In defense of Jimmy: Enmeshed Within
NOVEMBER 14TH, 2015
IN DEFENSE OF JIMMY: ENMESHED WITHIN
By Ian Bar
Although I'm pleased with the reviews I received on Goodreads for Enmeshed Within, but some of the feedback I received regarding the main character Jimmy was that he was absolutely crazy. It then made the reading of the story rather intense and thus not palatable or pleasant to read.
Some of these readers have no qualms about watching horror movies. Are horrific acts easier to digest if presented as random, unexplained, and done without justification? Are the validations for committing evil acts articulated by the demons that Jimmy meets give the readers the added challenge of the justification behind historical acts of horror on a population? Is the dictum from Joseph Stalin that killing a few people constitutes murder, but the fatal elimination of a thousand or million within a population is merely a statistic?
The demons, even though, being the product of Jimmy’s mind; nevertheless, bring a certain validity regarding the essence of evil. I force the reader to look at humankind’s history through the eyes of the most notorious rulers. Enmeshed Within was not written for the all too common readers that simply read for entertainment. In fact, I made a conscious choice to remain true to questions I was wrestling with during the previous two decades.
Jimmy is not a wholesale killer or someone that murders indiscriminately. He only wants to murder one person (viz), his father. His father is a sociopath with a complete lack of accountability and scruples. Jimmy perceives his father as a representation of something plaguing society, i.e. authority and power assumed by the mentally defective, lacking fear, and empathy deficient.
There is a book titled: Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes) by Andrew M. Lobaczewski. In fact, the ideas and inspiration for the demons that appear to Jimmy come also from my reading of Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche, as well as his book Beyond Good and Evil. In addition, the political essays of the Marquis de Sade, the history of Caligula, as well as writings about Gilles de Rais. Jimmy could have just as easily quoted from these books to explain and question his desire for revenge against his father, but this would have diminished the action and adventure needed to make the book dynamic and vibrant.
Jimmy attempts to disassociate from his emotions with brutal observations of the people at the tavern and warehouse, but he cannot escape completely his emotional entanglement (enmeshment). It is his failure of the latter that provides the incentive for what readers describe as his psychotic episodes dealing with demons.
Unable to reconcile his disdain for complacency and the mundane, which he views as an endemic malady, his anger mixed with feelings of an existential helplessness simmer beneath his calm and cold demeanor. As the emotions fester beneath the mental mind of Jimmy, they also become buried in the subconscious. The darker aspects of our being reside in the subconscious. It is the very reason that Jimmy is unable to cope with his emotions that produces his alcoholism and drug addictions. Because Jimmy beats himself up emotionally for most of his waking hours, this then becomes the behavioral pattern of using alcohol and drugs to self-medicate rather than the healthy approach of self-soothing.
Just because a person drinks and does drugs everyday doesn’t necessarily equate to him/her being an alcoholic or drug addict. Those suffering from personality disorders, such as Jimmy, benefit from drinking and using drugs whether it gives them a feeling of euphoria or misery, because both serve as an escape from their highly charged emotions they fail to reconcile.
Jimmy, Carla, and Jimmy’s father are all traumatized individuals. Jimmy and Carla are traumatized by being in dysfunctional families. Jimmy's father is dysfunctional from fighting in Vietnam. However, Jimmy is sensitive. Carla is aloof and impulsive, but calculating as she is aware of her sexual prowess.
This sexual prowess is a defense mechanism for her. Carla feels no guilt or remorse betraying Jimmy when sleeping with his father, because unconsciously she views it as a necessity to protect her wounded soul and fear of abandonment. The necessity governs her sexual prowess that she uses as a tool for control and leverage. Thus, she doesn’t have to confront her fear of intimacy.
Carla was abandoned by her mother, and intimacy equates to pain and a lack of control. Her adopted grandparents are superficial in their approach to the world and its problems. Because of the fundamentalism found in their religious beliefs, Carla’s grandparents are unable to give the strong psychological development to protect her from emotional arrested development.
In Enmeshed Within, I had hope to establish Carl’s grandparents more significantly as it related to their views on Jimmy. My editor for Enmeshed Within convinced me to remove a couple of chapters dedicated to Carla’s grandparents, because she felt for continuity sake the book should remain within the confines of Jimmy’s observations and thoughts. I hope to develop these characters somewhat more in the sequel titled Reptilian Eyes.
