How do we first begin to experience love? Perhaps as babies, as early psychoanalysts Fairbairn and Guntrip believed, the only way we could feel loved was by having our needs met. The language of bodily transformation was the language of love. Mommy feeds us, changes our diaper or picks us up and we feel satisfied. This feeling of satisfaction and security may be the early equivalent to feeling loved. Love becomes represented by how satisfied and safe our caretakers make us feel; how easily and well they transform our bad feelings into good ones. As a result, I believe that we continue throughout life believing on a primal level that our loved ones show us that they love us by meeting our needs, and as a result, how well they meet our needs indicates how lovable we are. This is the way we reason, early in life.
To preface, I am not Anthony Weiner’s psychotherapist, psychologist, psychoanalyst, or hypnotist, but I thought it would be interesting to explore some of the facets of this mega faux pas and use this event as a “teachable moment”, a way of exploring psychological ideas.
Now, I do not know Congressman Weiner, so I don’t profess to know AT ALL, what was and is going through his mind. Even if I did know him, I’m sure there is such a panoply of potential explanations and rationalizations for his behavior that we could theorize for days and weeks and months, and still not know. Any understanding of his psyche will only occur within the private and secure bounds of his own therapy, painstakingly discovered through a dedicated and authentic process. We will never know. Hopefully he will articulate, for himself, a narrative that will help him express and rework these longings, fears and compulsions. I don’t know him, and I am not trying to figure him out– my friends and patients will tell you that I tend to believe it is a futile exercise to make any attempt to decode the meaning of a another man’s behavior. Let’s just use our imaginations and play and try to learn about how the mind works.