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Pytluk, S. (2017). Toxic Misogyny and (in?) Me. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(3):371-372.
(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(3):371-372
Toxic Misogyny and (in?) Me
Scott Pytluk, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
I just boarded an airplane after watching the swearing in of the new president of the United States. The ceremony appeared on several screens hanging above us at the gate as we waited to board the airplane. We are in Chicago flying to New York, and I am not surprised that this flight’s passengers sat at the gate and watched in silence. Somber, wistful, and tearful as the Obamas boarded that green helicopter and waved good-bye. Watery eyes all around. I feel sick to my stomach and attempt to modulate the dread I cannot shake. I ought not shake it, of course. While self-preservation via titration of small doses of news carefully administered over the past two months is good, rank avoidance, denial, and dissociation are not. If I am to commit to social and political action going forward and function effectively as an analyst, living in reality, at least some of the time, will be necessary.
So, what in the world happened in session with Sue last week?! Rather than settle into a moment of shared reality as Sue aired her concerns about our future in Donald Trump’s world, we seemed to become lodged in a moment of hyper-reality. A grotesque version of reality. I became the kind of caricature I fear will be all too common on our screens over the coming years, especially via Twitter.
As in virtually every session since Election Day, Sue saved the final minutes for direct commentary on the state of the union and its implications for the world and for herself. Of course, this commentary has actually been continuous, if derivative and metaphoric, in all her session material. This time she laughed heartily, managing simultaneously to sigh mournfully, about Kellyanne Conway’s admonishment to Trump’s critics not to listen to his words but instead to pay attention to what is in his heart.
Sue, a woman of color born of immigrant parents, and I, a white gay man with a recent immigration history in my immediate family, have leaned into sameness in negotiating our intersubjectivity and only now are beginning to tackle difference. This has meant that ours has been a comfortable, mutually playful, and therapeutically fruitful relationality. Our shared political perspective has been only tacitly acknowledged. In this spirit, or so I thought, I
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