Carla has Histrionic Personality Disorder. Jimmy’s father is classic Narcissist Personality Disorder. Jimmy is probably best described as suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. The Histrionic female will seek out the Narcissist male, because the latter represents the alpha male. Her affair with Jimmy’s father should come as no surprise for someone familiar with Histrionic Personality Disorder.
The Histrionic female finds the allure of the pseudo-confidence displayed by the Narcissist irresistible, because it presents a challenge, and vice versa. In many ways, relationships between those suffering from Histrionic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder often times fall into toxic relationships with each other, without either one realizing the unhealthy and detrimental conditions that their affiliation with each other produces.
Although, Enmeshed Within revolves around Jimmy’s failed interactions and carnal physical pleasures with Carla, in reality, Carla and Jimmy’s father are best suited for each other.
Despite the tensions that would no doubt crop up in a coupling of Carla and Jimmy’s father, in one sense both feed off the competition and highly charged states of their relationship. Both will cheat on each other, and blame the other for the reason they decided to betray the other in clandestine and sometimes not so clandestine opportunities. Neither will take accountability for their actions, because those very actions are unrealized defense mechanisms they feel are a need to protect against their fear of abandonment and having to assume the responsibility of acting as adults at such a young age.
The Histrionic has a fear of abandonment based upon real experiences, but she is extra sensitive and hyper diligent to see any slight, no matter how small, as abandonment. The Narcissistic fear of abandonment comes from the fact that he has dealt with assuming a parental role too early to fulfill the role of a detached and removed actual parent in a family.
Carla sees the alpha male aspects of Jimmy’s father, his driven nature, and risk taking as being a replacement for the missing father figure in her early life. Even though the Histrionic is attracted to the ambitious nature of the Narcissist, she cannot successfully reel in a truly healthy Type-A man that is driven towards success and a career. The latter, even if not aware of the red flags demonstrated by the Histrionic, certainly will perceive the drama as being an interruption and interference toward his goals. Truly successful people will not indulge, or at least not spend any time on what he/she views as dead-enders. The goal and future preference are far too valuable for the successful and career orientated person.
I will now explain the details of the Histrionic Personality Disorder to delineate the character Carla. I will also fill in the behaviors of the Narcissist. Finally, I will conclude with exploring the Borderline Personality Disorder affecting Jimmy.
Suffice it to say here that although the Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissist share some common traits, the latter two are no match for the former. The Histrionic and Narcissist are both about one-up-men-ship, and ironically serves to intensify their toxic relationship with each other. The Borderline, on the other hand, is very comfortable with his feeling of existential misery, because he perceives and views this as a reality and cornerstone of existence.
While the Histrionic and Narcissist seek constant stimulation from others for validation, the Borderline also at times seeks the same stimulation. The Borderline differentiates from the other two personality disorders, often times avoiding all human contact and interaction with others for days or even weeks. All three personality disorders will engage in hot and then cold behaviors within moments of one’s interaction with others, even to the extent of irrational rage. However, the Borderline will withdraw completely from public view, and engage in self-destructive behavior not so much in a social setting, but alone in an apartment where the chance of overdosing can mean death, since there is no one around to rush him to the emergency room.
Vice-versa, the Histrionic and Narcissist will seek trips to the Bahamas or expensive cocktail parties, not necessarily for enjoyment, but often times to belittle and become vindictive over perceived slights they believe they’ve experienced from friends and guests, while at the same time garnering to be the life of the party. If they happen to overdose, it must be part of the drama they live to avoid the emotional conflict within them.
It should be noted here that all three of these personality disorders should not be confused with bipolar disorder. The bipolar individual is prone to drastic changes in behaviors, including mania and depression, but these can come about over a week or two-week time period. The Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissist personality disorders will change attitude and behavior at the drop of a hat or within a moment’s notice.
The traits of the Histrionic is one of being animated, flirtatious, and highly dramatic. They also perceive even a small slight as a sign of rejection, and thus awakens their fear of abandonment. The Histrionic compulsion for flirtation is not to suggest that flirting is wrong since it is an aspect that is normal between individuals. In many ways, it is a healthy facet in our interactions with each other.
However, the flirtation of the Histrionic is extremely theatrical and used for the purposes to be the center of attention. Within the context in a gathering of people either at their place of employment or other social settings this becomes most apparent.
