"ANONYMOUS" JUMPS ON PL'S "JUDGMENTAL" ATTITUDE ABOUT PARENTS, ETC.!/PL RESPONDS!

Here's Anonymous on PL's post: "STROLLERS BANNED IN BARS! A NO-BRAINER, BUT NOT FOR THE NARCISSISTS!":

I was perusing the Gothamist article about the stroller ban at The Gate and wound up in the comments section at FIPS. I read your comment, and have a question for you: Who are you?!

(Besides being a psychotherapist for blah-blah years—whatever that’s worth-- and some sort of a Park Slope parent)

I should’ve prefaced this comment by saying that I live in Park Slope, I’ve got a couple of kids, and as a rule, I don’t drag my kids to bars or to restaurants that don’t cater to kids. I’m pretty sure that the one time a year that I wind up meeting some friends at a bar on a slow afternoon (or say, watching a bit of a World Cup game) for a beer is not just an opportunity to act out my drama through my children. I still find plenty of opportunities to act out my own dramas. And I'm not an apologist for those that pollute the bars with their kids. That’s not my point.

It’s interesting that you don’t find that it undermines the spew that you preach on this site to sit in judgment of the shameless narcissists who reveal their poor life choices by taking their kids to bars and nice restaurants. I am curious how you reconcile all this healing and self-actualization that you’re helping or hoping (or something) others realize in themselves with this negative, counterproductive, judgmental sniping.

There is no doubt that there are selfish, entitled people who wind up having kids without understanding the magnitude of that choice. I’m not sure many people do fully grasp what it means to be a parent before they decide to do it. But you appeal to the shame and guilt in your fellow PS parents (and patients, it would appear) by calling them out on your site and the other sites you frequent. This seems to violate the FPL handbook and trashes the credibility of whatever you want to accomplish with the FPL thing.

And it reeks of your own narcissism that you use your new-agey, healing, loving forum to address your beef with your own neighbors, and to remind readers that you’ve been doing it for years. And you might want reign in the pride that you have for unearthing the little nugget that there are narcissistic parents in Park Slope. Any monkey that steps out off the subway in this neighborhood could smell it in the air in a couple of minutes. It’s hardly a landmark discovery.

These petty attacks don’t seem to demonstrate your state of harmony with others and the world around you, but maybe that makes sense to you…being a highly-evolved psychotherapist and all.

Lots o' luck.


Here's PL:

Thanks for writing in, Anonymous, though I'm not sure why you're asking who I am since it is "narcissistically" all over my blog, isn't it?!

Anyway, many people confuse judgment with assessment, as you seem to be doing. Judgments are not based on reality, but on projections, transferences, identifications, etc. Judgments, in other words, start with a need to see other people as you wish to see them, rather than as they are.

Assessments on the other hand are descriptions based on information objectively observed. To call a narcissist a narcissist isn't a judgment, therefore; it is an assessment, and actually an essential ingredient to any healing process. There is no healing without facing the truth about oneself.

It is true, yes, that I don't see my role as a "healer" as being to sooth anyone's fragile ego nor feed anyone's illusions about themselves. Too much damage is done from that kind of enabling, especially to children, and including by many therapists.

Any "monkey," as you snidely put it, can smell the narcissism in Park Slope, yes again, but rarely does anyone write about more than their own distaste or inconvenience from the actions of the Stepford Parents here. I am much more concerned with the gutted self-esteem and lack of empathy the Park Slope children are suffering from as a result of the self-indulgent parenting that goes on in this enclave.

This statement by you is certainly not a throw-away line in my book (or blog): "There is no doubt that there are selfish, entitled people who wind up having kids without understanding the magnitude of that choice. I’m not sure many people do fully grasp what it means to be a parent before they decide to do it."

And I don't seek to "shame" or increase "guilt," Anon, but to insist upon self-responsibility.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just because you say it, doesn’t make it necessarily so.

To issue blanket dismissals of your Park Slope breeder neighbors as pseudo-adults with inflated egos who become overindulgent parents of children who can’t hope to grow up to become self-actualized is, in fact, a judgment.

Your assertion that judgments are not based on reality is false. Reality can certainly be a component of judgment, as are the limited availability of information and whatever expectations the person formulating the opinion may have.

To call a narcissist a narcissist may or may not be a judgment. It depends on having sufficient information to make the claim. To refer to all your Park Slope breeder neighbors as narcissists is a judgment. Plain and simple.

I’m sure you come across some of these people in your practice, and maybe that gives you sufficient data points to make an “assessment” about those people. But to lump all of us together based on that interaction and some people’s (poor) decision to haul their kids to bars assumes you understand the motives of all of those people. You don’t, and your generalizations about them come from judgments. That’s fine, everyone judges other people, even despite their best efforts to refrain from it. Just don’t pretend that’s not what it is.

And don’t pretend you’re trashing these parents to save the children from suffering. If that were your sole objective, you wouldn’t do it this way. It pisses you off that people do this dumb shit, and you’ve taken to griping about it on your blog. Maybe your “concern” originated from a better place, but it’s just bitching.

On the inset of your webpage, you say that we’re “meant to live with full inner permission to follow our natural inner guidance and our inborn pleasure instinct to seek out gratification…, and that such a way of living always benefits those around us and those that we love.” It seems to be that when you observe the conflict between one’s innate pleasure instinct (mmm, beer) and living to benefit those one loves (dragging your kids to a bar), you take to slamming the offenders (Narcissists! Pseudo-adults! Hedge fund managers!). What a beautiful message. You claim to be merely calling for personal responsibility (which sounds like a positive message), but you’re doing it by shaming parents into doing better (hardly positive). How can you say name-calling isn’t trying to shame people into changing? That’s exactly what it is. It’s designed to make people feel bad about the way they behave.

Where is your empathy?

loff56 said...

Oh Jeeze, I must be bored and in need of a good semantic argument...

PL:
Assessments on the other hand are descriptions based on information objectively observed. To call a narcissist a narcissist isn't a judgment, therefore; it is an assessment, and actually an essential ingredient to any healing process. There is no healing without facing the truth about oneself.

As a point of fact, an objective observation as you define it here doesn't exist. As you probably know an observer will always have an effect on the observed. Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal for one, but also it's understood that observers in the wild no matter how invisible they try to make themselves will have some sort of effect on the animals they are observing. The same goes for people. Whether you call it a Judgment or an Assessment really is a matter of degree. Given that, anon. has a good point. Your assessment, as objective as you're trying to be, still means you're imparting an effect on those parents that you're assessing. And imparting anything on anybody even on a microscopic level is in fact to some degree narcissistic. Whether intentional or not.

And by the way, to "insist upon self-responsibility" is hardly "assessing" the situation. Of everything, this is the most obvious evidence of you imparting your will on the situation. Since when is "insisting" a tool of neutral observation?

I'm not suggesting that self-responsibility is not something we should all desire in our fellow humans, but even if it's for good, "insisting" that anybody do anything puts us on a different plane than those people, and that IS narcissistic. There may be an argument in here somewhere that says that some narcism (like this kind) is actually good... but for semantics sake, it's still narcism.

And now I'm gonna' end my narcissistic judgment of you and go about the rest of my day. :-D

 

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