There is a reason why many of us choose not to air our obsessions or sexual fantasies with others, and that is shame. We have convinced ourselves that our private and secret thoughts are unholy and unnatural, so we keep them stored away in a cool dark place, well away from our friends and even our partners. These restrictions are reinforced by our own society, as in some cultures our desires may be seen as perfectly ‘normal’. We may feel more comfortable sharing watered down versions of our desires with people close to us but often the raw and unedited versions lie under lock and key. These desires can seem alien to us as we may have no idea how our ‘perversions’ came about. Our fantasies origins come from our childhood, and not in the form they show themselves now, but in the form of a basic need that may or may not have been fulfilled, so a splitting of the self occurs and a fantasy or obsession is created.
Recently I was with my friends and their 2 year old child. When his parents gave each other a hug, the child responded by showing clear signs of being distraught, and said “Mummy no hug Daddy.” If we liken these basic needs and feelings of a child to small seeds that are planted when they are young, they can grow from feelings of jealousy and rage into sexual desires in adult life. However the fantasy plant does not grow straight but weaves and bends its way downwards, while simultaneously being fertilised by other experiences, with our parents or from other relationships. So later on as adults we may be left with a personal desire that seems strange and unfamiliar to us.
Freud and other psychoanalysts have spoken and written about this in great detail but what I wanted to reflect on is what we can do if we find our fantasies or desires uncomfortable or destroying. Often if we find these uncomfortable they may become obsessional in their nature, and we tend to push them down even further, and by paradox, it energises them and makes them more powerful. By condemning your desires you repress them and they carry on growing inside of you in the basement of your being, deep in your unconscious, while part of you is prejudiced against them. So a war has been created inside of you and an enemy has more power when it is hidden. This is your obsession your desire, it is part of you and your history, it says something about your past, so pay attention to it without judgement. It is neither good or bad, so do not identify with it. Go deeply into it with self care and love, as the more you understand it the less it will feel unfamiliar to you, and the less it will force itself upon you.
5 responses to “Obsession and Drive”
I think we can get too old school psychoanalytic about sex and repression. While there is much truth and lots of exploring to these theories, I think there is an awful lot of limitation to them, too.
ie, I don’t think parents who hug are creating conflict in the psyche of the child. Or at least that is not the whole of the story.
Yes, we have learned to repress some of our deepest curiosities and wonders. There is a deep core of connection and touch and self that is all out reactionary, subconscious, repressive dysfunctional and misplaced.
But there is also an element of the mature and creative to our sexuality. Some of our hold ups have less to do with repression than with legitimate exploration of boundaries, safety, and connection. Some of our holding back has to do with the mature and expressed (instead of repressed) realization of the power we have to harm, injure, wound or objectify others; some more of it has to do with a wise valuing of what intimacy is and a recognition of the foolishness of wasting it.
We are hardwired to connection. Connection vs. self is the playground of psychology, and each individual life story. Sexuality is perhaps the wildest, least articulate, most fully expressed and felt current of connection and loneliness.
It is not all innuendo and subconscious drive. Some of it – indeed the most profound and beautiful – is creative instead of reactive, mature instead of infantile, actualized instead of repressed.
Sex is beauty as much as it is fear.
Thanks for sharing Karin, It’s very interesting where you have gone to with this. Yes of course there is limitation to all theory which I tried to avoid. I think that you are coming from more of an adult perspective where self realisation and maturity can enable us to express our deepest desires with others, and you stress the importance of intimacy, which is important in our growth.
My piece was more about the organic growth of these fantasies which are primitive and animalistic and mythical, and how we live with these in our adult lives. Their growth is what interests me. Fantasies and desires always begin with a spark and become something else, forever changing, but the core always remains.. which is emotional. Fantasies are carried along a river of development until we have no idea where they come from.
Just playing here…. but one example would be someone who is exited by feces, usually ignited by embarrassment and shame from childhood… difficult to share that one. Another may be a fascination and excitement from the smell of cigarettes from childhood. Add the cigarette smell to a first boyfriend who smoked and was dominating, to a second boyfriend who represented something else and you arrive with a fantasy or desire that is difficult to share as it becomes almost cartoon like and strange. Building blocks and layering, spurned by emotion.
yes. I have way too many thoughts for the comment section 🙂
I completely enjoyed your post, as I have been thinking of my own dark fantasies. I too have wondered where they’ve come from. Yet I know, obviously somewhere from the past. But it’s interesting…that they are like nothing I would do in real life, yet there is an element in them that very much sexually excites me. Roll play would be an option, if I were to want to entertain these further than just my imagination.
Jung spoke about getting to know our shadow…and that anything repressed would grow into a monster. I whole-heartedly agree. I’ve embraced mine. For now, my shadow doesn’t have any control over me. I still enjoy the fantasies when I’m alone & I feel like indulging, but beyond that, they have no power.
Thank-you again for a good post and for sharing. A.
Thanks so much for sharing. Straight forward and clear account of what is very common for us all!