The Histrionic will also over-dress at her place of employment, business settings, or even a run to the grocery store. She feels a need to stand out and constantly call attention to her appearance and sexuality.
In addition, the Histrionic is prone to magical thinking. What the latter positing means is that they often view relationships as having more significance than what they really are in actuality. They’re easily influenced, and idealize relationships, no matter how peripheral that someone is in their lives. The Histrionic takes these interactions to new levels based upon the delusions formulated in their magical thinking.
What the Histrionic conjures as a deep and meaningful affiliation with someone, even those that she has only first met on a first encounter or a couple of dates, is a product of their black and white thinking. As adults, we come to realize that the world is not black and white, but involves shades of gray. In fact, the other person might not even be attracted or just considers the Histrionic an acquaintance or friend. The Histrionic will believe she has fallen in love after brief encounters, and believes her alleged counter suitor is on the same page, without much evidence.
The Histrionic are often very attractive and seductive, but this again is not a negative for a female, but it is the disassociation and the lack of a healthy personality in the Histrionic that creates the diagnosis of a personality disorder. In fact, not really having a personality that serves as a true identity and a concrete sense of self, the Histrionic suffers a void within them – there is no there, there.
Due to this lack of a sustainable and viable personality the Histrionic uses a technique called “mirroring.” They are chameleons. They are very shrewd picking up on physical, verbal, and informational cues. This is the way the Histrionic gains one’s trust. Their overt dramatic flirting sets a lair for the other person that assumes he/she is in the presence of a dynamic, exciting, and vibrant person. The potential targeted suitor has very rarely, if ever, met someone so keen to take an interest in him/her. Now, the suitor’s defenses are down.
Once the latter happens, the Histrionic begins to mirror the other person, displaying played-up interest and determining how you think on various topics. The would be chosen suitor is so enamored by the vibrant attractiveness combined with the seemingly intense interest the Histrionic is showing him, he then misses the cues that the Histrionic can only discuss issues dealing with metaphysics and philosophies on a superficial level.
Carla has trapped Jimmy with her technique of mirroring. She’s cognizant of Jimmy’s relationship with women at the university with their academic degrees and also his access to influential professors. She is also tuned into the fact that Jimmy is a beta-male. The word beta-male in this context is not the negative connotation one sees littered on the Web, but rather, the philosophical and contemplating male involved in his studies.
Whereas, the Histrionic is attracted to the allure of the alpha male, she will also target the beta-male sensing intuitively that his disposition in not prone to having a great deal of experience with women. In short, he is vulnerable and a great supply line for her achieving the craving for validation she needs like a fix.
Carla successfully mirrors the interests of Jimmy, and although he might suspect that it is simply a played up interest, he views Carla as a last attempt to find an alternative and something unique in a world that he despises for its clichés, contrivances, group think , and socialized programming.
The wide spread complacency and superficial social interactions that Jimmy observes coupled with his drive for seeking constant intellectual stimulation that is dangerous and revolutionary, becomes the force developing his insanity. Insanity is the best disguise for those identifying as being enlightened. In other words, when truly enlightened, most of society will view it as a condition suffered due to delusions. Jimmy is attracted to Carla not just because of her beauty, but she's able to articulate and mirror the perception he has of himself. Carla entertains Jimmy’s messiah complex, while at the same time astute to detect deficiencies in what Jimmy has perpetrated to escape his own emotional baggage.
Jimmy makes a grave error, because he simply sees himself as being merely anti-social. In reality, he is an iconoclast .
Carla feels compelled and intrigued by Jimmy’s anti-social behavior flavored with the nuance of Jimmy’s philosophical depth, because its intensity acts as a drug for her to escape her own emotional void and lack of a well-defined persona. Thus, she mimics the behavior of the beta-male she sees in Jimmy. However, a Histrionic like Carla will always be better suited for an alpha male like Jimmy’s father. Neither Carla or Jimmy’s father have any skin in the game with regards to each other. If Jimmy’s father relegated Carla to a second class status, Carla would feel hurt, but not from the pain of intimacy or love lost. She would feel hurt because she has lost control of a validating source that fills the void of her emotional disconnect.
