Author Topic: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton  (Read 895 times)


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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2015, 07:41:51 am »
In adults, the crisis position tends to sexualise every issue because it is tied to a developmentphase which is itself sexual. The process is often unconscious, but it can be very obvious toother people as a sort of continual seductiveness in the person's behaviour and body language,or conversely as an 'uprightness', an extraordinary heightened sensitivity to sexualimplications which makes one scared of offending them with quite innocent remarks. Bothattitudes can even appear in the same person at the same time.It's clear that these are attitudes traditionally validated in women, either separately or incombination: the virgin and the vamp. They mask panic, and represent an inability tosurrender to deep sexual feelings for fear of being overwhelmed and losing control (whichmay literally have happened in childhood abuse). At the same time, there is a strong
forsexual contact, so there is often a teasing, flirting tone, not necessarily conscious - anexaggeration of healthy playfulness, 'sexiness', foreplay, dressing up, dancing. all sorts of creative and enjoyable behaviour which is 'sexy but not sex'. What's missing is relaxation andcommitment: the opening block sets up a constant yes/no/yes/no pattern, again traditionallyseen as 'feminine'.But men are as likely as women to occupy the crisis position - perhaps more often in apseudo-thrusting form. The yearning version will thus be an ersatz macho posturing. allleather and heavy metal, while the denying form might be hysterical puritanism. The onlysocially viable way for men to express the full crisis character is in the gay subculture.What makes the crisis position recognisable is its air of panic, of high charge. Everything islife or death. There is often either a theatrical exaggeration to the person's style, or a deathlystillness which is equally theatrical. The body type that develops with a strong crisis positionis less clearly defined than in some other cases, but in one way or another it tends to give astrongly sexual impression, which may be attractive or repulsive - or both - to other people.Crisis characters often stir people up, this being their unconscious intention as a way of sharing the panic around, camouflaging their own terror and excitement.We can think of the energy in a crisis character slopping around the body looking for someother lodging apart from the genitals; any other form of excitement is preferable, safer. So thecrisis character mimics all the other character positions - which can be very confusing fortherapists! In particular, someone deeply involved in the crisis position often comes over atfirst as a vulnerable 'schizy', boundary character. In fact crisis characters are quite tough,though they may not feel it There is a special relationship between these two extremes of thecharacter range, of head and tail, and energy can swing powerfully between them.The underlying strength and resilience often gives people the idea that a crisis character is'pretending', could 'pull themselves together if they just made an effort'. In a sense they arepretending, but the pretence is an
reaction to deep panic. The panic is completelyrational in origin: dangerous and scary things
happen. Freud worked with extreme crisischaracters who experienced 'hysterical paralysis' with no physical causation: a pretence in onesense, but outside any willed control or awareness. Often, though, the game-playing is bothconscious and unconscious: panic and anxiety fog the ability to look coolly at what one isreally doing. It can be amazing how a crisis character in a state of chaos can 'snap out of it'when asked.Yet crisis characters can play games for very high stakes. Living permanently on their nervesand by their wits, out on the edge, they develop a strange sort of coolness. Like combat