Get back here and hurt me, hurt me, do

October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

What do women like M — and like my mother — expect?  That they can hurt people and not lose their love?  That people hurt by them will not try to free themselves from pain by trying to grow indifferent to their manipulation?

What goes on in their little heads?  Do they expect some sort of Stockholm syndrome to unfold?  Or some kind of Bergmanesque/ Dostoevskian masochist reverse-psychology, “get back here and hurt me, hurt me, do”?  How is that supposed to work, now?

Perhaps they do; and perhaps not entirely wrongly:  perhaps some such mechanism does operate in some human heads, as hard to imagine as that may be to some of us (thank you).

Interestingly, both M and my mother seem to have taken offense — disappeared in a huff — once they’ve found out that my mind does not work that way.  My unBergmanesqueness is damnable.  My unDostoevskian autonomy makes me unfit for their love.  They only want to love people prepared to be their slaves.

This puzzles me:  why would one want to love a slave?  I can understand institutional slavery:  a man might put himself willingly into that condition to escape debts or taxes (see Reid’s article on bond-servants in SEA); another might want to be his master for the convenience of being served (god knows I do use servants for that very reason).  But why does that relationship need to have any psychological underpinnings?  Why must there be an emotional inter-dependence?

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