Interestingly, Jimmy’s father in his own inept and psychological damaged way, is trying to prevent his son from developing a further relationship with Carla – i.e., his father purposely poisons the well – being the master of cold calculations. It is here that Carla poignantly points out that the conflict is between Jimmy and his father and that she is a mere pawn in the game. The rest of what Carla states should be taken with a grain of salt. She is not so much a liar, as someone who merely defines the cards dealt her at any given moment. Carla does not understand it on the intellectual level as Jimmy, but both know in their own way that words are better served on the plate of deception. We spell words to cast spells.
What Carla has intuitively figured out is that although Jimmy is extremely anti-social, Jimmy is also desperate to believe in some kind of love and a need for a lover as a last refuge for him to keep a small part of his humanity, which he feels is slipping away. In a way, he wants his humanity to negate itself, but he cannot quite let go of it. It’s a paradox, and one that his demons exploit – as Carla also tries to use Jimmy’s unresolved conundrum to her advantage in maintaining Jimmy as a validation supply.
If Jimmy’s intellect leads him too far astray and he finds he is no longer capable of loving another human being, what does he become? What does he morph into – and will the reader find it interesting or appalling?
As for Carla, the Histrionic is very charming, and many misperceive this as her having a bubbly and effervescent personality, but be mindful she can turn angry and cold on a dime. Her theatrics are a means to fill the void of an under-developed and unsustainable personality. Once the Histrionic lures someone in with her acting out theatrics, she will then feel a degree of being uncomfortable The hot/cold roller-coaster ride that the Histrionic inflicts upon all those that become involved with her is both confusing and mentally exhausting.
For those that become involved or have the misfortune of becoming involved in a relationship with a Histrionic female, the stress of dealing with their highly unpredictable behavior, self-destructive tendencies, and outbursts of rage, which can very likely breakdown the health of someone involved with them. The person involved can literately be destroyed of even die dealing with the dramatics of the Histrionic.
The Histrionic is an emotional vampire. She is not interested in you as a person, lover, or even a friend. Although, the Histrionic is sexually promiscuous, sexual pleasure in not her motivation, but only another means of gaining confirmation for her prowess. They use sex as a means of awarding you, and the withholding it from you as punishment. If they, as they often do, peruse the social media pages of someone on their radar, it is not out of any interest in that person’s ambitions, feelings, and goals. Rather, the interest of the Histrionic is to obtain information about you that can later be used against you.
Furthermore, the Histrionic wants to know the competition they face from those that you interact with on social media. In short, they are toxic people one should avoid and keep contact minimal, or not at all. Even the players/playas that believe they can handle such a woman, due to their own non-commitments, will soon find the toxic stalking on social media and interruptions of his other conquests becoming an intrusive and toxic interference, especially when the Histrionic begins to find out and befriends his cadre of women.
Furthermore, the Histrionic will have what is termed a fan club. These are a set of guys that are considered manginas (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mangina) or those men that are constantly auditioning for access to a woman’s vagina. For the most part, the Histrionic will not engage her fan club members with sexual encounters, but they serve merely as the drug of validation that excites her and confirms her validity that extinguishes her sense of self-loathing.
She may once or twice, perhaps even more, engage a fan club member for a sexual liaison, but again, it is not for sexual pleasure, but rather to provide for a deficiency in obtaining the drug of substantiation. If she chooses someone from among the fan club, it is because she has perceived a weakness in that particular fan club member that she can exploit.
Jimmy is not impressed, intimidated or threatened by Carla’s fan club members. He sees them as mere herdsmen that actually compliment his choice in women. Furthermore, he disrespects them as weak and part of the banal/dull/mundane society littering the world marking the decline of Western civilization.
Jimmy has already imparted to the Voice guiding him that he found the histrionics of Carla as irritating him when she was a young girl. As a grown woman, Carla has mastered one of the greatest skills of the Histrionic, and that is her capacity to mirror her identified target.
The Histrionic is only cable of mirroring a prospect on a superficial level. In other words, she knows the words, but not the music. For Jimmy, who has grown to distrust the world entirely, oddly enough, it is his father he wants to make amends with – but how was Carla murdered. Is murdering his father a way to make amends with both his father and Carla? Is the pain of trauma in all three so confounding and traumatizing - that Jimmy seeks the ultimate end to the madness - the nightmare of each one's existence?
This is not crazy talk of a rambling wet brain writer, but rather, deep emotional rivers that desperately seek healing to find true freedom of being oneself.