The Defective Doll
We do not love each other. We fell in love with the idea of one another. When we fall in love with the idea of one another, we relate to each other as objects. Objects that are supposed to meet our needs and have no needs of their own. This begins, like all things in childhood.
Most parents alive today have children because of some need they have that they think the child will meet. Perhaps it’s to guarantee closeness with a partner. Perhaps it’s to feel a sense of self worth, value and validation. Perhaps it’s for societal esteem. Perhaps it’s because giving a child what they never had would heal their own traumas. Parents don’t really admit to the reasons that they have children. They couldn’t because so often it would be too self-centered. Our ego prevents us from really seeing ourselves in this way. The thing is, the child that is born to a parent is their own person with their own preferences and destiny and wants and needs and feelings. So children rarely ever conform to the real reason that the parent had the child in the first place. The child does not meet the parent’s needs. And this is a recipe for disaster.
One of the most common dynamics that we see in the world today is that a parent (usually a mother) wants a child that will satiate her needs in the same way that a doll satiates the needs of a four-year-old girl. The four year old feels a sense of self-esteem in having the doll and dressing to match the doll and pretending to be needed by the doll and pretending they have a connection with the doll. This parent does not actually want a child that is a unique and individual person. This parent wants a doll that is animated and a doll that is a mini-me. They want this doll to act how they want it to act. They want it to be hungry when it is convenient for them. They want to be able to put it down when they want to do something else and have it shut its eyes and open them again only when they want to interact with it. They don’t want the doll to need them when they don’t want to be needed.
For the father usually this doll of a child that they want is not about feeling a sense of self-esteem and personal validation in caretaking anything. It is more about having a status symbol, like an animated trophy. It is about having something that through its successes validates him as a person.
For this parent, the person the child actually is and the needs and feelings a child actually has and the ways they are different from the parent will not be well received. Instead of validating the parent’s sense of self, this child’s existence will invalidate their sense of self. This child will have needs that the parent does not want to meet and will not operate according to the parent’s schedule. And so, this child will be rejected. This rejection leads down two different paths. Both of which are equally painful.
When a child is young, they cannot perceive themselves to have a life separate from their parent. A baby cannot actually preoccupy itself. A baby also cannot soothe itself. So a baby that is rejected will experience a void when this occurs… A void like a pet or a sentient toy that is put on the shelf.
I highly suggest that to grasp the horror of this relationship with one’s parents that you watch the Pixar movie: A Toy Story. But pretend that the children in the movie (Andy and Sid) are parents to the toys they have. The experience that so many of us live with our parents is the horror of being a toy, an animated object, in our parent’s reality. We are either the toy that is never valued and so is born and lives and dies on the shelf. Or we are the toy that is so loved when it is on the shelf. But once we are unwrapped, the person unwrapping us is instantly disappointed and so discards us immediately. Or we are the toy that is loved like nothing else for a short period of time and then experiences a fall from grace when a better toy (sibling) comes along. Or we are the toy that is loved forever on the condition that we become exactly what our owner wants us to be. What we long for is for someone to see that we are real and to love us forever for what is real about us.
If we were the doll that was perceived to be defective because we couldn’t control our animation to match perfectly what was wanted by our parent, we were rejected and put on the shelf or punished for it. Like a toy or a neglected pet, we may be fed and clothed, but we do not have a life. Our life only has movement and meaning and emotional breath if we are interacted with. So when we are not, we experience crippling separation anxiety. We dissolve in the hell of knowing we have no value to the person upon whom our life depends. We feel we are not real without them. We feel the potentially eternal hell of our living and self concept being completely at the mercy of another person who we can’t make value us enough to play with us. And we do not know if or when another person will come to claim us. And even if they did, it wouldn’t erase the fact that we were rejected by the person who mattered so much to us. And when we try to cry out to get the love back and our life back with it, there is no response. Our parent goes on with their own life as if we are screaming inside but not making a noise. Or they shame us for reaching out for them with our voice or actions. On a visceral level, it feels like someone has run through our chest, solar plexus, lungs and rib cage with an old fashioned lawn mower. We often resort to addictions to try to numb the pain of this ineffable wound.
We grow up to become a person who feels we have no life if we don’t have a partner. Until we heal this wounding, we will line up with partners who follow this same pattern of rejecting us and putting us on the shelf to only play with us when they want to.
