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Rosenfield, K. (2017). We’ve Come Undone: Shape Shifting the Frame After the 2016 U.S. Election. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(3):370-371.
(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(3):370-371
We’ve Come Undone: Shape Shifting the Frame After the 2016 U.S. Election
Kim Rosenfield, L.C.S.W.
Two months after Donald Trump was elected president, I’m sitting in my kitchen having coffee with my colleague and friend who is telling me of more and more liberal, left-leaning hipster young men in his private practice who, with great shame, are revealing to him that something in Donald Trump’s anti-feminist, anti-immigrant, anti-pc, anti-mindful “tell it like it is” rhetoric speaks deeply to them and gives voice to what has always been unspeakable for them. We both express surprise at these fresh clinical findings, and try to guess at what it is about this generation of 20-something men that wants to come undone. I’m aware as we speak of feelings of envy that my colleague is privileged to be venturing deep into the psyche of the “other side” of the political debate, even if tentatively.
Since the November 2016 elections, I, on the other hand, have been consulting with the choir, submerged in an ego syntonic “echo-chamber” in which my patients, like me, weep, rage, organize, and try to disarm and reject what we do not want to accept. We are joined together in feeling traumatized. There are no big reveals, no deep, dark truths of identifying with what Trump espouses and represents. Are my colleague’s hip, young men identifying with the aggressor in order to be able to inhabit a new world order that calls upon them to be men in ways they were not raised and educated to be? Or does my own anger, resistance, fear, and pushback on the political situation disable my patients from sharing with me something that would feel too taboo or damaging to me, to the analytic couple to express?
I become aware, especially in the immediate weeks following the election, of a micro-loosening of boundaries, an alteration of the frame just slightly enough to feel something different is afoot.
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