Bert’s therapy: Selfish

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How was your weekend?

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Lousy.  Felicia and I fought.

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What about?

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I took a nap.

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You fought about that?

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Well, she wanted to go shopping instead.

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Oh.

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She called me selfish.

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Do you think you’re selfish?

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I guess so.  Mom always said I was.

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And Mom thought “selfish” was a bad thing.

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Of course.

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Funny thing about that.

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About what?

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People who call other people selfish.

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What about them?

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They’re usually pretty good at being selfish themselves. 

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bert

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What they seem to mean is “Don’t take care of YOUR self.  Take care of MY self instead.”

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bert 10

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Ever notice that?

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Not until now.

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And how are you at taking care of yourself?

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Terrible.

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Scared someone will call you selfish?

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Yeah.   

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So you end up not selfish enough?

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Yeah.

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Well, don’t feel bad.  It’s a tough manipulation to defend against.

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bert 

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Then again, if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?

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Probably not Felicia.  Or mom.

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Be my guess.

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Bert

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How are you feeling right now?

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Like I deserve another nap.

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*************** * * *

 

 

Selfish (adj.):

Devoid of consideration for the selfishness of others.

~ Ambrose Beirce, The devil’s dictionary

 

 

 

Most of the problems which the adjusted American experiences reflect his profound misunderstandings in yet another area — which we shall term the self needs.

American culture provides neither a clear understanding of these needs nor adequate customs for satisfying them, and the adjusted American thus experiences both chronic and acute deprivation without really understanding the needs that are being deprived.

The anxiety, boredom and insecurity which are normal in American life are related to the deprivation of self needs much as hunger is related to the need for physical sustenance.

The self needs are the crux of normal neurosis in American culture. 

~ Snell Putney & Gail J. Putney, The adjusted American: Normal neuroses in the individual and society.

 

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3 responses to “Bert’s therapy: Selfish

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