On living up to Expectations.

If a child is expected to fail it will. Kids always live up to their parents expectations, particularly the less than salubrious.

My brother was expected to fail. Of course nobody said as much, they didn’t need to, he was given euphemistic titles such as ‘the practical one’ in the family, which was code for thick as pig shit and he dutifully rose to the occasion. It took being pegged to the antarctic ice through his clothes, sleeping bag and tent for three days of 200mph winds to knock it out of him.

Expectations are powerful because our survival instincts are tuned to co-operation with our group and serve collective values. We are born assuming others know best and give them due credit for that. If it were otherwise we’d not get far past inventing the wheel.

We’re born respectful.

So when God says to Eve don’t eat of that tree what does she understand of God’s expectations? Had there been an explanation it might have been different, something she could make sense of and.. respect. But He gives her no explanation, no meaning in the injunction, without which she hears only a hidden expectation of betrayal.

His command, without reference to her need for meaning, carries an implicit sense that this communication is only about discipline, authority and power. It is not about love.

You musn’t eat the fruit.

Why?

Because I say so.

Who is it for?

Nobody.

Sorry, what is it for?

To see if you would obey.

Not because i might die?

No.

Or because it would give me a tummy ache.

No.

So, just to see if i could be trusted?

yes.

So you don’t trust me then?

Not entirely.

But you made me in your image?

Yeees.

So, either you can’t be trusted, or you’re just fucking with my head.

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Moab was not Yahweh’s first washpot. The die of sadistic witholding is cast from the Beginning. The interaction with Adam and Eve in a modern setting would have someone calling for a social worker.

The father uses sadomasochistic and manipulative techniques to seduce Eve into behaving as he knows she will with the limited awareness she has prior to gainingĀ  the knowledge derived from the apple. To obey you have to know right from wrong, you have already to have eaten the fruit. He tempts her..

thought the devil did that…?

Well, he finishes the job but its God that puts the idea in her head and makes her curious. His style of communication is actually psychologically damaging. Don’t use the faculty I gave you but do use one I have not.

Eve is trapped, she’s been slipped something under the table and its really ugly, a hefty archetypal gollop of contradiction and bad faith with which she must trip and fall, the sudden condensing focus for God’s ready curses, a toxic parent who gives a child a chore that it cannot perform in order to shame and vent His spleen.

Why is it a trap?

Because she must fail.

The consciousness that God is asking her to exercise is in the apple.

Not in her.

She cannot understand what he means and he knows it.

I watched a man point to a shop sign down in the village and patiently spell the words out letter for letter to his son, teaching him. Problem, the kid was two.

What the hell is he doing? Where is he coming from? What is his purpose?

He feels so good and riteous. He’s fathering….. whilst actively avoiding intimacy and contact. He might have joined the child in his world rather than shoe horning the boy into a narcissistic fantasy of how great a father he is.

The child cannot, with the best will in the world, fulfil what’s being demanded with out abandoning his own reality principle. He looks vacant, trying to make meaning. Daddy expects….something. I don’t know what but he is always right. I cannot understand. I must be stupid….

….which is the unconscious purpose of the exercise.

You will never, never, be as smart as me.

Published by

andywhite

Psychotherapist/writer/artist/ author of, 'Going Mad to Stay Sane', a psychology of self-destructiveness, about to come into its third edition. Soon to be printed for the first time, 'Abundant Delicious.. the Secret and the Mystery', described by activist Satish Kumar as, ' A Tao of the Soul'. This book documents the archetypal country through which the process of individuation occurs and looks at the trials and tribulations we might expect on the way. In the meantime..... Narcissisim is the issue of our age. This blog looks at how it operates, how it can damage and how we may still fruit despite it.

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