Man-splaining my Mates

I hope it’s clear how much I love Dylan. Nobody else has had so many posts dedicated to them. He was absolutely central to my experience in Ascot House, and very important to my recovery[1].

Dylan is a complicated dude, and my reactions to him were similarly complicated. Because we shared a room and were rarely allowed to leave the house, I was constantly forced into his society. I had to accommodate him and all his foibles and, for purely selfish reasons, needed to think, and care, about another individual and their psychological state, because it impacted so directly on my own. Presumably, he had to do the same. (Experience would suggest that I’m an irritating little prick to live with.) We were forced into psychological interdependence, like normal people. Like we used to be. 

I feel very uncomfortable about exposing him, without his consent. I tell myself that the purpose of this blog is to explore my own error-prone reactions, and thus learn to understand my own psyche and the roots of my condition. That’s why various psychological-type-professionals have endorsed or encouraged me to write these posts. I hope any reader will understand this.

So, please remember that the things I say about him are entirely my own opinions and he would rightly dispute them all. (He is a most disputatious boy.) In this blog, over-analysing things, and coming to doubtful and implausible conclusions, is not my failing, it is my responsibility, as I try to feel my way through the dense and tangled underbrush of my mental states. Or so I tell myself. The practice is my responsibility, but that doesn’t mean the conclusions are correct.

For example, Dylan’s teasing, which caused me so much trouble, probably just shows that his family have a robust sense of humour, that’s all. Siblings tend to exploit your errors and flaws unmercifully. You’re supposed to take it in good part, knowing that it comes from a place of love and unfailing family loyalty. I suspect Dylan’s family felt complaining about it was weak and self-pitying. Why turn a happy conversation into a sullen and reproachful one? You should have enough strength and self-belief not to care. 

Dylan had learned to laugh at himself, a survival skill in these situations, but I imagine he’d rather not be in them, in the first place. He was a sensitive middle child and very thin-skinned. He probably spent his childhood vying for parental attention, struggling not to be dominated by his older siblings. He’d learned that, when he was vulnerable, he could secure his position by channelling the group’s ridicule towards someone else. Preferably before they started on him. His humour had that defiant quality, the quality of a pre-emptive revenge attack. 

In fact, there was hardly any teasing at Ascot House, but Dylan’s sense of self-conscious embarrassment at being there put him on his guard, made him feel derided, so he took the situation into his own hands. He’d decide what was designated as funny, almost arbitrarily, and everyone laughed to reinforce their membership. 

Instead of teasing, there was quite a lot of implied criticism in the house. Everyone had Opinions on everybody else, so Dylan didn’t get away unscathed. He’d react exactly as if he was being teased. He’d fight back, vociferously, while claiming not to care, because the person caring is the whole point of teasing somebody. Hence his tendency to say, “Well, I don’t give a fuck!” and “I honestly don’t care; it doesn’t bother me” about things that clearly did bother him an awful lot. 

Incidentally, I wonder if his love of all things naughty comes from being fiercely and strictly brought up. All forbidden behaviours became an exhilarating expression of freedom: swearing, rude words, farts, people’s balls showing down the legs of their boxer shorts… Dylan kind of confirmed this idea when I suggested it. Doesn’t Freud have something to say about being stuck in an anal fixation stage? 


[1] In so far as I have recovered. 

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