do not occur in psychotherapy, and they do exist. Your dwelling on an event inside psychotherapy does not make the reality of the event, and its perception by others, change. YOU MUST STOP LIVING IN PSYCHOTHERAPY, AND START LIVING IN THE WORLD. Living in the world is what you are afraid of. Don't be afraid.

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Cassandra's Curse 1993, 1996, 2007

Last Updated: August 4, 2007