If we were the doll who could control its animation to be exactly what our parent wanted and thus maintain love in this way, we will feel like a GI Joe at a tea party. We too are not loved for what we are. But instead of being discarded for exposing what we are, we pretend to be something else. The pressure of this inauthenticity makes us not feel as if we have an individual life. Our identity is consumed. Therefore, we must push people away and be alone to feel a sense of self. On a visceral level, it feels like we are a fly caught in a spider’s web being slowly spun to the point of suffocation and simultaneously being eaten alive.
We grow up to become a person who feels we have no life if we don’t push our partner away so we can be alone. Until we heal this wounding, we will try to conform to our partner’s idea of what they want but will eventually not be able to keep up the act and will take off the mask and make a break for our freedom by telling them that our interaction with them is only going to happen on our terms. But because they valued us for the mask we first presented, we will be rejected for who we really are again.
In both scenarios, we receive the message that we are not valued by the person who gives us life. We either had to be what they wanted instead of ourselves to be loved or couldn’t be who they wanted us to be in order to be loved. So we are innately rejected. Our self-concept is complete and total shame.
Self-hate occurs in us because we either are not lovable as we are or if we were discarded emotionally, we could not become what would make us lovable. We are so desperate to be loved, we feel the need to cut these aspects of our self that are met with rejection away. We internalize the message about ourselves. To understand how this dynamic works, watch my video titled: Self Hate, The Most Dangerous Coping Mechanism.
If we are born to parents who wanted something other than who we are, we will hate ourselves erroneously. Imagine a person buying a horse when what they actually wanted was a horse figurine. They would reject us for manure. They would hate how big we were. They would be mad that they had to spend money on our hay. They would feel frustrated that they had to groom us. Eventually, they’d neglect us in our stalls and even sell us. But that rejection would not be because something was wrong with us. It would be them at fault for buying a horse when what they really wanted was a horse figurine. This is the reality when what our parents really wanted was not a child, but an animated doll.
Because our parents saw us as their thing, like a doll, they could not attune to us. Imagine a child dragging a doll around by the neck. But that doll is actually alive. This is the terror of our life experience. In not attuning, we cannot feel loved because we can’t take something as part of ourselves if we cannot even perceive the reality of that thing. It is merely a player in our own pretend game.
Being raised in this dynamic makes it so that we feel like objects in each other’s realities and we treat each other like objects in each other’s realities. We treat each other like we are only as good as our use. The entire world we live in becomes a world of playthings and penny candy… A world where we cannot see, hear, feel, understand each other and value each other for who we really are. A world where we cannot find people who are compatible to us and can therefore be in harmony with us and make us feel loved. We cannot attune to each other. We must learn to attune to one another to stop this dynamic. To learn how to do this, watch my video titled: Attunement (The Key To a Good Relationship).
We need to get very clear about the deep, dark and real reasons we are thinking about having children before we have them. We need to accept that any child that is born will be born as their own person. They may be totally different to what we want in a child. They may be totally different to us. They will not operate according to our schedule. They will have wants and needs when it is incredibly inconvenient to be needed. They will have their own needs, wants and preferences and destiny. And they need to learn that they can have that and be loved specifically for that and to have us too.
We need to break out of our single family households so our children can have access to multiple resources. This way, if they can’t have us at a given moment, they can have someone else. They will not feel as if they must be a doll in our reality and they will never feel put on the shelf. Imagine being loved for what you actually are and forever.
We need to see that we have a life regardless of whether people are or are not interacting with us. But it is a personal choice to have interaction in our life. We need to learn how to have ourselves and have other people too at the exact same time. Having people must never be contingent upon becoming exactly what they want us to be. The time has come to live an authentic life. And to choose to see people for who they really are instead of to hold them to a role in our game of pretend. If we do this from the get go with people, we will find people who are compatible to us and who really will love us for all that we are. To know how to do this, watch my video titled: How To Be Authentic.
People are worth infinitely more than their use. If we were raised in a world where like a doll, we were only wanted for our use, we will see the world like this. We will only want people for their use and when they don’t conform to our ideal for them, we will discard them. By doing this, we perpetuate the cycle of objectification and rejection. We perpetuate disconnection on this planet. We guarantee that we will all be dislocated from each other’s hearts and from the web that unites us. We will fail to love. The time has come to demolish the self-concept of the defective doll and the doll that perfectly followed its operating instructions. The time has come to choose to love what is real.