One of the best things about self-analysis is that there’s nobody to tell you you’re wrong. I have a doctorate in the subject, issued by the prestigious Dorien Grey University and Storm Door Company, and I have been my patient now long before I received my degree. The results of my efforts are, as you may have noticed, published on my website every.
I also, of course, am well qualified at analyzing others as well and consider myself something of the Jiffy-Lube of psychoanalysis. You have a problem? Just bring it to me for resolution.
In my active-in-the-community days, I seemed to be a magnet for people with problems, which I was more than eager to take on. It bordered on being a Messiah complex: “Suffer little emotionally insecure gay men to come unto me.” Lord knows there were enough of them. I’m quite sure that one of the major reasons I did it was that in devoting my time to their problems, I didn’t have to spend too much time concentrating on my own (one of which, of course, was why and how I really felt qualified to tell other people how to live their lives). I have occasionally looked back with true regret on the amount of money I spent on these people.
It really was rather fascinating: I would walk into a crowded bar and some sort of mystic sonar would start radiating from me across the room: “Emotionally needy? Right this way.” Apparently those who responded saw something in me…a certain stability, perhaps. And compared to some of them, I was indeed the Rock of Gibraltar to their sand castles.
Perhaps there was something of the Pygmalion complex involved. I’ve always secretly enjoyed control. By taking on people with damaged psyches, I was in effect playing Savior of Lost Souls.
Let me say in my own behalf that occasionally I really do feel that I did some good. For one thing, I genuinely did care and I did try to do something to help. Unfortunately, too many times they were shattered into such tiny pieces I doubt anyone could ever have put them back together.
And there were, of course, disasters from which I never fully recovered, specifically with one-who-shall-remain-nameless who cost me far more than $10,000 over a calamitous two-year relationship. I think I’ve discussed that one before, but my only excuse for having put up with it was that it was at the time that my mother was dying, and I had far more important things on my mind.
But the fact of the matter is that there are so very many people out there who are, truly, lost and who really can benefit from the help and advice of others. Just listening with an open mind and heart can do a lot. And it is also true that, having led the checkered life I have, I do believe I have a high sense of empathy and can understand how and why people feel like they do. I should point out that this is far more true of gays than heterosexuals who, though I have lived among them all my life, are still largely incomprehensible to me.
Being out of the gay mainstream now, I don’t have the opportunity…or as much of a desire…to play Lucy van Pelt sitting on the curb with her little “The Doctor Is In” stand. But, hey, if you have a problem, I’m willing to listen.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com: